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Containing Fish in a Pen
#534859 05/06/21 12:52 PM
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Hello everyone,

As I have said many times before, I have an overpopulation of unwanted bass in my pond.

A pond manager has offered to trade me some stocked trout for approximately 100-200 small (4-10") largemouth bass. I need a way to keep all of the hook and line caught bass alive and healthy for the period while I am collecting them, maybe a period of 2 or 3 weeks. I have been told the best way to do this is in a contained net or pen inside the pond.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to build this pen? Has anyone done a build they could share pictures of?

I have a few ideas on how to do it. The first simplest and cheapest idea would be to keep the fish in a collapsible laundry hamper tied to the edge of the pond. I saw this idea on the internet, but I think 200 bass might be too much for this, although I can always use multiple hampers. Would this keep the fish healthy enough for an extended period?

[Linked Image from images.thdstatic.com]

The other option is this build I saw online. This would be more time consuming, but seems better overall. VIDEO: https://youtu.be/mg-BNCGNQkk

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Any input would be appreciated. I will update this thread as I move forward with this. Thanks.

Last edited by Fyfer123; 05/06/21 12:55 PM.

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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #534875 05/06/21 07:37 PM
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I built this one out of pvc and netting and hang it off the dock. It is 3' x 3' x 6' and I have kept fish in it for a month or more.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #534889 05/07/21 12:18 AM
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Awesome! Bet you're glad you got your dock built before lumber prices soared!

Last edited by anthropic; 05/07/21 12:20 AM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Tbar #534899 05/07/21 09:47 AM
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That looks like a great build. If I can find the time to make it, I will be going that route. Seems like a perfect idea. Have a space to put it as well.


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #534900 05/07/21 09:48 AM
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If I can't find the time to build that (we cannot go in to a hardware store right now where I live; everything is online so it is slow to get materials), I will go with this Amazon product which is a keep net. It is not as good as the build mentioned here by Tbar, but should work. Thanks for the suggestions.

[Linked Image from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com]

Last edited by Fyfer123; 05/07/21 09:50 AM.

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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535202 05/14/21 08:54 PM
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I decided to go with the Amazon net, which arrived today. It does not look nearly as good as a custom made pen made from PVC and netting, but all the hardware stores in my area are closed due to restrictions so making a custom one would be difficult. Here is what the Amazon keep net looks like. It is not very big, but I hope it keeps the bass healthy for up to two weeks. I currently have one fish in it and have tied it to the dock, so it is sitting in about 14 feet of water, extending 6 feet down.

Will bass be able to survive in this for up to two weeks?
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535208 05/14/21 10:34 PM
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Maybe and they will be very hungry.....


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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: Containing Fish in a Pen
esshup #535213 05/15/21 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by esshup
Maybe and they will be very hungry.....
I was thinking that. I assume they can go without food for two weeks, or is that a bad idea?


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535236 05/15/21 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Originally Posted by esshup
Maybe and they will be very hungry.....
I was thinking that. I assume they can go without food for two weeks, or is that a bad idea?

That cage might be too small for that many fish for that length of time. It'd be better if they were only in there with no food for a week.


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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: Containing Fish in a Pen
esshup #535314 05/18/21 08:40 AM
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esshup, is there a way I can feed them in that small keep net, or will they not eat due to the stressed conditions? I have fed the bass worms from shore before and seen them eat almost every time.


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535329 05/18/21 05:18 PM
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Tbar, what did you use for netting on that 3x3x6??

Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535336 05/18/21 09:40 PM
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If you have an overpopulation of bass and you have someone wanting them for restocking, could there be a chance he's getting stunted bass with limited growth potential?


"In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." - Donny Miller
Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Steve_ #535344 05/19/21 07:21 AM
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I would have thought that as well, but I am actually selling them to a local hatchery that knows they are stunted. I am really not sure what the hatchery will do with the bass.


