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#494490 08/03/18 08:05 AM
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Was out at the pond yesterday and decided to throw a casting net to see how fish were growing. Bluegill were nice and healthy in all different sizes, plenty of FHM present, a few Bull Head but my trapping has seemed to control them. I got 2 Yellow Perch in the net. One was very young which is good it confirms this years spawn was successful. It was young but also sort of skinny.. The other YP was maybe in the neighborhood of 7"-8" in length but it was very skinny.

Later that evening I casted out my fishing rod and landed a very nice and plump HSB so that tells me they are eating well.


In the Spring I caught maybe a half dozen YP and they were not that skinny but none of them were plump and well rounded. Is this something to be concerned about or could this just be a runt?

I have not done any pellet feeding to the YP but maybe I need to start.. We have 2 other ponds with YP and have never pellet fed. All of those YP are very fat looking.

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Calling Dr. Perca. Dr. Perca to the O.R.


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Dr. Perca says are there any pictures of the skinny YP? It could be the skinny YP is in a pond with strong competition for natural food items and "pickins" are scarce for the YP. YP as I know them are not real competitive for food in a pond with other species of panfish and bass. I suspect skinny YP means limited food items especially when they do not receive high protein pellets.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/04/18 07:41 AM.

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My YP (males) have always seemed on the skinny side. I know they hit the feed, when the feeder is actually working. I did stock some HBG in my pond, and I think my YP have suffered as a result. The HBG are much more aggressive after the feed, so I assume they are much more aggressive after the GSH. I had FHM in the pond earlier, but they are few and far between any more. I do have lots of GSH in the pond. Iíve started removing any and all the HBG and larger GSH I catch. (I prefer the YP for eating, and they donít attack swimmers.) I just seem to find fewer and fewer YP each year. Fewer ribbons every spring etc.. I just donít think they can compete with the HBG. (Just my opinion, of course, and Iím not an expert.)


7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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I should have snapped a picture and regret that I did not think to do so. If I come across another skinny ill be sure to photograph. From throwing the net I have to say the number of FHM I am finding is outstanding so I would think that there is plenty of food available. The water quality / visibility might be a factor however. The pond has always been a bit muddy in the Spring and even in the Summer it's hard to see anything more than a foot.

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I used to have so many FHM in my pond that they were everywhere. Just clouds of them. I seriously didnít think they could be knocked down like they have been. Itís taken the predators four years to do it, but theyíve really reduced the numbers. Now Iím feeling the same way about my GSH. They are everywhere. Hopefully they will last longer than the FHM did. From what Iíve read they are much more difficult to feed on than the FHM were. Might be they are so difficult to catch and eat, that the YP arenít gaining any weight in the process.


7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted By: KRM1985
I should have snapped a picture and regret that I did not think to do so. If I come across another skinny ill be sure to photograph. From throwing the net I have to say the number of FHM I am finding is outstanding so I would think that there is plenty of food available. The water quality / visibility might be a factor however. The pond has always been a bit muddy in the Spring and even in the Summer it's hard to see anything more than a foot.


My pond never has good visibility either but it is due to algae blooms. Lack of clarity may be why you are getting some recruitment of your YP. All predators hit them hard and the low visibility probably allows more of them to survive. I also think low visibility has allowed my FHM population to survive this many years, but there are a lot less of them than there used to be.

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Last edited by KRM1985; 09/30/19 12:56 PM.
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Not enough food. Need predators to reduce numbers.

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I'm not disagreeing on these since that may be correct, but I find it hard to believe. There are Tons of smaller bluegill in this pond. Tons of tadpoles. I put a small hook on a bobber and can catch the smallest of bluegill until I am bored. There are also lots of medium sized bluegill and lots of larger size bluegill. The bluegill population looks very healthy. I stocked FHM in this pond on two separate occasions and can recall there being thousands upon thousands of FHM both times when I released them into the pond.


Not enough Predators... well this could be. For predators I only put in 50 HSB but they have grown out very well. They are over 12-16" long. I pellet feed the HSB by hand and they smash the food regularly so i'm sure they attack other fish with ease.

