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Small bass but "unlimited" food?
#526302 09/25/20 04:34 PM
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Hi everyone,

I have a 1 acre brown trout pond in Ontario, Canada that accidentally got LMB from a neighbor bucket stocking it. I have discussed the problem a lot here: https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=509811&nt=4&page=1

Anyways, the bass added (approximately 3-5) were probably 1-2lbs when the neighbor put them in. They spawned last summer and there are now lots of bass ranging from 4-10" in the pond. There is no forage to support the bass since it is a trout pond. I am working on a solution to the problem but I have an interesting question about the adult bass that were added.

I caught what is likely the biggest bass in the pond a few weeks ago while trout fishing. It was around 1.5-2 lbs. If it is big enough to eat 5" bass, why is it not bigger, considering that the pond has hundreds of little bass that school in the shallows? You'd think the adult bass could simply eat as much as it wanted, yet it isn't all that large. Is it simply that this isn't the best climate for bass to grow big? There are some local lakes with 4lbs bass, maybe even bigger if they are true trophies.

If anyone knows the answer to this question, since it's been interesting me for a while, I'd really like to hear it.

Thanks.

Last edited by Fyfer123; 09/25/20 04:35 PM.

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526303 09/25/20 05:28 PM
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Adam, I wonder if part of the answer is that your larger LMB have to chase the small LMB around, rather than having good ambush points in cover. That's an issue on my pond, where I have a superabundant bluegill population but not much bass cover. LMB don't gain the way they should because they burn so many calories chasing down their prey.

Also, of course, cold climates tend to limit warmwater fish growth.

Last edited by anthropic; 09/25/20 10:40 PM.

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526304 09/25/20 05:34 PM
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From my limited knowledge of LMB cannibalism, they only resort to this behavior if there's absolutely no food. While you may not have dedicated forage for the LMB, they'll still eat things like insects, and other invertebrates. Or even your trout.

Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
anthropic #526310 09/25/20 08:26 PM
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That could be a possibility. The baby bass tend to spend time in the shallows but the adults might have to use a lot of energy to catch them. Northern ponds definitely produce smaller bass, but the local golf course pond these bass came from has some 3lbs+ bass in it, easy. I should have mentioned that before. It is stocked with sunfish and seems to be we'll managed. We are still trying to figure out what to do with our pond, as we were planning on adding more trout for eating but there might not be a point anymore.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526311 09/25/20 08:28 PM
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Interesting, I thought bass would eat other bass as much as they would any other fish. If it's true that they don't resort to cannibalism often, it would make sense that mine aren't very big. The big LMB compete will all of the babies for insects and other food, so there isn't much to go around. My trout were 20+" at the smallest when the bass were added, so I don't think they have gotten any.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526312 09/25/20 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Interesting, I thought bass would eat other bass as much as they would any other fish. If it's true that they don't resort to cannibalism often, it would make sense that mine aren't very big. The big LMB compete will all of the babies for insects and other food, so there isn't much to go around. My trout were 20+" at the smallest when the bass were added, so I don't think they have gotten any.

The first article I came across when I researched LMB cannibalism said this: Odenkirk says what he finds in bass stomachs is limited only to what foods are available and what they can fit in their mouths. Insects, crayfish, frogs, lizards, snakes, other fish and even baby birds end up on the dinner menu. Bass will even eat each other. The name of the game is survival, and if a bass has to eat another bass in order to live, he won't think twice about it.

Your situation might be different because in order for them to survive, they might have to eat their own. What anthropic said makes sense, too.

Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526316 09/25/20 10:04 PM
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I may be wrong but as I followed your other thread I felt this could be a problem. LMB will eat about anything and for darn sure, each other, but in cooler water than what they normally thrive in their metabolism is much slower, they don't eat as often and just aren't as active as a bass in 78-88 deg water. The only real way to know if your bass are maintaining the required input is get a length in mm and a weight in grams. When we plug those numbers in we'll know if weight is above or below average for that given length of fish, which will tell us either it'd eating what it needs or it needs to be eating more-it's a very simple answer there.
The answer may not be what you want to hear but it "may" answer a few questions.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Snipe #526329 09/26/20 08:42 AM
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What Snipe said +1.
And, do you have pic or two you could post?

If it were my pond (I realize that it's not) and my main focus and goal were having trout, I'd almost ignore the bass. Or in other words, I'd:
1. Remove any bass that I thought could eat newly stocked trout but retain the bass that were of intermediate size to eat smaller bass. I'd watch to see that my bass were continuing to grow very slowly.
2. Feed the trout quality fish food to supplement the few invertebrates available to them after the smaller bass clean them out.
3. Consider adding other piscivorous trout in addition to those fish eating browns, for example tiger trout and lake trout.

