Crappie affect on bass
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Posted on Sunday Apr 1, 2012 at 9:14 AM  
I hope you haven't answered this and I missed it, but I've wondered:
What affect on a small lake's bass population does an over-abundance of stunted crappie create?

I fish Sahoma. Lots of small crappie, with a big one here and there.
A decent number of bass, but rarely anthing over a couple of pounds. (in my case anyhow, or from what I see). It is an old impoundment, but this lake is full of shad and lined with grass at normal pool.

Would the removal of stunted crappie significantly help the odds of a healthier black bass population?
Posted on Sunday Apr 1, 2012 at 5:08 PM  
I have a friend who lives on 40 acres in Kidder MO. He has a 6-7 acre pond that is FULL of crappie that averge 11" - 14". Last summer I was using my fly rod and catching a 12" plus fish with every cast. I tried fishing for bass and caught about 20 or 25, and not one was over 10". He said that he has not caught one bass over 12" in the three years he has lived there. Those crappie were eating pretty much anything that swam by them. He is working with the state to get things a little better balanced.
Posted on Sunday Apr 1, 2012 at 8:04 PM  
Put ONE Flathead in :)
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Posted on Sunday Apr 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM  
Sahoma has some nice flatheads or at least did.
I was working the bank one morning at daylight, just tickling the trolling motor and working myself over to an underwater log, barely visible in the available light that comes just before sunrise.
Only it wasn't a log. It was a big flathead and he was a little surprised when my plastic worm landed on him.
I don't know who was startled the most. But he made a beeline under my boat for deeper water.

My boys caught a smaller 13 pounder at the water fall. In fact, they noodled it, or so I was told. I have to wonder now.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 6:23 AM  
Yes, there are flatheads in there. Tom's got a pic of the 60 lber that was caught last year. I don't know how many are there. You'd think the flats would be eating high on the hog and getting FAT, with all the Crappie in there.

I wonder if all the set lines that are in Rock Creek are keeping the population of Flats down?

I was thinking CalOkie might want to drop a Flathead into the pond he mentioned. Just ONE. If you get two, they better both be female or both be male. If you put a breeding pair in there, they might eat everything else.
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Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 6:43 AM  
I'll tell you what Allen. The number of large (and very skinny) crappie in that pond is phenominal. My friend is having some dredging and bank work done, and he is talking to a state biologist about getting the populations balanced. I imagine that flats and grass carp will probably introduced.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM  
I'm interested in this question as well. My brother bought some land 2 yrs ago with a really nice 3 1/2 acre pond on it. I regularly catch dozens of really nice 12"-14" crappie each trip along with some really nice sunfish. When we target bass the average size is 10"-12" bass and over the last 2 years that he has owned this pond the biggest bass caught out of the pond was maybe 15". We have not caught a catfish one.
We are thinking about starting to keep more of the crappie for the fryer and introduce some whiskers along with some fingerling bass???
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 8:12 AM  
The story of your brother's pond sounds exactly like my friend's. I'm now wondering if the large population of crappie limits the food supply and therefore the size of the bass, or if the crappie are keeping the bass population and the food supply down. Either way it appears that a large population of large crappie results in a small to moderate sized population of small bass.
It will be interesting to hear an official opinion on how to remedy this.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 9:26 AM  
Balanced biomass - it works for all lakes or ponds - when you have TOO MANY marbles of one kind in a jar, you have no room for other marbles, crappie will take over most small watersheds, and the result is too much competition for food, you have to REMOVE some of that biomass, then, either by angling or predators to control the overabundance.

LM bass are not efficient predators of crappie, and crappie can result in stunting of bass due to competition for forage, you could introduce larger bass by adding 5-10# bass in small numbers , that would help SOME - you could introduce hybrid striper in small numbers that would also help control,

In pond space more is NOT better, its better to limit species or control them -- usually once a pond is stable and old, unless it is in very fertile, you see some species become dominant - and a lot of times the SOIL the pond is impounded on has a lot to do with production.

