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My gosh, I had no idea that GSF were so tenacious. The only water anywhere near my pond is the creek. It’s about 4 hundred feet down hill from the pond, and the pond is about 45 ft above the creek, thru the woods, amazing

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Gpugh sent me pictures of his sunfish. All those photographed were definitely green sunfish that my guess were around 3.5 to 4.5" long. They grew fast from probably eating lots of small YOY fathead minnows and fish food. It will be very interesting and a way for us all to learn if his stocking of HSB and WE will be enough to control the GSF. I suggest that he remove as many GSF as possible and especially those 2.5+" because as much as possible he wants low numbers of spawning size GSF for next spring and beyond. Then predators have mainly newly hatched and small GSF to control.


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Originally Posted by Gpugh
jpsdad, my goal for the pond is more for predators, walleye, HSB, and YP. They don’t have to be trophies, just decent sized, to have fun catching and to eat. I have been stocking the prey fish for about two years, don’t know if one would consider YP as predator or prey, in my case I consider them both, let their YOY be food for the Walleye, HSB, and adult YP. The YP have been in for a little over a year and I am just starting to stock the Walleye ( October ) and HSB (June 16 of this year ) it’s a little different plan, just wanted to try it out. If it doesn’t work out, I will release the hounds,LMB.

Given your focus on predators, a prey fish that reproduces abundantly but rarely get large enough to be off the menu "might" not be so bad. I will offer you this encouragement. Generally GSF cannot attain the standing weights that BG can. In an OK study, the maximum standing weights of GSF and RES were comparable but BG standing weights averaged comparably to their maximums. BG average standing weights were more the 5 times the average standing weight of GSF. Some members are battling BG in their ponds with YP, be thankful you do not have their problem.

What gives me the greatest concern is how the GSF will affect your YP. So far your YP are growing well and I think as long as YP condition is good the adverse impacts of GSF are non sequitur. So that would be the guage, I think. Are you getting YP recruits and is their growth good. I like tj's suggestions of trapping and repurposing. If sufficient, it should reduce the competition and benefit both GSF and YP growth and condition.

I'll offer one last piece of encouragement. GSF are among the dumbest fish. They just can't learn. When hybridized, the resulting hybrids are just as stupid. So eager are they to take a bait or lure that they can dominate the catch in waters where they are not the dominate prey fish. This can make one think they are more plentiful than they actually are. This eagerness to bite can help you catch them ... the tendency to find cover can help you trap them. Enjoy your pond in spite of this twist to your plans.


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Originally Posted by Gpugh
I guess we learn from our mistakes

That is why I love Pond Boss. We post our mistakes - and hopefully someone else can learn from our mistakes, rather than only learning by making the same mistake themselves.

The people on the forum have already saved me from several whoppers!

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The main problem that I have experienced of having green sunfish with yellow perch is as the GSF population increases proportionally the YP population decreases because the GSF with their large mouth and aggressiveness heavily reduce recruitment of YP. GSF eat lots of tiny YP. I am confident GSF out compete YP.


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If Gpugh severely fin and tail clips the GSF that are trapped and/or seined, is it possible to start feed-training his predators for a preferred diet of GSF?

Or are the fusiform YP still going to be the preferred diet when the top predators are large enough to eat both?

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
The main problem that I have experienced of having green sunfish with yellow perch is as the GSF population increases proportionally the YP population decreases because the GSF with their large mouth and aggressiveness heavily reduce recruitment of YP. GSF eat lots of tiny YP. I am confident GSF out compete YP.

Agree and add that in the US ,the warmer the water profile the bigger the advantage the GSF have over YP. As an example your problem will be larger than the ones Bill noted due to location.

Agree with jpsdad also that due to GSF aggressiveness you should be able (catch , seine , trap) enough to manage the situation.

Good luck and keep us posted !
















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Originally Posted by FishinRod
If Gpugh severely fin and tail clips the GSF that are trapped and/or seined, is it possible to start feed-training his predators for a preferred diet of GSF?

Or are the fusiform YP still going to be the preferred diet when the top predators are large enough to eat both?

