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BC,

Yes, Todd assumed that if I "naturally" have GSF then I may also naturally have some mudcats as well. Another assumption I will try to validate or refute.

Thanks,

Justin


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NTHA, here is a thread I started on fingerling BG, GSF and RES with pictures. I am no fish expert, so if some of the experts have opinions on the pedigree I welcome it. Very possible I could be mistaken.

But the pictures show small fish side by side, which is very helpful to distinguish some of the subtle differences Bill Cody talks about.

As the fish grow a little larger, ID becomes much easier. I have been trying to ID fish only going on 4 years now and I know in the beginning it was very difficult for me. I posted these pictures for people in the same situation I was back then.

Fingerling BG, RES,GSF and some hybrids identification

Last edited by snrub; 02/09/17 06:37 AM.

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Thanks snrub,

I am definitely not an expert at fish ID. Beginner actually. Growing up fishing in Texas creeks we just called them all "perch." I am going to enjoy learning all the nuances and small differences in each fish. You pictures really do help.


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That is what they still are called here too, perch. Although sometimes when I was a kid if they were brightly colored in spawning colors they were called "sunfish" by my older brothers, not realizing the difference between male/female and seasonal differences.

The most fun from my pond so far has been the learning process first, feeding and observing the fish second, and fishing third.

Last edited by snrub; 02/09/17 09:03 AM.

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Hey Snrub, does that mean "eating" is fourth? Ha!

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To keep this thread active while we wait for catch results, DD1 says ""Bill, it is my observation that in Texas and other warm weather areas, bass spawn and over spawn. The forage base generally lasts a couple of years and then you have a really great big bluegill pond with starving bass."".
I think in this particular situation a soon to be overpopulation of bass will not be a bad thing considering the goals of this pond. As the bass numbers increase the sunfish sizes increase which can be viewed as angling diversity and change. If catch records are kept and not tried to be mentally remembered, the changes of fish balance an sizes will be readily apparent. Then some selective harvest of bass or sunfish can relatively easily be made in a 0.5 ac pond.

My 1st concern is to get a successful bass spawn in a crowded sunfish pond which can be a challenge when too many starving aggressive sunfish are present. Good success of reproducing bass or additional bass stockings will be needed IMO to get control of the overabundant sunfish. Catching and selectively removing adequate numbers of bass in just a 0.5 ac to maintain a reasonable community balance will not a big challenge. An adept angler could do that in 2 or 3 fishing sessions for a 0.5 ac pond. For good fishery results,,, every pond's fish community always SOONER or LATER needs some adjustments and management of one or both of the fishes when they get too abundant and upset a balance of forage and predator. Great fisheries do not last forever.

When you are raising any animal this good rule for applying managemtn always applies to produce a good crop, weather it is plants in a garden or animals in a pen/barn/coop. Even deer herds need management especially when predators are not at correct densities. Management, Management and Attention to some Details are always best for raising good 'crops' and children.

If we "add" stocked this problem pond with catfish and HBG the pond would still NEED and benefit from some form of management such as restocking or harvest to keep the quality of angling experience elevated, fun, and exciting in the future for numerous years not just the short term. As an example B.Lusk just renovated his catfish pond - as a management project. Good fisheries don't last forever.

Based on the soon to be reported catch results, we can provide several supplimental stocking options and let NTHA choose which best fits his schedule, plans, and goals.


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Originally Posted By: 4CornersPuddle
Hey Snrub, does that mean "eating" is fourth? Ha!


Depends on what time of day it is. grin

Reminds me, I'm getting a little hungry........


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BC,

I do plan to keep good catch records with sizes, pictures, dates, etc. (any other tips on catch records?). I did a little catfishing last night just to see if I could catch something random. I didn't do anything special. I just used some PowerBait I had. Nothing. I also threw a little inline spinner, crankbait and jig. Nothing. This afternoon I will have a few friends over and all of our kids fishing with worms. I will take lots of pictures. If they are GSF I will probably throw them in a bucket and maybe use for catfishing tonight. I have never seen any sign of a predator fish but while messing around last night there was a huge swirl/splash near me about 6 or so feet from the bank. It could have been a frog or something but haven't seen any frogs big enough to make that kind of splash. The plot thickens!!! I'll update as I get information. Probably tonight.


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With a large swirl near bank, put a small 3" sunfish on a hook under a bobber about 3-4 ft deep. Let it fish for a couple hours near where you are fishing for sunfish. The vulnerable hooked unusual swimming sunfish is a very easy target for a predator that is attracted to the activity of anglers.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/09/17 04:34 PM.

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Might try a minnow trap also for fish sampling. Put some fish food or bread for bait.


