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Thread Like Summary
anthropic, ewest, FishinRod, jpsdad
Total Likes: 19
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#548548 05/27/2022 2:27 AM
by anthropic
anthropic
Note: Catch-22 refers to a Kurt Vonnegut novel about World War II, not creel survey! The joke was that a pilot asked to be excused from bombing missions (ten percent losses each mission, 25 missions...you do the math) on the grounds of insanity, but was denied on the basis that their request was too sane. Catch-22.

So here's my dilemma: My BOW does great when it comes to panfish and HSB. I feed, they grow.

For the LMB, I stock rainbow trout (when available), threadfin shad, tilapia, golden shiners and this year crawfish. And, as mentioned, I feed the CNBG which are the backbone of the LMB diet. Also I cull LMB.

Result: Loads of LMB, but size max around 6 to 7 pounds. Electro survey shows the same as fishing results.

That's not bad if all I had were northern strain LMB. But I also put in some Florida strain, and some F1 a few years ago.

Here's my question: Bob Lusk has said repeatedly that gizzard shad are key to productive trophy lakes. However, gizzards get huge, up to 2 lb, so need lots of big predators to keep them from taking over. At least 25% of LMB greater than 18 inches.

So I need Gizzard shad to grow trophies, but I need trophies to stock gizzard shad. Catch-22.

Now my HSB are large, some in 10 lb range, and they could help control gizzard shad. But there's only 95 stocked, and thus fewer than that still alive.

So should I take the risk of stocking gizzards to get the ball rolling? Or should I be content with a good non-trophy LMB lake the way it is? What are some considerations for me to think about?
Liked Replies
#548769 Jun 1st a 10:14 PM
by ewest
ewest
I think you are better off than you believe. If only a few 5 or 6 Fla LMB survived to spawn then those genes are set in your pond. If only a few of the F-1s survived to spawn, more of the same. There are several published studies and some unpublished as well that show that , in southern waters , Fla genetics tend to increase over time where stocked into Northern LMB lakes.

I would want more info based on your facts before I pulled the GShad lever.

Bob has done several of these studies , see if you can get him to chime in. Also I have posted results from some of the studies.
2 members like this
#548773 Jun 1st a 10:48 PM
by Pat Williamson
Pat Williamson
Originally Posted by FishinRod
I am definitely rooting for you to catch some double-digit LMB from your pond.

I am pretty sure you will get there with a little more time.

I even think adding the gizzard shad would help you get there if you perfectly timed their introduction. At some point your 5# bass would just be sucking up gizzard shad during the summer and turning into 10# bass.

However, your pond would then always contain gizzard shad! That would certainly affect the carrying capacity for all of the other species you enjoy. I am cautious enough that I wouldn't cross that bridge until I was sure that it had to be crossed. (But I suspect that I am both too cautious and too leery of gizzard shad!)

You could always ask from some more input from your "better half". Any chance she will be the first one to land a 10# LMB?

Hopefully some of the Texas gizzard shad experts will chime in.

Either way, I am definitely going to keep tabs on your experiment!

I don’t have gizzard shad or regular shad , I have caught several 10#+ LMB from my 6 acre pond that was dug in 2013….I didn’t stock LMB cause I didn’t want them. Wanted crappie, stocked them and somehow they got here anyway. The BCP spawned the first year and from what I can tell that was the only time . Was catching lots of 6” BCP but the LMB have since decimated the population to where it’s hard to catch any….. wondering if that’s the reason for the large LMB. Got lots of 6-7-8# LMB also
2 members like this
#548549 May 27th a 06:02 AM
by Barracuda J
Barracuda J
FYI I'm not an expert but I do know a thing or two about bass and pond ecosystem. The more bait you put in the water the better the bass will be as you know. Seems to be a good food chain as is right now. Depending on when your f1s and floridas were stocked my guess is they were consumed by your existing northern bass, assuming you stocked those florida bass as fingerlings. Thus why the growth across the board is not on par with Florida Bass potential because the pond is probably 99% northern bass genes right now. Though as you said a pond with 6-7lb northerns is not too bad.

However we all want bigger Bass so:

If it was me I would bring in a good amount of f1 or florida bass fingerlings this summer, enough so that some evade your existing Bass, and hope in the next few years those new fish get to trophy size. THAT is when I would bring in the gizzard shad once you know you have some REALLY big bass in there.
1 member likes this
#548552 May 27th a 12:14 PM
by jpsdad
jpsdad
I think if I were in the same position ... I would be reluctant to pull the trigger on GSHD. My worry of doing so would be that there are too many small bass. This from Bill Cody:

Quote
As a general rule for every bass harvested it leaves behind in the pond 3-8 pounds of panfish that will not be eaten by the bass that was removed.

My sense is that you have lots of forage but still too many LMB mouths. What if you held a tournament or something like that? Squeezed 4 boats with 8 anglers in that 8 acre pond and took every LMB under 14" out of the pond. That might get you to a sweeter spot for introducing GSHD. But even if you didn't add any GSHD, this would help your bigger bass profoundly by reducing competition.

