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Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
#425167 09/29/15 11:00 AM
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A Pond Boss Group Project:

I'm in southcentral Nebraska, and presently own a 18-20 acre lake. In our area the lakes tend to have terrible water turbidity issues due to ag run off and negatively charged clay particles that have a tendency to stay in suspension. To make matters worse my pond has been overtaken by common carp. It appears to me as though this pond was the victim of bucket stocked carp decades ago. Currently my water clarity averages roughly 4 inches, although it does clear up some when the water gets cold and carp tend to go more dormant, or at least slow their activity. I will try to include aerial photos in subsequent posts to show my clarity issues. What I'm planning to do is attack the water quality issues without the help of rotenone (initially) and hope to get anyone involved in the pond boss community who may have ideas/suggestions on how to help me attain my goals and objectives.

Objectives/Goals:
1) Trophy Catfishery - My first objective is to create a trophy catfishery. The pond already has plenty of channel catfish due to light natural reproduction and with TJ's assistance has recently been stocked with 150 blue catfish. As of a year ago I installed one feeder and have gone thru roughly 600lbs of food since. I hope to add another feeder next year and feed a larger quantity.
2) Improve water quality - As this project evolves I'd like to move away from a catfish heavy fishery to a pond that can support fish such as white crappie and bluegill, and have them thrive. Also at this time there is absolutely zero rooted vegetation due to the overabundance of carp. I hope to change that situation.
3) Evolve into a panfish flyfishery - Over the next 10-20 years I'd like to shift from a trophy catfishery (and no carp) to an environment in which bluegill, crappie and possibly bass can thrive. The thought of float tube fishing for crappie and bluegill once I retire is intriguing to me.
4) Create a learning environment for my sons - I presently have 3 and 4 year old boys. I'm going into this well aware that my fastest and most likely solution is to rotenone the pond and start over. Due to my uncle owning part of the pond and him not wanting that done, I am taking the holistic route at this time. If in 10-12 years if I haven't made any headway, I'd love for my boys to make it a school or FFA project. Possibly get their chemical applicators license, apply rotenone, and begin to manage the pond in the way they'd like to manage it. I hope this thread serves as an archive of the history of this pond.

Methods:
1) Stock top down apex predator - As mentioned above, 150 blue catfish have already been stocked. The stocking of them was with the assumption they would consume carp from larger sizes on down within the next few years. Consideration was given to pike and/or muskie, but due to my water clarity issues I assume flathead catfish and blue catfish were the only viable option. Availability and cost of Flathead catfish seem to make blue catfish my best option at this time. 150 are stocked now. Next spring I hope to acquire 500-1000 more.
2) Carp management via fyke net - Next spring I plan to purchase a fyke net very similar to esshup's to assist in removal of carp and probably remove all channel catfish below 20". This biomass will be transferred via filet knife into the blue catfish and larger channel catfish that remain. Bruce and I also own a 100' seine that may be used some. But due to the labor intensive nature of seining my pond, a fyke net will be the main resource used to remove larger carp. Scott's net is linked below.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=385343&page=1

One of the deciding factors in using a fyke net rather than other methods is the results from this study....
http://www.carpbusters.com/documents/Gilligan%20et%20al%202005%20carp%20removal%20in%20Australia.pdf

That link is no longer available so I wanted to add the summary of it here.....
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/research/areas...er_-_tesing_603
3) A carp nest/fry predator - This is still an area under evaluation by myself. Having discussion with TJ and others, I have ideas of stocking more crappie, bluegill, hybrid bluegill, redears and/or golden shiners. I've had one pond boss member tell me that they stocked redears to assist in carp control as redears prefer to consume carp eggs. So far I have not found literature on such but will continue to research. Of consideration as well is building a grow out pond and growing crappie and/or bluegill for a season and then stocking. Knowing most of them will likely succumb to my Blue Cat population, I'm holding off on this for the time being. Stocking Golden Shiners is also an option I've considered in hopes of them consuming large amounts of carp eggs, but without vegetation of any sort I think they may not survive. I'm certainly open to suggestion on this subject.
4) Rotenone - Ultimately, if I don't make headway and I take possession of the entire pond (likely at some point) I may have to resort to Rotenone. As stated above, when my boys hit the age in which they can take ownership of this project, and if they desire to Rotenone and start over this may and likely will be what needs to be done. But in the meantime I would like to learn something thru this project. Worst case scenario, I end up with a trophy catfishery and I use carp to enhance that catfishery.

