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#102096 11/14/07 09:59 PM
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I got the idea for this thread from See here:

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=102048

(Our) apologies to Archer for a major hijacking.

Why start this thread? To annoy most of the country? To target what I know is already a limited audience? To grow membership (and dues) in the GSA? Trust me, I am no expert and this is certainly not a “how to” post, its basically just my story and a place to begin to pull it all together. Hopefully, anybody interested in this style of pondbossing can glean some useful information and keep this an informative thread for managing what should not be an unusual fish……this is not to say you shouldn’t post any jokes here, hijack the thread, or tell me what a balding middle-aged idiot I am \:o Come to think of it, this could be my mid-life crisis....my wife will happy its not a corvette If this generates sufficient interest, condensing management “how to’s” can evolve later, though I think its time for a rough draft. Thanks to pondboss for a place to document it.

I started my 1 acre pond renovation two years ago (10/05) primarily so I could fish in my yard again. The pond filled by 1/06. Within a month, the pond was loaded w/ critters……. insects, frogs, tadpoles, and turtles. For fish, at first I was thinking standard LMB/BG. To get things started, in 4/06, I stocked 9 mosquito fish obtained from the County the day after an oxygen crash in their tanks. These 9 survivors in my pond turned into tens of thousands by late summer 06…..it was unbelievable to watch.

The next step was establishing a BG forage base…..standard stuff, but where to get them. At the time, I could not locate a supplier anywhere around my area. In my eagerness to get something in the pond (what many would call my first major mistake) I turned to my neighbor/rancher who has an unmanaged 5 acre pond downstream from me stocked many many years ago with LMB and “perch”.

These “perch” were about the biggest I’d ever seen. The ranch pond as it turns out was (is) a LMB heavy pond w/ scarce forage and occasional lunkers, pretty much like JHAP’s. LMB up to 11 pounds (that I know of) have been caught down there, but most are 10-14 inches and thin. As such, the few surviving “perch” grew to incredible sizes. So I caught some of these pig “perch” and thanks to pondboss (bill cody, ewest, bruce, theo, and others) learned they were GSF, and some of the largest GSF anybody had seen. This really started my interest in these fish and I stocked about 30 of these nice fish ranging in size from 9 to 11 inches in May/June 2006.





These fish spawned by later summer 06, and I believe they spawned again in the Fall 06 based on the two size classes observed the following spring 07 (the 2.5 and 5-inch fish)





In early 2007, I stocked ~1,500 BG



and 30 adult RES (fun story that was huh JHAP?)



and dabbled with the idea of spotted bass as a top predator. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe my huge GSF could manage as top predator for some time.

By the spring of 07 I became worried my original stockers didn’t have enough to eat, gotten skinny, or maybe even died off. I was unable to see them with an aquaview camera (operator error probably), hadn’t seen any in the shallows or hitting the surface since the Fall 06 before, but I really hadn’t fished for them yet. Before I had stocked the BG in Feb. 07, all they had to eat were the gazillion mosquito fish and their own offspring. One fine day in May 07 when I had the time and decided to “sample” fish, these were what I caught……..remarkable……they hadn’t really grown much in length since June 2006 but my God, the girth on these guys was jaw dropping. They were in there and doin better than fine.





Knowing how much the pond would fluctuate due to summer draw down, I decided to stop here on the stocking, and just watch and nurture this current mix of fish. I started routine nightly aeration this last summer, and thanks to Sunil, have gone through (3) 50 pound bags of aquamax (occasional feeding). I had the food chain goin strong from plankton, to mosquito fish, to all sorts of lepomis fry and YOY, so, in reality, and for the record, i have been managing for GSF as top predator for almost 2 years now.

