Building new forage mini pond

Posted by: snrub

Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 11:26 AM

I took the plunge. Have been thinking about building a very small pond to raise some FHM and RES to help stock various older ponds I have been cleaning out and a few more I might get to some day. Well I jumped on the dozer yesterday and there is a hole in the ground now. (I know Bill Cody, equipment operators dig holes, pond builders build ponds LOL. Well I'm neither grin , so we will see if it ends up being a pond or a hole in the ground. grin laugh

The other fish seem fairly easy to get out of my main pond to stock the other ponds, but the RES are harder and the FHM will be gone out of my main pond in another year (probably).

Probably not a practical idea. Probably better to just buy the fish I need. But who says a hobby needs to be practical. Matter of fact is, I just wanted to do it, so I did it. The experience is the main goal more than the fish anyway. I just want to see if I can do it. Raising fish is pretty new to me and kind of exciting for the time being.

It is awfully small. Roughly 60x45 feet which is only about 1/20 acre. Will get a better measurement later. I did not want it great big because am planning on using a pump to lower water if I ever want to seine it. Thinking mostly will use traps to get the fish I want out when needed. I was able to trap a bunch of FHM (probably 5 or 6 pounds) out of my main pond the other day pretty easily. Guessing depth at 8' but will get the laser out later today to get the water level set, overflow level and dam level established later today so will check it for sure then. Hopefully will have all but the finish work and seeding done by evening today.

It is adjacent to my main pond. I had some extra room that was only going to be a mowing job anyway as the area was not useful for much else. I have room to make the forage pond bigger but thought about putting a cabin for guests someday in the same area adjacent to it so did not want to take all the area up. Also since am planning on using a pump to remove water did not want to get the water capacity too big.

This may not be a well thought out plan eek , although have been thinking about doing this for most of a year now. Nothing new there. Any suggestions (even discouraging ones) are welcome. Have read several of the older threads about forage ponds for ideas.

Pics below.
Posted by: JamieE

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 11:36 AM

Great project snrub! I'll be watching this thread for information as I've been considering doing something similar. Wonder how much forage you can raise in a pond that small? Id be using mine to raise FH and GSH. Thanks for posting...
Posted by: esshup

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 12:19 PM

Shape it like a paint roller tray. (bottom and side contours)
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 06:02 PM

It appears you've got some decent clay soil so it should hold water - maybe well. It looks like a good job for a minnow pond. If fertilized and/or minnow feeding you could raise maybe 50 lbs of minnows per year. At $5.00/ lb that is around $250/yr. Multi-species of minnows feeding in different niches could increase the annual production. Aeration (RC51 style) would help. If it gets lots of algae or weeds which it likely will, put papershell crayfish in there to keep the bottom clean - polyculture and a double crop for a total of more than 50 lbs - minnows + crayfish. Crayfish will eat the excess minnow food. You won't need cover for crayfish if just minnows are present. There are people here that will buy your crayfish.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond update - 03/30/14 10:17 PM

Pretty well finished for now except for adding some more rock tomorrow. Will wait for the soil to weather a little before doing the final work down before planting something temporary for cover. Will use a box blade and harrow for that.

Put some rock in the bottom as well as AB3 in places along with a bench on one side for RES spawning beds (or BG if I ever decide to use it for them). Made it a little longer. Final size 40x70 which figures .064 or about 1/16 acre. Only 2' of freeboard above full pool but that should be plenty for the amount of runoff it will get plus the fact that the spillway is wide to handle nearly any flow. Final max depth ended up at 7.5'.

Water in bottom is seepage from the pond next to it. Full pool of this mini pond will be about 11" above full pool of the main pond. Main pond has an 8" overflow pipe and emergency overflow spillway at 8" above full pool so theoretically if we had a big enough rain event to have the pipe running full siphon and 3" depth running out the emergency (would be about 15' wide by that point) then the water could back up to the spillway of the mini forage pond and be even with it. Couple more inches higher than that and a LMB could swim upstream and get into the forage mini pond. If that happens I will have a lot more to worry about than bass getting in my forage pond. Had a 12" rain event that brought water level within 1" of emergency overflow so it would take almost a Noah flood for it to become a problem. Thanks to PBF and another poster that had this problem with his forage pond, this was something I kept in mind. I was going to put this pond lower, but after reading about his forage pond getting flooded and LMB getting in it, realized I could have the same problem and should move it to a little higher ground. Thanks to PBF and someone else's misery they posted, I was able to consider the problem and avoid it.

Additional pictures below. Can see the red paint lines in some of the pictures which is full pool level.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 10:23 PM

esshup: Shape it like a paint roller tray. (bottom and side contours)

I remember you giving that advice to someone previously and tried to follow it. I did put a shallow area bench along one side for a spawning area but if I pull enough water out to get to seigning depth, the bench will then be exposed anyway. Put the slope to the north more gentle than the rest so would not be so bad walking out.

