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#11160 10/11/04 10:30 PM
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Realtreegriz,

Ive accomplished something thats rarely been done, or even attempted for that matter. I stocked and managed a pond that had 2,500 pounds of HSB per acre!!! My pond was the envy of every pondmeister in the Midwest. Maybe one of the best fishing ponds ever. A one-acre pond with an average depth of 7 ft. and a maximum depth of 16 feet. Clear water, teeming with wipers. Everything you threw in the water was viciously attacked! Wed throw topwaters without hooks just to watch the frenzy. Id invite friends for evenings of flyrodding, beer and constant action. On a good day I could feed an entire 50-lb. bag of Silver Cup steelhead chow in 15 minutes. I pushed the envelope as far as it would go. I ignored recommendations just to see what I could do. And it workedfor almost two years.and then the crash

I was at my pond to refill the feeders. When I came over the hill it was a windy, warm late June afternoon. I noticed that the waves were leaving white foam on the windward side. Odd, I thought, that so much foam was accumulating. Hmmm, Ill just go grab a bag of feed, but wait a minute, thats not foam, its dead fish! Hundreds of them, 450 of them to be exact. Deader than dead. From four pounds all the way up to 16 pounds. Enough to bring tears to a grown mans eyes. The clean up took an entire week with rubbers gloves, a John Deere Gator, and a shovel to dig holes for the gruesome remains of my beloved fish. Is there a lesson here? Not really. I knew it could happen. I actually expected it to happen. It was fun while it lasted.

Ive since stocked the same pond with 50 fish instead of 500. The growth rates are excellent and theyre still a blast to watch feed. I also have several hundred big bluegills that like the feed too. Im having just as much fun and I dont have to keep as much beer on hand. I think Ill ultimately need fewer therapy sessions.

Back to your question. 100 pounds of HSB per acre is a manageable number. That's 75 pounds for you. You can easily start with 150 smaller fish but you have to be prepared to harvest as the total biomass starts to exceed 75 pounds. If you stock this many HSB your bluegill will be intimidated and wont utilize the feed as much. You may have to get creative and find ways to get the pellets to your panfish as well. A summertime water profile analysis would be helpful. Aeration IS NOT an absolute necessity if your water quality is good and you have some oxygen present in the deeper cooler layers. A thermocline allows HSB to hang out a little deeper on a hot summer day in a low stress environment. I wouldnt feed them at all when the mean daily air temperature exceeds 82 degrees F. Some people will buy a device which runs the aerator only at night to prevent mixing hot surface water with cooler, deeper water. Ideally you would find a way to evaluate dissolved oxygen throughout the water column on hot days so you could determine how to make best use of an aerator.

Since you dont currently have predators in your pond you should stock based on water temperature. Dont buy, handle, or stock HSB when water temperatures are below 50. Your fish will get a nasty green fungus on their fins and may die. Really 60-65 is optimal stocking temp. HSB can be purchased at a pretty reasonable cost for 4-inchers. Maybe 75 cents to 1.25/each. HSB are often collected by growers by size, meaning that the faster growing, more aggressive, better converting fish are collected first. The primary reason for this is that the growers want to sell these fish first. They have a name for these bigger, faster growers. Its cannibal. See if you can get these. A four-inch HSB will not eat another HSB of similar size but it will attempt to eat a two-incher. The two-inchers have a name. Its lunch.

If your pond is bowl shaped and if you dont have a lot of macrophytes (rooted vegetation), your HSB may do a fair job of controlling bluegill, but dont depend on it. HSB will always retain a little of their piscivorous nature, but they will always take the pellets first and foremost. This is called optimal foraging theory. Least energy expended for energy gain. Bluegills are a nice morsel, but they represent a little too much work for your HSB.

Remember, you can have as many HSB as you want, but the percent chance of sudden, cataclysmic failure starts to nudge upwards with the number of fish present.


