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#12626 07/09/05 11:02 AM
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I'm wondering what exactly makes a fish worthless? It seems like anything other than Bluegill and Largemouth are looked down upon here. Why are Green Sunfish so despised? Unless you just like catching lots of little Bluegill, I don't see why it would make a difference to the predatory fish who are eating them.

Why are any Catfish species other than Channels looked down on? Blues for instance are absolutely no different than Channels with the exception of their maximum size (of course your not going to grow a world record blue in a 1 acre pond.)

Basically I'm just wondering why the Bluegill and Bass are so highly regarded. I fish 3-4 days a week (lakes and rivers) and I'm so sick of catching Bluegill and Largemouths that its not funny. Right not I would much rather catch a big catfish, drum, carp, etc. I never really did understand the those guys that would troll around, casting their heart out to catch a little 2 lb. Bass.

Just wondering,
Rex

#12627 07/09/05 02:07 PM
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Your question is mostly philosophical. One person's junk is another person's treasure.

Bass and bgill "work" good together and are quite compatable that can produce a high quality fishery with minimal management. Most other combinations of predator and prey require more observation, management and work to produce relatively the same quality of results as the LMB-bgill combination. Many other fish can be raised successfully in ponds, but to get them to thrive (reproduce regularly and grow to quality size) and not cause problems or interference for the overall fishery may not be an easy or economical task.

In the end it all comes down to the GOALS of the pond owner. LM bass & bgill are a tested, proven, simple and reliable fish combination to provide quality edible fish, easily catchable fish and sporty fish with the least amount of effort for the AVERAGE pondowner.


aka Pond Doctor & Dr. Perca Read Pond Boss Magazine -
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#12628 07/09/05 02:28 PM
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Rex, I agree with some of your thoughts, but, as Bill said, the combo of BG and LMB is a good match. You will get large bluegill due to predation by bass, and good size bass.

If you are tired of catching small bass and bream, suggest you up size your gear, and fish the rivers with the small bream you catch. You will find that Big Pond, myself, and others, have a fascination with blue cats, also. There is one gentleman from Tn., who actually likes catfish, but just plays 'devils advocate' by calling them trash fish.
What fish are you looking to grow in your pond? I will bet that on this forum you can find someone who has had success and many others who can offer exceptional advice.

Welcome and good luck.


#12629 07/09/05 02:37 PM
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Some of the more experienced and affluent members here can probably answer this better (in fact a couple did while I was typing this!), but I'll give a hack at it to the best of my understanding. Any given body of water (or area of land for that matter) can only support a certain amount of biomass before something has to give. For obvious reasons, the addition of some variable (say a small stocking of a non-native species) is going to have a much less drastic effect in a 20,000 acre reservoir than in a 3 acre pond. In an effort to sustain a managable population, most pond owners stock a combination of fish that they know will work well together. This means a predator/prey relationship that already does a pretty good job of maintaining population balance naturally without human intervention. The tried and true combination is LMB/BG, because that's what most people have done for years...probably because the two species don't have too many "special" requirements, and because they are the most popular gamefish and panfish species in the US, respectively. There's certainly nothing wrong with experimenting with other species, and many folks here are trying some unusual things, but there's less guarantee that a non-traditional stocking plan will work over the long term.

BG is the traditionally stocked panfish, but redears (shellcrackers) and pumpkinseeds seem to work pretty well as an additional species; many folks include them as they are beneficial for snail control. Others are less regarded in the pond world. Among these are the green sunfish you mentioned. The biggest problems with GS are that they have a propensity for heavy spawns, and that they have much larger mouths for their size than most sunfish. They can be fairly predatory and compete with other species for forage. Also, due to their spawining habits, they tend to overpopulate and stunt in growth from the resulting lack of food.

Crappie are generally avoided for the same reasons as GS, on an even higher level. They are primarily piscovorous (esp. white crappie) meaning that they compete heavily with bass or other gamefish. They also spawn erratically...they might not produce a good year class for a few years, but when they do, it's a big one - overpopulation = stunting. And because they spawn earlier in the year than bass, they tend to predate heavily on the new bass fry, hurting bass recruitment.