What I hope to learn/study:
1) Catfish Gape- I would like to contribute to Bill Cody's catfish gape study. Obviously with the regular use of a fyke net I will have the ability to take measurements on hundreds of blue and channel catfish of many sizes. Hopefully this can assist and enhance Bill's records.
2) Water Quality - Right now my secchi disc readings are roughly 4". When removing carp I plan to count and weigh the fish. The total numbers and mass will be recorded and compared to any changes in secchi disc readings. I hope within 3-5 years the blue catfish start to control carp numbers, or at least assist me in my effort.
3) Relative Wts of panfish as compared to water clarity - Currently this pond has a small population of white crappie. Their body condition is terrible. Presently I don't know what their relative weight is, but I will get a handle on that when netting them next spring. I'm hoping to see an increase in both numbers and relative wts of the crappie and other panfish as I remove carp biomass and get an improvement in my secchi disc readings.

So to review, at this time I don't plan to Rotenone due to my neighbor and partial pond owner not wanting to do such. I plan to experiment with a holistic approach to carp removal. Any and all input is welcome from Pond Bossers. I plan on this being a decade or longer project and hope to archive some good information in this thread. I am absolutely open to suggestion as to what others would like to see me try at this time. My only true objective is to have fun and learn a few things while playing in my pond smile


Last edited by NEDOC; 11/27/15 08:14 AM.

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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425168 09/29/15 11:03 AM
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Here is the picture of my two ponds. Notice the clarity difference between my large pond and the .6 acre pond that is up toward my house.


Last edited by NEDOC; 09/29/15 11:04 AM.

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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425172 09/29/15 11:25 AM
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Picture of Blue Cats being stocked last week. Terrible picture because it was so dark. Fortunately TJ helped me in obtaining 150 BC averaging 10-11". Thanks again TJ.



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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425173 09/29/15 11:26 AM
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NEDOC, I'm in your neighborhood and would love to help with your project(s) in the future. I'm well versed at doing dirty work at slave wages. crazy

Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425175 09/29/15 11:35 AM
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This will be interesting!

Carp are scatter spawners - no nests are built. Due to the turbidity of the water, having bowfishing tournaments won't have the desired outcome (I believe).

Have you done a bucket test and confirmed that the turbidity is due to mechanical means and not ionic imbalance? As weird as it sounds, two ponds side by side CAN be different.

The trophy catfishery sounds interesting, and I think that it is the correct route to take at this time. Whether Blues will do the trick or Flatheads will be needed is the question. I think that more than one Fyke/hoop net will be needed. Make sure you have a large stable (wide) boat to use when setting the fyke net - larger ones are difficult to bring in to a boat when they are loaded with fish. If there are large snappers in there with the fish, they make you think twice about reaching in there and removing fish by hand.......

A thought. If the common carp population is large, I remember reading about bank fishing tournaments in Europe, and how they are (were?) becoming popular here in the USA. I wonder if you could contact them and arrange to have a tournament there?

Ask Fatih and Keith; fishing from the shore for carp, using whole kernel corn for bait and chumming with corn works.

To accomplish your goals, I think using a fyke/hoop net is great. Any catfish caught can be released back into the pond, carp removed.


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
esshup #425176 09/29/15 11:38 AM
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Josh, if NEDOC and his uncle allows it, do you think a fishing derby or tournament could be done, maybe as a benefit to any group to raise money or awareness for them? With Carp being the only fish that is of any "value"?

NEDOC, I'll put out feelers for Flatheads - I'm curious now about sourcing them.

Last edited by esshup; 09/29/15 11:39 AM.

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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425188 09/29/15 12:21 PM
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Omaha - good to know. I was hoping to put together a Nebraska Pond Boss Pheasant/Quail hunt on my property this fall and was planning to give you a heads up as I presumed you were in the area. Between Shorty, Bruce, TJ and you I think we could get a few of us together for a hunt.