Thanks for the advice.

Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 10:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
It appears you've got some decent clay soil so it should hold water - maybe well. It looks like a good job for a minnow pond. If fertilized and/or minnow feeding you could raise maybe 50 lbs of minnows per year. At $5.00/ lb that is around $250/yr. Multi-species of minnows feeding in different niches could increase the annual production. Aeration (RC51 style) would help. If it gets lots of algae or weeds which it likely will, put papershell crayfish in there to keep the bottom clean - polyculture and a double crop for a total of more than 50 lbs - minnows + crayfish. Crayfish will eat the excess minnow food. You won't need cover for crayfish if just minnows are present. There are people here that will buy your crayfish.

Not going to get rich raising FHM's!!!! cry Fortunately that was not a goal for this project anyway. smile

Thanks for mentioning the fertilizer. Reminds me I need to put a scoop of the manure/hay compost pile in there to get things growing when it fills.

Had not thought of paper shell crayfish. I kind of like that idea.

If the FA in my big pond is any indication, yep, I'm going to have algae.

Figuring on putting a diffuser in there when the aeration goes into the big pond later this spring.

Will hand feed the FHM's. I like watching them.

Would like to raise some RES. What would happen if I put in something like 10 RES, a pound of FHM's, and some soft shell crayfish. Just let them duke it out and see what comes out the winner. laugh

I know RES preferred food is snails. If my main pond is any indication the rock I put in this pond will be covered with snails. Realizing this probably will not be enough, it is my understanding that RES also eat pretty much what BG eat, so they should consume young FHM's also. I'm guessing the RES also would like crayfish so they might be goners. Would the rock I put in there give them some hiding places and a chance for survival? Would I need to start out with a higher amount of FHM's to account for the RES wiping out a significant number? Is this just a recipe for disaster? eek

Surely I would end up with one out of three surviving and reproducing. Two out of three would not be too bad either. Three out of three would probably be too much to ask.

I feel an experiment coming on. wink

Thanks for the advice.

Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/30/14 10:55 PM

By the way Bill, there is a clay brick company, clay tile company, and used to be a clay pottery company all within about 7 miles of me. They all use that red clay you see in the picture.

If we build new terraces in a field and get a low spot, we have a pond till it evaporates.

Good for building ponds, sucks for farming. Percolation rates is something on the order of a few hundredths of an inch per hour for out subsoil.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond update - 10/12/14 02:48 PM

Had at least one request for an update on this pond, so on this nasty outside day will try and bring the project up to date. I've failed to keep it up to date.

Pictures below of final finish of rock lining before filling with water. The rock is all crushed limestone.

Part of rocked area is 2-3" size cleaned lateral (septic tank system) rock and the rest is AB3 which is about 1" and all the fines below that size, which contains a lot of ag lime in the fines.

Hopefully rock will supply spawning areas for RES and hiding areas for PK shrimp.

This should supply all the lime needed for the naturally acidic clay. End of March 2014 completion.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond update - 10/12/14 03:07 PM

Below are pictures of initial water fill. Not sure what the runoff area is for this pond, but guess it to be a couple acres. Mostly water comes from gravel area surrounding our shop and buildings. Notice a little erosion of the rock where the water ran into the pond too fast.

Several dozen FHM trapped from my main pond were added along with a couple pallets for them to spawn on. Noticed at least one FHM male had taken residence under one of the 3-4" limestone rocks for his nest and spawning substrate.
Posted by: snrub

buyer beware - 10/12/14 03:23 PM

Buyer beware when buying fish. The pictures below are some of what I received when I purchased 200 RES part of which were going in my mini forage pond.

Good thing I hand sorted every fish. Put 25 of the best looking RES in this pond. Anything I could not positively ID part went into my old pond, part in daughters pond and part into my sons pond. They are all contaminated with GSF already, so some of the fish that have obvious GSF parentage will hurt nothing there. The fish that actually are RES (that were too small for me to identify) will help their ponds, which we are stocking from my pond this spring.

Fish were stressed and in rough condition. Lost five of the 25 stocked in the first week that I know of. First of May, 2014
Posted by: snrub

Re: buyer beware - 10/12/14 03:31 PM

Added some additional FHM spawning material.
Posted by: snrub

Re: buyer beware - 10/12/14 03:48 PM

Picture taken from the top of the dirt pile. The dirt is coming out of a sediment pond I'm building to capture runoff from an agricultural field before it enters the main pond. First part of June 2014.

Also a picture of the new sediment pond with the dirt work pretty well complete.

