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We just recently purchased some land with a pond on it. I'm not sure how large the pond is or how large it will be once it fills back up.
I started using catfish food purchased from Tractor supply to see if I had any life in the pond, for the first 2 months nothing and then one day there was bait fish galore. A couple of days later there were catfish coming to eat the food. I have fished the pond for bass several times without any success until a couple of days ago, one bass about 4 pounds of fat and healthy.

This is what I'm seeing.

1. I have a ton of bait fish/minnows
2. A good range of channel cat (I have caught 3. 6', 14" and 22")
3. One good size bass. I have yet to catch another of any size
4. Zero perch/sunfish until I added 300 a couple days ago.

Should there be small bass in there also?
Will they eat the floating food?
Do I have an overabundance of bait fish because I didn't have perch? Or did I already have perch and they just won't eat the floating food.

Thanks for any help I can get.

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Welcome to Pond Boss!!

1) Yes, there should be some small bass in there if there's larger bass, which is based on the assumption that you have some adult bass that breed.

2) Bass do eat floating feed, but it takes some time and consistent effort to get them on it.

3) "Perch" is really Bluegill. It would be odd to not have any bluegill in the pond. Bluegill take to feed very easily, so if you feed at the same spot consistently, you should eventually see some bluegill if they are in the pond.

Keep observing and document what you see on the road to getting an understanding of what you've got.

If the pond had been unmanaged for some time, you may be out of balance.

If you can afford it, and electrofishing survey would be usefully to jump start your 'knowledge' of what's in the pond.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Any idea what electrofishing survey cost. I'm in North Texas.

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I think there's some variables such as how in depth of a written report you want to get.

Don't quote me on this, but for a day, maybe $2-3K???


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Can you catch those "baitfish" and ID them - they could be small bluegills. Ours have spawned in Oklahoma.

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I have been told the baitfish are flat head minnows.
Saturday, we caught a Warmouth, I think. Picture attached. We also caught a couple of mud cat.

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You might mean 'fat' head minnows which are a common bait fish that people stock, however, if your pond was 'unstocked' for many years, fathead minnows usually get eaten out or eradicated by other predator fish.


I'm not sure if this is a warmouth or a green sunfish:

[Linked Image]


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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GSF

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Yes, fat head minnows and there are thousands of them. Thats why I thought the lack of bluegill/sunfish is the reason there were so many.

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Originally Posted by Chris Mclain
Yes, fat head minnows and there are thousands of them. Thats why I thought the lack of bluegill/sunfish is the reason there were so many.

Understood. It would be very odd if that 4 lb. largemouth you caught was the only one in the pond, yet it's possible.

However, that Green Sunfish would be eating fatheads too.

There's always surprises and incorrect assumptions, so don't get down about it.

On a side note, some folks like mudcats (bullheads) while others don't. We remove every bullhead caught from our ponds.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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What is the downside of having the bullheads in there??

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Originally Posted by Chris Mclain
What is the downside of having the bullheads in there??

It just depends on your thoughts.

Others view them as a trash fish that take up space in a given pond, space that could be used by a more 'desirable' fish. Others love them and love to eat them.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Ok, time to revisit after a year has gone by.
April of 2022, I added 150 2.5" to 3" Copper nose blue gill and 150 2.5"-3" Redear sunfish.
April of 2022, I added 5 bass from a local lake. 4#,3#, 3#, #2 and #2.
October of 2022, I added 100 2"-3" native bass and 100 2"-3" Hybrid specklebelly.
April of 2023, I added 10 bass from a local lake. Two in the 5# range, two in the 3# range and the rest 2-3#s

I have caught a ton of bull head that have been removed.
I have caught various sizes of channel cats. 3" to 22"
I have caught bass but feel like they are the ones I put in there. Still nothing smaller than 16"
Various other bluegill/sunfish that I'm not sure of.
A couple Green Sunfish. Why are they bad for a pond?

My questions are:

Have I messed anything up? What should I have done.
I now see a ton of 3 in catfish eating the floating food. I didn't see this last year. Why?
How should I proceed with stocking?
How long until the 3" bass I stocked in October be big enough to catch?

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"Have I messed anything up? What should I have done." To really critique your stocking plan, we need to know the size of the pond. You can search for Google Planimeter and then try and locate your pond on that to get the acreage. You may be light on the bass stockings, however, if you were increasing the bass stocking numbers, the stocking numbers of bluegill would go up substantially.

