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#392429 11/12/14 10:29 PM
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I've read here on PBF on a few occasions that RES eat primarily snails and that lack of enough or proper forage will limit the number of RES a pond can support.

Yet in this article by VanDeHay and Willis specifically about RES, they never mention this limitation.

Redear Sunfish This article has been linked to several times here on PBF, so many of you will already have read it.

Some of the highlights I picked out that suggest the RES is a more diversified predator beyond just snails:

Redear sunfish are known to grow faster and achieve larger sizes than bluegill found in the same waters (Pflieger 1997).

Redear sunfish primarily feed on the bottom and seldom feed on surface insects, especially compared to bluegill. Like many fishes, newly hatched redear sunfish feed on zooplankton. Also, like many fishes, adults will feed on a variety of food organisms, depending on what is abundant and what is vulnerable. (my emphasis)

Common food items are midge larvae, snails, mayfly larvae and dragonfly/damselfly larvae.

four small Missouri ponds that ranged from only 0.1 to 0.4 acres. The largemouth bass averaged 58 pounds per acre (range of 27 to 118), while the redear sunfish averaged 298 pounds per acre (range was 232 to 356).

One pond had just a few bluegills and another pond had some green sunfish, but redears made up most of the sunfish biomass.

How could this be unless they are eating more than just snails?

I have RES in my forage pond with an abundance of FHM. I know Shorty has fed RES FHM's in an aquarium so we know they will eat them. But do they eat many of them in a wild environment?

Any thoughts?

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/16/14 07:14 PM. Reason: Added Sunfish to title for better Google search results

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Here is a link to Shorty's observation of RES eating FHM in an indoor situation.

Shorty's experience with RES eating FHM

RES info and links for further information

Low and slow - catching RES

Last edited by snrub; 05/19/17 09:21 AM.

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I've caught RES on fishy looking crankbaits. I haven't caught as many as the BG that I've caught on them, but probably the same ratio as there are fish species per a given acre foot of water.

I've caught RES on a LMB popper on the surface, fish and crayfish crankbaits, worms, Berkly Power Bait Nymphs, tiny spinnerbaits, size #0 and #1 Mepps spinners, and I forget what else. So, while they may feed primarily on snails, I feel that they are opportunistic feeders like many other fish.


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Thanks for that observation.

I've only caught 8 total out of my pond since stocking in 2013. Of that 8, 4 were caught just the other day all within about an hour and all in the same general area. I was using a small plastic on a jig, same thing that the BG were hitting.

The biggest one caught was 9" earlier this summer and was using a small crank bait. I have yet to catch one still fishing with a worm, but in fairness of observation have not done that much of that type fishing.

Last edited by snrub; 11/12/14 10:46 PM.

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That's interesting Scott...I have caught large RES on mini BG cranks too, and jig/crawler on bottom works well for me, but that's about it in my experience. I think nymphing with the flyrod would be a challenge - but may also be productive once one learned how they preferred the presentation and found a good pattern. I will pay a ransom for anyone who can get a photo of a RES taken on the flyrod - cocktail of the angler's choice at PB VI.


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Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
That's interesting Scott...I have caught large RES on mini BG cranks too, and jig/crawler on bottom works well for me, but that's about it in my experience. I think nymphing with the flyrod would be a challenge - but may also be productive once one learned how they preferred the presentation and found a good pattern. I will pay a ransom for anyone who can get a photo of a RES taken on the flyrod - cocktail of the angler's choice at PB VI.

Iíll have a Shiner Bock T.J!

I have only targeted RES on a true fly once and caught small ones, one after another on a San Juan Worm.
I havenít fished for them lately because too much fun on other species, but caught them them on the botton on pellet flies.
T.J, you know I donít fish with anything other than a fly rod - grin too much fun!
Cheers,
George









I need to try some of these Brimanators on RES... cool


....or with a brown tail JH Tearminator?


