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First off, I've been a member for several years, but forgot my password and had computer troubles!

My home pond is 1.25 acres. Built in 2004, stocked that fall....2 years ago I harvested several 8-10" BG and only kept the RES that swallowed the hook and were bleeding. My LMB are crazy! Very seldom catch any under 3 lbs, several are 6+. I also have BC, HSB and a few CC. I stock with FM and shiners every spring, FM in the fall. (They are reproducing, but scared to stop stocking)
I guess my question is....what're did all of my big BG AND RES go?

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Originally Posted By: Farm Boy
My LMB are crazy! Very seldom catch any under 3 lbs, several are 6+.
I guess my question is....what're did all of my big BG AND RES go?


I think you might have answered your own question! A 22" bass can eat a pretty big bluegill...

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Do you see many 2-4 inch BG ?
















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You say you harvested several, and by your description they were big fish. How much is several? In our area right now, the BG and RES are nesting. When you walk the pond, do you see nests in the shallower water, and what size fish are guarding them?

Harvesting the largest size class of bluegills, especially males, can impact the hierarchy to the point where the fish begin to mature at a smaller size.


"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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I'm afraid that I over harvested. I took maybe 50 out. The redear were getting huge and that's why I wouldn't keep any....they are spawning and only catching 5-6" fish. I put channel cats in a few years ago and they are 26" now...can't catch the dang things! I'm sure that.and the big bass are the problem....and I had it at a perfect balance 2 years ago"

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Sprkplug.....you are right! I kept bulls only! The redear puzzle me tho...they are there but big ones are gone...or I can't catch them!
I need to get the cats out. And move a few of the big LMB TO ANOTHER pond

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Okay - your pond was built and stocked in 2004. In 2016 your original stocked fish were 12 years old. IMO most all of the original BG died during the last year of old age especially if they were fed pellets. Pellet feeding IMO causes faster growth but shorter life spans of fish compared to a diet of all natural foods. A 11 to 12 year old BlueGill in northern ponds are near or past their age limit. Fish that die of old age rarely float. Now that your pond is in its 13th year expect 15% to 25% of your oldest fish to die (natural causes) each year. It is a normal natural occurrence in ponds. Fish in southern ponds typically have shorter life spans due to fast growth rates and long growing seasons compared to northern pond fish.

Here are a few pertinent excerpts from our Archives about harvest of bluegills. One should read and understand the entire discussion of harvesting bluegills. More research needs to be conducted for educating us about harvest, growth, and life span of southern bluegills.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=273316#Post273316

“In WI and similar northern areas slightly better than average growth of bluegill is 1yr=2-2.5”, 2 yr= 4.8-5.7”, 3 yr=5.0-6.4”, 4yr= 6.6-7.2”, 5yr= 7.4-8.0”. Ave growth of bgill in IL was also similar to the WI accelerated rates. Average MI growth rates are 1yr 3.1”, 2yr 4.3”, 3yr 5.4”, 4yr 6.6”, 5 yr 7.3”, 6yr 7.7”, 7yr 8.2”, 8yr 8.4”, 9yr 8.7”, 10yr 8.9”. Once a bluegill reaches 8”, I think its growth rate will be only Ό” to ½” per yr depending on food supply and length of growing season.”

“It can take up to 7 to 10 years to replace or regrow a large bgill on natural food sources in northern waters such as MI, WI or MN (also see below). Schneider 1999 and Patriarche 1968 reported bluegill lived up to 11 to maybe 14 yrs in four MI lakes. Removing larger numbers (over harvest) of bigger bluegills contributes significantly to poor size structure of a bluegill population (Coble1988).”

“The natural mortality of a high quality 82 acre Ohio lake for bluegill in unfished years was calculated to be a 36% mortality rate.”

Regarding your redear sunish which may also be at the end of their life span
See this from:
http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Lepomis_microlophus/#development
Lifespan/Longevity
Redear sunfish have an average lifespan of 6 years. The oldest wild-caught redear sunfish was 8 years old at time of capture. In captivity they can live to be 7 years old. (Schloemer, 1947; State of California, 2004; Twomey, et al., 1984).