Scott, I have done the bucket test. My pond clears up when allowed to settle. Not as much as I'd like but enough improvement I think it'd be worth a rotenone treatment if the opportunity presents itself. Since I started this thread, now may be a good time to do it again in mason jars and provide pictures. I am planning a fishing tournament every August or September with carp more valuable in the scoring system. I'll see how that goes. And any help on sourcing Flatheads would be great. My true objective is for TJ, Bruce or Shorty to be pulled under in a float tube while flyfishing for catfish smile


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
esshup #425189 09/29/15 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: esshup
Josh, if NEDOC and his uncle allows it, do you think a fishing derby or tournament could be done, maybe as a benefit to any group to raise money or awareness for them? With Carp being the only fish that is of any "value"?


I could definitely help put something like that together. Shoot, in the spring, I have a number of bowfishing friends that would love to help thin the herd.

Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425191 09/29/15 01:18 PM
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Some of the local bait shops (free bait or lure coupons) and maybe even Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas might be willing to contribute prizes for the carp fishing tournament. Prizes for most carp, largest carp, smallest carp, oldest-youngest angler, a female division, etc. If you had to pay to net or electroshock the lake that money could be used for tournament prizes.


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425198 09/29/15 02:06 PM
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NEDOC, removing carp before they spawn in June would be better. Around here, the carp spawn around the same time as Bluegills.

Pheasants? In Nebraska? cool


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425201 09/29/15 03:01 PM
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Plenty of pheasants and quail around here. Not South Dakota numbers. But good enough to keep my wife mad at me for 3 mos of the year!


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
esshup #425202 09/29/15 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted By: esshup
Pheasants? In Nebraska? cool


Saw the first one, I think ever, just this year. Not on my property though. We had quail when I was younger, but haven't seen any in a while. Crazy number of doves, though.

Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
Omaha #425203 09/29/15 04:12 PM
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Quail numbers are good this year, I have been hearing them call back and forth almost every day this summer. whistle



Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425219 09/29/15 07:09 PM
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I never see or hear quail or pheasant here. I suspect the fox in the area are one of the reasons. I see those all the time. One thing I would like to do when I retire is raise and release both quail and pheasant. We have a very healthy wild turkey population but that also seems to be noticeably dropping. Again, I suspect the fox.

Last edited by Bill D.; 09/29/15 07:13 PM. Reason: Clarification


You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425240 09/29/15 07:59 PM
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Don't raise and/or release pen raised pheasants or quail. Been there. Done that. What usually happens in my experience is that the pen raised birds, no matter how well managed, tend to be easy pickings for predators. Over time they will draw increased predator numbers and then when pen raised birds are gone, the increased number of predators are left to prey on the wild birds. My experiences have always led to decreased number of wild birds. My time and money has always been better spent on enhancing habitat for wild birds.

If anyone is interested I can post a quail management calendar on the wildlife management forum. It's a timeline of habitat projects you can do each month to improve your quail habitat. I put it together a while back for our local Pheasants Forever chapter.


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425246 09/29/15 08:18 PM
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NEDOC please post the calendar. My problem is, in the absence of native birds anywhere in the area, who is going to live in that habitat? How do I go about reintroducing the species if raising them and releasing them doesn't work?



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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425248 09/29/15 08:25 PM
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In your case where there are no wild birds, I suppose you could try releasing some. If it doesn't work you could trap wild birds and release them.

I've seen studies on quail that even if the first generation of released birds survive to the following spring to mate, it's very very rare that pen raised birds are successful at reproduction. The theory is that mother birds communicate and teach chicks parenting skills while chicks are in the egg. Incubated birds lack that development. If you've ever observed a hen sitting on eggs they are constantly communicating. So I suppose it may be true.


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425255 09/29/15 09:25 PM
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NEDOC, what you experienced with the birds is exactly what California experienced in trying to establish pheasants and turkeys. Pen raised birds didn't last a week in the wild. They didn't know enough to roost up off the ground in trees at night, so they got eaten. Only when they imported wild birds from other states did they take hold.

