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We've been our new house for over 6 months and at this point I'm pretty sure that I have a LMB over population issue.

The BG population seems really healthy and they are feeding on food pellets very well. I have been feeding them for about 2 months and I believe it is helping create forage for the bass as I actually just caught my first bass over 12 inches (not much over but better).

Reading on this board it seems the suggestion is to start culling bass at a rate of 50lbs or so per acre. The unfortunate thing for me is that I would not eat a fish out of this pond without knowing what the bacteria levels are so I would have to figure out a way to dispose of 100+ LMB in order to cull. It's a neighborhood pond with a good bit of run off.

I was wondering if I added CC to the pond if they would help reduce the LMB population? I have only seen one large catfish show up during feeding. I suspect he was released into the water by someone years ago and was not part of the original stocking.

In theory I could see this working IF the CC fed on the small LMB but I could also see their presence causing more stress on what appears to be an already stressed forage base.

Was hoping you guys could provide some insight for me.

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Good question, Jeff, and I'm sure you'll get a lot of qualified input on it. Just don't look for that from me! grin

I know some cats get big enough to really chow down on anything in their paths and that may be an option. From the reading here, you could also consider a serious predator like a pike/musky type of fish, probably with preference for a sterile variety so you don't run into a whole new problem. That would address your question on what to do with 100 lbs of LMB that you didn't want to eat.

One thing to keep in mind is that, with this being a neighborhood pond, you don't do anything that would violate the terms of the neighborhood's use rules or any local or state ordinances on stocking fish.

Like I said, you'll no doubt get plenty of great thoughts here, so just hang on and wait for them to roll in.


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Originally Posted By: Jeff Garrow
I was wondering if I added CC to the pond if they would help reduce the LMB population? I have only seen one large catfish show up during feeding. I suspect he was released into the water by someone years ago and was not part of the original stocking.


Jeff,

That is a very interesting question.

I have a love-hate relationship with channel catfish. They are definitely a top-line predator. I credit them with helping me grow trophy size bluegill -- which is what I want. Interestingly, I've seen very little effect on my very overcrowded bass -- that is a good thing.

They go in the pond at 8-12 inches, and come out like this:







I open the stomachs of most fish I bring in for dinner. I seldom find anything but pellets in the catfish. But, I know that they are eating a lot more than pellets to get to the size they achieve. Over the winter and under the ice, they grow significantly. For some reason, and it is just a gut feeling, I believe they gobble a fair amount of bluegill, but have minimal effect on the bass.

Ken


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Thanks for the input guys.

Todd - I'm with you on knowing the local stocking regulations. I was considering stocking some tilapia to address our minor FA (before it grows too much) which a buddy of mine in Alabama had amazing results from. However I found out that it is illegal to stock tilapia in Georgia.

Something like a Pike or Musky would most likely give the predation I'm looking for but I'm not sure they would survive in my pond. Here in Georgia the only lakes I know of that have Pike are up in the northern part of the state.

Ken - those are some monster cats. The one I see during feeding is about the size of your top picture. You may have answered my question though - if your CC aren't reducing your bass population then they probably wouldn't reduce mine.

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Jeff I think that the catfish would not have an effect on your overcrowded bass and would probably cause other problems instead.

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Originally Posted By: Jeff Garrow
Something like a Pike or Musky would most likely give the predation I'm looking for but I'm not sure they would survive in my pond. Here in Georgia the only lakes I know of that have Pike are up in the northern part of the state.


I don't have the foggiest notion on that point, Jeff, but there are plenty here who would know that sort of thing. Just hang tight and maybe someone will see this and chime in with their thoughts.


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You might get similar results by introducing a few Hybrid Striped Bass instead of Pike. I think that they will do better in the warmer waters. I introduced 23 of them into a 2 acre pond last summer. Catching 8" bass was becoming a nuisance. I haven't caught a juvenile LMB since early May. I am beginning to think that the HSB have something to do with that.



