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I watched the " 1/17/18 my fish aren't growing " pond boss facebook video today. And without goin back and tryin to find the exact sentence on my phone. Bob said something like this, or at least this is what I heard... That in order for a bass to get X inches long that he had to have been at least x pounds in weight at one time or another. As pertaining to the size chart for measuring relative weight. Again that's the way I took it. What I'm gettin at is am I understanding that correctly. I guess I just assumed if a bass was under weight for his length that he could of just always been under weight from lack of food rather than he had lost weight. Maybe its nothin and I'm tryin to over think things. Which I have a tendency to do. But to me if I took it right that little sentence opens up a whole new thought process toward my fish, there age, what an how things might have really happened in my pond.


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Greg, I've heard Bob Lusk say the same thing. If LMB don't get enough to eat, they stop growing. If they get enough to eat to grow to, say, 12 inches, and then don't get an adequate diet, they become a skinny 12 incher. But in order to grow to 12 inches in the first place, they must have had an adequate diet and pretty normal weight for that length at one time.

My BOW had the opposite going on for a long time: Good forage once the LMB hit about 10-12 inches, poor forage when LMB were smaller. Result was a few fat healthy 10 - 14 inchers, plus loads of stunted fish in 6 to 9 inch range.

Finally got out of the box by stocking larger aggressive N LMB to eat the stunted LMB, plus limed & fertilized to grow more small forage fish.

Last edited by anthropic; 09/19/18 11:23 PM.

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Originally Posted By: gregory
. . . What I'm gettin at is am I understanding that correctly. I guess I just assumed if a bass was under weight for his length that he could of just always been under weight from lack of food rather than he had lost weight. . . .


The multispecies interaction is complex and dynamic. A couple of things to think about.

There is a fish production technique called something like "species combination with disappearance of one species". Under this strategy the production is maximized for a predator by stocking it in combination with a much weaker, highly reproductive prey species that is able to utilize and store biomass resulting from lower trophic production that the predator is either not capable of utilizing or is of insufficient number or weight to utilize. The idea is this. The prey fish accumulate and store food for the growing predators that ultimately grow to sufficient size and weight to extirpate the prey fish over the production period. TIME is important here. Harvest the predators too early and there still remains a lot of food for them. Harvest them too late and they are beginning to wither for lack of food. It's easy to imagine the RW of the predators rising to a peak and then diminishing ultimately to negative weight growth under this scenario. A BOW with withering predator fish is much like this, but of course not entirely so ... because the prey fish are able sustain a reproducing population.

Even so, the interaction is dynamic. The LMB never stop trying to grow. As long as appropriately sized food is available ... they will continue grow until they get sick or die. Because they are the apex predator, unless mortality intervenes, they MUST outgrow their environment. At the other end of the spectrum the same can occur. The prey fish, under insufficient predation, can eliminate grazers of primary production causing algal blooms, poor prey growth, and the conditions ripe for DO events.

Another way of looking at this is that _everything_ in the pond wants to reproduce and grow. Nothing can prevent them from outgrowing their environment except interactions with each other and active pond management. Left to their own, a balance is ultimately achieved that is sustainable. This takes time and usually the result is a lean predator/numerous predator balance that keeps the BOW below its carrying potential.

LMB are also very specific about the size of prey they can eat. They will resort to eating prey at lengths below this range only when preferred sizes are not sufficient to maintain them. Obviously, as anthropic mentioned, different ages of LMB are affected differently. LMB in their first couple of years grow slow because BG grow relatively fast and the young LMB have a short window of time that they can consume YOY BG ... after which YOY BG compete with them directly for food resources. TJ mentioned in a different thread the concept of "turning the corner" where the predator fish reach a size to feed on the predominately sized prey. Needless to say, the interactions are complex with some LMB excelling while others are struggling all the time. Expand the fertility and fish growth can resume. Ultimately, however, how you manage the number of LMB ( and their corresponding lengths) will be the determining factor in apex predator RW, growth, and ultimate weight.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/20/18 04:40 AM.

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Old story; a perfectly balanced pond usually lasts about 15 minutes.


