Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Hi all. I didn't join the forum right away because...

...I don't have any bluegill!

I've always loved BG and someday I'll have them, but for now I'm trying an experiment with my new pond. I'm managing this pond for trophy Redear Sunfish (RES). Besides RES the only fish I've stocked are Fathead minnows (FH). The idea is to keep a balance of the two species so that there is a constant supply of FH forage for the RES.

The Pond -

Built January 2008
1/3 acre
8 feet at deepest
Average depth about 5 feet
6" siphon system
Structure is several submerged stumps.


It's got a fairly large watershed and I've had water go over the emergency spillway 4 or 5 times already. Once the water was 4" from the top of the dam and that was only a few weeks after it was built. I'll be replacing the 6" pipe with 8" pipe. There is a 12 year old pond upstream about 1000 feet and I think that has helped give my pond a more "aged" quality to the water. Visibility is 12-18".

The Fish -

300 - 400 large Fathead minnows that were trapped from a nearby pond and added at the end of January 08, a few weeks after the pond was finished.

100 RES @ 1.25" stocked March 20, 2008 followed a few weeks later by 10 more that had been held in an aquarium for observation.

24 RES adults ranging from 5-7" transferred from a neighbor's pond from late April - early May.

Spawning -

I saw FH spawning behavior in early March and I first noticed FH fry at the same time I stocked the fingerling RES, on March 20. I didn't track the spawn exactly but it seemed like they continued for several weeks. The few hundred adult FH produced many thousands of fry. A pellet thrown anywhere in the pond will normally attract a FH in less than 20 seconds.

The 24 adult RES were added in late April and at the time local reports had the RES on spawning beds. I'm not sure if mine were spawning at that time but I'm still seeing my RES on beds. In fact I observed the most concentrated bedding activity beginning a few weeks ago (mid July) and they are still at it. I've tried trapping to observe the RES year-of-young but the trap has always filled up with FH quickly and there haven't been any RES in it. It's been several weeks since I tried this and I'm due to try again.

Some of the 1.25" RES stocked this spring are now almost 4" long and a few are also on beds. I can't say I've seen eggs and milt, but I've seen obvious spawning behavior from these small ones complete with a female on her side under a male. In one case an 8" RES was charging into the mix every time the female would lay over. It looked pretty rude actually. :)

Goals -

As mentioned above I want to raise large RES. I hope to have a good population of 1-2 pound fish in a few years. RES around 5 lbs have be caught in my area and I believe that by focusing on them as the target gamefish it shouldn't be too hard to grow them to 2 lbs.

Management -

I hope to maintain a steady population of FH to serve as the main forage for the RES. I'm feeding about 1 lb. of Grower 500 by hand every day. I've seen great growth all year and I hope for a big spawn this fall. It's likely that the RES won't control the FH enough and I'm prepared to trap out the excess. If the population declines I'll increase the feed. I have the impression that I can control the FH to a fair degree by trapping/feeding to adjust for whatever impact the RES have on them.

With RES as the top predator I will eventually need to harvest which I'll do by angling or possibly by trapping. My pond isn't set up for seining so I might have to get creative. Most likely I will end up keeping all but the largest RES that are caught. I might even be more aggressive about it and keep all hooked fish. It shouldn't be hard to enlist help with angling if I let people keep the big ones too. :)

Besides the FH I've also stocked a few dozen native crayfish, and I supplement with black soldier fly larvae (BSFL). I'm currently feeding about one cup of larvae each day to the 24 adults which are all concentrated in a small area of the pond on spawning beds. There are also a few dozen of the 3-4" RES on beds and they're also eating the BSFL. As the small fish grow I hope to increase the larvae to 2 lbs per day. As it stands now the fish eat the larvae until their bellies bulge and the feeding slows down. I haven't noticed snails in this pond or any of my neighbors ponds.

At some point in the future I will probably add many more species to this pond, primarily indigenous fish. LMB are native to my area but I doubt I'll stock them because of the small size of the pond. Larger predators will most likely be chain pickerel and Florida or spotted gar. I like those fish because they don't get as large as LMB and they don't spawn as heavily. I will also collect every species of small sunfish and minnow that I can.

