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#564399 02/15/24 09:48 AM
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Hi all, I'm Nick and live in central Louisiana. I bought a new home in May of '22 and with it a 1.5 acre pond. The pond was neglected for a number of years and the LMB population exploded. My first time fishing the pond I caught 10 bass is as many minutes and each one was roughly 11". It was fun and my kids loved it, but I figured it was indicative of an unbalanced pond. Since then every fishing trip has yielded the same class of fish.

That first summer I did not observe a BG spawn anywhere on the shoreline. That is when I began harvesting LMB. We have harvested about 40 pounds of bass. Shortly after that initial harvest I added about 75 adult BG and Chinquapin (Red Ear) from a local lake. Our second summer I observed at least three BG colonies, each consisting of about 30 beds.

The LMB have become difficult to catch. Unsure if it was because of numbers or pressure, I began fishing shiners because I wanted to assess the population. Each trip yields 1 or 2 fish on shiners and they are in that same 11 inch class. My understanding is that it is unlikely that a stunted bass population will resume desirable growth, so that hasn't really been a surprise to me.

My plan now is to begin sinking cover and feeding my BG. I'm planning to buy a few hundred pellet trained fish in the next couple of weeks to serve as teacher fish. I'm also throwing a cast net in an attempt to survey the population. My first few casts have me a little concerned because the BG I caught were about 4 inches. It seems unlikely that both populations would become stunted, right? That is likely an overreaction because it was 3 fish from the same area on only 4 casts.

Feel free to tell me what I've done wrong or how you think I should proceed. I'm excited to join the conversation!

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Have you tried fishing for the BG's to see what's in the pond?
- The 75 that you stocked were how big?

Bobber, small hook and a bit of a worm or a cricket usually a good tactic for them.

Not a fisheries expert but my guess is it will take longer than a year to correct. Habitat and supplemental feeding are great ways to get them started.
- The 4" BG you are catching in the casting net could be last years hatch?


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Welcome to Pond Boss!

It doesn't sound like you are doing anything 'wrong.' Some folks here are not too much in favor of 'bucket' stocking fish from other bodies of water, but much of that feeling is based on general assumptions that not every person knows how to identify fish accurately. Further, there can be instances of transferring organisms, both plant and animal, from one body of water to another; there are ways to prevent that such as holding the fish in tanks for a few days in between, etc.

If you removed 40lbs of LMB in the 11" range, we could maybe call that 80-120 actual fish? I'd keep doing that for the rest of this year until you could say that you've removed 400 or so fish, and maybe in the Fall '24, you could find some pellet trained LMB over 8-10" long, and stock maybe 30-50 of them; I say that low stocking number with the understanding that there's already an existing LMB population in the pond that you really are not looking to maintain. The feed trained LMB can grow quickly with a strong feed program, and when they grow, they will begin to eat a different size of bluegill in the pond, larger than what the 11" LMB are feeding on.

You may also want to look into an addition of Golden Shiner Frye from Anderson's fish farm. They ship in the April time frame, but there's usually a waiting list.

If you start feeding the bluegill now, you should start to see increased spawning activity that will help the LMB that you leave in the pond.

Of course, the other end of the spectrum is to nuke the pond and start over.


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"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I’m likely jumping to conclusions because I haven’t fished the BG since last summer. The released fish were all greater than 5 with probably 30 or so eclipsing 8. My thought process there was replenishing breeders that would not be susceptible to predation. Any thoughts on further bass harvest? I kind of think there would be no harm there.

My goal is not to grow giants. Average fish of 2 pounds with a couple 5’s would be nice.

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I commented on the LMB harvesting in the previous post, but you may have missed it.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Thanks for the help. I was typing as your harvest comment came through. I didn't think there would be any issue there. I built a holding tank so that I can keep fish during the week and filet them all at the end of the week. Would you suggest keeping all bass or only the 11's? Right now I have a couple of 8" fish in there.

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A little info that might help.

KY - Fish Troubleshooting

Something else that might help. I recently watched a Pond Boss podcast on Facebook Live. During the podcast Mr Lusk mentioned a fish tracking spreadsheet. Said he would provide if requested via email.
- I did request this and received it. It's an excel based form that allows you to input your size and weight of the fish you catch, it calculates and graphs said fish automatically and allows you to watch the fishery as a result via relative weights based off of what you are catching. It made the one I had been planning to use look like I drafted it with a chisel, stone tablet and a hammer.

