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Caught some more RES fingerlings with the cast net tonight. Four casts netted 41 2-2.5" RES, one GSF and a hand full of GS. The GS and RES got transferred to my main pond.

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Thanks for posting the pics John! I may not reply to this and your other thread on fishing that often but I am definitely following along. Good stuff!


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Decided to throw the cast net in some of the deepest water of this 1/20th acre pond. Look what I caught. I put it right back in the pond to make more babies. That is one of my RES brood stock.

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Nice fish!

Lusk says RES will cold stress so it's good you're doing the migration before it gets much colder.

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Hadn't heard that but I can believe it. These 3" RES seem a lot more lethargic at current water temperatures (50-55) than the same size BG.

A week or so ago I dumped a batch of them in my main pond. Thought they were going to die as they rolled over and floated around. From then on I was much more careful about tempering them to the new water. In the case of my forage pond and main pond, they are 30 feet from each other. I figured temperature and water would be close enough no problem. Big problem. I suspect there is a pH difference as the forage pond is nearly entirely lined with limestone rock.

So from that point forward I was much more careful about tempering the water in the bucket to the new pond water and had no more problems.

But I can tell the RES swim away a lot more lethargically than what BG would. They are already cold.


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This small 1/20th acre pond takes a new direction today.

The only fish stocked have been RES, FHM and GS. Somewhere along the line GSF got into the pond and I have been managing them by removal, both hook and line (for the ones that make it to larger size) and minnow traps.

I was afraid the GSF had gotten the upper hand and were on the verge of taking over. I was ready to throw in the towel next year, pump it down, seine it, and nuke it. I had removed ten or twelve 5-6" GSF and had been trapping lots of GSF fingerlings and only a few RES. But then I got out the cast net and removed over 400 3" nominal RES fingerlings over a couple weeks and was still getting quite a few with the net when I quit. And rarely a GSF in the cast net.

So I learned something. Minnow traps and fishing are not reliable ways to evaluate a RES vs GSF population, because the GSF are much more aggressive toward hook and line and are much more likely to go into a minnow trap for fish food. The reality turned out to be I had lots of RES in the pond and a much smaller population of GSF and have been able to reduce the GSF population down to the point I can no longer catch them by line and am only getting the occasional one in the minnow trap.

So change of plans. No nuking the pond next summer.

Instead I put 10 6"-9" SMB in this small pond. This is the first time this pond has had an apex predator.

Where will I go from here with this tiny pond? Not sure. Originally its purpose was to raise FHM and RES fingerlings to supplement RES stocking in my main pond. Once I introduced the GS, between the RES and GS the FHM pretty well went by the wayside. Now I have lots of GS and rarely catch a FHM. I have managed to put several hundred RES fingerlings from this pond into both my main pond and also more recently my RES only pond.

But now with the one acre RES only pond, I should in the future have all the RES fingerlings I need from it. So raising RES fingerlings in this tiny pond would be redundant.

So I am not sure what direction I will head with it. I may fish the SMB out after they get enough size to avoid predation in my main pond and put them there. Or I might just leave the SMB in this tiny pond and see how they perform. They have enough GS in this pond to almost walk on. At least for the first 6 months or maybe a year they should be well fed. Maybe I will see if I can get some SMB recruitment in this pond. The pond is almost entirely lined with crushed rock so maybe they would find suitable spawning sites.

Don't know. No specific goals yet. Think I will just observe for a while and see what shakes out. I know "no goals" is kind of anathema to this forum. But maybe specifically "no goal" is a goal in this case??? grin Whatever the case, I think I will have some more fun with this 1/20th acre pond.

Last edited by snrub; 12/06/17 09:52 PM.

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snrub - very good information and observations about the activity in your small 1/20 ac forage pond. Thanks for the informative update. It is good fish management info.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/07/17 11:54 AM.

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Thanks for the report.

No Goals is an entirely valid option. When most of us say goals it really means "what do you want". If what one wants is no goals "free range fish" then that is good.

A couple thoughts. Crawfish go well with SMB and so do smaller forage fish (smaller than adult GS). Lots of GS may mean no/little SMB reproduction/recruitment as they repress spawning and eat eggs and fry.

Small ponds like that offer lots of options. What about a few adult YP ?
















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Wondered if the RES made it through the winter ok so threw the cast net about eight throws. Came up with about two dozen 3" RES and one that was about 5". Moved them to my sediment pond as I figure I still need to keep the biomass down in this pond to let the remaining fish room to grow.

Also caught some golden shiners in the cast net. There seems to be a big population of them as they really hit the feed pellets aggressively. That will make good food for the ten 6-9" SMB I put in there last December.

Caught three 5-6" GSF by hook and line. Hope I am getting them thinned out. Also caught one 6" GS. Fat bugger. Caught a few GSF/RES hybrids also. No pure RES but I suspect they are still pretty sluggish in the cold water. 50 degree water temp the other day when I measured.

I mostly wanted to get a feel for how this tiny pond fared through the winter. Looks like it may have done ok.

