I had little fun tonight targeting GSH with a fly using my spinning rod and a casting bubble. Not pictured is the 5" RES that I caught and had a SMB inhale next to the dock, I played the SMB for 15 seconds before he spit the RES out. The RES looked shocked when I unhooked and measured him.
I was a little shocked that there is a SMB big enough to eat a 5" RES in the pond.
That's a ton of shiners, big ones too. What do you do with them? Chop 'em up for catfish food or do you not have them?
No catfish, I throw them on the burn pile for the raccoons. I've pulled 229 shiners that size out of my 1/4 acre pond in the last six weeks, 22 of them tonight. Right now most of my SMB aren't large enough to eat shiners that size and the shiners just compete with my SMB and RES for food. I had a major fish kill last summer and had to restock, the shiners were the ones that faired well at the time of the fish kill. Things are a little out of balance but I am making progress.
Shorty, are the large shiners reproducing? Another question, seeing any reduction in reproduction of the bg or res due to the shiners? And won't the smb eventually get large enough to eat the shiners? I have no experience growing smb but with lmb they will grow really fast if food is there. So my thinking if there is reproduction of the shiners that would produce shiners for the smb to eat and grow till they get big enough to eat the extra large shiners.
Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
I had a huge hatch of shiners this year and my RES pulled off a very good spawn too, YOY shiners are already 2", YOY RES 1-1/4". Most of my SMB are in the 8-10" size range so a 6" shiner is just competition for food with my SMB and RES. I did stock a total eight HSB two months ago. My big concern with having too many large GSH is the lack of recruitment of SMB that I have seen in the past, not sure why but RES seem to recruit well with large shiners present but SMB don't.
Shorty you might think about cutting the shiners up and feed them to the small mouths.
I'm not sure they would eat cut bait or not but I did take out another 25 large GSH tonight. I think I would rather reduce the nutrient load in the pond rather than try and recycle it. Running total so far is 254 GSH in the 5-1/2" to 8" size range removed out of my 1/4 acre pond in the last six weeks, that's a density of 1016/ large GSH per acre removed. I doubt I have removed half of them that size as I still have mostly large GSH eating pellets at feeding time. I am starting to see the HSB, a few SMB, and an occasional RES eating pellets too which I hadn't seen until recently.
I did have a SMB try and steal a small 5-1/2" GSH that I had hooked next to the dock tonight, it looked to be about 13" long.
It's about having appropriate sized forage for the SMB in the pond as most of the SMB are in the 8-10" size range right now. A 5-1/2" GSH is the upper end of what they can eat, anything larger is just simply too big but that will change as they get bigger. The SMB are doing a good job thinning the shiners down, there aren't many shiners in the 2" to 5-1/2" size range. I'm not sure what I could have done differently, last summers fish kill got most of my SMB and larger RES but left a lot of shiners. I've restocked fish and determined that I have too many shiners that are large enough to escape predation.
A few same sexes LMB might help but I don't want to risk making a mistake and having LMB reproduce in the pond. My German short hair thinks golden shiners are tasty but I haven't tried them. The goal right now is simply to remove as many large GSH as possible, that will free up a lot of food for everything else over the winter.
I removed 17 more GSH tonight, running count is 271 large GSH removed so far. I also caught one pellet trained RES , and one that wasn't. My wife caught the shooter SMB next to the dock that has been trying to steal fish I have caught on the fly, she caught it on a rattle trap.
Just keep in mind that the adult GSH will be the backbone of the forage base once the SMB grow to 16"+. The RES that are not feed trained will utilize the small GSH as food, as will the HSB.
At the moment large GSH are competing with the similar sized RES and SMB, that 13" SMB from tonight is an anomoly and likely one of few survivors of my May 2019 fish kill, I know I had at least two survivors that were 7" to 8" at this time last year. The vast majority of the SMB are currently 8" to10" and are struggling with the competition for groceries with large GSH. The large GSH that I have been pulling out were 2" to 5" last year when I stocked 4" to 6" SMB after the fish kill. The fish kill was caused by chemical drift from the neighboring farm field, an application of 2,4-D, Atrizine, and fertilizer killed my algea bloom and caused an severe DO sag. Best estimate is that it killed 98% of the SMB in the pond before I restocked.
I pulled a few more GSH out tonight, running total is now 300 large GSH removed out of my 1/4 acres pond, that's a desnity of 1200 per acre. I still have a good number of large GSH eating pellets. The first four handfuls of pellets lasted just 60 seconds tonight but I am seeing more gamefish getting some pellets now and subsequent handfuls of pellets are taking a little longer to clean up.
My black ant fly is about wore out, it's starting to unravel.
I'm sure the reduced GSH population is the reason why I have a little bit of FA growing now. In the past I have put a 5 gallon bucket of pond water on the dock and within a few days it starts growing FA in the bucket, I'd toss the FA in pond and the GSH attack it and it's gone in short order. Having a little bit of FA growing will likely help mitigate the strong algea blooms I see in my pond, sechi disk reading usually run 12-16" range in the absence of FA and aquatic vegetation. My water isn't quite so green now.
"Tipping points" might make for an interesting discussion in pond management.
Example, what density (fish/acre) of GSH or Tilapia are needed to eliminate FA. When FA is completely eliminated, where does the nutrient load end up? Where does it get steered to?
I know that with the density of GSH I've had over the years both FA and submerged aquatic vegetation have been non-existent. I've tried to establish milfoil and sago pond weed a number of times without success. The only thing that I can get going is emergent vegetation along the pond edge, mainly smartweed and some sort of grass that does well in standing water, both need to sprout under dry conditions while water level is down. In dry springs I end up with quite a bit of it, in wet springs I have very little of when the water level comes up too quickly to get it established. In the past the bulk of my nutrient load gets cycled into an algae bloom with very green water. The danger with strong algae blooms are DO sags and fish kills which I have seen on a few occasions.
The other thing (tipping point) that I have seen with a high density of GSH is little to no recruitment of SMB, I assume that this related to a lack of cover for the fry to hide in or eggs in the nest are getting raided by GSH.
One of the goals of removing this many GSH was that I am hoping to see some SMB recruitment next year.
I suspect that with your horizontal aeration your water has become a little more green now that the FA is disappearing, the other possibility is that your submerged vegetation is doing well.
Shorty, If I may add an observation to the algal situation, we are seeing an abnormal "bloom" of sorts I haven't seen in many years in northern and western KS. I had no FA to speak of this summer-until the cold snap hit the first part of sept... 104 one day, down to 30 by sundown the next night and it stayed below 35 for more than 2 days. Several of our biologists felt the waters cooled so fast it turned over very quickly in a fashion a huge nutrient load was released into the perfect water temp to form the perfect storm, so to speak. Temps after have been 80's into the 90's, yet water temps went from 80's to upper 40's but have never made it back to much more than mid 60's. We had several ponds that it even killed the CC and a few carp. The worst was a new pond with no aquatic vegetation and DO read .008ppm 3 days after the cold snap. It took 48hrs of massive efforts to get it back up to 4ppm and 10 days later we finally had 8ppm top to bottom and 120%+ saturation levels. This particular pond has cycled 3-4 times since then but never has came out of it. Still green as green gets and it had 36-40" vis before the cold-all through summer. I can't say the GSH have affected anything as far as the algal situation because my pond has GSH-many-and is also green as green can be and I also have some Tilapia yet that made it through the cold snap. Don't know what to say other than I think this is a bad year to make assumptions just yet, IMO.