There is a recent thread or maybe two that have discussed bass only ponds, both smallmouth and largemouth. From what you are seeing so far, it seems to me that you might be able to consider your pond to be largemouth only, but with the bonus of trout that are nearly independent of the bass. Carrying capacity, of course, is a consideration.

Excuse me that I've forgotten your goals for the pond, and if there are any other fish in it that you want to manage.

Yours sounds like a nearly unique situation, and a worthwhile experiment.

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Steve_ #526332 09/26/20 11:04 AM
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Interesting. It would be neat to catch one and open its stomach and see what's inside. I ate a lot of 8-10" bass this year and I should've taken a look in their stomaches. If I catch a trout I will do the same.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Snipe #526333 09/26/20 11:06 AM
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I don't think you are wrong. Almost everyone said the bass would not grow to be a substantial size in this pond, but we never really decided on our goals in order to find a management solution. I would have, however, thought that the biggest bass with the ability to eat all of the littles ones would grow large. I will link a picture of close to the biggest bass in the pond. It's not a measurement, but it might be useful to someone who knows bass well.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
4CornersPuddle #526334 09/26/20 11:08 AM
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One of the main issues we have is that we don't know a good goal. The pond used to be setup really well for what I consider very nice trout (8" when stocked and 22" only 2-3 years later). I think it had the potential to grow some really big trout if the bass had not been added to the mix. We did not intend of feeding the trout to keep their diet natural, since we added a smallish amount (80) to ensure there was enough food to go around. I will link some pictures of the pond, a trout, and a bass.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526335 09/26/20 11:15 AM
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Bass (see first picture for adult and second for young bass): http://imgur.com/a/Fsirpz1

Trout: http://imgur.com/a/3zCJCS2

Pond: http://imgur.com/a/wnWsIVl

Last edited by Fyfer123; 09/26/20 11:16 AM.

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526343 09/26/20 07:34 PM
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Those bass look a little skinny. See if the different length bass have any different body condition. That will tell you what size forage is predominant in the pond. i.e. if 12" bass are skinny, and 8" bass are fat, then the majority of the forage is about 2"-2.5" in length and the 8" bass are eating most of it, and that doesn't leave enough to grow to 3"-4" so the 12" bass can do well and grow bigger.

The smaller food requires more calories to catch, and remember that not every swipe that a bass makes trying to catch a fish results in a catch, so those are calories expended without anything in return.

Go to this page, https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=160456#Post160456 look at post #468638 and click on the link for relative weight chart of LMB, SMB, SB, CC & Brown Bullheads. Then weigh and measure your bass and compare them to the chart.

Last edited by esshup; 09/26/20 07:37 PM. Reason: added link

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
esshup #526351 09/27/20 01:03 PM
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Thanks for the reply. That makes sense about the forage sizes and I will remember that when the bass become catchable again. I took a look at those charts and will use them in the future.

I caught a nice trout today and it was very healthy and seemed fat enough. It was 20" but I don't have a scale, unfortunately. I tried looking in the stomach when I gutted it but didn't see anything. I might have done it wrong though. Anyways, is it possible for the bass and trout to have almost no effect on each other, considering that the trout are inactive when the bass are active? For example, the trout are just beginning to bite but the bass have stopped feeding almost entirely. That will be a key understanding for managing my pond.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526361 09/28/20 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
. Anyways, is it possible for the bass and trout to have almost no effect on each other, considering that the trout are inactive when the bass are active?

It is not possible that these two species co-exist without an interaction. I would bet that there are few minnows now and that minnow are well on their way to extirpation ... if not already. So already there is the interaction where the LMB are likely outcompeting trout for high quality prey. But the web is more complicated than just that. It is possible at the YOY LMB are interacting with other players helping the trout. For example if they prey on a competitor of the trout. Examples may be crayfish or leeches which would prey on amphipods and insects a major food source of trout. There are interactions ... there is no getting around that ... but it is difficult to know or predict exactly how that will influence things. For example how it may affect the carrying capacity for trout or trout ultimate weights.

The good news is this, of all different species that could have contaminated your put and take trout fishery, perhaps the LMB will be the least interactive and detrimental. Put perch, pumpkinseeds, or BG in ... the trout will feel it and it would not be good for them. Also, it wouldn't help the LMB as much as one might think.

Originally Posted by Fyfer123
. For example, the trout are just beginning to bite but the bass have stopped feeding almost entirely. That will be a key understanding for managing my pond.