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Last edited by snrub; 03/17/18 11:43 PM.

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My very first SMB caught in my life. (My wife did catch a really nice one up at TJ's though). Was fishing for GSF trying to remove them in this pond before they had a chance to spawn this spring. Did catch and remove 3. Was bumping my lure along the bottom to see if the RES were active with no luck. Then this hit my jig baited with a bit of Gulp Alive worm on it.

Just a shade over 9". I stocked ten of these in the 6-9" range last December in this 1/20th acre pond. Nice to know at least one is still in there and looking good.

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Last edited by snrub; 03/22/18 07:55 PM.

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Not bad John - will absolutely benefit from GSH spawn this Summer and should beef up considerably. Pretty good shape coming out of Winter - when that gape increases it will grow fast.


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Fishing in this 1/20th acre pond to remove unwanted GSF and hybrids to reduce biomass and caught this nice 10+" RES male (I think). One of my brood stock for the pond to raise the RES fingerlings. It went back in to make more babies.

Also been throwing the cast net to take out some more of the RES fingerlings and also a huge crop of GS. Only caught a few RES fingerlings but by throwing some feed out before throwing the net got around 50 4-5" nominal GS in about fifteen minutes. Transferred all these to my sediment pond. The sediment pond has bad FA and no GS stocked till now. This forage pond has lots of GS and no FA. So I am stocking the 1/10th acre sediment pond to see if the GS will take hold and help with the FA there. Hopefully will be a win-win. Reducing biomass in the forage pond to make room for the RES and SMB to grow (these GS are too big for the 6-9" SMB to eat) and if they will spawn in the sediment pond maybe eat some FA and provide forage for the 100 4-6" LMB I put in there last December.

Second picture is of my cast net repair crew fixing the tears I got throwing the net in an area with stuff it hung up on. Bless her heart!

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Last edited by snrub; 03/25/18 09:57 PM.

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That is a good looking fish! I really need to upgrade to a larger cast net. I throw a 6 footer which is easy to throw but apparently misses a lot of fish. I discovered this last weekend when trying to clean out the fish in puddle left from my pond draining. I threw the next 10 times without a single fish then finally started throwing in a pattern to "herd" them to one corner. Even after all that, the hydrated lime application turned up a few that I missed.


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My experience with a cast net is that they work well only when you have fish concentrated. Either by knowing where a school is or using it in a confined area where there is already a concentration of fish.

Fish are pretty thick in this 1/20th acre forage pond. Still, I have to feed the GS to get them grouped up to get very many per throw. Even then at times I will get a lot in one throw then maybe just a few in the next.

When casting for RES fingerlings, I found that waiting till almost dark (last fall) the fish would be coming up into shallow water to feed and I could get acceptable numbers per throw. In mid day casting to the same area I would get very few or none. I also found that if the water was cold and the fish sluggish it helped. In hot weather when the fish are very active, I think a lot of them can flee beneath the weights before they hit the bottom. Fish are quick. If a person is really into cast nets, you want to use the biggest mesh that will work for the size of fish you are targeting. The reason is, for a given amount of lead weight, a coarser mesh will sink faster than a fine mesh. Too fine of mesh with a too small diameter net will mean the net sinks too slowly and fish will swim out from under the weights before they hit the bottom.

So just like fishing with a hook, bait and line, knowing where the fish are, casting appropriately, and having the right size/mesh/weight ratio are all keys to success, in my opinion. I am not always successful. But I have found a few specific instances where it works pretty good.

Stay away from artificial structure. It plays havoc on a cast net. smirk And my net repair crew does not do outside work and is high maintenance grin .

Last edited by snrub; 03/26/18 04:29 PM.

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Nice looking RES John!


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Thanks! I liked catching it. I have mixed feelings about catching these larger fish in this pond. On one hand I like to disturb them as little as possible because they are my breeding stock. On the other hand, I like to see how big they are getting and also like to know they are still there. smile

Here are some pictures of the GS I have been getting in the cast net. There are also lots of smaller ones but they go right through the net mesh and escape. I have two or three every cast that get gill hooked in the net and likely will not survive. They are just the right size to get their head and gill cover through but too big for the rest of the body to pass through. But if I loose a few it is no big deal.

Last couple of pictures are of RES fingerlings from last years spawn. I got maybe a half dozen of those today in about 20 minutes and probably 50-60 GS. No GSF or hybrids which is great. Have not got a single cast net with any GSF or hybrid this spring, although I have caught a half dozen larger ones by hook and line. Hopefully I am getting them thinned out enough so they will be of minor consequence.

All of the fish pictured went into my sediment pond to stock it.

The last RES measured 3.25 inch long.

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Hmm, maybe I should try a cast net. Throw it when you are feeding? I would not know where else to throw it in a one AC pond. I'd like to clean out the HBG fry that are probably GSF.
I haven't seen many of my RES, but I know they are there. We catch one every now and then fishing for YP.
I'm not sure throwing the net in when I'm feeding is a good thing. I want them to continue to come to the feeder. Maybe just a toss or two sporadically.

