I have one five acre lake and one four acre lake. The maximum lake depth for...

Asked February 26, 2015, 10:41 AM EST

I have one five acre lake and one four acre lake. The maximum lake depth for either is about 12', the majority is 6 - 4 feet. The lakes are in excess of 40 years old. In the past in order to improve the fishing I have seined the lakes; in early spring, to remove the numerous small bluegills, bullheads, etc., 2-4". It has been about 15 years since I seined the lake. I used a homemade seine made out of bird netting at that time. I would like to seine the lakes again, but this time I would like to purchase a decent net. My question is do you have any suggestions as to net specifications; opening size, width etc. I'm thinking that a 1" x 8' - 10' x 50' - 75'net is what I need. Not an inexpensive purchase. Perhaps there is alternate method that would work. I'm looking forward to your recommendations and suggestions.

Medina County Ohio recreational pond management fish health

1 Response

This might need a phone call to discuss detail interactively. Feel free to make use of my contact info below if you'd like.

Bullheads in ponds are bad news. Because they excavate nests, they reproduce much better in the pond environment, can overpopulate, stunt, and thin the food web for desirable panfish in particular.

You can help mitigate excessive Bluegill numbers with a high density of predators (i.e., in ponds, Largemouth Bass). That said, are you certain your problem fish are Bluegill? A close relative, the Green Sunfish, is notorious for overpopulating and stunting if they get into ponds.

Periodically thinning the proverbial herd by removing excessive young fish via seine can certainly help. Your sites are relatively big, so making a substantial impact by seine is likely to take a pretty substantial effort. Is the 1" in the specs you list above in reference to mesh size? If so, I'd recommend smaller, perhaps somewhere between 3/8" and 7/8". Smaller mesh will create more drag and be more prone to fouling in vegetative/algal cover, but it will be much better at targeting your excessive, small, problematic fish.

50' feet or longer is a good bet for large numbers of small fish. If the shoreline is conducive to working net gears, I've really liked 75' bag seines for collecting large numbers of small fish. Unlike typical straight beach seines, bag seines have a cube-shaped mesh bag that extends out behind the straight line of the netting. As you work the netting to shore, the bag is really good at collecting and keeping entrapped fish. That said, such things are pretty customized, not necessarily cheap, and certainly can't be used on public waters by the general public.

Be careful to only remove target organisms with your seining efforts. It sounds like predators are potentially a rare commodity to your site. Be careful to selectively release any Largemouth Bass you happen to seine up, at least until you find your panfish in check. At that time, you could modify objectives to selectively harvest bass to attain some desired growth/size.

I don't have detail of your site's history or fisheries. If your nuisance-fish problem is really serious, you might want to consider hiring a licensed pesticide applicator to induce a fish kill with an appropriate toxicant and starting over with a fresh stocking effort.

Luck!
Eugene