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For those of you who have owned/managed ponds with overpopulated bass, how many bass did you have to take out before seeing a notable decrease in the population I have been removing bass from our overpopulated 2 acre pond but am worried about taking out too many as well as what I should be looking for in the ones I remove.

 

Al

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I think you need to supply more data about the pond for responses.

 

Average size of bass. How many?

 

Other species of fish in pond along with average sizes.

 

Probably wouldn't hurt to list what the food sources are while your at it.

 

 

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Keep all the fish under 1.5lbs and by next year you'll see the size and quality of your fish improve

 

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27 minutes ago, kenmitch said:

I think you need to supply more data about the pond for responses.

 

Average size of bass. How many?

 

Other species of fish in pond along with average sizes.

 

Probably wouldn't hurt to list what the food sources are while your at it.

 

 

Yeah, sorry I should have been more specific. The pond is really fertile, you can catch bass all day with a wacky worm. Loads of cover because of beaver problems in the past. The average bass size is probably around 10 inches. Bass aren’t very skinny but they aren’t fat and healthy. Been fishing the past 3 days and biggest one was maybe 1.5-2. No more big fish that I know about, used to be a 5 pounder but I saw her floating one day. Bluegill pop. is lots of 5”-6” gills too big for most of the bass to eat. Cut open stomachs of some bass I’ve removed showed small yoy bluegill and some insects. I want to add a supplemental forage species but the winters are too cold for any threadfins. Maybe golden shiners?

 

@NittyGrittyBoy By that method I’d remove every bass I’ve caught minus one. Does that work in your experience or not?

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Think of your pond in terms of carrying capacity, average is about 30 lbs of bass per acre.

Bass population should be about 25% of the total fish weight combined.

Without knowing the approximate total poundage of fish in the pond it's difficult to give you any advice other then removing as many 8" to 10" bass as posible to start with.

Doing a electro shock survey is the best method to determine what is in the pond and the total fish weight.

Tom

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The bass sound like they have plenty to eat already, you just have an overabundance of small aggresive fish taking food away from larger more lethargic fish. Start removing a few at a time and go from there. 

 

Start with smaller fish as well, around 12" 

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20 lbs/acre/year is a rule of thumb for harvesting. But if it's way out of balance, then you'd need to take more. You need to feed the bluegills before and during spawn so they spawn more and make more eggs. Then your bass will have another small forage. It's really hard for just a few people to keep enough bass to keep it in balance and stunted bass populations in ponds are extremely common. I have 4 small ponds (under 5 acres) that I frequently fish. Only one has really big, or even a healthy average size bass in it. One of the others has a concrete weir type spillway and it sometimes floods and loses some fish. It has a better average than the other two ponds. They're just full of dinks. Those bass have bellies that look concaved. Keep everything you catch unless it's a trophy or even a trophy in the making. Invite others over to keep what they catch. Short of the shocking survey/removal, that's the best thing you can do.

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1 hour ago, the reel ess said:

20 lbs/acre/year is a rule of thumb for harvesting. But if it's way out of balance, then you'd need to take more. You need to feed the bluegills before and during spawn so they spawn more and make more eggs. Then your bass will have another small forage. It's really hard for just a few people to keep enough bass to keep it in balance and stunted bass populations in ponds are extremely common. I have 4 small ponds (under 5 acres) that I frequently fish. Only one has really big, or even a healthy average size bass in it. One of the others has a concrete weir type spillway and it sometimes floods and loses some fish. It has a better average than the other two ponds. They're just full of dinks. Those bass have bellies that look concaved. Keep everything you catch unless it's a trophy or even a trophy in the making. Invite others over to keep what they catch. Short of the shocking survey/removal, that's the best thing you can do.

^^This.  We remove (or try to) 20 lbs/acre/year as stated on ours and could probably stand to do more to get some really good size trophies.  Is that your goal, to have trophy size or just larger bass?  If you really want to get technical, contact a fisheries biologist and ask about the electric shock survey.  

 

I also weigh and measure my catch (especially ones I remove) and keep a running log to determine overall health of the population.  What you do with this is determine the relative weight.  There's an article in the lake management section of this site that details that further.  Fish Wr Value.docx The attached document sums it up.  

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Thanks everyone for the advice, I’ll be removing nearly all of the bass I catch from now on except for some of the nicer ones. I’m not looking to grow a 10 pounder but would just like to have chances at multiple quality 3-4 pound fish each time I go fishing. I think that I’m going to try to establish golden shiners as a supplemental species that will also hopefully help keep the bass pop. down. I’ll continue updating in the future.

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Look up Bob Lusk The Pond Boss.

Tom

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I wish I knew the answer. I shade tree managed a half dozen ponds on the farm I worked on for 20 years.

 

The ponds that already had bass in them when I got there were an uphill struggle from day one. I removed bass, I added bluegills, golden shiners, cover, and crayfish, and it seemed like I could never grow big fish in those ponds. Even with "management" I could only get the average size fish up to healthy looking 12"-14" fish (slightly better than the hordes of 10" skinny fish before I started) and once in a blue moon would get a 3-4lb fish out of those ponds.

 

Now, on the ponds that were built, and I could start from scratch with, using the same bluegill/crayfish/shiner recipe, I could grow bigger fish. The key was getting the forage base established first. I would stock the bluegills in the first fall after the pond was built, let them have one unmolested spawn cycle, then would add 12"-14" bass in low numbers after the first bluegill spawn. Within two years those 12" fish grew in leaps and bounds, and really really fast for northern bass. I am talking from 12" one lb fish at stocking, to 4 lbs in two years. I also had a good mix of small forage sized bluegills for the bass to eat, a lot of medium sized ones for table fare for myself, and some real bruiser trophy sized bluegills. Last I checked these ponds, mother nature was taking care of it on her own. There was a still a nice mix of the above mentioned sized gills, plus the bass ranged from 1-6 lbs, and looked well fed and healthy. I have not been to these ponds in at least 5 years, so I have no idea how the long term balance has worked out.

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