Last edited by george1; 11/13/14 07:00 AM. Reason: Brimanators and Terminators


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Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
That's interesting Scott...I have caught large RES on mini BG cranks too, and jig/crawler on bottom works well for me, but that's about it in my experience. I think nymphing with the flyrod would be a challenge - but may also be productive once one learned how they preferred the presentation and found a good pattern. I will pay a ransom for anyone who can get a photo of a RES taken on the flyrod - cocktail of the angler's choice at PB VI.


Our friend, Alejandro this past summer. Not sure what kind of fly.


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George, you need to try a fly that imitates a black or brown cricket at sunset, you should be able to catch a RES off the surface with your fly rod. Crickets rarely last more than a second in my aquarium before they are plucked off the surface. RES will eat things off the surface under low light conditions. This summer I watched quite a few RES eat pellets off the surface in my pond right at dusk in the shade of some trees. They will move up in the water column as the light level drops.

I will say that pellets are not high on the prefered food item list, not sure why but it could be taste, texture, or simply the dryness of pellets. They do tend to crush pellets into pieces when they eat them rather than swallowing them whole and they seem to prefer pellets that have been soaked and softened. They will also eat pellets when competition for other more prefered food items is pretty stiff.


Last edited by Shorty; 11/13/14 10:29 AM.


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Originally Posted By: Omaha
Our friend, Alejandro this past summer. Not sure what kind of fly.




If I recall correctly Alejandro's fly was tipped with a small piece of nightcrawler when he caught that awesome RES.



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Originally Posted By: Shorty
Originally Posted By: Omaha
Our friend, Alejandro this past summer. Not sure what kind of fly.




If I recall correctly Alejandro's fly was tipped with a small piece of nightcrawler when he caught that awesome RES.


You are correct. Just asked and he said Copper John, just a bit of worm.

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Originally Posted By: Shorty
George, you need to try a fly that imitates a black or brown cricket at sunset, you should be able to catch a RES off the surface with your fly rod. Crickets rarely last more than a second in my aquarium before they are plucked off the surface. RES will eat things off the surface under low light conditions. This summer I watched quite a few RES eat pellets off the surface in my pond right at dusk in the shade of some trees. They will move up in the water column as the light level drops.

I will say that pellets are not high on the prefered food item list, not sure why but it could be taste, texture, or simply the dryness of pellets. They do tend to crush pellets into pieces when they eat them rather than swallowing them whole and they seem to prefer pellets that have been soaked and softened. They will also eat pellets when competition for other more prefered food items is pretty stiff.


Thanks Shorty - I have a neat little hopper fly that I can tie with black foam that will work I betcha!
I like sinking flies best however because our medium turbid water keeps our fish from getting hook shy. I donít use floating pellet flies anymore - heavier hooks sink AQMX and Stubby flies.

I nave experimented with RES getting pellet trained and have observed them fighting over hand thrown pellets in a couple feet of water.
I just donít fish for them - more fun for me with fly rod on CNBG and HSB.

Cheers,
George



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I think I am the one mainly responsible for the posts of "that RES eat primarily snails and that lack of enough or proper forage will limit the number of RES a pond can support." As snrub continues he says "adults will feed on a variety of food organisms, depending on what is abundant and what is vulnerable. Common food items are midge larvae, snails, mayfly larvae and dragonfly/damselfly larvae."

RES will eat a wide variety of foods, but we have to remember that in a fish community pond so does most of the other fish. This competition makes many of the foods limiting to some species when fish numbers are common to high based on the overall productivity of the pond and type of fish species involved. As I know the literature little has been studied as to the competitive nature of RES with BG or the other panfishes and smaller primary fish predators primarily young bass. I suspect that the RES are not quite as aggressive as many of the other fish species which if true puts RES at some sort of disadvantage. Primarily with lack of competition for what ever reason RES could be quite successful as noted next.

From Willis' paper "....four small Missouri ponds that ranged from only 0.1 to 0.4 acres. The largemouth bass averaged 58 pounds per acre (range of 27 to 118), while the redear sunfish averaged 298 pounds per acre (range was 232 to 356)." My questions for this are how much competition did RES have in these ponds, what was the natural food base, and what was the size structure of the pounds of RES in the those ponds? Were all less than 6" or was there a normal size distribution of fingerling to 12"?

