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Joined: Jul 2002
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While dreaming over my master plan for my dream pond I have narrowed down my choices of big bass forage to gizzard shad. I have done so based on the fact that 1. They should be able to become established and 2.Your BOLD statement about them has me slathering at the mouth at the thought of really big bass in MY pond. My questions for you are these: 1. Will a 1 acre pond really support gizzards provided it has a good fert program in place or will the pond need to be larger and if so about what size makes a difference? 2. Will yearly surveys to pull out the overgrown shad (taking up valuable biomass) be enough to keep them controlled provided there are plenty (25% of bass in pond) of 5+lb'ers and larger in the lake? and finally 3. What do they eat during the winter months when the plankton bloom is gone? Would appreciate your feedback.

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Before I got some real experience in the pond business I would have told you that you were crazy to stock a fish like gizzard shad into your pond.

Now, six years later, gizzard shad do not bother me much at all. In fact I have seen some really great looking ponds that have gizzard populations. Stocking these shad is going to put more work on you (and on your wallet), keep that in mind. I'll put in my 2 cents for your questions.

1. I think you could get a gizzard shad population to establish in your bath tub. I have sampled them in mountain streams, ponds and out in brackish water near the ocean. they grow very fast in UN-fertilized ponds, I expect your fertilizer will increase this growth. a good population of large bass will be key to keeping things in check.

2. As far as pulling out larger shad, I think you will have to determine that year to year. consider hiring a pro for shocking.

3. shad are filter feeders but will eat fish pellets as well. the plankton in your pond does not go away in the winter there is just less of it.

In my book Fishes of Tenn. it mentions that gizzard shad die offs are not uncommon during cold winters so you may have that problem.

I think gizzard shad can cause you some problems. I'm sure there are people out there who will curse the gizzard shad. I think you will need to be very proactive in you management approach. In all the ponds I have seen with gizzard shad the bluegill population seems to suffer. my shocking surveys show fewer BG. so if you are interested in BG fishing I would not recommend gizzard shad. Last fall I conducted a survey on a 1.5 acre fertilized pond and discovered gizzard shad. We sampled 18 bass over 4 pounds from that pond and missed netting several other large bass. It was amazing.

I'll be interested in hearing Lusk's opinion.

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Thanks for the reply Shan,
I worried about gizzards affecting the bluegill population so I'm glad you said that as they will of course be the heart and soul of my pond forage. I would hate to do anything that will cause their decline. I had heard of threadfin dieoffs in the winter above the Mason-Dixon line but never Gizzards. That's the first time I've heard that about them. As I am in a temperate area in the country (not by far the coldest or the hottest) they might be able to establish with minimal die off. I would appreciate any more feedback from Pond Boss' with experience stocking gizzard shad - especially in northern or central U.S. climates. Oh and Shan, GO DAWGS!!!

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Pondfilled -- I can chime in a little from the north country. South Dakota is actually about on the edge of gizzard shad survival. They're in our lower Missouri River reservoirs, and a few western reservoirs. The eastern part of the state has colder and longer winters, and gizzard shad don't persist in this part of the state.

So, I don't have any SD experience with gizzards in ponds and small impoundments. However, I worked in KS for about 6 or 7 years, and we thought we understood them pretty good. In fact, I'll mostly echo was has already been said. First, they invariably seem to decrease the condition, growth, and thus maximum size of bluegills in small waters. This is not necessarily a problem if you are only intersted in largemouth bass management. However, if you also want to produce those 1/2 and 3/4 pound bluegills, I would think twice before introducing the shad.

Shad typically seemed to produce a little larger bass. Largemouth bass density actually would decline somewhat in some cases, but the larger bass definitely benefitted from having the gizzard shad to eat. We always consisted them an oily, high energy food source for bass.

Dave


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From Bob Lusk: Dr. Dave Willis passed away January 13, 2014. He continues to be a key part of our Pond Boss family...and always will be.
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Thanks DW; I didn't mention this before but I would like to build another smaller pond for trophy Bluegill that of course won't have any shad in it; however I am most concerned with the smaller bass not having forage that fits them (in the main pond)if the bgill get cramped and the gizzards are growing right through the size that a 1/2lb to 2lb bass would eat. Thanks for the feedback.

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I live up here in NE Indiana, and several of the natural lakes contain gizzard shad. These lakes also contain some of the best "trophy" bass to be caught in our area. The cold doesn't seem to cause the shad any serious problems.

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I live up here in NE Indiana, and several of the natural lakes contain gizzard shad. These lakes also contain some of the best "trophy" bass to be caught in our area. The cold doesn't seem to cause the shad any serious problems.


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