We post a lot of photos of big fish on our blog, for the express purpose of demonstrating that our claim to be the best at growing trophy fish in private ponds is more than just a claim. This post won’t feature any photos of giant fish, but rather just a handful of six- to seven-inch coppernose bluegill:
You’re probably wondering what’s so special about the above-pictured bluegill that we would bother making a blog post about them. “I can catch those in my pond all day long,” you might be thinking. Bluegill this size can be caught in most any public lake these days. We of course have posted photos of bluegill up to thirteen inches long just this year. So why the small bluegill photos?
These are all fish that were stocked into a two-acre pond in middle Tennessee on May 2, 2019. All of these fish were one to two inches long when they were stocked. It’s now October 2, 2019.
These bluegill have grown from 1-2” to 6-7” in five months.
There is a phenomenon whereby a small percentage of stocker fish far outpace the rest of the stockers in growth rate; these are fish that normally have superior genetics, and they’re sometimes referred to as, “jumpers.” The bluegill pictured above aren’t jumpers – all of the bluegill in this pond are growing this fast.
The first time I met this particular landowner, he seemed very serious about doing everything possible to manage his pond for trophy bluegill. I was so impressed with his level of dedication that I told him that my goal would be to help him raise a state-record bluegill in his pond (I just told a landowner on a 200+-acre-lake yesterday that if his lake association hired us to manage their lake, my goal would be to eventually grow a state-record largemouth in their lake for them). The present state-record bluegill for Tennessee is three pounds even, with two fish tied for that mark, one that was caught from Fall Creek Falls State Park Lake in 1977 and one that was caught ten years later from a farm pond in Bledsoe County. A bluegill that was only two ounces shy of tying the record was caught two months ago from a pond we have managed since 2014, so we know what it takes to grow bluegill to that size…And the middle Tennessee pond that the fish pictured above came from is on track to break that record.
More than one of our competitors that stock ponds across this state claim to be experts in pond management and fish stocking. Try asking one of those other companies for a photo of a bluegill that has grown six inches in five months from stocking, and you’ll learn quickly that some of us can back up the talk, and some cannot.