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535347 05/19/21 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
I would have thought that as well, but I am actually selling them to a local hatchery that knows they are stunted. I am really not sure what the hatchery will do with the bass.

Sounds fishy - lol ! Hopefully they are feeding them to much larger bass.


Fish on!,
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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Snipe #535350 05/19/21 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Snipe
Tbar, what did you use for netting on that 3x3x6??

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Tenax-Actu...DPE-Extruded-Mesh-Rolled-Fencing/3457516

Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535389 05/19/21 07:51 PM
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I am taking the fish to the hatchery to be traded for trout on Saturday. So, the longest any fish will be in the net for is 7 days. I will be transporting all of the bass in an aerated bucket and was told to add a few frozen water bottles to the bucket to keep the water cold. They will be in the bucket for probably 2 hours.


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Steve_ #535404 05/20/21 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve_
If you have an overpopulation of bass and you have someone wanting them for restocking, could there be a chance he's getting stunted bass with limited growth potential?

Steve, LMB only live for so long so any older fish have lost some of their potential due to the time they lost. However, I can speak from experience that stunted or slow growing bass due to excessive competition have not lost their potential to grow fast from their current state. If they are moved into an environment where there is abundant appropriately sized food, they will grow remarkably. I will give you an example from my own experience.

In my twenties, thanks to volunteering when working cattle (branding, castration, inoculation, etc.) I was afforded the privilege of hunting and fishing a >10,000 acre ranch. It was a very memorable time in my life. There happened to a pond on this ranch that had only 1 type of fish in it, GSF (I presume stock naturally in a high water event). Oddly, even without a predator, they attained lengths of 8" in that pond and the fishing was fun and fast. Problem was ... that I over-harvested the GSF and removed the biggest GSF which were cannibalizing the GSF YOY. So after a couple of seasons the pond was seriously over populated with little GSF.

So that fall, I decided to move some LMB from a pond about a 1/2 mile away. This pond was overrun with LMB and the largest I caught from it was maybe 2lbs but there were abundant LMB less than 10 inches and very large GSF, BG, and their hybrids. So brought an ice chest and moved ... I think .... between 10 to 12 LMB that ranged in the 9" to 10" sizes and moved them to the GSF pond. Can't recall exactly but I think this would have been late September. The pond I moved them too was probably around 1/3 acre. I was just trying to add some predation and hopefully see larger GSF later down the road as the LMB recruited.

I didn't return to the pond until the next spring and did so just to check up on the LMB and see if the transplant was successful. This would have been in the late March to mid April time frame. I was blown away with the difference. The GSF ... where before they roamed where they pleased ... were hanging near cover and there were far fewer I could see. But the LMB, they had grown from ~9.5 inches to 14" over same period. To gain a sense of the growth it is from around 5 oz to over a pound. They had tripled in weight. To be sure, they were never going to make it 8 lbs because they probably ranged between 4 and 8 years of age at the time of stocking. But they demonstrated that an old fish can be transplanted and respond well to the move if the conditions in the new environment are favorable. These LMB knew how to capture and consume prey ... they were only held back by the supply of prey.

It would depend on goals, but LMB can be transplanted even at advanced age and mark good growth. Many hatcheries produce artificially fed LMB of similar lengths. But these fish are truly handicapped where as Fyfer's are not even if they may be a bit smaller or older.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/20/21 07:07 AM.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535408 05/20/21 10:12 AM
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I would caution that long term stunted populations select for small size in many species. It is a survival adaptation selection process.

Last edited by ewest; 05/20/21 10:15 AM.















Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
ewest #535410 05/20/21 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ewest
I would caution that long term stunted populations select for small size in many species. It is a survival adaptation selection process.

Shetland ponies and Mammoth and Mastodons isolated on islands come to mind. On the other hand, I am aware of no research documenting this effect with LMB over time scales of a human lifetime. Please point me in the right direction if you are aware of one.