SMB and spotted bass are avoided mostly because their habitat requirements are difficult to provide in a small pond.

The "temperate basses" are mostly avoided, except for the striped bass x white bass hybrid. Several here have had success with the HSB on a put & take basis. They won't generally spawn in a small pond, so they have to be restocked as they're removed. Numbers seem to have to be kept low, as they compete directly with LMB for forage.

Blue and flathead cats are avoided mainly b/c they have a propensity to get really big, even in small waters. One big catfish can eat a lot, leading to problems maintaining the forage base. Flatheads are particularly problematic, because as they get larger they begin to feed exclusively on live fish. Bullheads, on the other hand, are a problem because they tend to both overpopulate and muddy the water. Common carp are avoided for the same water-muddying habits as bullheads. Grass carp (triploid/sterile variety) are often used for weed control, but the numbers are kept low generally...easier to add them if necessary than to take them out.

Toothy species are generally too effective as predators to maintain a forage base with. This imcludes the pike family and the pike-perch family. Also, pike-perch (walleye, sauger, saugeye) don't spawn very successfully in ponds. Pike and muskie require colder water temps than can be provided in the southern part of the country. Chain pickerel might work, I guess (?), in a larger pond with low numbers of the pickerel. I don't know of anyone that's done it, but I'm considering trying to get a few grass/redfin pickerel for a small pond, just to see how they do. They don't get more than a pound or so, might be a fun experiment.

Sorry to be long-winded, but you asked for it! ;\) I'm sure I left some things out (thankfully, I'm sure), but hopefully that'll give you the gist of why certain species are avoided in ponds. It's all about management strategy, and doing things that are highly likely to work over the long term.


-Brandon E. Wilson
#12630 07/09/05 02:46 PM
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I have access to a pond where somebody threw in a couple of flatheads and they cleaned out the pond. Supposedly they were caught and taken out, but the damage was already done. We seldom catch any fish beacuse there are none in the pond.

#12631 07/09/05 02:47 PM
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Rex, every "redneck" in my part of Texas, including myself, grew up fishing for bluegill (BG) and large mouth bass(LMB).

I became bored with LMB when tournament fishermen took over the popular lakes and T.V. stars running up and down the lakes in race car garbs.

We have them in our pond - my son loves them but I've switched to hybrid striped bass (HSB).
They are harder fighters and easier to catch than LMB, and thrive on high protein fish food. In the process you'll grow some monster BG -which are fun to catch on a fly rod.

I would recommend that you try HSB.
They don't reproduce so you are able to control the numbers by a having a "put and take" fishery.

George Glazener
N.E. Texas 1/4 and 2 acre ponds

#12632 07/09/05 03:44 PM
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What makes a "trash" fish is not just what's possible to keep in the available waters, it's also cultural. Look at how much Europeans love catching Carp (enough to bring the damn things over to this side of the Atlantic with them), and how the Japanese have declared the LMB a pisces non-gratis!


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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#12633 07/09/05 07:27 PM
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We've had posts from pond owners that are stocking gar, muskie, pike, green sunfish, flathead, blue & even bullhead cats.
Yes LMB & BG are previlent, but it's your pond. Stock what you want & you're welcome to come here for advice if needed.
Lot's of guys on here like diversity in their ponds & have experiences they have gleened valuable info from.


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If you can read this ... thank a teacher. Since it's in english ... thank our military!
Ric
#12634 07/09/05 11:32 PM
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Thanks for the replies! You guys seem more open minded and knowledgable than I had first thought.

I guess its the proven combo of LMB and Bluegill that people like. If they stock apporpriately, they won't have to worry too much about the size and numbers of the fish.

Personally, I come from a family that fished the upper Cumberland river for the available fish, whatever they may be. The most sought after fish was the "Mudcat" (Flathead Catfish) which they trot lined for. I kind of have an emotional attachment to this species for this reason. Everytime I see a huge "Mudcat" I think of my great grandfather and his brother. For this reason, I would like to stock them in my pond and plan to do so. The problem is that no hatchery provides them. Right now I have a 16" and a 22" Flathead catfish in my Koi pond for holding.