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So, my friend and I and our boys fished for just under two hours this evening after work on my mystery pond. We fished anywhere from 1 foot deep to 5 feet deep and anywhere from a few feet from the bank to as far as we could chunk a hook, worm and cork. We literally caught two fish and it was hard work getting these tiny things to bite. I then put these guys on a bait hook and threw them back in to see if I could entice any type of predator fish. Nothing. My next thought, as snrub suggested, was to put out a minnow trap to see what I could catch. The only sporting goods store in town is Walmart and they didn't have one when I went by to get worms. I will have to order one or get one at Academy next time I'm in the big city. So, what are these little guys? GSF? What next? Is one time with little success enough to prove it is essentially empty? Any thoughts?

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Last edited by N.TexasHalfAcre; 02/10/17 08:27 AM.

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bluegills.


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.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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DO you have a cast net?

I agree with Dave they are BG which is a good start.


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Bluegills and they are significantly stunted. IMO one of the reasons you had poor angling catches was due to your cloudy water. How can a fish see the bait-food when it can't see 6"-12". BG and sunfish are like cherry or fruit pickers; see pick, see pick. Notice the large eyes of your 2 BG. Very out of proportion indicating lack of food and very slow growth. For fish stunting to occur either the food is very lacking or there are way too many fish or the fish can't find the food. Maybe some of all three. IMO and research turbid water significantly suppresses natural food production in the pond. This then limits the amount of all critters above and including phytoplankton.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/11/17 08:45 PM.

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So what's next? I didn't get around to checking the water clarity. I will try to do that this weekend. It is murky but I have fished in many ponds in this area that were way muddier than mine and caught really nice bass out of them. Does that mean I need to turn it into a catfish pond? I hope not. I am definitely not a catfish fan. Any suggestions? I do not own a cast net nor do I know how to throw one very well, but I have a few friends that could help out.

Last edited by N.TexasHalfAcre; 02/10/17 10:03 AM.

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Look at the two "Muddy water" threads. Muddy water is different than water that is cloudy from planktonic algae.


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So, I probably should have posted some pictures of the pond at the beginning of the thread. As you can see from the pictures the pond is an orangish-brown color. The soil in the area is red sand/rock. There are also a lot of live oak trees all around the pond, don't the acorns stain the water as well? Thought I read that somewhere. I also know I need to cut all the willow trees down since they are water hogs. Currently working on the wife about that. I also included a picture of the dam/spillway. The last picture is of one of 100s (maybe 1000s) of tiny frogs we have in the pond right now.

Thoughts? Too muddy to be a LMB, CNBG, HSB pond?

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For what it is worth, the water looks pretty good to me.

Maybe a little staining from the organic material, but otherwise not that different than what my water looks like part of the year.

My water changes looks at different times of the year,


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I agree with snrub the water looks(8246) like it will have a secchi clarity close to the 16"-24" a standard good visibility. IMO it will support a "regular" LMB-HSB-sunfish type of community especially when the fish are stocked and conditioned to eating pellets in one area. However it may not have a high phytoplankton community contributing to the reduced current visibility. When were the pictures taken?. FYI -Phytplankton changes daily following the nutrient availability and seasonality of each region.
Lots of frogs indicates a low density of bass. A single 12"-14" LMB would eat 1-3 small-medium frogs a day in water above 60F. I suggested adding 30 LMB and at 1 frog a day equals 900 frogs gone per month!

Seeing pictures of your pond, one possibility is it could have undergone a seasonal fish kill. "Natural fish" kills usually removes the largest fish first while also killing most or all of the bass that require slighly more DO than the smallest sunfish. Survivors of the kill would have been mostly small BG which survived to be what the fish community grew to what it is now, numerous stunted BG with no or very little predatory pressure. Low predator numbers is evidenced by numerous frogs. Frogs are usually easier for a bass to catch than a frisky agile BG.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/11/17 09:08 PM.

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Water looks ok for the time of year.
















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Thanks BC. So, you think I am good to go with your original recommendation and what Todd Overton suggested? If you were me would you do LMB, BG and HSB or would you do LMB, BG and CC? I kind of had fun trying to see if there were any catfish in there this week? They are also a lot more hardy than HSB correct? Anyone else's thoughts?


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Thanks snrub and ewest. The more people that say it looks good the better I feel about going forward.


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I emailed all of the pictures and fishing report to Todd Overton. I'll let you guys know what his thoughts were.

Any other suggestions?


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If you are not planning to regularly clean and eat CC leave them out. Try the HSB first and you will find them to a much better, exciting sport fish. When larger CC can be a nuisance utilizing too much pond fish biomass and behaving like pellet hogs forcing other fish to the periphery when pellet feeding. CC an always be added years later if you miss their hoggish nature.

If you an aerate the pond you should have not problems growing fish in that water if you maintain an average prey-predator balance.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/14/17 07:39 PM.

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Ok. Thanks for the tip. I was just worried about how hearty the HSB would be during the Texas summers. It is 100 degrees plus here from May through October. It seems like it would be hard to avoid catching the HSB when fishing for LMB in the summer. If you catch a HSB in the intense heat they are as good as dead right? Could go through that initial stocking of HSB pretty quick. Thought maybe CC would be more resilient. Honestly, I would rather not mess with catfish. So, if you think I can manage HSB in the Texas heat I am going to go that route.


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