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Catfish problem
#521684 05/26/20 09:26 PM
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I have an 8 acre lake in southern Illinois. The pond was built in 1990, I purchased the property last May. Long story short the pond had a serious problem of overcrowded channel catfish. I have taken out over 5,000 catfish since I purchased the property. Last year I took out around 3,000. I put in 500 3-5 inch bluegill and 1,500 bluegill 5-8 inch range and 100 bass 10-14 inches. This year i have taken out over 2,000 catfish and stocked another 1,000 3-5 in bluegill and 100 5-8 inch bass.

What I have notice so far :
I can finally catch a decent amount of bluegills when fishing. The bluegills have spawned successfully several times and there are all different size classes. The bass seem to be doing fine. A handful of the larger ones blow up on the gills when I feed (AquaMax 300 twice a day.) there are still too many catfish. I caught 60 out today from one spot on shore.

The catfish range from 4 inches to 4 lbs. the ladder being the exception. Average catfish is 8-12 inches and I can catch them with little effort. The fish obviously spawned successfully over the years and took over. I can’t really seine the pond due to lay downs everywhere. I have purchased a large trap to try waiting for it to come in the mail.

If any of you experienced pond guys have any tips on getting the kitties out I’m all ears. I no I’ll
Never get rid of them but if I can get there numbers down to a “nice bonus fish” I’d be very happy. I hope the bass and gill numbers will keep young of the year from
Being future problems.

Sorry for the novel.

Last edited by rtripple; 05/26/20 09:32 PM.
Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521693 05/27/20 05:19 AM
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Wow, never seen this. Catfish recruitment is generally pretty poor in an established body of water with predators. And, the larger cats are also predators.


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
Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521699 05/27/20 06:49 AM
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Given the size of your cats and the numbers you have removed ... AND ... that you now have BG and LMB ... I can really add nothing other than to keep harvesting catfish. In a few of years the BG and LMB will be the dominant fish

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521701 05/27/20 06:59 AM
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Any chance some of the smaller ones are actually bullhead? I agree with Dave, it would be very difficult for catfish to recruit to these numbers in an 8 acre lake. I could be totally wrong, just a thought.


2.5 acres with LMB, RES, BG and CC
Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521704 05/27/20 07:13 AM
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Thanks for the replies. They are definitely channel catfish. The previous owner apparently fixed the levee 3 years ago. I am not sure what that means, but would imagine he drained the pond significantly if not all together. Maybe he stocked it with only channel cats after due to them being cheap and he was going to sell property. Who knows. Either way prior to my stocking other species I never caught or saw another species of fish.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521708 05/27/20 07:38 AM
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I’d post a picture of the catfish but I can’t figure out how. I’m on an i-phone an the site won’t let me copy and paste and won’t let me add in attachments either. O well you guys just have to trust that I no the difference between channels and bullheads haha.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521710 05/27/20 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rtripple
I’d post a picture of the catfish but I can’t figure out how. I’m on an i-phone an the site won’t let me copy and paste and won’t let me add in attachments either. O well you guys just have to trust that I no the difference between channels and bullheads haha.

Never doubted.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521711 05/27/20 08:07 AM
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Perfect, I apologize if my question about bullheads sounded rude. I didn't mean any harm, just thinking through the possibilities.


2.5 acres with LMB, RES, BG and CC
Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521712 05/27/20 08:22 AM
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I didn’t take that way at all. It would make sense for a pond to be riddled with bullheads. My situation doesn’t seem normal haha.

I’m looking forward to trying the trap I bought so I’m always fishing. Basically a hoop net but made out of wire so you don’t need river current to keep it open. I feel like this year is the turning point of taking back the pond. After two more bluegill spawns through out summer I think I’ll stock another 200 5-8 inch bass. To get their numbers up as new predator.

