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Hi team,

Stocked 25 lbs of tilapia in my 1 acre one year old pond in June. I stocked them primarily to supply bass food. I’ve been experimenting with trying to catch them because I would like to harvest them to fillet before they die in October. I managed to catch one fish; was very surprised how much it had grown since stocked. Anyway, I’ve tried bread corn peas and zucchini, and can’t keep the bluegill off of any of them. In fact I think I caught 25 bluegill to the one tilapia I’ve been able to get.

Any ideas to more efficiently catch the tilapia?

Thanks, Tony

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Wait until the Fall when they are up at the surface catching the sun to warm up and snag them.


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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).
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Just spit balling another one of my crazy ideas.

Dig a 10' wide slot with about 4' of water depth into one of the banks of the pond. Run a wood-fired hot tub heater with all of the crap brush you cleared off your land that year. Have the water supply come from the main pond and dump the heated water at the far end of the cut slot.

Run it overnight once in the fall. Go out the next morning and seine your 10' wide slot for all of the tilapia that went towards the source of warm water.

I have no idea how many MMBTU's you would have to use to heat the water enough to make it sufficiently attractive to draw in the tilapia? However, some of the DIY hot tub heaters are pretty efficient.

I don't know if any of our tilapia experts will drop in and say that idea is ridiculous, or if they might offer some useful modifications.

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FishinRod I think you have a great idea. I have thought about this myself as the 2 years I had tilapia in my pond I couldn't catch them either and it was hard to see them all struggle in the last remnant of warm water at the SW corner of the pond. I was thinking of putting a large plastic tote or some type of stock tank in the pond that would allow for a warm water refuge I'm sure the tilapia would sense even a subtle temperature difference and gather there as they were very adept at finding the 1 degree temp differential at the surface in that corner of the pond compared to any other point in the pond.

If you had power you could use electric heater. Without power at the pond you would have to use wood fired 'boiler' or somehow use a propane powered burner of some type to heat an area of water. It would not have to be a huge area. IF it was in a tank or tote the size could be smaller as I believe the tilapia would enter even a smaller space if the temperature allowed them to survive.

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The other option I was thinking about was making a solar pool heater if you found a bunch of black poly-tubing for cheap at a construction auction. You could make a giant one for not much money if you could purchase your main materials at a good price. You solar efficiency will be a little lower in the fall, compared to people that start heating their pools after the spring equinox, but I think you could still get significant heating.

Those are capable of elevating a pool-size volume of water a few degrees. You would lose some heat in your little cove due to the water interchange with the main pond, but that should result in a nice temperature gradient that should help lure the tilapia to the preferred location?

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If you get them eating fish food, you can catch them on any of the fish food type baits (Stubby Steve's. Berkley Power eggs, etc.) while chumming with actual fish food.


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They are vegetarians mostly so if angling for them consider peas and corn as very tempting offerings. Bread balls coated with tasty bread crumbs is a favorite tip used by those who fish for them in vietnam. The bread crumbs leave a tasty cloud of 'chum' and the bread ball stays on the hook. Freezing the bread ball ahead of time can help it stay on the hook better. White bread is stickier than whole grain and white superbread will stick to anything...

They also do eat insects so small lures might work. They are smart, skittish, and take the bait softly. But in the fall when sluggish and cold who knows what might work.

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Been thinking about this idea of heating water in a corner of the pond. Maybe a viable solution would be to set up a patio burn tub put about 30 feet of coiled half-inch copper tubing in it and build a hot fire around the tubing. Then simply run water and a hose down to the coil and out of the coil into the edge of the pond. The feasibility would all center around how hot you could get the water with hose flow through the coil in the fire. What do you guys think?

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Good idea. If you can bring a coil of hot water out into the pond that would bring them in. IF you had an old plastic tub or metal stock tank, even a leaking one that someone would give you that would give you a 'pool in a pond' that would help keep the hot water in a smaller space.

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I've had a similar experience trying to catch blue TP from a power supply lake. Also, small BG plague my efforts to catch larger BG. Sometimes I wonder if the BG are needed at all when stocking TP. I mean maybe TP annually with RES might produce as much forage as BG can. Might make targeting TP easier too? Maybe not.


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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jpsdad (and others),

Was there ever a point during the fall at the power supply lake that a great proportion of the blue TP congregated around the warm water outlets?

If so, were they easier to catch during some portion of that time frame?

(Presumably if the rest of the lake was too cold for TP and they were heavily congregated in one area, then forage would be scarce and they would be hungry. Or do TP generally quit biting when they get close to the cold end of their temperature tolerance range?)

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Great point, Rod.


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 was hoping we would get some of our big tilapia experts in this thread.

I am at a latitude where any tilapia that I stock will definitely die off in the fall/winter. I am certainly open to more ideas on the best ways to catch or net them prior to wasting the resource!

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Rod, even electro harvesting tilapia is tough. They seem to recover from stunning much faster than LMB or BG.


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB & 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS -116




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Originally Posted by FishinRod
jpsdad (and others),

Was there ever a point during the fall at the power supply lake that a great proportion of the blue TP congregated around the warm water outlets?

If so, were they easier to catch during some portion of that time frame?

(Presumably if the rest of the lake was too cold for TP and they were heavily congregated in one area, then forage would be scarce and they would be hungry. Or do TP generally quit biting when they get close to the cold end of their temperature tolerance range?)

Fishing Rod, to be sure, to survive the winter these TP have to seek that warmer water and find it. ... or perish. But I fished in October and the water across from the plant felt warm as bath water. We even saw a 4 ft long alligator. James still talks about it. He had a great time but we never keyed in (though not for lack of trying).

With regard to the cold months concentrating TP in wrm water ... the only chink would be if it was just as attractive to BG. I think maybe the key would be finding concentrations of TP where the BG are less prevalent.


Swingle mentioned that Moz TP are more susceptible to angling and they allowed fishing in some treatments. Over 500 lbs/acre were harvested by hook and line. There were no BG in those treatments IIRC.


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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FishingRod,

One thing I would mention is that with your property their would opportunity to grow TP in small body of water in a monoculture. The growing season is just long enough to grow newly hatched fry to 8 inches. Ideally you could drain and concentrate for the seining. In monoculture , I think you could catch a lot by hook and line too.


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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Thanks for the replies!

I was hoping the power plant warm water segregated the tilapia sufficiently from the BG that you could catch tilapia by the cooler-full.

The BG are going to warmer water for comfort, the tilapia are going to warmer water for their lives!

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Before I tripped to the lake, I watched a video of such a cooler full. They weren't fishing the warmer water however. They were fishing the cooler water in timber nearer the inlet. But this was in the September -October time frame. They however were not challenged with BG interference. All the caught were TP (on earthworms). The fishing was good in that video with one fish after another ... so they had dialed in on a situation where the TP were concentrated but the BG were not. I think they were were suspended in timber IIRC.

I think there are cases where anglers find them concentrated in warmer water but one must keep in mind that the water Temps are changing rapidly during this time period. One has to locate where they are concentrated. There are limits to how close one can approach the plant.. so you have find them at preferred Temps before they enter the forbidden space.


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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