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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521848 05/28/20 09:58 PM
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You guys that are getting productive catfish spawns are a lot different that my situation. I have a 1/4 or so acre pond that had nothing but BG and GSF. Three years ago, my Grandson wanted some cats so I stocked 25 six to 8 inch CC's. The existing ones, all 9 of them, are pellet hogs but I've never seen a successful spawn. When I stocked my larger one, I put in cats along with BG, FHM and then bass. Never seen any indication of a spawn. I doubt that I even have one after 2 years of cormorant visits.


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.

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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 #521864 05/29/20 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rtripple
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.

I never really thought about it. I suppose they do.

We remove whatever CC we catch, no matter the size. To date we really have not had a problem of too many CC or too little. Guess we have just been lucky so far. I think we have filleted 38 CC so far this year to date and have a half dozen in the holding pen to clean this morning. If we did not aggressively harvest I think they would become a problem. We are aggressively harvesting CC and HBG ahead of the hot season to reduce the bio load on the pond and give room for the remaining fish to grow. We have already harvested over 200 sunfish this year with very few of them actually being BG and mostly naturally occurring HBG and a few GSF. We return about all the male BG that we catch and the best looking female. That may change in the future but with our LMB population recovering and the SMB that we introduce to the main pond I will have to start paying more attention to BG recruitment.

With our increased LMB population I wonder if in a few years we will run out of CC recruitment. Wife really likes eating the CC. But we like LMB too so I don't have a problem one way or the other if the CC eventually go by the wayside. We will just start filleting LMB if they become plentiful. We are starting to occasionally catch last years spawn LMB. Been a few years since we could do that because the high population of BG/HBG were presumably preventing LMB spawns. We are getting LMB spawns now.

More information than you ask for!!!!

Last edited by snrub; 05/29/20 08:57 AM.

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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521873 05/29/20 11:34 AM
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Snrub, that’s my main goal is to remove all the catfish I can to reduce the bio load for the gills and bass to grow. I need to figure out when I should harvest bluegill as well. So far I have not kept a single bluegill or bass from pond. I no it’s all a big balancing act and I’m leaning towards not harvesting any gills until they are primary fish in the pond. But not sure how I’m going to decide when to harvest them.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521885 05/29/20 03:24 PM
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Kind of depends on what your goals are and how well your LMB do in controlling the YOY BG. Last year I had a good class of BG so was removing a lot of the female BG and returning the males to the water to get bigger. Only putting the best of the best females back for brood stock. The ones that had the characteristics I liked. This year I have been returning both male and female because of my increase in LMB I am catching not nearly as many small BG so I think I might need all the forage from the BG I can get.

Kind of depends on if you want to focus on catching large BG, or focus on catching large LMB, or focus on high catch rates (is what I like, I'm not a trophy angler), or focus on some sort of balance of LMB and BG fishing. Then once you know what you are managing towards there are hundreds of guys on here a whole lot smarter than I am about how to reach those goals.

I just mostly kind of bumble along and get lucky with what I do once in a while.

I will say that one of my accidents has worked out really well. I have about 5 acres of water total with it in several different ponds. 3 acres, 1 acre, another 1 acre and a couple of tiny ponds of 1/10th and 1/20th acres each. Of the 5 ponds they all have very different characteristics. They fish different, sometimes one pond biting a lot better than another. If I only had one pond I might think my management was success or failure based on that one pond. With 5 ponds that all act completely different even though they are right near each other I know that a lot of my actions had nothing to do with how some of the things turned out. One has weeds, another one doesn't. One is clear while another is muddy. One has a good algae bloom while another is too clear. My ponds are about like brothers and sisters. You can see a family resemblance but they all act different. I think that is really cool. If one is covered in nasty FA, some of the others will not be and I can enjoy them. So having multiple ponds has been one of my success stories. And the only reason I have them is because my location did not allow one bigger one. Another management by accident success story of mine.

Last edited by snrub; 05/29/20 03:31 PM.

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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521893 05/29/20 09:59 PM
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Goal one is get rid of as many catfish as I can while I balance out the pond with Introducing other species. Then I’m kind of hoping to evolve the pond as my kids get older. Right now the fast action of 20-50 dink catfish is all they need on their Disney fishing poles. Hoping I can transition into a balanced bass bluegill fishery for the next stage and more bass centered as they get older. Not sure how feasible that is but that’s my perfect world scenario. I’d settle for healthy pond where you can catch nice bluegills and bass numbers with potential of a wall hanger or three.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #521987 06/01/20 09:16 AM
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8 acres is a pretty big BOW to make a big dent in adjusting the population by angling, but a person has to do what they can in that respect. I suspect your biggest gains will be in your management of predator species so they can control the excess fish population in the future.

Sounds like you are working in the right direction.


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Re: Catfish problem
Pat Williamson #522077 06/03/20 10:05 PM
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Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #522671 06/17/20 03:17 PM
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Update and question. Update first. I have taken out almost 2,800 catfish this year. As of today the catfish I have filleted still have eggs (thought that was surprising for southern il.) also some catfish 11-12 inches had eggs not sure if that is normal or the catfish are stunted. I bass fished the pond for the first time to see how things were going. I caught 8 bass with a squarebill with one lap around the lake. Bass were 10-17 inches most being around 14. The bluegill are everywhere with all different classes and some real nice ones swimming around. All in all happy that the bass are present/growing and bluegills are doing well.

My main question is when do I start harvesting bluegills? I don’t want to exchange the catfish problem for bluegills. But I also don’t want any catfish young of the year to survive. I figure any bluegill I may take out wouldn’t be until fall. I might not touch them this year and stock 50-100 5-8 inch bass this fall while taking more catfish out. Then Bluegill harvest in spring of 2021. Not sure trying to get a game plan. Thanks

Re: Catfish problem
Dave Davidson1 #522672 06/17/20 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
You guys that are getting productive catfish spawns are a lot different that my situation. I have a 1/4 or so acre pond that had nothing but BG and GSF. Three years ago, my Grandson wanted some cats so I stocked 25 six to 8 inch CC's. The existing ones, all 9 of them, are pellet hogs but I've never seen a successful spawn. When I stocked my larger one, I put in cats along with BG, FHM and then bass. Never seen any indication of a spawn. I doubt that I even have one after 2 years of cormorant visits.

Do you have spawning containers for them? From what I gather, they won't spawn unless you add some "cave-like" structures for them.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #522673 06/17/20 03:44 PM
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Too my knowledge there isn’t any but I did not build the lake. There are lot of old tree stumps which they might spawn in. Not sure where they are spawning but they clearly did.

Re: Catfish problem
rtripple #522682 06/18/20 05:33 AM
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Steve, I tried it with the old time milk containers and a couple of barrels. Nada.


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
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