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A not-so-quick report of my fall net samples..
Using 1 trap net with 7 sets at the same locations as last year, here's my numbers. Please keep in mind I have a certain percentage of recapture but as with all sampling this normally provides a better view over-all.
I've converted back to nearest inch for clarity as it makes more sense to most but actual samples are mm and grams.
To start with SMB.
135 fish Total with confirmed recruitment., ave. WR 145.02% Fish above 10" ave. 109% WR.
Largest SMB 14.25", 111% WR.

YP-397 fish total with confirmed recruitment., ave. WR 104.35% Fish above 10" ave. 100.23% WR.
Largest YP 15-1/16", 98% WR. Noted YP at 248.4mm (9.78") and above start to trend to a lower WR- Seems to be something lacking for continued maximum growth but note SMB appear to have ample forage.

RES-299 fish total with confirmed recruitment. ave. WR 98.92%
Largest RES 7.75", 93.4% WR. Fish smaller than 6" are the highest WR and trends downward starting above 6.25" consistently.
Possible loss of most vegetation and associated aquatic life during flood may have impacted this figure.

BG-91 fish total, no recruitment noted at this time, no females noted.
ave. WR 107.44%, Largest BG 7-1/16", 104.1% WR.
68 BG removed, All below 150mm (6" roughly).

Additional fish-
3 SAE, 108.3% WR, Largest 18.45", 109.2% WR.
3 BCP, 105.1% WR, Largest 13-1/16" 102% WR. (all removed).
7 HBG, RESXBG and 1 BGXGSF, All above 5" & Removed, no data taken.
1 CC, 26.5" Removed.
27 GSH, ave 5.75". Very obvious GSH recruitment in very large numbers from 1" up to 2.75".
Not 1 single FHM confirmed in fry nets.
Numerous sunfish not identifiable from 3/8" to 1.25" sampled.
Possible BGXRES or straight RES. Plan to monitor over time.

To pull this data all together, on the YP I'm going to need some input from the YP experts as it would appear I'm loosing growth nearing the 10" mark indicating required forage size is low, yet SMB are consistent through the same range and well above std weight.

#2, RES are not thriving here and with my flood this summer and being the first full year, I have nothing to compare to and can only speculate on the loss of vegetation and how it may have affected them. The loss of vegetation may have also exposed forage items and possibly caused the high WR's for SMB and I plan to monitor that.
Naiads, mostly paddle tail, were present as were large numbers of aquatic worm vessels before filamentous algae was flushed out from flood.

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I think the SMB are out competing the YP for needed foods which is why the YP growth seems to be slowing at 9+". IMO the 9" YP and 9-10" SMB are eating the same foods. If the YP were eating pellets and getting more food the growth would be better for the larger YP.


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Beings only 75 of the 7-8" YP were feed trained before release, which is about 1/3 of total stocking, I removed 45 <5" and 10 9-11".
I also pulled every SMB less than 7" which was 86 fish- majority in 4-5" range.
Do you have suggestions going forward, Bill?
I should add I had more of a large perch fishery in mind in the begining and had planned to pull (harvest) substantial numbers of 6-10" fish.

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Very interesting Snipe. I have nothing to add (because I don't know much) but just wanted to say I applaud your detail to management and am following to see if there is anything I can glean for SMB management in my RES/SMB pond.

Looks like your SMB had no problem recruiting.


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snrub, SMB have responded better than anticipated.. My growth was a little more than I figured I would get.
I wish I could have more stable conditions, veggie wise, and that would help.
I'm fixing my flood plain so the high water events can't influence the pond as much as it did this summer.

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Snipe - I don't know much about the biology, food web, and ecosystem of your pond other than some of the things that you have mentioned on the forum. Based on your fish sampling results, I suspect the YP growth is as good as can be expected based on the species present and their respective population structure and density. You should be able to produce some decent YP, although it may take a little longer compared to pellet fed perch or perch in a pond dominated by minnows(FHM, BNM, etc), a strong invertebrate community, and crayfish.

For making the YP a primary panfish in a pond, one has to focus on having less competition from other species and or focus on increasing the percentage of pellet trained YP. More numbers of pellet trained YP helps a lot to insure those fish get ample food each day despite the lack of natural foods and an increased interspecies competition. As our mentor BobLusk says "every day a fish does not eat is a day it does not grow". The only thing I would add to this is the fish not only has to eat but it has to daily eat significantly more than a maintenance diet otherwise RW is reduced and growth is slower. Reducing competition usually results in better body condition and improved growth rate of remaining fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/17/19 01:30 PM.

