Pond Boss
Posted By: GT3RS All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/19/22 10:36 PM
Howdy!
I have a new pond (will be 3 years spring) that had 150 nice HBG and 25 LMB in it for 2 years that were doing great going into this past winter. They ate great last year and they were quite large for 2 years old. I also have 20 CC's in it. I loaded them up on FHM in October like I did the year before.
I run my aerator near shore in the winter to keep a hole in the ice which has worked good both years.
This spring, I found about 10 large HBG and 2 LMB dead after ice out which I removed immediately.
Last year my fish started eating pellets during the last week of April.
So far, I haven't seen a single HBG or LMB but the catfish have been eating good for about 2 weeks. I also use good quality pellet food.
I have also noticed a worse FA bloom around the edges of the pond this year that started last year. It extends out about a foot from the edge on 3 sides of the pond.
Last year I used the Pond Clear, Muck Away, etc kit.

If all of my HBG and LMB are dead, shouldn't they have floated by now? I have tested the water a few times for the normal attributes and everything seems fine.

I use pond dye and have plenty of artificial cover in the pond.

Any ideas what to do or try? I don't really want to stock more until I am sure.
Thanks in advance!

PS. If this is the wrong section of the forum, I apologize. This is my first post!
Posted By: jpsdad Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/20/22 11:58 AM
Hi GT3RS, Welcome to the forum!

You didn't mention if you had tried fishing. That CC are feeding but HBG are not could indicate issues but not necessarily your deepest concern (major kill). You did not mention the size of the HBG when you stocked. If they were adult sized (~6") they may have already been 2 years of age or more. The LMB would clean out limited reproduction and if they were 2 years of age when stocked then they are entering their 5th year. There is some mortality every year but this picks up as HBG get older. It could be that this natural mortality has opened space for pond organisms to flourish providing the surviving HBG with lots to eat. Where you don't get recruitment you may need to overstock 6" HBG every 2 years or so. So maybe at 1/2 the rate of you originally stocked.

A dead fish doesn't always float. Maybe more often they don't when dying over winter. But at this point you should try to determine survival by some method other than feeding. LMB should strike an inline spinner and so should any surviving HBG. Either way, with a strong population of LMB you will need to overstock the HBG.

I am hoping all you need is a few more HBG. Try to do some fishing an let us know.
Posted By: GT3RS Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/20/22 08:01 PM
Thanks for the quick reply and for the welcome. I stocked the HBG at around 3-4" 3 years ago. They were very little compared to where they were last year. The bass were put in the following year at about 4-6".
I will try fishing, never thought of that!
The pond is 12 ft deep and about 0.35 acre.
Here are pics of each late last summer.

Attached File
IMG_2854.jpg  (61 downloads)
Attached File
IMG_2855.jpg  (61 downloads)
Posted By: GT3RS Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 12:13 PM
Update; tried fishing for HBG and LMB and nothing...

Worked almost every lure that I have.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks!
Posted By: tim k Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 12:44 PM
I have witnessed several ponds over years that turned over - all the fish died from lack of oxygen - however the fish were mostly all floating - no sure if is a possibility?
Posted By: anthropic Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 12:44 PM
If you pellet feed, Stubby Steve baits tend to work on the fish near the feeder. Also, you might try earthworms, as almost everything will bite them.

If still no HBG and LMB action, seems pretty likely there's something fundamentally wrong.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 02:25 PM
Originally Posted by GT3RS
Update; tried fishing for HBG and LMB and nothing...

Worked almost every lure that I have.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks!

If your LMB and BG succumbed with premature mortality you need to ask yourself two questions.

1. How likely is this to happen again?

2. Am I OK with this recurring?

The approach that I would take is to roll with the punches. You already know that CC are less susceptible so its a good candidate as a pond fish for your location. If the LMB and HBG had complete kill then you have to decide if you find it acceptable to experience that again. If not, then you might try some other ideas ... here are a few if all the LMB and HBG are gone.

1. If temps reach the 70s, consider stocking Blue Tilapia if allowed in NY. Stock small YOY fish up to 500/year. They will provide a harvest of fish in 1/4 to 1/2 lb range. Those you can't catch will be carted off by critters along with their nutrients. They will not likely reproduce.

