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The Pond Boss & Richmond Mill Lake...a legacy in the making

Who would have thought, just 9 years ago, when Morgan Company property manager, Dave Buhler, met up with the Pond Boss, Bob Lusk (yours truly) at a Bass 101 seminar in Athens, Texas, that we would fast forward and be talking about giant bluegill we are growing in 125 acre Richmond Mill Lake? Morgan Company president and founder of King Fisher Society ( www.kingfishersociety.com ) Jim Morgan sure didn't. His passion has been largemouth bass. Now, he sees the significance of bluegill which grow beyond two pounds. That optimistic soul actually expects to grow bluegill surpassing the 3 pound mark...on a regular basis. Yes, those 7-8 pound bass are certainly garnering big attention, but the spectacular sizes of bluegill have become a new source of energy for those who hear about it. Funny, I'm the consulting biologist for this spectacular lake and I have come to believe it has the potential and opportunity to grow bluegill beyond that magical benchmark of 3 pounds. The lake was drained in 2001 to make major renovations on the dam. That project took four years. In 2004, we started planning and talking about what to do with this historic lake...one that played a role in saving lives during the Civil War. Fast flowing water exiting at 7-9,000 gallons per minute. Water with a pH less than 5.4 all the time...how could that kind of system possibly raise such giant fish as grace the camera lenses of awed anglers on a regular basis? We figured it out. Now, the world gets to hear about it, and some of you, members of www.bigbluegill.com could sure be able to experience it. For a VERY short time, the high end, very expensive King Fisher Society is opening its doors for $600 per day for a day fishing trip in groups of 4 or more. I promise you...I have been there since its inception...that is a steal. If you want a trip where you can have a legitimate opportunity to top your personal best on a premier private, highly managed body of water loaded with bluegill that will push your reality beyond your greatest dreams, this is it. Personally, I am surprised at those fees. They can't last. While bigbluegill.com is the go to site for all things bluegill, take a minute and check out www.pondboss.com also. That site is loaded with a variety of topics along with plenty of current photos of huge fish...and bluegill are the order of the day. Go to "Ask the Boss" and see what you find. Be sure to get your hands on the current issue of In-Fisherman and get the skinny on this fabulous lake, via bigbluegill.com member Jim Gronaw and world class angler and owner of this site, Dr. Bruce Condello.

 

Above, take a look at Bruce's giant bluegill. In the other image, I am holding a bluegill just larger than two pounds, a trophy in its own right.

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That really is a very reasonable price for what appears to be an experience of a lifetime.

Bob, the attachments aren't working for some reason.
This is great news for Bluegill enthusiasts.Hope my In -Fisherman mag comes in the mail soon!
I dream almost daily of catching Bluegills of that caliber!! I can't even fathom catching 'gills that size on a somewhat consistant basis, let alone the occasional trophy largemouth.

I do have somewhat of a "bucket list", and now fishing Richmond Mill Lake is without a doubt at the top of that list!
Well I just got my new In-Fisherman magazine today and look who's on the cover!! Congratulations!!
Bob, congrats to you, and the proprietors of that outstanding lake. One of the greatest examples of hard work paying off I've ever had the pleasure of coming across. Bruce, congrats also, on the cover of In-Fisherman Magazine!
I just got done reading the article, and I missed a congrats! Congrats Bill too!
Well I guess I'm heading to the store to pick up a copy or two of In-Fisherman. Congrats Bruce and Bob.
The cover of Rolling Stone is nothing. The cover and pages of In-Fisherman is where it's at. Congrats Dr. C, Jim and Bob.
I would be interested in trying the lake - I am not sure I would have a group of 4 to fish and definitely would want to fish a couple of days if I travelled there. Would love to do a promotional video for the lodge and bluegill fishing there.
Some Questions. First, What kind of feed do you these beauties munch on? Is some sort of high protein formula that promotes larger growth? What is the lure or baits of choice? I moticed what looked to be a 1/16th ounce road runner. Finally, what is the largest gill caught at this point? Yes guys, I'm jealous. Those are definetly some fabulous fish. Continued success. Nick
Nick, we feed Purina's AquaMax, two sizes for bluegill. We have 10 vibratory feeders that work part of the time...in shallow water when the bluegill are spawning. In those feeders, we use AquaMax 400. We have 25 directional feeders on the lake, many of which attract bluegill. In those feeders, we use AquaMax 600, only it's a special run of 1/2 inch pellets. We also have 15 scatter feeders, some of which are able to throw AquaMax Largemouth, huge pellets. Bass eat those. The others are kept full of the 600. Keep in mind, our primary mission is to grow largemouth bass. But, the bluegill have figured out how to play, even though much of the feed is too large for all but the biggest bluegill to swallow. They peck at it, after the bass leave. One other important thing we've learned. The feeding program is highly symbiotic...by that I mean not only are the target species fed, but there are many other species of aquatic creatures that benefit, too. I see lots of dragonfly larvae, grass shrimp, mayflies...all kinds of things they don't necessarily benefit directly from the feed, but benefit from minimal competition or those things which eat the feed after it goes through the fish. It's working well and we have quite a balanced fishery growing out there. It will continue to turn some heads for several years to come.
The largest bluegill caught, at this point, is 2# 10 oz, caught by Condello two weekends ago.
I truly believe anyone can grow giant bluegill. It takes young fish, fed well, predators to keep their numbers down and patience. Feeding is the number one key. If we weren't feeding Purina's AquaMax, we wouldn't be growing fish as large.
In the world of fishing, it would be said that "one has arrived when one gets their picture on In-Fisherman magazine!"Congratulations on that achievement Dr. Bruce.
Also congrats to Bob Lusk for his part in developing such a fine fishery as Richmond Mill Lake.
Bruce, I can only hope that the gills I received from you will achieve something near that size. They seemed to have survived the winter here in NW Indiana. Will look forward to the growing season.

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