I have been catching a few BG in my pond that have red in their eyes. Not all of them but often enough that it is not uncommon. It looks like when a person busts a blood vessel and the whites of their eyes get big blood spot. It isn't every fish and I had just assumed perhaps they get hooked and are fighting so hard they actually do bust a blood vessel. This morning I caught one and it was missing an eye and the other one was bloodshot. There are lots of reasons a fish could lose an eye like getting hooked or taking a catfish spine to the eye during feeding time. The fish was pretty skinny relative to what I have been catching and the eye socket didn't look like it was a fresh wound so it may have been one eyed for a while and having trouble finding food with one eye. However, the combination of seeing several fish with bloodshot eyes and this one actually missing an eye has me worried that I might have some kind of problem such as disease. All the two eyed fish I catch, whether normal or red eyed, are healthy and meaty.
Does this sound like a problem or is it common? Does anyone else see BG with blood shot eyes?
I have never attached pictures so hope this works. I went out yesterday afternoon and caught several BG and 5 were around +/- 7". I also caught some 3" - 5" BG. Of the five larger ones - two had dead eyes on one side and one had the red coloring. The two with dead eyes had normal eyes on the other side of their head - only one eye was bad. One of the BG with a dead eye was skinny but the other with a dead eye was healthy and plump. Of the five I kept one was skinny, two were average and two were thick and quite healthy. Of the small BG that were released, none appeared to have any eye issues.
I started aerating in mid June. I stocked with 106 CC in early June and started feeding. The BG and CC feed but not really together. I feed the BG fairly close to the bank and throw feed out deeper for the CC. They will commingle but the near bank is predominantly BG and the deeper feeding is predominantly CC. The CC are very aggressive and will head over to the CC spot when they are done. I have alternated foods between AM Sport Max and Sportsmen's Choice just to cut back on the cost but they have probably had AM 75% of the time. I don't alternate feeds daily. I will buy a bag and finish it and then every so often buy a bag of the Sportsmen's and finish it completely. The aeration goes off automatically at 10 a.m. and kicks back on at 7 p.m. There wasn't any magic to that schedule it is just where I started and seems to work fine.
I also have bass but am not focused on the bass. I do catch them but don't target them that often. I have caught a good number of small bass <10" when fishing for BG and they appear healthy. I do have have bigger bass as well and have caught them from 3 lb to 6.5 lbs. I have also started catching CC from the stocking and they are growing really fast. I am pretty sure I did not have CC before stocking. I have never stocked bass but have stocked BG. The bass and CC appear to be healthy.
The only other thing to add is that I do mow down to the pond edge as close as possible and use a weed eater to get to water's edge. When I do that there is a lot of grass in the pond. It will be a mess for a few days but cleans up. The pond is about 1-1/4 acre but shrinks when the water is low. Right now we are sitting around 3' low. When at full pool the deepest I have measured is right at 13'.
Sorry for the long post but I am just trying to put out there all the background I can. I would appreciate anybody's help and knowing if anyone else has seen this problem in their BG or fish in general.
Thanks - it appears that what I am seeing fits most of the criteria for eye fluke. I don't think I saw any flukes or abnormalities on the bodies. I did notice a couple of pink spots in the flesh on one of the fish. I have noticed more egret/heron activity than in the past but the pond is in better shape than it has been probably for decades so I figured that was normal. I will start trying to get rid of them when I see them - much to my wife's chagrin.
I bought this place in 2014 with the pond already here and based on talking to neighbors it has probably been here 30 - 40 years. There was a ton of work to do and I have only been focused on the pond for the last couple of years. We originally had a bad water primrose problem but we really don't have a lot of other vegetation. I don't believe there is any structure/habitat in the pond except for some tree branches growing into the water on one end but that is a small area. I cleaned up the primrose by physically pulling it out. Because I don't have much shoreline vegetation or habitat I left 5 clusters of primrose around the pond to provide some cover for the BG and YOY fish to avoid predation. It has been work but I can control the primrose pretty easily now and keep it where I want it.
Do you think it is possible that I have created a snail habitat - the snails distribute the fluke bacteria - that also just happens to be the only place my BG can hide from LMB and CC? Do you or anyone out there have any practical experience in dealing with this? The literature doesn't really imply there is much that can be done outside of killing vegetation and chasing away birds.
There is a fishery in Sealy, TX that may have them and I am a little over an hour SW of Overton Fishery in Buffalo, TX. I think I can get some RES. Is it ok to stock now if I can find some? My pond is about 1-1/4 acres. How many would you recommend - I know that is hard to say but assuming ideal conditions what would make sense? I have bass in my pond so I guess I need to try and find some decent sized fish. Will the RES only eat snails and shellfish? I worry about them not having enough to eat but if that is the case I guess they have done their job.