Regarding "One pond had just a few bluegills and another pond had some green sunfish, but redears made up most of the sunfish biomass.
How could this be unless they are eating more than just snails?"
For this we do not know the habitat type and foods available in those ponds. Information to make a case can always be pulled from data. Did habitat or competition favor RES and not BG or GSF? RES by themselves as a primary panfish with lack of other sunfish competition in a pond can no doubt result in sizable pounds of RES produced each season. There is definitely more research especially niche studies that could be done regarding RES in sport pond fishery.

PB Forum members can provide good information about the success or failure of RES in their ponds. When making conclusions about the fish success or failure in ones pond it is important to keep all variables in perspective and how they could possibly relate to each other.



Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/22/14 02:21 PM.

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TJ/George, here is a picture of the first RES I ever caught out of my pond after stocking them in December 2011, it was caught on a "black ant" fly using a casting bubble and a spinning rod, it was caught in September 2012.




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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
When making conclusions about the fish success or failure in ones pond it is important to keep all variables in perspective and how they could possibly relate to each other.


Very true. I know the variables in my pond changed quite a bit this year, I went from clear water with milfoil present to turbid water with no milfoil present due to heavy rains in May and June, it has impacted my pond. It may be the variable that got my RES eating pellets and why I am starting to catch some of them. The other variable there is a lot of competition for the remaining groceries from GSH. I do think that the RES that are doing well in my pond are now eating a lot of YOY fish, this is the most common food resource in the pond now.



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Originally Posted By: Shorty
TJ/George, here is a picture of the first RES I ever caught out of my pond after stocking them in December 2011, it was caught on a "black ant" fly using a casting bubble and a spinning rod, it was caught in September 2012.





Shorty, that's really a neat fish - I need to target them!
Just dreamin' about fishin' this morning - 30 degree F and windy ..tyin' flies helps cabin fever...
G/



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Originally Posted By: george1
Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
That's interesting Scott...I have caught large RES on mini BG cranks too, and jig/crawler on bottom works well for me, but that's about it in my experience. I think nymphing with the flyrod would be a challenge - but may also be productive once one learned how they preferred the presentation and found a good pattern. I will pay a ransom for anyone who can get a photo of a RES taken on the flyrod - cocktail of the angler's choice at PB VI.

Iíll have a Shiner Bock T.J!

I have only targeted RES on a true fly once and caught small ones, one after another on a San Juan Worm.
I havenít fished for them lately because too much fun on other species, but caught them them on the botton on pellet flies.
T.J, you know I donít fish with anything other than a fly rod - grin too much fun!
Cheers,
George









I need to try some of these Brimanators on RES... cool


....or with a brown tail JH Tearminator?



Shiner Bock it is! Well done!


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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I swear that I have a pic of that RES that I caught on the LMB popper. Gotta find it.......


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
I think I am the one mainly responsible for the posts of "that RES eat primarily snails and that lack of enough or proper forage will limit the number of RES a pond can support."


Yes, but I was not going to call you out Bill. grin

[quote=Bill Cody] As snrub continues he says "adults will feed on a variety of food organisms, depending on what is abundant and what is vulnerable. Common food items are midge larvae, snails, mayfly larvae and dragonfly/damselfly larvae." [quote]

That was actually from the article, not me.
Cody note: a link to the article is in a post below.

[quote=Bill Cody] RES by themselves as a primary panfish with lack of other sunfish competition in a pond can no doubt result in sizable pounds of RES produced each season. [quote]

That is what I was hoping to hear! I would like to know if it is possible to focus on RES and in doing so make them thrive, not just be an "also ran" fish. In all the stocking recommendations I have seen, RES are only a fractional portion of the stocking and usually for snail control. I've never heard a stocking plan where RES are emphasized as one of the main fish. BG, yes. LMB, yes, SMB, yes. YP, yes. RES, no.

