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#414458 06/07/15 10:12 PM
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With the recent heavy rains we've received here in North Texas, my pond that has been no more than a mud pit for the past two years is now 8 1/2 feet at its deepest and 1.5 acres. I've already bucket stocked ~110 green sunfish ranging from 2 to 7 inches and an ample supply of frogs, tadpoles, and mosquito larvae are available as a food source right now. I'm aware that this food source will soon be much more scarce, so I plan on stocking 150 threadfin shad along with providing supplemental pelleted feed. My question is, are threadfin shad recommemded for stocking in ponds this size and are they the correct choice for forage in a pond managed for trophy green sunfish?

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Connor, The GSF will feed on the shad OK and the shad should reproduce. GSF only spawn annually so should never be a biomass problem.

The potential downsides that I see are:

150 threadfins aren't much for 1.5 acres but somehow I guess they will find each other enough to spawn.

The biggest downside that I see for our area is that the shad can''t tolerate a really cold winter. I don't recall what temp they die at. But, as I recall, they freeze out here about every 2 to 3 years.


Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:23 AM.

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What would be the ideal forage fish for this pond's goal?

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:23 AM.
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My question is, are threadfin shad recommemded for stocking in ponds this size no usually 3 acres or larger _ need a good plankton bloom and are they the correct choice for forage in a pond managed for trophy green sunfish not the best but will help?

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:24 AM.















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Conner, welcome to the forum! If you want "trophy" anything, you would normally have very few in the water.

I most often get asked how to live with, or get rid of greenies rather than how to raise them...lol

I'd think growing big GSF would be similar to growing really big bluegill, and have lots of small, stunted, starving Large Mouth Bass, lurking to eat all but the fastest growing, smartest GSF.

Absent an effective predator, you would need to manage GSF more like a food fish operation to get size on them. Lots of seining and culling so only larger fish eat pellets and to reduce bio-demand on the body of water.

I'd think in your area, Fathead Minnows, Gambusia, Crayfish, and freshwater shrimp would be your best forage species. Those might be hard to keep with a bunch of hungry LMB though.

This should become an interesting and informative topic!

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:24 AM.


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Rex said "I'd think growing big GSF would be similar to growing really big bluegill" -- I agree with the same food items and pellets.

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How large are you shooting for on those trophy GSF, CK?

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:25 AM.

"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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There's a very good soure of gambusia nearby that I can trap and bucket stock to the pond. I'm confident in my ability to distinguish between gambusia and the adolescent stages of other fish, because I used to raise them for bait. My initial thought too was to stock FHM @ 4 or 5 lbs, I was just not sure if they would be able to sustain a population after a considerable number of GSF reached the desired 7+ inch range. Would it be more cost effective to omit the FHM and start feeding twice a day? Also, should the bass be fingerling sized or larger when they are stocked, I'm assuming, next spring?

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Conner, if your goal is a "considerable number" of 7" GSF, I'd suggest as much forage as you can and managing more toward a food fish grow-out plan. It might be very difficult to grow GSF to large sizes in large numbers.

Growing large GSF and using LMB to limit GSF survival only the best of the best of the best will mean few GSF in the pond.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never been asked to help manage for large GSF, but the first thing that comes to mind is that a large 7"+ GSF can be eaten pretty easily by a 14-16" LMB because GSF have a much more fusiform body than a large Bluegill. If a predator is used to aggressively control GSF offspring, the predator will have to have a maximum gape smaller than a midsized GSF.

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Guys, Connor is a young teen who has dug ponds, gotten the opportunity to play with other ponds, etc.

At his age, options might be a little bit limited.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:27 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Rainman
Conner, if your goal is a "considerable number" of 7" GSF, I'd suggest as much forage as you can and managing more toward a food fish grow-out plan. It might be very difficult to grow GSF to large sizes in large numbers.

Growing large GSF and using LMB to limit GSF survival only the best of the best of the best will mean few GSF in the pond.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never been asked to help manage for large GSF, but the first thing that comes to mind is that a large 7"+ GSF can be eaten pretty easily by a 14-16" LMB because GSF have a much more fusiform body than a large Bluegill. If a predator is used to aggressively control GSF offspring, the predator will have to have a maximum gape smaller than a midsized GSF.


So do you think HSB might be a better match for Connor's GSF?

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Though I genuinely appreciate your consideration Dave, at this point I'm fortunate enough to be able to say that resources (financial or time-related) are not going to be a hindrance for this project like they would've been in 2011-2012. It is true that I would prefer a management strategy that is more time consuming than costly, but I don't want to rule out other options simply because of their cost. I would like to hear all possible routes to my goal, and I feel that this forum is the best environment available in which my passion for fishing and pond management can grow.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:28 AM.
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So what I'm inferring from your strategy Rainman is that I'll have to bass fish a lot? I think I could endure such a chore...

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Hey Connor, you've grown some. You impressed me and others in the past. I think you will do well.

When I said options I meant that you most likely didn't have the $$$$$ that a lot of us older guys can throw at a pond.

Think of it this way. Predators and prey always have to be in balance. And that is the challenge that we all face. The GSF only spawn annually as versus other sunfish like bluegills that have multiple(rolling) spawns. The stuff like larvae, small frogs, etc will carry them just so far. They need groceries and the highly prolific shad will certainly supply that if the GSF can find them in a 1.5 acre pond.

However, if we have a nasty winter, the threadfins will die off when the water temp hits about 45 degrees. The pellets will really help but they will still need more natural food. Since they will only spawn annually, their young won't make much of a meal in 1.5 acres.