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Originally Posted By: anthropic
Greg, I've heard Bob Lusk say the same thing. If LMB don't get enough to eat, they stop growing. If they get enough to eat to grow to, say, 12 inches, and then don't get an adequate diet, they become a skinny 12 incher. But in order to grow to 12 inches in the first place, they must have had an adequate diet and pretty normal weight for that length at one time.

My BOW had the opposite going on for a long time: Good forage once the LMB hit about 10-12 inches, poor forage when LMB were smaller. Result was a few fat healthy 10 - 14 inchers, plus loads of stunted fish in 6 to 9 inch range.

Finally got out of the box by stocking larger aggressive N LMB to eat the stunted LMB, plus limed & fertilized to grow more small forage fish.


This reminds me of a discussion Nedoc and I were having when I visited his place. He was telling me about some of the conversations he and Bruce Condello had about fish growth. Their idea is that if fish lack proper nutrients and thus growth in early stages of life, they can never "make up" that lost growth. At least that is the way I understood what he was saying. Maybe if he reads this he can clarify if I got it wrong. In other words to produce a trophy fish that fish needs to start growing fast and never be deprived of nutrients at any stage in its growth. If tiny 1" or 2" or 3" fish grow slowly that might not keep them from attaining "good fish" size but likely never a trophy. So their emphasis was making sure fish had adequate nutrition through all stages.

I have been mixing in a small amount of Optimal Starter #4 in with my Aquamax MVP when feeding my main pond. As I hand toss it out around the perimeter of the pond the 2-3" BG just gobble it up (the tiny feed being lighter tends to stay near shore where the small fish are as the larger pellets get further out where the big fish are). That tells me those small YOY fish are hungry and need the additional feed to reach later good potential size. At least for the ones that survive to adulthood. And the ones that get eaten as forage the LMB benefit from the additional growth of the BG.


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Maintaining a balanced BG/LMB pond is like balancing on the edge of a knife blade. It takes understanding what is occurring and taking the needed management steps. You are the apex predator not the LMB and you have to exercise harvest management. It is unquestioned that the biggest factor in poor fish condition is insufficient food. Poor condition in a population is proof that food resources are missing. Survival of the species is the driving factor in fish reproducing until the pond is overcrowded with its kind. Both BG and LMB exhibit this trait and that is why balance is difficult. That is why you see ponds along a spectrum from BG stunted to LMB stunted.

Having LMB that are 22+ inches long with a 5 lb. head and a 3 lb. body often result from a pond having the 6+ inch BG population reduced to a low level after the LMB got big. They got enough food to get to 22+ but thereafter not enough to maintain their condition.

Last edited by ewest; 09/20/18 09:34 AM.















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Originally Posted By: ewest


. . . LMB that are 22+ inches long with a 5 lb. head and a 3 lb. body . . .


That has to be a sad sight to see.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/20/18 05:57 PM.

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I've caught a couple like that in the wild over many years of fishing. But I've always attributed those to being very old, possibly diseased, fish that were on their way out.

It is a sad sight.


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There is a very old pond on one of the farms we rent, mostly covered with spatterdock but with just enough open water to fish. I have never fished it but a friend did and said they caught a bunch of stunted LMB with great big heads and small bodies. That pond is very isolated so probably almost never gets fished.


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John,

If that pond had chara and GSF it would be very much like how ponds in Osage Co, OK get when they are left to their own. One doesn't like to imagine such a condition as a "balance" but in fact it is and it is quite sustainable. The oldest bass grow ill and die but tend to less than 3 lbs. The larger the bass, the scarcer the GSF ... but the GSF are large in these BOWs. When I would gain permission to fish a new pond I would harvest as many fish as I could over 10". It was amazing how this improved the condition of LMB. An endless supply of newer, better conditioned LMB would follow. As Eric said, the APEX predator needs to be man and I can vouch that harvest is very good for a mature fishery. Most would never be interested in a BOW that produces a consistent supply of 12" LMB but for a young man who enjoyed fishing and eating fish, I couldn't have asked for more. smile


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My goal for our pond was a pan fish pond. I have never fished all that much till I built the main pond 5 years ago but since then actually get quite a lot of fishing in. What I found I like the most is action and BG fishing fits that role.

