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#68280 - 04/12/06 01:20 PM What will Flathead do to a small pond?
john wayne Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 48
Loc: northern kansas
I have a 1/2 acre pond with the following fish population:

Bass: 5 (1/2 to 2 lbs)
Bluegill: 100 (all ages)
Channel Cats: 15 (1/2 to 6 lbs)
Flathead Cat: 1 (2 lbs)
Bullhead: 500 (more or less 3-5 inches)

I have just recently taken over the stocking of this pond and i want it to be a balanced fishery. Will the flathead eat the bullhead first? I am feeding the catfish. How big will that flathead get and how soon? When should i take him out or should I? Should i even have put him in there? I do not want him to eat the bluegill. Where should i go from here?

#68281 - 04/12/06 01:40 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
Shorty Offline

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4231
Loc: Raymond, NE
Your flathead will eat any live fish he can fit in his mouth. They also tend to grow very quickly and can get over 60 lbs. If it were me I would probably take him out of the pond mix, sooner or later your flathead will be big enough to make a serious dent in the remainder of your fish population.

#68282 - 04/12/06 01:43 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
john wayne Offline

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 48
Loc: northern kansas
Well, I really want the bullhead out of the pond which is why i put him in there. Do you think he will eat the bullhead first beacuse they are slower.

#68283 - 04/12/06 01:56 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
Shorty Offline

Registered: 07/28/05
Posts: 4231
Loc: Raymond, NE
All I can tell you is that your flathead will be oportunistic when feeding which will also include eating your bass, bluegill, and channel cats if he can fit them in his mouth. I can tell you that largemouth absolutly love to eat bullheads and would probably do a better job in keeping your bullhead numbers down with fewer problems.

Here is a picture of a friend of mine from last year with a flathead he caught at a public lake near Lincoln. There are bigger ones in this lake than the one pictured. I would have to check the stocking records but I beleive the flatheads have been in this public lake for less than 10 years. They were stocked to help control a problem with stunted white perch in the lake.


#68284 - 04/12/06 03:45 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
Dave Willis Offline


Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
John Wayne -- the Minnesota DNR did a study one time, looking at whether flathead catfish would control sunfish and bullheads in one of their lakes. I can't recall all the details of lake size and flathead stocking rates. However, the conclusion was that flatheads would control the bullheads but not the bluegills. Obviously, things could be a little different in a small pond where interaction among species is forced by that small size. However, the MN results would tend to indicate that the bullies did go first, probably because of their vulnerability as you already indicated.
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From Bob Lusk: Dr. Dave Willis passed away January 13, 2014. He continues to be a key part of our Pond Boss family...and always will be.

#68285 - 04/12/06 07:17 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
turkeyfootnc Offline

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 168
Loc: N.C.
I have permission to fish a pond that someone threw in a couple of flatheads. I don't know how many were put in but the owner said they had to go. There are very few fish left in the pond. Supposedly all of them have been caught. I saw one get caught and I took it to the creek. Last year we caught a more fish than we had in several tries but there were not many fish. I would strongly suggest you get the flathead out as soon as you can. The bullheads won't cause as much of a problem.

#68286 - 04/13/06 05:34 AM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
Dan B Offline

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 29
Loc: N.E. Ohio
John- I have a 1/2 acre pond also . I put a 15 lb. flathead in it nearly 20 yr. ago & he gets caught on a rather regular basis to this day. There are many LM & BG still in my pond. As a matter of fact it is overun by stunted green BG.There are many LM still in the pond also. That one flathead wont kill off all your BG & LM by no means.I had always hoped that the Flathead would help control the BG population but that one isnt enough so I dont think you need worry about him.
Dan B

#68287 - 04/17/06 02:52 PM Re: What will Flathead do to a small pond?
Matt Clark Offline

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 822
Loc: S.E. Iowa
All you folks seem to get pretty scared of flatheads. Here in Iowa, I don't know of any ponds without at least a couple of flatties swimming around...and they're plenty of catchable fish in them.

I've caught flat's out of at least 3 ponds myself...and I'll put at least a couple in each of my ponds sometime. They hurt nothing, and it's not like they're great white sharks. Even if they eat a decent sized gill (and they WILL), it's only 1 a day or so, and, unlike CC, they go truly dormant during winter. So they only eat for maybe 7 months or so, each year.

That only amounts to a couple hundred fish a year...and I guarantee you they don't target tropies. They'll eat whatever they can catch...maybe it's a 2 lb bass, but even they need thinned out. Maybe it's a 6" BG...oh well.

They're just another part of a healthy ecosystem.
In a lifetime, the average driver will honk 15,250 times. My wife figures I'm due to die any day now...


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