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1/4 acre pond observations and questions
#521313 05/20/20 07:54 PM
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I noticed that when I started fishing my pond this year the population seemed a little off balance from what it was last year. I have LMB, YP and BG (also pumpkinseeds) stocked in a 6-8' deep 1/4 acre pond. I have been culling 3-5" BG and YP for the better part of 2-3 years. The boys love doing it with me because we usually catch some really large BG as well.

So far this year the number of large (3/4 - 1lb) BG has been almost non existent. Today we went out and I took some notes on what was caught. This has been pretty standard from our last 4 or 5 outings.

Fish caught - Weight - Length - RWR (I don't calculate RWR on fish below 6")

BG - .06 - 5"
YP - .04 - 5.25"
LMB - .11 - 6"
BG - .08 - 5.5"
YP - .06 - 5.25"
BG - .06 - 4.5"
LMB - 2.3lb - 16" - 109%
BG - .17 - 6.75" - 100%
LMB - 2.2lb - 16" - 105%
YP - .06 - 5"
LMB - .08 - 5.75"
BG - .08 - 5"
BG - .08 - 4.5"

I've been trying to target the larger BG, but I guess I need to change my technique a bit. Pond is pellet fed and aerated.

My idea right now is to stop culling the smaller gills like I have been.

Bass have not spawned yet. The two I removed today were full of eggs.

Moving forward, what would you do? Goal is big BG since large bass in a 1/4 acre is unrealistic. Should I try to remove as many 16"+ bass before they spawn this year? Last year I hadn't caught any over 14" and so far this year I haven't caught one under 15". So I take it that my initial class of bass has reached a point where they need to be removed. Secondary question, should I stop culling the 3-5" range BG until the LMB population has been reduced in over size?

Thanks in advance. Ask any questions you need as I'm sure I left some important information out somewhere

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521318 05/20/20 08:33 PM
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You haven't mentioned the age of the pond, initial stocking, LMB spawn success, and some other variables that might make a difference. All in all, you need good numbers (40 or so) 8" to 12" bass to limit BG reproduction.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/20/20 08:34 PM.
Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521322 05/20/20 09:02 PM
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Pond is 6 years old. LMB stock is 4 years old. YP I tend to restock every few years if my supplier can get me a good stock of 10" or larger so I'm not just buying food for the bass. BG I keep any that I catch from ponds/reservoirs/lakes around me that are over 9", male and over 100% RWR.

All fish prior to this year (no spawn yet) have been successfully spawning. YP egg strands can be seen in the early part of the year. BG and LMB beds can also been seen at the appropriate time of the year.

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521439 05/22/20 02:54 PM
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Second day of fishing looks something like this.

6 fish were big enough to record RWR:

BG - 7.25" - .4lb - 133%
BG - 6.75" - .22lb - 110%
BG - 8.75" - .35lb - 70%
LMB - 12" - .81lb - 90%
LMB - 16.5" - 2.13lb - 85% (culled)
YP - 7" - .13lb - 130%

13 BG between the size of 3-5". None were culled until I figure out what's going on
6 LMB under 7". All returned

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521471 05/23/20 05:11 AM
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You don't have enough small bass. I would remove LMB > 14" and replace them by an equal weight of 8" to 10" LMB. I might even add a few more. The pond is old enough to have BG > 10". So they are piling up at small sizes.

Target BG in the 5" to 7" range. Do not release females in this range. Try to remove a minimum of 25 lbs concentrated in this size. This fall, if you are under quota use larger BG favoring females to fill it out.

Go to "Growing some big bluegill". Everything you need to know is there.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/23/20 05:23 AM.
Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521610 05/25/20 09:00 PM
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Today I managed to catch 6 bluegill all over 8" in length. All but one was over 100% RWR. They were spawning so I didn't bother taking pictures. That being said, the females that I observed trying to spawn with them were VERY small. Within the 5-6" range. Which is something I'm taking a note of because I haven't caught a bluegill over 6" that wasn't 100% a male yet. I'm not saying there aren't large females in the pond, but I haven't seen them.

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521627 05/26/20 08:01 AM
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It's normal for females to be smaller than males.

I think the focus on panfish is wise in this small BOW. In answer to your question about harvesting large LMB before or after spawn, I think I would definitely do it after hoping a good crop of LMB YOY will result. It's not difficult to catch and remove LMB when they are crowded but BG are a PITA when they get crowded. Crowded for LMB is 200 fish/acre. Crowded for BG can be in the thousands of fish/acre of > 3" BG. LMB are manageable by fishing and where BG either need sufficient LMB or methods like seining or trapping. It's a tough row to hoe trying to manage over-abundant BG by fishing alone when LMB are not of sufficient number in the right sizes.

