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Farm pond overpopulation ?

Discussion in 'Pond Management' started by bronzebackyac, May 5, 2005.

  1. bronzebackyac

    bronzebackyac Crick Smallie Fisherman

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    I fished a farm pond yesterday and caught about twenty largemouths. Caught one on almost every other cast. The weird thing was that they all were almost exactly the same size (12-14 inches). They were fat but not long. The owner said there are bigger ones in there, but nobody caught anything bigger. Could this be a sign of too many bass in the pond? There are a lot of bluegill in there as well, could they be keeping the bass from getting bigger. Any thoughts guys?
     
  2. unless they are 10" you cant eat them

    you know id take 20 12-14 inchers any day. maybe they are a good year class. you could always throw them on the bacnk to ensure that you will never know how big they are going to get.

    GABO
     

  3. It seems to me like that pond could be overpopulated with bass, especially if you're catching the smaller ones every cast. There is a high population of bass and maybe not enough food for them all. I would talk to the owner and see if he would mind you keeping some out. Just explain the situation. Then keep about a dozen out and see what happens the next two trips. A pond needs a balanced population of bass and gills.
     
  4. It is possible that it could be either or both of the things you stated that are a problem. However, it could also just have been a day where the young fish were really aggreassive and you did not tempt any big ones into biting. So before I went and did anything drastic (assuming you have the permission to manage it somewhat) then I would fish the pond a few more times and try to get a better feel for myself whether there really are any big LM's. If your hunch seems consistent then I would probably take a few of the bass out. Also, if there are a lot of the big bluegills they could be dominating the food source as well. It would not hurt to take a few of those as well at that point. Perhaps the pond does not have the ample food supply in the form of minnows to develop the healthy bass. If you wanted to take the management effort a step further you could go as far as stocking some fathead minnows but that would cost you some money.
     
  5. shad work well too and all that costs you is time and a throw net.

    GABO
     
  6. How Big is the pond????
     
  7. If the bass are fat it doesnt sound to me like its over populated, i think if they were over populated they would be skinny.
     
  8. Pharley

    Pharley Hook 'Em

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    I fish a pond that is the same way. Always catch 12-14"ers, but there are bigger ones there. I have also caught a 6-7 lber, and broke a rod on another. In the pond I fish, I think there are so many bluegills, that it is nearly impossible to get them to bite on anything else.
     
  9. That is an interesting topic. I know the old school of thought was that shad were bad for ponds but I have heard of people using them over the years. I am not sure what all of the drawbacks were. Does anybody have any insight on that? Do they reproduce in the ponds? Do they outcompete the existing bluegills. Will they get out of hand if they do reproduce? I don't know these answers but I don't recall the companies which stock fish offering shad as an option. They usually recommend the fatheads. Perhaps that is because they don't want everyone to go out and get their own free supply from the local lakes?:confused:
     
  10. Of all the ones that i have seen put in the ponds they arent big enough and dont last long enough to be a problem. just a good food source. i havent seen them reproduce but they might which means more food. all the ponds that i have seen this in have produced GREAT fish. plus its a lot cheaper then minnows.

    GABO
     
  11. Unless you want to ruin the pond do not keep the big gills - overtime all that will do is created a stunted gill population as well. If the fish are fat they are not hurting for food. Bass stunting is an issue when you see big headed bass with undersized bodies. I won't go into the biology (for the 50th time) of why you should never keep big gills if you are trying to manage the gill population. If you want more detailed info send me a pm. You manage for large bass by either having fewer bass or more food. Bull gills DO NOT compete with bass for food. More than likely the bass you were catching were mostly males...which typically run 12-16" when mature...rare to see one 18-20"+. If you want to keep bass keep 10-12" ones...more likely you are keeping overabundant males and immature females.
     
  12. Please don't take ANY fish out of there unless you have a degree in aquatic biology and you know what your doing and have all the permissions you need. I would have the OWNER contact the ODNR and maybe have them come and take a look and give HIM some REAL advice from a PROFESSIONAL.
    You really could screw up the balance of nature. Also, bass WILL feed on the Bluegill if they have to.
     
  13. Master Angler,

    I am glad you joined the discussion here as I knew you could provide some insight. You mentioned that taking the large gills out will ruin a pond. Are you referring to ruining a pond only in the sense of not having large gills? Because it would seem that if there are more smaller gills they would provide more food source for the larger bass. If your main goal is to create a trophy bass pond how much interest should there be in maintaining a large bluegill size. I have read some of the pond management documents and they give different management approaches depending on whether you want a balanced pond, bluegill pond, or trophy bass pond. Each goal warrants different harvest programs.

    I know that you have been involved in a lot of these discussion on pond management so you obviously have some background in it. Can you provide some of your opinion on the use of shad in ponds? I know that used to be a no-no but I have read documents to the contrary as well. Do you have any first hand experience with shad stockings?
     
  14. bkr,

    I will respond in more detail later when I have a little more time. As per the ODNR guidelines they are about as specific and useful as their fishing "reports". The problem with bluegill/ sunfish as primary forage is that are low fat species and are the wrong morphology (disc shaped instead of long and spiny finned) for efficient feed - basically only YOY and 2 yr old panfish make acceptable forage. You can have your cake and eat it too (big bass and big bluegills/sunfish). More later....

    MA
     
  15. Judoka,

    Excellent link...bkr...read the stocking gizzard shad article..it reiterates in great detail what I mentioned about sunfish being the wrong morphology...shad are much easier for them to eat and much much higher fat content. Also, you have to consider the size of the pond and how many "trophies" it could hold w/o alot of feeding maintainence. Not killing large sunfish keeps the pops in check (big bulls emit hormones that prevent smaller gills from sexually maturing) and allows for high panfish growth rates (what you want in all of the fish in the pond). The point is that unless you want alot of maintainence (feeding) do not aim for alot of "trophy" bass. You also have to consider the overall size distribution. One point with the articles...they are written from the perspective of southern/ florida LM - so cut the sizes in half when you read the links.
     
  16. I too noticed that most of the articles point to southern states in their scenarios. It always makes it a bit tougher to know what factors will stay consistent in our climate. Obviously as you stated the trophy fish will come at a much lower level than down south. I have found a few 5-6# bass in farm ponds that are not even being managed so I am sure with the proper effort guys should be able to get at least bass to that size. But as you said the holding capacity of a small farm pond for fish that size is pretty limited unless you can provide a real good food source.
     
  17. bronzebackyac

    bronzebackyac Crick Smallie Fisherman

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    Thanks for all of the info guys. The pond is about 1-1.5 acres and the owner says it is 30 feet deep.
     
  18. Mushijobah

    Mushijobah Urban Angler

    I'de be careful about the shad you put in there. They can and will reproduce and possibly choke the pond. At least that is what the odnr says, so i duno. I also fish a pond like this. The owner tells me they are over populated.