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#546601 04/18/22 07:15 PM
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This is gonna be long so bare with me. We bought a house in southeast missouri with a 1 acre pond attached in April of last year. The owner stated it had some large channel catfish, bass, bluegill. My sons and I fished it at the end of April through may and did not catch a single bluegill or channel catfish. Tried every method imaginable. We also fished for bass regularly and with 5-6 people fishing a 1 acre pond we would catch 1-3 total over an hour or two. So I decided there wasn’t much in the pond and stocked 400 BG, 400 red ear sunfish, 150 channel catfish and 10 lbs of minnows in June. . We continued bass fishing through summer and same story, extremely slow. So this year I was looking forward to catching a few bluegill and channel catfish. So far we have not caught either one at all. Again trying numerous methods. My first thought was there are way more lmb than we thought.l and my fish got eaten. But there are minnow everywhere. We had not added any other than the 10lbs last June. They seemed to have successfully spawned and the pond is loaded with minnows. And again, bass fishing is just so slow it doesn’t seem possible there’s very many bass in it. It is spring fed, so I’m not sure if water temps are still too low. I really don’t want to have to have the pond shocked, just looking for possible ideas as to what is going on. Thanks

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Sounds like the bass were low #s and since you didn't stock more they are still low #s.

My pond was somewhat similar but after 3 years the bass are getting bigger tho still fairly low #s.

Could also have otters - I suspect that is one reason my bass population is low - had a lot of otters visiting.

nvcdl #546603 04/18/22 07:43 PM
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Honestly I don’t mind the bass being low numbers. I would like to keep it that way until I get some bluegill numbers I like. I just don’t understand why we can’t catch the bluegill or channel catfish. Unless they just aren’t big enough yet. But that doesn’t seem likely. Otters are possible. It’s not a very remote location. I can see the pond from my living room and I have never seen one

Last edited by bowhunter857; 04/18/22 07:47 PM.
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Just curious....were you using a boat or canoe for any of the fishing?? And, did you fish with live shiners or fatheads?


If catch rates were very low before your BG/RES/CC additions, the 400 + 400 + 150 will take a while to see in a 1 acre pond.

One thing that helps me see more fish at my ponds is feeding pellets. That helps attract 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."

Sunil #546608 04/18/22 08:27 PM
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No we have not fished from a boat yet nor have we fished it with minnows. For the bluegill we have tried worms with a grizzly jig. Plan to try crickets soon. We tried crickets last year in May and caught zero bluegill which what led me to stock them. Tried liver and cut bait for the catfish this year with no luck. I do throw pellets occasionally but don’t ever seen any fish feeding on them. I bought some Optimal Junior after stocking and have been using that.

Last edited by bowhunter857; 04/18/22 08:30 PM.
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I refreshed some of your history on the other active thread you have going.

I agree with the advice to be patient.


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 think what you have is a pond loaded with forage and the fish have not needed anything else. I "believe" it will get better as the void is filled and fish don't fill up quite so easily.

Last edited by Snipe; 04/18/22 08:38 PM.
Sunil #546611 04/18/22 08:37 PM
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Just keep waiting on some warmer weather? What got me concerned today is the success some ponds around me were having.

Snipe #546612 04/18/22 08:39 PM
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I really hope that is the case. I’ve got some little
Boys itching to start catching some fish. Walking around the pond minnows just scatter everywhere. Crawfish everywhere too.

Last edited by bowhunter857; 04/18/22 08:39 PM.
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Every pond has it's own personality.
As for sampling, this is where a couple of properly set Fyke nets can tell you a story electrofishing can't.

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Originally Posted by bowhunter857
Honestly I don’t mind the bass being low numbers. I would like to keep it that way until I get some bluegill numbers I like. I just don’t understand why we can’t catch the bluegill or channel catfish. Unless they just aren’t big enough yet. But that doesn’t seem likely. Otters are possible. It’s not a very remote location. I can see the pond from my living room and I have never seen one

Use a very small hook and tiny bait. I like the ones with a long shank as the fish are not as likely to swallow them. Like a size 10 long shank.. Or a tiny jig head hook like Flys are tied on. When I say tiny bait I mean like a Gulp Alive Waxie that is about two or three times the size of a grain of rice. Or pinch off a quarter inch long piece of worm.

We had a get together for friends and family once and told them to bring kids and fishing gear. A few brought gear but most didn't. I anticipated that and made up a bunch of cane poles with just a small no. 10 long shank hook and let the kids bait with Gulp Alive waxies. Gobs of BG were being caught one right after another. Couldn't get them off the hooks fast enough.