I would add some bluegills if I could and maybe some more green sunfish. You have a lot of water to fill and bluegills will do a better job than the greenies. If resources are available, I would, at this time, add about 1,000 bluegills and 10 pounds of fathead minnows.

I wouldn't mess with bass yet. You don't have enough to feed them.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:29 AM.

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Alright, what size bluegill do you recommend? Can I start feeding ASAP? If so, what feed? I was thinking aquamax carnivore @ 41% protein. I'm almost certain that the catfish feed at the local feedstore is 18% protein, a long ways off from what I think I'll be needing.

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2 inch bluegills ought to work and BG do just fine on catfish feed. The trick is to find out what makes up the protein. Some brands make high protein food but use questionable ingredients that really aren't all that good for the fish. I've never had a problem with anything that Purina makes but right now they seem to have a supply problem.

Some here like the stuff that Tractor Supply sells. I personally haven't tried it but I expect that it's OK.

BG do just fine on 32% protein but do better on the 41%.

Yeah, you can start feeding ASAP. However, with that amount of GSF scattered over 1.5 acres, it might take a while for enough of them to find it. Don't get discouraged if they aren't where you want them to be.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:30 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
Originally Posted By: Rainman
Conner, if your goal is a "considerable number" of 7" GSF, I'd suggest as much forage as you can and managing more toward a food fish grow-out plan. It might be very difficult to grow GSF to large sizes in large numbers.

Growing large GSF and using LMB to limit GSF survival only the best of the best of the best will mean few GSF in the pond.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never been asked to help manage for large GSF, but the first thing that comes to mind is that a large 7"+ GSF can be eaten pretty easily by a 14-16" LMB because GSF have a much more fusiform body than a large Bluegill. If a predator is used to aggressively control GSF offspring, the predator will have to have a maximum gape smaller than a midsized GSF.


So do you think HSB might be a better match for Connor's GSF?


No Bill, I don't. HSB would have a near perfect gape size and not be able to take out a larger GSF, but HSB LOVE pellets. The HSB would hang out and eat pellets over munching on small GSF.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:31 AM.


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Conner all the catfish feed I have seen in farm stores and feed stores has been 32%. Tractor Supply sells some Cargill (called either game fish or sport fish) multi- species 36% that I have been feeding. It has a range of pellet sizes (some pretty small) with a portion of it sinking but most floating and it seems to work well for feeding small GSF and BG.

I have an old pond with GSF, and I can say with some confidence that you will not have a lot of trouble feed training GSF. Those little buggers do like their feed and hit it with gusto. The BG have to work their butts off to get to a pellet before a GSF gets to it.

Dave I don't think GSF will have a problem filling the biomass in the pond. It has been years ago, but used to take our kids when they were small fishing in a pond that was filled with stunted 4" GSF. It was a major chore taking fish off the hooks and putting worms on. Soon as the hook hit the water it was fish on. Pond was not that big (maybe half acre) and shallow and my guess now would be it had a winter fish kill at some point and the only thing that survived was the GSF, so no bass predators.

My GSF have been growing like crazy on feed pellets. I kill and throw them back in as many as I catch for catfish food, knowing that there are plenty more of them and by removing what I can the remaining ones will get to a size worth having. Lots of 4-5" ones right now.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:31 AM.

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Dave, if Conner is wanting trophy GSF, my recommendation would be to stock some RES instead of the BG.

Although my personal preference would be to add the BG because they get bigger than the GSF. But if GSF are really his passion, don't know that the BG would be needed.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:32 AM.

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Connor, here are a couple of links to old threads about GSF. Be forewarned that most people are trying to get rid of GSF so this is mostly what the threads are about. But as I recall I posted some links within those threads that were even older where some GSF fans talked about the GSF fan club and had some funny as well as informative stuff. Also some ID pictures and other things you might find interesting.

100% GSF

GSF

You also might want to check out the Sunfish primer in the archives.

Also, good luck with your project and keep us informed. Dave Davidson has rubbed off some of his GSF enthusiasm on me and some of the small ones I have been removing from my sediment pond have actually been adding them into my main pond. So I guess I have become hooked on some GSF genes in my ponds also. I guess my philosophy has become, if I can't eliminate them, learn to embrace them. grin

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:36 AM.

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Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:33 AM.















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I attatched these photos to give an idea of the current and projected condition of the pond.

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P_20150609_134115.jpg P_20150609_133833.jpg P_20150609_133459.jpg Screenshot_2015-06-09-14-47-17.jpg
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Dave and I discussed that since the pond is likely to lose a large portion of its surface area, it would be best to add 500-600 BG in the 2-3 inch size range along with 5 lbs. FHM and as many GSF as I could catch, follwed by 25 LMB in year 2.

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The GSF will act as LMB in the <9" size range (regarding the size of fish that they can eat).

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:34 AM.

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First off, I'm happy to say that I found a source of 32% protein pellets and began feeding 6 days ago. Today I saw a single fish eating the pellets, and I assume over the next few days that number will snowball. I added 20 more green sunfish in the 3-5 inch range, along with 15 7-8 inch green sunfish. My only hesitation to adding more of the larger size is that the pond won't be able to support them right now with such a low density of fish. Can I keep adding GSF without discretion to size?

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Those 7-8" GSF will work on fish a third their size pretty hard. Somewhere in one of my old posts there is a picture of a GSF caught in my minnow trap that I pulled a FHM out of its mouth with just the tip of the minnows tail hanging out. The minnow was 3/4 as long as the GSF.

They are voracious predators.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:37 AM.

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If feeding is limited you should hold off adding any more predators until your natural food supply is established.

