Largemouth bass limits & thinning on ponds?

Discussion in 'Fishing General' started by Sligh1, May 19, 2020.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I went through regs.... can’t find it. I know I don’t need license but I have one anyways - for pond on my land. I am not a great fish manager & few questions.....
    some existing ponds- full of stunted bass. Tons of them. Some are “every cast” type of thing. Like- IMO- every bass caught needs to come out. Except the rare & few jumbo bass in there. Is there a limit?
    Say a pond with few bluegill but SOME or some ponds we want to get other fish in that’s all bass ... 1-2 acre ponds.... is there a number anyone could guess of how many bass are in there? I mean- 8” to 15” - I am almost wondering if it’s in the THOUSANDS. But not quite sure. My gut tells me the ponds over run.... pull em out non stop and put in full size bluegills, etc when bass are finally thinned down. I’ve been adding structure & small fish hiding places in the ponds. It’s pull em out or start over. Think its possible to get enough out? & any guesses on how many that could be?!?! How would u handle & would u keep throwing in shiners to keep pressure off or what else? Fish like lunatic, pull them out + add other species or get the dynamite out & start over?!? Any tips appreciated!
     
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  3. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I have seen a few ponds in my day jammed with little bass. If you have too many bass like that, they seem to top out at 8"-10", with the very occasional 3+ pounder. At least two times in my memory we deliberately "fished down" ponds full of little bass and got them back to a balanced situation. I would say in both cases those ponds were about an acre, maybe a little bigger. Working from memory...I think we would get like 30-40 fish apiece in about an hour and kept them all out. I can't remember for sure, but it seems like we did this 5 or 6 times. So...roughly 400-600 bass were removed before we were back to something that we felt like was a balance.

    I normally don't harvest bass from ponds, but in this case we did and a 9" bass makes a decent sized filet. Depending on how hard you want to work at it, you may be able to fish it down yourself. But another idea is to invite some friends over for a fishing derby. Last one to get 30 bass gets thrown in the lake. :) You could call it the "Covid Classic". :)
     
  4. Elvis188

    Elvis188 PMA Member

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    When we get a pond full of small bass we catch all we can and put the in 5 gallon buckets with water and transfer them to an un-stocked pond and dump them in. I remember one pond we stocked this way that had no bass in it only channel cats. The pond was about five acres. Ten years later we were catching bass as big as nine pounds from those stunted fish we moved.
     
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  5. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Coon bait....
     
  6. jkratz5

    jkratz5 Super Moderator

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    You could have the state come and assess it for you. We did this here in Indiana and they told us how many we should remove in order to get the pond managed appropriately. Bass have been getting bigger since!
     
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  7. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I am not sure if the Iowa DNR would come and assess a private pond or not. But that suggestion reminded me of another option. These guys are in east central Iowa but I know travel to electrofish ponds, so they may come your way if you hire them. I know they are well regarded, but I have not used their services, so I am just going off of word of mouth.

    https://www.bjpond.com/
     
  8. lunker99

    lunker99 Active Member

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    Good advice so far. Get a group together, keep enough to have a few good sized fish fries, repeat as necessary till you get catch rate down where you would like it. Get your adult bluegill in ASAP so they can get a spawn off in there this year. Should start seeing results in a couple of years if you're on the right track.
     
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  9. scottonbuck

    scottonbuck Active Member

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    Break out the filet knife and start pulling them out. One sign of it being overpopulated is no signs of frogs or tadpoles in the pond.
     
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  10. 6x6

    6x6 PMA Member

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    Great point James!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Is Bass good? Y'all eat it? I've never had it. Growing up in Michigan the idea of eating bass was sort of taboo with an abundance of trout, salmon, walleye, etc.
     
  12. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    We ate some. Really good. But I soaked in salt water & then coated with egg & rolled in crushed crackers & cooked in high temp peanut oil for short time.

    Side note- my wife sent pic of fish with “caught dinner” to her friends. They wrote back “what kinda fish are those?” They know nothing about fish & I wrote back on her phone when she wasn’t looking “these are South American piranhas! They accidentally got released in there we saw them devour a Racoon & deer that got in too deep. Scary!” ;)

    looking into shocking ponds & guys getting lots bass out. Gonna shuffle bluegill, etc & stock as needed. Thx on replies so far!
     
  13. jkratz5

    jkratz5 Super Moderator

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    Good point. We had the DNR and the Purdue University look at ours here. It is private but I am not sure if other states would do this or not. Was a good education for sure

    Kratz
     
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  14. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    Bass isn't bad IMO, but the species that you listed, and I would also add crappie and even catfish to that list, are more preferable since the flesh is a little firmer, etc. I have seen "mushy" bass meat...but if you know you are going to eat them, throw them in a cooler filled with ice right after catching them and filet them before they warm up and you will be fine IMO.
     
  15. Grubby

    Grubby Member

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    I have always wondered if throwing ONE big flathead in a stunted pond would work. Not sure how many they would eat in a day, week, etc.
     
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  16. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    I know a couple of people that have thrown either a flathead or two OR a northern or two in their pond. Both will consume stunted bass...but then the challenge is catching the predators out of there once you get back to a place where the bass, or bluegills, are in balance.
     
  17. rutnstrut

    rutnstrut PMA Member

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    Get them out... Man Id just keep putting more in. Id much rather catch and eat flathead and pike, just dont see much around here in ponds
     
  18. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    My recollection was that the "stockers" of said predatory fish then became concerned that there were few fish to be caught...presumably because the apex predators had cleaned the table. :) I guess it is all about what you want in your pond.
     

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