What exactly makes a good bait pond??

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by KansasKatter, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas
    I know this is up for debate, but let's for the sake of this thread just assume that bluegill is worthless for flathead bait, because for me, at least around the central Kansas area, they are just that...worthless.

    In 30+ years of fishing with live bait, almost exclusively, anything from worms, leaches, carp, bullhead, crappie, bass, pumpkin seeds, sunfish, shad, crawdads, minnows, you name it, I can probably count the flatheads I have caught on bluegill (lumping all perch other than "black perch" or "green sunfish" in the the bluegill catagory) on one hand, and still have enough fingers left to grasp a cold one. Honestly, I can't think of more than two, ever. I think it is just this area, or at least the waters I fish, just can't get a flathead to eat them around here.

    Over the years of gathering bait, I have spent countless hours chasing black perch from ponds, drainage ditches, borrow pits along highways, culverts alont county roads, you name it. The one thing I have found is that bluegill inhabit all the same waters as the more appealing black perch.

    Now to the point, I have access to one pond by my home town that in over 25 years of catching perch for bait, I have NEVER caught a bluegill, or anything other than black perch, and an ocassional bullhead. I can go to this pond on ANY given day, and catch 50 or more black perch in 30 minutes or less, with less than 3 worms, it is that good. My question is, what the heck makes this pond so special, or different, that it can hold all these black perch, but not a single bluegill??:confused2: It is so small you can fish the entire pond without taking more than 5 steps in any direction. My brother and I throw a grass carp in it ever few years to keep the moss down. It is hardly 4 feet deep at the deepest place, and quite stagnant. I just don't get it.

    I am planning on digging a small pond at my house, that I want to make a bait pond exclusively, but want to create a bait haven such as this pond has been, without the darn bluegills getting in there and taking over. Anyone have any ideas how to create such a pond?
     
  2. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I have 2 bait ponds.
    The one in the backyard is my channel cat brood pond.
    Every time I have left over minows from fishing I throw them in the pond.
    I have minnows you can catch on a #8 hook with worms. 7-8" long.

    Dang good flathead bait.
     

  3. trctrdr

    trctrdr New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Ohio
    I wonder also how large a pond must be to keep healthy bait, I keep bluegille in a 50 gallon aquarium in my garage but have a hard time keeping them alive and lively. Seems like I'm always putting chemicals in to control the ph or something and changing part or all of the water. It gets to be a real pain in the you know what. I thought about digging a small pond for keeping bait.
    M&M
     
  4. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    The one in my backyard is about a 100 feet long, 40 feet wide.
    Deepest point may be 8 feet.
    Perfect hole to breed and raise channels.
    Put a 100 fingerlings in it in '96. Those fingerlings turned into breeders.
    I don't raise for profit. I give them to other people that want to stock them in their ponds.

    Just always throw my leftover minnows in it and man I never thought they would become what they have.

    I can step out on the deck and throw a handful of dog food out over the water and between the catfish, the minnows, and one giant Koi it looks like a pirranah convention.
     
  5. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    My advice would be get the pond built leaving a 2-4ft deep shelf along the bank that drops off into deeper water, then put tires, rocks, logs or whatever along that shelf for structure to catch bait in. Make sure the center of the pond is deep enough for fish to live through the winter, and if you have electricity to it you may want to have an aeration system and one of the bug-zapper feeders out over the water. Keep the moss down in the pond with grass carp or chemical so the fish hold in the cover you provide, and it stays easy to fish. Stock it with a bunch of green sunfish, bullhead, and small minnows. If you don't put in bluegill, and you get the other fish started strong before they arrive they should not get plentiful. Then if you ever catch a bluegill, make sure he does not get back in. This would pretty much match my best bait pond except we don't have electricity to ours, so the feeder and aerator are out, and it is spring fed.

    What I always thought would be really slick for a bait pond at the house is having it built with a shallow point leading up to the feeder that I could drop a gate on trapping the baitfish. Then you can get what you want, and open the gate for the rest to head on back into the main pond. Done sparingly I think this would be a great way to get bait when you are in a hurry.

    I have caught quite a few flats on the hybrid bluegill up here, but I also like the other perch better. They struggle longer and harder on a hook and seem to be harder to kill. Request a Memphis Net and Twine catalog online, they have a ton of aerator, feeder and other options that you might want to look at.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I'll give you some sound advice. My bait pond was dug with a mule drag line in the 40's. It used to be bigger and alot deeper but they fill back in over time. I battle grasses and lilly pads and cat tails with poison every year to keep them beat back. If it's out there ducks will bring it to your pond.

    Make the shallowest water in the pond no less then 4 feet deep.
    Leave a means to get out of the pond if you or someone else fell in, but I wouldn't have any "shallow" water period or eventually you'll find yourself out there hand pulling cat tails out of the bottom and spraying your pond with expensive chemicals.

    You want it deep enough to cut the sunlight.
    Ponds aren't maintenance free unless you design it into the pond.
     
  7. trctrdr

    trctrdr New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Ohio
    Thanks guys, I've had a taste of the cattail problem, the rather large pond that we now catch bait in is surrounded with cattails out about 50 ft. pretty much all the way around the pond. The only way to fish it is out a small boat pushed out to the middle, no fun when you're in a hurry for bait.
     
  8. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas
    That is some good advice guys. My only problem is I will have to have the edges pretty shallow, and gentle slopes, at least untill the kids get a little older. Other than one of them getting run over in the driveway or something, my biggest fear would be one of them falling into the pond if it were to deep or steep banked. Besides having quick easy access to bait, the pond will also be mainly for them. The best way to get a kid hooked on fishing is have a place for them that is easy for them to get around, and action is fast, otherwise they end up losing interest.

    Nothing would be better than being able to come home from work with only a couple of hours of daylight and taking the kiddos down and catching perch till the sun went down, and Dad getting bait is just the icing on the cake! :big_smile:

    I do plan on putting a "ring" of larg stone rip-rap around the edge about 3' above and below the water line. I have found this really helps keep the geese out, as well as helping with ducks. The geese don't like the fact they can't easily walk in and out of the water. Plus, the stone will help by providing structure for spawning, etc. Also help a little bit to prevent the pond from silting in perhaps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  9. arkrivercatman

    arkrivercatman New Member

    Messages:
    4,472
    State:
    KS
    Hey Jeff, from my experience the best thing you can do to keep the black perch happy is to line the whole perimeter of the pond with rip rap. They love the rocks. I catch them within a foot of the bank most of the time. The stupid bluegills are further out.:smile2:
    It doesnt need to be that deep.
    You might also consider bullheads. They thrive in small ponds and are prolific breeders.
     
  10. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas

    Kyle, the bullheads will come naturally, I havn't set foot on a pond in Kansas that was not full of them. I will let nature supply them in good time, but want to get the blacks established first, so they will not have to compete/hide from the constant feeding gluttenous bullheads! :eek:oooh:

    Another thing I have to figure out is how to keep the turtles out. Them suckers will wreck a good bait pond in as little as a summer or two, but don't know of a way of keeping them out, other than trapping/catching them.

    I seined about 4 5 gallon buckets full of crawdads over the weekend and dumped them in my neighbors large pond he just finished digging. He want to make a bass lake out of it.:confused2: They were in a water-way of a wheat field out by the house that had been holding water all summer. They were so thick in there you could hardly go 20 feet before the net was so heavy you couldn't drag it any more. I forgot how much work that is though, a lot harder for a fat old man than it was 20 years ago when I used to do it all the time!:wink::smile2:
     
  11. drpepper

    drpepper New Member

    Messages:
    6,133
    State:
    Indiana
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009