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Update: Chara has made a solid carpet on the pond bottom over the past two months. The bluegill have gotten off at least one spawn and I'm sure the recruitment was aided by heavy vegetation. Water clarity has improved greatly and depth is a little over 7 1/2 feet in the middle. Frog population is holding well and the past few evenings I've gone out to the pond the water almost seems to be boiling with the fish action I'm seeing. I took the fish off feed about a month ago due to concern for water quality and high surface temps. (which is, in hindsight, a decision that should've brought up sooner) I have not done any relative weight research, but the ones I've caught all have been in good condition. My question is, is it too late in the year to start back up on feed?

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If your fish will eat, I see no reason not to restart feed. You could add Tilapia to help control the Chara, still this season or next spring. If adding Tilapia, plan on removing the stockers once water temps hit 55*

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I bought a minnow trap this past weekend and started doing daily fish samples at different locations around the pond. My results and observations indicate the following 1) a healthy population of snails and water fleas has become established 2) bluegill have spawned 3) it may be hard to tell in the juvenile stage, but I believe some of the GSF were stocked pre-spawn when added in late June 4) depth has dropped to 7 feet 5) water clarity continues to improve
My question is, should an attempt be made to establish RES or will the bluegill and GSF control them adequately?

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Connor, My water level has also dropped quite a bit. The La Nina is pretty nasty.

I know nothing about water fleas but small BG and GSF seem to eat everything that moves.

I would try some RES. I'm not impressed with GSF or BG controlling small snails.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:40 AM.

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I agree with DD1 if you want snail control get some RES into the pond. Since they do not spawn as prolifically as GSF and BG do not hesitate to add a more than a few. Most ponds needing snail control can use an initial stocking of 100-200 or even 300 or more RES per ac.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:40 AM.

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Should I be concerned with the 100 perecent coverage of vegetation in the pond? The chara only grows 4 inches tall, so it's not a hindrance to my angling efforts. My concern is that so much cover is making it too difficult for my stocker green sunfish to find food. Should I rake out as much of this as I can, or leave most of the vegetation for now until the forage base is a little better established?

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Yeah, I think I would try to get rid of some of it. 100% is asking for a fish kill.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/19/16 06:41 AM.

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At feeding time yesterday I sat out a trap for around ten minutes. The results were very encouraging (or discouraging) as there were at least 25 fish in the trap all appearing to be from the same spawn. I was under the impression that gsf only spawn once annually, and that I had stocked after their 2015 spawn. My hope was to get my stocker GSF all up to 6+ inches in a relatively empty pond before more bluegill were added so that recruitment of YOY fish was as limited as possible. I have caught stocker GSF (all in the 7+ inches) that are in excellent condition and stocker bluegill in the 5+ inch range (also in excellent condition). Each day I see increased activity during feeding, and I assume that many smaller fish are being eaten by the stocker GSF as they try to eat pellets. My question is, should I be concerned with a stunting issue next spring/summer or is the abundance of what I assume are young GSF advantageous to my goal?

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GSF are prolific and will make good forage mainly for LMB who are effective predators of them. GSF relate strongly to shallow water habitat that serves as very good refuge for them. This in turn helps shelter them from certain types of predator behavior.

They could easily have an extended spawning period that spawns the summer depending mainly when the individual reaches maturity. The spawn event for them is 59F to 82F thus spawning period can be spread out over the summer.

GSF often do not grow real fast so YOY are usually 1"-1.5" by end of the first summer; maybe 3" in southern areas such as TX. Second year with abundant food expect some of them to be 5"-6".

I think your main concern is the tendency to get too many GSF and other sunfish to the point they overeat the natural foods available and stunting occurs. Stunting and slow growth is common in ponds with GSF and a low density of bass predators. If you are catching more GSF in the traps than BG I would start removing GSF so remaining ones grow fast. One option is to place some 1yr old gsf (2.5"-3") in a cage (3-5/cuft) and feed them pellets for two years when they should be 7"-8" long. GSF readily adapt to life eating pellets in a cage. You may have to initially soften the pellets to train the GSF to eat pellets. I just finished a pellet feeding study using a high protein pellet 41% and the new Optima fish food. GSF grew significantly better on the Optimal fish food. Get some next year shipped to your door if you want to grow big GSF fairly quickly.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=426239&page=1

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I've been following that particular thread closely and plan to order enough to get me through the next growing season!

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Caught these two today at feeding time. Both seem to be in pretty good condition for gsf, but I think the first fish is a hybrid... The picture of the second fish doesn't do it justice, as it was much longer and not quite as thick as the first. Any thoughts? I know body score can always improve, but with the limited information from the pictures, how am I sitting? Also, I'm feeding a coffee can per day (probably 3/4 pound) right now, and the fish are cleaning it all up within around 7 minutes. Should I increase daily feed?

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First fish pic could easily be a HBG of some sort. 2nd one looks more like a GSF. Nice size to both fish. Keep thinning out the smaller ones so more food is available to the larger ones. A higher number of larger GSF will eat some fry helping somewhat as predation. Fish traps boughten or homemade are good ways to catch lots of GSF 1"-3".

Try adding a little more food to see if they eat it. When you feed you should add the food as they eat it instead of dumping it all in at once. This way you get a better idea of how hungry they are after adding the coffee can per day. If they are still aggressively eating after 7 min add some more food until feeding slows down significantly. Then you know they are getting full. When they are eating more food than in your budget reduce the number of fish eating food.

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I agree with Bill. Was there any border around the opercular on that first fish? Hard to tell from the photo.

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If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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Sorry about the flash in the photo, it was getting dark and I'm still learning how to hold a fish in one hand and take pictures in the other. Yes, there was a thin white border on the opercular flap. I'm assuming that with the presence of the white border and the smaller mouth size than is typical for gsf, this fish is a hybrid?