A friend was the person in charge of District 5 in California and that's what he told me.


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
Bill D. #425381 09/30/15 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
I never see or hear quail or pheasant here. I suspect the fox in the area are one of the reasons. I see those all the time. One thing I would like to do when I retire is raise and release both quail and pheasant. We have a very healthy wild turkey population but that also seems to be noticeably dropping. Again, I suspect the fox.


Same down here Bill. Pheasants have never lived here. I think Interstate 70 is about the dividing line in Illinois. Quail and rabbits used to be plentiful but not now. I don't know of anyone who still hunts quail and very few rabbit hunters. Foxes, coyotes, hawks, owls, possums and coons have about wiped out everything that lives or nests on the ground. Recently bobcats have been added to the mix.

Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425440 10/01/15 11:09 AM
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Quail are making a comeback here but still not lots to be found.
















Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
esshup #425455 10/01/15 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: esshup
Ask Fatih and Keith; fishing from the shore for carp, using whole kernel corn for bait and chumming with corn works.

"Libbys" whole kernel corn, I'm convinced it must be "Libbys"!


Fatih and his 14.5 lb Carp at Esshup's lake house!


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Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
ewest #425477 10/01/15 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted By: ewest
Quail are making a comeback here but still not lots to be found.


Wish they'd make a comeback here. I used to enjoy laying in bed for my Sunday afternoon nap with the window open and hear the quail hollering back and forth. Haven't heard or seen one in probably close to 10 years. Once a redtail hawk finds a covey of quail, it will come back day after day until it kills them all.

Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
poppy65 #425478 10/01/15 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted By: poppy65
Once a redtail hawk finds a covey of quail, it will come back day after day until it kills them all.


My observation is a fox does the same with young turkeys



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425479 10/01/15 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: NEDOC
A Pond Boss Group Project:

I'm in southcentral Nebraska, and presently own a 18-20 acre lake. In our area the lakes tend to have terrible water turbidity issues due to ag run off and negatively charged clay particles that have a tendency to stay in suspension. To make matters worse my pond has been overtaken by common carp. It appears to me as though this pond was the victim of bucket stocked carp decades ago. Currently my water clarity averages roughly 4 inches, although it does clear up some when the water gets cold and carp tend to go more dormant, or at least slow their activity. I will try to include aerial photos in subsequent posts to show my clarity issues. What I'm planning to do is attack the water quality issues without the help of rotenone (initially) and hope to get anyone involved in the pond boss community who may have ideas/suggestions on how to help me attain my goals and objectives.

Objectives/Goals:
1) Trophy Catfishery - My first objective is to create a trophy catfishery. The pond already has plenty of channel catfish due to light natural reproduction and with TJ's assistance has recently been stocked with 150 blue catfish. As of a year ago I installed one feeder and have gone thru roughly 600lbs of food since. I hope to add another feeder next year and feed a larger quantity.
2) Improve water quality - As this project evolves I'd like to move away from a catfish heavy fishery to a pond that can support fish such as white crappie and bluegill, and have them thrive. Also at this time there is absolutely zero rooted vegetation due to the overabundance of carp. I hope to change that situation.
3) Evolve into a panfish flyfishery - Over the next 10-20 years I'd like to shift from a trophy catfishery (and no carp) to an environment in which bluegill, crappie and possibly bass can thrive. The thought of float tube fishing for crappie and bluegill once I retire is intriguing to me.
4) Create a learning environment for my sons - I presently have 3 and 4 year old boys. I'm going into this well aware that my fastest and most likely solution is to rotenone the pond and start over. Due to my uncle owning part of the pond and him not wanting that done, I am taking the holistic route at this time. If in 10-12 years if I haven't made any headway, I'd love for my boys to make it a school or FFA project. Possibly get their chemical applicators license, apply rotenone, and begin to manage the pond in the way they'd like to manage it. I hope this thread serves as an archive of the history of this pond.