A side track is also managing the BG and RES, with both showing really fantastic growth rates. Interestingly, I don’t see clouds of fry and YOY. Population numbers are being controlled (I believe) by 3 major factors (where LMB are not necessarily needed):
1) major summer drawdown (decrease in carrying capacity) and potential disruption to spawning beds
2) concentration of and predation on fry by mosquito fish
3) concentration and predation on YOY by all adult lepomis species, and GSF predation on any fish too large for BG or RES predation

So, why manage for GSF?

1) GSF can withstand the extreme conditions of probably any pond, managed or unmanaged, for me it’s chiefly fluctuating water levels and extreme summer heat
2) pound for pound (or ounce for ounce) they rank as one of the best sportfish i have ever caught on light tackle.
3) GSF can get big. I have proof. i am really curious how large i can grow them in my pond and how long they can maintain top predator status before showing signs of overpopulating or stunting (particularly in the presence of other lepomis and the absence of lmb)
4) to date i have not seen a bigger GSF than those coming out of my pond, this provides me additional enthusiasm to carry on the experiment. the world record might be over 2 pounds, but i have never seen or heard of anyone even getting GSF to 10-inches or over a pound until i stumbled on to it (show me if you got em, I’d love to see them).
5) i am really curious if cross breeding will occur w/ the other lepomis given my pond conditions and water quality. There are no signs of it yet after one breeding season.
6) i have a relatively small pond and can start over if all goes to hell

ewest provided me the idea of female only bass a long time ago. if all goes to hell, i could as theo says, manage out of the situation probably pretty easily. either way the journey is a blast, and I’ll always remember Bruce Condello’s approach to simple pond management: “Identify the fish you want to grow big, then assure that there are fewer fish than their particular food resource will support”. I have that right now.

specifics about the pond, factors such as water quality, climate, geology, structure, food sources all play a role and in this i have achieved (what is to me) unbelievable growth rates. my original stocking of summer 2006, and first spawn in late summer 2006 has yielded 8-inch class size fish in a little over 1 year....this fact did not seem to raise any eyebrows, but perhaps a steady stream of 10-inch 1 pound plus fish by the end of next summer may merit some attention and pique interest in other pondmeisters. and meanwhile i trust some of my original stockers are still lurking somewhere in the deep end approaching world class status ;\)

reflecting, its interesting that what started out as one thing (fix pond, get fish) ends up as something quite different (a trophy GSF obsession) thanks (I think) to the knowledge, wisdom, and friendships of the folks at PondBoss \:\)

if you would like to join the GSA, please contact JHAP, committee chairman, laser guiding technician, and cpa, po box 555 flushing meadows.

gw, i cant wait to compare notes w/ yer maggot eating warmouth.


GSF are people too!

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DIED, for some reason I thought you had LMB in your pond. I'm very happy to learn that you're managing for big Greenies. I won't be surprised if you surpass the 2 lb 2 oz record.



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DIED 2 ideas. Add here the links to your prior threads on the pond WRT fish , water quality and stocking with headings (for example not the one with the deep sea fishing chicks \:D ) . Second consider writing it all down (with pics) for a PB mag article. I will help with some studies and thoughts and I bet Bill will also. I think it would make a great article as it is personal and involves many fisheries principals including some that are different. What say you?
















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Dave, Great thread all though if it were me I would have started the story with...Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a pond meister... \:D

When we were first discussing our ponds I remember that you were planning on adding bass but I gotta tell you I really like the transition to an all sunfish pond with GSF as the top preditor. I feel quite certain that if anyone will be able to raise a 2 pound GSF in their pond it will be you. Fly fishing around your pond is gonna be a blast! If my pond didn't already contain LMB I would consider going that route as well.

The drastic change in water levels of ponds in our area seems to be somewhat unique. I haven't read too many comments (if any) on PB of folks that have the same five to six foot drop in water levels that we do. It seems that 2 to 4 feet is more the norm.

Given that you are aerating and feeding and testing water quality and keeping records to boot I think that you will be able to document a unique journey. I agree with Ewest, you have the making for a terrific Pond Boss article!


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Now you're making me think about GSF in a whole new light!
We only keep some around for making hybrids.
Impressive!

