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Theo, for a moment I thought you were going to say that GSF were more like LMB than BG. What do you think about that comparison?

Maybe the way to approach this is more like a trophy LMB strategy with the GSF filling the basses role and a traditional or non-traditional selection of very small forage fish. These could be gambusia or maybe some of the super small sunfish.

Does anyone know if GSF take pellets easily? If so, how would that effect the strategy?



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 Quote:
Originally posted by GW:
DIED, was that you who has the big Greens? Did you get them by managing for them?
GW, DIED is in fact the one that has the huge GSF in his pond. I've emailed him that there is a GSF thread going on so hopefully he'll tell you all about it.

He does not have any bass in his pond so the GSF is the primary predator. Prior to his adding the BG and RES in March, he only had Gams and GSF in his pond. So there was no predation pressure besides GSF eating GSF.

Now that he has added BG and RES he is pellet feeding. I don't think (but am not positive) that the GSF are eating the pellets but that is not to say that they can't be pellet trained.

I'm sure he'll be along soon to fill in the details.


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GW - based on what I know about the GSF lake I previously mentioned I would leave other types of sunfish out, at least intially for a couple of years, to avoid hybridization. BG have been introduced into the mix on the lake I know, there are now lot's of BG and HBG in there and the GSF numbers have dropped dramticaly in both numbers and size. I do like the tilapia idea, the offspring would provide plenty of small fish for both the LMB and GSF to forage on. The nice thing about GSF is their big mouth and their abilty to eat prey much larger than most sunfish can. They also have a more streamlined body shape that lets the LMB more easily eat them in larger sizes than other sunfish. They way I see it is that the with GSF only in ther mix you should see very little LMB reproduction and the existing LMB should be able to work on GSF up to 7-8". If the timing and stocking numbers work out you could end up with a trophy GSF & trophy LMB pond. If it we me, I would stock the GSF only, then wait a year or two before adding any LMB.



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 Quote:
Originally posted by ewest:
If you want a balanced LMB/lepomis pond GSF are not the best choice. GSF take up carrying capacity like a BG (size/weight) but are much less productive as forage. By far in the south the most common problem in pond fish populations is stunted LMB (8-12 in) due partly to not enough forage even when stocked with BG.
What Ewest describes here is exactly what I found in my pond when I purchased the property. I had a 3 acre pond with stunted LMB, numerous GSF and a couple (well five that I know of) catfish. But the GSF were simply not producing enough forage for the LMB. Since there was lots of vegetation in the pond the GSF had plenty of places to hide and multiply and not get eaten.

I personally like the GSF, they fight like a fish twice their size and they are IMHO one of the most beautiful of the sunfish. But just not adequate for LMB forage. In March I added BG and RES - I have no idea how this will work in the long run - time will tell. Since I don't live at the property this will be an unmanaged/unscientific/unprofessional/uninhibited/unnatural/unemcumbered/uncola experiment. And that's all I have to say about that.


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jeffhasapond, my thoughts are the key to this whole idea of GSF only pond would be almost NO aquatic vegetation to give the YOY for either the GSF of LMB to hide in. Having a significant amout of aquatic vegetation will mess it up, I've seen it happen at the lake I mentioned. I would be very hawkish on keeping it weed free.

Our neighbor on the section has a small GSF only pond with nothing else in it, I'll stop by sometime and see if can find out what the average size of GSF are without any other predators present. A couple of years ago I tried to talk him into putting 1/2 dozen LMB from our pond in it and he said "No, it was just too much fun for the kids to go fish."



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GSF readily eat pellets. If you watch my thread on feeding my 30gallon you can see the GSF is king be it bugs pellets or anything that is edible.

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That's good news (for one interested in Greenies). Does anyone think it would be any different in a pond?

GSF aggressively taking pellets seems to be a key factor doesn't it? I'm a rookie, but isn't part of the problem with overpopulation the fact that forage is depleted too quickly?

