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#515864 - 01/19/20 08:50 AM Crappie in my Pond - how to manage?
Brian Perkinson Offline


Registered: 10/21/19
Posts: 4
Loc: Midlothian Va
Hello and thank you for being such a great resource for pond management. I am a new member and subscriber to the magazine and have enjoyed searching and reading all the great topics.

I have just leased a 30 acre pond that is roughly 40 years old from what I have researched. There is an abundance of black crappie and I am trying to find out the best methods to manage it for growing larger crappie. Some facts about the pond are below.

the pond
- 30 acres
- located in central va
- deepest part is about 8-10'
- average is around 6'
- has roughly 5-8 acres of lilly pads
- water clarity is 2-4' on average
- my guest and I are the only ones who fish it

the fishing
- on average trip of 3-4 hours we catch 50-80 crappie
- they average around 1 lb ea!and look nice and thick at the shoulders
- we have caught very few thin small crappie
- largest we have caught is 1 lb 7 oz
- the bass are stunted for sure. all have been between 8-12" pretty thin. I haven't targeted bass yet as this is only a by-catch from crappie fishing.
- the bream are pretty nice as well. average is probably 8-10 ounces. these too are by-catch of crappie fishing.

So, am I asking for too much to grow larger crappie?? I have a 5 year lease with a 5 year renewal available and would love to grow some 2 lb plus crappie if possible. I also don't want to mess up a good thing that seems to be naturally occurring with little to no fishing pressure in the recent years. Im willing and able to dedicate the resources to do so if there is any hope in growing these things. Thanks again for all the great info and look forward to your responses!

Brian

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#515865 - 01/19/20 09:11 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 3064
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Congrats on the nice lake lease. I would suggest you hire an electric shock survey boat or two. They can survey the fish and also make recommendations on how you might improve the fish size. They can also reduce the numbers of fish in the lake and I suspect that is what is needed. Fewer fish most likely will take you toward larger fish in the future. Fishing the lake will probably not effect any changes you might want because of the lake size.
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Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


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#515866 - 01/19/20 09:14 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 3064
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Contact Bob Lusk here, he does things like lake surveys and makes recommendations
_________________________
Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


Tracy

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#515867 - 01/19/20 10:43 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
gehajake Offline


Registered: 12/31/18
Posts: 167
Loc: Central MO
There will probably be multiple steps in achieving your goals for your pond, there are many smart professionals on here that will have some good advise for what those steps may be, in the meantime I would start by removing the 50-80 crappie that you are catching, with several people doing that repeatedly, you should be able to reduce the numbers a good bit, theoretically lower numbers should result in larger fish.
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#515874 - 01/19/20 02:58 PM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: gehajake]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24219
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
I agree 110% on getting an electroshock survey done. Since the larger crappie are largely piscivorous, and bass are the same, I would bet that removing a bunch of the smaller bass would allow more of the smaller fish to survive, which would in turn feed the crappie.

BUT then with the large numbers of bass removal you will have to keep tabs on the crappie population, too many of them will also cause low forage fish numbers.

I would add cover to the water that is crappie specific. I don't recommend adding any minnows to the pond (what are the forage fish in there now for the predators?) until the bass population is thinned out considerably. It'd be a waste of $$ IMHO.

I don't know the rules regarding private ponds in Va, but if you could remove 600# of the 8"-10" bass this year it would help the forage base tremendously. The larger crappie just don't have enough to eat to grow much bigger, the bass are getting a lot of the smaller fish that could be going to feeding the crappie.

As for crappie harvest, I'd concentrate on harvesting crappie too, but the majority of the harvest this first year should be the 3/4# and under crappie. Re-assess the fishery balance next year - I know the lease is relatively short term, but if you want to make the fishery better I'd talk to the owner and try to get a 10 year lease and hash out the details about cost of management.