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Dr. Perch will agree with me (I hope)...Them thar is some skinny-azz perch.
Those of that size need to be removed as obviously there is no forage of the right size available, don't make it any worse, I say get them out as you catch them. That doesn't fix the forage problem and I need to go back and read what all you have currently in your BOW.
I went back and read your first post.. Can you provide some insight as to age of pond, what was stocked, etc..???
YP are FHM smashers and those YP indicate an absence of FHM (forage) to me.. Small BG are not going to support YP in most cases unless there are countless tons of them in the right size.
Give some insight as to population status of entire pond, what all types/sizes of fish?

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I've seen YP performance like this...in my primary fishery actually.
That YP looks to be 70 WR - struggling for sure.

BG outcompeting YP for forage. If you want better YP growth should have reconsidered stocking plan to eliminate BG - but that's hindsight. Options as I see at this point:

1. Manage BG population through angling, trapping, seining. Reduce numbers as much as possible. You'll never remove enough to negatively impact fishery.

2. Source and stock pellet trained YP - they will perform much better than their natural forage dependent YP cousins.

3. Turbidity can affect YP feeding for sure - I've experienced this directly as well. Determine source of turbidity [sounds like BH might be the culprit] and address [trap/seine BH every day Spring-Fall].

I would combine all strategies if your goal is to raise YP with decent WR.


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It gets so complicated when one has combination of prey fish where one or especially more than one of the combination are expected to be harvested or at least share fishing effort focus (not just forage for predators).

How will feed trained YP pan out in a BOW with BG? Will BG dominate the feed the way they do the natural foods?

In addition to Bill's eventual advice, look into Theo Gallus' management of Yellow Perch in combination with BG-RES hybrids. May also be some insight there.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/30/19 04:47 PM.

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In that case, maybe they are on a hunger strike:)

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In my experience YP do not eat small BG very well until the YP get to 7"-8" sizes. As Snipe says small YP can prey heavily on small FHM (0.7"-1.2"). YP smaller than 6" eat primarily invertebrates and compete with BG for the invertebrates that in a crowded BG population inverts will be sparse. Use the info from TJ and Snipe as good advice. Turbid water and high numbers of smaller BG that eat similar foods will slow the growth of smaller YP.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/30/19 08:19 PM.

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Feb 7, 2019 By Bill D...

Re: Add more YP or Leave it Alone? [Re: KRM1985]
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I wonder, with only HSB and YP to control the BG, whether the BG are out competing the YP and over eating the forage base.

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I'm now thinking this could be a combination of things taking place but it seems clear the YP are starving..

Background on the pond.. it was an existing pond but completely drained and pushed out in 2016. 400 YP were stocked, 250 BG, 150 RES, Lots of FHM, 50 HSB. Goal was to have a strong YP population but I also wanted BG and HSB for fun fishing.. The pond takes in a lot of runoff during every rain event. It's almost always chocolate muddy in the until mid summer. This year in particular was the clearest year so far since many weeds and plants established. 12' deep in one area 4-6' deep in most other areas. lots of good shallow hiding spots for small fish. Has bull head that i'm sure stir it up as well. Turbidity could play a large part in the YP starvation in my opinion.

Moving forward what should I do? Throw in the towel on hopes of a YP pond and just stock LMB? Maybe the LMB would actually help the YP in my case since they would hammer down on the bull head that are making it muddy... maybe not.. they might wipe out any remaining YP?


Stock more HSB? and harvest every BG and BH i catch in attempt to save it as a YP pond?


Any other ideas? Seems like a tough fix.

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Removing bullhead would be a good first step. If you do this with another predator then the way the balance ends up between predator and YP is too hard to predict. Instead, you could build a cloverleaf trap or two and trap out the bullhead. Others have had success removing hundreds of bullhead this way. That would take time but could help tip the balance.

The next step is forage for the YP. It appears that FHM is the only forage for the YP. You were hoping they would eat the small BG and RES but perhaps that isn't working out. Can you source some spotfin shiners from a local body of water or from one of the several Ohio fish farms? They seem to be able to hold their own in a pond with larger predator fish compared to FHM which can disappear in a short order.

Could also consider GSH.

Also I'm not sure how much this would work for you but could you consider supplemental pellet feeding for the YP? Not sure if they are pellet trained or could learn to eat pellets off the bottom in a feeding area if you got them in the habit of it?