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11161 10/12/04 12:10 AM
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Bruce,
Thanks for the informative post! You had a 16 lb bass in an acre pond? Sound like I'll need the Stren 75.
How well do they do with channel cats? Will I need to fish most of them out if I want to do it right?

#11162 10/12/04 09:09 AM
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16 pounds and 31.5 inches of pellet slurpin', rod breakin' fury! She started out as a state fair fish of nine-pounds and grew two pounds a year for almost four years between my grow out pond and my big pond. Caught her twice with a fly rod and got some great pictures, too.

The catfish won't prevent your HSB from feeding effectively but they will count against your total pond biomass. Fewer channel cats equals more HSB. I personally don't have any CC in my pond but I understand why people like them.


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11163 10/12/04 09:38 AM
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Bruce

I live about 70 miles west of you and had some questions about HSB I posted in the corrective stocking segment that I thought you may be able to help me with.......

"I have a 20 acre lake that has been overtaken by carp and some catfish. Very little vegetation d/t the carp but some cattails are getting started. Very poor water quality in summer but not bad in fall and winter.(8-12 in. clarity at best)

I also have a 1 acre pond right next to it that does support game fish. It is fairly clean with some largemouth and bluegill.

I am going to try raising wipers for 1 year in my small pond and moving them to the 20-acre pond after they reach the 12-16in. range. I will feed them in the smaller pond and continue to do so in the larger pond.

I am willing to put in several hundred wipers per year in the larger pond. Will the wipers help get rid of my carp or am I wasting my time and money?

The 20-acre pond does support some crappie and bluegill. I am hoping they ravage everything in sight and I can restock it with LMB once the carp population decreases. Actually, I will be throwing some LMB in as I need to do some selective harvest in the small pond. "

Will my poor water quality during the summer prevent my HSB from thriving? Will they do fine if I feed them enough commercial food? Will they help control the carp population?

I would like to hear more about these pom-poms as well. I like to flyfish and would love to get going with some HSB flyfishing! Any help is appreciated.


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#11164 10/12/04 02:05 PM
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It would be useful to know why you think the water quality is substandard.

Three primary possibilities would be as follows:

1. Suspended sediment or clay particles caused by agricultural runoff or shoreline erosion from wind or livestock activity.

2. Suspended single-celled algae, usually the result of high nutrient levels.

3. Fish activity--i.e. carp and/or other bottom dwellers in high density, rooting around on the bottom of your pond.

What's your guess?


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11165 10/12/04 02:56 PM
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Mostly #3. Only with heavy rains do I get a lot of ag runoff and I have moved the cattle out of there. I have another silting pond that helps settle most of the silt before it runs in. Cattails have begun to grow with alot of canary grass around the edge. Contrasting others on this board, I am hoping the cattails begin to increase in # so that my water quality improves. When water temps decrease it always improves the clarity, probably because the carp and catfish slow down their activity.

I am hoping the HSB help decrease the population of carp and/or catfish. If they aren't dependant on carp for feed, I think they will survive once they find the feeders.

My plan right now is to raise 50-150 HSB per year in a smaller pond and then transfer them to the 20 acre pond and commercially feed them. An added bonus would be to get rid of most carp over time. (and improve water quality)

Is this realistic.
I will probably try anyway. It would be interesting to see how several hundred wipers would do in a 20 acre pond with adequate feed.

If that doesn't work I will save up money to drain the pond, reexcavate and fill it up again.

Thanks for the help.


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#11166 10/12/04 08:04 PM
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I absolutely guarantee you that your HSB will eat carp. Researchers who evaluate stomach contents of HSB commonly find carp and other rough fish present. The question is, will HSB forage on carp, in a pond setting, efficiently enough to make a significant dent in the population.