What you strive for in all water bodies is a balanced eco-system, with large individuals down to small forage, with each succeeding generation stepping up to take the place of those fish removed or dying of old age --

Unless a pond is over ten acres , I would not stock flathead catfish

What you CAN do to improve a pond is to plant willows, cypress, and habitat improvement, shallow side cut channels dug off the main pond will improve fertility. Additionally you can supplement feed fish with automatic feeders set up around a pond, this will help bluegill and minnows recruitment.

Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 10:31 AM  
Danny, I'll address your questions about Sahoma and then maybe expand a little bit on the crappie in ponds issue.

Some lakes are not great bass lakes...period. Sahoma is not going to be a great bass lake, but it is not because of the crappie. Sure, crappie compete with small bass for food, but with abundant shad available adult bass should have enough food to be healthy. Stunted crappie populations are common in many smallish lakes in OK. Saugeye or hybrid stocking can sometimes help thin the crappie and improve growth, but Sahoma has other issues as well. Wasn't the lake recently drained or drawn way down (within the last 5 years or so)? I seem to recall that the water level has been dramatically fluctuating in the recent past. This makes fisheries management a lot more difficult. I would contact the Jenks ODWC office with specific questions (918-299-2334) but my guess is that even if the crappie were heavily thinned or even eliminated, the lake would never be a high quality bass lake.

Crappie in small water bodies is generally a very bad idea. Most ponds with crappie end up being horribly stunted populations of very small fish (think 5-6 inches). Tony is correct in that ponds with fewer species generally do better and are easier to manage for quality fishing. ODWC recommends most ponds have three species: LM bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. Crappie usually just cause serious problems and do not provide a quality fishery over time.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Thank you Kirk. I appreciate your straight-up answer!
Yes, it was drawn down this past winter.
The bass fishing wasn't great before the drawdown.

This post is also being viewed by the kayak club.
Posted on Monday Apr 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM  
We need some hybrids and saugeye in konawa to get rid of some of those stunted bass.

It really is a shame that there isn't a better management plan for that lake.
Posted on Tuesday Apr 3, 2012 at 9:06 PM  
I can give you two examples of where crappie screwed up a pond... Well that's the way I saw it anyways. Over a 10 year period saw it go from 14" crappie on average to 8" crappie. DatDangGADude saw that as we caught two large baskets literally stuff full of them, after less than 2 hours of fish'n.

I fish two ponds now that have some big crappie in them. Average crappie is about 1.5 pounds. Can count the crappie under a pound I've caught or seen caught on my fingers. Not sure what is keeping them in check. I guess the bass in the pond or catfish? I have no idea, I talked with the TPWD Biologist in Grayson County about it. Interesting stuff... I don't like fishing for crappie much, but I always say KEEP THEM when they come up!

The pond DatDangGADude and I fished had Saugeye, a few BIG flatheads, BIG channel cats (hand fed) and some Hybrids in it. Never caught a hybrid, but none of those fish seemed to hurt the crappie.
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Posted on Wednesday Apr 4, 2012 at 9:05 AM  
There was a strip pit on a place I lived on back in the 80's that was full of small crappie, short and thin. I spent alot of time with my young son catching and pitching those things out of there, many times a hundred or better in an outing, never caught one that was big enough for the table, but evidently I did some good because I was told later on about folks catching some nice crappie out of that pit.

We had a pond ruined back in my pup days with an old fella that we let fish...he'd catch stunted crappie out of Claremore lake and put them in the pond, all we ever caught after that was small crappie and small bass.
Posted on Wednesday Apr 4, 2012 at 5:15 PM  
Before last year's drought, there was a local pond with a population of crappie about the size and thickness of a playing card. When nothing else was biting, a buddy and me would go catch a bunch and fillet them. Granted, it took 20 or more fish to make one guy a meal, but they tasted might fine. Plus, I got some great practice with my fillet knife.
Posted on Sunday Apr 8, 2012 at 12:48 AM  
Good read and food info fellas! Thank you! I'm gonna start keeping more crappie.
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