"I now see a ton of 3 in catfish eating the floating food. I didn't see this last year. Why?" Are you sure those aren't bullheads? If CC were stocked by a previous owner, you may not see any spawning of CC unless specific spawning structures were put in for the CC.

"How should I proceed with stocking?" Need more information on pond size and successful recruitment of existing fish population and the fish you stocked.

"How long until the 3" bass I stocked in October be big enough to catch?" If you had a substantial forage base, those 3" LMB from October of '22 could be 6-9"+ now, and you could catch them.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Regarding Green Sunfish, mostly their status in a pond is in comparison to native bluegill or coppernose bluegill when BG and CNBG spawn more often each year than GSF thus providing more forage for other fish like LMB.

GSF also have a larger mouth that BG or CNBG. Thus the GSF can eat more smaller fish and this can impact the forage base for smaller LMB.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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sorry, about once a month it seems the photo upload tool (or the manager that hosts the photos that are internal to the software) goes out of whack. It appears out of whack again as all the links in the photos above are 'broken' Hoping someone can fix and really hoping the fix is retroactive else you would have to go to that first post and try to re-upload the pix again.

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Chris, welcome to PB and a couple of thoughts.

This stuff is all about balance between predator and prey. Well, need to also pay attention to water quality. Alkilinity and Ph are the main things that that influence aquatic life.m

Fatheads are generally only good for kick starting a new pond. They don’t last long and bass will starve on them. Bass and bluegills need groceries that is about 30 to 40% their size. It’s a matter of groceries obtained vs energy expended. Bluegills are the basis of the food chain for bass and cats. They are prolific and have what is called a rolling spawn. That means they don’t stop until the weather gets too cold. At Sanger, that would be about the start of bow season.

I once heard that the best cattleman is a grass farmer. So, the best pond manager needs to pay a lot of attention to the bluegill base.

Of all the fish eggs laid, hatched, etc only a small number reach spawning size. Why? They get eaten. If they didn’t, they would foul the water, use up the O2, and everything would die.

To get the approximate size of the pond, compare it to a football field. An acre is approximately the size of the playing surface. An acre is 43,560 sq. ft. Football field is 57,564.

By the way, my place is just South of Bowie. And Lusk, the owner of this site, just sold his place at Sanger and moved to the Brazos River just South of Granbury.

Lots of people don’t like the dreaded green sunfish because they don’t spawn enough to feed predators. But, I like them and have a small pond full of them. Why do I like them? Because they will outfight a pansy bluegill every time. I actually have a 1/4 acre pond full of them and ride a 4 wheeler a mile to toss fish food. Also, their limited spawn limits the chance for over spawning and creating an O2 shortage.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I believe an acre is 208' x 208.'


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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43,560 sq ft isn’t it?

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 05/23/23 12:21 PM.

It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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DD1 - correct.
















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Dave, yes, but breaking it down from square footage makes it more usable when estimating a pond size.

So, it's like 208.5' x 208.5' or so which is a full surface acre.

50' x 208' would be approx. a 1/4 acre.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I used findlotsize.com to give me a rough estimate of 1.2 acres full. It's rarely full (that's a problem for another day) so I would say 1 acre.
When I originally posted this, I lived in Sanger, but the pond is on land in Montague. I now live in Montague. I would love for you, Dave to come check it out sometime.

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Might do that on our next grocery run to Fishers.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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So, could my lack of small bass be due to the green sunfish eating all the fry?

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Chris, I'm thinking that your overall stocking numbers of LMB are very low (seems like 100 2-3" LMB and 5 adults?) for a 1.2 acre pond, and as such, you may not see or catch them very easily until more growth is achieved.

To summarize your situation, I would say you had some kind of existing fish population in the pond upon you acquiring it. From there, without doing anything to effect major changes in that existing population except for maybe removing all bullheads you catch, your supplemental stockings of other fish have been very light if the goal was to create a larger impact.

Some general thoughts:
1) Increase cover in the pond for newly born fish.
2) Add more native bluegill hopefully in the 4-5" plus size range; this could be 500 or more fish. Coppernose Bluegill could be good.
3) Start a feed program which will boost spawning and congregate fish so you can observe more.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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