To understand the problem, one must first know a little bit about what makes HSB click. Like all predator fish, HSB follow what is commonly referred to Optimal Foraging Theory, which is to put it simply, a fishs need to consume more calories than it expends over a period of time. Fish that dont follow this edict live at the shallow end of the gene pool. I believe Darwin coined a term for these fishI think it was extinct. Wipers look like they do for a reason. Theyre built for short powerful bursts of speed and their markingsthe lateral barsare great camouflages for feeding in schools just under the waves. Ive watched them feeding with snorkel gear and, believe me, they just appear out of nowhere and just hammer prey items near the surface. Pellet or fathead, it doesnt matter. They pop up out of the depths and make quick work of whatever theyre eating. Dont let anyone tell you that HSB need clear water either. The prey item cant see any better than they can. One local lake, Bluestem Reservoir has given up HSB over 14 pounds, often in great body condition, and the water quality is always poor. Secchi readings rarely exceed 8 inches. Sight feeders dont rely on great vision as much as they rely on having better vision than the snack theyre after. Thats probably why HSB feed so well at dusk, or right after a brisk wind picks up. Sudden decrease in light level likely disorients gizzard for a period of time and the HSB intuitively knows this.

Interestingly enough, a HSB is quite at home foraging on the bottom as well. Two out of the five world record wipers that Ive caught struck on a bucktail that was essentially being dragged along the bottom. Even more amazing is the fact that many huge HSB have been caught on liver. Ive seen it too many times for it to be a fluke. Big wipers go nuts for chicken liver. Heres where Optimal Foraging Theory comes into play. HSB traveling in schools under a ball of shad on a nice breezy, warm afternoon work as a group, slashing, thrashing and creating general havoc. Shad are injured, confused and came become mistake prone. Calorie in/Calorie out ratios go through the roof. Contrarily, a HSB trying to pick off individual young-of-the-year carp by himself is in much more of a hit or miss proposition. Over time the HSB may use up more calories than he collects. Consequently he will only make the effort to take the little devils if they appear injured or stupidand believe me, there arent many stupid carp.

You may be wondering by this time if I actually have a point to all this. Ill try to summarize. HSB love carp, they just dont like the effort involved in collecting them. Pellets dont have a very good escape mechanism and will always be the preferred prey item. Dont expect any great decrease in carp numbers.

By the way, I love the idea of using a smaller pond to grow out HSB before placing them in the larger water body. This is what I do at my place.
Last year I ordered 1000 HSB which I grew out from their original length of one-inchers for four months. After grow out the fish ranged from 2.5 inches to 8.5 inches. This will allow you to transfer, if you wish, just the fast growing, high conversion fish to the twenty acre lake after grow out. These fish will make the best use of your pellets, be more likely to be fish eaters, and hopefully produce less waste from the feed consumed.

Bruce

P.S. I bet you wouldn't drive to Dallas for a Big Mac...even if it was free. Another example of Optimal Foraging Theory. \:\)


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11167 10/12/04 09:39 PM
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Bruce,
That was a great post. You really know HSB and I definitely have to have a few in my pond now.
Thanks

#11168 10/13/04 06:30 AM
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Bruce,
I don't find a email address on your profile, so I emailed to your "info" address on your website.
If not received would you email me please?
George Glazener

#11169 10/13/04 07:24 AM
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Thanks a bunch. That is good to know about the HSB feeding whether they have good water clarity or not.

Actually all of that is good info.

You have answered most of my questions. I think I will go ahead with my project and let you know how it goes. It sounds like the more wipers I have the fewer carp I will have, which is what I am looking for. I plan to eventually incorporate several LMB into the pond as well.

Thanks


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#11170 10/13/04 01:05 PM
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Bruce one more ?

I have a friend who works in the feed mill business and can make feed for my HSB. How big of pellet do you think a 12 in HSB could eat?

I will experiment with him on this but right now we may try 50% protein with .5 to .75 in pellets. We will start smaller and work our way up. I think Cecil may be able to help with this as well.


