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I find bullheads to be pretty tasty.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Had some of the bullheads tonight. Along with one small BG that got gill hooked. Both were very tasty. I'm not a big catfish fan (a little too oily for my taste - its "ok" but not usually "great") but wife did a great job battered and deep fried and I could eat that anytime. If our CC taste that good, I'll be a catfish eating convert.


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I'll have talk to the Mrs. But cleaning 20-50 4" Bullheads sounds like more work than it's worth. Planning on building a trap next week. So might be eating them for the rest if the summer.

Thanks for all in input and suggestions. Y'all got me all fired on getting this old pond going.

Oh and I got my first issue of Pond Boss Mag yesterday.

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Yes, 4" would be a no-go for even my wife. Funny thing is some of the first we caught were really pretty nice fish. One was probably in the 11-12" range. We got rid of them! It was only later that she decided to try cleaning and eating some. Most she cleaned were in the 6"-9" range with the 6" being questionable. Have not caught any more of the larger size. If she liked to just cut the head off and leave bone in the smaller ones could probably be harvested. But she is into fillets with no bones and I like deep fried fish nuggets so I don't interfere with her endeavor. If we catch any larger ones though, they definitely will be eaten.

I have to think that these bullheads are all pretty young and have grown fast on the fish food I've been feeding and that helps with the taste. An old bullhead taken out of a creek might not taste the same. What something eats definitely can change the flavor.

I really don't mind some bullheads and GSF in this old refurbished pond. It's not like it is my only pond. What I do mind is if they take over the pond, multiply too much and stunt, and basically ruin the pond. If I can manage to keep them somewhat in check they will add to the diversity of fish to catch.

Got to say one thing positive about GSF and bullheads. They don't mind biting a hook when other fish are persnickety.

Last edited by snrub; 06/05/14 10:25 AM.

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I just finished my first attemp on a catfish trap. I'm sure my next one will be better.

Will post my results later.



Also now that I know how to post pics here is a Google Earth picture.


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Yes, please let us know how the trap works.

As an accident, I found out today a minnow trap can catch a lot of small bullheads.

I had a plastic minnow trap that had a fairly small opening and it would only catch mostly FHM's with an occasional very small BG. Decided I wanted another minnow trap and liked the looks of the metal ones so bought one from Academy Sports. It had a larger opening.

The larger opening catches a lot of 2-3" BG, which I did not particularly want as FHM was my target. On a lark decided to take this trap down to my old pond to see if I could catch some GSF. Had been catching a bunch on a #10 hook about 2' out from the bank and removing them. Put some pellets in for bait and checked it in about 45 minutes. Had 22 bullheads about 4-5" long. Put more feed and checked it again in 15 minutes. Had 4 more BH and one GSF.

Looks like i got BH's bad. Need to get some LMB in there before they get too big.

So if you have a minnow trap with about an inch opening, might try that and see what you get.

Last edited by snrub; 06/12/14 06:47 PM.

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The trap shown caught 6 BH in about 45 mins using 1 small can of wet dog food and 1 small can of wet cat food. I threw it back and checked it a couple days later and it had 26 more. I made another one and only used cat food in both and only caught 7 more in 12 hours. Next time I'll try it on the other side of the pond.

So far of all these fish we have only seen one CC everything else has been BH.

Today was my first full day of cleaning debre from the dam. Only got it about 20% clear.

I knew I had some larger logs in the water. Someone cut a few trees down and let them fall in the water. We pulled 7 large rotten trees from the pond. That job was no fun at all. They were mostly submerged and stunk. We probly have more to find. After this disaster of log pulling I have a renewed urge to partially drain the pond so i can find more sunken logs.

What's a good cheap easy bait?

Last edited by PaddlefishDreams; 06/12/14 11:16 PM.
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Dead fish. The ones you are removing. Edit: for catfish bait that is.

Fish pellets if your fish are used to eating them.

I use dead fish in the large trap and fish pellets in the minnow trap for bullheads.

Last edited by snrub; 06/13/14 09:44 AM.

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I check my traps pretty often. If I wait 30 minutes or an hour, I get a lot of fish. Any longer than that, a lot escape.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I've noticed the same thing Dave. Better luck if I bait them, then go back and check within an hour or so.


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Picture of Bullhead's in minnow trap. This was the second batch I caught. The first batch had 22 of them. The third batch they were progressively getting smaller in size and got a GSF and three shiners also.

Some of the ones that got in early (I presume) had their bellies so fat they looked like they were going to pop. They had gorged on the pellets I had put in the trap.

The ones I had been catching in the larger trap ranged from about 8"-12"

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It's been quite a while...

An update is well over due.

I've been able to get quite a bit done. And failed at the main things.

I have completely cleared off the dam and can now easily walk around the entire pond.
Early this spring I made a syphon and brought the water way down. Cleared many of the dead trees and limbs from the bottom.

With a trash pump I had the water to about 15% left then we got a huge rain and basically filled it back up. The pond looks way better now.

My main problems are still there. Way to much muck / sludge and plenty of bullheads.

I have been using a pump and moving it around the bottom sucking up the muck. I figure I will never get it done this way but I also figured I have plenty of time.

The Bullhead issue is still frustrating me. While the water was low one evening we watch many many bullheads swing near the surface. The site was sickening but gave me an idea. I thought about setting up a feeder and "training" the fish to eat at a certain time. And maybe net them or catching them somehow.

How bad of an idea would it be to add a couple musky or northerns in the pond?