I'm starting to think that a GSF pond with no LMB might be the way to go. Keep plant growth to a minimum, feed pellets, and harvest selectively and aggressively.



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 Quote:
Originally posted by GW:
............
I'm linking to DIED's sunfish thread for inspirational purposes. Where are you Dave? Have you done anything to specifically grow your Greenies?
g-dub...sorry i've been away playing with dirt.

i've previously posted (probably too much) about the background info on my pond, the downstream ranch pond, and the GSF. the info is spread around. nutshell (as much as i am able).....the GSF originally came from a nearby old unmanaged 5 ac ranch pond containing only LMB and GSF. LMB are largely stunted but with occassional whoppers over 5 lb (a ranch hand caught a 10 lb and an 11 lb LMB late last fall both with bellies full of LMB fry and frogs). the GSF are all huge and smaller year classes of GSF seemingly absent. I moved some GSF over to my pond last summer and never saw them again until this spring (those pics from me you posted here). They dont appear to have gained much in length, but they definitely have gained girth presumably since i stocked the BG in february.

the unmanaged ranch pond seems to have its own balance that shorty alluded to. with just LMB and GSF, you have trophies of both species, with the majority of LMB being 8-14 inches and looking a bit underfed.

if you have nothing better to do, below are some links with more detailed background info on my pond the ranch pond and the GSF (they are really funny for me to re-read........i know so little now.......i knew even less then, a true fingerling \:D ) it reminds me of why i love this place, and compells me to thank again the HOF (hall of fame) pond bosses who've helped me learn so much the last year including but not limited to ewest, theo, bruce, cody, ML....too long a list to name all:

unwanted fish?

keeping things simple

gambusia, bluegill and spotted bass

HBG pic/question

the now former world record RES came from a canal not far from my place.....maybe the next world record GSF is swimming around right in front of me \:D

p.s. i dont think the mommies and daddies are eating pellets but all the little ones are. took them about 30 seconds to figure it out.


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GSF will agressivley eat about anything. \:\)

 Quote:
I'm starting to think that a GSF pond with no LMB might be the way to go. Keep plant growth to a minimum, feed pellets, and harvest selectively and aggressively.
I think that's the way to start for a couple of years, after which if you wanted you could add a few LMB for some additional tropheys to the pond. Without weeds present I wouldn't expect much LMB recruitment if any at all. I do know that the NE G & P biologist told the home owners association at the lake I mentioned that they would likley have to restock LMB periodically due to very poor recruitment from GSF predation on the LMB fry. ;\)



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Well I know a sure-fire method for producing lunker Greenies, but I don't have the resources to offer Cecil $100 for every 2 pounder he produces.

It's probably just my lack of knowledge, but it just doesn't seem all that unlikely that a small pond could produce good numbers of 1lb GSF.

They eat like pigs apparently so why couldn't you just stuff them until they grow large? I think ewest had a good point about genetics, but with a little effort I believe some decent breeders could be had. The Georgia record for GSF was set a few years ago at 1lb 7oz and 11 inches so they are out there. Considering the common opinion about GSF I think it's safe to assume that big Greenie wasn't big because someone managed for it.

Maybe before we go further someone could try and shoot down that logic (feed them heavily = big GSF).



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no challenge from me.

as Dr. Frankenbruce once told me (a couple weeks ago):

General rule...

Identify the fish you want to grow big, then assure that there are fewer fish than their particular food resource will support.


running around the shoreline like a madman making all the grasshoppers jump into the pond dont hurt neither.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by dave in el dorado ca:
...running around the shoreline like a madman making all the grasshoppers jump into the pond dont hurt neither.
That's really funny--because I've actually done that before. \:\)


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I am doing some research on the subject for answers if they exist.

Lepomis reproduce more offspring if well conditioned (lots of food). If you put in small GSF to start a population and feed them they will quickly become reproductive to fill the space and will produce more offspring. Without predation they will continue that process until the carrying capacity of the pond is reached and stunt. That is also true of BG and PS and others except RES (can't find a case of reported RES stunting).
