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I think I understand in general, I need to reduce numbers more yet.
I have to do some thinking out loud here so my thought process is understood.
I put 5 Saugeye in to help control expected recruitment of YP. 75 of 110 YP stocked were feed trained with the thought of continued growth and less pressure on natural items. I'm feeding at twice the recommended rate per acre (per Dustin) and it's being consumed quickly. I've also confirmed heavy YP feeding-by far more than any other species present.
Thinking out loud again here-I need to find other forage minnow types.. The GSH are obviously doing well but with differences in habits I can't help but think other species, chubs, emeralds, blunt nose, etc, would add more options in different areas of the water column. Aquatic growth will come back, balance will be achieved.
I also feel strongly that a fish should have everything it can eat-every day- to make this work the best, also the reason I feel I may need to remove some forage eaters and better control those numbers.
With that being said, I believe I will reset traps and pull higher numbers of YP and SMB out before winter sets in hard.

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You may have to allow time for the fish removal adjustments to influence the RW values before removing lots more fish. If YP are the main fish for your harvest plans then I would focus on removing SMB rather than YP. How big is the pond?


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.630 acre Bill.
About 3.55 ac ft of water.
3.5 months after 12lbs of adult FHM I put 20 3-4", 15 6-8" YP because that was the number available.
At that time I stocked another 15lbs of fhm.
1 month later, 175 res, 2-4", 45 2" smb and 2lbs of crawdads.
on Oct 29 I stocked another 15lbs of fhm.
on Nov 9 I stocked 450 3 to 3.5" gsh.
April, 2019, 25 7-8" & 100 4-5" YP, 75 7-8" in cage for 15 days to feed train then released.
on aug 28, 19, I stocked 67lbs of fhm from a grow-out pond clean out.
EDIT: and I can't find a single FHM....

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With all the FHM that you have added and now see or trap few if any,,, suggests to me, that there is too much predation pressure for the YP to have a higher RW. This is evidenced by the 9"+ YP showing reduce body condition. Your sample showed
above 10" an ave. 100.23% WR. Largest YP 15-1/16", 98% WR. Compare this with a 12.5" YP I caught today that weighed 1.25lb and a RW of 110 with 40 grams of body fat(7% of total weight). Actually I think my fish had too much fat. I think your perch are still considered in good body condition at 98% and average of 100.23%. I would sample a few YP and check for the amount of body fat. Female YP at this time of year are carrying egg sacs for the spawn next spring. Ample body fat allows for good healthy egg development and reduced forage intake during winter. Reduced fat content means this fish has to consume enough natural foods during winter to produce healthy eggs. Egg mass at spawning can be 30% of the total body weight and significantly contributes to their total body weight - RW. The 12.5" YP I mention above had an egg mass of 13.5 grams and close to the size of my thumb.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/20/19 06:19 PM.

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Right or wrong, in the last 3 days I've removed 70 YP, 106 SMB and 81 BG.
Now, I'd like to find some chubs, emeralds and any other form of minnow available to see how dynamic of a population structure I can obtain going forward.
The lack of different forage minnows available has me wondering if it's not feasible to raise them or do they just not produce well.?.?.?
I'm about to a point of confusion where I'm half tempted to raise either different forage types only or go with YP only.
One year and 3 months was not what I had in mind but some very obvious things happened in that short amount of time that made it very clear my stocking plan was a mistake.
I've almost talked myself into a YP pond only..
Thinking out loud here.. I'm sure I'll change my mind tomorrow.

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My thinking indicates that when one's focus is trying to raise YP or any fish specie on natural foods one has to keep the predator density low enough so lots of forage fish are available so the target fish can always be getting enough food for optimum growth. As overcrowding occurs overall growth rates tend to be reduced.

This is where starting with all pellet feeding perch becomes important. Thus when natural foods are lacking the YP can still be fed pellets to produce optimum growth. When too many predators are present they limit the amount or recruitment of YP. There will always be some recruitment YP that do not learn to eat pellets and this is when it is important to have goodly amounts of natural forage to keep this version of YP actively growing. Even with this method the YP numbers have to be kept at a relatively moderate density or poundage (harvest) so the pond does not develop too high of a carrying capacity that in itself probably reduces the best growth rates.

