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#17702 04/26/02 03:46 PM
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I've got a college buddy with a Lake issue. Clear Water and Skinny Bass!! I told him about this site but I think I will ask the question.

First the Background:
This lake was built just north of Birmingham AL in the mid-40s.
It is 90 acres and was formed by damming a not so small mountain brook.
It is also fed by springs. Enough flow for a picturesque waterfall behind dam.
Depths reach 80ft.
Water clear to 6-7ft.
Since this is a narrow mountain valley it is generally windy.
The shape is like a carrot with slight bend.

Family Issues:
The lake belongs to my buddy's wife's family. They actually have shares. No one under the age 60 has an ownership share.
He is pessimistic about personal future ownership. And gets to fish as a guest because his in-laws currently like him.
The lake was originally built as a ski lake. Little or no interest in Fishing by the shareowners.
The place is a zoo on weekends with family & guests on Jet Ski's, ski boats, etc.
My buddy primarily fishes on weekdays in the afternoon.

Fish Issues:
According to my buddy, the lake has the following fish:
1. Kentucky Bass – very aggressive, lots of black mottling on lateral line, head, and shoulders. Also, vibrant blue flakes on shoulders. Generally, healthy in appearance but usually less that 2-3lbs. Is there a Kentucky bass?
2. Native Bass - very aggressive, skinny as a rule across all lengths.
3. Crappie – very large and aggressive. He trolls in middle of lake and the fish favorite lure is a bass colored plug. Never caught any small crappie, although I think this is related to his fishing technique. The large crappies are very healthy and it is easy to catch 40-50 trolling.
4. Catfish – large and aggressive. No spots and many at 10+ lbs, so probably Blues. Generally healthy.
5. Bream – all stunted.
His catch and release strategy is:
1. Keep all crappie
2. Keep all bass less than 14 inches unless stocky in appearance.
3. Keep some skinny bass between 14 to 18 inches. Release all bass over 18 inches.
4. Keep all stunted bream.
5. Keep all catfish.

His ability to manage this lake is limited. The family will probably not support spending money on the fishery. He would like to explore low cost options to help the bream population. He knows this where he needs to concentrate. All comments appreciated!!!!

#17703 04/26/02 04:42 PM
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I used to catch what was called a Kentucky Bass in Table Rock Lake in Missouri, looked exactly as you described. Bob in Hartselle, Alabama

#17704 04/29/02 07:55 AM
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Found a location with a description of Kentucky Bass.

http://users2.ev1.net/~morger/Flyfishing/Species/black_bass_species.htm

My buddy says they are great fun to catch.

I was hoping for some insightful comments on this lake issue.

thanks

#17705 04/29/02 09:02 PM
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Flatlander - A fish note, channel catfish when they get larger they loose their spots. I've seen many 2-3 pounders with no spots.
Nick is right, even stunted bgill are good bass food. Bgill would be stunted only because some competing small fish are eating all the bgill sized food (insect larvae&adults, invetebrates and larger zooplankton.
How is your friend defining stunted bluegill?
Is he sure that they are stunted & not just young bgill with the potential to grow bigger & reproduce given time or more food?
I'm pretty sure Bob will tell him to add some larger bgill (maybe coppernose)to produce more forage for the overall fishery. Reason of adding large bgill is so bass won't eat them before they reproduce. If this guy is taking out all the small bgill that really are not stunted, he may be defeating his purpose of creating more forage fish for all those the predators.
As a 2nd thought & real possible situation is since a stream feeds this sm. lake maybe the stunted bgill are actually green sunfish. G. sunfish & some other sunfishes are prevalant in streams esp sm. streams. Can your buddy tell the difference between the two fish (g. sunfish and bgill)? It's important that he knows the difference. Green sunfish often stay smallish, are agressive and many fishermen consider them stunted bluegills. Maybe that's why all his bgill are stunted they are just green sunfish or some other sunfish which often don't get big, however some types are prolific. All small sunfishes are still good bass food. In fact smaller bass (8-14") prefer green sunfish over bgill since g sunfish have a more slender body and are easier to swallow.
Definately keep removing predators like he is doing until bass start getting fatter bellies.


aka Pond Doctor & Dr. Perca Read Pond Boss Magazine -
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#17706 04/29/02 09:14 PM
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Sounds like a good lake. Sounds like it would be fun to fish. Your friend is doing all the right things except one, that I see. Crappie are agressive feeders. Removing them all is good. The stunted bass evidently do not have enough food, once again take em out. The mistake lies in taking out the bream. Leave them in there. All of them. Bream are the backbone of your food supply. Prolific breeders, make lots of babies to feed all those other fish. You need all of them that you can get to make babies, stunted or not.

Why are they stunted, let the bass grow and they will eat the little runts and leave only the bigger ones. Natural selection will take care of the stunting. No big bass to eat the smaller bream, they breed and stop growing. Let the bass get bigger and eat the runts, only the big will survive and breed more big. But at this point, if you have all the predators that you speak of, you need all the food that you can get. Bream are the best way to get it. In summary, take out all the predators that you can, except big bass (thats is what you want in there), and allow the forage base to expand.


Nick Smith
#17707 05/01/02 11:36 AM
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By the way, my name is Gordon. The local Mainers call me a Flatlander as I am from Mississippi. Also, I posted on the old board about my intention to do some pond construction on the old home place in the McComb area of Mississippi.

I am posting for my buddy Bill because a TV remote and cordless phone are the highest level of technology he's interested in. He did serf the site after I posted the first post, but as a two finger typist he won't respond, so I'm helping him out.

Bill say's the stunted bream means "they're not keepers." I suggested he get his cricket box and get on the beds and see if he can catch any larger bream. He also agrees with he idea and not taking any bream. I will send him a link to show him the difference between bream, shell crakers, and other sunfish. I think adding Coppernose would be good also. How much is an adult Coppernose going for these days? The clear water and lack of a bloom suggest the bream will always have it hard.

All the native bass are not stunted, just skinny. Bill has caught fish across all lengths. He has also caught several 8 & 9 pound fish, but he thinks they were skinny also. My suggestions are:

a. Take out all Spotted Bass, period.
b. Take out all Native Bass between 8-12 in. The idea being to reduce competition for the larger bass and let the big fish ring the dinner bell on the runts bass. Release all others. What do you guy's think about a slot such as I've suggested?
c. Try to buy 5 female Florida Strain Bass big enough to not get caught in the slot, or look in smaller Florida's and tag for release. Maybe get some better genes in to pool.

The clear water (6-7ft) suggests a lack of food for the Bream. The water flow and size of lake is such that liming and fertilizing may not be practical even if finances were not an issue. The family could shell out the cash without blinking an eye, if there was an interest in big fish.

He has agreed to take out all crappie and catfish (and to actively pursue each). He will also get the game keeper to do this as well.

#17708 05/01/02 12:05 PM
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Just something of interest. Bill cleans his fish on the dock and throws the carcasses back into the lake. He says the water boils as the catfish go after the leftovers. He says that you can save a few tails off the bass carcasses and put them on a hook and catch all the catfish you can stand to clean just standing there on the dock.

Sometimes I think his only problem is I'm not there to help him catch these fish.


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