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Update on the forage pond.

Been taking FHM out that I catch in a minnow trap and transfer to my old pond. Probably just snacks for the GSF as there is not a lot of cover in that pond yet for them to hide. But I have gobs of FHM as well as small BG still in my main pond so don't figure I need them there and want to reduce some of the biomass in the forage pond to be sure it does not get over loaded. LMB should spawn in the main pond this spring so will likely be able to use the FHM production from the forage pond to supplement the main pond once I have more bass mouths to feed, but plenty of forage there at the moment. Have not started up the aeration yet this spring in this forage pond but will soon. Lots of feeding activity from the FHM's.

But the main reason for the post is to put a picture up of some RES reproduction. I saw small RES on nests in very shallow water late last year. Was not sure if they would get a spawn off or not, but apparently they did. Picture below is one of two RES I have caught so far in minnow trap along with the FHM's. Hope I have lots more. The idea is to grow them up to a size my LMB in the main pond will not eat them and transfer the RES to my main pond. I only had a very few RES in the original stocking of the pond then another 125 later in the fall (3 acre pond). So I would like to see some more RES in the main pond thus the idea of raising replacements in this forage pond. Only RES and FHM's in this forage pond currently. Later when the water warms up a little more will seine the shallow areas to try and see just how much RES reproduction I got.

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Snrub,

I am doing on a little study on minnow traps. If you get a chance, please post a picture of the trap you used to catch the RES and, if possible, measure the entrance openings for me. It would be really appreciated!

Bill D.


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Will do. I have three different minnow traps and they all catch minnows differently. A very slight difference on opening size makes one style wire mesh catch lots of small BG along with FHM while the other one catches few BG and nearly all FHM. The traps look identical from a distance, but up close one has a slightly larger mesh and has a circular wire welded in the opening (the other is just the rough expanded metal for the opening which makes for the slightly larger opening). The third style I have is plastic but of the same general shape and design. It does not catch as much of anything except it does have some tabs in the opening that can be cut out to make the opening bigger, which I may try later this year.

I thought the one with the welded in wire circle in the opening looked like a better constructed unit and bought several of them. But the mesh is slightly larger and when I drop in fish pellets through the opening, most fall out of the mesh while the other trap holds the bait in better. Saves a lot of time not having to put the pellets in a sack or anything. But if I'm wanting only FHM the trap with the wire ring will keep out more small BG. If I'm wanting to trap small BG or GSF, the one with the slightly larger rough opening wins hands down. Amazing what a tiny fraction of an inch difference (or maybe the smooth entrance of the wire ring???) at the entrance makes a difference.

Last edited by snrub; 04/14/15 12:22 PM.

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Thanks Snrub!


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Plastic trap from Walmart 3/4" opening. Trap with larger mesh with wire ring welded in opening 7/8", smaller mesh trap with rough opening 1". Pics later tonight when time available.


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Thanks Snrub!


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Pictures with descriptions in the title.

Picture 25 is of the plastic minnow trap. Under the right conditions I have caught a lot of minnows with it, but generally I don't feel like it performs as well as the wire mesh traps. This could be nothing more than a function of the smaller opening of about 3/4" compared to 7/8 and 1" in the two different wire mesh traps. One problem with the plastic trap is that it floated. Originally I put a rock in to weigh it down, but eventually added the piece of metal strap in the photo to keep it on the bottom. I thought it odd to build a trap that would not work without adding some sort of weight. Or maybe it is supposed to float around at will and I just did not use it correctly. There are some tabs that can be cut out of the opening to make it a little bigger and I may try that. I hardly ever catch small BG in this trap (likely because of the small opening). Has three plastic clip pins holding it together which look like will not last as long before they break compared to the metal traps and somewhat clumsy to use.

