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Last fall we completed a 2.75 acre pond in north Alabama. It is 17.5 feet at the deepest point, but majority is 3’ to 5’ deep. My plan had been to stock minnows this spring. 3000 mosquito fish and 3000 fatheads have been stocked. I had planned to stock hand painted bluegill and redear sunfish this fall and bass next fall. However during two recent major rain events I have spotted 1” to 3” green sunfish swimming up the spillway and into the pond. I am now concerned about them getting such a head start on breeding over the hand painted bluegill. I now wonder if I should stock coppernose and redear sunfish now and bass this fall. I really wanted the hand painted bluegill, but there were 100’s of green sunfish in the ditch that the spillway dumps into. I am concerned that there will be so many of them by next season, that they would decimate the bluegill fry? Am I over reacting? Any advice is appreciated.


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The best defenses against over-population of Green Sunfish are predator fish large enough to eat them. Generally, LMB are suited for that.

Maybe if you could get your painted Bluegill and Readear Sunfish in now, and maybe along with a few more pounds of fathead minnows, then you could get an initial stocking of some LMB this fall.

Green Sunfish, with their larger mouths, will probably eat more Mosquito Fish and Fatheads than the other bluegill you want to stock, so that's a concern.


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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It would be nice to give the forage a head start over the Summer, but getting competition and predation for the GSF in probably takes priority, IMHO.


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Also, have never seen the phrase "hand painted BG" before. Is Sunil correct that this is another term for Coppernose BG?


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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
Also, have never seen the phrase "hand painted BG" before. Is Sunil correct that this is another term for Coppernose BG?


I didn't suggest anything as I don't know what a 'painted' bluegill is....


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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The hand painted bluegill is similar to coppernose but has varying color patterns. Do a google image search and you can see pictures of them. The one hatchery that sells them only collects fish to sell from October through March. So I can’t get those now. Waiting for them will give the green sunfish a headstart.

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I hate to give bad news, but there are lots of threads on Pond Boss with people asking how to stop the GSF from mucking up their pond management plans.

Your investment in mosquito fish and fatheads is pretty small right now. You might be better off with draining the pond and performing a fish kill? (Definitely non-expert advice from me.)

1.) Can you excavate the grade sufficiently at the end of your spillway to create a splash pool with an air gap to stop fish migration? I think that will save you lots of headaches later fighting against the d*mn GSF and other unwanted species.

2.) If the answer to 1. is yes, then how quickly would your pond refill under your normal weather conditions? If it is relatively quickly, then you might be able to purge the pond and then only be a few months behind in your plans.

Sorry to hear about your Green Sunfish invasion. Good luck winning that battle and moving your new pond into the "fun for the whole family" phase!

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Enough BG over time can knock back the GSF by out reproducing them. In the meantime have fun catching GSF and HBG. Even if you nuke a pond if the GSF got in there by access via waterway then they will get there again.
















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IF you can figure out a way to keep them out of the pond in the future, I'd nuke the pond to kill the GSF and start over. They will eat a tremendous amount of fry that hatch in the pond. Been there, done that and nuked the pond, starting over because of 0 recruitment of the stocked fish.


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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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Thanks for the help. I just placed an order for CNBG, RES and a few more fathead minnows.


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I was one of the people with to many green sunfish. I could catch one every 30 sec. with a small jig. Now years later after all the predaters grew I don't catch very many, maybe 1 out of a 100 fish but that could be a conservitive guess.There are many days none are caught. I beleave greensun fish spon once a year and your other bait fish spon many times and will end up being your main bait fish. Or the green suinfish are so agresive they get out of the cover and are eaten. Just my opinion from what I have seen on my lake. The green sun fish could have moved to an area that I don't fish. (after 12 years largest bluegill 1.25 lbs, largest large mouth bass 7.45 lbs.).
You will need to stock fish larger than the mouth gap of the green sunfish and they have a very big mouth for their size.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish, blue catfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Originally Posted by esshup
I'd nuke the pond to kill the GSF and start over.

If I had known then what I know now I would have nuked my pond the day after the Great BG Escape.

The fyke net catches GSF like crazy but it will never get them all.
I've caught well over 100 of them in four deployments of the net over the past couple weeks.
Some of them are knocking on 10".