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Jeff feel free to give us a call or email. I have a cleint in mcdonough that has an outstanding fishery his secret monster catfish. These are 25-60 lb channel and blue cats. They for sure keep his bass in check. However under 20 lbs I think they would just compete with bass for food and make things worse.

The 50 lbs/acre is very high most neighborhood ponds sustain only about 30 lbs-50 lbs of bass total. harvest is key but that is a lofty goal for unfertilized pond.

As far as consumption high bacterial levels really make no diference on eating the fish it is what they bioaccumulate in tisues this is heavy metals, mercury, pcb, etc. Your fish are probably safer than one out of a reservoir in GA.

Gotta run good luck.


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Jeff, Greg Grimes is one of the best pond consultants around and if he's in your neighborhood, take him up on his offer to meet with you. He's a great supporter of this forum and is a great businessman, so you'd do well to go to him for your needs. Give him an opportunity to show you what he can do for you.


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Thanks for the input everyone.

Greg I will be contacting you. I spoke with a neighbor who has a lake health report that a company performed back in 2003. He is going to send me the document but the numbers he mentioned to me were not encouraging at all. The deepest sediment in 2003 was 4.5 feet. The average depth of the pond was less than 4 feet. I'm not even sure that can be dredged. The lake may have to be drained and sediment removed with heavy equipment.

The biggest struggle will be trying to get the HOA to pony up some $$$ as there are three ponds in the neighborhood and all of them are in pretty bad shape in regards to sediment.

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As a general matter the best initial indicator of can one species control/prey significantly on another is to take the gape size of the potential predator and the size of the prey. Theo did an article in PB on CC gape size over time. Like Greg said a big 10 lb cat will eat some fish but probably not control LMB numbers. Another factor , especially wrt very small fish like fry and yoy , is to look at the traits (piscivory behavior ) by species including ontogenetic diet progression from zooplankton to benthic invertebrates to fish. This has a big bearing on a species controlling large numbers small fish. Itís one thing for big cats (25 lbs) to eat some adult LMB and BG but itís an entirely different matter for cats, especially small cats, as a species to control many hundreds of thousands of BG and LMB fry/yoy/juveniles. Control of the small fish numbers is an overlooked key to population control. Look for an upcoming article on this in PB mag in the Cutting Edge.
















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Interesting Ewest. I just assumed (and everyone knows what that means) that CC would significant competition to LMB. That makes two things I learned in your post (1) don't assume that a one (predator) species will control another (forage) species merely because of the length of the predator species and (2) what the word ontogenetic means (thank you Wikipedia or this bean counter would get lost in all of the scientific speak).

Does anyone recall what issue contains Theo's article? I'd like to re-read the magazine.


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IIRC Sept-Oct. 2005
















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ewest - think I'm following you. You're saying adding CC might not impact my overpopulation issues initially but over time the CC would help with the overpopulation by eating on LMB and BG fry?

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I'm wondering on what Blair said about his HSB controlling his stunted LMB.

The mouth size on the HSB seems to be too small to eat a 10-12" LMB even when the HSB get over 4 lbs. from my limited experience.

Then again, the HSB is a mean fish.

I doubt there would be any downside to putting a few HSB in especially because they can also eat pellets.


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My thoughts.

High % #s of large cats will help control everything in the pond to the extreme. (Greg's example of the guy with lots of big cats).

Regular #s of average cats will have little impact on young BG and LMB by themselves . However in combo with all sizes of LMB and BG they may help.

To control a population of BG or LMB you have to control both the large # of yoy and the adults. One but not the other will not work well.

In other words a few big cats can't chase down 500,000 BG and LMB offspring. They will starve to death first. Its energetics (the branch of physics that studies energy and its transformations). In that situation you will end up with stunted BG and LMB and no cats or a few skinny cats and stunted BG and LMB at the size range too small to feed the cats. Of course you could get lucky and hit just the right #s of all sizes and types of fish and do great for a while. In any case man is the ultimate pond balancer.