Per Lusk, fish don't "prefer" forage fish types over another, but are more successful at predation with some species over others. IE: fusiform YP vs BG. If I understand his position correctly, BG and YP are likely to both be targeted with the same frequency, however due to the fusiform shape of a YP it will be successfully preyed upon with higher frequency vs the taller BG, leading us [erroneously] to refer to the YP as the "preferred" forage species. This suggests we should instead refer to YP vs BG as the "more vulnerable" forage - I guess? I haven't spent a lot of intellectual effort grappling with this - merely wanted to relate the Lusk position.

Regardless - I've definitely experienced GSH and YP as either "preferred" or "more vulnerable" in all the fisheries I manage in the presence of apex predators, this phenomenon is ESPECIALLY prevalent in limited gape apex predator fisheries [SMB, WE, HSB]....so we're likely just mincing words. I mean, GSH and YP get hammered significantly more than other forage species of similar length. Considering the fact GSF are more fusiform than BG, while not as much as GSH or YP, I still suspect limited gape predators will be more successful managing GSF populations vs. BG.


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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
The main problem that I have experienced of having green sunfish with yellow perch is as the GSF population increases proportionally the YP population decreases because the GSF with their large mouth and aggressiveness heavily reduce recruitment of YP. GSF eat lots of tiny YP . . .

I wasn't aware of this effect Bill but it makes sense. It would be similar to the effect of a large number of very small LMB. They say knowledge only makes one ask more questions and this has me asking some. For example, can GSF qualify as a predator that can control YP sufficiently so as to prevent YP from overpopulating? It sounds a bit crazy but if there are sufficient number present when YP hatch they could potentially eliminate most all of the YP before they could outgrow predation by GSF. Provided GSF do not attain high standing weight and there remains sufficient food in the YP's niche to support a fair standing weight of YP ... the combination may be feasible for YP at least to attain good size and condition.

In the paper I referenced above, GSF occurrence was the highest frequency among species. So in OK where I was raised, GSF are in every creek and they tend to colonize most water that flows into them. What surprised me was how limited their standing weights were in the subject ponds. Please look at the tables below.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I am not aware of any research on what standing weights are achievable in single species environments with GSF. For a pond with identical fertilization, it would be very interesting to understand what such weights can be supported of different species. But all in all GSF had very low standing weights and E values (proportion of the species standing weight) in these samples Even where they achieved the maximum of 198 lbs/acre they comprised only 23% of a pond with a standing weight of 835 lbs/acre. This was also the largest E value as well. So long as they don't take up the lions share of a pond's carrying capacity they will still leave food for other species. I have a hunch this would also be the case with YP but with a couple of caveats. The YP might find it difficult to recruit and getting YP on the line where there is a good population of GSF might be much more difficult. I experience something similar with BG hitting bait before it gets to the RES' depth.

Anyways, just an aside, but may offer hope to Gpugh that they may leave something for the YP to eat. If so, perhaps a ladder of 6" YP each year could provide the needed recruitment.

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Last edited by jpsdad; 09/24/21 06:10 PM.

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Per Lusk, fish don't "prefer" forage fish types over another, but are more successful at predation with some species over others. If I (TJ) understand his position correctly, BG and YP are likely to both be targeted with the same frequency, however due to the fusiform shape of a YP it will be successfully preyed upon with higher frequency vs the taller BG, leading us [erroneously] to refer to the YP as the "preferred" forage species.

I would debate this comment with Lusk. I have performed some fish feeding studies in college and when I was in an animal behavior class. I contend a predator can learn from experience that fusiform was an easier meal. Thus I say the predator will often choose or prefer a food if given a choice. Give the predator a little credit. Granted “prefer” is an anthropomorphic term (human attributes). Although at least some educated animal behaviorists use the terms choose and prefer when describing animal behavior. See Preferred Animal Behavior in the link below.

Predatory fish including those eating meat, even in terms of panfish preying on invertebrates, have numerous times been shown and reported to selectively choose, prefer or key-in on a certain type of forage food item despite other foods being readily available. This I think is where "match the hatch" phrase came from. Choice of lure size shape and or color that resembles the current food being eating by the targeted fish is another confirmation that predators will key-in on and choose, prefer or select certain foods compared to other similarly easily available items.