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ewest, it's really great that you're willing to take the time to research something for the benefit of others. I know you've been thanked many times but I would like to add my thanks to the list.

I'm glad that GSF are similar to BG in this aspect, not because that makes it any easier to manage, but because there's so much information about raising BG.

My pond will be small so seining might work for population control. Maybe I should keep the contour simple and without too much structure. What about removable structure? The maximum depth will probably be less than 6 feet. Also in a normal weather pattern I could lower the pond significantly and expect it to fill pretty quickly.

I did find research that said GSF commonly eat small LMB, fry and eggs. Maybe they would put pressure on their own fry as well. Is cannibalism a large factor in managing any other species? Would it make sense to stop feeding pellets after a spawn to encourage adults to eat the fry?



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GW thanks. That is what this forum is all about. I have some bits and pieces.

You note a very good point - that small ponds are much easier to manage/control by many means. Seining and trapping are great ways to manage small ponds. Drawdowns are a good tool for several reasons. They concentrate fish for eating and allow the dry ground to become much more productive when re-flooded. Just have to be sure it will refill.

GSF and BG are big predators of yoy fish no matter the type including their own species. Male BG as a general matter know there own offspring by smell (chemical detection) and don't eat them. They can tell sneaker BG yoy from there own and have been observed picking out the intruder yoy and eating them. The biggest predator of yoy BG are small BG.

More later as I find interesting parts to the puzzle.
















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 Quote:
Originally posted by ewest:
.................That is why most LMB ponds with GSF have GSF populations made up of mostly small (less than 5in)GSF which are struggling to survive as a population and are reproducing as fast as they can and not getting bigger. That goes on for a while until the GSF population can't withstand the pressure and you end up with some small GSF and a lot of skinny LMB eating everything in sight.....................................DIED may have a GSF population which has not been subject to the normal genetic selection process or they may have some other genes mixed in.......................
eric,
the fact that the ranch pond only has LMB and GSF, and all (the visible or catchable) GSF are huge, sounds like an exception to what you are saying. Shorty mentioned the huge difference aquatic growth (weeds) make. I believe this (having weeds) could be the critical (management) factor for large GSF success in ponds with LMB. Weeds dominate fairly large portions of both my pond and the ranch pond....despite thte difficulty of observing small GSF in the ranch pond there is lots of cover for little survivors. only the large GSF can survive open water with the LMB present which is also where they are so easy to catch.

regarding our GSF genetics, i've spoken with the rancher and he recalls never introducing anything other than those green sunnies, but as you say, they may have started with mixed genes. after observing these guys, looking at books, on-line resources, and seeing jeff's GSF, they sure look like pure strain GSF to me. i'll try and remember to count up some gill rakes, fin rays, and take a few more gape measurements and report back.

earlier in this thread, g-dub wondered about GSF eating LMB fry?....absolutely, and their own....i've seen it wit me own two eyes.


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Here's some good info and images for identifying GFS:

Green Sunfish

Click Attribute Details under the photos for more data.


I found this great photo of a Greenie by John White.


click to enlarge



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Here is another GSF one from the archives via Bruce.

http://www.pondboss.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=22;t=000034





There is a good discussion of HBG and GSF id here.

http://www.pondboss.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000439
















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 Quote:
Originally posted by GW:
Maybe the way to approach this is more like a trophy LMB strategy with the GSF filling the basses role and a traditional or non-traditional selection of very small forage fish. These could be gambusia or maybe some of the super small sunfish.
I'd like to go into this idea further because there is a lot of information about raising trophy LMB using smaller sunfish as a forage base.

To clarify about the small sunfish I mentioned above I'm thinking of species that don't get more that a few inches long. In other words, at their maximum size they would still represent forage for mature GSF. I would exclude any fish that might cross breed with the GSF.