2. Consider dropping the HBG altogether. If you don't mind single season growth of LMB ... consider stocking them as fingerlings each year. I prefer a 4" to 6" LMB after you've noted reproduction of your minnows. This reduces the number of fish you stock after each kill. Work with a number like 30 per annum and harvest as many as you can each fall. If you are unable to catch them all you can get another year of growth. If they winterkill then you utilized most. If the LMB spawn in the spring then you shouldn't stock. Did you ever get a spawn of LMB?

3. GSH and FHM are two minnow species that do really well at surviving winter DO. Each flourish in CC only ponds also but GSH may outcompete FHM. FHM will die relatively young compared to GSH so there is more turnover with them which is very good for CC which recycle sick, dying, and even dead FHM. With intense fall harvest of LMB, muted or nonexistent LMB reproduction, and limited numbers of LMB. Either of these minnows could coexist as legitimate prey long term for the small LMB sizes. Whether long term or not, after LMB winter kill they would quickly fill your pond with forage.

I am just thinking of ways to make lemonade from tough situation. Wish you the best on this.
Posted By: FishinRod Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 04:18 PM
Originally Posted by GT3RS
Update; tried fishing for HBG and LMB and nothing...

Worked almost every lure that I have.

Any other thoughts?

Thoughts: I believe I have read multiple reports on the forum from people that have stocked HSB in their ponds and have caught few to zero over a few years and thought they were all gone. They later caught several in a single season.

I conclude that in some ponds the HSB may be very difficult to catch on hook and line. Therefore, your failure to catch any may, or may not, indicate they are all gone.

I have also fished for LMB in ponds as a kid and had a trip with results like: a crappie, two big GSF, a channel cat, and zero LMB. Three weeks later I would reluctantly go with my father to try again, and we would catch 50 LMB - and my faith in that pond would be restored!.

It is certainly possible to get catch zero LMB on a pond that has them, over a short time period. However, I believe you WILL catch LMB at some point over an entire annual cycle if they still reside in your pond. I would keep fishing the pond when you have the chance before drawing a firm conclusion.

Regardless, you are getting some good advice on "fixing" the situation at your pond.

Good luck on getting your pond back into a healthy fish haven!
Posted By: anthropic Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 10:38 PM
Rod, I thought he mentioned hybrid bluegill rather than hybrid striper. Hybrid bluegill are notoriously easy to catch, even more than bluegill. But you're right about hybrid stripers, they are very much a hit or miss proposition even when good numbers are present!
Posted By: tim k Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/22/22 10:58 PM
so I am anything but an expert but is there no chance what happened here was oxygen depletion?
Posted By: FishinRod Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/23/22 03:12 AM
Originally Posted by anthropic
Rod, I thought he mentioned hybrid bluegill rather than hybrid striper. Hybrid bluegill are notoriously easy to catch, even more than bluegill. But you're right about hybrid stripers, they are very much a hit or miss proposition even when good numbers are present!

RIF (Reading Is Fundamental)!

Sorry GT!

Disregard my HSB (hybrid striped bass comments), I had a brain freeze on you trying to catch the "hybrids" that you had put in the pond. Fortunately anthropic noted my error.
Posted By: anthropic Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/23/22 04:12 AM
No big deal re HSB/HBG confusion, I've done it myself plenty of times. To be honest, that's what I first thought too, had to look at it again.
Posted By: esshup Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/23/22 04:25 AM
It could be water temp issues too. This has been a weird spring, the water warmed up so fast that the BG/LMB all want to spawn at the same time, If that is the case, their brains are on reproducing and not eating, the CC reproduce in warmer water than those other two species.

Grab a cheap swimming pool thermometer and check the water temp. What is it?

Give it a week after this cold front passes and try fishing again, fish don't bite well post cold front.
Posted By: Snipe Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/23/22 05:21 AM
Originally Posted by GT3RS
Update; tried fishing for HBG and LMB and nothing...