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Here's a few thoughts about managing for trophy GSF/WM:

GSF density must stay low to avoid stunting. I think the reason GSF stunt so dramatically when crowded is because they need a large area per each individual. They can't make the water bigger so they make themselves smaller.

An advantage of managing for trophy GSF is that unlike with LMB, you can stock limited predators to aide in culling adult fish. Single sex LMB have been mentioned and what about Florida or Spotted Gar, Chain Pickerel, or Bowfin. (Did he say Bowfin?)

GSF probably need a lot of structure and cover to reach good sizes. Each large fish will need some cover as it's home base.

The simplest way to grow large GSF will be in the absence of BG. The common wisdom is that BG will overrun GSF due to heavy spawning.

GSF/WM will need a good supply of forage fish to approach their potential. This might be the biggest challenge of raising large GSF.

Could FH survive well enough to provide forage if the GSF were kept to a low density? If the limited predator preferred GSF over FH, the FH might have a chance.

Maybe one way to look at a trophy GSF pond is that it's like a miniature LMB pond. They really are pretty similar except for size. Maybe.

It would be nice if RES would work with GSF. I guess you would need to have good quantities of snails to feed the RES. OK, now I want to raise trophy WM/GSF AND big RES.

That's it for now, please pick 'em apart at will. \:\)



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And the story begins: Once upon a time in the far away land called California there lived a pond meister. His goals were simple. DIED can complete the rest of this story.

As an option to single sex LMB, why not use hybrid striped bass (HSB) as a controllable, put&take, supplimental predator for the GSF? HSB are known as primarily an open water predator, but I suspect that they will quickly learn to cruse the shallow water for food. In some small ponds, I have seen HSB come for pellet feed into shallow water until their backs almost stick out of the water. I'm sure they would do the same thing for morsels of GSF. Catfish could also prey on GSF, although in favorable conditions the catfish could spawn and I foresee this as a potential problem



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With all the talk about GSF I was wondering... Not going to try it or even suggesting it but WHAT IF a new pond was stocked with only 3 things first fatheads then only GSF, then LMB. Just curious if anyone ever tryed it or even if you think its a good possablity or a bad idea. Just thinking out loud.


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 Originally Posted By: Joey
With all the talk about GSF I was wondering... Not going to try it or even suggesting it but WHAT IF a new pond was stocked with only 3 things first fatheads then only GSF, then LMB. Just curious if anyone ever tryed it or even if you think its a good possablity or a bad idea. Just thinking out loud.


Except for the fatheads, this described my pond prior to my stocking of BG and RES. When I purchased my property the only fish in the pond were LMB and GSF. The pond had never been managed (so no strategic culling had been taking place). In my pond what the end result were stunted LMB - no bass over 14" and the relative weights of the bass was about 20% low. When I seined the pond I during spawning season I found lots and lots of LMB fry and GSF fry. I almost never caught YOY of either GSF or LMB. The GSF were fairly good sized 10 to 11 inches with weights of 10 to 12 ounces, not as large as Dave's but respectable size. This same situation seems to have occurred at the ranch pond that is adjacent to Dave's property except for that ranch pond also had some fairly large LMB. My opinion is that the only way you could make a LMB/GSF only pond work would be to constantly use slot limits to cull LMB and and GSF and you would have to monitor the balance a lot more than you would with a LMB/BG pond. It seems as though it would be much more labor intensive - which is why I added BG (I added the RES to eat those pesky snails that bite).


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 Originally Posted By: GW
GSF density must stay low to avoid stunting. I think the reason GSF stunt so dramatically when crowded is because they need a large area per each individual. They can't make the water bigger so they make themselves smaller.


Probably true. DIED and I don't seem to encounter stunted GSF. We have entirely different ponds in size, predators (I have LMB, he doesn't), vegetation (I have tons of Elodea, he doesn't). Our ponds are similar in that they both have similar water and air temperatures and the water levels drop similarily.

