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Russ #125437 07/17/08 04:35 PM
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Not sure how to take this most recent development so I'm going to ask for advice. Some of the old timers on the board will recall my original plan for a small pond with big male BG only. Then the bass showed up and on their shirttail came the BG fry. Overall, I'm satisfied with the results, even having reproducing bass and BG but todays unwelcomed addition needs to be addressed.....I think.

In preparation of mucking out the stream that feeds this pond (to create a small FHM forage pond), I started pumping water out the other day. A few more hours of pumping will cause the stream bed to go dry but the pond will still be about 80% full. As I was raking out some algae and weeds around the perimeter of the pond, I noticed a couple of small fish in amongst the weeds. Upon closer inspection, they turned out to be 1-1.25" bullhead!

With the original plan some what skewed already, it certainly did not include bullhead. (Side note: I have never caught a bullhead in this pond so perhaps the bass are keeping them in check.) Given those facts, I'd like to hear comments on how you guys would proceed with this.

Would you (1) continue to pump the pond dry, glean out the big BG and sex them for restocking in hopes of getting the original plan back on track, (2) leave as is hoping the bullhead will not become a problem, or (3) options from the board.

Thanks in advance for all replies.

Here is a link to a bird's eye view of the pond.

http://www.zillow.com/aerial/DualMapPage.htm?zpid=66894940

Russ





Last edited by Russ; 07/17/08 04:38 PM.
Russ #125462 07/17/08 08:14 PM
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Russ what to do depends on where you want to go. Give some thought to that and post what you want and we can go from there.
















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Russ, A pond with a strong bass population and some effort directed to removing each year some adult bullheads one can tolerate some bullheads and not have lots of problems. Bullhead will learn to eat pellets and grow well on them. Bullheads feed best just before dark. I like eating bullheads raised on pellets in a pond. The bullheads that were eating pellets in my small pond were practically eating pellets out of my hand which made catching them relatively easy. If bullheads are your only problem then you might want to live with them for a few years and see how the fish community develops. But if you have some other negative issues with the fishery then now would be a good time to renovate. Your pond is not real large so renovating in a couple years will not be a major project compared to a pond of 2-6 acres. You could use the next few years to work the fishery and gather more knowledge then renovate if you want to move the fishery in another direction.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/17/08 08:36 PM.

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FWIW, surprisingly, I haven't encountered too many problems with bullheads in ponds with established LMB populations. They are just SOOOOOO susceptible to predation when they are young. If the water is relatively clear, and the vegetation is relatively under control the LMB will hammer them into submission. The very few that survive will grow huge and actually taste great. I'd tend to resist the urge to renovate, in particular if you think that it may happen again.


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Thank you for the replies. While working the pond this morning, I had time to give this more thought and will take a wait and see approach.

Bill, in reference to this comment "....one can tolerate some bullheads and not have lots of problems." do you mean overpopulation? Other than the bullheads, I have no problems with the pond.

Bruce,
Prior to pumping, secchi disk readings were 36". With the pond level down almost 4' now, I've been cleaning out some weeds that I can reach from shore. I do not know what vegetation/density exists below the current waterline. Your last sentence really hammers home the reality of the situation. Given the fact I have no control over the stream that supplies this pond, if I drain it dry now, there is no guarantee I won't be faced with the same problem down the road. Like Bill mentioned, if things get really out of hand, the pond's size is such that to renovate would not be a big deal.

Russ

Russ #125579 07/18/08 01:57 PM
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I feel that as long as you have your pond connected to "wild" water, you are going to have Mr. Bullhead gracing your waters.

I used to feel that LMB would keep bullheads in check, but I'm slowly coming away from that theory. Bruce does qualify his statement considering water clarity and the presence of weeds, but I wonder if the LMB don't prefer other fish to eat over the bullheads. So if you've got a good forage base, the pressure on the bullheads may not be enough.

I agree with taking a wait-&-see approach for now.