I noticed one little girl not catching anything. Her dad had brought a rod and reel with a fairly big hook attached. Don't remember the bait. I cut it off and installed a small hook and bait and she immediately started catching fish.

Try a tiny hook and bait. I have caught FHM with that combo all the way up to decent size LMB. But if your BG are only 4 or 5 inches long, they don't have a very big mouth. I catch 4-6" long SMB on a small hook with a tiny Gulp bait (to transfer to other ponds for stocking).

Last edited by snrub; 04/18/22 09:27 PM.

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If you are feeding has it been in the same area of the pond and at the same time of day EVERY DAY? If not, then the fish will have a hard time figuring out your feeding schedule. That's why the automated fish feeders are so popular, they will feed the fish even if you aren't there.


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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).
esshup #546632 04/18/22 11:02 PM
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No it’s pretty random to be honest. But I also don’t see them eating it so I’ve been feeding sparingly in case they aren’t touching it at all. I can definitely start feeding more consistently. It’s a 50 hard walk from my house so pretty easy.

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Originally Posted by bowhunter857
Just keep waiting on some warmer weather? What got me concerned today is the success some ponds around me were having.


Here's a little anecdotal story for you.....

My neighborhood retention pond is 1/4 acre, 8' deep when at full pool, which is maybe less than half the time. The pond is full of bluegill, bass, golden shiners, some yellow perch, a few HSB and a few Channel Cats & Blue Cats. When the water temp got to be close to 50 F back in early March, my fish started feeding lightly. It took almost 45 minutes before I saw the first fish feeding (water clarity was maybe 5-6"). In the past few weeks, with ambient temps from below freezing to over 65F, the fish would still feed and it only takes a few minutes before you see them.

A friend less than 1/4 mile away filled up a new, virgin pond, maybe 1/5 to 1/6 of an acre. In August/September of 2021, we put in (27) adult bluegill into that pond along with a few dozen fathead minnows bought from a bait shop. Those bluegill were seen in the pond feeding throughout the Fall of 2021. In January '22, we were putting X-Mas trees in and observed some kind of small frye which I believe to have been fathead minnows, yet these frye were maybe less than 1/4" long which makes me wonder when they were actually born. In the last (3) weeks, we added (11) more adult bluegill and 20 lbs. of fathead minnows.

Now, in the past 4 weeks in the new pond, the owners were not seeing any fish at all, when they fed feed or when they just observed. This baffled me because everyone one of those (38) bluegill were feed hogs, and (11) of them were feeding in my pond before putting them in the new pond. Last Friday night, I finally saw bluegill in that pond. They were very lightly hitting feed, and moving pretty slow. It took at least 45 minutes of careful observation before I saw the first fish. If I hadn't been wearing polarized sunglasses, I would have never seen any fish.

My point is that my expectations to see actual fish in the new pond were probably misguided by comparing the new pond to our existing pond. The existing pond probably has close to 750-1000 bluegill in it over 1/4 acre, plus all the other fish, whereas the new pond has (38) fish in it over maybe 1/5 to 1/6 acre. That is quite a difference.

My initial plans for my neighbor's new pond was to let all the bluegill and fatheads feed for all Summer '22, and then put in SMB and YP, and a handful of HSB around September/October '22. I may reconsider that now as I may need one more year for those (38) bluegill to really fill up the pond with their progeny.

Finally, I did note that there was a variance in semantics between the new pond owners and myself, and when I asked them questions about what they observed, the answers they were giving me weren't really what I was asking. Essentially, I had to go to the pond myself and observe last Friday, and if I hadn't, we'd still believe them that there were no fish to be seen.


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."

esshup #546637 04/19/22 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by esshup
If you are feeding has it been in the same area of the pond and at the same time of day EVERY DAY? If not, then the fish will have a hard time figuring out your feeding schedule. That's why the automated fish feeders are so popular, they will feed the fish even if you aren't there.
Hand feeding the fish not only have to be hungry but they have to be used to you being there and not afraid of you. That can take some time. They may be showing up right after they know you have left.

Fish know a lot more about what is going on around the bank than we sometimes give them credit. When I stocked my CC I almost did not see them the first year. Yet if I stood really still I would catch a glimps of one or two on the bottom looking for pellets that had sank and the BG missed. So they were there and knew it was feeding time, they were just skittish enough to stay out of sight till I left. Now I can throw feed out and as soon as a BG or hybrid hits the top of the water it is the dinner bell for the CC and they show up in short order. Once they learn, they don't unlearn. It may take them a day or three to get back into the feeding habit after a winter of no feeding, but they quickly get back into the routine.


