My "pa in law''has three beautiful ponds. You can catch bluegills all day long .but they're all the same size,small! How can I manage the ponds to get some nice gills ? I am sure this has been brought up before but I am new here .Thanks
I'm no expert by any means, but I believe it's the same with any other species. The way I've seen done and been told to do it is to keep any BG under a certain length, the desired length. Anything over that size you toss back. Not sure what size to shoot for in BG, I'd imagine in the 6-8" range. Anything smaller throw back. You'll probably have to do this constantly though to keep the bigger BGs getting bigger instead of competing for forage with the smaller ones and it will be a big job, fishing and fishing and fishing. I hate to be the one to twist your arm to do that. ;) Oh, if it's not possible to cut the population down by fishing (or seining if you're able) than maybe stock some additional predators to thin them out. Depending on numbers and the size of the ponds, stock more LMB to thin those smaller BGs. But wait for someone who knows what they're talking about first. ;)
Rotonone half the pond, after you remove half the population, add large mouth bass and dont let anyone remove them,and for good measure add a few flathead catfish. This will increase the area for small bream to grow into,it also increases the food supply for the remaining fish and the bass and catfish will keep the young fry in check.Don't worry about genetics the recipe for getting bigger is in their genes, I bet some where down the line grandpappy bluegill was bigger and all they need is an adequate food supply and time to beefup.
I am trying to manage my own pond with Walleye and big Channel cats. Most of the 'eyes I have stocked have been in the 2-4 pound range with a few of the cats around the 20 pound mark. I don't have much use for LMB, so I am trying out a different means of controlling stunting in my pond.
Years ago, when I worked at another parks facility, we had an overpopulation issue in a two acre pond. The DNR used D-traps to remove a high number of 3 to 6 in gills one summer into fall period. The following seasons saw a dramatic increase in gills that quickly grew to the 7 to almost 9 in range in a couple of years. Heavy weed growth had also offered safe harbor to those smallish gills and bass could not feed on them effectively. Harvest and predation ratios seem to be a given to manage bluegill sizes in ponds and small lakes. Other factor, such as weed types and other predator species, can have good or bad effects on this effort. It usually takes several years to see what will, or will not, work.
Thanks for all the help guys.The past few years have brought a lot of aquatic plant growth in the ponds I mentioned (not sure why )But we commonly catch( and release) bass from 2 to 5 pounds . my nephew actualy hooked a 15 pound cat fish in there the other day! I was shocked at that.Sounds like the vegitation may be the problem. Is it possible that there are big gills in there and I'm just not fishing where they are? I'll be going out tommarow morning I'll let you know how I do .Thanks again fellas
I'm mostly replying to this to bring it to the top again, as I have the same problem finding where the big ones are. Also confused as to how having some predator catfish or bass keep from eating ALL the young BG.