 Originally Posted By: GW
An advantage of managing for trophy GSF is that unlike with LMB, you can stock limited predators to aide in culling adult fish. Single sex LMB have been mentioned and what about Florida or Spotted Gar, Chain Pickerel, or Bowfin. (Did he say Bowfin?)


I would think this would be true also. We don't have Gar, Pickerel or bowfin so I have no idea about those fish however it would seem to me that if you stocked adult single sex LMB it would a terrific culling machine. In addition after a few years I would think that the LMB that you stocked would grow to be very large.

 Originally Posted By: GW
GSF probably need a lot of structure and cover to reach good sizes. Each large fish will need some cover as it's home base.
.

My pond has both tons of structure and cover so this seems to be true. In DIED's pond he has less structure and cover but then again the GSF is the top predator in the pond.

 Originally Posted By: GW
The simplest way to grow large GSF will be in the absence of BG. The common wisdom is that BG will overrun GSF due to heavy spawning.


Probably, which of course means that I have messed up my GSF. My guess is that in a few years I will have a small number HUGE GSF and almost no juvenile GSF. Finally after a few years the HUGE GSF will die off and I will be forced to resign in disgrace from the GSA. I am going to try to actively cull large adult BG to stave off this problem as long as possible. I have no idea as to whether or not this will work.

 Originally Posted By: GW
GSF/WM will need a good supply of forage fish to approach their potential. This might be the biggest challenge of raising large GSF.


This would be the easiest way to raise trophy GSF. Prior to feeding fish food, DIED's GSF had been snacking on a diet of Gams and probably their own fry and bugs. In my pond (prior to the horrendous GAM stocking event) the GSF only had LMB fry and their own fry (and bugs). It is my opinion that GSF eat a significant number of bugs. My reasoning for this is that when fishing for GSF I have had great success with Bumble Bee and Cricket surface lures - the GSF in my pond strike them furiously. The other lure that we have the greatest success with is a Rooster Tail using a stop and go retrieve which I'm guessing looks more like fry. So my unscientific opinion is that GSF like fry the most but will readily take a decent sized bug. DIED has great success in fly fishing for GSF which also seems to bolster my theory.

 Originally Posted By: GW
Could FH survive well enough to provide forage if the GSF were kept to a low density? If the limited predator preferred GSF over FH, the FH might have a chance.


Perhaps if the GSF were kept to a fairly low density. The GSF is amazingly fast - I know I have tried to film them with my Aqua View and let me tell you they can rocket out of site in no time - so catching FH would be no challenge for them.

 Originally Posted By: GW
Maybe one way to look at a trophy GSF pond is that it's like a miniature LMB pond. They really are pretty similar except for size. Maybe.


I think that is absolutely true. IMHO once they get to any significant size the GSF acts very much like a LMB. They are very aggressive, they seem to exhibit the same type of ambush attach that LMB does. In my pond I have had the pleasure of being able to watch a GSF take a surface lure from start to finish. Like a LMB it sat down in the pond a couple of feet, watched the lure twich at the surface, and the rocketed up to attack the lure at the surface. A GSF hits a lure very hard. The one main difference between a GSF and a LMB is that I personally have never witnessed a GSF jump. They will splash the surface when hitting a lure but I have personally never seen a GSF clear the surface. I don't know whether or not they would jump - I've just never seen it.

 Originally Posted By: GW
It would be nice if RES would work with GSF. I guess you would need to have good quantities of snails to feed the RES. OK, now I want to raise trophy WM/GSF AND big RES.


My guess would be that the GSF would eventually decimate the RES population. Adult RES would be ok but juvenile and fry RES would be a tasty snack for a 10" GSF.

 Originally Posted By: GW
That's it for now, please pick 'em apart at will. \:\)


I don't see much of anything that I disagree with you over. I'm hoping that your WM pond works out. Its seems that GSF and WM are so similar that you will have the same challenges as DIED does. Since I have LMB I have two predators so as usual I'm off in left field. Of course I'm certainly no expert so all of my conclusions could be wrong.

