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bullheads up the ???
#526218 09/23/20 08:51 AM
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I was reading on this site about trout. Was wondering if a guy would put in trout this fall. Would they clean up the bullheads in the pond all winter. They are more active in cold water so I thought they may eat the slower bullheads or would they just eat the BG or small LMB. Would they get big enough to eat a 6 inch bullhead. Lake is 60 acres and muddy till ice covered. Has springs in it and stays cold (60's) till first of May. How many would need to be stocked? I think what few bass are in my lake are starting to get rid of the bullheads that are smaller than 4 inches or the bullheads are eating each other.

Was also thinking about adding GSD. I have read they work the pond bottom and stir up mud, but I already have that problem with the bullheads. Was waiting on putting them in till bullheads were gone but looks like that may not happen any time soon. If they would overpopulate I would then put in blue cats in. Seems that most of my fishing is from my docks, so fishing for cats would an easy option. I have channel cats in there but just can't catch them do to bullheads.

Goal for the lake is to catch fish large enough to eat, don't need trophies. The grand kids do not like the bullheads do to their sharp spines.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526221 09/23/20 09:26 AM
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I doubt the trout will do much to reduce the bullhead population.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526223 09/23/20 09:36 AM
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LMB and Walleye have been shown to effectively control bullhead populations, I would think Blue Cats might too but I don't know for sure. Walleye would be a better bet to feed on BH during the winter months than trout, I would think.

Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526226 09/23/20 12:05 PM
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I was hoping they would eat a bunch and then die and make room for everything else. I do have walleye in the lake but needed larger fish so bullhead would not eat them, cost prohibits buying to many. I should just order more wipers maybe. I always wanted a lake but now wish I had a 5 acre pond. A $1000. dose next to nothing in a lake.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526248 09/24/20 03:29 AM
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nehunter,

Costs can be prohibitive when managing a big lake yours. I would like to mention a few things for perspective on the bullheads. LMB can control them but they are not ideal predators for them. In aged waters, bullheads typically are correlated with low standing weights of LMB. I don't know why that is ... it is one of those questions .... like so many others ... I would like to know a lot more about.

What would help you most would be a predator that prefers bullheads above other prey and would also be an effective predator of the common carp. This requires a powerful predator and the best one for the task would be the flathead catfish. Around the management of them, they would probably be ideal at standing weight between 20 and 36 lbs/acre which is typically all the weight of them most waters can actually support sustainably. They won't become exceptionally dense. Once they begin to achieve weights > than 15 lbs they would thin themselves down to between 1 or 2 flatheads per acre if their density were higher than that.

I would give this predator some consideration. They will prefer bullheads above all else. They will effectively prey on them in turbid waters. They will also consume many carp. To be sure, they will also eat LMB, smaller wipers, lepomis and walleye. These seem to be the desired species in your lake. However, you have to also think about how these same species are impacted by the bullheads and carp. Chances are good, that these populations, at least the reproducing species would fare "as well" with flathead due to interactions these populations have with the unwanted bullhead and carp. It is possible, that desired species might actually benefit from their presence. I feel pretty confident to say that lepomis will benefit particularly from a predator that prefers bullheads in waters that support bullheads preferentially.

68 acres is a lot of water and this makes fishing and trapping a non starter for controlling bullheads. Whatever you have now is what you will always have unless you change the game in a meaningful way. Bullheads and carp are running roughshod in your fishery. Were it me, given the amount of water you have, I would just go to war with these two with a predator that can do the job. Were it me, I would stock between 100 and 200 7" or larger Flathead. It will take a few years depending on the weight of these fish when you stock to get the desired result. This will in part depend on their size when you stock them. You'd see favorable results in as little as 3 years if they were 5lbs at stocking. It would take longer if they were advanced fingerlings. But you would know how many you stocked and could track their growth and when you get to the point you can estimate their weight at 25 lbs/acre you should see some favorable results. The water should be clearing, the size of BH should be larger, and growth of LMB, wipers, etc should be better. BG, RES and other lepomis should be more abundant. All you have left to do is manage the flathead, this is something you could do with fishing. You need to harvest around 1/4 to 1/3 of the standing weight of flathead every year (around 6 to 10 lbs/acre-year at standings weights that your lake can likely support). Try to concentrate Flatheads larger than 15 lbs for harvest.

I once saw where a person could purchase 7" FH for $12 each. So something like this might be in your budget. There are a lot of horror stories out there about flathead and I would just say this. If you don't harvest the FH, they can outgrow the lake's ability to support them. But such would be less the fault of the FH and more the fault of insufficient harvest management. FH will come with their own management requirement and this isn't a utopian scenario that can be left to its own devices. You seem to have an untenable situation with the BH and carp and what I am suggesting is a way to squeeze some lemonade and improve the situation at a reasonable cost.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/24/20 03:34 AM.
Re: bullheads up the ???
jpsdad #526262 09/24/20 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jpsdad
nehunter,

In aged waters, bullheads typically are correlated with low standing weights of LMB. I don't know why that is ... it is one of those questions .... like so many others ... I would like to know a lot more about.

jpsdad can you provided me the source for this bit of info ? I will check to see if I can find an answer for us , as I would like to know also.
















Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526277 09/24/20 08:07 PM
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One reason that bullheads could lower the standing weights of LMB is BH at higher density will make the water turbid. Turbid water will depress plant and plankton growth to reduce overall productivity - less natural foods available - a suppressed food chain. A higher turbidity will make it harder for LMB to see food items thus is water that is too turbid the LMB do not feed as efficiently.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/25/20 03:47 PM. Reason: edited for clarity

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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526289 09/25/20 08:55 AM
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Thanks for the help! My favorite fish to fish for is the flathead catfish. But everything that I read on this site said not to use them. But that maybe for the smaller ponds that the majority of people have on this site. There is nothing that gets my blood a boiling as a reals drag taking out line not knowing how big the fish could be. I have people ask if I wanted flathead cats put in the lake and told them not to put them in. The lake is loaded with timber, so it would be ideal for cats. I was debating between cats and the blues do to the blues tend to stay in open water more. While the cats will come to opean water at nite. The crappie are only 9 inches now. The greensun fish have have been reduce to next to nothing and the bluegill thow few are 6 to 10 inches. The bass are 6 to 21 inches but you will fish all day to catch 2 fish. When I feed you will see a 12 inch bluegill come to feed but as soon as all the bullhead show up you never see it anymore. Lake is 8 years old already, I was hoping I could be catching more fish by now.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
http://www.pondboss.com/news/videos/why-subscribe-to-pond-boss
Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526297 09/25/20 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nehunter
Thanks for the help! My favorite fish to fish for is the flathead catfish. But everything that I read on this site said not to use them. But that maybe for the smaller ponds that the majority of people have on this site. There is nothing that gets my blood a boiling as a reals drag taking out line not knowing how big the fish could be. I have people ask if I wanted flathead cats put in the lake and told them not to put them in. The lake is loaded with timber, so it would be ideal for cats. I was debating between cats and the blues do to the blues tend to stay in open water more. While the cats will come to opean water at nite. The crappie are only 9 inches now. The greensun fish have have been reduce to next to nothing and the bluegill thow few are 6 to 10 inches. The bass are 6 to 21 inches but you will fish all day to catch 2 fish. When I feed you will see a 12 inch bluegill come to feed but as soon as all the bullhead show up you never see it anymore. Lake is 8 years old already, I was hoping I could be catching more fish by now.

Flatheads are awesome, and aren't completely out of the question if you're willing to put in the time (and money) to make sure they're fed. Would I add Flatheads or Blues to a LMB pond? Probably not. The 2 main things about Flatheads is their voracious appetite and their aggressiveness. Once they get to about 10 pounds, 1-2 pound bass will definitely become table fare for them. In my situation, I am doing a Blue Catfish pond (with HSB and BCP). I live 5 minutes from a river, so I can get shad, white perch and bluegills to chop up to feed them very easily. Flatheads will also attack each other, which is another issue, and I don't know if I've ever seen anyone mention a source of fingerlings for them.

Re: bullheads up the ???
ewest #526317 09/26/20 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ewest
jpsdad can you provided me the source for this bit of info ? I will check to see if I can find an answer for us , as I would like to know also.

eric, the reference can be found here.

The study found, of the 42 ponds surveyed with total kill and collection, that where LMB and BBH co-occur the mean standing weight was 24 lbs/acre while where LMB occur without BBH, the mean standing weight was 54 lbs/acre. The study also mentions that the correlation wasn't significant at the 95% confidence limit. But lest any discount the harm that BBH can do to LMB standing weights, understand first what correlation means. We plot the standing weight of LMB versus the standing weight of BBH seeking to see if a tit in the weight of BBH responds with a negative or positive tat in the standing weight of LMB. To be sure, this is a rather coarse way to try to understand the interaction. Some ponds supported a greater total standing weight than others for example and so a tit in one pond may be a rather small in terms of relative abundance than the same standing weight in another pond. So it is pretentious to suspect that a tit for tat model would be a good predictor of the standing weight of LMB The correlation could probably be improved through normalization of the data to convert the tit and tats from standing weight to a proportion of standing weight. Even so, the interaction of BBH and LMB were not in a vacuum as there were other players in these ponds.

Looking back, I should have said this. Of 42 aged ponds, sampled with total kill, the presence of BBH was shown to be associated with lower LMB standing weights. Correlation was a poor choice of words.