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I read the post by nehunter and thought, "That is a very positive report from his own experiences. Maybe the GSF battle is more winnable than I thought!"

I even clicked the "Like" button, and then went down and read Augie's post. And that is a very negative report from his own experiences.

#1 answer on Pond Boss is "It depends." Which leads me to the conclusion that Murphy's Law usually applies, and if there is a significant chance something can go wrong, then it probably will. Therefore, I think the way to bet on multivariate problems (like pond management), is that it is probably better to minimize the risks that you DO have some control over.

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What size(s) of hand painted BG will you stock?

If they are over the predation size of the Green Sunfish and you are stocking in Oct 2024 probably not a spawn for them this year (guessing, I don't know how late in the year BG spawn in AL)

FHM have an avg lifespan of 1year...some make it to 2?
Mosquito Fish listed for 2-3 years under optimal conditions.
Are you planning for either the FHM or Mosquito fish to be in the pond long term or just to get the bass started until they can eat the BG as forage?

LMB planned stocking is when?
LMB planned stocking size?

Not sure what I would do but if your BG can get multiple sizes classes in the pond before stocking LMB I might consider increasing the size of the stocked LMB and let them manage the greens while the BG outdo them on spawns.


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And, just what is wrong with the dreaded green sunfish?

Lusk once said “ How is a fish that only spawns annually going to compete with bluegills that have rolling(multiple annual) spawns?

How can they cause a problem?

Only one way and I have it in a small 1/4 acre pond that I’ve had for over 40 years. It is now 100% greens but it’s ok with me.
Due to cormorants I have no bass, cats or HSB to balance the bluegills I once had. I don’t live there so I don’t worry about them overspawning and creating an O2 crash. Can’t say that about bluegills.

In this situation I’m a green fan. I go back and toss out feed and occasionally fish for them.


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 stocked bluegill and redear sunfish in my pond and green sunfish somehow made it in as well. They are like dandelions. I think they blow in with the wind or something.

One really cool thing I am seeing is how these three sunfish types are all breeding hybrids with one another. Last weekend I caught and kept a few dozen for the frying pan and it was like I had at least 6 completely different types of colorful sunfish (not even counting the different look of the sexes). The variety was absolutely amazing.

I love it.

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I'll share my experience w/ the Greens and a new pond here in NW Oklahoma..... 8 acre new pond did the initial fall stocking of 1000s native bluegill (small 1"), fatheads, and shiners. I stopped in fish shop and got some more bluegill (was told coppernose). I got them home and started to acclimate them and identified them, no doubt as green sunfish. I think I had 15# of them and they were 2-3" long. It was either trash $150 bucks worth or let them loose. I said screw it and stocked them. Last stocking in the initial fall was a good amount of legit coppernose; then finally the Bass were introduced soon after...

First spring, the greens grew fast. Sampling traps, cast netting, and rod and reel it was easy the greens had a jump on everything else. I read alot of posts on here and there was some nervousness about "what had I done" and should I nuke the project came to mind. I let everything take its course and let it alone.

Three seasons have past and the native BG and coppernose are multitudes more abundant that the greens, based on the same sampling methods. The LMB reproduced fine. A few nights ago, we had a couple CNBG caught that were pushing the 1# mark. The greens are still around but no harm has been done that I see. One more event that happened was gizzard shad made there way in the pond. I think the Greens are good to help control those buggers too.

Have not been back to that supplier either. I should have looked at those fish before I left the store frown

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Originally Posted by SherWood
One really cool thing I am seeing is how these three sunfish types are all breeding hybrids with one another. Last weekend I caught and kept a few dozen for the frying pan and it was like I had at least 6 completely different types of colorful sunfish (not even counting the different look of the sexes). The variety was absolutely amazing.

I love it.

Now the next step is to invite over a bunch of guests and have a blind taste-testing fish fry to determine which hybrid is best! grin

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I have never been able to tell the difference in taste between BG, RES, or BGxRES. I believe that Lepomids raised in the same water, eating mostly the same things, taste pretty much the same.

But then again, I think sardines in mustard, crunchy peanut butter, and saltine crackers make a good lunch.


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I was just joking (as usual) on the taste test.