Finding large RES can be hard. Oct would be a better time to stock after the weather cools a little. RES eat a variety of things but are one of the few fish who eat snails. See what is available but 30 adults would be a start.
Thanks for the help. Overton's is closed for the season but reopens on Friday. I talked to the folks at Sturm Fishery and they said the same thing regarding trying to wait until October. They can get some now but they would be small, more vulnerable to predation, and the water temp will make acclimation to my pond difficult. I'll wait for a while and keep pulling out BG while keeping an eye on the LMB and CC I catch. So far only BG are affected and it is probably around 25% of what I catch. If it stays that way I can wait to stock. If I can't get decent sized fish then I will probably double whatever I decide to stock and assume a 50% loss rate. I appreciate your taking the time to help out.
Thanks - very interesting reading. I'll develop a plan when I introduce the RES and update this post at that time which will probably be early to mid-October assuming I don't get pushed to introduce the RES sooner by conditions with the existing fish. Actually I am hoping to be able to get adult RES and minimize losses that way but we shall see.
I am pretty sure that any res over 3" is considered an adult. Or, I might say the cost goes up if the fish is over 3". If 3" is an adult you might want to get extra just in case they could get eaten. Adding more might give you some survival.
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Agree with Tracy. IMO 5 inches is the cutoff for the RES numbers I provided assuming you have LMB over 2 years old. Once you see what RES will be available post the info and a better plan can be discussed.
I have never stocked LMB but they are definitely there. I have caught a number of 3-4 lb LMB and one about 6.5 lb so they had to be there when I bought this place in 2014. I am catching a few 10" or smaller when BG fishing. I don't think they are anywhere approaching overcrowded as they are pretty hard to catch when targeting them but when I do catch them the size range is small to fairly large. It is not unusual to get skunked when targeting the LMB in my pond. I thought it might just be me but when I fish at some neighbor's ponds I catch my share.
I will try to get as big RES as I can get but will weigh the economics of buying a lot of smaller ones versus bigger but less quantity. I read the articles on habituation and plan to do all I can to improve the survival rate. I appear to have had a pretty good survival rate on the CC I stocked in June which were from 6" - 8". Overton's is reopening on Friday so I will talk to them and find out what I can get and when.
Talk to Todd and see what he recommends. I think you will be much better off stocking a lot of small ones vs. the much smaller amount of larger ones. The bass in your pond can eat any size that you can stock....
If it was my pond, I'd stock 300-400 3" fish and hope that most don't get eaten. I also agree with waiting for October, but the way fish have been selling this year, there might not be any available that late.
Like I said, talk to Todd at Overtons and see what he recommends.
I did talk to Todd and we are going to reconnect in October - he feels pretty good about having RES available. The consensus is it is best to wait if possible. I agree on stocking more small fish. I know I have a strong BG forage base and the bass I have caught are all very thick.
Here is the latest - I have a budget and feed the same amount every day since mid-June. As the fish are growing, and they definitely are, there is less food per fish. The CC are growing crazy fast also. So, I decided to cull 40 - 50 of the bigger BG. A big BG in my pond is 8" and I have been harvesting anything between 6.5" and 8". The thought being, I know there will still be big BG but fewer so those might get even bigger. If I could get to 9" - 10" BG I would consider the plan a success. For every BG I harvest I probably catch 2 or 3 that are smaller so I know the forage base for LMB is in good shape. I also get a ton of action from small fish that can't take the hook.
Over the last month I have caught a couple of small BG that didn't really look like BG but they were small and I wasn't really paying attention since BG come in all variety of colors. This morning I caught what is in the attached picture. I am almost 100% sure it is a RES! A buddy of mine manages some ranches around here and a couple of years ago was stocking ponds and came by and stocked some BG in my pond. There must have been some RES in that stocking. I don't think I have many since I have fished pretty hard lately and this is the first big one I have pulled out but this guy is good sized and if the small ones I noticed were actually RES then I have enough to spawn. There must not be enough to manage the snail population or I guess it is possible they have hybridized and maybe aren't as aggressive on the snails as they should be.
I thought it might lack girth for its length but it actually seemed pretty thick and looked healthy in regards to having plenty of meat on its sides. But, it didn't seem to have much girth, was built more like a bass or perch. The only thing I know about RES is what I have seen on youtube and pictures so maybe it should have been meatier. Regardless, I threw it back to hopefully eat snails and fatten up. As for the BG I caught - only one in 5 had the red eye and I haven't caught any the last two times I fished that had a dead eye.