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to make a long story short my family has a lot of small farm/cattle ponds on about 600 acres of land, most are to small to really count anyway my brother and i against Everyones advice took a couple of the ponds ( we knew it could end badly so we picked ponds that no one would miss if the worst happened) so i put black crappie into 2 ponds one pond is about 1ac and the other is .6 acre i knew they could absolutely overpopulate in our area theres quite a few ponds in the 3-5 acre range with decent crappie but they are very heavy with small to medium bass for good reason as you all know. anyway we stocked about 25 adult 8-12inch black crappie in each pond this was prob 8-10 years ago. after that we started making sure there were plenty of bass in the 8-14 inch range to eat crappie spawn and we could always add bass that we cull from our other ponds so this is kinda like our experiment being that we love to have some variety and would love to get a couple dozen minnows and catch a mess of crappie on a whim, anyway the exact opposite happened from what i can tell. we have maybe caught 15 crappie out of each pond in all those 8 years, and the bass fishing has stayed good in the small 8-13inch range the crappie we have managed to catch are varying in size from 8inch to 13 or 14inch. i know crappie spawns are unpredictable but this is crazy its like pulling teeth just to catch one and you finally get one (using minnows so alot of what youll catch is little bass) you will think you are about to tear them up then you might catch one and they go cold?? what can i do? we have stopped releasing the BC we do catch and we took about 25 or so bass out of each pond last year thinking maybe we did too good of a job with the hungry little bass population, btw the ponds are fertilized and both have really nice BG as well. any thoughts would help me out and no i dont care if they overpopulate we crossed that bridge when we stocked them knowing that was a probability. sorry for the long post i just thought i would explain it well so you guys will know whats been done
my second question is way more simple i just dont want to start 2 threads, this 3rd pond is about 4-5 acres only stocked with bass/BG and a few channel catfish. after neglect we can catch 8-10 inch bass all day no matter how many we take out it never seems to help anything, btw this place has produced 5-6 pound bass in the past. we feed the BG. i think we need to just keep trying to remove bass and if that doesnt work i might try electrofishing, id like to try that in all the above mentioned ponds just to know exactly what is in them. thank you for any help or advice and im sorry for the novel ive written lol. have a great day- hugh


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Crappie guy, I think what you are seeing is normal when there is a strong population of LMB and BG. Especially when BCP are introduced subsequently. The growth of your BCP is very good but the numbers are low.

BCP will do better without BG. If you could start over, it would be advantageous. If not you could try adding mid sized BCP on a ladder annually on a ladder. I think your recruitment is limited ... Mostly due to BG and a low starting population of BCP.

Crappie are attracted to light at night in the summer and fall. So from the dam this approach may help to concentrate them. They like brush too.


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


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I have the same problem here in my 6 acre pond. To many BG and to many big LMB. Numbers of BCP have dropped to where it’s hard to catch any.....

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crappieguy,
This sounds the same as a pond a guy in my area experienced with LMB,BG, and BCP. The only difference being that he catches mostly BG. Like jpsdad said I don’t think BG are a good mix with BC. The only thing I can add is I had some BG mixed in with my RES and I am trapping and killing every one that I catch.

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There is a lot here on crappie in ponds. They are an enigma within a conundrum - no easy answers.

I do want to point out the issue of catchability. Lots here on the subject as well and worth looking at wrt your problem. Every pond specie that I know of has a built in fear/harm/stress release indicator or several. When a fish is caught (hook & line) it releases those indicators (visual/chemical/other) and the other fish know to watch out.
















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Good point , I wasn’t aware that all species did that, was aware that catfish did that. Thanks for that information ewest

