Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

 I have gained access to a small 1/2 to 3/4 acre subdivision pond that is loaded with small gills 3-5 inches, and a few good ones as well.  There are also some hybrid gills, green sunfish, channel cats, bullheads, and bass in this pond. Out from the dam the water is about 10 feet deep. It very rarely gets any fishing pressure to help control the gill population. I have only seen one man and a small boy ever fish it other than my wife and myself. The bass seem to be in all size ranges, with the largest I have seen being a little over a pound. There are some 2-3lb. channel cats, and the bullheads average 3/4 to 1lb.

 Now that you have a picture of what this pond is like, I have some questions.... Is there any way to grow larger gills in this pond? I cannot poision it out and restock it. Will feeding help this pond, or will I be wasting my time and money? Can one person catch and remove enough of the little gills to make any difference? Is there any hope for this pond, or should I look for somewhere else to fish?

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Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on June 3, 2013 at 7:28pm
Very nice, Walt. You're a champ!
Comment by Tony Livingston on June 3, 2013 at 6:43pm

Vince, I hope you find just what you're looking for......watching fish getting bigger with the realization that they are doing so due to your own hard work and efforts, is extremely satisfying.

I wish you well, and keep us informed as to what's happening!

Comment by Vince Fusco on June 3, 2013 at 6:27pm

Thank you Walt for opening my eyes to a better idea for finding a pond to possibly work with and fish. I never thought of that possibility.  I guess my willingness to try and make something out of this pond,shows if nothing else, my desire to learn more about growing big gills like some of you on this site have done. Thank you also for posting the link to your blog. 

Comment by Walt Foreman on June 2, 2013 at 6:36pm

Vince, I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if I were you, I would redirect my efforts and try to find a more secluded pond with a single owner.  In my experience, the average IQ of every member of an HOA goes down about ten points the minute they get together to discuss a pond or lake they own.  Most of the dumbest stuff I've ever heard spoken in relation to ponds, came from someone on an HOA.  They're a nightmare to work with, and that's being kind.

And you're making significant understatement when you allude to how quickly word gets out about a good pond.  I can just about guarantee you that the minute you get those bluegill decent-sized, half the neighborhood will be lining the banks with fishing rods, and they'll invite their friends and their friends' friends and their friends' long-lost fourth-cousins twice removed who will show up in a Winnebago with a boy scout troop.  

(I'm exaggerating, but only slightly.)

According to the University of Georgia, there are an estimated 100,000 private ponds in your state.  Finding a good one to work with can be as simple as going to your county tax assessor's office and looking at their map with the "water" feature turned on, and writing down the names of the owners of a few ponds that look interesting to you, and contacting them.  You might get turned down a couple times, but if your third or fifth phone call gets you exclusive access to a four-acre pond that already has big bluegill in it, you just went from being one of the deprived bluegill masses to being a year or two away from better bluegill fishing than you have ever experienced.  I was fortunate enough to gain access to two different such ponds when I first began managing ponds back in 1987, and neither owner knew me from Adam when I called him - I just took the initiative and called, and it paid off.

I don't know if you're aware of my blog, but I actually made a post on this exact topic last year, and I have another post on there that covers some of the most important things about managing a pond for trophy bluegill. Here's a link to it - hope it helps:

http://bluegilladventures.blogspot.com/2012/08/create-your-own-hone...

Comment by Vince Fusco on June 2, 2013 at 5:48pm

Thanks for the reply, Tony. To answer your questions, I cannot make any structural changes to the pond, but I can remove fish (by hook and line) and feed them. The pond is owned by the homeowners association and is intended for use by their members, and not for the general public. The subdivision has about 30 homes in it, and it appears very few fishermen. This pond is not visable from the main road, so other than the residents I don't think most people realise it even exists. I do know how fast word of a good pond can travel though. I am willing to pay for the feed if doing so would greatly improve the fishery. Other than the small gills, what other fish should be taken from the pond? Just guessing, I would say the bullheads as well, as they can be quick to overpopulate a pond. Are there other preditor fish that would be good to introduce to this pond? Would my first step be removing as many of the small gills as I can before starting a feeding program? How do I figure the right amount of feed to give them on a daily basis? As you can tell, I have no prior experience in improving a pond, but learning, and doing the work needed is something I am excited about doing.   

Comment by Tony Livingston on May 31, 2013 at 12:05pm

Vince, I admire your enthusiasm and passion! I do have a few concerns however. You say you have gained access....does this include permission to do what you will with this pond?  As in, WHO actually owns it, and is responsible, both financially and legally for it? I'm not trying to rain on your parade at all, I'm just voicing some questions and throwing my thoughts out there. Improving the fishery is possible, but will more than likely incur some expenditures on your part....then, if you are able to improve the quality of the gills, what's to prevent word from getting out, and attracting many more anglers to this pond? It would be tough for me to pour money, time and sweat into a place only to see the entire neighborhood swarm in and fish it out, without me having any say so in the matter.

To answer your question more directly, feeding might help......provided that you can get that feed into the target fish, (the BG), and not everything else. BUT.......there's more to it than extra feed. Reducing the numbers of smaller BG, along with the other less desirable species would improve your chances at success.

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