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Thread Like Summary
anthropic, gehajake, jpsdad, Quarter Acre, Steve_
Total Likes: 8
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#536558 06/15/2021 6:54 PM
by aguita
This is the second time on six years that the HSB in our pond have died in the winter. 100% kill rate.

The pond is 3 acres, up to 18 feet deep in Northwestern PA. They are pellet fed twice a day and supplementally fed fatheads twice in the summer.

The first time it happened, I took the blame for not moving the air stones in close to shore and figured that the water was too cold from circulation.

This time the stones were moved in to about 4' deep water.

None of the other fish suffered and the HSB in our shallower ponds (7' to 9') deep survived just fine.

I'd hate to give up on such a great fish.

Thanks for any replies.
Liked Replies
#536574 Jun 16th a 05:31 AM
by Heppy
What is different about your 3 acre pond compared to the other ponds besides depth.
Do all ponds have aeration?
Did the 3 acre pond freeze over completely and have snow on top of the ice.
Did the diffuser set at 4 foot depth keep a hole in the pond all winter?
Are all ponds pellet fed? If yes is the same food used for all ponds?
Do you stock HSB at the same time in the ponds? From Bruce Condello “ Don�t buy, handle, or stock HSB when water temperatures are below 50. Your fish will get a nasty green fungus on their fins and may die.”
How old, how big and how many HSB were in the 3 acre pond before the kill as compared to your other ponds?
Hopefully these questions will help you figure out what happened?
1 member likes this
#536632 Jun 17th a 09:41 PM
by Steve_
Originally Posted by gehajake
As for FH, I cant imagine a scenario where I would want them in my fishing pond, they will clean out a ton of fish.

Might be tricky, but I can see some usefulness in stocking 1 or 2 Flatheads in a small pond, in the same manner that people stock Tiger Muskies for LMB control. It all depends on your goals, I suppose. If you have an overabundance of something, stock a FH, let him eat what he wants, and take him out when you're done with him. Sounds exciting.
1 member likes this
#536642 Jun 18th a 04:00 AM
by jpsdad
I'm with you and QA on this one Steve_. It won't be a problem for QA. Flatheads have never been observed to eliminate prey where they are forced to grow up in water. No water supports that. FH growth and consumption would slow as prey became scarcer. On the other hand, if a FH was put in a pond which was already supporting its limit of predators and the FH was big enough ... a lot of problems of prey shortage would result.

But QA's situation is different. His CC will begin eating mostly fish when they fnally get to be 24" or so. They will want 5" BG and there is risk that a large population of 4-5" BG will develop. If it happens, his plan is a very good one. His pond is small enough that a single adult coming in at 4 to 5 lbs would still be enough FH biomass to make a difference. So a 5 lb FH would put the FH biomass at 20 lbs/acre which is the lower end of the range most waters support (20 to 98 lbs/acre). If there is sufficient forage, after reaching 5 lbs, a FH could grow 4 to 5 lbs annually. In its first year, growing at this max rate, the FH would grow from 5 to 10 lbs and eat around 75 lbs of BG. There are 11 fish to the pound when BG are 5" long so the FH in its first year has the ability to remove around 800 5" BG if it were to grow at maximum known rates. A couple of LMB need to eat a similar number of BG. A FH is a voracious predator ... but it isn't going to upend the pond in a year or even 3. Some time ago, I posted a link to paper where in Wisconsin FH were used to transform stunted bluegill lakes into lakes with large BG. It did not happen overnight. It took 3 years to see notable improvement and then they made the mistake of harvesting FH out of one of the lakes which actually set BG growth back for a while.

Like you said, if he didn't want it in there, its easy enough to catch it out. This is one advantage of a small pond. Gehajakes pond is to big for a single FH to make a similar proportional contribution. Multiple FH and one could have reproduction that works contrary to his goals. No juice worth squeezing for Gehajake, I agree he is right in saying there is no reason for them in his pond.

But for QA, It could help a stunted BG population if one happens to develop. I've attached a grid of FH growth in a number of OK lakes. It usually takes 5 years to get a FH to 5 lbs (22"). How fast they grow depends on the water they are in and population dynamics. I have personally fished 3 of the lakes and these also supported LMB and Crappie populations. The reference can be found HERE.
Attached Images
1 member likes this
#536630 Jun 17th a 09:00 PM
by gehajake
Originally Posted by Quarter Acre
Thanks for the encouragement JP's!

For the time being, I'll enjoy the CC/BG combo...knowing that there are some HBG still there and the hopes of the possible HSB or two. I do feed once a day and have all these years, but dinnertime always seems to lack in attendance. I put in 15 CC ranging from 1 to 1.3 pounds (~14- 18") this spring with one floater. I can only witness 5 of them feeding at the surface at any one time, but my guess is there are around 10 survivors. Another 15, CC (1 pounders) will go in next year (or 5, 3 pounders - if available). Up to this point, hindsight being the key factor, I do not believe culling has been important at all. So, my current goals are to get a strong feeding population established and worry about monster sizes and culling in the upcoming years. I have grown to enjoy feeding the fish more than actually fishing for them.

I did add about 30 foot total of hedge and cedar limbs (with some folded-up hog wire fencing) to the bank for smaller fish cover this year (two different areas). If and when the time comes for the FH, larger cover can easily be added as hedge is abundant on my land. I will be looking for possible CC recruitment and the gross abundance of BG before coaxing/bribing Augie to take me out to source the FH from the Missouri river.
Hey QA, if you need a stocking of CC sometime give me a holler, we can go out on my pond and catch a bunch of them, you are welcome to some, when my feeder goes off or when I hand feed them the water absolutely churns with the BG and GS trying to get their share before the CC get there, but they back off when the CC start feeding, they will clean up whatever much I put out in not much more time then the feeder took to throw it, I seen probably 40 CC yesterday right around the feeder and they didnt get nowhere near full. thats when they are easy to catch. they are two yrs old now and between 2 and 3 lbs but I also have young ones so they are reproducing obviously.

As for FH, I cant imagine a scenario where I would want them in my fishing pond, they will clean out a ton of fish.
1 member likes this
#536631 Jun 17th a 09:19 PM
by gehajake
QA this one should help you clean out your pond, one of them MO River FH.
Attached Images
1 member likes this
#536678 Jun 18th a 11:00 PM
by anthropic
Originally Posted by John Fitzgerald
Originally Posted by gehajake
QA this one should help you clean out your pond, one of them MO River FH.

That flathead isn't big enough. I want something that will eat otters.

You need some Cajuns. By the time they finish cooking, the otters will be delicious.
1 member likes this
#536677 Jun 18th a 10:43 PM
by John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald
Originally Posted by gehajake
QA this one should help you clean out your pond, one of them MO River FH.

That flathead isn't big enough. I want something that will eat otters.
1 member likes this
#536683 Jun 19th a 02:33 AM
by jpsdad
Originally Posted by gehajake
QA this one should help you clean out your pond, one of them MO River FH.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

Congratulations on that great FH gehajake. I'm sure you've caught other great examples but that is indeed a dandy.
Attached Images
1 member likes this
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