Starting with picture 08 is the trap I like best overall. It has a 1" opening (with no reinforcing ring and just the bare expanded metal for the opening) and is built out of slightly smaller mesh than the other metal traps that I have. One downside to this trap if I am trying to trap only FHM is at times it will trap a lot of 1-2" BG. It is easy to tell when I pull it out of the water in my big pond if it has a bunch of BG in it --- it has a distinctive louder "patter" sound as the BG flip around a lot harder than the FHM's. This trap is my best trap to catch small GSF out of my old pond. The GSF have a more fusiform shape than BG and I can capture 2.5" and even occasionally up to 3" GSF with it. The slightly larger opening I suspect is the reason this trap catches more BG and GSF than the others. The GSF are also just natural chow hounds and I think they try harder to get in to the feed also. Mild spring steel single clip pin that rusts. Mesh is small enough on this trap and the plastic trap that I can simply dump some fish pellets through the opening and throw it in the water. Pellets for the most part stay in.

Starting at picture 18 is the third style trap I have. I actually bought several of these, thinking it was just like the previous metal trap only better with the wire welded into the opening for reinforcement. What I did not realize is this trap is built lighter. Either the gauge of the metal is lighter or else just the expanded metal having larger openings makes it weaker, but this trap needs the extra reinforcement in the opening because the metal is enough weaker I have actually noticed just with normal use the whole trap gets some distortion in its shape. Nothing serious enough to render it unusable, but the other trap without the ring in the opening is actually a more sturdy trap. The ring makes this trap have a 7/8 opening compared to the 1" in the other trap. This trap will also trap very few small BG compared to the other metal trap. Stainless single clip pin that does not rust but the fitup on closing not quite as good as the other metal trap. If I dump pellets in the opening of this trap unless they are larger pellets, half fall out making baiting this trap not as easy.

Maybe more than you ever wanted to know Bill.

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Last edited by snrub; 04/15/15 10:32 PM.

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I had originally stocked this pond with RES and FHM, and later threw in a dozen GSH. The pond has never performed like I had hoped for RES reproduction untill now.

At times I have wondered if I even had any RES left in this small pond, but I would throw a cast net and after several throws would at least get a few of various sizes. But never any significant numbers of fry.

Well that changed a few nites ago. Put out a couple of minnow traps and had a dozen 2" RES. I could redily see the small dot on their opercular tab and were easily identifiable. Also caught a considerable number of GSH fry, which up until this year the major minnow catch was FHM.

That is all good news. The bad news is I found one 2" GSF in with the bunch of RES. I don't know where these buggers come from, but they come from somewhere. So I either have an adult GSF pair in there, or it was just an outcross from unpure RES genetics in my original stockers. I hand sorted every fish that went into this pond for identification, but the fish were only 3" at that time.

Anyway, am glad to see finally some significant RES reproduction. The original intent was to raise RES in this pond for transfer into my other ponds since my original stocking in those ponds was lighter than I wanted and could not get any additional RES at the time.

Will see how things progress. My sediment pond has RES and CNBG (with a few bonus GSF) stocked in it and I get a few RES fingerlings there. But for every RES I get dozens of CNBG. So the CNGB have reproduced like gangbusters and the RES not so much so. Or perhaps my trap harvest methods just select for the CNBG. Need to brush up on my cast net skills and see if more RES are there that I am unaware of.


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GSF are EVERYWHERE. We need to set up game cameras to see if the GSF maybe get a swimming start, build up speed, and then fins flapping scoot across land from BOW to BOW? How else do they seem to find their way in every puddle?

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SNRUB,
Reading above you say that you had plans for PK shrimp and went light or not at all on the crayfish. Did the PK shrimp plan work out? Do you see them? Do they enter your minnow traps? Would love to know how they survive with predators, who eats them, and where you see them (maybe you only see them at night with a strong light?) You would think they would struggle to survive with so many panfish predators.

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Glad you brought that up. I need to do some checking to see if I still have any of the PK shrimp. I have not noticed any in the traps but they are easy to miss if not looking for them, being clear and not very big.