Methods:
1) Stock top down apex predator - As mentioned above, 150 blue catfish have already been stocked. The stocking of them was with the assumption they would consume carp from larger sizes on down within the next few years. Consideration was given to pike and/or muskie, but due to my water clarity issues I assume flathead catfish and blue catfish were the only viable option. Availability and cost of Flathead catfish seem to make blue catfish my best option at this time. 150 are stocked now. Next spring I hope to acquire 500-1000 more.
2) Carp management via fyke net - Next spring I plan to purchase a fyke net very similar to esshup's to assist in removal of carp and probably remove all channel catfish below 20". This biomass will be transferred via filet knife into the blue catfish and larger channel catfish that remain. Bruce and I also own a 100' seine that may be used some. But due to the labor intensive nature of seining my pond, a fyke net will be the main resource used to remove larger carp. Scott's net is linked below.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=385343&page=1

One of the deciding factors in using a fyke net rather than other methods is the results from this study....
http://www.carpbusters.com/documents/Gilligan%20et%20al%202005%20carp%20removal%20in%20Australia.pdf
3) A carp nest/fry predator - This is still an area under evaluation by myself. Having discussion with TJ and others, I have ideas of stocking more crappie, bluegill, hybrid bluegill, redears and/or golden shiners. I've had one pond boss member tell me that they stocked redears to assist in carp control as redears prefer to consume carp eggs. So far I have not found literature on such but will continue to research. Of consideration as well is building a grow out pond and growing crappie and/or bluegill for a season and then stocking. Knowing most of them will likely succumb to my Blue Cat population, I'm holding off on this for the time being. Stocking Golden Shiners is also an option I've considered in hopes of them consuming large amounts of carp eggs, but without vegetation of any sort I think they may not survive. I'm certainly open to suggestion on this subject.
4) Rotenone - Ultimately, if I don't make headway and I take possession of the entire pond (likely at some point) I may have to resort to Rotenone. As stated above, when my boys hit the age in which they can take ownership of this project, and if they desire to Rotenone and start over this may and likely will be what needs to be done. But in the meantime I would like to learn something thru this project. Worst case scenario, I end up with a trophy catfishery and I use carp to enhance that catfishery.

What I hope to learn/study:
1) Catfish Gape- I would like to contribute to Bill Cody's catfish gape study. Obviously with the regular use of a fyke net I will have the ability to take measurements on hundreds of blue and channel catfish of many sizes. Hopefully this can assist and enhance Bill's records.
2) Water Quality - Right now my secchi disc readings are roughly 4". When removing carp I plan to count and weigh the fish. The total numbers and mass will be recorded and compared to any changes in secchi disc readings. I hope within 3-5 years the blue catfish start to control carp numbers, or at least assist me in my effort.
3) Relative Wts of panfish as compared to water clarity - Currently this pond has a small population of white crappie. Their body condition is terrible. Presently I don't know what their relative weight is, but I will get a handle on that when netting them next spring. I'm hoping to see an increase in both numbers and relative wts of the crappie and other panfish as I remove carp biomass and get an improvement in my secchi disc readings.

So to review, at this time I don't plan to Rotenone due to my neighbor and partial pond owner not wanting to do such. I plan to experiment with a holistic approach to carp removal. Any and all input is welcome from Pond Bossers. I plan on this being a decade or longer project and hope to archive some good information in this thread. I am absolutely open to suggestion as to what others would like to see me try at this time. My only true objective is to have fun and learn a few things while playing in my pond smile



Just a thought...Trot line baited with corn or dough ball should take out a bunch



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Renovating Erickson-Percival Reservoir
NEDOC #425487 10/01/15 11:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 8,407
Likes: 2
Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent
Lunker
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Chairman, Pond Boss Legacy award; Moderator; field correspondent
Lunker
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 8,407
Likes: 2
Carp will get hookshy fast - very smart fish - but angling would be a fun way to help remove some fish. I think FHC will eventually be necessary to stock to hammer the larger adult carp, at least at 1-3/ac. You'll never eradicate the carp, but hopefully get density low enough for clarity to improve then start on establishing your game fishery. LMB could have provide enough pressure on age 0-1 fish and the cats take over from there on age 2+ fish. It's feasible HSB could also help down the road. I think your plan is sound and I'm excited to work it with you - it should be a blast!


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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