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Sunil,

The juvenile LMB that I was referring to were mostly 7"-8" and I am sure that the HSB are only part of the equation. I have approximately 90-100 LMB that average 2.5 lbs each in a two acre pond. Up from a just under 2 lb average last year.



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Your saying that the CC will starve to death before they can catch blue gill? I don't understand.... I thought CC's would be pretty good predetors..

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Along the HSB lines, correct me if I am wrong, as I do not own a pond with HSB in it. But, research has been done to show that HSB have little effect on sportfish (LMB) populations. That is why they have become so popular amongst anglers and biologists on reservoirs, they have trophy potential, and cause little harm to LMB numbers. Plus, if GZD are present, they help BLG populations by cutting down on GZD, which directly compete for resources with young BLG. But once again, I don't have a pond with them in it.

I agree with ewest, in that I think catfish would work well in a pond with varying sizes, but they wont be "Mr. Fixit" in a pond full of stunted LMB and BLG. Catfish love to eat, but hate working for it.


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Big Pond I am not saying " that the CC will starve to death before they can catch blue gill". I am saying that big CC cannot sustain themselves on yoy/small BG. The CC will use up more energy trying to catch and eat those little BG than eating them will provide. If the energy taken in does not outweigh the energy used to catch the BG allowing for standing body functions the CC will lose weight , use up reserves and in time starve to death. Same with people. If you start working/exercising a lot and only eat 500 calories a day you will lose weight and eventually starve to death. No ,ifs ands or buts - its called energetics (the branch of physics that studies energy and its transformations).
















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TJ, as far as HSB go your statements are correct from what I have read and researched. In reservoir studies, they found HSB's diet was around 90% GS about 5% inverts and the rest made up of other fish species. Most of those weren't even game fish. Now in smaller ponds where there are no GS for the HSB to feed on, I suspect they will have no choice but to feed on sunfish and immature bass, but they aren't top of their list. If GSH are present, I would guess that would be the species most focused on by the HSB. But, in most ponds the number one forage for HSB is going to be the almighty pellet...

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I guess where dose one get such large Blue cats? It would be nice if there was more research on this..I have a brother with a 50 acre lake that is starting ti tilt bass heavy.. he has a few 10lb bass in a 3 year old lake..Now He is looking at the idea of an ultra preditor to help eat down some of the bass.

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Where is the 50 acre lake? Tiger musky could be an option if it isn't in the far south or the lake is deep enough that is stratifies and holds an area of cooler water with DO levels high enough. I would say flathead and blue catfish would both prey on smaller to moderate sized LMB. However, it would take a number of years for fingerling catfish to reach the sizes where they would make a dent in the 8"-12" bass population. Studies I have read about blue cats indicates that for blue cats, their growth rates are extremely slow for the first 8-10 years of their life until they get big enough to effectively prey on larger gizzard shad. That is when they growth rates explode. The use of a high end predator is very unpredictable. The use of humans through angling, netting, trapping and electroshocking is much more controllable.

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BP,
Tell your brother we need to shock those ponds this fall. I think I will be down near SW, GA at that time. We can reomve some but get him back on the right program. I feel there is not a good predator out there for us southern boys to do get bass down unless you get blues or channels in excess of 25 lbs and where do you get those. Do not stock any flatheads or smaller cats only make more competetion. GL.


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Originally Posted By: Greg Grimes
BP,
Tell your brother we need to shock those ponds this fall. I think I will be down near SW, GA at that time. We can reomve some but get him back on the right program. I feel there is not a good predator out there for us southern boys to do get bass down unless you get blues or channels in excess of 25 lbs and where do you get those. Do not stock any flatheads or smaller cats only make more competetion. GL.

Greg I am going down there the weekend of the 4th..He SWARES the 10lb bass that kid couaght out of his lake are some of the one you stocked 3 years ago!! He has other photos of fish and YES they look like footballs!! Big fat bodies with smallish mouths..I don't understand because the other lake has bass the normal size for 3 years old..
The only differance is the 50 acer lake with the 8 to 10 lb bass has Channel cat...and yes they are baiting the same thing the bass are biting.


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