It'd be a shame to put $$ into the place for 5 years, get the fish to 2# (it's not going to happen overnight - think a minimum 2-3 years before you see noticeable results) and then lose the lease.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#515906 - 01/20/20 07:43 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 14211
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
A couple of thoughts and generalities.

First, 95% of the eggs laid/hatched etc. will never live until their first birthday. They get eaten.

Second, crappie spawn earlier than bass. Their mouths(hinged jaws) are the same size. When bass spawn/hatch the crappies are waiting.

With that amt. of food available everything is thriving. But efficient feeding is prey that is 25 to 30% of their body size. So, are the crappie and bass that you want to get bigger getting the right size groceries? It's a matter of energy expended vs calories obtained. So, the bass and crappie should be getting plenty of groceries but not the right stuff for them to grow to larger sizes.

I remember Lusk running into this same problem about 20+ years ago. His answer was stocking hybrid stripers that were large enough to escape predation. I expect that would be 8 to 10 inches. It took a couple of years to get results.

With that amount of groceries, I'll bet that you have bigger bass.

I would never return a crappie to the lake.

Esshup is right about the short term lease.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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#515912 - 01/20/20 09:44 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
ewest Online   content
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 20074
Loc: Miss.
Originally Posted By: Brian Perkinson

I have just leased a 30 acre pond. There is an abundance of black crappie and I am trying to find out the best methods to manage it for growing larger crappie.




- on average trip of 3-4 hours we catch 50-80 crappie
- they average around 1 lb ea!and look nice and thick at the shoulders
- we have caught very few thin small crappie

- the bass are stunted for sure. all have been between 8-12" pretty thin. I haven't targeted bass yet as this is only a by-catch from crappie fishing.
- the bream are pretty nice as well. average is probably 8-10 ounces. these too are by-catch of crappie fishing.

I also don't want to mess up a good thing that seems to be naturally occurring with little to no fishing pressure in the recent years.
Brian


Sounds like it is balanced. The question I have is (and you should watch for affect) - what will be the effect of you fishing (taking out crappie) on the lake's population balance and condition ?



Edited by ewest (01/20/20 09:45 AM)
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#515949 - 01/20/20 10:16 PM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: ewest]
Brian Perkinson Offline


Registered: 10/21/19
Posts: 4
Loc: Midlothian Va
Thanks for all the great feedback guys. I dont have great access to the pond via a boat ramp or anything. My 14' jon boat was slid down a bank to get it in to the boat house.

Does anyone have a suggestion on a electroshock survey company or kit that can be adapted to a small jon boat?

Thanks again for the help and information.

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#515952 - 01/20/20 10:26 PM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 2073
Loc: East Texas, USA
Brian, if I were in your shoes I would hire an expert to electroshock. Too much risk as a DIY project.
_________________________
8ac E Tx, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19





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#515953 - 01/20/20 10:32 PM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
Brian Perkinson Offline


Registered: 10/21/19
Posts: 4
Loc: Midlothian Va
Thanks for all the great feedback guys. I dont have great access to the pond via a boat ramp or anything. My 14' jon boat was slid down a bank to get it in to the boat house.

Does anyone have a suggestion on a electroshock survey company or kit that can be adapted to a small jon boat?

Thanks again for the help and information.

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#515954 - 01/20/20 10:33 PM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
Brian Perkinson Offline


Registered: 10/21/19
Posts: 4
Loc: Midlothian Va
yea to risky for sure.

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#515957 - 01/21/20 01:23 AM Re: Crappie in my Pond - how to manage? [Re: Brian Perkinson]
esshup Offline
Moderator
Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24219
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Call the Pond Boss office for a referral in your area for someone to electro shock the pond. The price of outfitting a boat with an electro shock system outweighs the benefits if you are not going to use it multiple times per year. Not only the system it self, you need a generator, insulated nets, etc.
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www.hoosierpondpros.com


http://www.pondboss.com/subscribe.asp?c=4
3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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