When my pond is redone later this fall it should be 3/4 - 1 acre and I plan to stock it with a small number of these fish (hopefully around 10.) I don't expect them to reach gargantuan proportions in this small pond but up to 20 lbs would be nice. Of course this will require a constant stocking of baitfish which I will provide. I have 2 very small and shollow ponds near my house which I will drain and clear of fish, and then restock to be bluegill factories.

I'm also not opposed to experimenting with Bluecats, Longnose gar, Drum, HSB, etc. etc.. We'll see how it goes. Worse case scenaria is that I'll have to start over.

One of the main things that bothers me is when people look down on a particular species of fish just because its not a Bass or a Trout. I'll never understand it.

Thanks
Rex

#12635 07/10/05 04:11 AM
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Rex,

I here so much about bullhead, GS, and crappie being such a prolific spawner that nothing else will grow to good size if there are large numbers of the above fish. Funny, I have caught flatheads on all of them. If all you plan to raise in the pond would be flatheads only, I wonder what one of these other "trash fish" would end up making good forage. Hopefully one of the experts will chime in for some good info on this. It only makes sence since these fish are all hardy prolific spawners and reproduce in great numbers! Maybe one of these fish could be a great alternative for forage fish.


Just another 1 acre hole in the ground...........with fish !!!
#12636 07/10/05 02:23 PM
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It will be interesting to learn what other species and to what sizes you can raise in a 1 ac pond besides 10-12 flatheads. Your experiences with this stocking would make interesting reading in Pond Boss magazine. Try and take a few pictures of your pond and the fishes as the plan unfolds.


aka Pond Doctor & Dr. Perca Read Pond Boss Magazine -
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#12637 07/10/05 03:43 PM
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I was going to finish earlier but was runnuing late for work. My father in law started a 3/4 acre pond a little over 5 years ago. His initial stocking was 25 CC, 50 bass, and 500 HBG. The HBG were fished out, and restocked then fished out again. The bass became stunted badly becoming canabalistic because lack of forage fish. There are tons of 6-8" bass. He wanted to fish out the catfish because he said when he would stock new HBG they were immediately catfish food. He quit stocking for the last 2 years and just left it alone. I helped fish out the catfish. The best bait to catch them on were Green sunfish. We had a ball with a bobber. The catfish were 12 +lbs and very fat and healthy. Their stomach content was bass up to 10" consistently. The plus was that we also caught a few 6+lbs LMB. their stomachs were also full of smaller bass. It was a fun pond to fish. We had relatives come up for the weekends just to get a chance at one of the nice cats that he had. Many of them would bring much to light of tackle and usually ended up loosing them. Our last count was 24 cats with one left that I believe had gotten away a few times and is now very hook wise. He will still feed on the pellets that are thrown to the gills everynight. At nearly 5 years old I don't know how much more growth these cats would have seen but non the less they were of great sporting size. The pond is still just loaded with 6-8" bass though and he just stocked it with 300 HBG again. 300 more HBG will be added in the fall. I added a few of his bass to my pond because they were feed trained. They have since quit taking feed. I think they must like the large amount of forage fish I have in my pond.


Just another 1 acre hole in the ground...........with fish !!!
#12638 07/10/05 06:05 PM
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the biggest problem I see is the amount of flatheads for the small pond. Channels are chosen because of the growth per lb. of food. I understand that flatheads consume a lot for a lb of growth. Should be fun though.
Another problem I see with the older pond is stocking with HBG, which are mostly male and not prolific spawners. Thats why the bass were so skinny. Thats why LMB and BG are a good match. BG is the best forage fish for most predators. GS also was good, as they are prolific, and have a long, slender body easy to inhale.
If you stock BG and provide plenty of cover, they will be good forage; but be careful of overload, disease and such. Need to aerate.


