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I understand that a certain number of pounds need to be pulled out per acre per year depending on fertilization, but what about basic overfishing?

Is there a general rule of thumb that x number of hours of fishing per month per acre will begin to have long-term negative effects on the fishing quality of the pond/lake?

Assuming you pull out 30-40 pounds of management fish per year per acre, what about the rest of the fish population? Surely some will get lure shy and tougher to catch. Are there any guidelines, or personal experience with this?

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Great question! I am assuming you are talking about largemouth bass. Overfishing and overharvesting are two totally different concepts. Let's take each concept. Overfishing means presenting baits to the same fish over and over. Bass can certainly become conditioned over a fairly short period of time, and stop biting the hand which tries to catch them. Overharvesting, on the other hand, alters the population of fish. The bad news of overharvesting is depletion of older fish. The good news is that largemouth bass recruitment can be high, so those fish can replace themselves over time. Either way, both concepts can seriously disrupt your fishery, if attention isn't paid. This may make good fodder for a Pond Boss article. We'll ponder the details and try to write about it for the May/June issue.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
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Yes, I am talking about largemouth bass under a recreational/sport fishing scenario.

That would be great. I'm currently a member of a private fishery here in Texas making up about 150 total acres of water while I'm searching for my own land.

The bite has been off recently, and I'm trying to get a better understanding on how overfishing might be playing into it. The water has become more stained, with apparent over-fertilization, which has also killed most of the good vegetation. They recently performed a shocking and supposedly turned up the best results they've seen in some time.

In addition, my friend has this property where he has the same concerns about a limited amount of water and how fishing affects the fish population.

So we've got water quality, time of year/weather, fishing pressure, harvesting, etc. which all play a factor in quality of fishery and I'm trying to figure these things out before I go out and do it on my own. I'd be really interested in an article covering this topic.

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Paul, most of us have discovered, to our dismay, that we can only fish our smaller ponds a limited number of times without fish getting hook smart. My catfish see my red and white cork and won't bite nightcrawlers, blood bait, or minnows. I'm experimenting with small sticks for floats. Heck, last weekend my bluegills fed voraciously on pellets but wouldn't touch a piece of nightcrawler. If I do catch a bass or catfish, all action stops in my one acre ponds. On 150 acres I would think it would depend on the number of baits the fish see.

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PaulR,

You have hit upon what I call my biggest disappointment of being a pond meister.

The good news is you get to raise your own LMB, the bad news is, you can't catch them. "Catch and release" in the pond turns out to often mean "catch once or twice and never again".

The frustrating thing is you can see them, but can't catch them. Feeding simply adds to the problem. The LMB get not only hook smart, but get all the food they want from the BG hanging out around the feeders. In my large pond with multiple feeders, it is extremely difficult to catch LMB....big BG no problem, but not LMB. In another smaller remote pond without feeders and only twice a year fishing...I can expect to catch 20 to 30 LMB on flys.

Its a big disappopintment. As a result, I've moved to a "put and take" HSB operation supplemented with feed and Tilapia and gizzard shad. The results thus far are very encourging. The HSB are growing very well and after one year I will begin the "take" side of the equation this summer.

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does anybody have a idea on what size pond and how often you can fish a pond.example i have 5 1/2 acres of water that will become 7 acres within the next 3-4 days,how often can you fish a 5 acre pond before bass learn?this seems to be a exe. subject for bob to write about in pond boss magazine.my dad will fish 2-3 times a week in my larger lake,i hope this is not too much.last think i need to do is keep digging to get away from this problem.you can only give your wife so many reasons why i keep spending money digging on this pond.

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I'm with Meadowlark on this one - big LMB that are not catchable due to being hook-shy because of "catch and release" and feeding on bluegills around feeders.

Frustrating to see them cruising around the feeders, but occasionaly land one with a big gill lodged in it's throat.

We are in the process of shifting from LMB operation to a "put and take" Hybrid Striper program with high protein feed and tilapia forage.