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#11171 10/13/04 07:26 PM
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NEDOC, I may be wrong, but when I read Bruce's post, I thought he was saying the HSB do eat carp, but that they wouldn't necessarily put a dent in the carp population.

Could you clarify that Bruce?

Thanks.


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."

#11172 10/13/04 10:15 PM
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Sunil has interpreted my post correctly. It would likely take a very high density of HSB to make a significant impact on the carp population.

I've always fed my HSB a 7.5mm or 9.5 mm feed. My ten-plus pound HSB had no problem converting this size pellet. I'm not sure why bigger would neccesarily be better, unless it was cheaper. I guess the bluegill would leave it alone if the pellet size were huge. I'm not an expert on fish nutrition by any means, but I've always been under the impression that higher protein feeds meant less waste, which in turn could have some impact on overall water quality. Bill Cody would probably know a lot more about that issue.

I'd really like to know if anyone has done any scientific research on how vitamins present in fish feed impact growth rates and longevity. I'd certainly be willing to pay a few more pennies per pound to give my bluegill a little edge in that regard.


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11173 10/14/04 07:24 AM
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Sorry, I should have referenced what got me interested in the pellet size experimentation. This is a statement by Bill Cody that got me interested in some experimentation. I figure it would be worth trying to eliminate some of the work for the HSB and improve the "optimal foraging" for my catfish anb HSB.

Bill Cody's statement:
"Greg Grimes says that pellet raised bass (he was referencing LMB) growing on a main diet of pellets seem to top out at around 6 lbs. I think this is probably due to these large fish having to expend too much energy in consuming the small 1/4" fish pellets plus maybe some other dietary issues. To keep thes really large bass growing efficiently, larger sizes of pelleted food may be necessary. Cecil Baird is experimenting with larger sized pellets and pellets with 50% protein with low carbohydrates for growing big LMbass. His research when completed will broaden our knowledge on this topic."

Anyway, I talked to my friend last night and he has found some fish formulas. We plan to experiment some this fall and get started next spring with it. I will let you know if they take the larger pellets. Thanks again for all of the help. ps I understand that HSB won't eliminate carp (or even make a dent) but it certainly won't help them any. That is good.


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#11174 10/14/04 01:35 PM
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Hope this doesn't sound to off the wall, but why not just find the highest protein dog food that will work for large fish. I know its not going to be as good as a floating fish food thats designed for fish, but until they come out with something wouldn't it work?

#11175 10/14/04 06:57 PM
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I don't think pellets larger than 1/4" are really beneficial for HSB until the fish get above 20"-22". At that size then I think the larger pellet becomes more efficient for the larger bodied fish.

Highest protein dog food that I think you will find is in the upper 20's (25%-30%). Compare the nutrient analysis item for item for dog food and high protein (40%-50%)fish food and I am pretty sure you will find more ingredients listed for the quality fish food. For sure, the best quaility fish foods contain different ratios of vitamins and amino acids that fish (cold blooded) need compared to dogs (warm blooded). A well versed nutritional scientist could explain the differences.

Bruce -
Who makes the 9.5mm pellet for the food you use?.


aka Pond Doctor & Dr. Perca Read Pond Boss Magazine -
America's Journal of Pond Management
#11176 10/14/04 08:23 PM
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I was feeding my HSB Silver Cup 9.5mm floating steelhead chow but my Sweeney Feeders kept jamming up on it so I switched back to 7.5mm and had fewer mechanical problems.


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11177 10/14/04 09:23 PM
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Anyone try and fish with the actual floating pellets? Of course the pellets are too hard to really sink the hook into so we have come up with a novel solution. We stretch panty hose over a pellet or two and tie it off with monofilament and trim off the excess. We then hook into he hose with a salmon egg hook, and believe it or not this will float if you are using floating feed. I have found out this is the only way to get most of the larger browns I have raised to 12 pounds. Using a light light line and spinning rod or a fly rod this set will actually cast quite far.