#12639 07/10/05 08:01 PM
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I can tell you that Bluegill and Threadfin shad are your best bet for foraging Flatheads. The reason being, is because Bluegills spawn SEVERAL times through out the entire summer, while Crappie only spawn once in the spring. The main Problem with crappie is that they EAT SO MUCH! They GORGE them selfs on small minnows such as LMB and Bluegill. This is one of their main problems. Not because the are SO PROFILIC when they spawn. Bluegill are more prolific than Crappie, but Bluegill are GREAT for ANY pond.

What I suggest is have a good feeding and fertilizer program for your bream. If they are eating good and growing, then your Flatheads are going to be happy.

I am Growing Blue cats as my main fish. The F1's are just there to maintain balance. I presently have stocked in a 9.5 acre lake:
250 Blue Cats
250 Channel Cats
2 baby Flathead Cats (wish I had not stocked these 2)
1000 Coppernose
1000 Redbreast
3500 Native Bluegill
1000 Redear
500 F1's LMB
This winter I am going to get a load of threadfin shad....and possibly the spring I might stock Black Crappie.

I tell you who you need to talk to, its Greg Grimes. He has a client who is managing for BIG Flatheads he has been helping him with this for a while now.

#12640 07/10/05 08:30 PM
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I haven't seen many, if any, folks on the Forum "look down" on fish. Everyone has preferences, many have different objectives for their pond, and most folks here have a good bit of experience with fish and the ponds they manage.

I fall into that category. For example, I will never allow a catfish in my ponds....why, cause they do not fit my objectives for my pond. Nothing wrong with preferences. If you prefer flathead catfish, go for it. Doesn't make you any better or worse than those who prefer "little 2 pound" bass, which kind of sounded like maybe "looking down". \:\)

Pond meistering, just as fishing, is a large endeavor capable of accomodating all kinds of different preferences and approaches. What is better for one may be worse for another. That's just the way it is and will always be.

#12641 07/10/05 10:23 PM
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"The problem is that no hatchery provides them."

Rex,

There was a gentleman on a Aquaculture site that was commerically netting big flatheads out of the Ohio river and selling them to pond owners. Only stipulation was you had to meet him at the Indiana/Ohio line. He hasn't posted in a while and you would have to be sure this is legal in your neck of the woods. I can alert you if his add comes up again if you're interested.


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






#12642 07/10/05 10:27 PM
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I have visited many pay lakes ( ponds ) in southern Ohio / Kentucky and alot of great natural lakes and rivers in search of flatheads. I always wondered how they could support such large numbers of flatheads and blues in the little ponds. I live to far north for the idea of flatheads. Boy would that be nice to see photos and here of your ponds success.

As for my father in laws pond I am trying to talk him into making some changes :rolleyes: !!


Just another 1 acre hole in the ground...........with fish !!!
#12643 07/10/05 10:39 PM
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speaking of trashfish I sure wish I could have made a trip to Massachusetts for a couple of weeks in June thsi year. (Used to live there as a kid) Bluegill are considered trash fish there and I have a blast with a fly rod catching them off the beds. Unless things have changed I had absolutely NO COMPETITION fishing for them.

It's really a thrill to have large bluegills come off a bed in 8 feet of crystal clear water to smack you fly so hard they sometimes swallow it! I kid you not!


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






#12644 07/11/05 05:40 AM
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Rex,

I can only speak for myself. I do not "look down on" any fish. Fishing is for fun and food, and both are a personal preference.

I find that bass and bluegill are fun to catch. Pound for pound, they fight harder than most fish. I would like to have grass pickerel in my pond just because they fight harder than any fish I have ever caught. While drum and carp can put up a decent fight, I find catfish fight like a hooked boot.

I find bluegill an excellent eating fish. I find crappie not quite as good but still great eating. I find that bass are a little farther down on the eating scale, but still good eating. Catfish, carp, drum... I'm sorry, but I don't find them to my taste.

But,,, many others agree with you. I know some folks that would rather catch and eat catfish than bass and bluegill.

Bottom line, raise what you prefer!


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