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I fish a a small lake 72 acres. In 2005 it was drained.they say that the only bass stocking they did was to put the larger bass back in around 25 2-4pounder they stocked bluegills and walleye. Nowadays I can go out and catch 8-9” gills so I know there doing well but the bass are all 12” and tons of them I can catch 75 in a few hours. It’s only fun if you go MLF style with a friend. It’s been like this for 5 years that I’ve been fishing it. they never seem to grow. Every once and a while I’ll catch a 4 pounder but it’s very rare. And the little ones will eat anything no matter how big the lure which makes me think that they are starving. There is a 14” min so keeping some is out. Plus they don’t allowe live fish for Bait so there is no minnows or shad for them to feed on. Just wondering if anyone else has any idea why their all so small 

 

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25 bass to start a 72 acre pond that was stocked with bluegill. Not enough bass for the bluegill so they eventually took over I'd imagine. That allowed them to grow big, which disallowed future bass to prey on them, stunting bass growth and increasing bluegill growth.

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Back in the 70's, when I was a meat fishing bush hippie, I gained access to a similar body of water - similar sized and filled with 10" to 12" bass.  I was in heaven,  I was encouraged to catch & keep all the little bass I wanted and I did.

100 fish days, while not common, happened every so often.  30 to 50 fish days happened all the time.  I got real good at fishing 3/16 oz Brewer Sliders on 6 lb test.  There were a couple of other guys who had access to this water.  After 6 or 7 years average size improved some.  Every 6 or 7 fish a 15" to 18" keeper would happen and one nasty spring morning I caught 2 that were in the 23" range.

 

My advice for this body of water is to get into meat fishing.  Catch & keep & eat.  Little bass taste good.  Over time average size will improve.

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My guess is the bluegill and walleye are cleaning house in terms of available food. I'd start keeping every walleye and bass in that 14-16" range. The bass must be stunted from over population and not enough food to help them grow any bigger. If possible, talk to whoever is in charge of that body of water about either stocking some sort of baitfish or allowing you to keep some 10-13" bass. 

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Do the fish you catch look healthy & do they have full guts or do they all look skinny?

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They’re skinny. And I’ve talked to the grounds keeper he thinks that there healthy so nothing is going to change. And as far as keepers go I get maybe 3-4 a year. Plus I really don’t like fish unless it’s tuna from a can. 

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11 hours ago, FishOn!GetTheNet said:

There is a 14” min so keeping some is out.

 

5 hours ago, Fishes in trees said:

My advice for this body of water is to get into meat fishing.  Catch & keep & eat.

I agree that would likely be the solution, but the problem is it's not an option.

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Yes. Bluegill got really big and are competing with bass for the same minnows. You're right. They aren't growing because they're eating very little. If it's public, there's not much you can do. You can only take your legal limit. That minimum size is exactly the opposite of what they should encourage people to do. They need to persecute the dinks and always leave the big gals. If it's managed by the state, you can probably speak with a DNR biologist about them doing a shock study. They might remove some.

 

My buddy's pond is like this, and we keep everything there. The fish bellies are concaved sometimes. The fish are desperate and will bite just about anything. They're starving. I've caught 50 in a couple hours there before. And the bluegill have shoulders.

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Tell us more about the lake.  Public?  Private?  Who sets the regs?

 

25 bass to restock a 72 acre lake is WAY too low and the bluegill have taken over for sure.  There may be a ton more bass now, but they will never have enough food due to the competition from large gills.  There is a lot more information in the lake management section of this site (linked below).  But if you can't get buy-in from who controls the lake, it is a lost cause.  P.S. I help manage a private 53 acre lake, but I still have a lot to learn.  

 

A few options:

1. Aggressive removal of dinks for the dinner plate.  Just to keep ours in check, the local biologist advised us to remove 1,000 lbs of bass per year from our lake (your lake would be slightly more).  We remove everything in the 10"-15" range unless it is an absolute football-shaped stud.  Since already overcrowded, you could probably double that figure easily.  

 

2. Aggressive stocking of bait fish.  This may just be a temporary treatment unless it is continual, which makes it costly too.  To be honest, the current fish may be too stunted to ever recover, but some could eventually make it better.  

 

3. Stock new bass from different gene pools.  I would only do this after 1 and 2 have been implemented for a while, but you will eventually need to supplement the genetics in the water to get better quality fish.  

 

4. Talk to a local fisheries biologist for suggestions and stocking/recovery plan. 

 

5.  Wipe out the whole fish population and start over correctly.  This is by far not the most popular option, but sometimes it can be the only option.  It will take years to grow large bass afterward, but the rewards can be worth it.  The problem here is, if it isn't managed correctly, you'll be right back in the same boat (pun intended).  Stocking plans vary by your goals and the amount of work you want to do or money you want to spend, it must be researched thoroughly before beginning.  

 

https://www.bassresource.com/lake-management/

 

Also check out the pond boss forum, they are the real pros.  

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2 hours ago, FishOn!GetTheNet said:

They’re skinny. And I’ve talked to the grounds keeper he thinks that there healthy so nothing is going to change. And as far as keepers go I get maybe 3-4 a year. Plus I really don’t like fish unless it’s tuna from a can. 

If it's private water & you can not convince the owners/management to cull some of the stunted bass your are screwed. If it's public you need to gather support from other fisherman & lobby the dnr about the problem. The bass population can't become healthy until the excess bass are removed. Most of the time catch & release does not work for ponds or small lakes because of overpopulation & subsequent starving of the general population.  

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It’s a Lyon county conservation park. 20$ annual pass fishing,camping,swimming and archery and every one I talk to likes it they just think time is going to make it better. I’m thinking that it’s not going to change 

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1 hour ago, FishOn!GetTheNet said:

It’s a Lyon county conservation park. 20$ annual pass fishing,camping,swimming and archery and every one I talk to likes it they just think time is going to make it better. I’m thinking that it’s not going to change 

Yep, won't change without action, and a lot of it! Good luck convincing them.  The least they could do is have a professional fisheries biologist come out and do an electroshock survey and prove to them they have a problem.  

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Does this small lake have a year around steam entering and exiting?

Walleye are fish eating predators that  spawn in moving water if possible and without a stream will not have any recruitment, continue to grow by eating young of the year fish. Have you ever caught a walleye?

You should have a few big bass brood stock that continue to spawn producing more bass. Over populated  predators are a problem if the outnumber the prey source. 

Whoever is managing this lake needs to electro shock survey the fish population to determine what is going on.

Tom 

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Sounds like there's a hole, or a bottleneck, in the food chain for those bass. 8-9in 'gills are too big for the vast majority of bass to tackle and eat. With 'gills that size, they should be reproducing pretty effectively, meaning there should be prey-sized 'gills for upcoming bass. Unless, they are either eating them all up, or... they can't get to them. Is there a lot of dense vegetation by any chance?

 

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WRB.   Yes I’ve caught 2 walleye. And yes there’s a very small creek feeding it but not enough for walleye to spawn.                      Paul Roberts yes it’s got massive weeds most of the bays will be solid weeds by late to mid summer 

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