Pond Boss
Posted By: Slurp LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/11/16 12:13 AM
I have been lucky enough to purchase the pond that I learned how to fish on almost 30 years ago. It's a 1 acre pond that was built in 1976 and is still in pretty decent shape but it does need some work. Last year it had so many weeds and FA you couldn't hardly fish it. This year has been much better and I also added 10 GC, hopefully I will see results soon. I'm thinking about dying the pond next year to hopefully help as well and may have equipment in there to deepen the edges but that remains to be seen. I will be building a solar aerator this winter and have some great info on how to do that from this forum! I also added 30 CC (some albino they were small probably end up as a quick snack) and 100 RES (actually more like 50 plus some floaters, be surprised if they all make it) a few months ago. I've been building a cabin on the property and haven't had much time to fish it this year, I did finally get around to weighing and measuring some LMB this weekend. All were right around 100% RW and the smallest was 13". I haven't tried to get any RW on the BG yet and may try to do that next weekend when my cousins kids come down. I suspect it is BG crowded, I saw loads of them this spring and I haven't seen anything bigger than maybe 5" all year. The problem with this is I have friends and family with kids so I want them to have a good time. What can I do to keep the bass healthy but keep the fishing enjoyable for them? Could I thin out some of the BG and add another forage fish such as RES or YP in hopes the BG get bigger? I am leaning towards getting a feeder, would this help or do I still need to get rid of some of the BG?
Posted By: Rainman Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/11/16 04:32 AM
Hi Slurp, welcome to the forum! Congrats, and it's very cool you could buy the pond you first learned to fish on!

Grass Carp won't eat Filamentous algae, but can help cut town on other plants. RES only spawn once a year, so don't count on them for much in the way of providing a lot of extra forage, though definitely a great addition to stock.

I'd be really surprised that you'd be BG heavy in an Iowa pond and not LMB heavy, but I guess anything is possible. I don't think you would harm anything by removing a few to several BG per kid. How many LMB did you sample for WR?

YP are excellent table fare and great LMB forage also, but you'll need some pretty heavy, submerged grasses or cover for them to do very well (and not quickly extirpated) with LMB present.

I'd spend a year getting to know as much as I could about all the fish in the pond before doing much more stocking. BTW, did you fish for Catfish before adding any? Too many cats could cause muddying of the water.

Dye is pretty good at blocking sunlight to reduce FA growth, but it also reduces the growth of the base of your food chain, and reduces your pond's overall production potential too.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/11/16 02:20 PM
To grow bigger BG, thin them, and start feeding feed them pellets. Ideally, thin the BG that appear to be the most abundant ones in a certain size class. To figure out if one size group is overly abundant, you can fish with a small baited hook (No 10 or 12) under a bobber and measure every fish caught. After catching around 50-100 fish arrange the measurements into size groups: 2.5"-4", 4.1-5.5", 5.6"-7", 7.2"-8", 8"+. The group with the highest number is the dominant size group in the pond. Ideally in a balanced general 'angling' community, you want the smallest group to be most abundant and the largest ones to be the smallest group. For groupings different than 'balanced' situation, the population is skewed in the direction of those that are the most commonly sampled. It is important to sample the fish with the least amount of bias. The small baited hook does a pretty good job of this.
Posted By: Slurp Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/11/16 06:25 PM
Wow such quick replies and from those who know their stuff! Thank You. The GC are to help cut down on the weeds since they make fishing it a pain so there's plenty of cover for YP right now if I were to put them in. I've thought about adding Tilapia to help with the FA but haven't been able to source any in SE Iowa. I wouldn't expect it to be BG heavy either but everything I've seen so far suggests it is. It is pretty remote so people could have been fishing the place without anyone knowing. I have some friends coming from out of state this weekend just to fish this pond, even though one of the biggest lakes in Iowa is 10 minutes away, that's how good the fishing has been for them in the past. We will get more RW information then. There are no previous catfish in the pond, it's been 20 years since anyone's caught one and I've tried many times. As far as the BG size groups I'm looking at 2.5"-4" and 4.1"-5.5" I haven't seen anything bigger than that in several years.
Posted By: stickem' Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/11/16 06:36 PM
Welcome to Pond Boss....tons of good info and helpful folks here.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/12/16 01:59 AM
Predominance of the 2"-4" & 4"-5" indicates too few predators allowing too many BG to survive as in too many hogs feeding at the trough and resulting food shortages. Enough food to reproduce, but not grow.

If you would have posted earlier before supplemental stocking I would have recommended a complete renovation if you wanted high quality fishing relatively quickly as in 2.5-4yrs. Working with an unbalanced pond can take 4-6 yrs or longer to get or rebuild a quality fishery depending on the degree of unbalance and amount of hands on management implemented. Done correctly one can readily produce 2 lb bass and 8" BG in 2yrs.
Posted By: Slurp Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/12/16 11:29 PM
I sounds like you have confirmed what I have been thinking. The thought of a complete renovation has crossed my mind, mainly because I can drain the pond and hire someone to clean up the muck and deepen the edges. I've heard draining the pond halfway for awhile can help consolidate the BG and works well? The only thing I have access to is a trash pump so I imagine that would take awhile! The decision to renovate is not entirely mine so I will have to talk the other half.

If I were unable to start over what would be the best course of action? Harvest BG and add more predator fish? I've thought about adding 20 or so HSB but have only found one place around here that sells them and it's like 2 1/2 hours away so not sure if they would survive the drive back?
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 10/14/16 01:32 AM
Working with your existing fishery, best progress is dependent on how severely you manually thin all sizes of BG. Another important factor is to remember the newly added predators have to be big enough to eat the most abundant current size of BG. For BG, the bass needs to be 3X longer than the BG. LMB eat BG better than HSB because LMB have a bigger mouth at each size category compared to HSB. Plus LMB inhabits areas most commonly frequented by BG. HSB is primarily an open water dwelling fish. BG rarely inhabit in open water areas, BG are not pelagic. These factors make LMB the best predator of BG.
Posted By: Slurp Re: LMB RW 100%, now what? - 12/13/16 04:43 AM
Alright so an update I guess. I have documented more RW's over the last few months and have continued to see them well over 100 average is closer to 115 and several higher. Overall goal for the pond will be growing big bass. I have done a winter drawdown and lowered the level by about 3 feet. What made me decide to go ahead and do this was in 2015 the pond was 50% covered in FA and loaded with vegetation to the point where it was almost impossible to fish. That fall was extremely dry and the pond dropped several feet. Fast forward to this year and it has been FA free for the most part but I still had some vegetation 3 - 4 feet out from the edge. Lowering the water level has exposed about 80% of this that hopefully dies off over winter. The drain pipe was also raised about a foot as well. I am hoping that since the pond is BG heavy this will get them out of cover and the bass can get them somewhat under control. I will also be adding some homemade structure at this time. I happened upon quite a bit of random sizes of PVC and will probably stick them in the ground straight up imitating stumps, this should hopefully be pretty snag proof. The bass seem to top out at about 5 lbs so I will try and introduce new genetics by stocking some more this spring, I figure it can't hurt since it was last stocked 40 years ago!
© Pond Boss Forum