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Q:
There's a lake on our property that was stocked around 15 years ago. It's just under 2 acres(Depths vary from 0 to about 15 feet deep). There are bass, blue gill, a few grass carp, crappie, bullheads, and channel catfish. The lake is not over-fished at all, if anything it is under-fished. All other species of fish are healthy(there has actually been an increase in the number of crappie we have been catching), but for some reason we never catch channel catfish anymore(we can catch plenty of bullheads though). Could it be possible that the lack of fishing allowed the bullheads to over populate and cause the channels to die off?

from JM on 12.13.12

Answers (6)

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from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

The drop in population was too quick for it to be caused by a lack of reproduction.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I think 4everautumn hit it pretty much on the head. Even with limited spawning success in a pond your catch rate is bound to go down without supplemental stocking.

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from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

We were catching multiple channels that were 10 pounds plus about 5 years ago, so it's kind of depressing that they seem to all be gone...maybe the fact that the bullheads are smaller means they each needed less food to survive(I'm assuming both the channels and bullheads eat the same food).

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Well, so much for my spawning idea! There is one pond we fish around here and have seen channel catfish, but have never caught one, in spite of trying for several years. We have always wondered if they have plenty to eat and don’t bite because of that. I know that Channels are very susceptible to changes in oxygen and temperature. You could be on to something with the bullheads though.

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from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

@4everAutumn,
They definitely had been reproducing(sometimes we would catch real young ones). And I know the bullheads are still reproducing. The fish eating the eggs sounds interesting though...like I said the lake is way under-fished for the size it is and there has been a surge in the crappie/blue gill population.
-I know it is not because we caught and kept too many channels. We always let the bigger ones go and only kept a few smaller ones.

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

JM: I'm pretty sure catfish won’t reproduce in ponds unless there are nesting structures for them to enter and deposit eggs. Maybe if people have caught and kept catfish through the years, they could simply be gone from lack of reproduction. Bass, bluegill and crappie will also eat all of the channel catfish eggs and fry they can get to, in the event that any cats did spawn.

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

JM: I'm pretty sure catfish won’t reproduce in ponds unless there are nesting structures for them to enter and deposit eggs. Maybe if people have caught and kept catfish through the years, they could simply be gone from lack of reproduction. Bass, bluegill and crappie will also eat all of the channel catfish eggs and fry they can get to, in the event that any cats did spawn.

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from 4everAutumn wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Well, so much for my spawning idea! There is one pond we fish around here and have seen channel catfish, but have never caught one, in spite of trying for several years. We have always wondered if they have plenty to eat and don’t bite because of that. I know that Channels are very susceptible to changes in oxygen and temperature. You could be on to something with the bullheads though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

We were catching multiple channels that were 10 pounds plus about 5 years ago, so it's kind of depressing that they seem to all be gone...maybe the fact that the bullheads are smaller means they each needed less food to survive(I'm assuming both the channels and bullheads eat the same food).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I think 4everautumn hit it pretty much on the head. Even with limited spawning success in a pond your catch rate is bound to go down without supplemental stocking.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

@4everAutumn,
They definitely had been reproducing(sometimes we would catch real young ones). And I know the bullheads are still reproducing. The fish eating the eggs sounds interesting though...like I said the lake is way under-fished for the size it is and there has been a surge in the crappie/blue gill population.
-I know it is not because we caught and kept too many channels. We always let the bigger ones go and only kept a few smaller ones.

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from JM wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

The drop in population was too quick for it to be caused by a lack of reproduction.

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