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Joined: Feb 2024
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Well we don't really do any "management", we catch and eat maybe 20 bass in the 15 to 19 inch range a year or so out of the bass pond. With many thousands of fish that doesn't really even effect the population any. I eat mostly the catfish they are smaller but ohh so good tasting. The kids are all grown and it is just the wife and I now, once in a while the kids will come by with their families and fish but most of them are like the wife, they don't much like fish. If they catch anything decent they usually give it to me to eat.. Works well for me.. lol

We should actually probably catch more fish than we do as we are probably a bit over populated but my wife is paraplegic and I am her care giver and that takes up a lot of my time. I also have muscular dystrophy and at this age it is getting a bit tougher to get everything done so not as much time left for pursuits like fishing. We do have some natural predation from eagles, muskrats, kytes and our cats but I don't think that adds up to much either really. The cats generally hunt more for the catfish than the bass, the catfish are easy for them to catch they simply touch their paw to the surface of the water lightly and the cats come to investigate it and bam the cats grab them and haul them up onto the bank and eat them.

While we do have a pretty awesome bass pond and catfish ponds we honestly have done nothing to care for either of them, they just have a good natural ecosystem going on.

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It is overpopulated, but if you are happy with the fishery then don't change a thing!!


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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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).
1 member likes this: MountainWard
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MW,

I wouldn't say the ponds are unmanaged. I say this because there is human influence in the form of harvest. In your pics I did notice LMB throughout the ranges you mentioned harvested. Anyways, I always like to see and encourage harvest and use of farm ponds like yours.

So understanding that you are giving care to your bride and have a lot on your plate, I will suggest a couple of things to you that you can have your kids and grandkids do that can influence your ponds in ways you might like very much.

1. Actually first I would like to point out a great way to clean bullheads if you don't know about it already. My grandad did it this way. It's called shucking. There is a YouTube video here :
.

2. Consider adding around 40 8" bullies to your LMB pond each year. Harvest them when they exceed 12". Should take no more 2 years for the bullhead to reach that size. They will take some insects away from the LMB but will provide more energy than that in YOY. Don't expect successful recruitment of the YOY. They probably will not reach sizes exceeding 4". So consider it a ladder that is done yearly. The stock rate could be lower or 10 to 20 higher. Just whatever the kids and grandkids can manage. This gives the LMB more fish to eat and will grow some dandy BH.

3. You complained about the BH in your small ponds being small. If you would like for them to be larger ... consider doing this. In the largest of your small ponds, add one (and only one) LMB. It should be large enough to consume the most abundant size of BH. Go with at least 3 times that length. You should see outstanding growth of the LMB. If not, it wasn't large enough. This arrangement should noticeably improve the condition and sizes of BH in that pond. You might even grow a 6 or 7 lb LMB. Use live bait to remove the LMB after around 4 or 5 years and replace. I have a friend who manages a pond with YP in this way. He introduced me to this concept of a single LMB in a small pond.

Last edited by jpsdad; 02/24/24 11:47 AM.

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


2 members like this: 4CornersPuddle, MountainWard
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Pretty cool on the BH video. I've never seen or heard of "shucking"


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1 member likes this: jpsdad
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I also like the shucking video.

Does that only work on catfish, or can you do other small fish?

I am thinking about when you are culling smaller BG or crappie. Sure would be nice to eat them instead of throwing them on the bank.

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FishingRod,

The skin probably wouldn't come off like it does with catfish. I have used the method with BH & CC. Have never tried it with BG or crappie.

When I clean BG and crappie in the round for pan frying, I do employ a variation of the concept. After scaling, I will cut on the dorsal side through the backbone. Then just pull the head off. The guts come off with the head. No cutting through the guts that way.

With trout, I don't scale. I will open the gut from the anus to about halfway to the gills. Then cut from the dorsal side through the back bone and then just pull off the head. Like BG and crappie, the guts stay with the head.

I will mention that I return the heads and guts to the pond either by fishing with them or just throwing them back. When I fish with them, I will catch 2 or 3 LMB for every CC I catch.


It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


1 member likes this: 4CornersPuddle
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