Hopefully DIED will weigh in on your theories as well. Right now with the website problems Dave is probably having a heck of a time logging in and posting. Dave is much more of a GSF expert than I so I think his input will be interesting.


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jhap, the only thing I question in your post is about GSF thriving on a diet of predominantly insects. GSF, like LMB will eat anything that fits in their mouths, but I doubt that you could raise lunker GSF without a steady supply of small fish for forage. I also doubt that Gams would be sufficient because of their ability to live in very shallow water. I believe that GSF wait in one place for smaller fish to come to them. If Gams don't venture regularly into water over 2 feet deep then I can't see how you could expect good numbers of large GSF with Gams as the only forage fish.

I hope I'm wrong about that because Gams are native to my area and will probably end up in my ponds anyway.



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I am currently managing a 1/3 ac pond with just GSF and now LMB. I am keeping records of what the fishery is like as time passes. I plan to write about the events in a future issue of PBoss mag. I plan to present some of the data collected so far at the next PBoss conference. Originally all fish in this pond were GSF fry that were introduced through pond filling from a small creek. One 12" LMB had been added to the pond when I first sampled it in 2006. Since then 49 bass from 6" to 12.7" have been added. I suspect that there are now too many bass for 2008 and some will have to be removed to produce some sort of balance so fish do not run out of food and stunting is kept to a minimum. We will see what develops as time passes.


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Just out of curiosity Bill, why haven't you added BG? Is it a special request of the owner?



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GW, Yes special request by owner. They want the pond for primarily some casual fast action fishing and occassional swimming. Owner does not care how big the bass get. No other fish have been added because I want to see if the GSF can be managed and how big they will get with just GSF and LMB. Owner is willing to renovate the pond if things don't work out well. I have another local pond where the fishery is composed of LMB, GSF and yellow perch. GSF grow to 10" in this pond similar to those of DIED.


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That's great Bill, what are the GSF feeding on in those two ponds?



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I have not done a stomach analysis of the GSF in either of those ponds. In the pond with 10" GSF the owner feeds pellets to the fish. I am sure the GSF are eating pellets plus natural forage items. In this pond there are very few small GSF due to predation from LMB, YP and possibly some of the few GSF. The pond owner occassioanlly eats some of the GSF. YP are also fairly rare although a little more abundant than GSF. LMB (up to 18") in this pond keep all the numbers of medium (4"-8") sized fish reduced.

In the pond with just LMB and GSF, I am again not sure what the fish are eating. These fish are not fed pellets. If I had a pond that I was managing for an improved fishery, I would definately make a concerted effort to get as many fish as possible pellet trained,


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 Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
GW, Yes special request by owner. They want the pond for primarily some casual fast action fishing and occassional swimming.

Any reports from the owner of GSF biting when folks are swimming?

This should be an interesting pond situation to hear about in the future.


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Yaller serious about GSF biting? It would just tickle though, right?



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You were looking for an aggressive sunfish - right GW !!! \:D
















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GW, I didn't write very clearly what I meant about the GSF diet. I don't think GSF eat predominately bugs I just think that bugs supplement their diet more that most people think. I think their primary food source is fry and YOY sunfish and very small juvenile bass. At least that is what I believe they were surviving on in my pond prior to the introduction of BG and RES. And without out any management or intervention of any kind (my pond was completely unmanaged when I purchased the property) I often caught GSF in the 9.5" to 10.5" size class.

From observation I can tell you that GSF will actively hunt in very shallow water (or at least they do in my pond). I have watched a GSF sit in water that was only about 18 to 20 inches deep but then rocket up into water that was less than a foot deep to catch prey. The first time we ever caught a GSF on our pond my wife Ricki had cast a Bumblebee surface lure very near the shore and was twitching it on the surface in water that was only 18" deep and only about 2 feet from shore. A 10" GSF took the lure in water that was very shallow.