Have had a very dry year. Just enough rain so the crops are looking great, but very little runoff. Main pond still way low, and this forage pond still not filled to full pool. Normally we have numerous spring large rain events that everything starts the year full. Not this year.
Posted by: snrub

Mini forage pond - 10/12/14 11:20 PM

First time at full pool for the forage pond............ finally. Main pond still about 18" low at this point.

Over flow at lower left in first photo. Main pond in immediate background. Old pond in far background behind the small creek ahead and to the left of the growing corn.

July 11, 2014. FHM fry seen in shallows.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage - can't leave well enough alone - 10/13/14 12:28 AM

Mid July

One bad thing about owning equipment and it sitting in a shed a hundred feet away. Sometimes I just can't leave well enough alone. Mini forage pond not yet a year old and already expanding and modifying it.

Picture shows dozer tearing out crushed rock overflow area. Going to pack in clay and raise that portion up to dam height. Cut slot in dam just to the west of the original overflow and put in 6" overflow pipe and raise water level about a foot. Will make max depth 8.5' now. Will put emergency overflow on other end.

Hey....... pond looks kind of small...........backhoe is right here handy.........water is down from evaporation and dry weather. Let's make it bigger!!!!! North end dug out with backhoe as far out as it would reach. Pond is about 85' long now. Now instead of paint roller shaped like Esshup suggested it is now paint roller shaped with a steep drop off at the shallow end.......... oh well, at 60 I don't feel much like seining anyway.

New sediment pond in background of last picture.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond - 10/13/14 12:44 AM

Pictures of added section to the north end. Reached out as far as the JCB 214e backhoe would reach. The ridge of ground left in the picture will be about a foot under water at the new full pool level. The reason the ridge was left, I did not want to dig in the water all the time. So I dug at the very edge of the water starting with my hoe fully extended. When finished digging all I could, I dug out each end (the two sides of the pond) of the cut and let the water run into the new portion. This lowered the water level and exposed that much dirt shown in the picture.

No worry of compacting bottom of this pond. Solid clay with water percolation measurements in the hundredths of an inch per hour.

New dam completed along east side and over the previous rock overflow in the background.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond - 10/13/14 12:57 AM

Pictures of installing the overflow pipe. I used rubber anti-seep collars in the big pond, but the 3pt tractor mounted cement mixer was going to be used to make concrete ends for the overflow pipe, so I just used cement anti-seep collars. Backhoe dug trench for pipe, then we hand dug slot on sides and bottom of trench for anti-seep, then poured concrete.

Definitely a farmer done job. Not professional at all but functional.

Notice new dam portion to the left in the first picture. That is where the rocked overflow used to be.

The main pond is about 2' low at this point which is mid August. The flat concrete for the water to hit when it exits will be a few inches under water when the main pond is at full pool. The outlet pipe will be about 8" above the main pond full pool level so fish can not swim up the pipe to the forage pond. Good time to work on ponds when they are low. Hard on water quality and fish.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond - 10/13/14 01:17 AM

Aeration in the main pond was put in early in the summer. This is the installation of air to this mini forage pond as well as to the new sediment pond.

Made two home made diffuser bases, one for each small pond.
Two Matala single membrane diffusers driven by a Pondmaster 100 linear air compressor with the air split using a garden hose splitter with incorporated shutoff valves. Valves used to adjust air flow to each pond. A little more air sent to sediment pond because it is about twice as big as the forage pond. 3/4" black water pipe to waters edge and a ways into each pond sunk with concrete blocks, then 3/8 sinking hose the rest of the way to the diffusers. Used our telehandler to set the diffusers, then my body to get them just where I wanted them under water.

Diffusers are marked by a small buoy (as seen in the two pictures) attached to a rope attached to the concrete base. We use the rope to pull the diffuser with the telehandler if needed.

It does not look like much water moving in the pictures of the diffusers operating. But pictures are deceiving. They are actually moving so much water I worried about it being too much. But they have been running over a month now with no problem that I can detect. I back-drug some washed in dirt in the sediment pond one day with a front end loader bucket. Mucked up the water and made it muddy in the north end of the pond. Within 30 minutes the diffuser had moved the muddy water from the north end of the pond, under the upper water, and made a mushroom cloud of dirty water surrounding the diffuser. Within a few hours the pond was homogenized. So these diffusers are moving a considerable amount of water.

