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FatBoy

is this a healthy bass?

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I've been asking several questions about a farm pond I've been fishing.  I catch a lot of 10-14" bass but not bigger, even though I know there are bigger ones in there (cause I've seen em when other people have caught em  ;) ).  Someone (sorry, forgot who) suggested that the bass may be overpopulated in this pond and not particularly healthy.   Becuase there's not enough forage to go around, maybe the majority of the fish are stunted around this 12" size.  Since these are the vast majority of fish I've been catching, I dunno if they're healthy or not.  But I figure you guys will know!  

So, this is a typical fish.  This one is about exactly 12".  I know the pic is low quality, but I was taking the pic myself at dusk.  Anyway, is this fish healthy and well proportioned or skinny?  

Thanks!

post-5275-130163004986_thumb.jpg

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I just watched a show on OLN a couple of days ago about this same thing and their example of a unhealthy bass looked exactly like that one. You do the math.

What they said you should do is start looking at the length of the bottom part of the fish if it is longer and skinny than it is most likely unhealthy and you want to keep the short and stout ones that have nice big bellies. They took these type of fish out of the pond...

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I read an article once were they had a backward tournament, They pulled fish under 12" out and the big ones were left. If a lake can only support a certain poundage of fish then it makes more sense to have 100 10 pounders than 1000 1 pounders. To me I really don't care; a bass is a bass. 1 pound or 25 pounds I just love those little scoundrels. I'm not telling you to take the 1 pounders and throw them on shore, but maybe just start eating the ones under 12 ". The more bass you take out under 12" the more food for the big guys. Just a thought.

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It's definitely got that Head and Tail disease ...... where the head grows too close to the tail ;D ;D ;D

If you have another body of water near you, you could transfer some of the smaller ones there.  But you might want to check with your DNR about that.

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It's definitely got that Head and Tail disease ...... where the head grows too close to the tail ;D ;D ;D

If you have another body of water near you, you could transfer some of the smaller ones there. But you might want to check with your DNR about that.

lol bill dance says that about 3lbers.

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It's definitely got that Head and Tail disease ...... where the head grows too close to the tail

I like that...very funny!  Of course, it's funnier when you're talking about someone else's fish!   ;D

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I caught a fish that was barely keeper size(14 inches)the other day.  And it was really skinny and particualy weighed nothing.  It just gets frustrating when I catch stubby 12-13 fish all the time and catch skinny 14 inch fish that weigh less.

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Thanks, Ken.  But by healthy, I don't mean disease free or anything like that.  I just meant well proportioned.  Is this what a typical 12" bass should look like or does the belly seem small for the length?  Or can't you tell?  

Sorry for the newbie question...

Thanks!  

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I'm no fish and game agent but generally, I've always understood that if you're catching numerous fish of this size and the lake only has a very small population of large bass the lake is out of balance.  Usually the lake will also have a small population of bluegill that are large.  You can start by keeping these small bass to eat or tossing them into the woods.  A healthy lake will have a good balance of bass in all sizes. The bluegill population should be the same.  Only an experienced F&G guy can tell you the best recourse of action, in my state (Missouri) they'll come out to your pond for free and give you advice.

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Catch a bunch of the smaller ones (if allowed), keep em, give them to the amish folks, they'll eat em!! ;D

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I'm no fish and game agent but generally, I've always understood that if you're catching numerous fish of this size and the lake only has a very small population of large bass the lake is out of balance. Usually the lake will also have a small population of bluegill that are large. You can start by keeping these small bass to eat or tossing them into the woods. A healthy lake will have a good balance of bass in all sizes. The bluegill population should be the same. Only an experienced F&G guy can tell you the best recourse of action, in my state (Missouri) they'll come out to your pond for free and give you advice.

What he said. Good solid advice.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I agree, eat them or toss in the woods for raccoons to eat. The head is too large for body size. The poor thing is barely surviving (or is full of worms), meaning all the bass in there are suffering. I wouldn't get into moving those to another pond unless you own the pond. Even then you might be importing a virus or parasite.

Jim

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Thanks, Ken. But by healthy, I don't mean disease free or anything like that. I just meant well proportioned. Is this what a typical 12" bass should look like or does the belly seem small for the length? Or can't you tell?

Sorry for the newbie question...

Thanks!

Thats what I was saying...there isn't a soul who would be able to tell whether its healthy or not by looking at a flat picture.  A 12 inch bass will generally weigh just under 1 pound.  If I HAD to make any sort of judgement from that picture..I would say that its not too far off from that and would not feel confident in saying otherwise.  Like I said though, without an accurate scale to weigh it and without knowing the general growth rate in your area and all that kinda stuff that helps fisheries biologists and pond managers make there decisions, theres not much of a way to tell.  

Cart7 offered some more good advice by mentioning having someone from fish and wildlife look at your pond if you're concerned.  Using angling as a way of population sampling would take several years to compile the right kind of data to determine what situation you're dealing with.  

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http://www.ifishillinois.org/science/species/LMB_spec.htm

I found that for you.  It may provide a LITTLE bit more information for you to start judging growth rate and proper sizing of the fish you catch.  Just remember that its a general weight..and the actual weight of your fish may vary depending on when it last ate, that kinda stuff.

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I fish a pond that is choked up with weeds so bad that the bass have trouble finding food. There are also too many in there. Every bass in it looks like the one in your picture. When you hold one it feels like you are holding a crappie because their mouths are so thin with week jaw.

The fish in this pond are starving. It is nothing to go there and catch fifty in an hour on a fly rod. But it kind of makes me feel like I'm taking advantage of them because they're so hungry.

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Thanks to everybody.  I don't think I have the nerve/guts to throw the fish on the bank.  I do like the idea of having someone from the DNR take a look, though.  I'll check into that.  

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we  have a couple of farm ponds that are like that.  and most of the fish look like that.  they have heads that are too big for the rest of their body.  i have started taking all of those fish out that i catch.  everylthing that is under 1lb or so i keep and eat.  that way there is more food for the rest so they can grow.

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Jim meantioned that the bass might be full of worms. Why don't you keep one of those skinny guys and clean it and see what you find. Now maybe that bass just spawned and has that post spawn gaunt look but I have a feeling that the pond is having trouble supporting the population. I'm guess that it might do that pond some good to thin things out a little. Some may have to die for the good of the overall population. If they aren't infested with worms it might be time for a good old fashioned fish fry.

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if you have like a lil creek that leaves the pond that has a lil deep are put the pass there maybe it will go downstream and find another part of water to live..or it also has a chance to get eaten by raccoons...

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Take one of the fish (legal keeper size) to either a marine biologist at your local college or to a DNR office.  Explain your experiences and let them make the call.  They might be well aware of a stunt situation in this particular pond and could advise you accordingly.

If they are not aware, you may be doing them a great service by bringing the awareness to the table.   This pond could also be affecting others nearby.  You have nothing to lose and lots to gain.

Good luck, keep us posted.

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Sir catch alot, It is not a good Idea to put the bass in the creek. Almost every creek I've seen has had at least a small population of bass. So doing this could infect other bass if the bass you release have something. It is actually illegal to do that here. Those creeks connect to just about every thing.

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Fatboy

I think the advice to get the opinion of a pro. is a very good. If that lake is in Il. you probably won't have much trouble getting a fish biologist to make some recommendations. I have a good friend with a nice lake on his property, that he carefully manages. Keeping a lake in ballance requires some work, but the results are worth the effort. One thing that he was told told makes a lot of sense: A lake will generally support a certain number of lbs. of fish per acre; the distibution in size and species may vary, but the overall weight is fairly constant.

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