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Pond Overpopulated? – Trap’em and Move’em

Trap

Varying traps available from Boatcycle.com

When you successfully manage a pond, there’s a bounty of fish.  Don’t let overcrowded conditions stunt them.  Trap some and move them to improve environments in other sites.

While surveying our catfish pond, we observed abundant bluegill from newly-hatched fry to 9-inches.  Since the pond is designated for catfish, those tiny bluegill serve little purpose other than being eaten by young bass or increasing catfish numbers.  We needed to explore a more productive use for this valuable forage.  Enter a trapping and relocating plan.  You can do it too.  If you have a mini-pond with similar circumstances, trap bluegill and move them to the bass lake or other pond with a weak food chain.

trap

Tilapia trapped from a hatchery pond to supplement forage in a bass lake. Very valuable!

You need nylon stockings, a pair of scissors, and rubber bands.  Cut a 6-inch piece from the foot, tie a knot in one end, put 2-tablespoons of fish food in it, and tie the other end to make a pouch.  Use a rubber band to suspend the sock of fish food in the middle of the trip.  This keeps food in the middle, away from the sides, so fish must enter the trap to feed.  Tie a cord onto the trap and set it 10-12-inches deep in an area where you observed fish.  We placed five traps 15 to 20-feet apart.  We ran them twice after 30-minutes and caught more than 100 bluegill from one-half-inch to 1.5-inches.  Don’t leave traps out for extended periods, say overnight.  Fish can panic in small spaces, bump against the sides, and injure themselves.  Place traps in shallow zones where oxygen is plentiful.

When retrieving traps, take a bucket.  Fill it half full of pond water.  Don’t’ touch the fish.  Open the trap door, gently pour fish into the bucket, and quicklymove them to their new home.  It’s a fun event to share with kids and greatly benefits both ponds.  Plan in Spring and Fall when water temperatures are cool and less stressful on fish.  Traps are available in different shapes to accommodate the size fish you’re attempting to harvest.

trap

Use bounties of bluegill to increase productivity in other sites.

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