There is also a way to target bullheads when fishing (I read it somewhere). Take a piece of hot dog on a hook and cast the hotdog out and bring it back in a straight line slowly along the bottom of the pond; then repeat with a second cast so the path of the second cast creates and "X" shape with the path of the first cast. Obviosly, you have to cast from two different spots.

Then fish at the center of the "X" with hotdogs and see what comes up.


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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Thank you Sunil. Given the size of the bullheads I saw yesterday, they would be no match for the 8"-14" bass that currently roam the pond. I will give your fishing technique a try and report back at a later date.

Russ

Russ #149749 02/18/09 05:47 PM
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In anticipation of raising some fish in cages this spring I would like to refer back to Bill Cody's post on 9/6/07 for this question. Following his thoughts on catching some existing 4-6" BG and taking them from "free range" to a caged environment what precautions, if any, should I take to help reduce fish stress and avoid/limit any mortality ?

Thanks


Russ

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Don't over crowd fish in holding or hauling container.
Transport fish when air and water temps are cool 52-65F.
Never handle fish with dry hands.
Minimally handle each fish as much as possible.
Do not keep any fish that touches the ground.
Don't keep any fish that is not lip hooked or only those if minimally or lightly hooked inside mouth.
Don't keep fish too long (over 2 hrs) in containers prior to hauling. Make sure you or someone performs regular water changes on fish in containers depending on how many fish are in each holding container. A live box is helpful for holding higher numbers of fish or holding fish for longer periods if catching is really slow.
Rarely do I use any chemical additives on fish that I haul short distances - 20-30 min.
If hauling longer than 20-30 min it is a good idea to have very good aeration. Don't crowd fish in hauling container even with aeration. Stress can cause latent problems with fish adjusting to cages.
Add worm pieces 1/4"-1/2" the next day after fish have been caged. You want vitality - stamina (primarily slime coat) to stay high right away after being placed in a cage and while adjusting to cage life or containment.
In my opinion it is better to make two or several trips to gather fish compared to one trip where fish are crowded in hauling.



Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/18/09 06:45 PM.

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glad to see this thread revived russ (with the new title too \:\) )

this is one of the threads that drew me in to pondboss as a lurker way back when.

great info from mr. cody right there..

JHAP bought a couple small inexpensive battery operated aerators at wally world when he transferred fish from my place. they seemed to work really well. basically a small box compressor w/ on/off switch, and poly tube going to small airstone. someone more clever than me could probably find a link to it on the web. i think he said they were around 20 bucks a piece.


GSF are people too!

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Thanks Dave. Its interesting to see what the original plan was and where we're at today. I emphasize "we're" because without PB and its members, I'd be lost. Projects for this year include another attempt to excavate the streambed in hopes of establishing a fathead grow out area. Coupled with that, the raising of fish in cages has me excited but until ice out and maple season is over, its just a waiting game for now. With any luck, this year I just might see a 9" BG.
I will continue to update this thread with "our" progress.

Russ

Russ #166431 06/02/09 03:13 PM
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Following spring and ice out, algae has been a constant companion of this little puddle. This year has been especially hard. Until a spring rain last week the only openings in the algae mat were the result of the aerators. After the rain, algae coverage has dropped from 90% to 20%. In an attempt to limit regrowth, I added some pond dye last week. Prior to adding the dye, secchi disk measurements were 4 feet. Today, the readings are down to 2 feet. The morning feeding still have the BG hitting the pellets hard.

Russ


Last edited by Russ; 06/02/09 03:14 PM.
Russ #167474 06/08/09 07:14 PM
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This past saturday I took the time to take a census survey of the critters that are living rent free in this puddle. Of the 14 fish landed we had 11 BG 5-6", one 9" LMB and one 9" bullhead. The ultimate prize came on the second to last cast....a 9" BG !

MANY, MANY thanks to all that helped achieve this goal.