Birds, nonvenomous snakes, and turtles are all welcomed in the pond.

Views: 2369

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Lime pond. I notice that after I add line to my pond and the ph goes up
forage fish seem to increase and move more. Pond Boss note 1 ton of lime per acre. I use bags from the bank. Seem to be one of the best thing I'm doing other then adding minnow as much as I can. But now this is just me.
Look like you doing everything right. Keep posting as I also buiding and stocking pond.LMS HBG
with flathead minnow.
Have you thought about adding fresh water clams to your pond? After all, they are called "shellcrackers" for this reason. We have a large clam base in Lake Cachuma in California, and the redears seem to thrive on them
[IMG]http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j249/exfactor1/P4180001_1.jpg[/IMG]

Could we get an update on your pond? How big are the RES now?

If your pond has a 15" to 18" visability, it needs to be fertilized. As for res only. I was told that that couldnt work. But I am inclined to belive that almost anything can work if managed well. Good luck with everything

I also would like an update to this thread. I'm also trying to raise RES along with FHM and wonder if this pond was a success or failure as far as the RES goes.

Bump. An update would be nice. I have been raising RES along with FHM and more lately GS in a 1/20th acre pond for two years now. I can not say it has been a great success, but I have been trapping and pulling out quite a few YOY RES and transferring to my main pond. I need to use a cast net or some other means to sample. Have caught a few adults on hook and line just to sample the breeding stock.

A GSF snuck in somehow and have also been getting some RESxGSF hybrid fingerlings which I am not opposed to.

Here is the pond I am raising the RES in. The fish information is later in the thread about the pond.

Forage pond with RES

RSS

Latest Activity

dick tabbert commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
2 hours ago
dick tabbert commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
Thumbnail

Today’s Only Crappie…3/3/2024

"Lookin good Jeffrey."
2 hours ago
John Sheehan commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
Thumbnail

Today’s Only Crappie…3/3/2024

"Nice!, how deep was this one ?"
6 hours ago
Troy Dorman commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
18 hours ago
Jeffrey D. Abney posted photos
21 hours ago
Jeffrey D. Abney posted photos
21 hours ago
Jeffrey D. Abney posted a status
"Fished a different river this morning, found one crappie shallow in six feet of water…the bass party continued…..battling rain this week…"
21 hours ago
Jeffrey D. Abney commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
21 hours ago
Bruce Tomaselli commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
Thumbnail

No Sunlight Left But Still a Great Sight in Nature….3/1/2024

"Because of patriotic people such as you we have all of our freedoms. Thank You"
yesterday
John Sheehan commented on John Sheehan's status
"You've helped a lot of Fisher folks here, but we all have to apply knowledge to our specific…"
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney commented on John Sheehan's status
"Don’t know if I help anyone but I try to share John….thanks.."
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
Thumbnail

No Sunlight Left But Still a Great Sight in Nature….3/1/2024

"We both love fishing and bald eagles Bruce….being a retired submariner and a fleet support…"
Saturday
John Sheehan replied to John Sheehan's discussion Record Kansas Crappie
Saturday
John Sheehan commented on John Sheehan's status
"Thanks for weighing in with your report , Jeff!"
Saturday
Bruce Tomaselli commented on Jeffrey D. Abney's photo
Thumbnail

No Sunlight Left But Still a Great Sight in Nature….3/1/2024

"They are beautiful to watch. There are nesting pairs along a few of the creeks I fish. I'm…"
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney posted a photo

No Sunlight Left But Still a Great Sight in Nature….3/1/2024

I’ve been taking photos of this bald eagle for almost ten years…..part of a mating pair not far…
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney posted photos
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney posted photos
Saturday
Jeffrey D. Abney posted a status
"With tomorrow a washout here in coastal N.C., I pushed to get out after work this afternoon….some surface temps at 54 degrees, bass fest"
Friday
Jeffrey D. Abney commented on John Sheehan's status
"Hope it’s sooner than later John…….I fished a few hours after work this…"
Friday

© 2024   Created by Bluegill.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service