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thank you guys for your responses, when i posted this we had tried but hadnt caught any crappie in about a year so yesterday after i posted i went and bought 3 dozen minnows and went fishing and of the 3 ponds we have crappie stocked we caught crappie in all 3! we were happy but that soon turned to the realization that 1 out of the 3 seems to only have very small crappie (i expected this as i am not surprised or upset lol) but the other 2 ponds we caught crappie all different sizes between 5-11inches. i have a couple of questions because i never thought about BG being a problem that could really help me out i just figured without BG they wouldnt have any forage and then the cycle of not enough food/over eating fingerling bass would cause a chain reaction, in the pond were we caught all 5-6inch crappie we also caught about 10 bass in the 7-12inch area. in all in this pond we only caught 6 crappie in all so im not ready to say for sure its overpopulated but i think a good course of action would be to keep every crappie caught, keep all the smaller BG and i guess release all the bass? is this sound good. i hope its not confusing to read basically we took bass out of this pond last year because we thought maybe we did to good of a job with being so bass heavy and i think thats contributed to the crappie all being small. so to put it this way 2 out of the 3 im happy with but if i start removing BG out of them all, should i add anything for forage?? also keep in mind if the bass ever get to the point were they arent reproducing enough i have a large pond that we are always culling bass from and i can always add plenty of 9-12inch bass at the drop of a hat. thank you guys for you responses and for understanding that i know its a crap shoot with crappie no pun intended and its not the end of the world if it doesnt work out.


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Quote
i went and bought 3 dozen minnows and went fishing and of the 3 ponds we have crappie stocked we caught crappie in all 3! we were happy but that soon turned to the realization that 1 out of the 3 seems to only have very small crappie (i expected this as i am not surprised or upset lol)

Don't worry too much ... get some more information. It may be that they just pulled off a spawn last year in that pond ... so go back and catch a few more and pull some scales. Look under a magnifying glass and see if you can spot more than one growth ring. 4" of growth in the first annum is normal and if they are just now a 1 year old the growth doesn't suggest over population. In the worst case, this pond could be a source of dinks to transfer to your other ponds where crappie exhibit good growth.


Quote
but the other 2 ponds we caught crappie all different sizes between 5-11inches.

Included the 13" and 14" crappie you referenced, it seems a healthy situation in those two ponds allowing good growth of crappie.


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


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I'd just like to add that cover/habitat that individual fish species like is an important part of the equation. What is the cover/habitat like in the ponds? Also, try varying your fishing technique for the fish, try casting a small curly tail jig with no bobber, maybe a small crankbait, etc. Like ewest said, fish get used to being hooked and released, so if you don't vary your fishing habits, you could very well see less and less catchable fish, even though they are there.


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if i can take out some bluegill what should i add for forage for the crappie would RES be better than bluegill. and thanks for the advice on the scale rings ive never known that


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The problem I’m having with to many BG is that they are eating the BCP and LMB eggs essentially stopping recruitment. I also have golden shiners

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Originally Posted by ewest
There is a lot here on crappie in ponds. They are an enigma within a conundrum - no easy answers.

I do want to point out the issue of catchability. Lots here on the subject as well and worth looking at wrt your problem. Every pond specie that I know of has a built in fear/harm/stress release indicator or several. When a fish is caught (hook & line) it releases those indicators (visual/chemical/other) and the other fish know to watch out.

Crappie is about the last fish I have ever had a problem with catching multiples in one spot, actually just the opposite, I have pulled 30 and 40 of them in twenty minutes off of one little piece of brush during the spawn and even when they are not in spawn mode they seem to travel and dwell in schools, 9 times out of 10 where you catch one if you will cast back into the same place you will catch more, but then that's just been my personal experience, I do know catfish, especially BC are bad about making noise that will keep others from biting for 5 to 10 minutes almost every time.


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Originally Posted by gehajake
Originally Posted by ewest
There is a lot here on crappie in ponds. They are an enigma within a conundrum - no easy answers.

I do want to point out the issue of catchability. Lots here on the subject as well and worth looking at wrt your problem. Every pond specie that I know of has a built in fear/harm/stress release indicator or several. When a fish is caught (hook & line) it releases those indicators (visual/chemical/other) and the other fish know to watch out.

Crappie is about the last fish I have ever had a problem with catching multiples in one spot, actually just the opposite, I have pulled 30 and 40 of them in twenty minutes off of one little piece of brush during the spawn and even when they are not in spawn mode they seem to travel and dwell in schools, 9 times out of 10 where you catch one if you will cast back into the same place you will catch more, but then that's just been my personal experience, I do know catfish, especially BC are bad about making noise that will keep others from biting for 5 to 10 minutes almost every time.


They might not be schooling up because there isn't the right kind of cover to relate to in the pond. We don't know what type of cover and how much cover is in the pond.