I will pay more attention to the traps and I need to go out at night with a dip net and see if I can net some. I hope they are still there. But you are right about the predators and this pond till very recently had no submerged weeds and only a small patch of spike rush now for cover. The only real cover they have, and there is lots of it, are 3" or so diameter crushed limestone rocks.

Last edited by snrub; 06/03/16 02:51 PM.

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A couple pictures of the RES fry.

Set three minnow traps and checked in about 15 minutes and had 9 small RES and a few minnows. I don't know if the RES are just wandering in by accident or are actively going in after the feed. I do feed in this pond daily for the FHM population and it is possible that the RES are also eating the feed.

Guess I could try setting some traps with and without feed and see if it makes a difference.

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Very cool! Mine are still sitting on nests near the bank. I think. Or, at least I hope. If all the nests I'm seeing aren't RES, then that means they are my supposedly, HBG.
I'll try some nets and traps next week. I'm very curious if any of the 20+ YP ribbons I counted, produced any fry.
Your pics of the RES fry, look like mine did when they were stocked last April.


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Your HBG males likely will make nests. There hopefully should be very few females to take them up on their offer though.


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Some more pictures of RES fingerlings I am raising in this forage pond to transfer to my main pond. RES is supposed to be the only sunfish in this pond. But I have trapped a fingerling GSF (likely came from main pond swimming up the overflow during high water event) so who knows.

Most look like pure RES but occasionally I get a few that look like they could have some GSF genes in them. Hard for me to tell for sure with a 2" fish. I know they are not GSF because I also have pictures of them and will put one below to show. As I start catching them again from the main pond as they get bigger (or catch some larger ones from this forage pond) maybe I can get a better idea. Funny thing is, I was wanting some GRES hybrids. I just did not think they would be coming from this pond!

Descriptions of what I think they are on the pictures. But I would not bet money on any of the ID's. Looking at the pictures the difference in the GSF (last picture is from a different pond) and the RES might not look that much different. But I can tell you, in person looking at them, there is a lot of difference. I can spot a GSF in a trap full of fingerlings easily. I can also tell the hybrids from the CNBG fingerlings easily. They are very apparent when side by side in person. The pictures do not do them justice. The differences just do not show up as well in the pictures as in real life. They likely would if I had a better camera.

I hardly ever get a FHM in the traps any more in this pond. Either the RES have done away with them or the GSH have out produced them. But I have a tremendous population of GSH, the other minnow in this pond. They are going gangbusters this year.

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Last edited by snrub; 07/17/16 10:42 PM.

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Some of the parental stock from this forage pond. I caught these two RES back in 10-31-2015. I think one is female and one is male but unsure. Some of the above fingerlings could be from these parents. I caught both of these within a couple feet of the same spot just off the bank one right after the other. Dragging a 1/32 oz jig up the bank very slowly with a 3/4" piece of plastic worm split in half to look like a bug. Ala Shorty!!!! style grin

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Last edited by snrub; 07/18/16 11:00 AM.

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Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
SNRUB,
Reading above you say that you had plans for PK shrimp and went light or not at all on the crayfish. Did the PK shrimp plan work out? Do you see them? Do they enter your minnow traps? Would love to know how they survive with predators, who eats them, and where you see them (maybe you only see them at night with a strong light?) You would think they would struggle to survive with so many panfish predators.


Canyoncreek I went out a few nights ago with a dip net and tried to net some PK shrimp. Never got any. Also have been watching minnow traps better and have seen none. I'm afraid my PK shrimp did not make it. This forage pond is swimming with GS and maybe the predation was just too much for them.


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Caught another of the RES brood stock late this afternoon. Small hook and small bait seems to be what it takes for me to catch RES. I switched to a tiny hook and caught this guy as well as several 3-4" RES out of this forage pond.

Edit: thread with pictures of some of the offspring coming from this pond. Fingerling identification

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Last edited by snrub; 09/02/16 11:32 PM.