Edit 5/20/17: the home made diffuser base works fine after a couple seasons, but if doing it again I would change one thing. The concrete base is heavy which is great to keep it on the bottom. But the foktprint is so small it easily sinks into loose clay or muck. I would make provision for the base to have a bigger footprint either by setting it in a plastic tub or attaching a bigger base. Otherwise it works great. I actually like them better than the boughten plastic bases filled with sand.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 01:46 AM

Mid September and finally FULL POOL. And holding water.....hooray! grin

Notice I have very little dam above full pool. Actually only a foot, with a six inch overflow pipe and the emergency overflow set at the top of the 6" pipe. So 6" of dam left after the pipe is at full flow. Risky? Probably. But this is a very small pond with very limited runoff. I built it and if it breeches the dam I'll fix it. So I can take risks that a contractor dare not. Plus if it fails the main pond is a mere two foot lower level and the forage will run into the main pond. For me having the extra depth in the forage pond was worth the risk of pushing the limits on the dam. Judgement call. Not professional. Not recommended. No self respecting engineer would do it. Luckily I'm a farmer instead of an engineer. grin I think it will work.

Some FHM produced from the mini forage pond. I have not weighed what has been taken out of the pond so far but I would guess it to be at least a half of a 5 gallon bucket full. Still plenty of fry left behind to grow up before winter.

Saw some of the RES on beds earlier in the summer. They looked to be about 5" long. Have not seen any recruitment so maybe the youngsters were just practicing for next year.

Edit: the big pile of dirt in the background is dirt taken out of the main pond shallow spawning area while the pond was low. I decided did not need that much spawning area. It is not part of the forage pond project. Whole different story.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 02:50 AM

Finally! This thread is up to date with this post. I've been taking pictures as things progressed but drug my feet on getting the updates here. Will try to do better in the future.

Only additional plans for this mini forage pond is to use it and I have just a little more crushed rock to put around the edge to cover the bigger stuff. Other than the rock, IT IS DONE.

Will try to remember to do updates about the production that comes out of it.

One thing I forgot to add earlier, put 400 PK shrimp (grass shrimp, glass shrimp, ghost shrimp, whatever) in this pond earlier this year. Was not sure if there would be enough habitat for them to survive the FHM swarms and the RES. But happy to say just a couple days ago used a dip net to swipe up along some of the bank and grass and snagged a few. They are not thick like I would like to see them. But at least some are still there. Maybe now with some more cover around the banks and me quit using the backhoe on the pond they will have a chance to thrive. Hopefully if they do well in this pond, I can use the production to stock my other ponds. Caught a few in a minnow trap about a month ago and transferred them to the sediment pond. My hopes are fry will bet washed out the overflow into the main pond during high rainfall events.

All ponds at full pool as of yesterday.......FINALLY. We have had very limited runoff for about a year and a half now. Pond went into winter last year over a foot low and never filled spring of 2014. Rare for us to not have high rainfall events in either fall or spring. Was two foot low this summer. Will feel a lot better about going into this winter with a full pond. Water looks lots better now with some flow through.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. You Texas guys are singing "cry me a river". I hear you guys talking about DRY ponds or six foot low ponds. I feel for you. It is common for us to get dry in the summer and ponds drop some, but rare for them to not get recharged sometime during the year.

Feels good to have a project completed. Now if I can get that dog house sized building finished for the aeration pumps.................... As Rosann Rosana Danna always used to say......"It's alllllllways sumptin"
Posted by: FireIsHot

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 09:01 AM

snrub, you've got some cool stuff going on up there! Smaller ponds are way more fun than bigger ones.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 12:15 PM

I'm enjoying them.

Since my old pond did not work out for my RES pond, got my eye on a ravine near the old pond that could be dammed up at about half an acre......................... I gotta quit thinking about this stuff! Got enough projects in the works! grin
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 08:21 PM

Why did you do the rock lining?
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 09:21 PM

Good question. Several reasons I guess.

I liked the rock around my main pond for bank erosion prevention.

The acidic clay needed lime anyway, so lining the pond with limestone rock took care of that. Probably 75% coverage of the bottom and sides.

I was considering crayfish at the time, and figured the rocks would be good habitat. Crawdads never appeared this year in number because of the drought (so I never found a source of local variety to capture and put in the pond) and once I decided to try the PK shrimp the crayfish idea went away. Figured the crayfish would do away with my PK shrimp. Crawdads are mean, feisty little critters. We've kept them in an aquarium before.

It was a small enough pond it did not take that much rock. I kind of started on the water line around the shore and forgot to quit. The rock is not deep at all. As close as I could come to a single layer of it.

But the reason above all others is because of an observation in my main pond. The limestone rocks seemed to be an ideal substrate for quick algae growth. And every time the water fell and rose again on the rock and a fresh batch of algae grew, snails multiplied by the gazillions. Normally that would not be such a good thing. But since my emphasis for this pond was to raise RES fry from a few adult brood stock into fingerlings, in addition to the FHM's, I knew the RES would have a much better chance of thriving if I had their preferred food in abundance. So it was the snail explosion in the main pond on the rock that induced me to use a lot of it in this small pond. I actually inoculated this pond with algae and snails as it first filled.

Right or wrong, good or bad, that is what I did.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Mini forage pond production - 10/13/14 10:59 PM

Makes a lotta sense
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/13/15 02:29 PM

Update on the forage pond.