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since starting this thread we actually got out and did some fishing and like some other posters have said we arent having trouble catching them my brother went out yesterday and caught 30 out of the pond i was saying we felt was over populated they averaged 6inches all being about in that range biggest being 7.5 i believe but our plan is to continue to fish it hard on the crappie and also harvest/cull some BG and possibly add some LMB from another pond that we our needing to thin them out in.
heres another question that is totally unrelated we have 2 ponds one of which has BC and 1.5 years ago we stocked 100 CC in each they were about 5in average length we feed these ponds daily hoping to see a catfish but nothing but bluegill. never in my life have i had trouble getting CC to eat floating food, i was thinking maybe the bass in these ponds hit them hard but theres really not any bass that i know of in these two ponds IMO that could eat a 5inch catfish. i tried fishing to see if i could catch a little catfish but as u can guess little BG where stealing my bait i might use my casting net to get some little BG out fast idk if you guys have any thoughts id appriciate it and thanks for the thoughts on the BC situation, im happy with the fact that we can catch crappie even if they arent that big i know we can always try to manage it or start over if we ever wanted to


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crappieguy how big were the BC when you stocked the 5 inch CC in the one pond?

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Originally Posted by crappieguy
. .... another question that is totally unrelated we have 2 ponds one of which has BC and 1.5 years ago we stocked 100 CC in each they were about 5in average length we feed these ponds daily hoping to see a catfish but nothing but bluegill. never in my life have i had trouble getting CC to eat floating food, i was thinking maybe the bass in these ponds hit them hard but theres really not any bass that i know of in these two ponds IMO that could eat a 5inch catfish.

How long has the pond had LMB in it? If more than 18 mths post LMB stocking it could have lots of adult LMB that could eat 5 in CC.

IMO it is wise to habituate newly stocked fish if they are going into a pond with existing adult fish.
















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heppy- the pond with crappie we also put the catfish in is the biggest of the 3 we stocked BC with and the 2nd biggest pond on our property, prob about 1.25 or 1.33 acre, when we stocked the CC in this particular pond we had stocked about 15 in the 8-12 inch range that last fall and at the same time we stocked the channel cats we stocked 100 little BC prob turned into expensive bass food bc that pond does have decent bass
ewest- both of the 2 ponds that we stocked the crappie in have always had bass in them since before i was born lol 1995 but the smaller one is close to a road and a bunch of little houses, so basically we didnt pay any attention to it in years i got interested in fishing and managing ponds we could only catch 2-4 inch bluegill prob the worst case of stunting ive ever seen. we added bass i think about 6 months before the catfish we added the bass as we culled them from other ponds i wish i had kept better notes on it but i dont remeber the sizes it was like 3 or 4 here then next week a couple more until we had about 15 or 20 in there. i wish i could buy bigger catfish somewhere. do you guys think i could get catfish to spawn in a pond without a lot of trouble? thanks.


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How big were the BC when you put them in..... some maybe survived ..... maybe bass were eating 2-4” BG..... catfish that do spawn in ponds don’t have a good survival rate due to predators. I have BC and CC for 6 years and haven’t seen any sign of a spawn except mud cats

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In the south a BG/LMB/CC pond will reach carrying capacity in about 18 mths post stocking. The population will continue to evolve for about another 2 years until it moves toward an unbalanced state. So in those you described the ponds were at capacity - filled with small BG and whatever else was there. From that point on you are managing population dynamics (how many of what size and type). I think you need a good analysis of what is really there in order to move toward where you want to go. Catch records , visual info , seine survey and even electroshock survey.
















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i agree ewest the pond i was talking about it very deep but not very big my brother and i plan on using a siene in it this early fall. its oval shaped with not alot of structure, i can throw a cast net half way decent and im putting out some fish traps to just get an idea of whats goin on in there, thank you all for your imput. i tried to post pics of all the crappie we caught but they were jpeg i think but yesterday evening my brother caught like in all 50 BG and 35 crappie. after fishing in all 3 of the ponds we have stocked with crappie and my consensus is 2/3 are doing good with the crappie varying in size and being healthy the other one is full of 5-6inch crappie or at least thats all we have caught so far but the anomaly is the pond i think is overpopulated we cant catch them steadily like the other ponds that seem healthier lol its backwards.


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