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Invisible Catfish
#524704 08/14/20 10:35 AM
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I have a new pond that is 65'x100' and 7' deep. I did an initial stocking of a pound and a half of fat head minnows and added about 150 1"-3" HBG and 30 2"-4" HSB about three weeks ago. A week after that I decided that it would be neat to have some catfish in there and went with 10 2"-3" albino CC so that they would really stand out at feeding time.

I now have loads of fatheads spawning in the rock piles and plants all over the pond and the HBG and HSB are gobbling down the Optimal starter food at every feeding and are growing like crazy. They still aren't big enough to eat the fatheads but they are getting there fast.

The visibility is great in the pond and I can clearly see to 3' deep or so. I saw one of the catfish the afternoon that I put them in but have not had so much of a glimpse of one ever since. I'm out there several times a day, every day, and no dead ones have shown up. The only fish in the pond are the ones I put in, which are too small to have eaten them. I also have not seen any herons or other predators along the shore yet so I have to think that they are all still in there.

Two questions:

#1: Is this unusual?

#2 How long will it take for them to start showing up to the feeding area? The Optimal starter is a sinking pellet but I can see well enough to the bottom that a white catfish couldn't be missed.

Thanks

Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524705 08/14/20 12:06 PM
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Have you tired floating pellets?


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524707 08/14/20 01:35 PM
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I stocked cc and BC and never see them at the feeder.... that was four years ago. Catch one every once in a while by accident so for me that’s normal not to see them

Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524709 08/14/20 02:15 PM
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I am going to switch to Optimal Junior floating pellets once my starter is gone but I still have at least a month's worth.

Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524714 08/14/20 05:12 PM
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I rarely caught a glimpse of my CC the first year. They are very shy and elusive when they are young.

When they get some size and get used to eating floating pellets you will start seeing them. Feed them often enough and they will be like puppy dogs following you around the pond when they hear your footsteps coming.


John

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Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524718 08/14/20 06:15 PM
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Thanks. Appreciate the replies.

Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524729 08/15/20 05:59 AM
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You could probably speed up the "feed training" process by getting a bag of sinking catfish feed and putting some of it out each day. This will get them accustomed to coming for feed more quickly and help them lose their fear of you on the bank. They like to stay out of sight of shore line predators (for good reason) and by the feed being on the bottom (where CC are more comfortable anyway) they can partake without fear. Then once they associate your footsteps with feed, it is a short jump to them eating surface pellets. But they will learn about the surface pellets without sinking feed, it just takes longer.

The problem for many in doing that is finding the sinking feed. If you are anywhere around where many catfish are raised it will be easy to find. In other areas not likely. We have one feed mill that carries it.

The other problem with sinking feed is a person never knows for sure if they are feeding too much. Not being able to see it consumed a person could run into the problem of over feeding and foul the water with excess nutrients. This however would likely only be a problem if a person was feeding several pounds per acre. If a person is just trying to get his CC on feed and feeds a small portion each day it likely would not be a problem. As long as your fish are young and you still have FHM's in the water they will also "clean up" whatever the CC don't.

Early on my first pond adventure I used an underwater camera to watch what was going on when I fed some sinking feed. I would drop a pile of it off the dock with the camera down in position. Within a minute a school of FHM would find the pile and commence to eating away at it till they muddied up the water to the degree I could no longer see with the camera. I would swim or snorkel and if I would lay still for a while FHM would find me in short order and would be grooming the hair on my legs and arms trying to eat me.

CC will become pets if a person works with them enough. I have only tried this a couple times with scuba but I would take feed under water and feed the fish. It takes a lot of patience because the fish are very wary. At first only small BG will come in for the feed but if a person works with them long enough even larger CC will come in and nearly eat from your hand. If a person did it daily soon you would be batting them away they would be so thick. But like training a dog, it would take time and effort to get them accustomed to a person to the point they were no longer afraid of them.

In a nearby lake there was one cove where scuba divers used for training. The CC got so used to divers bring down cut up hot dogs that they would follow you around waiting for a treat. They would literally take the hot dog pieces out of your hand.

I have an automatic feeder but also hand feed many days when I am around home. My fish are attuned to the sound of my Polaris UTV driving around the pond. They hear/feel that sound and it is the "dinner bell". I will have BG and CC following me around the bank of the pond as I can see their wakes coming toward me. I even occasionally will have one or two LMB follow me because they know the small BG will be off guard waiting for feed and I have actually had the bass splash me as they attacked a BG near the shore line. Had one that actually jumped up on the bank (I'm sure a miscalculation on its part), flop a couple times and back into the water.

The more time you spend around the pond, the more interesting things you find out.

Last edited by snrub; 08/15/20 06:01 AM.

John

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Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #524771 08/17/20 04:52 AM
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Thanks. It only took the HBG and HSB a couple of days to catch on to the feeding and they behave exactly as you describe when I get to the pond. I’ve been hand feeding them every morning and evening and they certainly know the program. Their growth rate is astounding.

I’m using the Optimal starter #2, which sinks, but I’m not sure how much, if any, actually makes it past the other fish and stays on the bottom long enough for the catfish to find it. I don’t mind waiting until the catfish catch on, it just surprises me to not even catch an occasional glimpse of what should be such a visible fish. They must just be staying in the deeper water, at least during daylight hours. In some ways it’s kind of neat having something new to look forward to when they do finally start to show themselves.

Re: Invisible Catfish
Stekewood #525279 08/28/20 07:46 AM
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Quick update....
I got my first glimpse of one of the catfish five or six days ago. A couple days later I saw 2, and now 3 show up at each feeding.
They were 2-3" when I put them in just a month ago or so and have already more than doubled their size..
Happy times......


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