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Lanier Sealy

Predator fish

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I am the owner of a 34 acre pond, but our ratio (mainly the size of bass too many small ones) of different species of fish is way out of whack. Like its getting out of hand. What good predator fish can we put in to take out most of the small fish such as crappie, bream, small bass. Call me crazy but I need to take action I fish there quite a bit but I need something to put a big dent in it. Keep in mind I'm only doing this to get the big boys back as they are struggling with how many small fish eating all the bait fish. I'm located near Atlanta Georgia. 30 minutes south to be exact.

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My first suggestion is you predate them yourself.  If that's not an option then I'm out of suggestions...

So after some quick math, I guess that would be my only suggestion...

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Our local DNR uses big catfish for the same problem. There are only so many small fish a catfish can eat. If it were me and it was my pond, I'd scatter food on the same spot on the pond every day for a week or two. Once the fish become accustomed to being fed every day, they will gather at that spot waiting to be fed. A friend of mine had a bug zapper that collected hundreds of dead bugs every day. He'd use the collected bugs to feed the fish in his pond. All he had to do was stomp his feet next to the pond and the fish would come to him. Once you have them where you want them, throw a cast net right after you feed them. Remove the fish you don't want in the pond, and throw back the ones you want to keep. Repeat as needed.

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I would do it but I'm only one person. Plus me being a full time student, and work full time as well doesn't exactly give me too much time. One man vs unknown number of fish isn't exactly the best outcome for that scenario. Multiple still the same thing. 

Scott F you just came up with a brilliant idea! I'll definelty use it as well! 

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Blue cats or flat heads

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A general rule of thumb if you want to keep the pond healthy with a good size range of bass.  You need to remove about 25-35 lbs. per acre of bass per year.  I try to remove most between 10-15 inches on mine.  I take friends fishing and make a sport of it (good eating too).  We also have one guy who pays a fee to fish it every year and knows the rules about what to remove.  Once you fix the problem, it will take constant maintenance (removal of bass) to keep it from happening again, it's not just a one-time fix.  Mine is a little overcrowded right now, but I'm working on building some trophy size bass one fish at a time.  

The articles in this section: http://www.bassresource.com/lake-management/ have been an invaluable resource for me when researching how to take care of my pond (which is 53 acres).  

Blue cats were originally stocked in our pond in 1996, not sure if they spawned or not and are still in there, haven't caught one yet, but haven't really tried.  Only problem is they can sometimes get too big and take bigger bass.  The smallest bass become a food source for the big bass and we cull the biggest eaters in the middle range.  

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Hybrid Striped Bass would be my call.

 

HSB would be your best bet as they won't reproduce in your pond and they can take out pretty much all the smaller fish like juvenile sunnies and small bass.

The main problems with catfish is that once flatties and blue cats get big, they will eat anything and everything in your pond, including your trophy largemouth and crappie/panfish. Additionally, without proper management, I've heard stories of blue cats reproducing in large ponds which is the last thing you want.

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If I still lived in Atlanta I'd be more than happy to come down every weekend to help cull some fish!  This sounds like a fun problem to have though, good luck with your pond!

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