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A Crappie Problem
#518625 03/31/20 12:50 PM
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Years ago (around 2007) I made the mistake of stocking several adult crappie in my 3/4 acre pond. They have done well in the pond and I still catch BCR that are 8-12" long. However, I am afraid that I have ruined my LMB fishery. The LMB that are there are all small and super hard to catch.
Has anyone ever tried to eradicate crappie without draining or the use of Rotenone? I am sure several big fish fries would help the cause, but I was wondering if there are any other options out there for decreasing BCR and trying to regain some LMB numbers?

Fishing in general in the 70 year old farm pond has gotten a lot harder during the last decade, and I am sure it needs a complete re-start but I am not sure if that is in the budget right now. Any advice would be appreciated.

Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518698 04/01/20 01:51 PM
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Seth
I have just the opposite problem, to many larger and smaller LMB and not enough BCP. Do you have tons of small bass? Do you have a population of BG?

Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518740 04/02/20 08:56 AM
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My 1 3/4 ac pond had (has) a similar problem. Bought the property last year and it was full of 8-10" crappie but bass fishing was slow and most of bass caught were small 10-12" tho I did catch a handfull of better bass in the 3.5 - 5lb range.

I took out 125 crappie last year and added more bluegill (575 medium size and 600 small ones).

This year I can see bass cruising the shoreline on sunny days. The bass seem to be putting on some size and looking healthier. Can also see lots of bluegill fry in shallows (something I did not see last spring).

My theory is that the crappie overpopulated and ate up most of the bass fry and young bluegill. The few bass that got some size must have fed on crappie and other bass. Pond is on clearer side in winter 3'-3.5' visability - 2'-3' visability in summer with lots of weeds.

I would like that if you fish your crappie hard you might be able to turn things around by adding forage. I've also been clipping fins on small crappie and throwing them back so bass can eat them.


Last edited by nvcdl; 04/02/20 09:00 AM.
Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518748 04/02/20 01:06 PM
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SethM, you can make an impact on Crappie populations by fishing that will make a difference in your pond.

Right around this time of year, maybe even a week or two back, they should be schooled up where you can catch several dozen in an hour with a little jig. Take out every one you catch, or use a slot limit.

Another potential option, with side effects, would be to stock a small number of tiger muskies.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: A Crappie Problem
nvcdl #518789 04/03/20 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nvcdl
My 1 3/4 ac pond had (has) a similar problem. Bought the property last year and it was full of 8-10" crappie but bass fishing was slow and most of bass caught were small 10-12" tho I did catch a handfull of better bass in the 3.5 - 5lb range.

I took out 125 crappie last year and added more bluegill (575 medium size and 600 small ones).

This year I can see bass cruising the shoreline on sunny days. The bass seem to be putting on some size and looking healthier. Can also see lots of bluegill fry in shallows (something I did not see last spring).

My theory is that the crappie overpopulated and ate up most of the bass fry and young bluegill. The few bass that got some size must have fed on crappie and other bass. Pond is on clearer side in winter 3'-3.5' visability - 2'-3' visability in summer with lots of weeds.

I would like that if you fish your crappie hard you might be able to turn things around by adding forage. I've also been clipping fins on small crappie and throwing them back so bass can eat them.



My question is how do the crappy eat up the bass fry when as soon as the BCP swim up they head for open water to feed on plankton? Where bass stay close to shore.

Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518855 04/04/20 03:32 PM
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Needing some advice. I have a 4+ acre pond that normally has a heavy weed bed extending out about 10-15 feet out. But last year and this year I’m treating it with Diquat to remove 50-70% of the weed beds. Clear water about 20 inch visibility at most times sometimes more. I have Loads of 9-12 inch black crappie and also loads of 10-13” bass with several caught each year over 7lbs. Very few bluegill. My goal is to have a trophy bass lake, the crappie are fun but big bass is my goal. Last year I put 15 thousand live crawfish in the pond and also stocked several lbs of golden shiners too. All in an attempt to grow my bass. This year I’ve decided to do a major culling of the crappie. In the last 10 days we’ve removed 138 10+” crappie. My question is how many crappie should I take out total to not decimate the entire population but kick start my bass growth? The 138 crappie only took about 3 hours of fishing to catch btw. It’s been insane. What do you guys think would be the right number to take out?

Last edited by Nathan&Kelly; 04/04/20 03:34 PM.
Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518863 04/04/20 05:33 PM
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Nathan,

I wish we could move your pond into Pat's backyard and his into yours.

Re: A Crappie Problem
jpsdad #518864 04/04/20 05:54 PM
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Boy that makes two of us! Hmm

Re: A Crappie Problem
Pat Williamson #518867 04/04/20 06:28 PM
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Funny how that works, I’m trying to rid of big bass to allow for more survival of BCP and others trying to do just the opposite. For several years you could catch them anytime you want but now can’t buy a bite from a crappie, could it be that they are desensitized to the basically same type of jigs used?

Re: A Crappie Problem
Pat Williamson #518868 04/04/20 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
Originally Posted by nvcdl


My theory is that the crappie overpopulated and ate up most of the bass fry and young bluegill. The few bass that got some size must have fed on crappie and other bass. Pond is on clearer side in winter 3'-3.5' visability - 2'-3' visability in summer with lots of weeds.



