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Jan 23rd, 2013
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A little pond management... #13408787 01/18/20 08:38 PM
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Meadowlark Online Content OP
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and a whole lot of fun.

If you own a pond, manage a pond, or fish other's ponds, you probably know the importance of removing small bass...so you can grow big bass over 10 pounds. These were taken out this morning and several over 20 inches were released.

Small bass are a lot of fun on light tackle...and on a fly rod are an absolute blast. So it doesn't have to be a pain to remove the small ones....just go light.

I remove all up to 14 inches and release anything over 14 inches...except the trout and that's a special case.

Rainbow trout are perfect bass food...and pond owners can purchase them for forage from the same folks that provided T, P, &W the trout for their stocking program. Crystal Lakes out of SW Missouri has brought me rainbows for many years...and definitely will help you grow 10+ pound bass....but they are also fantastic eating for us humans also.

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Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13409001 01/19/20 01:35 AM
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Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13412987 01/22/20 07:36 PM
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How much are the rainbow trout?

Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13413753 01/23/20 01:59 PM
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How deep are your ponds, Meadowlark?

One of the reports created by a lake management outfit for the private lake I live on said 10 pounds was about the limit on LMB in our lake. Too far south with not the required depth to produce the true monster bass. Warm water speeds up metabolism and shortens life spans, that’s the gist of it. Interesting too as I’ve never heard of a credible 10+ pound bass being caught here. Some 8-9 pound fish, but no ten pounders.

My dad has a couple of ponds in Colorado that he has stocked periodically with rainbow trout. I guess a chilled water truck comes and dumps them in. I know he can order different sized fish with the larger fish costing more. He’s at 8,600 feet asl and the fish would grow to over 20” up there not dying off in the summer from warm water. Fishing for those got me on fly fishing to begin with and now I fly fish for LMB, crappie, and all the rest. Largemouth bass are my favorite freshwater fly fishing target, just for the fun jumps they do.

Last edited by karstopo; 01/23/20 01:59 PM.
Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13413898 01/23/20 03:34 PM
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Karstopo,

I have 5 ponds that range in max depth from about 5 ft in one pond to about 15 ft in the largest, deepest pond. The largest, deepest pond is the one I manage for raising bass over 10 lbs. I agree that warm waters speed up metabolism and shorten life spans of fish in general, but big bass can be found from Wisconsin to Mexico and everywhere in between.

It is very difficult to raise bass over an honest 10 pounds in ponds....and almost as difficult to catch them. Biologists tell me it takes 10 pounds of forage fish to add 1 pound of weight to a bass. So even under ideal conditions of metabolism and life span, you have to have abundant forage to produce big bass. Ten pounds of forage fish split among 100 bass doesn't go very far and hence the need/requirement to remove all small bass in a big bass pond.

Even removing small bass isn't enough in most ponds to produce big bass relying on just the bass/bluegill cycle. Supplemental forage is required. My trophy bass pond has received Tilapia stocking every spring without fail since I built it and stocked it with bass. They are the most cost effective source of supplemental forage I have found....but they do leave a "gap" of supplemental forage from about Dec. to March each year. Rainbows can fill that gap very successfully and considerably lessen the pressure on your bluegill base. However, they are expensive and hence I don't stock them every year...only when I notice that supplemental forage is needed.

Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13414273 01/23/20 07:47 PM
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Good information. What I remember reading was a pond or lake needs to be about 18-20 feet or more this far south to raise bigger bass. Something about cooler waters, dissolved oxygen, bass metabolism and life span, etc. Of course, a lot of the famous big bass reservoirs in Texas and elsewhere are pretty deep, certainly over 20 feet at least in part.

That 10 pounds forage to one pound of bass was something that I’ve also heard. We’ve periodically added bluegills and tilapia. Most of the tilapia died off a couple of winters ago, but there’s still a remnant population. This winter has been so mild here the tilapia haven’t even gotten sluggish. We’ve also had the recommendation to remove smaller bass. We’ve added a lot of structure, Christmas trees and those PVC type, to give the bluegill a fighting chance of escaping the bass. We’ve got too many channel cats and I’ve added a few of those to my compost bins. One thing is clear, these little water bodies are constantly changing.

The year the tilapia died by the hundreds in cold water, the Bass were really fat that early spring. My daughter caught a 9 pound largemouth, I got an 8 a few days later. My buddy had one on that we thought was a 10, but it came off right at the boat. I’d love to see a 10 plus pound happen here. Maybe February will be cold and the tilapia will get sluggish and the bass fatten up on those. A female loaded with eggs and recently gorged on tilapia could crack 10.

Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13414326 01/23/20 08:47 PM
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Our lake at our ranch is 15-16 acres with Max Depth of 40ft. When the lake was built it was stocked with Coppernose Bluegills, Red Ears, Fathead minnows, Shinners, and Threadfins. These fish had 3 yrs to get established. We also add shad every spring. In the 4th yr we stocked with Camelot Bell LMB. The last 2 yrs we started removing bass 15" or smaller ( around 600 total) this yr going to try to take around 1000. Last spring I caught 3 bass over 10lbs and numerous in the 7-9 lb range. So far it is working

Re: A little pond management... [Re: BrandoA] #13415051 01/24/20 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BrandoA
Our lake at our ranch is 15-16 acres with Max Depth of 40ft. When the lake was built it was stocked with Coppernose Bluegills, Red Ears, Fathead minnows, Shinners, and Threadfins. These fish had 3 yrs to get established. We also add shad every spring. In the 4th yr we stocked with Camelot Bell LMB. The last 2 yrs we started removing bass 15" or smaller ( around 600 total) this yr going to try to take around 1000. Last spring I caught 3 bass over 10lbs and numerous in the 7-9 lb range. So far it is working


BrandoA- Congratulations on growing 10lb bass bass. You are providing the forage and are aggresive with your harvest. This is one of the more aggressive harvest goals I have seen for a 16 acre lake. Good luck!


Steve Alexander
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Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13415053 01/24/20 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BrandoA
Our lake at our ranch is 15-16 acres with Max Depth of 40ft. When the lake was built it was stocked with Coppernose Bluegills, Red Ears, Fathead minnows, Shinners, and Threadfins. These fish had 3 yrs to get established. We also add shad every spring. In the 4th yr we stocked with Camelot Bell LMB. The last 2 yrs we started removing bass 15" or smaller ( around 600 total) this yr going to try to take around 1000. Last spring I caught 3 bass over 10lbs and numerous in the 7-9 lb range. So far it is working


BrandoA- Congratulations on growing 10lb bass bass. You are providing the forage and are aggresive with your harvest. This is one of the more aggressive harvest goals I have seen for a 16 acre lake. Keep up the good work!


Steve Alexander
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Re: A little pond management... [Re: salex] #13415074 01/24/20 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by salex
Originally Posted by BrandoA
Our lake at our ranch is 15-16 acres with Max Depth of 40ft. When the lake was built it was stocked with Coppernose Bluegills, Red Ears, Fathead minnows, Shinners, and Threadfins. These fish had 3 yrs to get established. We also add shad every spring. In the 4th yr we stocked with Camelot Bell LMB. The last 2 yrs we started removing bass 15" or smaller ( around 600 total) this yr going to try to take around 1000. Last spring I caught 3 bass over 10lbs and numerous in the 7-9 lb range. So far it is working


BrandoA- Congratulations on growing 10lb bass bass. You are providing the forage and are aggresive with your harvest. This is one of the more aggressive harvest goals I have seen for a 16 acre lake. Keep up the good work!


Thank you Steve. Its a goal. May not be able to fill it but thats what I am shooting for

Last edited by BrandoA; 01/24/20 05:17 PM.
Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13428030 02/05/20 04:37 PM
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Thanks. Good info.


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Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13429029 02/06/20 11:02 AM
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I've always wondered how many 10 pound bass we MIGHT raise and never catch or shock up..

Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13474287 03/16/20 09:20 PM
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One side benefit of stocking rainbows for bass forage is that a few of them will grow to sizes that are difficult for bass to swallow. Those can be caught before warm weather and provide great angling and dining experiences. We are eating rainbows tonight and several nights ahead. [Linked Image]

Re: A little pond management... [Re: Meadowlark] #13474649 03/17/20 01:43 AM
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We removed about 15 in the 16-18” this weekend. They will fry up good. Got 300 more to

Re: A little pond management... [Re: karstopo] #13489001 03/26/20 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by karstopo


One of the reports created by a lake management outfit for the private lake I live on said 10 pounds was about the limit on LMB in our lake. Too far south with not the required depth to produce the true monster bass. Warm water speeds up metabolism and shortens life spans, that’s the gist of it. Interesting too as I’ve never heard of a credible 10+ pound bass being caught here. Some 8-9 pound fish, but no ten pounders.



Hey karstopo,

First of all, the genetics of your bass is the primary component that's going to limit their growing potential. Florida strain LMB thrive in warmer climates like yours and grow to freakish size if the conditions are ideal. There are other tricks to getting those double digit bass and "salex" above understands it better than most and has built a business around helping others accomplish the same. Sure..... A five acre lake is going to struggle to produce a 10 pound bass but even then it can be done. Set up a strong supplemental feeding program like others have advised. CNBG, red ear sunfish, flathead minnows and threadfin shad are great additions depending on your situation. How many feeders do you have and what are you feeding? My CNBG are getting freakishly fat and I'm using Optimal Fish Food. Check into it. They do things a bit differently than most. Something else to consider is aeration. Get the dissolved oxygen content up. I've got two diffusers running around the clock in warmer months. Like Meadowlark said..... Rainbow trout are a nice gift to give those bass but I'd be concerned at how far south you are and how long they'd be around. Large sacks of crawfish are a nice way to pack some extra LBs on your girls also.

Did you see what Mike Frazier has done at Camelot? Some biologists recommend 100 bass per acre all the way down to 25 fish per acre depending on your goals. He put in 5 bass per acre which is unheard of. He also monitored water quality religiously and fed the heck out of those bass. My friend Ken caught a 15.5 pounder from there and if I'm not mistaken that has been beaten.

Be sure you're harvest goals are set where they should be. Have an electrofishing survey done to see how many reproductive age BG you've got and what the relative weight is of your existing bass.

You CAN influence the size of what you're catching at your lake. You just need plenty of time, cash and a lot of hard work.

JB


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