Been taking FHM out that I catch in a minnow trap and transfer to my old pond. Probably just snacks for the GSF as there is not a lot of cover in that pond yet for them to hide. But I have gobs of FHM as well as small BG still in my main pond so don't figure I need them there and want to reduce some of the biomass in the forage pond to be sure it does not get over loaded. LMB should spawn in the main pond this spring so will likely be able to use the FHM production from the forage pond to supplement the main pond once I have more bass mouths to feed, but plenty of forage there at the moment. Have not started up the aeration yet this spring in this forage pond but will soon. Lots of feeding activity from the FHM's.

But the main reason for the post is to put a picture up of some RES reproduction. I saw small RES on nests in very shallow water late last year. Was not sure if they would get a spawn off or not, but apparently they did. Picture below is one of two RES I have caught so far in minnow trap along with the FHM's. Hope I have lots more. The idea is to grow them up to a size my LMB in the main pond will not eat them and transfer the RES to my main pond. I only had a very few RES in the original stocking of the pond then another 125 later in the fall (3 acre pond). So I would like to see some more RES in the main pond thus the idea of raising replacements in this forage pond. Only RES and FHM's in this forage pond currently. Later when the water warms up a little more will seine the shallow areas to try and see just how much RES reproduction I got.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/13/15 03:52 PM


I am doing on a little study on minnow traps. If you get a chance, please post a picture of the trap you used to catch the RES and, if possible, measure the entrance openings for me. It would be really appreciated!

Bill D.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/14/15 12:11 AM

Will do. I have three different minnow traps and they all catch minnows differently. A very slight difference on opening size makes one style wire mesh catch lots of small BG along with FHM while the other one catches few BG and nearly all FHM. The traps look identical from a distance, but up close one has a slightly larger mesh and has a circular wire welded in the opening (the other is just the rough expanded metal for the opening which makes for the slightly larger opening). The third style I have is plastic but of the same general shape and design. It does not catch as much of anything except it does have some tabs in the opening that can be cut out to make the opening bigger, which I may try later this year.

I thought the one with the welded in wire circle in the opening looked like a better constructed unit and bought several of them. But the mesh is slightly larger and when I drop in fish pellets through the opening, most fall out of the mesh while the other trap holds the bait in better. Saves a lot of time not having to put the pellets in a sack or anything. But if I'm wanting only FHM the trap with the wire ring will keep out more small BG. If I'm wanting to trap small BG or GSF, the one with the slightly larger rough opening wins hands down. Amazing what a tiny fraction of an inch difference (or maybe the smooth entrance of the wire ring???) at the entrance makes a difference.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/14/15 10:46 AM

Thanks Snrub!
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/15/15 02:02 PM

Plastic trap from Walmart 3/4" opening. Trap with larger mesh with wire ring welded in opening 7/8", smaller mesh trap with rough opening 1". Pics later tonight when time available.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/15/15 02:29 PM

Thanks Snrub!
Posted by: snrub

Re: Mini forage pond production - 04/15/15 11:24 PM

Pictures with descriptions in the title.

Picture 25 is of the plastic minnow trap. Under the right conditions I have caught a lot of minnows with it, but generally I don't feel like it performs as well as the wire mesh traps. This could be nothing more than a function of the smaller opening of about 3/4" compared to 7/8 and 1" in the two different wire mesh traps. One problem with the plastic trap is that it floated. Originally I put a rock in to weigh it down, but eventually added the piece of metal strap in the photo to keep it on the bottom. I thought it odd to build a trap that would not work without adding some sort of weight. Or maybe it is supposed to float around at will and I just did not use it correctly. There are some tabs that can be cut out of the opening to make it a little bigger and I may try that. I hardly ever catch small BG in this trap (likely because of the small opening). Has three plastic clip pins holding it together which look like will not last as long before they break compared to the metal traps and somewhat clumsy to use.

Starting with picture 08 is the trap I like best overall. It has a 1" opening (with no reinforcing ring and just the bare expanded metal for the opening) and is built out of slightly smaller mesh than the other metal traps that I have. One downside to this trap if I am trying to trap only FHM is at times it will trap a lot of 1-2" BG. It is easy to tell when I pull it out of the water in my big pond if it has a bunch of BG in it --- it has a distinctive louder "patter" sound as the BG flip around a lot harder than the FHM's. This trap is my best trap to catch small GSF out of my old pond. The GSF have a more fusiform shape than BG and I can capture 2.5" and even occasionally up to 3" GSF with it. The slightly larger opening I suspect is the reason this trap catches more BG and GSF than the others. The GSF are also just natural chow hounds and I think they try harder to get in to the feed also. Mild spring steel single clip pin that rusts. Mesh is small enough on this trap and the plastic trap that I can simply dump some fish pellets through the opening and throw it in the water. Pellets for the most part stay in.