Even if you don't request the fish tracker. Keep some sort of a log so you can measure your success and catch rates along the way.


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Originally Posted by NickDG
Thanks for the help. I was typing as your harvest comment came through. I didn't think there would be any issue there. I built a holding tank so that I can keep fish during the week and filet them all at the end of the week. Would you suggest keeping all bass or only the 11's? Right now I have a couple of 8" fish in there.

Conventional wisdom here says that once a LMB is stunted, it will never grow to it's full potential due to lost years of growth over a finite life span. This is one reason there's an allure to nuking the whole pond and starting over. However, if you get super aggressive, and cull 400+ more LMB in that 11" +/- range, along with adding some new pellet trained LMB, I think you could get things turned around.

Now, and this is kind of a question...if those 11" stunted LMB spawn with themselves, or with new potential LMB, is the off-spring genetically challenged, growth wise? I don't think it's too much of a concern. Still though, you have to get those stunted LMB numbers way, way down. So, I would say cull all LMB that were already existing in the pond, unless you catch one that looks much, much more healthy than the rest; those, I might leave in. For that, you'd be looking for 'fat' fish with high Relative Weights (ratio of weight vs. length).


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Going to continue aggressive bass harvest and start recording all catches. I'll email Mr Lusk for that spreadsheet.

Right now my feeder is just throwing some catfish food from my local feed store. I have a bag of Optimal Junior arriving tomorrow. When I get these new pellet trained fish should I cage them and feed them that optimal until they get a bit longer? I don't want them to get wiped out.

The hatchery recommended that I stock 100# of crawfish at the same time to keep the bass full. Unfortunately, this drought has ruined early crawfish crops. Typically we buy them for $1.50 to $3.00 a pound in my area, right now they're at $10! I think that $1k could be better spent.

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Originally Posted by NickDG
Going to continue aggressive bass harvest and start recording all catches. I'll email Mr Lusk for that spreadsheet.

Right now my feeder is just throwing some catfish food from my local feed store. I have a bag of Optimal Junior arriving tomorrow. When I get these new pellet trained fish should I cage them and feed them that optimal until they get a bit longer? I don't want them to get wiped out.

The hatchery recommended that I stock 100# of crawfish at the same time to keep the bass full. Unfortunately, this drought has ruined early crawfish crops. Typically we buy them for $1.50 to $3.00 a pound in my area, right now they're at $10! I think that $1k could be better spent.

You need nowhere near #100 of crawfish, 10# would be plenty, they will multiply faster than wild rabbits in your pond

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Personally, I would buy a couple of traps for the crawfish and harvest from a local creek. But that's because I'm cheap and cans of dogfood are too.


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Nick, I may have missed it, but what pellet-trained fish, or new fish, are you getting soon?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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BG and RES mix. Both are already present in the pond. Not planning to buy a whole bunch. Maybe 500 max. Mainly want some teacher fish.

How long have y’all had to wait before you had fish feeding under feeders?

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Nick, they hit pellets from the feeders quickly. Lusk said it best a long time ago. Concentrate on the bluegills and the bass will be fine. A predator needs prey that is approx 30 to 40 % of its size. It’s a matter of calories obtained vs energy expended. The best bass “raiser” is a bluegill farmer.


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Even in a bass-stunted pond, there will more than likely be several larger LMB. As such, you may lose some stockers to predation, so plan for say 15-20% loss.

It's good to get some new genetics into the pond regarding bluegill.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by NickDG
BG and RES mix. Both are already present in the pond. Not planning to buy a whole bunch. Maybe 500 max. Mainly want some teacher fish.

How long have y’all had to wait before you had fish feeding under feeders?

If you are using the same quality of feed or better that the hatchery was using, water temps are in the mid 60's - low 80's, are feeding at the same time and same place AND in 2'-4' water, then I'd say a week to maybe 10 days.

If using lower quality feed, it could be longer because it doesn't taste as good, same for any of the other parameters.

I have BG that I have in holding tanks in 51 degree water and they are eating Optimal Starter #4 feed.


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Just walked some shoreline with a spotlight and observed BG fingerlings hiding in the grass around my dock. Also soaked some red worms today and caught several between 5”-8”. So it appears as though I have all sizes represented.