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Caught this small RES out of the main pond. It could have been recruitment there or it very well could be one of the many fingerling RES I have raised in this forage pond that were trapped in minnow traps and transferred to the main pond.

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Last edited by snrub; 09/20/16 10:29 PM.

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Dang man! I understand the gloves when I see the dorsal spikes on that guy....must be about like picking up a wiggling cactus!

I could use a few of those at Mutt Pond if you are ever headed this way.... smile


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What is it that Bruce Condello has as his tag line?

"Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors". Bruce Condello

Redear Sunfish information links


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I raised the level of this pond recently. This one actually went as planned. Inserted a 6" plastic schedule 40 pipe extender, cut a 6" 90 degree fitting to the height I wanted the water, and installed it on the pipe extender. It all fit tight enough I did not even glue it. Just put a single self tapping screw in the top of the 90 to make sure it stayed in place.

Raised the water level about 6". Should give some added insurance against winter kill for the RES I raise in this pond. There is hardly any dam height above water level (maybe 6-8") but the emergency spillway is about 3" above the new full pool level and this pond gets very limited runoff (maybe 2 acres). It does not get near the inflow as its sister sediment pond and the dam has very good grass established.

Just got a 4" rain and all was well.

Caught a couple RES from it tonight.

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Last edited by snrub; 10/09/16 08:55 PM.

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What I believe to be a RESxGSF hybrid. There are supposed to be only RES in this pond but either some of the stocked RES had some GSF genes or a GSF swam up my overflow pipe and contaminated the pond. I have caught a few GSF looking fingerlings, quite a number or RES fingerlings, and some that appear to be hybrids.

The first two pictures are of the same fish and I believe it to be one of the RESxGSF hybrids. It was caught by hook and line in this RES only forage pond.

The third picture is a hybrid caught out of my main pond that I THINK...... key word think......... is one of these hybrids I moved from this forage pond to the main pond at an earlier time and it is all grown up.

Welcome any opinions.

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Last edited by snrub; 11/20/17 06:20 AM.

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Snrub, I am still learning about various hybrids. Can you point out characteristics that make you believe this is a resXgsf hybrid rather than a plain gsf?
Thanks.


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I'll try. Keep in mind I am no expert.

First off is the fact that this is SUPPOSED to be a RES only pond. Had this fish been taken from my main pond there would have been other more likely possibilities. But the fact that this fish came from a pond that was stocked with RES makes the probability it has RES genes much higher. That is my first clue. I have probabilities in my corner.

Second, look at the opercular tab. Notice the orange portion of the border is relatively distinct. My GSF have a translucent orangish border but the border usually wraps around the opercular tab more of the radius and is distinctly translucent. To me this orange tab is more of a solid nature reminiscent of a RES.

Third, notice the mouth size. It is large like a GSF but the relative size of the mouth in relationship to the body height does not look large enough to be pure GSF.

Fourth, notice the green bars below the eyes. These are reminiscent of GSF bars but they lack the intensity of my pure GSF. RES often have a mottled cheek that are less bar like of the GSF but still have a pattern. The bars on this fish in coloration and shape look like some blend of what I would expect from both a GSF and a RES.

Fifth, the general body shape is similar to a GSF but to my eyes it has just a little too much height in relation to the mouth size to be pure GSF.

Sixth, the coloration with the blue-green flecks in the lower part of the body towards the tail says GSF. I do not see any of the black flecks in that area that I often see in my pure GSF.

It would be pretty easy to just call this a GSF. But the orange tab on the opercular does not look just right. The green bars do not look just right. The mouth size in relation to the vertical height of the body does not look just right. And it has some characteristics of a RES and it came from a pond full of RES that was not supposed to have any GSF in it.

That is what I see. Now I will wait to see if the experts tell me it is a GSF, LOL. I'll try to look for a good GSF picture of a fish about the same size and edit this post with it so you have a comparison.

Last edited by snrub; 10/24/16 12:04 PM.

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