Thanks

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Since it's a small pond and it doesn't sound as if you have much of a fishery established, I would personally drain it down, nuke with hydrated lime, allow it to dry out and make certain your BH population is gone, and start over. Draining will also allow you to excavate excessive organic material from pond bottom and start again. 40 years is a LONG time for such a small pond to live - it's deep in it's eutrophication process, and you'll likely be managing multiple water quality issues in a BOW that small and old moving forward season after season. In short, I personally feel you're fighting a losing battle managing your current BOW. Draining and nuking the BH population is a cheap procedure. Having someone remove organic material with an excavator will cost some - but I had this hired out on a 1/3 ac pond and increased depth by 5 feet in 2.5 hours. Cost me 5 cases of Coors Light and a couple bottles of JD, but he was a neighbor and friend who owned the equipment. Hired out I bet it would have cost around $1500 - and most of that would have been transportation fees.


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How do you all place your fish food in the minnow traps? Just put it in there or do you put it in something to keep it on the bottom of the trap?

RC

I can't seem to catch anything in my traps?


The only difference between a rut and a Grave is the depth. So get up get out of that rut and get moving!! Time to work!!
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I once found an acronym definition page on here.... Can't seem to find it now.

What does BOW stand for?
After last nights rain my pond is basically back to 100%.

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Good to hear from you again.

If you choose to not go the way suggested by TJ, here are some thoughts for what they are worth.

First, if you feed the bullheads you might actually find they grow big enough to eat and enjoy eating them. Some people really like eating bullheads. One of the biggest problems with BH is they reproduce so efficiently if predators are lacking, there are way more mouths to feed than resources available for them to grow so they never get to a size worth eating. By adding additional food the fish are allowed to grow to decent size.

I personally think they taste ok. I also am learning to manage BH in my old pond so am going through some of the same process as you.

I read an article on BH in farm ponds once (will try to find it and link to it if I can) that basically said they are a temporary "problem" once adequate predators are introduced. Once there is a population of LMB eventually all the BH reproduction is eliminated each year and eventually the remaining BH can be fished out or die of old age. So the article talked like people that actually enjoy BH to eat have trouble maintaining a population in a pond over time. Eventually LMB eliminate them. So the advice in the article just suggested managing the population by reducing the numbers by angling and introducing predators and enjoy the BH's while you have them because eventually they will be gone. Is the article correct? I don't know, but I'm sure there are other pond owners on here with more experience and can comment on it. So possibly by a combination of feeding (to grow them to eating size), trapping, angling, and adding predators the BH problem could go away over time...........if you are willing to allow the time for it to happen. Otherwise nuking the pond and starting over would be a quicker solution.

Like I said, I also am attempting to manage BH in my old pond. In a few years I might be able to give a more definite answer. My suggestions now are based only on what I have read and am currently trying.


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Not the article I was looking for, but has information you might find useful about feeding and managing BH.
[url=www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_042125.pdf[/url]

If you were interested in eating them, looks like you could feed them out.

Edit: sorry, I am on the road with only a tab type computer and can not edit the link to get it to work correctly. You will have to cut and paste it. It is a PDF file

Last edited by snrub; 06/26/15 12:06 PM.

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Sorry, BOW = body of water = pond


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Originally Posted By: RC51
How do you all place your fish food in the minnow traps? Just put it in there or do you put it in something to keep it on the bottom of the trap?

RC

I can't seem to catch anything in my traps?


Just keeping it in the trap not just on the bottom. Use a small wire cage out of the same material you made the trap out of. Or a pair of yourwife's old nylons. Thick cloth like a shirt doesn't work. Some baits hold together well. Try an onion. I have seen fish eat on a water melon and corn on the cob before but wouldn't make that a comm on practice.


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Paddlefish dreams tj's axis is Probly the best but getting a predator in there to hammer them is next in line.

Traps and nets work too


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Just about any piece of nylon that you can tie into a bag works. I like to dribble about a dozen or so actual pellets into the trap. After submerging the trap, toss a couple of handfuls of pellets around the trap. If I leave the trap in over 30 minutes, the fish get out.


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A few have mentioned nuking the pond. What are the recommended ways to do this?

I'm really worried about nuking the pond.

A local fish hatchery told me they will have Musky this fall.

This weekend I'm going to make a better trap and get that going again.

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Appropriate strategy depends on your goals. What are they? Do you want a fishery of stunted BH in a turbid pond? Do you want a balanced fishery of BG/LMB/CC/RES? Do you want trophy BG or RES? Trophy LMB? Balanced fishery? Maybe something entirely different, like a SMB/YP/HBG/WE fishery? You can do anything you want, and we can help get you there, but you need to decide what your ultimate goal for this fishery is. Based on your response, we can align the proper management strategy to get there.

Again, if it were me, I would not sinking my time, effort, and capital into trying to save a 40 year old 3/4 acre pond with stunted BH population which is likely deep into the eutrophication process meaning lots of organic material, silt, and water quality issues. Too many factor going against you from the onset. But again, everyone is different, it's your land and pond, and entirely up to you. Regardless we are here to help you get wherever you want to go.

"Nuking" the pond means raising the PH to a level lethal to your fish community through the use of hydrated lime. The process generally is pumping your pond down as far as you possibly can with a trash pump and applying a slurry into the pond until the PH reads 12 which should be lethal for all fish, including BH I assume. Net the morts and allow the pond to dry to ensure BH are eliminated, and start over.

If it were me, I'd schedule a trackhoe to excavate silt/organic material and any other adjustments you want to make like dykes, points, underwater humps, beach, etc. When modifications are made, allow pond to fill and start establishing your fishery.


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To me, "nuking" a pond means either draining it and sterilizing it or not draining it and killing all the fish in the pond. That could be with Hydrated Lime or Rotenone.

BH are one of the tougher fish out there to kill to ensure that there is a 100% kill, so I would drain the pond down until there was enough water to get a boat around in it, then I would use one of the above methods and make sure that the correct application procedure was observed, and if there is any doubt, do a 2nd application about 2 weeks later.


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