Hi All - about a year ago i asked for tips about bullhead. I've been slowly thinning them, bought a cast net, etc. I also stocked my ~0.9 acre pond in east-central NY with 65 rainbow trout, most about 9" but ranging from 6-15". Last summer we had a dry, hot year and I was stressed out about the trout and how I was torturing them in the hot, low oxygen water. I measured temps up to ~84F on the surface. However, they survived the summer and I had a great fall flyfishing. On the other hand, apparently the winter was too much. We had a late freeze, but also a late thaw. I didn't see a single one this spring, though I did see a few winterkill bullhead and 1 bluegill. I thought maybe they were staying deep, but this last hatch of mayflies, only some particularly energetic bullhead broke the surface. Clearly(?) the trout all died very early and got gobbled up by the bullheads while they still had a little activity in them. Winter ice was at least 24" thick at one point that i actually drilled.
The pond is 0.9 acre, 8' at the deepest, 6 for most of the deep section (maybe 20% of the area), and 2-4 for most of the perimeter. There are a few small schools of fathead minnows, a ton of bullhead still, up to 3 pickerel to thin the bullhead fry(eager neighbor) and up to 1 bluegill remaining (same neighbor). Also a crazy amount of frogs, tadpoles, and newts. We have a great sedge hatch, moderate mayflies, and a good number of dragonflies and such.
I'm trying to decide what to do next with this pond. My goals are really to have some fun fishing and some small amount of edible fish protein. A relatively balanced, low management pond is the ideal but I get that "if wishes were fishes, I wouldn't need to stock".
What do you all think? USDA Zone 5b up here, so it gets pretty cold for a while. We are ~3 weeks ahead of the albany area in fall, and ~3weeks behind. Generally 5-10F lower than that area at any given time.
My thoughts: [list] [*]Restock with RBT and/or BRNT and add aeration [*]SMB and YP [*]Give in and do BG & LMB (feels lame)
If not the trout, I'd like to stock with something relatively self sustaining.
Unless you can clean 95-99% of the BH out, LMB will most likely be the only fish that can consistantly stay caught up with BH production. If the BH were not there, I'd lean heavy in the direction of SMB/YP with addition of a few WAE/SAE.