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Joined: Oct 2007
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ericdc Offline OP
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So far over 90%of the LM bass I have caught in the pond have been less than 14 inches long. I have started keeping all of these fish in hopes of curing what I've understood to be a overpopulated size class that won't get any bigger.

Bluegill: from fishing and feeding I have caught mostly 4 to 7 inch bluegill. Very few have been shorter than 4 inches. I am content with this size average. i have kept all the bluegill except the large males due to the advice I've recieved from notable PMs Bruce Condello and Theo Gallus.

Catfish: last fall was the last time I saw a catfish in the pond. They were feeding regularly in the evenings when my neighbor fed them. We caught 2 that were both well over 20 inches long and over 5 lbs. I'd rather have some big catfish in the pond than a bunch of small ones. I have not seen any catfish in the last 2 weeks since I started the feeding program. Just LOTS of bluegill.

Crappie: the pond was stocked with black and white crappie i was told. So far I have only caught 2 that were smaller than 6 inches. The rest have been bigger with 1 about 12 inches long and the monster I eluded to a few days ago that i caught saturday measuring 14.5 inches (hit a spinnerbait while I was bass fishing) I don't seem to have a problem with overpopulated 2 to 3 inch crappie because I have never caught one and haven't seen any. (i don't know this for sure)


The pond is 4.5 acres and was dug to 17 feet deep on the dam end.

The only thing I would like to change is I would prefer to catch more 1 to 3 lb bass with the occasional lunker that might grow or already be in there instead of all the less than 14 inch bass I seem to catch effortlessly. I don't want my bass plans to screw up my bluegill population though because I care deeply about them. They are EXCELLENT dredged in corn meal, mustard, and then fried in hot oil.

I would sacrifice some of my bass goals to maintain abundant good sized (maybe not Condello trophy) bluegills (5,6,7 inch fish.

can't get enough of the information on this site. Always have questions in my head at work or when I am going to bed and don't' usually start a thread unless I feel it's worthy of one.

Thanks

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I am certainly no pond miester like a lot on this site, but i will venture a read on what you describe and your goals based on what I have learned in 2 years.
1. Harvest bass. Set a minimum size based on your population and harvest below that size.
2. Know your carrying capacity of the pond based on water quality and know the type and amount of forage fish and predators. Keep 10:1 ratio of forage to predator. CC, Crappie, and LMB are all predators.
3. Crappie do not go well with LMB. In a small pond you either have a crappie pond or a bass pond. Not both. Ponds are less than 20 acres.
4. If you want larger LMB, then you will also need to limit crappie populations.
5. Feed is the essential for BG growth. Feed the BG to get diversity in size and large numbers of population. This is the basis of a LMB pond.

That is my 2 cents worth for what it is worth


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ericdc Offline OP
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Thanks M S.

I have been feeding and the bluegill are taking it well. I have been keeping all the crappie caught. I have been keeping all bass under 14 inches, but I wonder if I need to let some of them go to keep the bluegill from stunting. 4.5 acres is a lot of water to manage, granted I'm very happy and love the pond. I would rather keep the pond status quo than manage for big bass. I'd rather catch several small to medium bass than just a big one here and there. In order to keep the pond in balance it has been suggested I remove 110 pounds of LMB a year. 25 lbs per acre. I've also heard to remove 5 lbs of bluegill for every pound of bass. I seriously doubt I could remove 550 pounds of bluegill in a year. (5 X's the bass harvest)

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Eric, I suspect the "remove 110 pounds of bass" advice was designed to promote a large/trophy bass fishery. If this were your management goal, you would probably not want to also remove 5x that amount of BG.

It sounds like the numerous small bass have eliminated most of the little Crappie, leaving a few large sized ones in the pond. You did not state (above) a strong prefence for Crappie. If this is the case you should consider removing them as they are caught, regardless of size. They are taking forage away from the bass, and if you change the structure of the bass population away from numerous small LMB, the number of smaller Crappie will likely go up.

If you want to maintain a Crappie presence, read all the Crappie info here and pray for guidance. God knows how to manage Crappie, but no one else has an approach that consistently works.

Without the Crappie, I am sure you could have the size BG you would like to keep and an assortment of LMB up to 2-3 lbs. With them, it may still be possible but it will be more complicated.

Last edited by Theo Gallus; 03/11/08 10:28 AM. Reason: Correct numberous errors

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You are describing a goal of a balanced pond population of BG and LMB with a few CC. The crappie are the wild card in the mix. If you can reduce and control the crappie you can have a balanced LMB/BG/CC pond. From what we have read from your posts you have a LMB crowded pond now (prior to your removing some). The take out 10lbs of BG for every lb of LMB is and old guideline for balanced ponds (not what you have now). In addition that guideline is not followed much anymore because it was developed from a time when people used their pond as a family food source. As a result they generally took out to many LMB and ended up with few LMB and stunted BG -- the fix for that was the rule you cite.

Learn how to do a seine survey (late spring/summer). If it reveals few BG in the 2-3in size you are LMB crowded. Read this link Fishing/mgt pg 10-12 for some general info on the concept.

http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p1428.pdf


Here is the PB archive on population balance.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92492#Post92492



Last edited by ewest; 03/11/08 08:44 AM.















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ericdc Offline OP
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Thanks Theo and Ewest! I will continue to remove all the crappie I catch no matter the size.

Question:

My goal will be to maintain a slightly over crowded bass population, which is what I think I want for ease of catching purposes, and to control the smaller bluegill thus letting me have an abundance of bigger bluegill.

What should my LMB to BG harvest ratio be?

I'll read those articles when I get home this evening.

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That is probably a good goal in view of the crappie. I would not harvest any big BG for a year. Take out 15 lbs of LMB in the 10-12in range per acre and no more than 10 lbs of BG per acre - this year. Keep all the crappie. Keep feeding. This is still a guess and is not a substitute for a proper population survey. Learn how to do those.
















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And keep records of what you catch (keep or release) - length and condition. That will let you baseline your populations and then see how they are changing, so you know how to adjust your limits in the future.

Let's see, what all info sources can you have:
-Creel records
-Seining records
-Observations while feeding
for starters.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
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ericdc Offline OP
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I only caught one bass this evening but it was a better fish. Probably about a 15 to 17 inch fish, I'm guess 2 pounds. I released him of course and wished him many more ponds. (don't know if it was a him but ya know)

Today I harvested 7 10 to 12 inch bass. I would say those fish weighed less than a half a pound each. I did not weigh the fish because I don't have a scale yet, but i'm going to guess they total to 2 or 3 pounds all together.


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