I had some guys out that were confident they could catch the browns on flies they tied to look like a pellet and it was not consistent. The trout apparently know by the scent as you elluded to Bruce. BTW we call these PP flies. (Pantyhose flies) LOL


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






#11178 10/15/04 05:55 AM
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Cecil,
I have tried every type of pellet fly that has been suggested on this board - cork, foam, and fish pellets in panty hose that you previously recommended. All produced very limited results but the panty hose did outperform the others.

The absolute best recommendation came from Bruce Conello with his "PomPom" fly.
The first time I used them I caught blue gill, LMB, HSB, and channel catfish to six pounds...!

I did cheat however - I store them in zip-lock bags with crushed AQMX 600......

I yield to Bruce for further description.

#11179 10/15/04 07:10 AM
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Thanks guys. I will wait on larger pellets for the HSB (til they get up to that 20" range). I do have some 7-10 lb. cats in one of my ponds so next summer I may start playing with different pellet sizes. (My friend is as excited as I am to experiment with pellet size and he is the one making the pellets)

ps I found this website (and magazine)about 2 mos. ago and it has been fantastic. I am by no means a aquaculturist, but I have learned a lot from guys like yourselves. Thanks again.


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#11180 10/15/04 08:32 AM
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George, where did you get the pom-poms?

#11181 10/15/04 08:41 AM
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Dave,
I found the Kelly Green PomPoms at Hobby Lobby and later, brown and light green at Michaels - I imagine any craft store will have them.

I'll experiment futher with different colors this weekend, but my thoughts are as any other fly/lures - color isn't as important as dark shades/low light, off-color water,and lighter shades for brighter weather/clear water conditions.

#11182 10/15/04 12:23 PM
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Great, Cecil...I can see it now...

Bruce's wife: "Bruce, why have you been purchasing panty hose and bringing them to the cabin?"

Bruce: "Ummmmm, Uhhhhh"


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#11183 11/01/04 06:21 PM
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Bruce, way cool story, it just goes to show ya, pushing the limits can be fun, exciting, disappointing and a great overall experience. Im sure there is a lot we can all learn by stepping outside the boarder, Im looking forward to my journey as well. SEE (TYPES OF FISH TO CHOOSE / WALLEYE, WIPER, SMB), and please offer some insight, ideas, concerns, opinions. This sight is great, hearing what everyone has done and is willing to try. Just think not many years ago, no one ever heard of Wipers, and there sure as hell werent Strippers in Kansas.


Love Our Land
#11184 01/05/05 09:07 AM
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My plan for supplemental HSB stocking is being changed by necessity.
I planned to stock 8-10 inchers last fall to avoid LMB predation but could not find a supplier. My original stocking of 4-5 inch fingerlings probably had less than 20% survival rate.

Another supplier had scheduled 8-10 or 10-12 inch HSB for early spring availability, but due to demand was unable to grow them out to this size.

I am reluctant to stock smaller fingerlings due to predation so am considering altering my forage pond to a grow out pond, which my supplier recommends.

The forage/grow-out pond is acre, bowl shaped, 12 ft. deep, one year old and presently stocked a year ago with 100 red-ear sunfish, which I will transfer to main pond in early spring.

In reviewing previous posts by Bruce Condello and Bill Cody, temperature tolerance is stated to be an issue for larger fish.

I will be able to acquire 100, 4-6 or 6-8 inch stockers in a couple of weeks.
Water temperature is currently 50-55 degrees.

My supplier raises large numbers of fingerling HSB in his ponds and says there should be no problems if I transfer by mid summer.

At what water temperature should I transfer to the two acre pond, with an automatic feeder and bottom membrane diffuser aeration?

I will feed high protein Aquamax 500/600 with NO aeration in the small pond.
How much growth should be expected by the time of critical water temperature?

Your thoughts and recommendations will be appreciated.

George Glazener

N.E. Texas acre and 2 acre ponds.

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