Kitties are probably here to stay but they don’t need to dominate pond.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521726 05/27/20 12:24 PM
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There would be nothing to ashamed of for misidentification but there were clues in your original post that led me to think I could rule out Bullheads. In particular the average weight and range of sizes.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521736 05/27/20 02:40 PM
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Ya I used to misidentify warmouth and rock bass. It happens. Took 42 more catfish out this afternoon with girls. Hoping to convince them to go back out after dinner.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521737 05/27/20 03:20 PM
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Wow, that is a lot of fish catching. What kind of bait do you use? I've got channel cat in my pit, but don't fish for them much.
Thanks, John

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521738 05/27/20 03:37 PM
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I usually just use a piece of night crawler under a slip bobber like I’m panfishing. When I feed the bluegills I have 10-15 pieces of wet AquaMax 600 and I’ll put it on a hook. I’ll dangle it front of the catfish on a long rod and sucker them out of the packs of bluegill. The bigger ones have grown wary of the night crawler.

Re: Catfish problem
Dave Davidson1 #521744 05/27/20 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Wow, never seen this. Catfish recruitment is generally pretty poor in an established body of water with predators. And, the larger cats are also predators.
I've been absorbing all the info I can about catfish recruitment in ponds, and most sources will say the same thing, but it's extremely dependent on two things: Spawning habitat and structure. If you go out of your way to create places for them to spawn, they WILL spawn, and if you have places for the fry/fingerlings to escape predation, they WILL take over a BOW. If you just have a hole with water in it, they probably won't spawn, and if they do, the little ones will have no where to hide. I've even seen some websites flat-out claim that catfish won't spawn at all in ponds, and its just not true.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521746 05/27/20 05:03 PM
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You are inspirational!

Mine spawn. I fish to control their numbers every year. I need to take more out this year as the last two years have been kind to them.


Brian

The one thing is the one thing
A dry fly catches no fish
Try not to be THAT 10%
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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521747 05/27/20 05:30 PM
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My pond is loaded with fallen trees and 10 or standing dead timber. There is even a huge log jam in the middle of the pond the previous owner made. There is plenty of prime habitat. Which will be good when the pond is balanced but not so good for recruitment and survival of the catfish.

My hope is catfish spawn once and gills spawn at least three times here. If I replace the catfish with bluegill and bass over time it should be fine (I hope)

I am shocked to see the bluegill doing so well figured the small catfish would directly compete with them and larger ones would eat them. Not to mention the bass eating the gills as well. I do feed but once a day in one spot I doubt it makes that much of impact but maybe it is.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521748 05/27/20 05:55 PM
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Thanks for the reply rtripple, I may try to catch some of my channel cat.

Re: Catfish problem
Steve_ #521749 05/27/20 06:13 PM
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We have had CC spawns every year. We harvest a lot every year to keep populations in check.

Our LMB population is finally gaining steam after failing spawns the first few years, so the CC recruitment may change from here on out. We have both spawning cavities via stumps and ledges and quite a lot of habitat for the fry to hide.

Last edited by snrub; 05/27/20 06:14 PM.

John

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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521753 05/27/20 07:36 PM
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Just got back inside took 28 more out. 15 or so with a piece of night crawler before feeding. The rest were fooled pre soaked AquaMax 600 on a hook sniping the catfish out of the pack of feeding gills. Set the catfish trap as well hopefully that will yield some results.

Snrub, do your small catfish (under 14 inches) compete with your gills for the forage in the pond? I kinda assumed juvenile catfish would eat the same foods as bluegills.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521754 05/27/20 09:06 PM
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Are all those catfish you are catching edible ? Just curious.
jim

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521758 05/27/20 09:46 PM
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Jim, they are all edible I fillet out the ones that are 10 inches or bigger. Usually if I catch 50 catfish 10-15 are worth cleaning. The rest are critter food and tossed into the woods. I do have plenty in the freezer.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521786 05/28/20 09:24 AM
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I too have a catfish problem. My pond is only 2 acres. I've grown tired of eating the bottom dwellers. Pond still stays so muddy that it's hard to catch any other fish. I toss the ones I catch. Most of them in the 4-5 lb. range. I usually just take the .22 with me and set the feeder off.


It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?
Ronald Reagan
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The good Brian



Re: Catfish problem
Cisco #521788 05/28/20 09:51 AM
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Call the nearest Boy Scout troupe around you and see if they would like to fish it for their merit badges

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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521831 05/28/20 07:17 PM
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Pat Williamson, I wasn’t even aware of merit badges for fishing. But I only did maybe a year of scouts when I was kid.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521834 05/28/20 08:46 PM
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There is and 7 boys got theirs last year from my pond, kinda cool I thought

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