The Sunfish bible by Carlander lists the oldest RES were 8 years old which was also noted as 8 yrs by G.L.Towns “Redear Sunfish Management in Michigan.


Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/11/17 07:23 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Okay - your pond was built and stocked in 2004. In 2016 your original stocked fish were 12 years old. IMO most all of the original BG died during the last year of old age especially if they were fed pellets. Pellet feeding IMO causes faster growth but shorter life spans of fish compared to a diet of all natural foods. A 11 to 12 year old BlueGill in northern ponds are near or past their age limit. Fish that die of old age rarely float. Now that your pond is in its 13th year expect 15% to 25% of your oldest fish to die (natural causes) each year. It is a normal natural occurrence in ponds. Fish in southern ponds typically have shorter life spans due to fast growth rates and long growing seasons compared to northern pond fish.

Here are a few pertinent excerpts from our Archives about harvest of bluegills. One should read and understand the entire discussion of harvesting bluegills. More research needs to be conducted for educating us about harvest, growth, and life span of southern bluegills.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=273316#Post273316

“In WI and similar northern areas slightly better than average growth of bluegill is 1yr=2-2.5”, 2 yr= 4.8-5.7”, 3 yr=5.0-6.4”, 4yr= 6.6-7.2”, 5yr= 7.4-8.0”. Ave growth of bgill in IL was also similar to the WI accelerated rates. Average MI growth rates are 1yr 3.1”, 2yr 4.3”, 3yr 5.4”, 4yr 6.6”, 5 yr 7.3”, 6yr 7.7”, 7yr 8.2”, 8yr 8.4”, 9yr 8.7”, 10yr 8.9”. Once a bluegill reaches 8”, I think its growth rate will be only Ό” to ½” per yr depending on food supply and length of growing season.”

“It can take up to 7 to 10 years to replace or regrow a large bgill on natural food sources in northern waters such as MI, WI or MN (also see below). Schneider 1999 and Patriarche 1968 reported bluegill lived up to 11 to maybe 14 yrs in four MI lakes. Removing larger numbers (over harvest) of bigger bluegills contributes significantly to poor size structure of a bluegill population (Coble1988).”

“The natural mortality of a high quality 82 acre Ohio lake for bluegill in unfished years was calculated to be a 36% mortality rate.”


Bill, I'm interested in the connection between feeding and lifespan. Granted, my pond is southern, but if what you say is correct I may be shortening the life of my CNBG by feeding.

Do we have any good studies or data on this point? Does it depend on the type of feed, or perhaps how much feed is a part of the BG diet?


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS RBT -234, 2023 BG TP TFS NLMB, -160




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No good public research data are available yet about fish foods and life span to my knowledge. Most of the research data of the companies are held private and in-house. I think Lusk disagrees, but IMO most of the current fish foods have too many carbohydrates and too much fat, both unhealthy food items for most sportfish and humans. Current foods produce fast growth, but IMO shorten the life spans. New formulae for fish foods are being developed by innovative fish food companies such as Optimal Fish Food in Brookings ND. They do have an experienced fish physiologist (Dr.Craig) on staff who in depth examines the physiology, biochemistry, and body condition of fish that were fed various diets.
http://optimalfishfood.com/about-us/

We are in a learning and development curve about fish foods.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/10/17 10:04 PM.

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Thanks Bill! Awesome info! That is why I tell my friends to join or at least visit this forum

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I agree with what Bill is saying about fish food. Some testing in regards to fish food for aquaculture fish by Dr. Craig and his team have helped aquaculture customers of theirs convert fish fat to fish meat by changing the formulation of the food.

I was told that for a YP producer, the 14% of fat that was ending up in the waste can was reduced by 11% and the meat yield was increased by the same amount by a change in food formulation. That was a switch from another food to Optimal.

Farm Boy, I would also suspect that some of the larger Catfish are also eating the sunfish. Set out jugs or trot lines to catch them. Bait with different things, hot dogs, shrimp, cut up fish, etc.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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