Theo, I have never been bitten by my GSF. In my pond they are very skittish. The shadow of a kayak will spook them into cover. Perhaps it's because I have LMB - I don't know.

Bill that should be an interesting pond. Since my pond was not managed this combination resulted in stunted bass and nice sized GSF but I believe with proper management you really can have the best of both worlds.

DIED's pond I think will be a very interesting experiment in that the GSF will be the dominant predator.


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GSF Notes.
Jeff mentions: " I don't know whether or not they would jump - I've just never seen it." In 1974 a study/article was done concerning the jumping ability of GSF. It was reported that GSF 71-97mm (2.8-3.8") could jump up to 10 times their body length. Jumping occurred with increased water flow and more during day than night.

Fender's fish hatchery in Ohio sells GSF to a facility in California that uses them for eye research. Evidently there is something special about their cornea.



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Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
The Jumping Ability and Behavior of Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) at the Outflow of a 1.6-ha Pond
JAMES E. ELLIS

Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Fish Farming Development Center, P.O. Box 711, Rohwer, Arkansas 71666

Abstract.—Effects of a plunging water flow on the behavior of green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) 7.1 to 9.7 cm in total length were studied at the outflow of a 1.6-ha pond. Jumping ability and behavior were measured at 12-hr intervals using a fish's position in a 0.9 m2-vertical grid or in the discharge pipe. Activity was influenced by flow rate, time of day, and time of year. Fish jumped up to 10 times their body length and traversed a horizontal distance of 0.6 m. Fish with the greatest mean length jumped the highest. The majority of the fish were captured during the 0600-hr tending period: 79.9% pipe only study and 82.4% pipe and grid combined study.

DOI: 10.1577/1548-8659(1974)103<620:TJAABO>2.0.CO;2
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 1974;103:620–623
















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Great thread... and those big GSF are whoppers! I hope some day to try something similar, using my favorite unsung sunfish... the rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris).

 Originally Posted By: dave in el dorado ca
I stocked 9 mosquito fish obtained from the County the day after an oxygen crash in their tanks. These 9 survivors in my pond turned into tens of thousands by late summer 06…..it was unbelievable to watch.

That is pretty amazing. I do wonder if the gene pool might be a tad shallow. What about introducing some more from another source, somewhere down the line?


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Time to bump this thread. Hopefully DIED will log in soon (now that the forum is feeling better) and update this.

From personal experience at DIEDs place in November I can tell you that his GSF were alive and well then and inspite of cold water temps and a low pool the GSF were feeding voraciously.

DIED and I had a blast fly fishing for them. We were using small flies and were catching a ton a fish (almost a fish every cast). Several times we both had fish hooked up at the same time.

I have no doubt that come this summer his GSF are gonna be monsterous.


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howdy jhap, it was alot of fun "doubling" on the hook ups, let me know when yer comin up next.

i havent forgotten this thread or ewests suggestions, just havent had time to pay it any attention.

current conditions:...FULL POOL!!! water murky with suspended sediment......i loaned out my "temp pH" meter last fall and it was returned broken, but water temps have to be in the high 40's/low 50's. i turned off the aeration about a week ago once the spillway was active, and the creek started flowing- supplying constant source of fresh oxygenated water. i havent fed since sometime in November, their enthusiasm for pellets dropped radically with the colder weather.

the last couple times i wet a line, the fish were hunkered down deep, caught a couple smaller GSF and BG, but not much to report. running the aeration through October, November, December prematurely cooled the entire water colum, slowing all the fish down which i wanted to do. if we get a week of warmer sunny weather now though, i suspect the fishing may be quite good, as they discover all the new real estate now that the pond is full.

thanks for chiming in keg, i love red eyes too. the mosquito fish population has done nothing to cause me any concern, they seem happy and seem to be doing their job.


GSF are people too!

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