I recall that you had a horrible time getting an electro-survey to harvest LMB and was disappointed in the results. You could probably earn some feed money doing a tournament. Charge $15 for a lease 1/2 day and then let them do what they want for entry and prizes. 8 anglers ... $120 for feed instead of $1000 out for electro-fishing.

OK so one pound of LMB harvest leaves behind 3-8 lbs of panfish ... BUT ... these surviving panfish can grow and will grow if they survive to grow a little longer. So the effect is to give the bigger bass more than 3 to 8 lbs of panfish. Another way of looking at this is that the mean weight of prey is ~ 1% of the LMB. This means that each pound of LMB harvested leaves 300 to 800 prey fish to grow for consumption by other bass (among which are your larger ones). IMHO, there is nothing you can do or add or spend that will have such a profound effect.
1 member likes this
#548574 May 28th a 02:14 AM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
If you decide to stock more small F! and or Florida LMB in a bass crowded pond then I would remove at least 3 to 4 maybe 5 existing larger bass for each new bass stocked. This greatly improves the chances of survival of the new bass which is your goal.
1 member likes this
#548579 May 28th a 02:44 AM
by esshup
esshup
Originally Posted by Bill Cody
If you decide to stock more small F! and or Florida LMB in a bass crowded pond then I would remove at least 3 to 4 maybe 5 existing larger bass for each new bass stocked. This greatly improves the chances of survival of the new bass which is your goal.

And I'd fin clip the new arrivals so you didn't remove those the next time you wanted to remove some bass.
1 member likes this
#548583 May 28th a 02:52 AM
by FishinRod
FishinRod
Lots of moving parts on this one to get the right answer!

As usual, I just have more questions.

What year(s) were the HSB, northern LMB, Florida LMB, and F1 LMB stocked?

In an East Texas pond, does the presence of 10# HSB with 6-7# LMB (of either strain) indicate that the LMB are lagging on the growth curve? If the LMB are not lagging, do they just need some more time to reach 10#+ trophy size? (Or even bigger for the Floridas and F1s?)

I believe the 6-7# LMB are really in the sweet spot now for the Florida strain to keep adding 1#+ per year while the northern strain are going to slow down significantly. Were any of the various bass strains marked to track their relative growth?

I would imagine that anthropic's pond contains some optimally sized BG and tilapia for the large LMB. Add in some bonus RBT snacks for the LMB and they should be adding weight at close to the maximum possible rate. However, is it possible to have optimal forage in a pond for LMB, but they do not have effective hunting grounds to catch forage efficiently? LMB are frequently described as ambush predators - is there a chance the 6-7# bass do not have effective cover to launch their attacks despite an abundance of suitable prey?
1 member likes this
#548591 May 28th a 12:51 PM
by jpsdad
jpsdad
Whether there is enough appropriately sized forage to grow LMB beyond 6-7 lbs will be evident in the condition of fish in that size range. So a fish that is continuing to add weight spends at least some time each year notably above standard weight. Either Northern, Florida, or F1 LMB are capable of growth beyond 7 lbs so if condition appears limiting at this weight then the source of the problem is probably forage. IMHO growth to 6-7 lbs is pretty darn good and would exceed what most see without active culling and other management. From here however, I think it is mostly a numbers game where fewer LMB will allow remaining LMB to grow. This reshaping of the population structure can also set up the conditions that justify forage introductions that favor the larger fish.
1 member likes this
#548642 May 31st a 12:59 AM
by Zep
Zep
Originally Posted by anthropic
Or should I be content with a good non-trophy LMB lake the way it is?

anthropic that's exactly where I have always been....of course it's a personal decision, but I have never been fascinated with a trophy lake. It really never crosses my mind, I just enjoy catching varieties of fish and watching others do the same. 2EachHisOwn
1 member likes this
#548765 Jun 1st a 09:51 PM
by FishinRod
FishinRod
I am definitely rooting for you to catch some double-digit LMB from your pond.

I am pretty sure you will get there with a little more time.

I even think adding the gizzard shad would help you get there if you perfectly timed their introduction. At some point your 5# bass would just be sucking up gizzard shad during the summer and turning into 10# bass.

However, your pond would then always contain gizzard shad! That would certainly affect the carrying capacity for all of the other species you enjoy. I am cautious enough that I wouldn't cross that bridge until I was sure that it had to be crossed. (But I suspect that I am both too cautious and too leery of gizzard shad!)

You could always ask from some more input from your "better half". Any chance she will be the first one to land a 10# LMB?

Hopefully some of the Texas gizzard shad experts will chime in.