From a management perspective, just as 4Corners mentioned, you have two fisheries coexisting. A trout fishery and an LMB only fishery. Were it me, I would manage the LMB fishery as a pan fishery that can supply a harvest of small fish for the pan without greatly impacting the (put and take)/(catch and release) trout fishery. I would harvest any LMB > 8" and less 12" and would probably also harvest any LMB > 15". Don't release any LMB in your slot and let them become difficult to catch. Let the LMB reach capacity annually and then crop them back as much as fishing is capable. It's sounds like you are enjoying this unplanned journey and so maybe this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise that extends your fishing season and provides some treats for your table as well.

Just a quick question, do I have to have an imgur account to see the pics? Also, are people having trouble with the forum's image hosting? I have no issues with it and forum hosted images are never lost or blurred.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/28/20 05:49 AM.
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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526381 09/28/20 05:22 PM
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jpsdad, I have an imgur acct and I can't see the pics..


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526383 09/28/20 05:27 PM
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There haven't been any pics added, just links to pics. Here are Fyfer123's pics he added on 9/26, of his trout and his pond:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Steve_ #526392 09/28/20 07:39 PM
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Hey thank you Steve_ for getting the pics up. Very nice Fyfer123 ... both fish and pond!

Snipe, thanks for your comment also. I don't think I'll go to the trouble getting an imgur account now.

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526395 09/28/20 08:27 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies.



This is definitely an interesting situation that is certainly not all bad. There is now a fishing season 12 months a year in the pond, which is nothing to complain about. The main concern I have is what is the best use of the pond in terms of fish and its overall health. In that regard, I can still not think of what my goal is for the pond. It seems that having a decent bass population for eating and a respectable put and take trout fishery are both possible.

This leads me to another question, which seem crazy since there has been a lot, is it worth restocking brown trout, as the population of trout is getting low? I only added 80 four years ago, so I can't imagine too many are left. If I restocked this fall or next spring with the numbers and advice of a local hatchery, would the smaller trout be able to compete with the bass? Finally, can an adult bass like the one pictured above eat an 8-10" trout (the size I would likely stock).

Thanks again for all of the help.

NOTE: I tried to edit the previous photo links, so they might work better now. Sorry for not linking them the other way. Here's a photo of a brown trout I caught this weekend. It looked health and had roe inside, which I found interesting.


[img]http://imgur.com/gallery/ONVmbtr[/img]

[img]https://i.imgur.com/bvXuLev_d.webp?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium[/img]

(Still can't seem to get the photo linking to work properly. Hope you can click the links and view that way)

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I (esshup) put the pic here. The way to do it is click on the "insert image link", then paste the .jpeg information. If it doesn't in .jpeg, the image won't show up.

Last edited by esshup; 09/28/20 10:04 PM. Reason: inserted the picture

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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526396 09/28/20 08:37 PM
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Hey Adam, the reason your links aren't turning into pictures is because you're linking to the page the picture is on, not the actual address to the image. You can right-click on your image and hit "Copy image address" (if you're on desktop) to get the direct link to it.

Newest Trout pic: https://i.imgur.com/bvXuLev.jpeg

You should be able to copy that link and edit your post with it.

Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526407 09/29/20 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
This leads me to another question, which seem crazy since there has been a lot, is it worth restocking brown trout, as the population of trout is getting low? I only added 80 four years ago, so I can't imagine too many are left. If I restocked this fall or next spring with the numbers and advice of a local hatchery, would the smaller trout be able to compete with the bass? Finally, can an adult bass like the one pictured above eat an 8-10" trout (the size I would likely stock).

The reason I suggested taking any LMB > 15" was to make LMB predation of newly stocked trout less likely. So a fusiform fish like a trout will be vulnerable to LMB at 1/2 the length of the LMB. This would especially be true in late spring and summer when the LMB are more active. So you should only stock in the fall when surface temps are below 15C. The newly stocked trout should make enough growth over winter to be safe going forward. If the hatchery offers trout in the 10"-12" size range, I might lean that direction.

Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526428 09/29/20 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
I (esshup) put the pic here. The way to do it is click on the "insert image link", then paste the .jpeg information. If it doesn't in .jpeg, the image won't show up.

You can also manually add the [img] and [/img] tags, which is what I usually do.

Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
jpsdad #526473 10/01/20 03:16 PM
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Thanks for the reply. The hatchery offers 12-14" as the biggest size, so I can pay a small premium for those but it seems like it's worth it. I just now have to decide I want to stock this fall or not. Thanks again for the advice. I will update as I continue to figure out what to do with the pond.

Also, thanks for all of the help everyone with the photos. I know what I'm doing now.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526483 10/02/20 07:07 AM
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Do you mind me asking what they are charging for 12-14 inch lmb?? For future reference.


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Re: Small bass but "unlimited" food?
Fyfer123 #526491 10/02/20 12:43 PM
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I spoke to a manager the other day about 1lb bass. $100ea plus milage.


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