Starting at picture 18 is the third style trap I have. I actually bought several of these, thinking it was just like the previous metal trap only better with the wire welded into the opening for reinforcement. What I did not realize is this trap is built lighter. Either the gauge of the metal is lighter or else just the expanded metal having larger openings makes it weaker, but this trap needs the extra reinforcement in the opening because the metal is enough weaker I have actually noticed just with normal use the whole trap gets some distortion in its shape. Nothing serious enough to render it unusable, but the other trap without the ring in the opening is actually a more sturdy trap. The ring makes this trap have a 7/8 opening compared to the 1" in the other trap. This trap will also trap very few small BG compared to the other metal trap. Stainless single clip pin that does not rust but the fitup on closing not quite as good as the other metal trap. If I dump pellets in the opening of this trap unless they are larger pellets, half fall out making baiting this trap not as easy.

Maybe more than you ever wanted to know Bill.
Posted by: snrub

RES reproduction success - 06/03/16 10:15 AM

I had originally stocked this pond with RES and FHM, and later threw in a dozen GSH. The pond has never performed like I had hoped for RES reproduction untill now.

At times I have wondered if I even had any RES left in this small pond, but I would throw a cast net and after several throws would at least get a few of various sizes. But never any significant numbers of fry.

Well that changed a few nites ago. Put out a couple of minnow traps and had a dozen 2" RES. I could redily see the small dot on their opercular tab and were easily identifiable. Also caught a considerable number of GSH fry, which up until this year the major minnow catch was FHM.

That is all good news. The bad news is I found one 2" GSF in with the bunch of RES. I don't know where these buggers come from, but they come from somewhere. So I either have an adult GSF pair in there, or it was just an outcross from unpure RES genetics in my original stockers. I hand sorted every fish that went into this pond for identification, but the fish were only 3" at that time.

Anyway, am glad to see finally some significant RES reproduction. The original intent was to raise RES in this pond for transfer into my other ponds since my original stocking in those ponds was lighter than I wanted and could not get any additional RES at the time.

Will see how things progress. My sediment pond has RES and CNBG (with a few bonus GSF) stocked in it and I get a few RES fingerlings there. But for every RES I get dozens of CNBG. So the CNGB have reproduced like gangbusters and the RES not so much so. Or perhaps my trap harvest methods just select for the CNBG. Need to brush up on my cast net skills and see if more RES are there that I am unaware of.
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/03/16 12:01 PM

GSF are EVERYWHERE. We need to set up game cameras to see if the GSF maybe get a swimming start, build up speed, and then fins flapping scoot across land from BOW to BOW? How else do they seem to find their way in every puddle?
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/03/16 12:20 PM

Reading above you say that you had plans for PK shrimp and went light or not at all on the crayfish. Did the PK shrimp plan work out? Do you see them? Do they enter your minnow traps? Would love to know how they survive with predators, who eats them, and where you see them (maybe you only see them at night with a strong light?) You would think they would struggle to survive with so many panfish predators.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/03/16 03:50 PM

Glad you brought that up. I need to do some checking to see if I still have any of the PK shrimp. I have not noticed any in the traps but they are easy to miss if not looking for them, being clear and not very big.

I will pay more attention to the traps and I need to go out at night with a dip net and see if I can net some. I hope they are still there. But you are right about the predators and this pond till very recently had no submerged weeds and only a small patch of spike rush now for cover. The only real cover they have, and there is lots of it, are 3" or so diameter crushed limestone rocks.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/04/16 12:33 PM

A couple pictures of the RES fry.

Set three minnow traps and checked in about 15 minutes and had 9 small RES and a few minnows. I don't know if the RES are just wandering in by accident or are actively going in after the feed. I do feed in this pond daily for the FHM population and it is possible that the RES are also eating the feed.

Guess I could try setting some traps with and without feed and see if it makes a difference.
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/04/16 01:08 PM

Very cool! Mine are still sitting on nests near the bank. I think. Or, at least I hope. If all the nests I'm seeing aren't RES, then that means they are my supposedly, HBG.
I'll try some nets and traps next week. I'm very curious if any of the 20+ YP ribbons I counted, produced any fry.
Your pics of the RES fry, look like mine did when they were stocked last April.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 06/04/16 03:37 PM

Your HBG males likely will make nests. There hopefully should be very few females to take them up on their offer though.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 07/17/16 11:37 PM

Some more pictures of RES fingerlings I am raising in this forage pond to transfer to my main pond. RES is supposed to be the only sunfish in this pond. But I have trapped a fingerling GSF (likely came from main pond swimming up the overflow during high water event) so who knows.