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snrub #546652 04/19/22 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by snrub
Fish know a lot more about what is going on around the bank than we sometimes give them credit.

^^^^^That Right There^^^^^

I have to go through a bull gate to get to my bait pond. The instant that I rattle the chain to open the gate I can see wakes
on the pond shooting towards the spot where I feed. It's ~50 yards from the gate to the pond.
If they aren't at the bank waiting for me when I get there I say "Here fishy fishy fishies" a time or two and they will line up
like hogs at a trough and just stare at me until I start tossing pellets.

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Yeah, when I pull up in my Mule, 20' from the pond, the wakes start from the fish moving to where I feed.

Funny thing is .....some of the largest wakes are small bluegill less than 4" long.


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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Solid advice, guys!


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
Sunil #546694 04/19/22 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunil
Yeah, when I pull up in my Mule, 20' from the pond, the wakes start from the fish moving to where I feed.

Funny thing is .....some of the largest wakes are small bluegill less than 4" long.

The thumping sound of a Polaris General side by side is the dinner bell for my fish. They know the sound and like you say, wakes start towards the sound any time I drive around the pond unless the water temps are winter cold.


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snrub #546697 04/19/22 05:32 PM
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Another feeding story. This was so much fun, I don't know why I don't do it every year.

I was setting out minnow traps to see what the fingerling hatch looked like in one of my small ponds. I was getting a bunch of hybrids (HBG or HRES) in the traps. Didn't want that much propagation so decided to remove the fish. Checked traps (several)once or twice a day and removed the fish I did not like the looks of. Decided the 2-3" lepomis would make good fish food.

So I would just dump them into an empty bucket (with no water) and walk them over to my main pond. I did not want them living and stocking that pond so not only did they not get any water to live in for 5-15 minutes, I took a pair of scisors and cut off the tails. All the way up into the meat to make sure if nothing ate them right away they would die and the turtles could have them.

Then I sat on the dock and tossed them in one by one as I cut the tails off. If it was a bigger one I might also clip off the dorsal fins.

Within two or three days the locals had learned the routine and the sound of my footsteps on the dock boards would bring some LMB and eventually the CC would show up. I would throw the half dead slugish tail-less fingerlings into the water one at a time and the LMB would just hammer them as soon as the fish got deep enough I could barely see the "flash" of the bass nailing it. After the bass made some noise then the CC would show up and the race was on who could get to the fish first. I would have anywhere from ten up to maybe 50 of these small fish that I would feed pretty much daily for probably a month in the summer a couple years ago. I looked forward to seeing the action and what became almost pet LMB and I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it too, if bass enjoy anything.

I should do that again. It was a lot of fun. It amazed me how quickly the predators caught on and knew the routine.


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Update: Still zero catfish or bluegill caught from the pond. Been trying a number 10 hook with a gulp worm. I have been feeding more consistently and havent seen any bluegill or catfish eating the feed. Just the grass carp and turtles. Something has had a good spawn because there are fry everywhere. Not sure if its bluegill, catfish or just the minnows. Im wondering if I am just expecting too much from a pond we just stocked with fingerling last June and I need to just wait and evaluate next year after they spawn?

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Quite an odd situation there. Hang in there and keep trying. Have you tried earthworms? Around here Bar S hotdogs cut into sizes appropriate for a hook will catch both BG and Catfish (for BG we just treat the hook point with a small chunk). Use 6lb test and try under a small bobber. Good luck!

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/14/22 11:23 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


jpsdad #547912 05/14/22 11:28 AM
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Yes I have tried earthworms. I will say I have not really went back after the catfish hard since the weather has warmed up. I plan to soon. I know 400 bluegill in a 1 acre pond is not really very many. I guess I figured we would catch one occasionally even prior to them spawning.

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I guess at this point I am starting to question if very many actually even survived? LIke I said before the pond does have a few bass but there are not very many at all. Catch rates are very low plus I put 10 lbs of minnows in last June and the pond has more minnows now than what I put in originally.

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Do you have a minnow trap?

If you can catch some of the larger fry and post pictures, some of the experts here can probably give you a proper identification.

That would be another way to identify what is still alive in the pond without sampling via line and hook.

Good luck on your pond!

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