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I forgot to mention I also did stock Golden Shiners. What I found is many of these grew to be very large... This tells me there is either not engouh preying on them or the fish that might be preying on them can't see them through muddy water.

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I have been also trapping the BH and and throwing out any BH that is caught.. Unfortunately, the pond is somewhat remote so getting out to it daily is not possible. The pond gets BH from somewhere but it's confusing to know exactly where. Any bullhead removed seem to be replenished. That's kind of why I was considering LMB as a solution to them...

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Originally Posted By: jpsdad
It gets so complicated when one has combination of prey fish where one or especially more than one of the combination are expected to be harvested or at least share fishing effort focus (not just forage for predators).

How will feed trained YP pan out in a BOW with BG? Will BG dominate the feed the way they do the natural foods?

In addition to Bill's eventual advice, look into Theo Gallus' management of Yellow Perch in combination with BG-RES hybrids. May also be some insight there.


In my experience both BG and GSH outcompete YP for pellets - hence the BG population management advice I provided. Nate Herman recommended I use sinking feed for YP struggling to compete with other species for supplemental forage, but I'm not a sinking feed fan as I suspect a lot of it ends up uneaten and can accelerate the eutrophication process/water quality issues. In my experience BG and YP are not a recommended combination and will serve as a management issue throughout the life of this fishery - it can be done [I'm doing it!] just requires management strategies that are fairly intensive. I manage several fisheries similar [including my own] and itís the case for all...you're not alone.

Hybrid lepomis species are a different matter - HBG and BRES do not share BG fecundity and as Theo may support are far easier to manage in the presence of YP. There hasn't been much research I've come across regarding BRES fecundity vs HBG, but I suspect they are fairly similar, and populations lend themselves more manageable than pure BG.


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After re-reading the above I would like to come up with a plan for spring time.

How many FHM should I plan to add?

How many GSH


2 acres / 5-6' deep with 12' deep end. stock in 2016 with 400 yp which are all skinny, 50 HSB, 250 BG 150 RES

Lots of BH have made their way in so I am also considering stocking Large mouth bass but still on the fence since that would be the end of my YP.

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After re-reading this thread about your pond conditions of murky water, bullheads, abundant BG and probably lots of 2019 small bullheads may not be adequate for growing YP. Are your YP still as thin as your pictures of them in the end of Sept 2019? Catch several and verify.

Lots of bullheads have made their way in due to their prolific recruitment with the lack of adequate predation of all BH sizes less than 6" long. BH are not getting eaten by HSB because BH are primarily a bottom oriented fish and HSB are an open water oriented fish thus they are not in frequent association / interaction. LMB are a more bottom, shallow, and structure oriented predator where BH like to 'hang out'.

BG could be crowding out the YP for pellets which forces pellet trained YP to forage on natural foods. I've seen pellet dependent YP get unusually skinny when not getting pellets and with a pond full of small minnows. 'Unusually skinny' with big heads and thin concave bodies is the way your fish appear.
I don't think adding FHM this spring will help your situation because the HSB and BH will likely get most of the FHM. Plus IMO a big percentage of the pellet trained YP are not very good fish predators.

Since your current fishery is struggling, I think your best plan to most quickly salvage your fishery and going forward toward a more balanced fishery is resort to adding LMB to control BG and BH. I would not add fingerling LMB because for their best survival rate you want them to immediately start eating the abundance of small fish 1.5"-3" which means 6"-8" bass. I would over stock bass numbers (80-100/ac) and later thin them out as needed. If you use larger sized stocker bass you might get success with 50-80/ac, but it will take longer to achieve prey - predator balance and rapidly growing fish.

Overabundant bass results in producing large BG and BH. Many of the 2019 crop of BH should be 2.5"-3.5" plus you also have the 2019 crop of small BG. For the first year or two you may have to make a concerted effort to help the LMB reduce the high numbers of small fish so this small fishes group will not grow into the 4"-6" size range and overpopulate the pond = food shortages.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/11/20 04:44 PM.

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That's a situation I hope I never have to consider. Once BH get started, LMB are the only effective control.
Any FHM added at this point will be quick lunch for adult BG, RES and HSB.
What is size structure of your YP?

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Thanks Bill for the detailed response.

The YP that I have caught are all about 6-8" max and very skinny. As Bill said skinny with big heads. There are some pictures in my above thread.

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