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Thread: Why Bullheads?

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    Default Why Bullheads?

    They don't grow as big as blue, flatheads or channels. So what are the pros of having them in our waters?

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    1. invasive specie...they get there all on their own for the most part, are there for the most part at lower numbers...but in new lakes, get big numbers early, that then tend to diminish.

    2. urban fisheries: hardy fish, readily bite many kinds of bait, live/thrive in marginal water quality...great for young people/families who are just getting into fishing...or nostalgic old guys. When you think about it, there's really ver little difference between stocked trout and bullhead. 'cept the bullhead fight harder.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=LIr...heries&f=false


    now personally? I am a huge fan of bullheads. grew up fishing for them and love them to this day. then again, while now I fish primarily for bass...there just aren't any (okay Daryl, maybe ONE ) specie that I would not willingly/knowingly target...and as I get older, I'm less inclined to even be 'that' elitist.

    there's a whole bunch of tribal knowledge surrounding fishing/fish species...stuff 'we all know'...and a whole lot of it is stupid-wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassinoutwest View Post
    1. invasive specie...they get there all on their own for the most part, are there for the most part at lower numbers...but in new lakes, get big numbers early, that then tend to diminish.
    Not sure for what part of the US this book was written for, but bullheads are native to Nebraska.

    In newly built, or renovated lakes that are connected to creeks and streams, bullheads find their way in, and flourish in these new waters. Often creating a nice forage base for predator fish. Once the bass and cats, or pike and walleye get big enough to start munching on them, the population decreases significantly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by holdemplyer View Post
    Not sure for what part of the US this book was written for, but bullheads are native to Nebraska.

    In newly built, or renovated lakes that are connected to creeks and streams, bullheads find their way in, and flourish in these new waters. Often creating a nice forage base for predator fish. Once the bass and cats, or pike and walleye get big enough to start munching on them, the population decreases significantly.
    when I look at the schools of bullheads (4-6 inch fish) in young lakes, I just smile: what a great, oily forage base for predator fish that supports some tremendous growth. I see them as 'warm-water' trout...

    as for stocking bullheads into places like Benson Park lagoon...makes a lot of sense.


    and those are some great photos, showing exactly why it can be a good idea to stock them...thanks Holdem.

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    Exactly what they have said above, Chris. Cats and bass love to eat bullheads. If you have a large population of bullheads, especially small bullheads, there's a good chance the population of predators is lacking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisCarter View Post
    They don't grow as big as blue, flatheads or channels. So what are the pros of having them in our waters?
    I do not have a lot to add, what has been said, and shown, in this thread already is right on!



    Just want to add a couple of things. . . .

    First of all black and yellow bullheads are NOT invasive species, they are native species. Black bullheads are common throughout Nebraska, are a species that can tolerate a wide range of water quality and habitat conditions are are quick to take advantage of any new waters. Simply put, in most waters it ain't a matter of anyone wanting black bullheads or not, they are there and their ain't any guarantee that you can entirely eliminate them.

    Bullheads can cause fisheries management problems, but the waters in which they are a problem usually have bigger issues. For example, bullheads can tolerate low oxygen levels, so an old farm pond that has silted in over the years may not be able to support largemouth bass and bluegills through a hard winter, but the bullheas survive and then dominate the pond. As has been pointed out, if there are healthy populations of predators like largemouth bass, bullheads will NOT be a problem. Even though they have sharp spines, everything LOVES to eat small bullheads.

    As has also been pointed out, bullheads are a great fish for beginning anglers. There are more than a few anglers who started their fishing careers catching a bunch of "yellow bellies". We do very limited stocking of catchable-size bullheads in a few recreation area waters simply to provide opportunities for beginning anglers, kids, to catch fish!

    And believe it or not, there are folks who like to fish for bullheads and like to eat bullheads. I occasionally get calls from folks looking for good places to go bullhead fishing. Years ago I had a great aunt who had a standing order to bring her all the bullheads we could catch. Just because you or I may not spend any time fishing for bullheads, does not mean that there are not other anglers out there who do.

    It is all fishing and it is all good.

    Daryl B.
    Daryl Bauer
    Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
    daryl.bauer@nebraska.gov
    http://ourdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/category/barbs-and-backlashes/

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    The Minnesota Joke is they are called "Iowa Walleye". I guess the Iowa folks would come up to fish for Big Bullheads in droves.
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    When I was a kid in a tiny town in NE Kansas, I would ride my bike with my buddies holding a fishing pole and a can of worms out to a little farm pond at the edge of town. It was teeming with 10 to 12 inch bullheads. And my mother loved them. Was her favorite fish to eat. And I caught her a steady diet of them. Great memories.
    Don't let anybody else dictate how good your fishing trip or your day was. If you made memories, enjoyed the scenery, and were at peace with yourself and those around you, you had an awesome trip. God Bless

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    I am in my mid 20's and I love to fish for and eat bullhead. Soak them in buttermilk overnight and fry them up, then they taste just like channel cat. Nothing wrong with bullhead. Plus catching bullhead is better than catching no fish at all. Just saying.