Trout have been shown to select a certain insect shape and color versus another insect each side by side and each being the same effort to capture. This may and may not be closely related to relative abundance of food items. I have fished many times were you need to match what the fish are eating on that day to catch a fish or more fish than your partner !. Walleye in Lk Erie during the mayfly hatch gorge solely on mayflies despite small fish and shiners being very abundant also eating mayflies among the walleye. Walleye stomachs were full of mayflies rarely fish. So were walleye more successful eating mayflies or were they focused on eating mayflies? I say, that day, walleye were choosing and preferred to eat mayflies and not the just as easy to catch small fish among the walleye. Plus those choosey WE had to expend more energy and time to eat a lot of mayflies to equal the weight reward of eating one small fish.

Also what about pellet eating fish, such as lets use a 12" LMB as an example. The bass will choose / eat and expend more energy eating several pellets instead of expending less energy / effort of sucking in a 1.5" or 3" BG right beside or in front of the bass. I also see same type of behavior in pellet feeding my big yellow perch and my snapping turtle. You may have also seen similar fish behavior in your pond. Sit still, watch and learn.

See Case Study 2 using honeybees. Choice – Preference behavior
https://www.nature.com/scitable/kno...references-and-choice-behavior-23590718/

Commentary. However in my comment above about GSF eating lots of YP, the GSF are not necessarily selectively choosing to eat YP over another food. The GSF are basically eating anything that fits into their mouth and at certain times of the year, YP fry are abundant and mostly the only or primary food available so it gets aggressively and heavily consumed. Amount of refuge habitat can minimize the losses. Aggressive, competitive, greedy and availability being the main behaviors of the predatory nature of GSF and IMO not so much choice or preferred feeding as it relates to YP living with GSF.

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TJ,

Thanks for the clarification. More "successfully preyed upon" makes the discussion easier to follow for rookies such as myself.

However, you answered the secondary part of my question, not the primary.

A barely mobile GSF with a clipped tail should be more successfully preyed upon than a YP. (Assuming the predator has a sufficient mouth gape.)

If the OP makes it a project to remove GSF, is it worth the effort to clip them and throw them back in the pond in the hope that the top predators will start to train to eat GSF?

Or is a clipped GSF a completely different organism to a predator than a healthy, normal GSF? Will the predators' only learned behaviors be to wait around the dock after the fish trap is pulled out of the water because they know an easy meal will follow shortly thereafter?

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Fishinrod makes a very good point. Those dock oriented fish I think will learn to wait for the welfare injured food fish. It has been proven fish can learn. I contend that predators key-in and have learned to recognize vulnerable foods. Explore the behavior literature.

Many many fish die each year of old age and are never seen in a pond / lake. What happens to all those small fish that get weak and die each year of old age? Thousands of them. Look up the life spans of smaller fish. Predators instinctively eat the most vulnerable. Natural selection and Survival of the fittest and Darwinism.

This relates back to supplemental stocking fish in your pond. Sometimes those stocked fish are not the healthiest and you may see a few dead ones. If the pond has a few predators present when the new fish were added, IMO you only sew about 1%-5% of the dead ones. The other 95%-99% of those near death new fish were gorged upon by the resident predators. Predators instinctively eat the most vulnerable. I have killed a few ponds in my day. I have seen predators that before they died gorged on as many small dying floundering fish as they could capture.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/24/21 10:40 PM.

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jpsdad, in answer to your GSF question, the answer is yes. At least in 1 pond.

Pond is 1 ac. Stocked with FHM, GSH, YP, RES. 2 years later when the owner wanted to stock SMB, he asked me to do a fish survey prior to stocking to see if there was enough fish to support SMB as predators. There was an amazing amount of GSF in there, all 2"-4", even the GSF that were 2.5"-3" were gravid. There were absolutely no FHM in there, and the GSH, YP and RES were all the same size - none of the stockers had any fry survive. The pond was then partially drained and rotenoned, then restocked.

Owner had the pond dug in a wet spot in the woods, and they didn't sterilize the water. Spoils from the excavated pond were piled around the pond and spread out to eliminate any water from the woods to enter the pond. Sandy soil, high water table, the pond filled up from the groundwater seeping in.