My question is how do the crappy eat up the bass fry when as soon as the BCP swim up they head for open water to feed on plankton? Where bass stay close to shore.


I think hundreds of crappie will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. Small bass, small bluegill, small crappie etc. Then with lack of forage the larger bass probably also ate many young bass.

Last edited by nvcdl; 04/04/20 06:36 PM.
Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518872 04/04/20 07:42 PM
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In addition to my question of how many crappie total I should cull, I was wondering if anyone’s tried targeting them by gender? Right now it’s easy to spot the males as they are almost all black from clearing beds. The females who are all loaded with edges are bright white. If I left the big males and took out a large number of females would I be able to still have large crappie but in smaller numbers? Small enough for my bass to see a big improvement in size?

Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518873 04/04/20 08:55 PM
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Do you feed the BG? If not then set up a feeding program to feed BG helping to get more young out there. Also are your 10-13” LMB thin ? If between the crappie and LMB are consuming the BG before they reach a size to benefit growth in LMB. In my pond there are too many small LMB that are eating the size that benefits their growth . The large LMB are eating the larger BCP. When you rid of pond weed IMHO you stop the survival of BG cause they get eaten by the numerous LMB compounding the problem. Instead of wiping out
the
BCP might try putting out structure and feeding high protein feed for the BG and maybe adding more BG

Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518874 04/04/20 08:58 PM
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Nathan,

I'm a wee bit reluctant to suggest anything. To be sure, I feel more like a student. The crappie, bass, and minor BG combination seems to be working pretty good right now. Could you tell us more about your pond? How old, how it was stocked, and anything else that you may think to be important about it? Every person who has crappie harvests some so can you shed some light on your harvest over the past few years? Do you get a good spawn each year ... or do year classes dominate the mix? I am all ears and might gain some insight that would help me respond to your question.

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/04/20 09:18 PM.
Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518875 04/04/20 11:21 PM
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The pond is 50+ years old. It is about 14’ deep in the deepest sections and has an average depth of about 8-10 foot in half of the pond while the other half is about 3-4’ deep. It’s filled by a small creek and drainage. I have only owned it for going on 2 years now. Fish that I have confirmed by catching that we’re stocked at some point in the past: Spotted/Kentucky bass, black crappie, bull head catfish, bluegill, a few green sunfish, and there are a few grass carp.

I’ve also in the last year stocked: 10lbs of golden shiners (haven’t seen a single one since I stocked them last spring), 35 LMB Florida strain that were between 1.5-5lbs each, 70 albino catfish 4-10”, and 15,000 live red swamp crawfish from Louisiana. Since last spring I’ve also run a Texas Fish Feeder for my bg and would go through about 3 bags of “gamefish fish feed” from the farm store per month until October when I stopped adding feed. I’ve since started my feeder back up 2 weeks ago. At my feeder the blue gill are the only thing besides turtles and the dang Canadian geese that I witness taking the feed. I can catch large crappie 10” up to 15” year round. Bass fishing is always good. The bass are healthy too (not skinny) and 90% are 10-13” with a few Kentucky’s that are 7 plus pounds (we are less than a few ounces away from breaking the Missouri state recode on Spotted bass/Kentucky’s). That said there isn’t much in between those sizes. They are common up to 1.5lbs. With almost none caught in the 3-6 lb range, but several over 7lbs. I even started marking the the big ones just to make sure I wasn’t seeing the same huge fish caught over and over. Last year 6 spotted bass were caught over 7lbs.

Last edited by Nathan&Kelly; 04/04/20 11:25 PM.
Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518877 04/05/20 01:08 AM
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I would love to get a few more albino channel cats in my pond. Only have 7 right now. If you don't mind me asking, where were you able to find 70?

Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518880 04/05/20 06:30 AM
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Nathan,

So the pond is 50 years of age. Do you happen to know how long the spotted bass, crappie, and BG have co-existed/ If many years, then there is a good chance that harvest will result in better growth and LMB ultimate weights. Tell me more about your BG in terms of their size and any other observations about them that you think may be important.

Re: A Crappie Problem
KW35 #518885 04/05/20 07:35 AM
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I just ordered them from the “fish days” at the local farm stores. Here is a link to the hatchery that actually comes to the stores with your orders. http://stockalake.com/fish-days.html

Re: A Crappie Problem
jpsdad #518888 04/05/20 07:45 AM
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I really have no knowledge prior to my owning of the pond 2 years ago. In regards to BG they are relatively low in numbers compared to the bass and crappie. Mid summer I do get bg spawning and will see 30-50 beds. Yet never see any small bg. Only ones I ever see or catch are around 8” in length.

Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518913 04/05/20 01:50 PM
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OK Nathan. You know I'm not sure what set up the circumstance that you now enjoy but I will share some thoughts. I think harvesting crappie is going to help your bass ... but I also think it may not be enough to get the results your may be looking for.

