Gardy's Millpond - Fishing Opportunities
Department fisheries biologists sampled Gardy's Millpond on May 6, 2008. The sample revealed a high diversity with 13 fish species collected. The survey was not as exciting as past years, but the majority of action came from the largemouth bass, bluegills and redear sunfish. These species will primarily provide most of the action for anglers that fish Gardy's Millpond.
The largemouth bass population appears to be reasonably balanced when looking at the overall size structure of collected bass. The one large area of concern is the severe change in catch rate from the 2007 to 2008 surveys. The 2007 catch rate of 176.5 bass/hr was incredible and might have been the result of perfect timing when the bass are starting to pair up for the spawn. The 2008 survey showed a completely different picture with a catch rate of 71/hr. The bass ranged in size from 4.5 to 20.5 inches in length. There were 36 bass that were of quality-size (12 inches or greater). A high proportion of the bass were in the 11 - 16 inch range. Anglers can expect the bass to feed primarily upon the sunfish that are present. Some of the larger bass in the system might be tempted to try their luck at chasing down the gizzard shad that are present.
The survey collected a total of 219 bluegills over the course of 2 sample runs. The expanded catch rate of 328.5 bluegills/hr is slightly higher than the 2007 survey (304/hr). The bluegills ranged in size from 1 to 8.5 inches. A large percentage of the bluegills were less than 6 inches in length. It appears that the 2007 bluegill year class was very successful. There was an abundance of bluegills in the 1 to 2 inch range. Although these fish will not excite anglers, their presence is appreciated by fisheries biologists. These smaller bluegills will provide the essential forage base needed by the 8 to 12 inch bass. It appears that the successful spawn of 2007 has helped to stabilize the recruitment into the bluegill population.
The redear sunfish population appears to be in decent condition. A total of 41 redear sunfish (61.5/hr) were collected with a high proportion of the sample consisting of fish in the 7 to 10 inch range. The 2008 catch rate is down from the 2007 survey (73/hr). This may be a reflection of the variability of sampling from year to year or the result of increased angler harvest. The majority of the redear sunfish were found along the shoreline of the northern creek arm.
The electrofishing survey revealed a decreased abundance of black crappies with only 18 collected. This total is well below the 2007 survey that collected 38 crappies. The schooling nature of black crappies makes for a hit or miss situation when it comes to encountering them during your typical shoreline electrofishing. The 2008 size distribution ranged from 4.5 to 11.5 inches with the majority in the 6 to 8 inch range. Five of the 18 crappies were over ten inches in length.
The sample revealed a decreased catch rate of chain pickerel with 17 collected (17/hr). This catch rate falls below the 2007 survey (21.8/hr). The 2008 size distribution consisted of small fish ranging in size from 2 to 17 inches. Anglers are reminded that chain pickerel are part of the aquatic ecosystem and serve a purpose in the food web. Anglers should not kill chain pickerel just because they don't like them. Some anglers actually prefer to catch chain pickerel over largemouth bass. Five of the chain pickerel collected were actually YOY (Young of Year) from the 2008 spawn. They measured an average of 2 inches in length at the time of sampling.
The sample collected a variety of other species in limited abundance. Those species were: brown bullhead (9), yellow perch (9), American eel (13), gizzard shad (2), creek chubsuckers (15), common carp (1), golden shiner (1) and warmouth (4). These species may provide some excitement for anglers from time to time.