However, I would love to see a restaurant declare that their RES have been fed a steady diet of escargot in order to create the finest tasting sunfish in all the land!

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The oft maligned, dreaded green sunfish has been a welcome addition to our 1/4 acre cool water pond. Initially we had been told by the former owner (15 years ago) that the pond held LMB, BG, YP, BCP, CC, and a couple of TGC. My first year spent observing and fishing yielded only the bass, perch, and occasional glimpses of Frank and Igor, the two remaining giant grass carp.
After learning a bit from this forum about food chains, I added GSF one year-the only sunfish available at the time, and BG the next year. Both sunfish species have done well. BG outnumber GSF by certainly 10 to 1. Populations of both of these species are represented by all sizes from fry to 11" adults. We've even caught a GSF that equals the Colorado state record for that species.
YP numbers are way down. I've hammered the LMB numbers until a day on the pond only nets a sighting of a few bass. I can surmise that the numerous GSF young that live in the elodea jungles consume nearly all the perch fry and fingerlings. It's not reasonable to assume that the bass are getting many; there are just too few LMB prowling the waters right now.
Subtle differences in angling techniques are necessary to focus on catching a particular species. This I find really interesting and challenging.
Our 1 remaining tiger trout grabs filleted sunfish carcasses when I toss them back into the water. It attacks in a twisting, swirling manner reminiscent of shark attacks. Exciting and violent!
I absolutely appreciate the GSF that we have. They spawn right in the bedding area our BG use. We get HBG that way, which are another bonus fish.
If only we could find a source of pumpkinseeds, our mixed pond could nearly be complete.
Come on SNIPE, right?

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4C, I’m also a green sunfish fan. They will outfight any other sunfish.


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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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
4C, I’m also a green sunfish fan. They will outfight any other sunfish.

How fun would it be to make a dedicated GSF pond for grandkids, scouts, etc.?

I wonder if you could put in a few HSB or male only LMB to cull some of the smallest GSF to create a pond full of near trophy ones that were easy to catch on almost every cast?

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Rod, I have one. But, it didn’t start out that way. It is about 1/4 acre, a mile from the house, and started with fatheads, bluegills, redears, channel cats and bass. It’s almost dried out several times and when rain came I added more sunfish. Evidently there were some greens in the mix. It’s been hit several times by birds and is now all GSF. When I go there, I hand throw a bunch of pellets. They hear the 4wheeler coming and are waiting to boil the surface.


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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Levon – I’ve dealt with GSF problems for over 40 years. With proper predator management GSF can be controlled in ponds. Testimonies here indicate that when the LMB population is “strong” and numerous or “normally balanced” the GSF population numbers are significantly reduced. I agree. My experience shows SMB will also do a pretty good job of controlling GSF. LMB hunt in the main habitat areas preferred by GSF. GSF tend to be secretive and prefer shallow dense cover and or rocky areas so they can be secluded. LMB can hunt GSF out in dense shallow cover and reduce their numbers while GSF are on the spawning nests. Plus, as noted, when other BG are present BG recruitment over time typically outnumber those of the GSF.
I strongly dislike GSF due to their aggressive behavior eating fish fry, their large mouth gape and slow growth. They have a tendency to overpopulate when LMB numbers are reduced or unbalanced. Small GSF can eat large prey items compared to other sunfishes. For a PBoss conference presentation, I measured the mouth size (gape) of many GSF. Up until GSF are around 6” long their mouth size (vertical and horizontal) are the SAME dimensions as the mouth of an equivalent length LMB. GSF are big aggressive predators for their small size.


Hand Painted Bluegill
If you add them to a pond make sure the LMB are not big enough to eat the HPBG that are stocked or one is wasting their money. Hand Painted Bluegill - HPBG are only available from the fish farm of TrophyPond.com. HPBG are not consistent in color pattern nor availability. Offspring likely have a wide range of color patterns (body pattern inconsistency) from a little amount to that advertised. Interbreeding and significant dilution of the HPBG genetic pattern is very likely when mixed in and when cross breeding other sunfish species. You might see better growth rates and more long term success if you use RES instead of HPBG.

PBoss discussions dealing with HPBG

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=279801

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=476980

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=482043

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/01/24 09:14 PM.

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