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esshup,

You didn't mention the size and condition of the YP and RES but to the point of GPughs situation hopefully this was good. The situation of early colonization by GSF is not uncommon. They seem well adapted to reproduction at early age, size, and development relative to many other species but especially in relation to RES and YP. The stocking rates weren't mentioned but this situation reminds of what one could expected if LMB were the first of a stocking to reproduce. The predator would be too numerous to grow large and would be so numerous so as to prevent most recruitment of prey fish (even of BG which are very prolific fish).

GSF reach sexual maturity at an early age and size. Once the production of gametes gets underway, growth slows way down. GSF may also just eat smaller proportions of their weight every day as compared to fish that grow faster. Consumption plays an important role in fish growth and in part this is driven by hormones that regulate feeding behavior. This tendency to mature early and consume less dooms GSF to be small in relation to more desirable fish.

I imagine the pond you described as appearing to fishing efforts that the standing weight of fish was dominated by the small GSF. In essence, the fishing experience is spoiled by the proportion of small GSF in the catch. Even so, it is likely (provided there was good growth of sufficiently stocked numbers of the original RES and YP) that they comprised a much more modest proportion of the standing weight. The problem really isn't the weight but the numbers of GSF. At an average length of 3" they are 50 to the pound. So even a situation where they comprise say 15% of the standing weight of a 400 lb/acre pond there is an astounding number of them (~3000).

Based on experience but not experiments, LMB are a good predator to have when GSF are present (especially with BG) if one is of a bent to have large panfish. GSF seem to facilitate this by undermining the recruitment of prey through predation and hybridization. These situations which very often occur naturally and without much management very commonly produce populations that have a large proportion of harvestable sized fish where the catch is dominated by large HBG and small LMB. In ponds like these, GSF may serve as a buffer against over harvesting of LMB.

But back to the topic at hand ... its really important to get the initial stocking in proper proportion in order to meet fishing objective. When one deviates from LMB ... it may well be much more important. I am reminded of the old saying "Nothing succeeds like success" One has to put the odds in favor of a successful path to year 2 if there is any chance to be successful in year 5 and beyond.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Owner had the pond dug in a wet spot in the woods, and they didn't sterilize the water. Spoils from the excavated pond were piled around the pond and spread out to eliminate any water from the woods to enter the pond. Sandy soil, high water table, the pond filled up from the groundwater seeping in.


esshup,

How did the GSF get in this pond in the woods?

You said they "didn't sterilize the water". Was there an existing small pond in the woods (containing some GSF from high water events) that they expanded for what became their groundwater pond?

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
Owner had the pond dug in a wet spot in the woods, and they didn't sterilize the water. Spoils from the excavated pond were piled around the pond and spread out to eliminate any water from the woods to enter the pond. Sandy soil, high water table, the pond filled up from the groundwater seeping in.


esshup,

How did the GSF get in this pond in the woods?

You said they "didn't sterilize the water". Was there an existing small pond in the woods (containing some GSF from high water events) that they expanded for what became their groundwater pond?

The pond was dug in a wet spot in the woods, and there must have been GSF in there. There IS GSF in a seasonal ditch that is 400 yds away, and during periods of high water events the majority of the wooded area can have standing water in it.

jpsdad, the body condition of the stocked fish was in line with what you would see of those species in a natural lake in the area. Same for the GSF.

The fish were stocked at the smallest size that was available for the species. i.e. 4"-6" for YP, 1"-2.5" for the RES, 3" for the GSH. IF the pond owner wanted LMB in the pond then the LMB would have been stocked on top of the fish in the pond. He wanted SMB in there so the reset button was pushed.


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Thanks, esshup.

I am going to have to be extra careful pulling water from my creek to fill my ponds!

The GSF seem to be the best long-term survivors in the constantly changing conditions of the creek.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Thanks, esshup.

I am going to have to be extra careful pulling water from my creek to fill my ponds!

The GSF seem to be the best long-term survivors in the constantly changing conditions of the creek.

Any water pulled from any source besides a well should have a 500 micron pre-filter to prevent transferring any unwanted things through the pump.

Last edited by esshup; 09/26/21 11:07 PM. Reason: typo, changed 50 micron to 500 micron. Thanks Bill!