The biggest problem to date with this program is high predation of HSB stockers by LMB.
To solve this problem, we are currently raising fingerling HSB in a "grow-out" pond to tansfer to main pond when large enough to avoid predation.

I believe that we will see more large HSB stockers available from growers in the future, to avoid the LMB predation problem.

I am convinced that the populariity of HSB and tilapia will challenge LMB in many Texas ponds.

George Glazener

N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 acre ponds

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Man, I think you guys are crazy. I will account for "bad" days due to weather, but in a private stocked pond, it's all in the presentation of baits. If you're using something that isn't working, switch baits. Get familiar with spinners baits, then topwater lures (very intense), rattletraps, artificial worms and live bait. If they still aren't biting, fertilize & practice catch & release \:\) The only exception I've seen are blue cats, they will turn off quickly.

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Eastland , it's rather obvious that you have beeen AWOL from this forum the past few months, since this subject has been explored endlessly \:D

There seems to be a consensus among forum members and supported by the literature, that catch and release fishing pressure, with a good forage base and supplemental feeding, results in hard to catch LMB.

You are correct in using various lures that you describe, that most are familiar with, LMB get lure shy very quickly.

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Does everyone see the huge chage that is taking place in small lake management? We used to think only in terms of balancing a lake with reproducing species. Because of HSB, we are now considering put, grow and take fisheries in our lakes along with reproducing species. This opens up so many opportunities that we never had before.


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Norm,

Yes, everyone except apparently Eastland.

I've fished all over the world, spent my kids inheritance chasing elusive fish, and have never seen fish as hard to catch as the LMB in my "dream" pond....even the elusive Florida bonefish which receives all kinds of pressure is easier to catch than my once caught Florida strain LMB.

George captured my thoughts perfectly when he said "I am convinced that the populariity of HSB and tilapia will challenge LMB in many Texas ponds."

The future is "put and take" in our ponds...if you want to actually experience catching fish. "Catch and release" is for large impoundments, rivers, streams, etc. but does not work for small LMB ponds which are fished regularly.

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Norm, I am seriously considering building a third pond which will contain ONLY species that do not reproduce, such as HSB, with tilapia for forage that do not overwinter, with supplemental feeding high protein pellets.

Currently experimenting with HSB in "grow-out" pond for stocking in main pond.

I believe there is shift in popularity from LMB to HSB due to LMB management problems.

George Glazener
N.E. Texas 2 acre and 1/4 ponds

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Meadowlark and George,

I'm convinced this is happening on larger bodies of water too although maybe not to the extent of our smaller ponds.

I live in a natural lakes area where public lakes run anywhere from 100 to 3000 acres. The largest lake near me at 3000 acres gets pounded every weekend by tournament anglers in the summer. Not knocking them, but as a taxidermist I have seen the the amount of big bruisers (over 6 pounds) go steadily down over the years. I realize there is more of a catch and release mentality these days, but I am convinced these fish are becoming hook shy. An interesting things is once in a while I'll get one of these really big bass in caught by a guy fishing for crappies in really early spring with a crappie minnow. That tells me two things:

1.) The fish was caught on live bait and on something different than he usually gets thrown at him all year.

2.) That fish may have had all fall and winter to forget about hooks and was really hungry coming out of winter where little if any feeding took place.

Thoughts?


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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In Eastland's defense, my neighbor has the same experience on his 10 acre pond as I do on my water. He and I can catch a few LMB, and people who fish both ponds all the time can catch a few, but let a decent fisherman who hasn't been here in a year or more have a shot, and he will clean up. Birds gotta' fly and fish gotta' eat, and–let's face it–fish are not champions in the smarts category, but they can remember. (My wife loves to tell people when they call and I am out in the boat, "Lou is trying to outsmart a fish, and sometimes he can!")