I might be wrong, but my hunch is that the association of lower mean weights of LMB isn't a fluke. Generally BBH need water of greater fertility to thrive. It wouldn't make sense that ponds that carry more fish couldn't carry more LMB unless the dominate prey fish were out of balance with the LMB. One pond, which was omitted from the numbers related to with and without bullheads standing weights, turned out to be the pond with the greatest standing weight of BBH. It was omitted because no LMB were present at all in this pond. We won't ever know given the age of the study if this pond ever contained LMB prior to the survey, but if this pond once supported LMB, given the standing weight of BBH (831 lbs of 931 lbs total standing weight), it might be a reasonable conclusion that the BBH extirpated the LMB by preventing recruitment.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/26/20 01:26 AM.
Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526318 09/26/20 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nehunter
Thanks for the help! My favorite fish to fish for is the flathead catfish. But everything that I read on this site said not to use them. But that maybe for the smaller ponds that the majority of people have on this site. There is nothing that gets my blood a boiling as a reals drag taking out line not knowing how big the fish could be. I have people ask if I wanted flathead cats put in the lake and told them not to put them in. The lake is loaded with timber, so it would be ideal for cats.

Dang! If they are your favorite fish, you should have done this long ago. In my whole life, I have never seen a FH horror story in person. Where I have always fish for them I also caught other fish. Fishing in general seemed really good in these waters for LMB. A good example was my home town's municipal lake of ~300 acres. 50 years after construction, it was still producing northern LMB > 5 lbs. The lake has abundant BG, GSF, & LES along the edges and a substantial population of white crappie that top out around 10". What I can tell you is that we like FH in Oklahoma and FH were prevented from being a problem because we fished for and harvested them.

To be sure, if one were to catch 40 lbs of FH on a trotline and stock these fish in a 1 acre pond with intents of having a catch and release fishery ... well it would be a horror story for the resident fish and eventually the FH also. I think Forrest Gump said it well when he said "Stupid is as stupid does". We have to be reasonable. I don't think they would be a problem for you or your resident fish if you manage them through harvest. Your lake is big enough to be a viable fishery that includes FH catfish.

I do want to comment on one additional thing. It's not my intent that the FH become a financial burden to feed. If you have to feed them additionally then you are not managing their numbers in the way I would recommend. Let the lake support an appropriate standing weight of them. Harvest 25% of the projected standing weight annually. If you see they are negatively impacting your other fish, double up your harvest and knock them back to allow other fish to rebound. This is a doable scenario for you.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/26/20 02:09 AM.
Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526328 09/26/20 09:05 AM
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This sounds great. Now to find fish to put in the lake. Thanks for all the advice, I know the members that help others on this site don't get enough credit for their help.


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526467 10/01/20 11:49 AM
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Working up some info on BH question.
















Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526469 10/01/20 12:18 PM
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I do know flatheads like bullheads we use them for bait all the time. The question is, do they eat them before eating anything else?


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
http://www.pondboss.com/news/videos/why-subscribe-to-pond-boss
Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526471 10/01/20 02:19 PM
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I think BH are more of a river bait, but Flatheads aren't picky. They'll eat whatever is dumb enough to swim in front of them. I also caught my biggest CC on a live BH, so those will definitely eat them too.

Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526478 10/01/20 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nehunter
I do know flatheads like bullheads we use them for bait all the time. The question is, do they eat them before eating anything else?

nehunter,

Read this on controlling BH in small ponds.

Read this where FH were used in control of BG and PKS ... the BH were essentially eliminated.

OK. So the question of the what FH most prefer to prey on hasn't been answered with metrics of capture rates etc. Even so, evidence suggests BBH to be among the first species eliminated by FH in these studies.

I think I suggested that you should concentrate your harvest on fish larger than 15 lbs. But I should mention that it might take a while to get them there depending on FH density and the density of your other predators. Here is a paper on growth of FH in 21 Oklahoma lakes.. Usually, FH are not overly abundant due to fishing harvest pressures. The challenge for state DOWs is have more of them for fishermen. Where you have heard about the horror stories, the FH were stocked at such a high standing weight that the pond wouldn't support them. We could rephrase that to say the pond would have never grown them to that size if they had been stocked much smaller. The Flathead would have stunted well before reaching that size. So keep this in mind. They are not a time bomb and they are among the easier fish to control by fishing due to low reproduction and low density. Kind of like it would be easier to control the numbers of grizzlies than elk.

Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526510 10/03/20 09:25 AM
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This sounds good. I well be looking for flatheads to stock. Thanks great read and info!


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526539 10/05/20 12:08 PM
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Per the first study noted in jpsdad post above, eliminating bullheads did not improve clarity. Perhaps bullheads are not the problem we believe them to be?


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Re: bullheads up the ???
nehunter #526554 10/06/20 07:07 AM
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I can't speak to other people's results but reducing the bullhead population in my pond improved the water clarity.


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