Pond Crappie management
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Posted on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM  
Kurt I need some help. We have a 50 acre pond that was built 18 years ago. We stocked it with Florida Bass, native Bass, perch and Catfish. It has a large population of Crappie. We usually catch lots of BIG crappie, but not this year(yet). What should we do to keep the fishery healthy? There are lots of shad.. lots.
Should we keep all the Crappie we catch to reduce the population?
Should we add minnows to the lake?
I know its easy for them to overpopulate and stunt..right??
Thanks for your valuable input!
Posted on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM  
Fifty aces rates as a lake

I think that would be a hard question to answer without frame net sampling of populations, anecdotal observations don't count.

At 18 years of age it should be a pretty stable lake unless some upset has altered predator/prey ratios

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 Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM  
Posted on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 3:02 PM  
Ok.. Lake it is.
It gets very little pressure for sure. We always have caught huge Crappie, and lots of them until this year. The lake is down about 3 feet, but other than that, no real changes i know of. It sometimes floods from the Verdigris backing up, but its been years...
We are just wondering where all the big ones are this year. I know we released a bunch of 15 and 16 inch crappie last year!
Where are they now? I caught 2- 5 gallon buckets last week of 8-9 inches but nothing bigger??
Hybrids sound good.. maybe a few 25 pound Stripers would help
Posted on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM  
I would recommend letting a wannabe bass fisherman help you out. There are probably too many bass without holes in their lips!
Posted on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013 at 7:10 PM  
Sean, if it's the one I think he's referring to, ya gotta be on first name basis with the Queen of England to get in there.
Posted on Thursday Mar 21, 2013 at 8:33 AM  
Without laying eyes on it, I would guess that the crappie have finally reached a tipping point where their reproduction/recruitment success has exceeded their mortality rate...in other words this may be the beginning of a stunted crappie population. But it is difficult to be 100% sure unless we could verify the age structure of the crappie. Nine inch crappie are fine if they are 1 and 2 year old fish, but the population is not in good health if those fish are 4 or five years old (or older). If you could keep a few gallon freezer bags full of these 8-9 inchers and freeze them (about 20-30 fish total) I would bet that the fisheries crews at any of our ODWC offices would check the otoliths to age your fish. In fact, if you make arrangements ahead of time you might be able to bring in fresh crappie in an ice chest and let our guys pull otoliths to age the fish and you keep the rest for a fish fry. We provide this service out of our office in Norman fairly often to help private pond owners.

When a population is stunted, we recommend heavy harvest of the small crappie, and would also consider adding large predators (saugeye, hybrids) to help thin them out. If you continue to see only smallish crappie over the next 2-3 years, I would almost gaurantee that your fish are becoming stunted. A 50 acre lake can have a quality crappie population, but it really has to be managed closely to prevent stunting.
Posted on Thursday Mar 21, 2013 at 8:34 AM  
That's the only one that I can think of close to the Verdigris that would be 50 acres too...

I'd still be willing to help out...
Posted on Thursday Mar 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM  
Slicks right on. I dont know the Queen, but been friends with the owner for 40+ years. He lets relatives and close friends only on it.
I am lucky to get to fish there some.
Kurt. We keep all the fish we catch and have for years. I just am afraid we cant keep up. I actually have a few bags frozen i was going to fillet for bait. I go by the NE office fairly regularly. I will drop off a batch and have them check them. THANKS!
BTW we do see some 4,5 and 6 inchers also, so there are several years of recruitement it seems...
Posted on Thursday Mar 21, 2013 at 10:16 AM  
Seems like more friends and relatives would be in order.
Posted on Thursday Mar 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM  
Sure sounds like it
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