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The more fusiform shape of that first fish is interesting to my uneducated eye. Looks different to me than HBG photos I have seen posted. Anybody know what HBG x GSF looks like?

Connor I see in an earlier post (I think 7/15), you stocked 20 GSF during one of your stockings. Where did the fish come from?

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All gsf were from the same source, while the bluegill came from a different location altogether. I know I only stocked bluegill from that location, so I find it interesting that there would be hybrid bluegill in a pond that I have never caught any pure bluegill in.

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Originally Posted By: Connor Kelley
Sorry about the flash in the photo, it was getting dark and I'm still learning how to hold a fish in one hand and take pictures in the other. Yes, there was a thin white border on the opercular flap. I'm assuming that with the presence of the white border and the smaller mouth size than is typical for gsf, this fish is a hybrid?


That's what I thought. To my untrained eye, the fish in the first photo looks a lot like a female LES?

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"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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I went fishing today at the same spot I've gotten all of my Green Sunfish from and was surprised to find that 6+ inch fish are still easy to catch. (even caught a 9 incher) Since my feeding program is rolling pretty well and it was mentioned before I may need to start thinning out this year's spawn, I'm curious as to whether or not adding more large gsf to the pond will be detrimental to my goal. I realize that the purpose of thinning the smaller fish is to allow the bigger fish more food, but I also understand that it takes close to two years to get a gsf from fry to over 6 inches.

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Connor, GSF are easier catch than BG or CNBG. The bigger fish should thin the fry but only up to a point. Remember that the GSF only spawn annually but BG/CNBG spawn multiple times.

It won't hurt to remove smaller fish but it's tough to catch enough to make a real difference. If you can seine it, that might help with over crowding.

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Caught this one, along with 3 others the same size give or take a 1/4 inch, today after lunch. Water temps are at around 68 degrees, but the fish are feeding better than ever. I know green sunfish are much more fusiform than bg, especially at larger sizes, but does this fish (8.5 inches) look a bit thin?

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Yeah, it does have a lean and hungry look. Are you feeding them?

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Fish 1 and 2 from the early part of the thread look like HBG possibly Fx (GSF x BG) but look to have higher % GSF genes. The pic above looks like the highest % GSF and may be a very high % GSF . I would call it a GSF not a hybrid.

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They're being fed but not as often as I'd like, probably 4 out of seven days a week. With me getting home at or past 5:45 every night, it's becoming a mad dash to the pond to try and throw out food before it's pitch dark. Realizing I can't make more daylight and that I don't have time before school to feed, I'm leaning heavily towards buying a feeder with a timer. Cost isn't too prohibitive, but I'd really like to stay away from spending upwards of $600, closer to $200, on one. If anyone could recommend a quality feeder for a reasonable price, it'd be greatly appreciated.

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Connor, I don't know of a fish feeder at that price that I could recommend. But, you can take an inexpensive deer feeder on legs and put it IN the pond. It doesn't have to be very far out. Put some kind of plastic or metal baffle or guard around the back so it can't throw backwards toward the bank. I've known several people who have done that. It's an offbeat deal but it works reasonably well.

As the water gets colder they will soon stop eating. I think I would go ahead and feed 3 or 4 days per week by hand and try to rig up a feeder next Spring.

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After this past weekend's rain, the pond has risen to past full pool at 13 feet deep at the deepest and more than 1.75 acres. With this depth, I don't think winterkill will be a problem. I know threadfin shad are recommended for larger ponds , but there can't be any harm right? I don't know if I'll even be able to catch any at this time of year, so is there any benefit to stocking them now as opposed to around March?

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Not at this time. If we get a really severe winter, they could get wiped out.

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With the unseasonable weather we're having in Texas right now, it seemed like it was a good day to check on the fish. I was surprised to see them taking pellets after not being fed consistently for more than a month. Saw no action on larger topwaters, so I switched to hydrated pellets on a long shank hook with a split shot weight clamped 1 foot above. I'm extremely excited about the growth rates on these fish, especially considering nothing was stocked over 8 1/2 inches back in June. One thing I noticed on the larger fish that is not as apparent in the pictures is that they start to widen out (get deeper bodies) considerably after 9 inches. They also seem to be in better body condition compared to the last time I went fishing in November. I'm assuming this is because the water level rose so much that many of the yoy fish were forced in to shallower waters with less cover, making them easier prey?

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I know that this year's unseasonably warm temperatures have caused the extended survival period for tilapia here in texas, but recent threads on the forum have me thinking about adding them to my pond this spring. I understand that they take to pellets well, so that would equate to a higher feed bill, and I'm okay with that. I'd be stocking them mainly for weed control to make it easier for the greenies to get a meal, but the added bonus of millions of young tilapia swimming around for forage would be great. What drawbacks besides decreased predation of YOY GSF exist if I add tilapia to the pond?

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Connor,

Those are some dandy GSF. Probably state records in some states.


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Tilapia won't help you with weed control, they are stocked to provide more forage for predators in a pond, and to eat Filamentous Algae.


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As David said above some use a deer feeder to feed fish. I have been using one for 5 years now! I have mine in about 4 foot of water but it will chunk food out into the 8 foot area.



Pros -
1. Not near as pricey
2. Works real well I set feeding twice a day.
3. Throws food in about a 10 to 15 foot circle.
4. I have mine out far enough where is can throw food in a 360 which give the smaller fish near the shallow a better chance at getting some food as well.

Cons
1. Not as good looking smile
2. Harder to fill up either need to get in a boat to do it or I have used waiters and a step ladder to fill up course mine is in a relatively flat area so I can use a step ladder.
4. Must be in a relatively level /flat area.
5. If the coons find it you better get a varmint cage put on it or they will empty it in a couple days!!

