My goal is to consistently grow large YP. I enjoy them more than I expected.
So ideally, my goal is to grow large yellow perch while also having some SMB to have some fun with. Though they don’t need to be trophy class SMB, with that said, I don’t want the population of SMB to go unchecked and have major stunting. The smallmouth we caught this weekend were puking tiny yoy Golden Shinners. Which I think answers what they are keying on. I assume thruster fairly easy prey since they pretty much just hang out in the open.
Bill Cody sent me info for building spawning discs for SFS, but I either didn’t pick the right creek or I didn’t get them in at the correct time for egg collection. Will try again next spring.
Ok, Cody can correct me if I get off track but I've found my YP began to suffer at 10-11", or that's where WR dropped below 100%.
The determination was my SMB were consuming forage that was also needed for the same general size of YP. At first I thought maybe I needed to thin my YP but the opposite was the case... I needed to thin the SMB to leave more forage available. I culled about 70 SMB from 7-10" last summer and the results have been positive in the changes I see this summer with 13-14" YP with 100-105 WR.
The remaining SMB are faster growing as well so I believe some selective harvest is needed there removing all but the heaviest, healthiest specimens.
I think with the reproductive possibilities of YP, continued effort to remove the mid sizes will be important, and I think I would focus my efforts on removing 7-9" YP. Leave a few of the 5-7" to help with keeping male numbers sufficient for proper fertilization-which in hind-sight, may be best if only 1/3 to 1/2 of the ribbons were actually fertile. A lot depends on how well your YP reproduce so that's something you'll have to monitor and manage accordingly. Some ponds have very high reproduction, others have very little-same with SMB- that can go either way but in 3-1/2 yrs i've found my SMB reproduction has been fairly stable, always have YOY showing up.
I'm going to take a piece from an article Cody wrote because I believe in his substance...Remove any SMB caught that is skinny or sub-par health-wise, it has suffered a lack of food and will never reach it's potential. I believe the same for YP-if they are not staying above 97-98% WR, I don't think these fish will achieve large, healthy condition. If they start dropping below 95%+/- WR, it's time to make some changes. Just like any forage fish, some have to make it through to satisfy the larger sizes of predators. In this case, to get larger YP you may have to remove more SMB AND mid-size YP to get some giants.