It appears less is known about the RES than most of the other fish.

I currently have a 1/20th acre pond with only RES and loads of FHM. I hope they do well and reproduce. We will see. Also have a 1/10th acre pond that has FHM and stocked 175 RES along with 100 CNBG. How will the RES do when they are the primary fish and the CNBG have to play catch up? Will the RES do better than they otherwise would where they start out with less competition? (I realize the CNBG will eventually get ahead of them spawn wise).

What I'm really trying to find out is if emphasis can be put on RES and do any good towards making them thrive? Or am I just wasting my time and doomed to failure?

It appears, based on what types of lures the RES have been hitting, their diet either varies a lot and will try to feed on numerous foods, or they just have a bad attitude and bite at whatever irritates them.

Bill, you are one of the last guys on this forum I would dare to disagree with. And I'm not trying to do that now. It is just that your comments in the past have led me to believe efforts to improve RES fishery might not be successful and they may always be relegated to a novelty fish. Yet there seems to be some limited evidence that there might be room to manage specifically for RES. I'm just trying to explore what evidence I can find.




Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/15/14 10:33 AM. Reason: Added note.

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Just found this via a search. Have not read the entire thread yet, but thought it would have useful information about RES so thought I would share the link with all of you.

Trophy Redear pond (Big Bluegill)

Edit: too bad they have not updated it with a report of success or failure.

Last edited by snrub; 11/14/14 12:31 AM.

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snub says
Quote:
It appears less is known about the RES than most of the other fish.

I currently have a 1/20th acre pond with only RES and loads of FHM. I hope they do well and reproduce. We will see. Also have a 1/10th acre pond that has FHM and stocked 175 RES along with 100 CNBG. How will the RES do when they are the primary fish and the CNBG have to play catch up? Will the RES do better than they otherwise would where they start out with less competition? (I realize the CNBG will eventually get ahead of them spawn wise).

What I'm really trying to find out is if emphasis can be put on RES and do any good towards making them thrive? Or am I just wasting my time and doomed to failure?

It appears, based on what types of lures the RES have been hitting, their diet either varies a lot and will try to feed on numerous foods, or they just have a bad attitude and bite at whatever irritates them.

Bill, you are one of the last guys on this forum I would dare to disagree with. And I'm not trying to do that now. It is just that your comments in the past have led me to believe efforts to improve RES fishery might not be successful and they may always be relegated to a novelty fish. Yet there seems to be some limited evidence that there might be room to manage specifically for RES. I'm just trying to explore what evidence I can find.


Let's discuss this topic a little more.
1. Don't ever be afraid to disagree with any of my statements. Disagreement is a learning experience and creates room for discussion and learning which is what I think this forum is all about. I welcome disagreement especially when it leads to learning.

2. You are correct RES as a species is not as well studied as the BG. There is a lot of room for more learning about RES.

3. Your using RES in the small ponds will be very informative to more knowledge about RES especially if you share your experiences with the PB Forum.

4. ... "based on what types of lures the RES have been hitting, their diet either varies a lot and will try to feed on numerous foods, or they just have a bad attitude and bite at whatever irritates them." A lot still needs to be learned about RES behavior and feeding habits. Will we ever learn if fish have emotion and attitude???

5. "It is just that your comments in the past have led me to believe efforts to improve RES fishery might not be successful and they may always be relegated to a novelty fish. Yet there seems to be some limited evidence that there might be room to manage specifically for RES."
There are successful RES fisheries. I think they are not as common as successful BG fisheries, which leads me to think they are a more difficult or "tricky" fish to use for a high quality relatively abundant panfish compared to some of the other panfish such as BG, HBG or YP. Let's learn more about growing RES.

6. I applaud your efforts to learn more about RES in your ponds and I hope you have great success and can share your results with us. I was encouraged and learned back in graduate school to disagree with open minded professors and to defend new thinking. Keep up the good work and do not hesitate to disagree with me on the forum. I do not take disagreement personal. Disagreement should lead to discussion and learning.