There exists a contradiction in that you have some mighty dandy spotties over 7 lbs but little evidence of the size class between 3 and 6 lbs. One way to look at 3 lb fish is that they are trophy recruits. It's obvious that you have to grow 3 pounders to grow 7 lb and greater fish. The absence of the fish in this range tells me that there may have been a limiting event a few years ago. It is this event that gave rise the largest of your spotties. They've had remarkable growth and their offspring is concentrated in fish less than 14". To be sure, the smaller spotties are also producing offspring as well. Are your 7 lb spotties fat? And what other fish may be responsible for feeding them (eg is there a good population of BH).?

My impression is that young bass are stalling at 14" and that the large number of them are helping you grow large BCP. That the Florida LMB you stocked ranged between 1.5 and 5 lbs concerns me a little. This is because this size class is poorly represented and so the forage for this size class may be limited. You definitely need to cull a bunch of the 9" to 14" predators. This will remove competition and allow prey fish to live and grow longer ... which will help grow fish into the under represented weight class. Both crappie and the small spotties qualify as the predators needing culled.

How many? Just a humble opinion ... but I think if you are serious about growing trophies on a consistent and ongoing basis you can't take too many of them. Hopefully you marked the Floridas so you don't accidentally cull any of the smaller ones. Just saying if I wanted trophy bass I would nurture the Florida bass and relentlessly remove their competition.

It's just me ... but I think I would (personal preference) want to ride the wave your on as long as possible. It one of those situations where complaining can sound a bit like bragging smile if you know what I mean! A lot of folks have tried have what you've got and have failed.

Re: A Crappie Problem
jpsdad #518915 04/05/20 03:10 PM
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I understand I’m lucky with how good the fishing is. My initial question was and still is how many crappie should I remove. As of writing this we have removed 154. My biggest fear is that by me removing the heavy weed bed that the crappie will take over and I’ll have a pond of nothing but 6 inch crappie in a few years time. So this puts me in the dilemma of how do I grow my bass larger and not decimated the crappie but drastically reduce their numbers to prevent them from getting out of control?

Re: A Crappie Problem
Nathan&Kelly #518917 04/05/20 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathan&Kelly
I understand I’m lucky with how good the fishing is. My initial question was and still is how many crappie should I remove. As of writing this we have removed 154. My biggest fear is that by me removing the heavy weed bed that the crappie will take over and I’ll have a pond of nothing but 6 inch crappie in a few years time. So this puts me in the dilemma of how do I grow my bass larger and not decimated the crappie but drastically reduce their numbers to prevent them from getting out of control?



I've been told to never throw back a crappie. Makes sense - the remaining crappie/bass will have more forage and get bigger.

Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518921 04/05/20 05:20 PM
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N&K Since you are planning to significantly reduce your weed habitat, I would be removing as suggested every crappie you catch and at least 20 spotted bass per acre. This will allow more BG to survive to sizes to adequately feed the remaining bass to keep them growing. "A fish will grow as long as it lives if it has proper sizes of food to excess". Reduce the needed food and growth slows or stops. If you are serious about growing bigger bass you should be weighing and measuring the C&R bass to determine their body condition also known as relative weight RW. Values higher than 85% and better of 90% indicate they are still growing rather than not getting enough food for their proper growth. This info is also discussed in detail in the link below. Do some reading about growing bigger bass from the growing bass topic in our archive section - Bass Management.

It appears that you have too many predators eating the 1"-3" BG and not allowing lots of BG to grow into the 3.5"-6" size to feed 4lb-5lb+ bass. IMO get rid of more crappie and 1-1.5 lb bass. Those fish are eating too much of the small food and not allowing enough small food to grow larger to feed more larger fish.

Common Pond Q&A Archive Section
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=22&page=1

Bass Management
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=255372#Post255372

Also Bob Lusk wrote an article in PBoss magazine in 2018 about the best philosophy or method to remove bass from an overcrowded bass pond. I will look for the article. You should be subscribing to Pond Boss magazine if you or anyone is serious about growing quality sportfish. Another excellent article by Dr.Neal and B.Haley that explains how to tell if your fish are getting enough to eat and are plump enough to be growing properly is in Jan-Feb 2018 PB mag

Jan –Feb 2018 . USING ANGLING DATA Part 2. CONDITION. Dr. Neal & Bryant Haley do an excellent job of explaining how to monitor the plumpness factors of your fish using length – weight data. What the condition factors mean for your management.

Sept –Oct 2018 CULLING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP. Picking Your Horses to Win. Lusk explains how you know when your fish are ripe for harvest. Gives better set of harvest rules for growing larger fish.

Magazine back issues
https://www.pondboss.com/store?c=9


Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/05/20 06:06 PM.

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Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518927 04/05/20 08:00 PM
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Bill,
You never cease to amaze me. This exactly what I was looking for. Thank you

Re: A Crappie Problem
Bill Cody #518928 04/05/20 08:29 PM
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Bill, I couldn’t find the standard weights chart for Spotted Bass. I checked the Relative weight section, as well as did an unsuccessful google search. You wouldn’t happen to have a standard weight chart for spotted bass would you?

Re: A Crappie Problem
SethM #518929 04/05/20 08:48 PM
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here is one.

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