Snipe - Initially I think in your case it would be wise to focus on removing SMB rather than too many perch. I think the SMB as a group are consuming a larger percentage of the natural forage items compared to the food percentage consumed by perch as a group. I think the smallie is a more aggressive and more successful predator in limited forage habitats compared to YP.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/20/19 06:15 PM.

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I'm removing as many of the new recruit SMB as I can get trapped, really any less than 5". If I have some slow growers from original stockers they probably need removed anyway. The problem I see is the outlandish number of 4-5" perch.
If one SMB was successful in nesting, and based on size there could have been 2500-3500 eggs. If 5% made it to 3", that could be 150 fish?? If the fry survived predation due to my large amount of riprap that number could possibly be higher. I'm estimating my hatch date and with that said, my new recruits are growing at a higher rate than my original stocker SMB but I feel the diversity of my forage base was better for the new recruits but I don't feel that way now. I have very high numbers of GSH-I'm as dumbfounded by their numbers as I was by the FHM earlier this year. I had confirmation of YP fry long before I seen any smallie fry. I think I was behind the curve before I ever recognized it. If 2 SMB spawned successfully, well.. Maybe that happened but somewhere the entire system blew up and the forage base got hit hard-especially the easy targets.
I'm close to 100 smb less than 5" removed so maybe I should stop here.
EDIT: another item of interest that I want to add is my fall samples were 7 net sets, 1 per day. I decided to pull perch and smb so I set 2 per day for 2 nights. so in 11 net sets I collected 4-1/2 5gal buckets full of crawdads and I've removed every one of them. I stocked 2lbs a year ago and removed probably 35-40lbs now.

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I bet there are guys out there that would have loved to have your discards. grin

Buying 5" SMB fingerlings ain't cheap. Or always easy to get.

I have a bunch this year too. Moved about 50 to my main pond.

The smallies sure like to bite. Half hour fishing in my main pond, where the only SMB are the ones I have moved over from my RES/SMB pond, and I caught 4 SMB 12-14" long. Caught one CC and 4 hybrids in that time. So for the SMB being a very minority fish in that pond, they sure do bite aggressively.

Now it is funny though, in the RES/SMB pond they often will not bite my offerings. I think the difference is in the main pond they have heavy competition from BG and HBG so they have to work for a living. In the SMB pond the RES probably give them little competition. Plus I feed them pellets. So there is little need to hustle for food.

Having three main ponds and a couple small ones sure makes it interesting in the ways fish act differently under different conditions.

Last edited by snrub; 10/20/19 08:37 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Snipe
... another item of interest that I want to add is my fall samples were 7 net sets, 1 per day. I decided to pull perch and smb so I set 2 per day for 2 nights. so in 11 net sets I collected 4-1/2 5gal buckets full of crawdads and I've removed every one of them. I stocked 2lbs a year ago and removed probably 35-40lbs now.


I find that very interesting as IIRC crawdads are preferred forage for both SMB and YP.make sure you put me on the invite list for that crawdad boil!

Last edited by Bill D.; 10/20/19 08:40 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill D.
Originally Posted By: Snipe
... another item of interest that I want to add is my fall samples were 7 net sets, 1 per day. I decided to pull perch and smb so I set 2 per day for 2 nights. so in 11 net sets I collected 4-1/2 5gal buckets full of crawdads and I've removed every one of them. I stocked 2lbs a year ago and removed probably 35-40lbs now.


I find that very interesting as IIRC crawdads are preferred forage for both SMB and YP.make sure you put me on the invite list for that crawdad boil!

That's exactly why I stocked 2 lbs.. I knew there would be no predation the first year but I had no idea they would explode like that. I have feaky pictures of them coming up the bank after pellets when I feed. I have no vegetation left, they were even starting to consume my water hyacinth.
When the flood flushed my FA out, it changed everything, no doubt.

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John, I have all the cages and pens to save these for transfer! grin
Augie got about 70 of my YP today and I sold 55 smb yesterday.
I can fix ya up! smile
Also, if anyone has doubts about my complete saturation salt solution, Augie got to see this in practice today.. when they float to the top and look dead, move them back to straight water.. works great!

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Originally Posted By: Snipe

Also, if anyone has doubts about my complete saturation salt solution, Augie got to see this in practice today.. when they float to the top and look dead, move them back to straight water.. works great!


It's true. I saw it with my own eyes.

Into salt water, float, into fresh water, swim away like nothing happened.

Those fish spent eight hours traveling across Kansas and Missouri and were released into my pond late Sunday evening.