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RC1 - Good, fair, helpful evaluation.
C.Kelley Keep up the good efforts and keep up reporting of your results of growing green sunfish. You have produced some nice big GSF to show what these fish are capable of being. Your advice and experiences with GSF will be helpful to others. Keep up the good work.

I have found that blue tilapia when stocked at the higher densities (abt.30-40 lbs/ac) will when the filamentous algae is rare eat a noticeable amount of the more delicate types of submerged vegetation. Note the two important items higher density of blue tilapia and the softer plans are selected & eaten first. Coarser leafed plants will be ignored. I was surprised and impressed to learn this fact.

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Originally Posted By: ewest
Fish 1 and 2 from the early part of the thread look like HBG possibly Fx (GSF x BG) but look to have higher % GSF genes. The pic above looks like the highest % GSF and may be a very high % GSF . I would call it a GSF not a hybrid.


Eric I wonder if fish could be like some other species in that the offspring can 1. some look mostly like the father species, 2. some look mostly like the mother species, 3. and many have an intermediate look with characteristics in combination of both. I'm thinking of cattle or even humans where characteristics of the offspring can be anything from one extreme to the other, but with most showing features of both.

I don't know. Just asking. In other words, if a GSF female eggs are fertilized by a male BG, can a few of the offspring look more closely resembling the GSF, a few more resemble a BG, with most looking like what we typically think of HBG????

If that is possible, a hybrid showing more GSF parentage could be either the offspring of an F1 HBG x BG or simply a regular BG x GSF hybrid with natural variability leading it to look more like a GSF.

Like I said. I don't know. Just asking. Maybe it does not work the same way with fish as it does some other species. How much natural variability is there within a HBG spawn or between different male x female pairs?

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Connor you are giving me the itch to get to feeding my GSF better than I have been. After finding out my old pond was infested had GSF, decided to try and make lemonade out of lemons and I also am trying to grow the GSF up to good size. Now I return GSF back to the water that are over 6" and remove any smaller that I catch. Also have a modest feeding in this pond of about 2.5-3# per day and the pond is about an acre.

Nice looking GSF. Hope I can get some that size.


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snrub - natural variability of a species exists and it is important to know that degree or amount of variability especially when it comes to outward appearance. The variability from the "normal" or standard can vary from population to population and area of the country. Intermixing of genetics complicates the problem. When the variation becomes a consistent different trait or feature for numerous generations within a breeding population, those individuals are usually considered a new variety, strain, form, type, subspecies or sometimes a new species depending on the amount of or type of variation.

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Tilapia work well when stocked very early at high densities. Once an infestation hits, nothing seems to work.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

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Originally Posted By: RC51
As David said above some use a deer feeder to feed fish. I have been using one for 5 years now! I have mine in about 4 foot of water but it will chunk food out into the 8 foot area.



Pros -
1. Not near as pricey
2. Works real well I set feeding twice a day.
3. Throws food in about a 10 to 15 foot circle.
4. I have mine out far enough where is can throw food in a 360 which give the smaller fish near the shallow a better chance at getting some food as well.

Cons
1. Not as good looking smile
2. Harder to fill up either need to get in a boat to do it or I have used waiters and a step ladder to fill up course mine is in a relatively flat area so I can use a step ladder.
4. Must be in a relatively level /flat area.
5. If the coons find it you better get a varmint cage put on it or they will empty it in a couple days!!


To add to what RC51 indicated in the "cons" department, when temperatures change, I have a lot of what appears to be fog (water vapor) that forms and blows across the pond. On certain mornings, the water vapor is so thick that it softens the pellets in the feeder to a mushy consistency to the touch. Then, as the temperatures rise, the feed dries into a brick-like consistency. The pellets will not feed down into the cone and the motor will just spin at the designated feeding times with no pellets being thrown. I've had to break the feed up with a stake to get it to feed back down into the cone...then, there's the mildew that forms in areas that don't completely dry. I've always read here on the forum to never feed mildewed pellets. Also, with the constant moisture issue, I could never get a feeder motor to last more than 6-9 months. I recently purchased a dock feeder. Best thing I ever did...

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Even with the addition of an automated feeder to the pond, would tilapia stocked at a lower density (5-10 lbs per acre) be an efficient way to maximize available forage for green sunfish? Also, since any fish over three inches long is out of the mouth gape range of the all but the largest green sunfish, could tilapia cause biomass issues in the pond? One of my concerns if that even though tilapia are tolerant of lower DO levels, my other fish could be put in jeopardy due to more pounds of fish in the water and, consequently, more oxygen being used up.

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Rex(Rainman) says that tilapia actually help the O2 levels.


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Originally Posted By: Connor Kelley
Even with the addition of an automated feeder to the pond, would tilapia stocked at a lower density (5-10 lbs per acre) be an efficient way to maximize available forage for green sunfish? Also, since any fish over three inches long is out of the mouth gape range of the all but the largest green sunfish, could tilapia cause biomass issues in the pond? One of my concerns if that even though tilapia are tolerant of lower DO levels, my other fish could be put in jeopardy due to more pounds of fish in the water and, consequently, more oxygen being used up.


Conner, a low density stocking will not pose any new DO worries. As Dave mentioned, in most pond settings with detritus/muck on the bottom, tilapia will increase DO in otherwise anoxic parts of the pond. Tilapia will grow about an inch a week to 6" then add more girth than length, so I'm sure many GSF will get fat and happy too. My only concern is how many Tilapia would survive predation and possibly cause an aesthetic issue when dying once your pond cools. There is no danger of an excess load of nutrient, even if terrestrial critters don't perform a quick cleanup, because any unused, unbound nutrient not used in GSF growth, is just recycled from what was already present in your water.