Most look like pure RES but occasionally I get a few that look like they could have some GSF genes in them. Hard for me to tell for sure with a 2" fish. I know they are not GSF because I also have pictures of them and will put one below to show. As I start catching them again from the main pond as they get bigger (or catch some larger ones from this forage pond) maybe I can get a better idea. Funny thing is, I was wanting some GRES hybrids. I just did not think they would be coming from this pond!

Descriptions of what I think they are on the pictures. But I would not bet money on any of the ID's. Looking at the pictures the difference in the GSF (last picture is from a different pond) and the RES might not look that much different. But I can tell you, in person looking at them, there is a lot of difference. I can spot a GSF in a trap full of fingerlings easily. I can also tell the hybrids from the CNBG fingerlings easily. They are very apparent when side by side in person. The pictures do not do them justice. The differences just do not show up as well in the pictures as in real life. They likely would if I had a better camera.

I hardly ever get a FHM in the traps any more in this pond. Either the RES have done away with them or the GSH have out produced them. But I have a tremendous population of GSH, the other minnow in this pond. They are going gangbusters this year.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 07/18/16 12:04 AM

Some of the parental stock from this forage pond. I caught these two RES back in 10-31-2015. I think one is female and one is male but unsure. Some of the above fingerlings could be from these parents. I caught both of these within a couple feet of the same spot just off the bank one right after the other. Dragging a 1/32 oz jig up the bank very slowly with a 3/4" piece of plastic worm split in half to look like a bug. Ala Shorty!!!! style grin
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 09/02/16 11:38 PM

Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Reading above you say that you had plans for PK shrimp and went light or not at all on the crayfish. Did the PK shrimp plan work out? Do you see them? Do they enter your minnow traps? Would love to know how they survive with predators, who eats them, and where you see them (maybe you only see them at night with a strong light?) You would think they would struggle to survive with so many panfish predators.

Canyoncreek I went out a few nights ago with a dip net and tried to net some PK shrimp. Never got any. Also have been watching minnow traps better and have seen none. I'm afraid my PK shrimp did not make it. This forage pond is swimming with GS and maybe the predation was just too much for them.
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 09/02/16 11:41 PM

Caught another of the RES brood stock late this afternoon. Small hook and small bait seems to be what it takes for me to catch RES. I switched to a tiny hook and caught this guy as well as several 3-4" RES out of this forage pond.

Edit: thread with pictures of some of the offspring coming from this pond. Fingerling identification
Posted by: snrub

Re: RES reproduction success - 09/20/16 06:47 PM

Caught this small RES out of the main pond. It could have been recruitment there or it very well could be one of the many fingerling RES I have raised in this forage pond that were trapped in minnow traps and transferred to the main pond.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 09/20/16 10:55 PM

Dang man! I understand the gloves when I see the dorsal spikes on that guy....must be about like picking up a wiggling cactus!

I could use a few of those at Mutt Pond if you are ever headed this way.... smile
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 09/21/16 12:18 AM

What is it that Bruce Condello has as his tag line?

"Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors". Bruce Condello

Redear Sunfish information links
Posted by: snrub

Raising the level - 10/09/16 09:54 PM

I raised the level of this pond recently. This one actually went as planned. Inserted a 6" plastic schedule 40 pipe extender, cut a 6" 90 degree fitting to the height I wanted the water, and installed it on the pipe extender. It all fit tight enough I did not even glue it. Just put a single self tapping screw in the top of the 90 to make sure it stayed in place.

Raised the water level about 6". Should give some added insurance against winter kill for the RES I raise in this pond. There is hardly any dam height above water level (maybe 6-8") but the emergency spillway is about 3" above the new full pool level and this pond gets very limited runoff (maybe 2 acres). It does not get near the inflow as its sister sediment pond and the dam has very good grass established.

Just got a 4" rain and all was well.

Caught a couple RES from it tonight.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Raising the level - 10/24/16 01:07 AM

What I believe to be a RESxGSF hybrid. There are supposed to be only RES in this pond but either some of the stocked RES had some GSF genes or a GSF swam up my overflow pipe and contaminated the pond. I have caught a few GSF looking fingerlings, quite a number or RES fingerlings, and some that appear to be hybrids.

The first two pictures are of the same fish and I believe it to be one of the RESxGSF hybrids. It was caught by hook and line in this RES only forage pond.

The third picture is a hybrid caught out of my main pond that I THINK...... key word think......... is one of these hybrids I moved from this forage pond to the main pond at an earlier time and it is all grown up.

Welcome any opinions.
Posted by: CMM

Re: Raising the level - 10/24/16 12:33 PM

Snrub, I am still learning about various hybrids. Can you point out characteristics that make you believe this is a resXgsf hybrid rather than a plain gsf?
Posted by: snrub

Re: Raising the level - 10/24/16 01:04 PM

I'll try. Keep in mind I am no expert.