Monday evening some of them came out for pellets and a giant shiner mugging.

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Time to revisit this... Funny what actually showed it's ugly face with the crawdads this summer.
Part of what I want to share as an observation here-in part-is in regards to the article Bill Cody wrote a few years back, "Growing the best smallies", which has become a bible for me as I refer back to that very frequently. What I'd like to share in particular is something I have continued to observe through this summer.
Early this year I did observe 2 monster batches of YP eggs that I left and a few batches of much smaller ribbons in which I removed. I fished some after the first of May and did catch some really nice YP, RES and quite a few SMB of different sizes.
I have not seen a single YP since the end of May but had a few days where I couldn't wet a line without a 4-7" SMB smacking it. I did catch several SMB from 11-14" so I started removing the SMB less than 7", which ended up being about 110 fish in June. 70 of those fish were picked up by the State of Kansas and utilized in another community lake stocking where we decided to try something different than the traditional LMB-BG situation. Our western regional director now considers me a bad influence on my regional Biologist but that's ok, it's outside the box thinking.
At my pond about a week or so after we moved the SMB I caught something in a fry net that was not easily recognized and I realized it was a SMB post larva. About 15-18mm size. what I wasn't seeing was any number of minnow fry-very few. Last summer as totally different in netting fry-literally thousands in 1 swoop of the net.. Not this year. So, as the summer has progressed, I've seen several of these small SMB, maybe 6-8 each time I've walked around the pond. Today I seen 5-6, and in 2 months they are still less than 2" long (the problem), which brings me back to Bill's article indicating the lack of available food tends to show up in what I am seeing. Why are my BGxRES and RES present from 1" up to 2.5" in really good numbers and appear healthy? Scads of GSH, the water is literally moving with life-insect larva, small inverts, other fish, etc.. WHAT-IS-Going-on?? I seen these small SMB last year but didn't see them for long because they grew-up to 8" by fall last year.
My Perch supplier also raises FHM and after catching and caging the SMB prior to transfer, I done some horse trading for 105lbs of FHM ….85lbs went into my pond, 20lbs went into 2 other newly filled ponds.
I can't find a FHM in a fry net, again.
I know a 2 month old 2" SMB indicates a problem but I can't manipulate forage anymore than I have. Removed over 400lbs of craws that obviously reproduced, small fish everywhere, culling high numbers of most numerous sizes of SMB to make room. Extensive aquatic habitat work that has produced about a 15% area of nursery for YOY.
What am I missing?

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Quote
.... So, as the summer has progressed, I've seen several of these small SMB, maybe 6-8 each time I've walked around the pond. Today I seen 5-6, and in 2 months they are still less than 2" long (the problem), which brings me back to Bill's article indicating the lack of available food tends to show up in what I am seeing. Why are my BGxRES and RES present from 1" up to 2.5" in really good numbers and appear healthy?

Snipe, it is normal for LMB growth (even fry survival to advance fingerling) to be greatly diminished by the presence of large numbers of juvenile lepomis (especially bluegill). It is probably also true of SMB. So I think you have a bumper crop of RES and BGxRES at the same size as your SMB YOY. It is competition that is slowing the growth of YOY SMB. These YOY both SMB and RES serve as food for your larger SMB and so I would think the story surrounding your mature SMB is probably a very good one.

This may sound odd, but I do think that crayfish also compete with juvenile fish by denying them organisms of the benthos they would either actively forage or have opportunities for when emerging. Your efforts this year on crayfish removal will serve you next year. It may need to be an ongoing effort in combination with a slot to allow a population of large SMB to develop. These larger SMB should not be harvested as they will be control for your crawfish population. You may consider single sex, very large > 5lb CC as crawfish control as well. One thing I will mention that I might receive criticism for, is that for an ecosystem to work at its greatest efficiency, all the participants need to be working hard for their living. For example, if CC dominate at feed time and are getting sufficient nutrition from feed, it is not likely they are functioning well as a crawfish predator. Let them be a little hungry ... and they will hunt ... this I can assure you.

Quote
I know a 2 month old 2" SMB indicates a problem but I can't manipulate forage anymore than I have. Removed over 400lbs of craws that obviously reproduced, small fish everywhere, culling high numbers of most numerous sizes of SMB to make room. Extensive aquatic habitat work that has produced about a 15% area of nursery for YOY.
What am I missing?