Worked almost every lure that I have.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks!
FHM adults, 6lb test very small hook through the tail with 1/8oz splitshot 2' above hook. Fish 3-6' water on bottom with a bit of slack in line. If fish are present, it won't take long.
Posted By: GT3RS Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/27/22 04:32 PM
Thanks everyone for the much appreciated advice. I have since tried worms, FHM and smaller HBG baits.
Still haven't seen or caught anything but CC's. CC's are really healthy and have grown a lot.

I just find it strange that the HBG and LMB could be all dead especially given the numbers that I had last year and how healthy they all were. It seems that more would have floated than what I explained in my original post.

I'll keep fishing I guess to see what's up. Last spring they were pellet feeding from late April / early May to October like piranha despite how many FHM were in the pond.

I was going to research other things like Mink or Weasel but again, there would have to be a boatload of them I would think!

I haven't seen any minnows this year yet either.

Thanks!
Posted By: esshup Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/28/22 02:49 AM
It's been a late Spring here and we have had a lot of weird weather - hot followed by abnormally cold weather that really closed the fish's mouths when I was able to wet a line.
Posted By: Shorty Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/28/22 02:12 PM
Originally Posted by esshup
It's been a late Spring here and we have had a lot of weird weather - hot followed by abnormally cold weather that really closed the fish's mouths when I was able to wet a line.

The weather has been weird here too, water temps went from the mid 50s to the mid 70s real quick, then back down to the mid 60's where it is now. The hot weather we had a few weeks triggered and explosion of daphnia in my pond and nothing wants to bite. Clusters of daphnia can be seen everywhere in the shallow flooded vegetation around the entire pond right now, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like this.
Posted By: Snipe Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 05/29/22 06:56 AM
GT3RS, I've seen incoming rain break the hypolimnium and roll anoxic water, killing CC and others but I don't "think" we are far enough into warm weather for that to be the case yet, but if you've fished hard with several live baits, hard baits and really give it an honest effort, one could say it is possible you have very few if any HBG or LMB left. In certain conditions, the old and very young are the ones to perish-first. I have a pond I manage that had a partial CC kill that we also lost over half of the SMB population and quite a batch of 4 yr old adult BG but when the smoke cleared we still had a fair number of fish the same size as those that died-survive. This was a cold rain event in a non aerated pond so several possibilities for the cause. Sometimes it's hard to find the exact reason.
Posted By: GT3RS Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 06/04/22 01:03 PM
Thanks again all.

Still no sign of a single HBG, LMB or FHM. CC's continue to look very good and are eating like hogs.

Thinking of waiting until next year to restock. Still hunting for a cause but will probably never know. So depressing after all the $ and hard work for the last 3 years...
Posted By: FishinRod Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 06/04/22 03:52 PM
Dang, sorry to hear that news. I was hoping that your fish were just being persnickety.

Are you able to easily drain down your pond so you can perform a fairly comprehensive seine survey?

If you are now forced to start over, then I think you really need a good handle on exactly what is left in your pond. Re-stocking with fish that are quickly converted into CC forage would just be throwing in more good money.

Perhaps open a new thread about starting over? You might be able to get some good advice from the experts here that manage ponds for a living.
Posted By: SetterGuy Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 06/05/22 12:28 PM
We’ve stocked HSB twice. First time in 2015. Never saw a fish. I’m convinced we had 100% mortality. We tried again a year and a half ago. 20 fish, if I remember right. We’ve caught one, and it had grown quite a bit. I think the first stocking all died because the fish seller had added well water to the tanks at a previous stop. We lost a lot of YP too. Now I’m wondering if the PH in my pond isn’t out of wack, and just not good for HSB. However, our SMB are doing well and are in the 19-20” range.
Posted By: esshup Re: All HBG & Bass Missing: Help Please! - 06/05/22 05:35 PM
HSB are like Goldilocks fish. Too many in a net and they rub the slime off of each other, leaving them open to fungus. Too big of a water temp change and they will have delayed mortality. Too big of a pH change and they will have delayed mortality. Stock them in water that is too hot, and they will have delayed mortality, just like catching them in water that is too hot. It's up to the fish hauler to make sure the fish water is within the correct parameters, both in the haul tanks and the pond.
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