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Balance?
#517914 03/13/20 07:24 AM
Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 5
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Posts: 5
We purchased a home in TN with a 3/4 acre spring-fed pond, 10-12 feet deep. Steep banks at the base of a mountain. I am having trouble determining the balance. The previous owner told me there are a lot of 10-12 inch bass, with a few up to 3-4 pounds. I have fished it a few times, and catch and see nothing but 4-5" bluegill. I talked to a commercial fish stocker, and purchased 100 BG, 50 CF, 50 hybrid crappie, 3 GC, and 5 lbs of minnows as he seemed to thing the pond was bass-heavy and stunted. I have since been feeding the fish by hand until my Texas Hunter feeder comes in. I am seeing LOTS, maybe hundreds of 4-6" bluegill coming to the surface to feed. None smaller or bigger. They all look healthy. I saw no other species until yesterday when I saw two 12-14" bass cruising by. I tended to think this was a BG-stunted pond from the beginning. Any thoughts? How would you suggest correcting? Trap the bluegill?

Thanks in advance

Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #517917 03/13/20 07:58 AM
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I have learned not to get stocking recommendations from someone who sells fish. The fact that he sold you FHM and BG for an pond full of BG suggests that you did not get the best information. The FHM will likely be expensive fish food and the BG will just increase crowding of this species. I too stocked my first pond based on the hatchery's recommendation but have learned better from folks on this forum.

Re: Balance?
RAH #517925 03/13/20 09:03 AM
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Yeah it didn't seem right to me...but I figured I would go with some advice from an "expert" rather than just my own hunch. They said increasing the forage population would help the 10-12" bass growth. Again, I haven't seen many bass at all yet.

I guess I am having the most trouble deciding if 4-5" bluegill are really "stunted". I certainly would like to have bigger eating size, but when I read about stunting, it seems they are 3" with bugged-out eyes. Maybe that is just a more severe case.

My goal overall is decent size BG/crappie for fileting, a few larger bass for occasional harvest or sport, and a decent 2-5lb catfish population for eating. Overall just a balance of larger, edible fish.

Last edited by JasonQCOM; 03/13/20 09:04 AM.
Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #517927 03/13/20 09:14 AM
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A couple of things can be done to increase the forage: more habit for smaller fish and reduction of predators. I would remove as 10-12" LMB as you can until you see the bass starting to get larger.

Re: Balance?
jludwig #517928 03/13/20 09:36 AM
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Thanks, but please see OP. I'm not convinced that the bass are what are overpopulated since I haven't seen but a few larger ones so far. Just seems like an awful lot of small BG.

Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #517930 03/13/20 11:06 AM
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From everything I read you need to start fishing more and maybe set some traps to find out what you really have, and make records of their weight and length. If you can get a shock survey done, that would be the fastest and best way. I've read on here where a lot of people have found out that things aren't what they thought.


Bob


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Re: Balance?
Bobbss #517931 03/13/20 11:29 AM
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"start fishing more"...never needed to hear that twice. Now just have to convince the wife that its in the name of science. Thanks, I'll check with TWRA to see if they would do a shock survey. Planning on building a few BG traps out of chicken-wire.

Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #517932 03/13/20 11:45 AM
Joined: May 2013
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check out this link, near the bottom are Z shaped fish traps. They seem to work awesome.

Fish trap ideas

The clover leaf design is fine too if you want to build one of those instead, watch youtube for ideas on how to build these.

Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #517933 03/13/20 11:50 AM
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Catch some of those BG and post some pics. There are plenty of folks here with an eye for stunted fish. IF you find that you have too many small fish of any kind and don't want to kill the pond, I suggest you construct a holding pen and just catch them up as you go and use th holding pen to collect enough to make it worth dealing with. Some folks even chop up the culled fish and feed them back to the remaing residents of the pond. I have, at times, just culled fish to the downstream creek or to a neighbor's pond that could use them.

Check out the Clover Leaf style traps and the "Z" style for your designs. They are pretty popular. My cloverleaf can catch some 3 inch minus fish!


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Balance?
Quarter Acre #517934 03/13/20 12:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2020
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Here are some fishies

Attached Files
fish1.jpg (404.1 KB, 153 downloads)
fish2.jpg (565.19 KB, 147 downloads)
Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #522094 06/04/20 12:52 PM
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Looks like no one answered here. Those do look thin to the point I wondered if they were not a bluegill becuase the shape was so different. If they are stunted, harvesting bluegill is tough because there are just so many and they reproduce so quickly. Getting a healthy bass population will help more than anything since they will prey on the smaller bluegills.

Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #523515 07/11/20 09:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
Posts: 22
A
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Those are perfect eating size for LMB! I would fish until you know what kind of LMB population you have they should be fat and happy! I would also start feeding these bluegill. If you find you are truly out of balance and are bluegill crowded/stunted you might need to stock some additional predators like LMB or CC.


A pond is like you job only way more important.
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Re: Balance?
JasonQCOM #523603 07/14/20 08:58 PM
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My bass, especially the bigger ones, rarely hit a lure. Try fishing with one of those as live bait. That's how I land just about all my bigger bass. They'll hit cut bait too, so I'd also cut one in half and fish it. If there are catfish in there, they'd hit that too.


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