I don't think you are doing anything wrong but would suggest that you are experiencing a normal progression that deals with the population dynamics of your panfish and crayfish population. IMHO it will be through management of the panfish and predators that will best serve your goals. There are a number of players in the ecosystem and so isn't as predictable as it could be with a simpler food web. But you have considerable knowledge and very good sampling data, so we are the students and you are teaching us.

We like variety in our ponds and this generally greatly increases the opportunity to grow larger predators. But in small bodies of water, larger predators are usually a sign of diminished growth per individual forage fish than is possible. So having large predators usually comes at the sacrifice of having large panfish, especially over the long haul. The vice-versa can also be said. I think what we want (and try) to do is have the best of both worlds and not sacrifice anything. I would just say that the conditions that favor the growth one population or another are very strong and difficult to overcome. For LMB growing under similar conditions, they are able to achieve trophy sizes because they live a long time. LMB at 4 years age may only be 14" long and may have been only 4" long at the end of the first year, however, they live long enough to "turn the corner" and be a predator of the prey they competed against in the first years of their life.

Last edited by jpsdad; 08/27/20 09:30 AM.

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Snipe it is very interresting that you bring this up, because for about 5 years my SMB seemed to unable to pull off successful reproduction. I blamed it on the ridiculous number of FHM in my pond consuming all of the zooplankton and outcompeting SMB fry for food. But for whatever reason last year I had a bumper crop of SMB with no apparent reduction in FHM. So I'm interested to follow this and find out what you learn.

Hope all is well friend.


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NEDOC, got sidetracked and didn't return to this quick enough but I do have something to add.. since posting this about the smb, I have seen a few in the 4-5" range but a LOT in the 2-2.5" range right now/ I've been playing with the smaller smb that hang just at the edge of my new dock. I'm trying to get them to attack #2 Optimal starter and I've had a few takers and it's been fun if nothing else.
This cold system that set all sorts of new records here has caused some unforeseen issues. 104 high on Sunday to 29 low with heavy snow Tuesday. My water temp went from 83 sunday eve to 51 by Tuesday eve. Today I measured temp thru water column and fond less than 1 deg spread in 12ft. Needless to say, the algae crash caused a domino effect that ended up killing a lot of fish. I've been involved in another community project in Colby, ks that had a massive crash and subsequent kill as well that just showed up this am. The smb that we stocked there are from culling 70 juvies from my pond. Kyle, the parks director there, (also a pondBoss mag subscriber and lurker of these forums) found fish piping and beyond that this am, including 15-20" CC at his location as well.
Not sure what to do.. sure has been a tuff 2 years.

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104° to 29° in two days. That is crazy weather. Mother Nature needs to lay off the Red Bull for awhile.

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Sure having fun when I'm able to get a bite or 2.. Thought I'd share another BGxRES and decent BG from this eve..
I believe the hybrid is a female based on operculum difference between this specimen and another cross with a very long, dark flap posted earlier this year.

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Splendid fish Kenny.
That's some long pectoral fin on the hybrid.

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by FireIsHot - 02/23/24 01:07 PM
Leasing Fountains
by Justin W - 02/23/24 01:04 PM
New pond middle TN: establishing food chain?
by BJ Nick - 02/23/24 12:24 PM
Dissolved Oxygen under ice, longer days
by Tinylake - 02/23/24 10:48 AM
Pond liner for Redneck Pool
by Bill Cody - 02/23/24 09:37 AM
6 acre, LMB, Rainbow, specks, sunfish
by Tinylake - 02/23/24 09:26 AM
Caloric Densities for bass forage
by Bill Cody - 02/23/24 09:10 AM
Fish delivery SE Michigan
by Justin W - 02/23/24 07:55 AM
Kubota, LS, Branson & Mahindra Tractors
by Dave Davidson1 - 02/22/24 10:00 PM
Congratulations Bob Lusk!!
by Dave Davidson1 - 02/22/24 09:16 PM
Raft gardening on my ponds
by Dave Davidson1 - 02/22/24 09:15 PM
Hallo from Idaho
by MountainWard - 02/22/24 08:05 PM
Newly Uploaded Images
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
Eagles Over The Pond Yesterday
by Tbar, December 10
Deer at Theo's 2023
Deer at Theo's 2023
by Theo Gallus, November 13
Minnow identification
Minnow identification
by Mike Troyer, October 6
Sharing the Food
Sharing the Food
by FishinRod, September 9
Nice BGxRES
Nice BGxRES
by Theo Gallus, July 28
Snake Identification
Snake Identification
by Rangersedge, July 12

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