Neighbor Needs Advice on an Established Pond

Discussion in 'Pond Fishing' started by festus, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. festus

    festus New Member

    Messages:
    7,659
    This pond is owned by my sister in law. It's approximately 20 years old, 1/2 to 3/4 acre, maximum depth 18' to 20'. There is a good population of bluegill, most are 5" to 8" and you never see any stunted ones. The biggest largemouth bass I've caught out of there was 14", and her husband says that's the largest one he's seen. He and his boys aren't interested in fishing, but use the pond for swimming. The only people who fish the pond are some church friends, maybe his sons and a couple their friends try it 2-3 times a year in the spring, and I fish it occasionally, it's about a 1/2 mile hike through the woods. They stocked it once with hybrid sterile crappie. This was before I knew them, and they said the crappie got huge, 16" to 17", but they eventually ran their course and died out. There are two grass carp in there for weed control, one looks to be about 6 lb, the other about 15 lb. My wife's oldest brother lives closeby, he drained his pond and put about 8 channel cats in his sister's pond here in the photos. I was really reluctant they ever lived, but some of the boy's friends said they had night fished a couple times and hooked fish which would break their line or straighten out their hooks. Well, yesterday I got a good look at a big cat in the pond, he looked to be a little less than 3' long. I've never fished for the catfish but a couple times in early morning with cut bait, never had any luck. Apparently they are nocturnal.

    Anyway, I told my sister in law I would pay to stock some fish in there if we could ever figure out what type and how many. I can't explain the reason for the puny bass, there are no green sunfish in there (thank God), very few turtles, and I've noticed I never hear bullfrogs, just small spring peepers or tree frogs. Could stocking the crappie have affected the bass population? No crappie in the pond nowadays.

    Are there any pond experts out there who can suggest what to stock? The owners don't care. They allow very few people access and there's plenty of dogs running around to discourage intruders. I included a photo of an average size bream from the pond, it looks like a spawned out female. I gave the bream and grass carp a good feeding yesterday of half a loaf of stale bread.
     
  2. playin4funami

    playin4funami New Member

    Messages:
    4,103
    State:
    Saronville Ne.
    hey bro, I went to your states fish and game website, they have lots of pond stocking recommendations for how many and species to create a healthy environment, and also some pamphlets and other stuff you can get on small pond care etc. you might check that out when you get a chance, unfortunatly with some fish of adult size already roaming the water many of the fingerlings you would stock will quickly become fish food. looks to me like redear sunfish, channel cat, and bass would be a good combo for a pond in your area, I like crappie also however I would stick with annual or bi annual stockings of the sterile crappie as they can really overrun a small pond and become stunted if allowed to breed naturally. don't know about you but I would rather catch 10 in the 15 + inch range than 50 in the 5 to 6 inch range,lol. keeping the pond areated in the hot summer months would help also, maybe a floating windmill type areation system would do a good enough job, a few of the fish farms around here use those with good success. A small pond is all about health and balance. It can be alot of work to properly maintain a small pond, I would start with some simple water samples and have them tested, it will help decide what fish will do the best in in that water, some fish like things like ph and salinity a little different than others. don't know how hard core you want to get into this pond, so have at it.
     
    festus likes this.

  3. festus

    festus New Member

    Messages:
    7,659
    Thanks Don, I had seen that state site if it's the same one a while back (pdf file) and went back and re-read it. From the info, the pond does not need fertilized. It recommended with a combination of bass/bream/channel catfish, 50 to 75 channel cats per acre with an 8" to 10" size is recommended. There is no natural channel cat reproduction in the pond to my knowledge. So using that theory, they need somewhere around at least 30 catfish stocked. If I can find a hatchery that sells them a little larger, say 12" or so, I'd gladly pay for those. That full grown channel cat I saw yesterday was probably 32" to 34" long and he could probably swallow a foot long fish.

