Do you love big bluegill?
This group is about your pond. How's it going? Questions on what to do next. Fish size and type.
Latest Activity: Aug 16, 2018
I have a 5 acre pond with bass,bluegill, crappie, and catfish. I was thinking about getting a protein based food called Aquafeed to feed the fish in order to keep them fat and healthy. Is this a good…Continue
Started by Wade Jones. Last reply by Terry E Brand Aug 16, 2018.
I caught 4 bluegill Thurs. before I laid my pole down around a post, and went to get my fishing chair. It never got pulled in before when I did this, but it did then. Whatever it was swam all around…Continue
Started by 10.5" RES Sharon. Last reply by David, aka, "McScruff" Jun 22, 2013.
Thanks for this cool group everyone! I currently have a 1/4 acre pond that I'm wanting to redo. I am unable to locate a source for Rotenone or someone to do it for a good price. I live in MD, so…Continue
Started by Chris Roberts. Last reply by Ryan McCaw Apr 27, 2013.
Hey everyone hope you all are great fishing season and enjoying the summer, unfortunately at my pond the fish are not doing all that great this summer. My pond has always produced 4 to 5 pound bass…Continue
Started by Wade Jones. Last reply by Mike Cross Oct 11, 2012.
I now have a 3' alligator in my pond. I'll try to get a picture tomorrow.Anyone know if they will eat all the fish?
I just put in 225 six inch perch yesterday. Should be some good eating next year.
No problem, Mike! I just like helping people grow big bluegill, and, unfortunately, the uniformity of quality of info out there on growing big bluegill is a good ways behind the info on growing big bass. There are a few really knowledgeable folks, notably our founder Bruce, but a lot of advice gets dispensed by people who specialize in big bass and for whom bluegill are an afterthought, and not all of that advice is good.
On the plus side, though, you got your fish from one of the very best hatcheries in the country for coppernose bluegill, and they told you a great stocking rate - most hatcheries would have sold you three or four or five times that many bluegill for a pond your size.
If you haven't already added the sand, and your goal is big bluegill, skip the sand and bedding areas. You want the bluegill to have as little success spawning as possible (if the goal for the pond is trophy bluegill).
If catfish are a priority, you can make it work, but they will eat a great deal of the food that otherwise would go to your bluegill. I have seen one study that compared a grain-based pellet with two or three brands of fishmeal-based, but only for a few months, and it was with trout, not bluegill, so not as relevant. The trout still grew better on the fishmeal-based food. I'm just going off personal experience, having seen and used both kinds of food, and also the experience of other pond managers.
The catfish won't discriminate between pellet sizes - they're going to open their mouths and swim through the pellets shoveling them in. I would suggest feeding only pellets of a size the bluegill can eat, so they get more pellets. The catfish will keep them at the edge of the area the pellets cover on the water, and if only larger pellets happen to drift into that area, they will go hungry.
Stocked from Scratch. Current bass population is 9"to13". the bass slot would keep the 15" to18"ers.
Cats will be pulled and you are very right on hook shyness as I have read. I would net or trot line the rest if they get hook shy and just restock new 12" after 30 to 40% are caught or culled.
I have read that the growth rate for the fishmeal fed fish is twice the gain but I have not been able to read any studies(independant or otherwise) that specificly state or show the higher growth rate. Have You ? I understand that most of the fish we are talking about are carnivores and convert fishmeal based products better than plant based products. I would also figure that the better conversion rate with fish meal would lower the fish waste to pond load, to some degree. I also have not seen a study on waste reduction either either. Have You ? I am going to use the product anyway, but it would be nice to have a study or two on it.
I will be using a smaller size pellet for the coppernose and a larger for the catfish.
By the way I forgot to say that there is no gravel in the pond. It is a red clay pond with roll plastic in the bed area with large flat rock and 6 treated wood bed boxes that will be filled with large grain sand in those bed areas. The clay will work for coppernose beds but the sand will be better.
200 is a good low number - were there any bluegill already in the pond or did you stock it from scratch? If you started from scratch and only put 200, that's a good number to start. If big bluegill are the goal, don't keep any bass unless it's 18" or better. If you do it right, within four or five years 99% of the bass will be 14" or less, and they'll keep your bluegill well-thinned so that the remaining bluegill grow many times larger than they would in more crowded conditions.
I would suggest keeping every catfish you catch as they are renowned for quickly becoming extremely hook-shy, and you end up with dozens of ten-pound catfish that won't bite but are happy to eat most of the pellets, thereby slowing the growth of the bluegill.
If you want big bluegill, start now with a high-protein, fishmeal-based food. Your coppernose will grow twice as fast on it as they would on grain-based food.
I have, in addition to the 200+ bluegill that will be controlled with slot, 100 redear, 50 bass that will be controlled with slot, and 69 channel cat that will be controlled by size/weight and controlled spawn(s). All this control, in a fluxing pond biology, is somewhat doable, I hope, or I will try.
Feed types/rates too, as well as water chemistry will need to be managed as well. Too much for some, but a life long desired fun project for me.
Pulling catfish out at 2.5 to 3Lbs as well as slots for Coppernose and Bass. Over three pound Bass and catfish can cause predation issues but throwing back the largest and best of breed coppernose and catching too large catfish and bass should help the overall balance. I do want large Coppernose and some smaller 2 to 3 Lbs cats and bass for the kids to have several species to catch.
As well with feeding program that can be adjusted to help grow the coppernose to a large size, the smaller cats and bass should have limited predation on the large coppernose IMHO.
I have plans to switch the feed type from a plant based protein to a quality fish meal higher protein and sized for the coppernose mostly and the larger pellet for the catfish.
I hope the management plan,with your and other suggestions on areation etc., will have the positive affects I am looking for.
No doubt this new project will take several years to control and modify. I am flexable and consider many factors before I make moves. The members here have many practical experiances and I appreciate all their (your) knowledge and what all of you have learned from TSHK's.
A couple other thoughts, Mike: if big bluegill are your goal for the pond, you don't want a high poundage of fish per acre. If big bass are the goal, then you would want as many small and intermediate bluegill as you can cram in there - but if you're after big bluegill, you want low numbers of bluegill, and no forage species other than bluegill (no tilapia, no shiners, no shad, etc.) in the pond. What were your stocking numbers again, and species? If I remember correctly, your numbers were pretty reasonable as far as bluegill; I can't remember what other species you stocked.
The other suggestion would be to minimize, if possible, areas of gravel in the pond, if your goal is big bluegill. Spawning areas for bluegill are great if big bass is the goal, because the bluegill will spawn more prolifically; but in a trophy bluegill pond you want them to have as little spawning success as possible. Lower numbers means less competition for food, which translates to much bigger bluegill.
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