I'm picturing my 1/2 acre pond with several species of small indigenous fish, none of which grow beyond a few inches, and GSF playing the role of apex predator.

The more I think about it the more I'm beginning to believe that GSF behave much like LMB. They are aggressive ambush hunters and older fish are territorial about feeding ground. LMB-like, right? Their body shape is really more like a LMB than a BG to my eye.

If you manage for trophy LMB in a small pond isn't a key issue controlling their numbers? I assume that a pond this size couldn't support many 10lb + fish. Here's where a big advantage of GSF comes into play. Using the same ratio of biomass/water volume you could have 10 good size GSF for every 10lb LMB you don't have. We are fortunate because we will have the 5 acre pond for trophy LMB.

Other advantages over LMB are that GSF are super tolerant of bad water conditions including low DO, high temps (over 100 degrees F), and toxic chemicals to name a few. They don't seem as likely to become hook shy as LMB, partly because there would be 10 X more individual fish than the same total weight of LMB.

Like any well fed apex fish I know they would need aggressive population control. What about regular trapping/transfer of small and medium GSF to the larger trophy bass pond? I would also move large females as recommended by Dr Bruce, which is also beneficial because male GSF get larger. Essentially the Greenie pond might serve as forage production for the LMB pond.

This article got me excited about the different indigenous fish I might collect for this pond:

http://www.nanfa.org/articles/acgeorgia.shtml

Here are some of the fish that guy collected in road side waters in my area:

Banded Sunfish

Pirate Perch

Sharpfin Chubsucker

Bayou Topminnow

Grass Pickerel

Brook Silverside

Pygmy Sunfish

Lemon Killifish

Fliers

Okay, I know I'm getting carried away, but that article got me excited about what I might do with my little pond. When I was a kid all I did on warm days was play in creeks and ponds. I can't wait to get back at it. \:D



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g-dub, a couple more related thoughts from el dorado.

for the past year, those lunker GSF of mine you admire have been the apex predator. with my relatively clear water situation, i've seen no evidence yet of cross-breeding, but everything is still very young. i too am hoping that the species remain distinct but realize i've set myself up for a potential lepomis mutt pond cross-bred situation. despite this, the younger GSF (now over 5-inches) are growing at an alarming rate, extremely bloated bellies and very very aggressive. the ranchpond lunkers are adding alarming girth. i attribute this to having a good gam population, GSF fry, BG fry, and small BG for the large GSF. i am extremely happy with this situation as long as it lasts, but will be watching closely as the biomass nears carrying capacity. at the first indication of any underfed fish (namely the BG), i'll probably put 10 to 20 adult same sex LMB in the pond. i would hate to decimate the GSF, but in my size pond, so few non-breedding bass and having weed cover should allow the GSF to continue to trophy sizes. my current thinking FWIW.


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Dave, have you allowed yourself to dream what the maximum size of a GSF in your pond might be?

I can't find a state record listed for California.

Maybe you already have it.


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Well, if the GSF get pushed out you can still manage for nice BG. I would untimatly be happy with a healthy population of any sunfish.

Some good news, my neighbor who has a little pond upstream from my proposed GSF pond is interested in experimenting with GSF. His little pond is in bad shape and might have experienced a fish kill. He has bigger ponds also, and the idea of a small GSF pond that his grandkids would enjoy sounded good to him. I'm going over there today to take some photos and measurements.

Also for more GSF - LMB comparisons; if GSF have enough room they don't spawn in groups.



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GW what I have seen is that like most lepomis they are colony spawners but in smaller groups of nests.
















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Are the nests as closely spaced as other lepomis?

I read that the male GSF are extremely territorial while on a nest. Are BG similar when nesting?



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Yes nests are about the same but just not as many. Where BG may have 10 to 100 nests GSF seem to have 5 to 15. As with BG they are both territorial and there are some solitary nesters as well.
















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