Here is a link to the RES article written by VanDehay and Willis that Snub referred to above:
https://www.sdstate.edu/nrm/outreach/pond/upload/Redear-Sunfish-May-June-2010.pdf


Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/15/14 10:29 AM.

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snrub, Interesting thread that was started on BigBluegill about the FHM-RES pond. However the post by GW was mostly about plans and hopes for growing big and abundant RES and after 6 full years no update as to the progress. Too bad GW never returned to share his progress with RES. That is disappointing since the thread started very optimistic. Regardless of plan or experiment's success to raise basically RES in a small pond, any results would have been very beneficial for others interested in the experiment and wanting to learn more about growing RES. Snub, I hope and trust that you will keep us updated as to your results of working with RES.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/16/14 04:15 PM.

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Will do.

Thanks for all your input.

Last edited by snrub; 11/14/14 07:26 PM.

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snrub - I dug out my copy of the original research paper about the four small ponds for RES in MO by D.W. Gabelhouse that Dr.Willis mentioned in his Pond Boss article Redear Sunfish.
Referenced article was titled: Redear Sunfish for Small Impoundments? by DW.Gabelhouse 1976 (In: New Approaches to the Management of Small Impoundments). The study was his MS thesis.
Here are some additional details about that study.
1. The ponds had been stocked mainly with LMB-RES for 24-28yrs. Other fish present besides RES-LMB in the various ponds were Pond1 GSF & hybrids, CC, Pond2 none, Pond3 none, Pond4 BG(veryfew), CC FHM, GSH.
2. The invertebrate community as forage food was not studied.
3. alkalinities ranged from 40-90ppm.
4. Maximum depths ranged from 6.6 - 9.2ft.Pond size 0.1-0.4ac
5. Maximum water transparencies ranged from 18" in Pond1 to 39" in Ponds3&4.
6. Ponds 1&2 had small amounts of submerged vegetation whereas Pond 3 had dense submerge veg. and Pond4 was weedy with submerged and emergent veg.
7. No bass in any of the ponds were 18" or greater long. Ponds 2&4 had the largest bass.
8. The lengths of age 7 RES ranged from 7.0" to 8.5". Indicating to me a very slow growth rate. Largest RES occurred in two of the ponds were in the 9.0-9.9" length group.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/16/14 07:34 PM.

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Thanks for the additional info.

I'm not familiar with what normal poundage of fish would be considered optimal. The RES were the majority of the fish biomass. Were any of the fish harvested over all those years, or just left to their own devices? Do you have any idea, based on what the study tells you, of why the growth was slow? Over population perhaps, or lack of food?

When I feed, the bulk is floating food. But I try to mix from 10-25% sinking feed in with the floating in the oft chance the RES might eat some of it. For the time being, I'm satisfied in my main pond the FHM and CC clean up any the BG don't get of the sinking, so pretty sure it is not wasted. In the forage pond hopefully the FHM will clean up all the sinking. If the BG are not eating the surface food well, I cut back on everything. Feed all around the circumference of the pond. I've only had access to mostly 32% protein food, but planning on next season ordering in some better stuff.

Last edited by snrub; 11/16/14 09:34 PM.

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As an info source I am adding 2 charts on what lepomis eat. In short like all predatory fish - they eat what they can.


http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=3378 redear sunfish

Trans. Am. Fish. Soc., 107(5): 713-719, 1978

ł Copyright by the American Fisheries Society, 1978

A Discriminant Functions Analysis of Sunfish (Lepomis)

Food Habits and Feeding Niche Segregation in the

Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana Estuary

WAYNE J. DESSELLE, MICHAEL A. POIRRIER, JAMES S. ROGERS, AND

ROBERT C. CASHNER



Bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus , Green Sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus , Redear Sunfish, Lepomis microlophus ,

Pumpkinseed, Lepomis gibbosus , Longear Sunfish, Lepomis megalotis , Redbreast Sunfish, Lepomis auritus
















From another AFS study



















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