Either way, I am definitely going to keep tabs on your experiment!
1 member likes this
#548781 Jun 2nd a 01:14 AM
by Pat Williamson
Pat Williamson
Come get ‘em , every one I catch I take to my neighbors 25acre pond
1 member likes this
#548811 Jun 2nd a 02:56 PM
by Pat Williamson
Pat Williamson
Rod I’m not sure how they got in. Possibly with unmonitored stocking of FHM from a fish truck(I know) . The first bass was caught in 2014 on a crappie jig and was about 3#(big surprise). I’m bad about record keeping but think after the first one was caught probably the next year there were plenty of 5-7#ers. Since then I have caught 3 that were over 10#. Right now I’m making lemonade. Bout all you can do at this point. Don’t know if any solution other than draining or relocation of larger bass which I have sorta been doing. To hot now to transfer biggies without killing them

Some may have been bucket stocked due to how fast they grew or that was because a new pond with lots to eat
1 member likes this
#548783 Jun 2nd a 02:39 AM
by Sunil
Sunil
anth, I've never used rotenone, but I think I wouldn't want to use it in any capacity in any BOW where there was fish I wanted to keep.

I think the greatest fear of introducing gizzard shad is infestation beyond control. I may be experiencing that same issue with intentional golden shiner stockings where numerous predators were present in a very captive situation.

I want to say Greg Grimes had trophy bass plans that included gizzard shad, so you could perhaps reach out to him. I don't think he comes here much anymore, but he's around.
1 member likes this
#548963 Jun 6th a 10:47 PM
by RossC
RossC
Late to the party, but my take. Anthro, how are your CNBG doing? That is the base of the LMB food chain. What are your HSB eating? Are they competing with the LMB food chain? They can and do also eat LMB.

In east Texas you will pretty much always have northern strain LMB as they are native. We live on one of the first lakes in Texas to stock Florida LMB as it was the home lake and lab for Charlie Inman, one of the TP&W pioneers on Floridas. We stock 3000 or so pure Florida LMB fingerings every year to keep the genetics coming. We figure if we get 10% survival we're doing good. We have also stocked a 100 or so Camelot Bell LMB in the 2# range a few years ago. We take 14" survey culls from managed pure Florida lakes in the area. We stock TFS every few years and get some recruitment. Our bluegill base is top notch. Tons of minnows. Try to keep the crappie fished down and in the freezer. Fight with the flatheads, otters, cormorants, and herons. Have a few remaining grass carp that need to go (20 years old). 50 acres, decent cover, deepest 19 feet, average 8-10. We catch one or two LMB over 10# in any given year (lake record 15#+), but the majority will be 6-9# for big fish. We never seem to be overstocked on LMB, either from fishing results or from shocking survey. Personally, I think you're expecting too much from a small BOW to think you will get multiple 10#+ LMB. A 10# LMB is a monster. We all know 20# fish exist, but how many vs the millions of fishermen and fishing hours invested.
1 member likes this
#548971 Jun 6th a 11:43 PM
by anthropic
anthropic
Ross, you may well be right that I expect too much from a 7 acre BOW. I have lots of 7 - 11 pound fish, if you count the HSB. My CNBG are thriving and rapidly approaching 2 pounds, something that I would have considered impossible ten years ago. Maybe expecting an occasional 10 lb plus LMB on top of all that just isn't realistic, despite all the effort & money spent to supercharge things. But as Robert Browning remarked, a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?
1 member likes this
#549918 Jul 2nd a 03:24 PM
by RossC
RossC
I think an occassional 10#+ is very doable. I was reading multiple 10# consistently. I caught an 8#+ and an 11# within an hour of each other this week in the same hole, 16' deep under a log. First big fish in a while. My neighbor had an evening run and the following morning run with two 9#, two 7#, and a 6#. I think that's excellent for any BOW. We both had an extensive big fish dry spell before this. The fish are always there unless something very unfortunate happens. They generally don't need to eat our baits in a well managed lake, so we're lucky when they do.
1 member likes this
#549964 Jul 3rd a 06:24 PM
by RossC
RossC
We're spring fed and only recently closed the bottom drain. Yes, private 50 acre lake, 70 years old. We have man made brush piles, several natural blowdowns, and docks of course. Other than that not a lot of cover. I'm trying to re-establish beneficial native vegetation with mixed results. I have to fence everthing or the turtles and a few old grass carp will decimate it. I have a fair stand of various water lilies now, some Illinois pond weed, and one small cage of eelgrass.

We stock 3000 or so Florida fingerlings every year. We buy a few hundred 12-14" Florida's from managed lakes when available. A few years ago we bought a few Camelot Bell mature bass as well. We stock threadfin shad as needed. We get fair reproduction and with mild winters they survive well. Tons and tons of evey variety of blue gill. We also have crappie and a few catfish. We have a few feeders that are kept up. This lake gets overflow from a lake above so we also have native bass in the mix. This lake was one of the first in Texas to have Florida bass as it was the home lake of Charlie Inman, the Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist that brought the first Floridas into the hatchery. We fight cormorants and otters.
1 member likes this
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