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So my in-laws have multiple ponds on their place in MO near the Iowa border. One of them is a about half and acre with some plant cover and is probably about 8 foot deep in the middle. They had a fish kill years back. He threw a couple of bass they took off in the pond and we catch bass in the quarter to half pound range all day long (9 of us fished it at once and there was no slow down of the bites and catching). The only small fish in the pond are little LMB. I was wondering if y'all think the BG would stand a chance of establishing themselves in the pond to eventually get the bass bigger. I would be stocking larger BG would be the only option but with the sheer number of bass in the pond but I am worried if the YOY of the BG would just get hammered to nothing before they got big enough to survive and continue the cycle.

I have removed 15 bass between harvesting them and moving a few to the next pond up the pasture which is nothing but frogs of all sizes.

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It is very likely that you could establish a population of BG in that pond. But it's worth considering whether its something that you are sure that you want to do. Right now you have an LMB "panfish" pond that provides lots of action. It contains many more LMB (both in number and in weight) than can be supported when BG are present. The reason is because the LMB have partially filled the BG niche in that pond. When BG begin reproducing and the numbers increase greatly, this will take a lot of forage away from these numerous small bass. The BG are better able to utilize the resources of their niche than LMB and so will outcompete them for it. If you are going establish a reproducing population BG, you need to eliminate most of the existing population of LMB. Check out 1997's pond journal which is similar to the question you are asking.

You do have other options. If you have the ability to identify the sex of BG you could add males only and their growth would be superb. You could easily grow them to over 10" and could grow some gigantic ones that would just amaze you. They would dwarf the LMB. So maybe 12 male BG/acre or so annually and I bet some would exceed 1.5 lbs within 3 or 4 years. With a ladder like that you could probably have a superb catch and release fishery for BG and be able to harvest LMB at 25 to 30 lbs per acre. If you accidently stocked a female it would take longer for the BG population to develop and BG fishing would still be good whilst giving the LMB population more time to adapt their presence.

I mention this because if you are interesting in feeding the existing population of numerous small LMB ... adding BG is not a very effective way to do that. You will be better off to nuke the pond and start with a good balanced stocking where the LMB numbers are controlled initially by the stocking. Just depends on what you want. Your situation is already in position to favor trophy BG but in a very unfavorable position to grow large LMB.

Last edited by jpsdad; 07/07/22 07:32 AM.

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Originally Posted by jpsdad
It is very likely that you could establish a population of BG in that pond. But it's worth considering whether its something that you are sure that you want to do. Right now you have an LMB "panfish" pond that provides lots of action. It contains many more LMB (both in number and in weight) than can be supported when BG are present. The reason is because the LMB have partially filled the BG niche in that pond. When BG begin reproducing and the numbers increase greatly, this will take a lot of forage away from these numerous small bass. The BG are better able to utilize the resources of their niche than LMB and so will outcompete them for it. If you are going establish a reproducing population BG, you need to eliminate most of the existing population of LMB. Check out 1997's pond journal which is similar to the question you are asking.

You do have other options. If you have the ability to identify the sex of BG you could add males only and their growth would be superb. You could easily grow them to over 10" and could grow some gigantic ones that would just amaze you. They would dwarf the LMB. So maybe 12 male BG/acre or so annually and I bet some would exceed 1.5 lbs within 3 or 4 years. With a ladder like that you could probably have a superb catch and release fishery for BG and be able to harvest LMB at 25 to 30 lbs per acre. If you accidently stocked a female it would take longer for the BG population to develop and BG fishing would still be good whilst giving the LMB population more time to adapt their presence.

I mention this because if you are interesting in feeding the existing population of numerous small LMB ... adding BG is not a very effective way to do that. You will be better off to nuke the pond and start with a good balanced stocking where the LMB numbers are controlled initially by the stocking. Just depends on what you want. Your situation is already in position to favor trophy BG but in a very unfavorable position to grow large LMB.

Honestly think my goals have just changed. I like the thought of monster BG, I have my pond which is a hodge podge of species and I wouldn't be able to do that in it. Plus no way my wife would let me nuke that pond. She sends me to it for bass fillets when we are there.

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If you want big BG in that pond, you will have to stock BG that are at the minimum slightly longer than 1/3 the length of the biggest bass to prevent them from getting eaten. I'd fish the snot out of it, removing all bass that are bigger than 14". That will allow the smaller bass to be plentiful so they can eat the majority of the BG spawn, and whatever BG survive will have plenty of food to grow bigger.