My pond has forage more geared for a trophy LMB fishery because I have an abundance of forage fish and few LMB. So I have been working on thinning the BG (which is kind of hopeless but we have harvested over 600 in the last two years) by the fillet knife and trying to raise some additional LMB in another pond to supplement the main pond with some large enough to escape predation. With only marginal success. But at least I am starting to see and catch a few 12" LMB so I think I am gaining.

We have also removed lots of CC and have every year class of CC recruitment's. My wife likes to CC fish.

What I would really like is a pond full of 2# LMB and 3/4# BG. That is my ideal fishery with an occasional monster of each just to satisfy friends fishing the pond.


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Originally Posted By: jpsdad
Originally Posted By: ewest


. . . LMB that are 22+ inches long with a 5 lb. head and a 3 lb. body . . .


That has to be a sad sight to see.


A VERY sad sight! Here is one about 20-24" long, old and well past it's prime...only weighed about 4-5 pounds....None of it's body had anywhere near the girth of it's head...



BTW, I'd guess what you heard Bob say was that for a LMB to grow to one pound, it had to eat about 10 pounds of properly sized forage to get there...

Last edited by Rainman; 09/22/18 01:24 AM.
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Originally Posted By: snrub

What I would really like is a pond full of 2# LMB and 3/4# BG. That is my ideal fishery with an occasional monster of each just to satisfy friends fishing the pond.


That is what I would like as well. I've finally settled on this goal. There is a 1/3 acre BOW that I have taken under my wing. I fish it ~2 hours per week. I am following the guidelines here except there is no feed. I don't know how big the BG may ultimately grow but it is already a decent BOW with a few 10+ BG. When I fish now I don't catch a lot fish but those I do average about 8". I now catch 5 to 6 males for every female because I have relentlessly culled females. I catch a 10"+ BG only once every two or three weeks. Nothing but males are escaping cull and beginning this fall, and annually thereafter, I will select 14 BG for perpetual release. After next Fall, I plan to cull all fish that are not selected. My plan is to produce a fair number of 2#+ BG in 3 to 5 years and hopefully perhaps a 3 pounder. If this condition is achieved, however, I am not expecting a lot of hookups when I fish it. It is a fertile pond with a large GAM population and I am hoping that with continued fishing effort the GAMs will maintain this large breeding population.

We'll see how large the BG can get but it will hinge entirely on harvest.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/23/18 05:32 AM.

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Rainman,

A picture paints a thousand words. That is one LMB that would have appreciated a few 7" tilapia for sure.


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Huge head on that fish. If only the body matched the head it would have surely been a trophy.

jpsdad I also have been culling the females and returning the best males. Once in a while I will return a female if it has exceptional characteristics. All the hybrids meet the fillet table unless it is just an exceptional and large one. Then I will return one of them once in a while. The GSF all come out except for some 9" and better. Those I want to see how big they will get and they help with the LMB controlling the small BG.


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I don't have a lot of confidence in my selecting skills from the genetics perspective. By next year, however, I want to be completely confident that males selected for perpetual release are of the 0 year class. I am hoping that a good start, long life, and vastly reduced competition will make the difference between 10" and 12"+ BG


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Thank you all for your input. I'd like to respond to each of you comments but all I have to access this site is my phone and to keep track of who said what on this little screen. But I am soakin up your info and I appreciate it. The pond is about 25 years old and was severely neglected but I startin to think its not as bad off as I assumed. But the fish do need my attention. It's 1 acre 11'6" deep flat solid bottom. I got a boat out on it yesterday and caught some 7 & 8" BG and they weighed between 80 & 100% of what they should. I haven't seen them around the banks.If you seen my catfish post I'm thinkin they might be the apex inwater predator of my pond. But that's just a visual assumption. My hopes are to thin them out and give the bass a better shot at it if indeed that's what's goin on. I don't know the numbers of my BG but they seem to be a complete variety of sizes up to 8". I did water test today I'll see where I'm suppose to post those if you don't mind let me know what youall think. Again thank you.


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