My sense of LMB is that there is considerable adaptability already built into their genetics for environmental variation of food availability and competition. LMB from an environment where food is abundant and competition is low (they go together) have the genetics to grow slow as an adaptation to environment where they may have been stocked at too high a density. The opposite is also true. There is intense predation pressures for fish populations. I don't see this factor favoring slow growers or smaller fish so I think more than one factor would influence selection and that meaningful selection for slow growth or smaller ultimate weight potential probably would not rapidly occur (In other words, I think it would take more generations than Fyfer's fish have encountered).

I doubt there exists any water that grows LMB at their maximum genetic potential over time. Competitive pressure and food supply always limit growth below this potential. For genetics to contribute meaningfully to growth and ultimate weight, the competition for resources must be subdued enough to allow genetics work their magic.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535415 05/20/21 03:02 PM
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Do some looking on BG survival and adaptation. We have always thought that changes took long periods of time but more recent research on fish indicated that the time periods can be much shorter as in a few years in some studies. Low food/stunted populations favor small size and fast reproductive ability for species survival. I will see what I can dig up on LMB in specific.
















Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535426 05/20/21 05:56 PM
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Adaptability is built in on many organisms, rather than a random blind search process. Anoles lizards introduced to a Mediterranean island developed cecal valves within 35 years(!). Recently some insects were found to have actually borrowed genes from plants that helped survival. The old "Nature makes no leaps" evolutionary paradigm is in dire need of revision.

Last edited by anthropic; 05/20/21 05:57 PM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
anthropic #535446 05/20/21 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by anthropic
Adaptability is built in on many organisms, rather than a random blind search process. Anoles lizards introduced to a Mediterranean island developed cecal valves within 35 years(!). Recently some insects were found to have actually borrowed genes from plants that helped survival. The old "Nature makes no leaps" evolutionary paradigm is in dire need of revision.

I used a similar word, "adapted", but probably the way to describe this is that there is plasticity where the genetics are always there and are ready to respond through an epigenetics response that is triggered by environmental cues both in the fish experiencing the environmental factors and their offspring. This is why even genetic clones, eg human twins, have notable differences that arise because of different epigenetic response arising from different environmental cues.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
ewest #535448 05/20/21 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ewest
Do some looking on BG survival and adaptation. We have always thought that changes took long periods of time but more recent research on fish indicated that the time periods can be much shorter as in a few years in some studies. Low food/stunted populations favor small size and fast reproductive ability for species survival. I will see what I can dig up on LMB in specific.

So what are your thoughts on the BG Eric? The small sized BG are at more risk of predation so the must reproduce more to secure the population?

I do think that competition and predation are extremely strong selectors and that these two factors dominate selection of those that are most fit. Oddly being a better competitor may make a fish more vulnerable to predation so they seem to balance each other. It's complicated I think. In the end, those that succeed will be those that pass on genes to the next generation providing that generation with keys to reproductive success.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535502 05/22/21 11:02 AM
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Interesting discussion about largemouth bass growth potential when stunted.

I dropped the fish off today at the fish hatchery. The total number of bass was around 50, 5-10" with most being around 6" I would say. They were transported in a cooler with an aerator and frozen bottle to keep them cool. It wasn't a hot day, and the fish seemed to do well on the 1.5 hour drive.

We were generously traded 12" rainbow trout at a 1 or 1 rate to the bass. So, we were given 50 12" rainbow trout with oxygen bags in exchange for the bass. I added the rainbows and they swam off healthy.

I'm thinking the rainbows might be more aggressive for ice fishing as Bill Cody has suggested. It will be nice to have two types of trout; I just hope the rainbows will do ok with the warmer water in the summer.


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Re: Containing Fish in a Pen
Fyfer123 #535622 05/25/21 06:23 PM
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The new approximately 50 rainbows are doing well. They were eating the day after they were added with the browns. They look so small in comparison to some of the larger browns, so I hope they don't get eaten.

Here is a underwater video of the trout during feeding for those interested: https://youtu.be/4Ac31Rpx9cQ


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