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I think a 500micron pre-filter is adequate to keep out all fish eggs and newly hatched fry. The 50 micron will capture most all micro algae (phytoplankton) and all protozoans. Maybe esshup miss-typed? The 50 micron filtering dirty pond/stream water will develop rapid and serious clogging and will need frequent washing and cleaning with most any surface water except well water.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/26/21 07:08 PM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
I think a 500micron pre-filter is adequate to keep out all fish eggs and newly hatched fry. The 50 micron will capture most all micro algae (phytoplankton) and all protozoans. Maybe esshup miss-typed? The 50 micron filtering dirty pond/stream water will develop rapid and serious clogging and will need frequent washing and cleaning with most any surface water except well water.

Bill, thanks for catching that. I dropped a zero.....


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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
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Per Lusk, fish don't "prefer" forage fish types over another, but are more successful at predation with some species over others.
I would debate this comment with Lusk.

I agree with Bill and would like to discuss with Bob. There are several studies that indicated that predator fish know/learn/or innate ability which forage is higher in nutrition for them and if all else is equal - target the most beneficial source of nutrition. This is of course impacted by availability , difficulty in capture and the urge to eat what they can when possible.

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Could some of you Moderators add a new format, like Pond Boss Higher Education?

I learn a lot of new information from the current format where people post a specific question, and then the forum is usually lucky enough to have 1 or more experts post answers in the replies.

However, this is always an unfocused type of learning. If you three (Bill, esshup, and ewest) have a topic that all of you find interesting, then you could have a discussion behind the scenes and then post a "white paper" or some equivalent. (Obviously, this would apply to other moderators, or even someone that is a subject-matter specialist in a very narrow field that collaborates with a "general" expert.)

After the white paper is posted, the rest of the forum members could pose additional questions for clarification in the replies.

Some of the best topics for this type of project, might be subjects where the conventional wisdom has actually changed significantly over the last 5-10 years. This is where we sometimes get conflicting "expert" advice.

If you guys think that would be fun, then have at it. I know I would be excited to read a post where you three collaborated and came to a consensus!

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What forum format would you want deleted to make room for it? Us Moderators can't do it, that has to come from Bob Lusk.


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FishingRod,

With regard to the debate on (preference/successful encounter), I find it refreshing to see well thought disagreement on the matter. IMWOT, both are good enough ideas to be relevant. I am reminded of a paper I read about predation where curves were described involving probability of success and the energy content of prey. The combination of these curves reflected a hypothesized probability of capture (the realization of prey consumed) and is a curve closely approximating actual consumption as recorded in wild fish samples. The author proposed that the inverse relationships were both relevant resulting in prey frequency peaking at optimum balance of these two factors. The point is ... neither idea is sufficient on its own to adequately describe what is observed to naturally happen ... and yet ... each may be relevant (especially in combination). An environment that allows the free expression of dissenting ideas is always superior to one of rigid consensus. The world is often more complicated that we would like and it works in ways that are not always black and white. It is often only predictable probabilistically where allowance must be incorporated for uncertainty.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/28/21 06:52 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


1 member likes this: 4CornersPuddle
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Originally Posted by esshup
What forum format would you want deleted to make room for it? Us Moderators can't do it, that has to come from Bob Lusk.

Once again, I have clearly not expressed myself well in a written medium. [I wish I was capable of typing "facial expressions" and "body language"!]

Definitely DO NOT want anything deleted!

(I also didn't know that Bob Lusk was the only person with "admin" capabilities.)



I guess I will try again. I was thinking more of the equivalent of a Pond Boss Magazine article - but with the capability of a forum discussion directly tied to that article. That way other experts can add additional information. Also, readers can ask questions for clarification on points we didn't quite grasp. Even if the original authors don't respond, there could be a different expert that fills in the gaps.

Finally, since the experts dispense their very valuable advice for free, I was trying to imply that they should do it on topics for which they would consider it fun and interesting to collaborate!

As to jpsdad's point, I wasn't trying to enforce an orthodoxy of viewpoints. I think an article where one of our experts takes the "pro" side of an issue and the other takes the "con" side of the issue would also be very interesting and informative.

Regardless, I was definitely NOT requesting that our volunteer experts do even more work! I greatly appreciate all of the input from all of the people that make Pond Boss go.

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