You've seen bigger BG. That's why you are here authoring this thread. The good news is that your still have some harvestable size BG with good RW. Don't harvest any more big males. For now, spare all males > 6" and catch and keep everthing < than 6". Bump up your LMB numbers and remove those LMB > 14". The pond has momentum towards over-population of BG. So expect little improvement for the next year and a half while you thin the <6 in BG. But if you persist it will turn around. When you are able to grow 9" males, concentrate your harvest in the 6" to 8" range and you will grow some dandy BG.

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521635 05/26/20 09:11 AM
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Keep in mind the differences between areas of the country. Generally speaking BG and LMB live longer and grow slower up north vs TX. It can take several years longer for a BG to reach max size in colder climates. In your location a 6 inch female BG is good. Until you can determine how to manage your situation I would not remove any large BG but would harvest small males and some females. In more northern areas , due to spawning dynamics of BG, it is often suggest that you not harvest the largest male BG.
















Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521664 05/26/20 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the response JP and ewest. I actually do not typically harvest my largest BG anyway. I let them die in the pond instead of the dinner plate.

The comment about harvesting under 6" makes sense to me this year. As does letting the bass spawn (although I now think they have). I believe that they actually changed spawning locations on me this year.

Would you guys suggest adding some 10" LMB if I continue to catch and not record LMB of that class size? I feel like I have a better bearing on what the BG population looks like right now. So I could very easily go target some LMB and get numbers and RWR.

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521678 05/26/20 07:44 PM
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So I don't normally fish the pond this much, but when your 5 year old asks if you can go fishing to "take notes on the fish..." Can you really say no?

Anyway. I caught my first 9" class BG today. A few other 6+ that were right around 100% RWR. This one was at 99% RWR.

My question to you guys... Male or Female? The ear tab and slight darkening of the scale tips in some areas would lead me to believe it's a male, but maybe one that hasn't reach full sexual maturity. Well all of my 8"+ BG have been pulled off of beds. This fish was not. Is it a spawned out female?
[img]https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_/photo/AF1QipMaXW9ZgENFblT9fKgxgRHZqfCvYuxEsgVfdISj[/img]

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521682 05/26/20 08:36 PM
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Image isn't showing up on my end. I see your img tags, and even tried clicking on the link but it gave me an error.

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521705 05/27/20 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Lukkyseven
Thanks for the response JP and ewest. I actually do not typically harvest my largest BG anyway. I let them die in the pond instead of the dinner plate.

The comment about harvesting under 6" makes sense to me this year. As does letting the bass spawn (although I now think they have). I believe that they actually changed spawning locations on me this year.

Would you guys suggest adding some 10" LMB if I continue to catch and not record LMB of that class size? I feel like I have a better bearing on what the BG population looks like right now. So I could very easily go target some LMB and get numbers and RWR.

The mode, which is a fancy way of saying the most frequently occurring length, should be 10" for restricting BG recruitment. If you aren't finding them in that length, you may not have had LMB recruitment. While you can have too many of them, could fix that pretty easily. In Oklahoma, where I am from originally, the temperature aspect of the climate is very similar to Maryland. So I think experiences there my apply. I fished many ponds that were completely unmanaged that produced BG >10". They are old, decades old, and they all have one thing in common. The most commonly caught LMB are around 10" in length and the vast majority were between 8" and 12". These ponds probably have too many LMB really and are less productive than they could be if appropriately harvested. From my own experience, harvesting bass will improve their condition but at the rate I harvested them (probably less than 15 pounds/acre) I didn't see a great improvement in length. I suspect that harvest caused an increase in BG recruitment. So as the number of LMB are reduced, creel harvest becomes much more important.

One thing I would tell you is that you don't want 130 RW LMB if you want large BG. I would try to keep the numbers of LMB up to a level that their weight adjusted average RW is 90 to 100 but where the 14" LMB are lower than the 8" LMB. So it would be acceptable to have 115 RW 8" LMB and 85 RW 14" LMB. Such a distribution of RW tells you that there are too few 2" to 3" BG to support growth of the 14" LMB and that BG recruitment is appropriately limited. Its OK and its good to harvest these larger low RW LMB. Lean bass mean that prey of the most appropriate lengths are not abundant. But this has the added benefit of increasing the energy they must expend to find food and increasing the number of the BG they must eat. In other words, you want them going after the food ... rather than the food coming to them.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/27/20 07:23 AM.
Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521823 05/28/20 04:53 PM
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Thanks again JP. I will be changing my targets for harvest moving forward.

Would you suggest allowing the young 2 - 3" BG survive this year and start to harvest them in abundance next year? Or do you still recommend as previously stated to remove anything under 6" (unless a BG with RWR is well above 100%)?

Re: 1/4 acre pond observations and questions
Lukkyseven #521914 05/30/20 05:23 PM
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If you are going for trophy BG then remove the small BG all sizes under 6 inches. If you find a BG in that size range that looks like 130 RW BG then leave it in the pond.

















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