Your fish sure look nice and healthy. Great info.


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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Here's an idea that I learned from my grandfather many years ago. I haven't seen this concept used very much since then. Its basically a fish hoist as illustrated below. The top ring is a floating ring that you throw the fish feed into. about 1 foot below is a slightly larger non floating ring with net attached. You train the fish to get comfortable feeding from the top ring then you can quickly lift the net and catch them from the bottom up. As 10 year old it amazed me that you could catch enough fish to feed 4 or 5 people in the span of 5 minutes. It was also not terribly disruptive, the fish resumed feeding shortly after.

It works best in an area like the corner of a dam or dock where you can walk a perimeter to rotate the fish load to the bank. The other tip is to have the center point a metal pipe with the Y being loosely fitted into the pipe so that it will rotate.


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That looks like a great idea. It would certainly be less disruptive.

As far as setterguy's concerns, I think they might be valid for some species of fish. But the GS seem to be dumb as stumps. I can wait a few minutes, throw another hand full of feed out and they are back.

I think it is important to point out that this is in a 1/20th acre pond. The fish likely are very hungry and can't run far away. I would not expect as much success in my 3 acre pond.

Something I think would work is throw it at night when the HBG are sleeping near shore. I have not tried it with the cast net, but I actually picked up a small BG in my hand one late night in less than 6 inches of water.


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Originally Posted By: snrub
Something I think would work is throw it at night when the HBG are sleeping near shore. I have not tried it with the cast net, but I actually picked up a small BG in my hand one late night in less than 6 inches of water.


Funny you mention that. I have been checking on my new CNBG fingerlings night and day. Two nights ago I went with a flashlight to see if I could spot any of them. I was surprised at how many were sitting motionless on the bottom in less than 6" of water. I was also able to grab one by hand. Is this "sleeping" behavior typical for fingerlings? Seems like an easy way to get picked off by racoons or other predators.


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Yepp. Very common. At least in my pond. Small ones close to shore in shallow water with larger ones ranging out as you get deeper.

Kind of explains why raccoons hang around ponds at night to catch fish and why large CC, being more nocturnal feeders, can do a number on the BG population. Also likely why you can find GBH fishing on moonlit nights.

Last edited by snrub; 03/27/18 09:21 PM.

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I have seen that for years with the small BG next to the bank after dark. We used to net some of them for trotline bait years ago by walking slowly along the lake banks with light and net. Mostly under 4 inches. I have never caught a BG at night by hook and line. They seem to be inactive at night.

I have found that large CC become very easy pickings for otters during winter when the CC lie on the bottom and barely move. I probably lost about 175 to 200 pounds of CC from my ponds this winter due to otters. Seems zero CC left in the ponds.


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Been catching some GS out of this forage pond to stock my sediment pond and main pond in addition to reducing the fish load in this pond. Fish are thick enough to almost walk on and I fear a fish kill later this summer unless I get some of them harvested and out of here.

While casting for GS I have been getting a couple of 3-4" RES per cast also. Lo and behold I also got three big ones in the cast net pictured below. All in the 7.5-9" range. Normally I would put these large RES back in to raise more RES fingerlings. But considering I removed several hundred 3" nominal RES last fall and am still getting 3-4" fish in the cast net, I think I have plenty of fingerlings in there even without the large breeders. So these three went to the sediment pond to raise some RES fingerlings there. These were caught about a week ago and just got around to posting the pics.

On another sadder note, I found two dead 9-10" SMB (out of 10 originally stocked) in this pond floating around the edge. I had put the aeration on timer but don't know if this had anything to do with it. Put this pond back on 24-7 aeration because it has such a heavy fish load. That was a couple days ago and no more dead SMB since. Fingers crossed. Fish were too decomposed and partially eaten to determine death.

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Last edited by snrub; 05/19/18 10:01 PM.

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I envy you guys. I've stocked RES several times in each pond. I only remember ever catching but one.


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Dave in my main 3 acre pond out of hundreds and hundreds of BG I catch each year I am lucky if I catch 2 or 3 RES. I have been putting fingerling RES out of this forage pond in the main pond trying to bring their numbers up in relation to the BG population. They are tough to catch when in with a mixed population of fish.

Now in this forage pond where RES are the only sunfish (except for a few GSF that I remove when I catch) I can catch them. It still is not particularly easy compared to BG, but where they are the only fish it helps.

My theory is that in a pond full of hungry BG the more persnickety RES simply do not get to the bait in time. Or when they do they are a lot more picky about taking it. In this pond when I catch a RES by hook and line it is usually a small tug, another small tug (kind of like a tiny fish is messing with the bait) then once they have "tasted" it they take the bate. Seems like for me and the bait I use at least it is rarely just a full on strike like a BG or GSF would do.

In my RES dedicated one acre pond I should have several hundred catch-able size RES by now and stocked 90 SMB. Fishing to sample for the RES I caught two SMB. Go figure.


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