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Conner, young tilapia fry to fingerling sizes are pretty agile and a lot of them or the majority are IMO likely to not get eaten by your GSF. In my experience with GSF they are not nearly as aggressive as bass for chasing/catching small fish. GSF like the slower moving prey. However it is probably a good idea to try some tilapia to see how well they perform helping with your weed problem. Report back with your results of how many small dead tilapia you find when they die of cold temperatures.

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Update: With the water temperatures rising, I've been feeding more as time allows. With the longer daylight hours, I have been able to go out to the pond more and check the fish. A few I caught last week were in good condition, but not excellent like I would prefer. I was curious as whether it would be more economical to stock tilapia at the earlier-mentioned density of 5-10 lbs per acre and feed a lower (32%) protein ration, or omit tilapia and feed optimal bluegill feed. Obviously it'd be best to do both, but it makes me cringe a little to think of spending $150+ on tilaplia and another $200+ on feed. My hesitation with going the latter route is that weeds could get to undesirable levels and discourage natural predation of YOY gsf. The concern with doing it the first way mentioned is that I can't control what percentage of the feed I throw to the gsf and not the tilapia, meaning that the gsf would either eat less, or eat more of the (I'm assuming less nutritious) YOY tilapia or YOY gsf. I should mention that I am going to build multiple traps to set out around the pond to catch younger fish and fin clip them to make them easier prey, whether or not tilapia are added.

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In my personal pond, I stocked Tilapia at the rate of 40# per surface acre. I didn't see any eating the Optimal that I was feeding last year.

Tilapia will eat filamentous algae, Triploid Grass Carp will concentrate on eating the underwater weeds. If you have an underwater weed problem, Tilapia won't help to the extent that Triploid Grass Carp would.


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In the past 36 hours we've gotten 5 inches of rain with more on the way. My pond is at the water level where it must spread outward another 1/2 acre in order to rise 1 foot. I saw thousands of 1-2 inch lepomis young of last year. I'm assuming they're bluegill because I see two class distinctions in this area of inflow that I'd like to label as somewhat of a delta. These fish are also entirely different from the two size classes I see in deeper areas of the pond as well, meaning I believe there to be at least 4 different spawn classes of fish in the pond, including the green sunfish yoy. Should I be concerned with such a large number of forage sized being possibly trapped when the water level recedes in this area?

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I expect a lot of the fish will be trapped in small pools when the water recedes. But, an awful lot of them will follow the water as it drops back to the original pond. But, if you lose a thousand or so of them, they will quickly be replenished by the spawns.


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My pond floods/backs-up over once in a while and it does get small fish trapped in lower pools. Depending on management goals, this could be good/bad. If you had a swale ( as deep as deepest part of the pool) that would lead back to the pond from the pools, the fish will go back when water recedes. Of course if this is the case, you wouldn't have pools. smile You can always net a good amount out of the pools to move back, if you can beat the herons to it!

I have found tilapia will eat pellets, both Aquamax and Optimal. Actually, when feeding the Optimal I found that catching the tilapia in the fall was easier. They are more likely to grab a worm on the hook since it is similar shapes. I also think the tilapia are much more aggressive than BG at the feeding. Can't say about GSF, I would think they feed more aggressively than BG.

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I actually wet a line for the first time in at least 6 weeks today and am encouraged by my findings but need some culling advice.

The bluegill spawns' growth from last year is acceptable, but not excellent (no bluegill were sampled over 2 inches).
The green sunfish spawn from last year have grown at or above par (year class average is 4 inches and chunky).
The one adult green sunfish sampled today was 8 inches long and in good body condition.

As far as biomass goes, how far away from carrying capacity should the pond be? It was Esshup I believe that mentioned the largest GSF would function as <9 inch bass, so can the predator carrying capacity be calculated the same as with bass?

Because I'm lacking sufficient numbers of top tier predators, who needs to get pulled? I'm thinking that more GSF need to be culled than bluegill, just because of the difference in forage production capabilities. With the tilapia coming into the mix soon too, I'm sure that'll make figuring out a balance all the more difficult/interesting.

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Connor, I recently caught a huge GSF mix from my pond. It had the GSF markings but not the elongated body. No idea what the % was on the mix. I neither weighed nor measured it but it was 9.5 to 10 inches. Biggest one I've ever caught.


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If you can land him on a fly rod, I believe that busts the previous state record by at least an inch!

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Doubt that I'll ever have the opportunity to see it again. My first thoughts when I catch a really nice fish is to get it back into the water ASAP.


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This also brings up the question of what percentage GSF a fish must be in order to qualify for a state record... Wouldn't it stand to reason that almost all GSF in the wild have some degree of BG influence in their bloodlines? And if said fish was to some degree a hybrid, how prominent do you think BG characteristics would have to be in order to disqualify it as a record fish?

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I was kinda wondering whether to call it a GSF with mutt BG genes or vise versa. But then, I like GSF more than BG.


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I started feeding optimal bluegill feed on May 1st, and the fish have taken extremely well to it. In fact, seeing so much activity led me to do casting net surveys. I'm now feeding over a quart of feed per day, with fish activity dropping off fairly sharply after the quart has been fed.

The fecundity of the bluegill amazes me. Even though only about 20 bluegill were stocked last July, they make up the vast majority of what I catch when using the cast net.

I know earlier in the thread it was discussed on the timing of adding bass... Should they be added now to reduce to bluegill population, or will the GSF benefit from the greater forage base even though more fish are eating their feed?