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    I would agree with everything said above especially that if there are enough predator fish you won't recognize them. Davis Creek used to be loaded with them then one year the lake started producing lots of BIG walleyes and now has tons of walleyes and other predators. Also with the boom in predators you don't catch any bullheads now.

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    Grade school and Junior High was the bullhead years for me. The river produced them in abundance and an old pond out in the country that you could only get to on foot across an old railroad tressel. That pond was so loaded that as soon as the bobber and nightcrawler hit the water, a bullhead had done swallowed the hook. I am pretty sure that pond is still there to this day and probably even harder to get to. But I bet that pond has some state record bullheads and since you brought this up I might have to drive the extra miles just to find out.

    If they are still there I will be sure to let you all know. You could supply a fish fry in no time if bullheads is your dish!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Omaha View Post
    Exactly what they have said above, Chris. Cats and bass love to eat bullheads. If you have a large population of bullheads, especially small bullheads, there's a good chance the population of predators is lacking.

    when I see those schools of bullheads in new lakes, I expect to find very very fat bass/predators.


    Daryl: thanks for the correction. My intent was to use the word 'invader' which I was taught a very long time ago in reference to species like green sunfish and bullheads...that MOVE into every nook/cranny of water available

    Now, Harold: have a field day with the use of 'nook/cranny' with regard to aquatic systems!.

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    Interesting information you guys, thanks.

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    i grew up in a small town in NE Kansas and would ride my bike too a pond east of town a mile and catch tons of bullhead too. we would also walk to a pond south of town and catch fish. oh the memories!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by papag View Post
    When I was a kid in a tiny town in NE Kansas, I would ride my bike with my buddies holding a fishing pole and a can of worms out to a little farm pond at the edge of town. It was teeming with 10 to 12 inch bullheads. And my mother loved them. Was her favorite fish to eat. And I caught her a steady diet of them. Great memories.

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    Nothing like fried bullhead for breakfast.

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    A buddy and myself used to beg my grandpa to take us fishing, more often than not, the fish we went home with were bullheads. The buddy is an now an ex-NE fisheries biologist who has fished many different states, myself I have fished 4 states and 3 countries this year and what do we talk most about... yep fishing for bullheads 40 yrs ago.

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    Still some of my favorite childhood memories are from bullheads, too. the town pond on West end of Wilber where I grew up, out by the high school, was a short bike ride from my home and full of bullheads. Never caught any that were big at all, but we did keep a few larger ones to eat. I will also never forget my first master angler bullheads...after all those years of catching them in 6" to 8" or so range, finally found a pond with a few that were over 15" and I was SHOCKED at how big those looked compared to my childhood bullhead experiences. I had one at 16" that I could literally fit the end of a Pepsi can in its mouth! Bullheads are tough creatures, too. We used to work one pond in summer to dredge off some of the top when it dried up in certain summer periods...and we would scrape up these little horseshoe shaped things in the gooey muck in the areas were a little water was left. If you put them in a bucket of water...pretty soon the gills would start pumping and they started swimming around, incredible. When I was little I used to think they were somehow related to bullfrogs (color, other features, etc.) at least in my simple mind that is. Also, when I was at a lake with any bullhead population when I was young, of course I would always start out trying for the "cool" fish like bass, bluegill, etc. but if I was not getting any bites, especially if the water was a little turbid from say recent rains...I could always find some bait around (worms from under a rock, grubs, crickets, grasshoppers, whatever I could scrounge up onsite) and count on a bullhead or two to prevent the trip from being a total skunked outing. Bullheads saved the day for me on most occasions!Jim
    Last edited by jabNE; 08-01-2013 at 05:56 AM.

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    Daryl: thanks for the correction. My intent was to use the word 'invader' which I was taught a very long time ago in reference to species like green sunfish and bullheads...that MOVE into every nook/cranny of water available
    They are that! Maybe we should call them "opportunistic pioneers"?



    Daryl B.
    Daryl Bauer
    Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
    daryl.bauer@nebraska.gov
    http://ourdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/category/barbs-and-backlashes/

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    Glens loves bullheads!




    He keeps asking is "this" a flathead? Because I really would like to my first flathead catfish. I have to respond "No, that's just a shovelhead bullhead"....to this day he still hasn't figured out....I normally tell him, "I guess you have to keep trying different spots"
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