    As I said before, there are plenty of largemouth bass in the pond already, but very few are larger than 12" long. Does anyone think the half dozen or so big channel cats in the pond already are eating the bass? Last spring and this past spring I have seen bass on their nest and bass hatches, small bass fry abt 1" long. The bluegill population is fine already, I have stood in one spot before and caught a dozen to fifteen bluegill, all edible size and released them of course, then move a few yards and get into more bluegill.
     
  4. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,131
    State:
    Indiana
    No those channel won't eat big bass... their main grub is going to be 1-2'' fish...

    What I think is funny is that pond was built across the power company's easement! lol Can't do that around here- ask me how I know that!
     
  5. notfastenuff

    notfastenuff New Member

    Messages:
    58
    State:
    N.W Indiana
    if the bass don't grow big, feed em! My brothers small pond had a few decent cats ok gills and little bitty bass. we seined the pond seberal times trying to watch the growth. we rarely found any small fish after the 4th of july. we figured the larger fish must have been eating the fry shorthly after hatch as we could find fry after spawn and not at the end of summer. We started stocking huge numbers of fathead minnows. way more than you'd think nessisary. yet they would still not be seen a couple of weeks after release. The bass grew, the gills grew, the cats got downright nasty. Eventually enuff lived to reperduce, we stocked crawlfish the same way. what a fishing hole we have now. It's more of a catching hole as fishing takes time.
     
  6. WaitingForNextBite

    WaitingForNextBite New Member

    Messages:
    160
    State:
    Columbus Ohio
    NotFastEnough beat me to it (funny with that user name not surprised) But sounds like the gills are too big for the bass to eat in general and the bass are not getting enough food. Crappie probably started the cycle by eating bait/fry but not producing any. Would be curious how old the bass are at 14" may consider take a scale sample to DNR/Fish and Game to have them aged. Also I would consider setting up some minnow traps to get a census of what kind of forage base you have in the pond.
    Thermocline? With that kind of depth you might have an oxygen issue in the summer also, seeing a big catfish that close to the surface seems odd to me, only time i have seen this was a small pond with serious oxygen depleition issues..
    Beware of stocking crawfish..they can dig into the clay/mud and slowly drain the pond.. Wont drain it completly but could give you fits if you are not carefull..happened to my uncle had a hard time reducing the crawdad population once it was established.. Shad are not good in a pond either unless you just need a bait hole!!LOL A lot of pond maintenence companies will sell you golden shiners and fathead minnows by the pound for ponds.
    Why you so happy there are no green sunfish? Usually they are less of a problem than staight bluegills, and the hybrid greens are great for helping to control the gill population.. Greenies and hybrid greenies make great bait!
     
  7. bigchooch58

    bigchooch58 New Member

    Messages:
    2,525
    State:
    San Antonio Tex
    i dont know a whole lot /but in my brothers pond at his deer camp in ny the game managment said to increse the size of the bass they needed to start eating some of them to help the others grow/as long as you keep releasing them you have to keep feeding them /that gives the ones you dont take more to eat
     
  8. SHOWME

    SHOWME Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,916
    State:
    Nixa, Mo
    Name:
    Bob
    I have had the pleasure of keeping 4 ponds healthy for years in NC Missouri, these ponds are from 1/2 acre to 4 acres in size, the biggest problem is always the balance, some needed gills some needed removal of small bass some needed catfish, if you have a lot of gills that is great, that is the food supply for your pond, that is what your bass eat mostly, NEVER put crappie in there, NEVER, they will ruin it in 4 years, I can't imagine you not having any large bass, that does not sound right, I think maybe you just haven't caught any, if there are that many gills in there, they don't need what you are trying to feed them most of the time, I have fished so me of these ponds of mine and you would sware they wasn't a fish in it and the next week you would catch a 8# fish along with 5- 4# fish, I would put some cats in there and fish it a little harder early and late in the days, I know you have big bass in there, I promise you, and that is a very nice looking pond too, I know you got big bass in there, go get you some 10" powerbait bluefleck worms and fish them in there and hang on.