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Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
#525996 09/17/20 09:04 AM
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To rehash, I have a slightly over 1 acre pond, old construction. It was full of mutt bream of the longear/CNBG variety. It also had what appeared to be an infinite number of tiny GSHs. I put 15-20 CC I deemed too large to eat (over 3 pounds) in intermittently 6 to 7 years ago. During that same time frame I started feeding pellets and after a few months I was catching enough hand size bream to eat a few. 5 years ago I decided, after reading this forum, to add LMB. I bought 100 F1 bass (4"-5") locally that were feed trained. A year later, I was seeing zero sign of any bass at all. I got frustrated and pretty much abandoned the pond until earlier this year. When covid hit earlier this year I got bored and started going down there again. I found several 18"-21" LMB. Upon further examination, I found that the panfish were not really any larger than the hand size ones (mostly much smaller) that I was catching 5 years ago but the shiners were much larger. There are many in the 5"-6" range now. I put the feeder back on the pond with cheap catfish feed but have recently switched to aquamax mvp. After further researching (mostly on here) I decided to add 200 RES with hopes of getting a few decent panfish since they do not compete as much with GSH for food. I also added 5 grass carp to help with the pond grass that is/was taking over.

Current Observations:
It appears to my untrained eye that the LMB have affected the GSH average size much more than the bream average size.. It also appears to my untrained eye that the GSHs are not eating very many of the bream eggs. I can catch tons of yoy bream in my minnow trap. Based on my fishing, however, the bream mutts do not appear overpopulated. I know that's not necessarily an accurate way to know, however. There also appears to be at least 10, possibly more, of the catfish left I put in years ago. The entire first year I put the feeder on the pond they never came to the feeder but now they gorge themselves on the feed. Luckily, they never arrive at the feed until a few mins after it goes off so the other fish get to eat before the catfish clean it up. All the fish are much harder to catch (especially the bream) since I added the grass carp. I wonder if the eating size bream that are there are filling up on feed and not interested bait. The carp have clouded up the water some. The water visibility was @ 3' but is now @ 12" give or take (less right after a rain of course.) They are doing there job on the grass, though. My LMB appear to be healthy but lean. I have yet to catch what I'd consider a really fat bass. I have culled @ 20lbs of bass under 14" this year. I should have kept a record but I didn't. Strangely, I noticed that smaller (12" and less) LMB are hitting the MVP feed.

My reason for not nuking the pond is a) the bass are doing pretty well considering I have't culled any before this year and b) the catfish that are basically impossible to catch after being caught 2 or 3 times and gorge themselves on the pellets have pretty much become pets.

I think, and please chime in if you disagree, my best bet is to abandon trying to get the panfish size increased and concentrate on having a good bass pond. Maybe the RES will do okay after a few years. I considered adding HBG to the pond next year but I suspect that would just be throwing more money at a losing battle. I am leaning towards adding tilapia next spring to fatten up the LMB and maybe a few HSB to further thin the GSHs and for fun factor. I know a fish study would be best but I just don't have the funds to throw at it right now. I think my goal now is to make the pond the best whatever it has the most potential for without killing my pet catfish.

Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
crimsondave #525998 09/17/20 09:34 AM
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If you want better quality/bigger LMB then remove some LMB until their condition improves. Feeding will help BG and CC and LMB.
















Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
ewest #526005 09/17/20 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ewest
If you want better quality/bigger LMB then remove some LMB until their condition improves. Feeding will help BG and CC and LMB.

Do you think I should just continue feeding and forget about the Tilapia next spring?

Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
crimsondave #526027 09/18/20 05:16 AM
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I would keep feeding as long as it gets eaten. They will stop when cold weather comes. Essentially BG are the bottom of the food chain due to their prolific spawning. And, according to Lusk, 95% of all eggs laid, hatched, etc will never see their first birthday. They get eaten by everything that can fit them into their mouth. Bass need forage that is 1/4 to 1/3 their body size and baby bass are no exception to the rule. But, if the small bass eat the BG prior to them getting big enough for the larger bass, you have an out of balance situation. As Ewest says, cull smaller bass that are keeping the larger bass from getting appropriately sized groceries. A large bass can starve on a diet of minnows. Not enough protein for effort it takes.

Tilapia are prolific spawners but can't handle cold water. Essentially they provide food for the small bass and bluegills that become groceries of everything larger. They are a good tool as long as you don't get more fish than the available O2 in the pond. That's why we cull.

Lusk: A pond is like a garden. It has to be managed through culling.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 09/18/20 05:24 AM.

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
Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
Dave Davidson1 #526031 09/18/20 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Lusk: A pond is like a garden. It has to be managed through culling.

Double +1

crimsondave,

To add to the comments already here, based on the goals of keeping and maintaining your large catfish and the presence of GSH, I think the approach that will result in the most successful outcome will be to try to grow very large LMB. There seems to be a very large surplus of forage in the sizes large LMB prefer. To be sure, this means the growth of your BG is slow and ultimate BG weights are low.

Given you have been feeding on a ongoing basis, to remove the feed would put the pond in starvation mode. In other words, to curtail feeding, you would need to remove some fish. It is unclear what may happen to your feed trained bass if this source of food were removed. That would depend on their dependence on the feed.

One last thought, I would not increase the feed rate. Given your BG are stunted you will be very disappointed in the results. When a fish increases in length by 25% it doubles in weight. So if the average size of your BG is 4", doubling their weight only takes them to 5". If you are feeding at the modest 1 lb/acre-day rate that is commonly recommended it is clear that its going to take a huge amount of feed to improve the length of your BG and the water quality is going to suffer. To make matters worse, this will only make the prevailing population of BG less accessible to your predator fish.

Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
crimsondave #526052 09/18/20 06:46 PM
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Thanks for all the replies.

I guess my last question is should I just cull all the bass in the 8"-14" range?

Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
crimsondave #526073 09/19/20 03:02 AM
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I prefer to cull based on body condition, not just length. A 12 inch football is a keeper to me.


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
Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
Dave Davidson1 #526077 09/19/20 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
I prefer to cull based on body condition, not just length. A 12 inch football is a keeper to me.

Thanks

Re: Changing goals I think. Am I missing anything?
crimsondave #526088 09/19/20 01:26 PM
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Quote
I wonder if the eating size bream that are there are filling up on feed and not interested bait.
If true, they should respond well to fishing after you stop feeding for 2-3 days.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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