Also, Walter Bassano tells me he should have a ballpark delivery date for me next week for the tilapia. It was also discussed here that tilapia should be stocked at a rate of no less than 10 lbs per acre. Would it be counterproductive to add both bass and tilapia this season as far as maximizing GSF growth?

Sorry for all the questions and post length, but I feel that these next few months are crucial in the making or breaking of the project. Thanks in advance for responses!

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GSF have the same mouth gape as a LMB up to about 8"-9", so whatever you can do to maximize the food that LMB up to that size eat, the better off you will be to achieving your goal.


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The tilapia shipment got here on June 2nd, and it seems to me that they've already done a number on the algae. I can't say enough about the integrity of Walter Bassano, who made sure I got the best deal possible on my fish and has been instrumental in encouraging this entire process. It ended up being about 60 fish added totaling 20 lbs, and I saw them eating pellets as soon as four days after stocking.

Chara has begun to reach the shoreline, and water clarity is beginning to improve. Fish are eating half a gallon of optimal bluegill feed every day.

The bluegill population has exploded, and it's become very obvious (as has been stated here numerous times) that adult green sunfish cannot keep up with bluegill reproduction on their own. I've decided to add largemouth bass to cut down recruitment.

I've read plenty on when to harvest bass when managing for bluegill, but can't seem to find much on how many bass to stock initially. For a pond that is typically an acre and a half, how many bass should be added this summer or fall?

Edit: I also plan on removing all fish that do not have a body score similar to this

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That greenie looks like it has its belly full of Optimal!

They are chow hounds, that is for sure.


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Yep, that is a chow hound.

Connor, I really like the idea of 50 bass per acre. It delays the time to cull.


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Number of LMB stocked depends on your goal. For large LMB 50 per acre or less. For balanced pond 75 is plenty. However with large GSF and BG stocking 2 inch LMB may be problematical. If you could get 40 (total for your pond) 6 inch LMB then that may work better.

Question why stock tilapia if no predators (LMB). If so then you better watch your biomass with the tilapia.
















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Ewest, the thought on the tilapia was to try and maximize available food to growing GSF while cutting down on FA (I've also heard rumors that they may eat chara under certain circumstances, but that played a negligible role in the decision to have them stocked).

As far as keeping biomass down goes, I'm hoping to maintain a very intensive culling program where I fin clip all fish under 2.5 inches and remove fish of any other size that are not comparable to the fish in the last post.

The hope is that by the fall I'll have a fishery consisting mainly of largemouth bass and BG/GSF averaging 6+ inches.

Also, I compared the price of buying 40 5-7 inch bass with buying 100 2-3 inch bass, and the latter option is cheaper by about $20 (Overton's online pricing and availability sheet). Even though the time to the first cull is accelerated, would these 6 inch fish be able to spawn next year?

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Yes 6 inch LMB would be able to spawn next year in your location. With out high predation (IMO GSF can't provide that) tilapia can fill up biomass like no other pond fish even BG.

The risk of using less but larger LMB in your situation is far less than the risk of missing (over or under) your needs by using 2 inch LMB and $20 as well.

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I agree with ewest, the $20 is nothing. I would opt for the larger fish especially with the type of fish in the pond that you would be stocking the 2" LMB on top of. For me, going with the larger fish is a no brainer.


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Sorry for my absence, this summer has been extremely busy for me. I stopped feeding for about three weeks while I culled fish and have started back up during the cool spell that those of us in North Texas are experiencing right now.

I also raked out chara today, raking out a rake's width and then shifting over two or three widths before starting another strip. I plan to do more, but wanted to see how it looked once the water settled back down. Water clarity is excellent, and I plan to measure exact visibility with a homemade secchi disk tomorrow.

The tilapia have done tremendously from what I can tell, and I have no more FA to speak of. The white tilapia are especially visible right now, and reiterate to me that a top tier predator is going to be vital in this setting. I planned to add largemouth bass back in June, but was out of town for all the local shipments to feed stores. I expect deliveries to pick back up this fall so that I can add LMB to feast on lethargic TP.

As always, time on the pond is well spent, and the attached pictures are even more captivating when I think about what is going on beneath the surface.

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75 LMB fingerlings were added this past Friday to the pond. I did 50% water changes every five minutes with pond water to get the fish acclimated, and then tried to add them all to a shallow area of flooded mesquite on the south end of the pond. I counted the fish as I released them (partly because it did NOT look like there were 75 fish in the bucket) and got to 37 when I noticed some of the fish looked like they were trying to jump out of the water.

I didn't think about any toxins leaching from the mesquite trees because there were young bluegill and tilapia all around my feet in the water. Regardless, I did not want to risk anything, so I released the other fish near a brick pile in shallow water 60 yards away.

What kind of losses to predation should I expect? I know larger fish would have been better to stock, but I will not have time until later this year to pick up any fish from Overton's. I do intend to make a trip down there this fall and make a field trip if nothing else, but I really wanted at least some bass to be able to take advantage of the tilapia die-off.

In the near future, are there any drawbacks to adding bucket stocked lmb besides possible predation on the lmb I just stocked? Obviously the fish would need to be well under the cull length when stocked, but for a trophy panfish pond could it hurt to add more bass at this stage?

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You should add in some rip rap and some large rocks, GSF absolutely love hiding in the dark crevices created by rocks. Also, I would consider supplemental stocking of papershell crayfish, these will help to get that state record GSF as well as the health of the LMB.

Last edited by ABC; 12/31/16 12:07 PM. Reason: To make it more clear

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I would love to have rip rap, but cattle also have access to the pond and I worry about a hooves getting caught.