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Originally Posted by esshup
If you want big BG in that pond, you will have to stock BG that are at the minimum slightly longer than 1/3 the length of the biggest bass to prevent them from getting eaten. I'd fish the snot out of it, removing all bass that are bigger than 14". That will allow the smaller bass to be plentiful so they can eat the majority of the BG spawn, and whatever BG survive will have plenty of food to grow bigger.


I think this is a great strategy for existing LMB and BG combinations where one is trying to shift BG to larger sizes than are presently evident. But ...

With regard to the OPs pond which doesn't have any BG and many more LMB/acre than an equivalent pond with the combination present, I wonder what LMB greater than 14" would be eating? So this is not a rhetorical question. For there to be >14" fish they have to be feeding on something. One thought is 8" to 10" LMB which are so numerous in the pond but the problem is the size the they would need to minimally be (16" to 20") where the they would be eating LMB 1/2 their length (though its very unlikely that 100% of an LMB's prey would be 1/2 its length).

Consequently, it just doesn't seem likely that the evident portion of the LMB population is prey to even a few (or possibly any) other LMB. The LMB in the OP's pond are supported primarily by insects and their YOY LMB. My sense is that those YOY LMB that are able to attain a length of 5" (1/2 the length of the largest evident LMB) are pretty safe to continue growing to 8" to 10". Perhaps this hypothetical survival of 5" LMB is why the population has so many LMB in the 8" to 10" sizes? My hunch is that any BG stocked over 5" would stand a pretty good chance of survival.

That said, were I the OP and with the goal of not wanting BG to reproduce. I would ladder male BG and I would only stock parental males that are large enough to be sure they are males so I wouldn't make any mistakes and so the males stocked would be those BG that tend to live the longest and get the largest. (No non-parental BG would be allowed). So we are talking BG that are a minimum of 6-7" in length most of the time and can live to be 8 years of age.

Even so, I would expect natural mortality and most of one year's stocking to be gone within 4 years (assuming >3 years of age when stocked). So such a strategy doesn't support much harvest of BG. But as a catch and release fishery for trophy BG, this kind of strategy may be ideal. The standing crop of BG would always be below carrying capacity (unless too many stocked annually). Where complete attrition by the 4 or 5th year would prevent carrying capacity from being reached and allow BG to grow through out their remaining life.


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jpsdad:

The bass in the pond are eating the smaller bass. Remember, the OP said they have multiple ponds and this one is a mono culture of LMB.

In the post above where I answered the OP, he wrote:

"Honestly think my goals have just changed. I like the thought of monster BG, I have my pond which is a hodge podge of species and I wouldn't be able to do that in it. Plus no way my wife would let me nuke that pond. She sends me to it for bass fillets when we are there."

That's why I replied to him with the answer that I did.


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There are lots of ponds with nothing but LMB which Dave Willis has noted on the Forum before and has been discussed on several threads. In those ponds there are many small LMB and almost always a couple of large LMB that managed to jump the size bottleneck. The big LMB eat smaller LMB which eat the very small LMB which eat bugs, and other small food sources. Rarely are these healthy well-conditioned fish populations.

In order to establish BG populations in such ponds you need to remove LMB and stock advanced sized BG (5 inch +) in amounts (depending on pond productivity and LMB removal) of between 250 - 400 BG per acre. Be sure you have around 50/50 male/female BG stocked. Be sure to habituate the BG (see threads on this topic) to help insure initial survival.
















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Originally Posted by esshup
jpsdad:

The bass in the pond are eating the smaller bass. Remember, the OP said they have multiple ponds and this one is a mono culture of LMB.

In the post above where I answered the OP, he wrote:

"Honestly think my goals have just changed. I like the thought of monster BG, I have my pond which is a hodge podge of species and I wouldn't be able to do that in it. Plus no way my wife would let me nuke that pond. She sends me to it for bass fillets when we are there."

That's why I replied to him with the answer that I did.

I didn't think your thoughts were wrong. Just wanted to introduce the possibility that he could expend a lot of the energy trying to catch a >14" LMB (even if a couple are in there).

Part of the reason I suggested the mature male only ladder scenario is that it's results would not be so dependent on the LMB. IOWs, he could harvest them (LMB) or not ... or just take what he wants when he wants. Other than stocking the ladder BG, the BG wouldn't need to be managed, harvested, or culled either. It kind of like two ponds that way. An LMB only pond with only small population of BG that grow very large but do not reproduce. If the BG reproduce, he will be culling alot of 5" BG in order to match the results. He will also have to manage for small LMB as you recommended.

Last edited by jpsdad; 07/11/22 07:51 PM.

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