Russ

Russ #173519 07/13/09 04:19 PM
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A mid summer update.
Still doing battle with the algae. A couple of weeks ago, I culled 20 BG in the 3-4 inch range. This past weekends fishing yielded bluegill in the 5-6 range with a nice 8.5 inch male. Also pulled in a couple of 9-10" LMBs.
Launched two fish cages the first week of June. 30 BG and YP fingerlings/cage. The morning feeding consists of a combination of worm bits and pellets, 3mm Silvercup. The BG take both, the YP have not warmed up to the pellets yet. Lost one 4" BG so far.

Russ


Last edited by Russ; 07/13/09 04:19 PM.
Russ #173522 07/13/09 05:06 PM
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Russ, sounds like your pond fish are doing well, how about some photo's of your pond and the fish.



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AP,

For an aerial view of my ponds go to my July 17, 2008 post on this thread. Click on the link. It will bring up a birds eye view of the BG pond. Scroll left across the street to see the big pond. This photo was taken in the spring because I see the wood bins by the barn for maple syrup season. I'll work on getting the fish posted.














Russ

Last edited by ewest; 07/15/09 07:32 AM.
Russ #173661 07/14/09 07:56 AM
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Thanks for the updates Russ. Any new pics. ? I wish everyone would update their pond threads as things progress. It helps us all learn.
















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Thanks Russ for the pic. Great job on the cages. Nice fish !
















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Nice job on the cages Russ, lots of fun raising fish and being able to watch their progress.



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Thank you Eric for posting the pictures!

Since my 7/13 post, I've lost another 4.5" BG and one 4" YP. No visible signs of injury on either fish. Of those that remain, the a.m. dinner bell finds them waiting and eager.....BG are at surface but the YP remain deep. The first week of August will mark two months in the cages. I hope to net a few for observation.

Turning to the pond itself. After culling the small BG from a couple of weeks ago, pellet feeding has slowed. Haven't done any fishing since then but I can't believe I decimated the existing pellet feeding population that much.

Russ

Last edited by Russ; 07/23/09 04:16 PM.
Russ #175538 07/23/09 05:01 PM
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russ, i noticed i have the "same old crowd" when i feed. its a school of maybe 100-200 fish or so. it consists of the original BG stockers, the older GSF that learned early on from the pellet fed stockers, and not so many young fish....particularly those BG born in the pond (of the young fish they are mostly aggressive greenies). i've figured if i removed most of those in the feeding school, that would be that.


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Dave -

Feeding, both cage and free rangers, is done at one end of the pond. Fishing takes place elsewhere. I hope in time welfare recruitment increases. If not, I may be sampling Purina GFC for breakfast so it doesn't go to waste. Maybe my chickens will eat it. With all the rain we've had of late, they are begining to wonder if I'm raising them as fin or fowl.

- Russ

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Hey Russ. I saw this thread a while back, but missed the part in which you said you were using dye to control the algae. Dye is your worst enemy if you're trying to grow big fish, bluegill or anything else, because it kills plankton which are the foundation of the entire food chain in any pond. A far better way to control the algae is to establish a program of regular fertilization. It sounds like you have too much FA right now to start fertilizing this year, but if you start next April before it gets going good, as soon as you get a good plankton bloom (which should happen by the second or third application, usually the second) going, the plankton cuts out the sunlight penetrating through the water and the FA dies and doesn't come back. A good plankton bloom does the same thing the dye does, only far more effectively, and with the tremendous difference that it will greatly increase the growth rate of your fish rather than slicing it.

If you're feeding regularly, you could have bluegill that average 7" or better, rather than the 4-5" it sounds like they average now, if you fertilize.

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Every pond does not need to be fertilized as many outside the south have more than enough natural fertility to produce a good plankton bloom without help. The danger with fertilizing a naturally productive pond is you achieve to dense a bloom that uses up all the DO at night and causes a fish kill. There are many naturally fertile northern ponds where fertilization will not reduce FA because it grows in colder water before the fertilizer can work. In those ponds FA will grow before the plankton bloom which will then occur when its time and other methods of FA control have to be used , if the pond owner wishes to do so.
















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Northern ponds are very tricky to fertilize and I think you run a serious risk as Eric said. Anything much north of the Mason-Dixon line...

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