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Connor,

If you really want rip rap it does not have to be continuous around the pond. Maybe you could pick a few spots around the pond in the lower cattle traffic areas to put rip rap. I suspect the cattle will avoid the rip rap if it is in just a few localized spots.


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Conner, Bill D is spot on in his assessment of cattle traffic. You might consider fencing the cattle off nearly the entire perimeter of the pond and only allow access at 1 specific spot. They don't need to be tramping around the whole pond, mucking up the shoreline, sloughing off the banks, crapping in the water.
Besides, those soon to be crocodile sized GSF just might gang up on a calf and pull it under! Sata massagana for GSF; chop chop for bovine baby!

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Select areas of rip-rap around the pond sounds feasible, I know where I can source material around here for free... How small can these areas be and still be effective?

Current pond conditions are as follows:

-tilapia ended up really diminishing chara density (I haven't spotted any in months)

-fish are still eating, especially with the relatively warm temperatures right now

-water visibility is only about 12 inches right now (I'm assuming because of the lack of vegetation to hold sediment in place) and depth is right at 10 ft.

-fish condition is okay, not excellent.

As far as top tier predators go, I'm considering adding larger LMB than the ones I did back in September that were about 3 inches long. As was warned against in this thread, I'm afraid a majority of them either fell to predation or died due to stress.

How many 6-8 inch bass (from Overton Fisheries) should/could be added and could they be added before the start of this spring?

Sorry for the length of the post, but thanks for the consideration.

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I would check with Overtons to see if they can provide non-pellet trained LMB. My understanding from a recent PBM article and PBF posts is that LMB that are pellet trained will not perform well in a natural environment unless they are provided pellets to survive/thrive.

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MY EXPERIENCE and your mileage may differ.

Not sure where this stuff comes from. At hatcheries, bass fry, like other fry, are fed powdered meal of some kind.

Get some bass minnows and put them in a large container. Each day there will be less of them. Those little cannibals eat each other. Many years ago I put some bass fingerlings in my creek. I was watching 2 of them that were side by side. And then there was one with the others tail sticking out of its mouth.

Quite a few years ago, another poster put about 50 of them in a barrel and kept them there for a couple of days. Each day there were less of them.

If they will eat each other they will eat other small fish and bugs. Without pellets, they revert to predators. I believe it would be safe to call them instinct feeders.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 01/22/17 06:55 AM.

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To build on that, if pellet trained fish were so particular, how would you catch them on a plastic crank bait?

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Hey guys,

Don't shoot the messenger on this one. I was just providing the info on the subject I've read in PBM articles in the last couple years.

Quote from Bob L. in the Jan/Feb issue of PBM...

"..if you are adamant about doing things nature's way, then don't even think about using feed-trained fish in your stocking plan. They won't make the shift from feedlot to your underwater range."

He goes on to provide that if you stock feed trained fish anyway and don't feed them, then 60% will deteriorate or disappear. 20% will have flat performance and only 20% will thrive at some level.

Last edited by Bill D.; 01/22/17 09:36 AM. Reason: Clarification

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Bill, I'm betting that he is talking about larger fish than I am.


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Dave,

You are probably right. Maybe Bob will see this and clarify.

In Connor's case, I think he will be needing to stock "bigger" LMB if they are to survive with his adult GSF.


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On Overton's website, it says that the 6-8 inch fish are available, but they are feed-trained. I can certainly call and ask though.

Bill, I looked at that same article last night and, referencing the bass, read that they'd prefer real prey over pellets. I'm assuming that by 6-8 inches they've learned to eat pellets well and they'll retain that behavior for a long time, but can't I expect them to still effectively prey on the GSF and BG?

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Connor,

I have been spending some time the last few months trying to get my arms around the "pellet trained fish do not do well on natural forage," statements.

Here is a thread I just started that you might find useful:

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=462452#Post462452

FWIW my answer to your question is, with what I've learned so far, IMO I would go ahead and stock the 6 to 8 inch pellet trained LMB.

My rationale:

1)You feed pellets to your GSF and BG already so the LMB will not starve if they don't immediately attack the natural forage.

2) You have an abundance of appropriate forage with the smaller GSF and BG to support 6 to 8 inch LMB

3) There is little/no competition from existing "wild" LMB in your BOW although you probably have large enough GSF to compete in the beginning.

I still believe non-pellet trained LMB would be best in your situation where you are looking for a predator to cull smaller GSF to get you that trophy but, IMO, you have an excellent chance of achieving a good result with the pellet trained ones and their offspring.

I am not a pro, just my 1 cent....

Bill D.




Last edited by Bill D.; 01/22/17 10:21 PM. Reason: Clarification

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I made the trip to Buffalo today and picked up 40 6-8 inch lmb, as recommended earlier in this thread. I was very impressed with the setup Mr. Overton has, and the quality of his fish appears to be excellent. There was one mortality from shipping, but I'm thrilled considering they were in the bag for four hours.

I also bought 16 blue catfish, thinking that even though they will compete with my green sunfish for feed, they will also prey on smaller fish. I believe that right now these smaller fish compete much more with the potential trophy fish than blue catfish until they reach larger sizes (5+ lbs?), at which point the catfish will be great fishing to try and remove.

I realize that these catfish have the potential to really do some damage on my stocker fish population later, but this is at least two years down the road assuming a growth rate of 2 1/2 lbs per year. At this point some stockers will begin to die due to angling mortality and old age anyways. The goal would still be to remove as many of these catfish as possible before they are large enough to eat the largest GSF.

I hope that by the end of this summer before I leave for college, the broodfish in my aquaponics system will reach 8 inches, eventually replacing some of the fish from the original stocking that die or are eaten.

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