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#566290 04/17/24 01:00 PM
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Hi. I have a 2.5 acre pond in upstate South Carolina (average depth of around 8') and after surveying about 220 bass over past couple years, my relative weight on average is 76% and the average length of fish caught is 10", so I'm assuming I have an overpopulation of bass. I've only caught one bass over 13" in 3 years. I've been trying to remove bass by catching and have tracked all of them removed. So far, in 2024, I've removed about 150 bass (all that same 9-12" size and 76% relative weight). My question is: at what point should I stop removing bass and then wait some time to see if relative weights improve? Or, should I just remove as many as possible and restock with new genetics at some point?

My pond fertility is likely low as the water is clear. I have bottom diffused aeration. I added lime two years ago but never really got a good bloom Alkalinity is around 30. I could add more lime, but I think I have a fairly high water turnover, especially in spring when the rains come. I was thinking to wait until things heat up and the pond level starts to drop before considering more lime and potentially fertilizer - that way the lime/fertilizer is less likely to drain out of the pond. I've never fertilized before due to all the caution people give about it - so not sure I want to go there yet. I stocked several thousand bluegill and red ear a couple years ago and feed those daily with pellets.

Thanks for any help offered!

Dave

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Foozie - simple question complex topic and answer.
My first question for you is what is your goal for having bigger bass?? numerous 2-3 pounders as common and as the biggest ones, fewer bass with several at 4-5 lbs, or all sizes of bass with some as big as 6-7 lbs? What you have to do to achieve each one of those different goals will be quite a bit different type of management methods. You have to establish a n end goal for having LMB to know when you managing correctly for your achieving your set goal.

You can grow a few big bass in 2.5 acres with clear water but it has to be just a low low number of big bass when there is high water clarity due to low productivity. Low productivity grows less amount of crop no matter if it is farm land or water.

Here are some links from our PBoss Archives about LMB growing information that discuss removal of LMB when the pond has too many bass.
Link to our full bass growing topic in the Archives
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=255372#Post255372

Bass Removal discussion
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=224725#Post224725

Removal numbers
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=208600#Post208600
A common amount of small bass to remove from a bass crowded pond is 30# of LMB per surface acre in a LMB crowded pond for the first year and monitor the RW's of the fish that are caught. 2nd year depending on the RW's, remove another 30# per acre or drop back to the maintenance level of 20#/surface acre. The standard weight for a 12" long LMbass is close to one pound, although when overcrowded these 12" bass could weigh 10 to 13 ounces each.
Cody Postscript - One has to remember that a low fertility clear water pond may only have a total of 20 to 30 pounds of LMB per acre. So this recommendation ASSUMES the pond is fertile and grows around 60-80 total lbs of LMB/ac with green water clarity of 2-3ft.

Remove bass before the spawn
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=153675#Post153675

Removing Bass Northern Pond
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=20045#Post20045

More On Removing LMB
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21180#Post21180


When to stop harvesting LMB
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=23958#Post23958
Here is a thread on some thoughts on culling bass and how many to remove each year. At least three things determine how many bass to remove each year.
1. Goal or desired sizes in the top group of biggest bass: a general mixture; all sizes, is it mostly medium sizes 2-3lbs, large sizes 4-6lbs, or mostly trophy 7-9lb. The smaller the majority of the bass are the EASIER and more often it is to catch bass.

2. Age of the pond, generally the older or more mature the pond the more bass that should be removed if big bass are the goal.

3. Fertility of the pond and if panfish are fed pellets - pond productivity determines how many pounds of bass could be present.
See the discussion linked below.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=377220#Post377220

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/17/24 02:32 PM.

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Hard to believe that too many bass can be a problem, but too many bass is definitely a problem.

Any sampling of the forage for your existing bass? If they have cleaned out all of the forage that is the "right size" for 9-12" bass, then it is difficult to grow those bass bigger - even when you get the number right. You might start considering some enhancements for your forage fish at this point? Especially the BG!

I assume you have removed more bass than you have stocked? If so, then the bass are obviously reproducing well in your pond.

I am NOT an expert, but would probably keep on removing bass until you notice the RW improving and some fish being caught over 13". I think(?) it would be very difficult to remove too many. Even if you did err to that side, the solution would be to add some new, non-stunted bass.

There are lots of fish population management experts on the forum. Hopefully they will drop into your thread.

Any of your kids, nephews/nieces, neighbor's kids, etc. like fishing? A stunted, overpopulated LMB pond is actually heaven for new fishermen!

EDIT: [Mr. Cody is one of our Pond Boss experts. I was typing while he was typing. My whole reply is in response to your original post, NOT in response to his reply.]

Last edited by FishinRod; 04/17/24 03:13 PM. Reason: Indicate my response was to OP, not Bill Cody
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FishingRod is correct. Bass crowded ponds do have numerous benefits. Fast action fishing of catching numerous easy to catch bass is the main benefit. This type of fishery also grows big panfish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/17/24 02:35 PM.

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Thanks for the thorough response. I'll take a look through all of it. Probably would like mostly 2-3 pound bass, with a few larger ones mixed in. I've removed about 75 pounds of lmb this year (2.5 acre pond), so will probably pause for now and see what the relative weight does going forward.

I was working with a fish management person a couple of years ago, and they recommended catching as many of the bass as possible and then restocking with F1 hybrids. I'm not working with this person anymore, but any thoughts on the merit of that approach? I did stock several thousand bluegill two years ago, but have never stocked bass, so I'm assuming the bass are reproducing well. There is a good population of variable sized bluegill, but still may consider stocking more to increase forage base.

Also, I've read some things about potentially stocking threadfin shad to increase the food supply, but not sure how cost effective that is compared to just stocking more bluegill/red ear.

Thanks again!

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Foozie, I'd remove enough bass to reach between 100# and 120# of bass removed this year. I would not add any forage to the pond until you have reached that goal.

To grow bigger bass, you want the bass to Bluegill ratio to be 1:25 to 1:30. That is with the bluegill of all different sizes.


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Can you remove to many bass in a single yr?

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Originally Posted by catscratch
Can you remove to many bass in a single yr?

Sure, but from a severely stunted pond, removing 30 or even 40 pounds of LMB per acre isn't too many. Heck even removing 100% of them, then restocking LMB the following year after the forage fish had a chance to bounce back wouldn't be that big of a deal, but you will never catch them all.


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I'm curious. Did you say you were hand throwing food in the mornings? An auto feeder and quality fish food might help the BG rebound quicker which makes the LMB RW's better too.

The clear water and low fertility could be offset with a supplemental food program.


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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
I'm curious. Did you say you were hand throwing food in the mornings? An auto feeder and quality fish food might help the BG rebound quicker which makes the LMB RW's better too.

The clear water and low fertility could be offset with a supplemental food program.

I have a Texas Hunter feeder set to go off in the morning and early evening. If I can't get the fertility up, perhaps I should add a second feeder to a different part of the pond to offset, as you suggest.


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