Even though we try to vary our approaches, we tend to go back to what worked before and we quickly fall into habitual routines as far as how fast and with what action we do our retrieves. A "strange" fisherman comes along and gives ‘em something fresh, a different lure, a different presentation, a different depth, a different retrieval action, and he can't stop catching them. Maybe we need to start time-sharing our ponds, and we will all be expert fishermen again. \:\)

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Lou, 13.5 acres

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Lou, I believe you are correct in varying lure selection, but Meadowlark and myelf included have fished sucessfully for saltwater and warm and cold water species over many parts of the world.

Personally in my case for over 70 (that's seventy) years, including some of the most famous LMB lakes such as Lake Fork.

Your 13 acre pond and your neighbor's 10 acre pond may be quite diffent that the smaller ponds.

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George,

You may have read my post on this year's experiment. I'm trying, one last time, to have a "reliable" LMB fishery. In a new pond (2acres), stocking F1's with Tilapia, and no fishing, and no artificial feeders until next fall.

If this does not work (and I'm very doubtful that it will), in another year I will rotonone the whole thing and completely go with HSB and Tilapia.

It is very humorous to me to be told that my fishing technique is the problem, not the hook shy fish.

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Cecil,

I believe you are right on both points.

However, I have given up fishing large public impoundments in favor of finding fish that haven't been overexposed to every lure imaginable, so don't have recent knowledge of public fishing places.

I do know for absolute certain, that on any day of the week I can place a small BG on a hook, around a feeder, and catch beautiful LMB from my pond....lures and flies, no way, no how.

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Meadowlark,
Come fish my lake, your not that far. Went the other day caught 18 bass, not big ones but a couple went over 3 pounds. I want all the 14 inch and under out of my pond. When are you putting in your forage?
Bob

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I'm a big boy and can take the criticism, but if you have a private stock pond and can't catch one of the most aggressive predators in fresh water, I question what you are doing, not the fish. Bass will bite upon instinct, if you have feeders throwing to perch all day, and the bass eat the perch during feeding time, why attack your artificial lure ? First, are you sure the bass are in there, and is the visibility too clear ? Second, what kind of condition are your bass in ? Third, why pattern them by feeding if they are healthy and you're in an environment where Tilapia & Threadfin shad thrive ? Grow the bloom and start at the bottom of the food chain, make the bass still attack at random. I wasn't implying you can't fish, I'm only saying that in a private pond, catching bass should be somewhat easy. Fishing for bass in a Texas stock pond should be like shooting fish in a barrel...that is, "if" they are there.

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Why don't we give Eastland an opportunity to show your "hook shy LMB" his "stuff".. He doesn't live too far away. Then let's write up the fishing trip adventures for an article in PBoss mag! We should be able to learn at least something from this controversy.


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Hey Bill, too funny. Meadowlark has been very helpful to me in the past, I would enjoy meeting him and discussing our ponds, especially feeders and Tilapia. I also welcome the challenge, geez, who would turn down a free fishing adventure ? All I ask is that I get to hit the water at daybreak, we'll be done in 2 hours and I'll take him out to Breakfast, my treat...George is welcome as well. With all the knowledge they have, even if I get "skunked", it would be well worth it. But, I'm betting I catch fish...just what size fish are we talking about anyway ? \:\)

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I would love to see an article on the results of this. If I were a gambler I'd bet on Eastland.

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Well Meadowlark and George, can we arrange a showdown between your intellegent bass and Eastland's ego on the end of a fishing pole? The worst that could happen is your bass would be swimming away from Eastland's presentations doing this :rolleyes:


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Bill/Meadowlark, It looks like I'm going to retract my statements and simply agree that Meadowlarks fish may be hook shy. Just looked up Polk County and it's about a 4 hour drive from Dallas...sounds like a painful trip to hit the water at sunrise. It did sound like fun though.

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Eastland,
My, we’re getting cocky…… \:D
Sorry, but no-one fishes our ponds but close friends and family \:\(
Since you’re not up for adoption, perhaps we can become friends…..

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