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What Happened To the Bullheads and Catfish In My Pond?

The Bullheads In My Pond Disappeared


Ronnie And A Bullhead From His Pond

Ronnie And A Bullhead From His Pond

2008 Ronnie Garrison licensed to About.com
Where have all the bullheads and catfish gone in my pond? When I bought my land and ponds in 1999 I never saw any catfish or bullheads in the upper pond. Then, about six years ago, I saw a small bullhead feeding with the bluegill. The next year there were about a dozen then a year later many more.

For a couple of years I would catch a three pounder fairly often, which was quite a thrill on four pound test line and an ultra light spinning outfit. The fish were easy to see since they came up to the top to feed on the floating fish food and their mouths would work, gobbling up the food.

Year before last I realized I had not seen a cat in the spring as the water warmed. That didn’t surprise me too much, they often disappeared during the winter, holding in the deeper water and not feeding. They showed back up when the water got warm enough for them. But that year I never saw a single cat, and did not see any last year, either. The water was definitely warm enough during the summers!

I fear an otter got into the pond and caught all the bullheads. They were the biggest fish in the pond and, during the winter when the otters usually show up, the fish are very sluggish. Since they hold in deep water in groups in the winter an otter could wipe them out, and I am afraid one did.

Otters are cute and fun to watch, but in a small pond like mine one otter can kill a huge percentage of the fish, especially the bigger ones. I have not seen an otter there lately but I may have missed it.

Strangely enough, the cycle of bullheads in my pond seems to be repeating itself. This past fall I started seeing a couple of small bullheads and then a few more showed up. I caught a few of the half-pound fish from my dock. I never saw any bigger ones, though. They are gone. But these small ones will grow. Only time will tell if they will all disappear again.

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