The feeder is hanging over the end of my dock in 4’ of water. Currently feeding at 7:30am and 5:00pm. The pellets its casting right now are cheap, large and old. I’m going fly fishing in OK for the weekend but I’m going to change out that feed for the Optimal Junior before I get on the road. Water temps will be in that range soon. I’m around 58 right now. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll have fish eating it up.

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It may help you to get more fish on feed by soaking the feed in water for about 7-10 minutes before throwing it in the water. Obviously, this means feeding by hand as there's no way to do that with an automated feeder. But, you will get more fish on the feed quicker. As you observe fish taking feed early on, you'll see several fish take a pellet in and then spit it back out. With the feed a bit mushy, there is far less spitting of the feed.

Once the fish know they love the feed, they'll take the dry feed with no hesitation.

If you do the hydrated feed route to get started, do it at the same place as the automated feeder.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by NickDG
Just walked some shoreline with a spotlight and observed BG fingerlings hiding in the grass around my dock. Also soaked some red worms today and caught several between 5”-8”. So it appears as though I have all sizes represented.

The feeder is hanging over the end of my dock in 4’ of water. Currently feeding at 7:30am and 5:00pm. The pellets its casting right now are cheap, large and old. I’m going fly fishing in OK for the weekend but I’m going to change out that feed for the Optimal Junior before I get on the road. Water temps will be in that range soon. I’m around 58 right now. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll have fish eating it up.

I think you will.


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To start feed near the warmest part of the day. Maybe 1 and 3. As water warms change feeding times, duration and amount to fit your circumstances.
















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Originally Posted by NickDG
Just walked some shoreline with a spotlight and observed BG fingerlings hiding in the grass around my dock. Also soaked some red worms today and caught several between 5”-8”. So it appears as though I have all sizes represented.

The feeder is hanging over the end of my dock in 4’ of water. Currently feeding at 7:30am and 5:00pm. The pellets its casting right now are cheap, large and old. I’m going fly fishing in OK for the weekend but I’m going to change out that feed for the Optimal Junior before I get on the road. Water temps will be in that range soon. I’m around 58 right now. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll have fish eating it up.

Make sure the old feed doesn't have any fungus on it. Looks off white or gray, can be toxic to fish.


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We catch mostly 10 to 11 inch bass in our pond as well, though sometimes you catch a little 10 incher and one of the giants comes up and eats it while you are getting them to shore.. They take the fish , the lure the line and even your pole if you are aren't careful. lol.. Those giant females 26 to 28 inches are no joke.

We have so many bass in that pond that you can literally catch a fish about every 2 to 3 minutes, though most are small in the 6 to 12 inch range. You spend your entire day retrieving hooks and throwing fish back in. But generally with a few hours of fishing I can get at least one decent sized fish in the 18 to 20 inch range. None of has ever managed to get one of the giant ones in yet, you can see them and when they take your fish and rip your line off it is a bit of a thrill. One thing to keep in mind is that the large females are busy laying eggs in the spring and they won't even pay attention to lures until about late June or so. At least that is the way it is here with ours anyways. So you generally catch the smaller males and younger females while the giants hang low lurking. We see tens of thousands of young fry each spring/summer at the edges of the pond here.

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I harvested 16 last week and just added 2 to my holding tank. Fishing the shiners has definitely been way more productive than lures. We are having some friends over this weekend and I'm going to let their boys fish those shiners as long as they want. Hopefully they'll do some damage!

One of the fish I just added was noticeably healthier than the others I've caught. Haven't gotten measurements on it yet but it is probably 14". Still not a great fish obviously but It has some girth to it, but I'm sure thats just egg weight. I still intend to harvest the fish because I figure it is best to mitigate the spawn as much as I can if the goal is to improve the gene pool.

Water temp is up to 60 and I adjusted the feeder to the warmest part of the day. As water temps climb and days get longer should I gradually move those feedings to the morning and evening? Possibly add a mid-day feed?

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Originally Posted by NickDG
...Water temp is up to 60 and I adjusted the feeder to the warmest part of the day. As water temps climb and days get longer should I gradually move those feedings to the morning and evening? Possibly add a mid-day feed?

Yes on adjusting the time and amount of food. Feeding at 7am, 10 am and 6pm during summer works. Skip the hottest part of the day. See what works best for your situation.
















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Both Nick and MountainWard, you two might try hanging a 4 to 7" live bass on a hook under a bobber with no or very little weight, and let it swim around. If there are some really large bass in the ponds, as you know or it can guess there are, you just might get a hookup.

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