First off is the fact that this is SUPPOSED to be a RES only pond. Had this fish been taken from my main pond there would have been other more likely possibilities. But the fact that this fish came from a pond that was stocked with RES makes the probability it has RES genes much higher. That is my first clue. I have probabilities in my corner.

Second, look at the opercular tab. Notice the orange portion of the border is relatively distinct. My GSF have a translucent orangish border but the border usually wraps around the opercular tab more of the radius and is distinctly translucent. To me this orange tab is more of a solid nature reminiscent of a RES.

Third, notice the mouth size. It is large like a GSF but the relative size of the mouth in relationship to the body height does not look large enough to be pure GSF.

Fourth, notice the green bars below the eyes. These are reminiscent of GSF bars but they lack the intensity of my pure GSF. RES often have a mottled cheek that are less bar like of the GSF but still have a pattern. The bars on this fish in coloration and shape look like some blend of what I would expect from both a GSF and a RES.

Fifth, the general body shape is similar to a GSF but to my eyes it has just a little too much height in relation to the mouth size to be pure GSF.

Sixth, the coloration with the blue-green flecks in the lower part of the body towards the tail says GSF. I do not see any of the black flecks in that area that I often see in my pure GSF.

It would be pretty easy to just call this a GSF. But the orange tab on the opercular does not look just right. The green bars do not look just right. The mouth size in relation to the vertical height of the body does not look just right. And it has some characteristics of a RES and it came from a pond full of RES that was not supposed to have any GSF in it.

That is what I see. Now I will wait to see if the experts tell me it is a GSF, LOL. I'll try to look for a good GSF picture of a fish about the same size and edit this post with it so you have a comparison.
Posted by: snrub

Some GSF examples - 10/24/16 01:48 PM

Here are some examples of what I believe are pure GSF with the characteristics that I commonly see in GSF.

And finally the last picture the same fish posted in the previous post.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/24/16 01:54 PM

Now some examples of RES, all caught from the same pond except the one designated that came from my main pond.

And the last picture of the same fish from the previous post i believe to be a hybrid RESxGSF

So what do you all think? Is it a RESxGSF hybrid or just a lowly GSF??????
Posted by: CMM

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/24/16 06:44 PM

Thanks Snrub. Can't wait to see what everyone else thinks. These hybrids are tricky for me. I have pulled some I think are bgXre, but just am not sure.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/24/16 09:28 PM

Here is one out of my main pond that I posted a while back that I think may be a RESxBG or BGxRES.

It does not show well in the picture, but on the opercular tab where there would be a red margin in a RES this fish almost looked like that area was red but covered with a thin layer of balck. The other thing that makes it look like RES genetics is the mottled cheeks under the eye.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/25/16 10:48 AM

To me I think all your identifications are okay except for the last two showing the large (possible BGXRES hybrid). Without seeing the actual fish this looks more like a pure BG to me than a hybrid. What features did this fish have to make you think it was a hybrid; something on the gill flap? Notice on this fish the size of the mouth - it is essentially the same size mouth as a BG. I think any significant amount of GSF or RES genetics will produce a larger mouth. The body coloration also leans more toward BG than a hybrid. However I get cautious using body coloration for fish ID especially since your fish trend toward lighter washed out colors due to turbid conditions.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/25/16 04:56 PM

Look like BG to me.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/25/16 05:34 PM

Ok, we will go with BG.

The main thing that said to me it might have some RES was the mottled markings on the cheeks. I just had not seen that in any of my BG but had seen it in RES.

But the mouth is small and does not have the sometimes extended mouth like a RES.

Thanks for the input guys.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/27/16 08:35 PM

A few more fish from this forage pond stocked with RES.

First three pictures are of a particularly nice hybrid. Likely RESxGSF.

Next two pictures are of another smaller hybrid RESxGSF that show particularly good markings.

The last two fish are a couple of representative RES that come from this pond. I caught one bigger than the one in the picture tonight but it was all blurry so did not post it. Also caught a 10" hybrid tonight but did not take a picture.

As I catch the hybrids I move them to the main pond. I put the pure RES back for brood stock, although tonight I did move 3 nice ones to my sediment pond that had the fish kill. If I find them floating tomorrow morning, will have to wait a little longer. I think they are going to be ok. There is already a massive population of snails since the fish kill, so if they live they will have plenty to eat.
Posted by: TGW1

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/28/16 08:27 AM

snrub, those at some nice res and hyb's. I like the res, how old are they? 3 or 4? and what size were they when stocked? wished I had some that size in the pond.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some GSF examples - 10/28/16 10:36 AM

Thanks, I was happy with them although there was supposed to be no GSF influence in that pond. I was actually wanting some RESxGSF hybrids but was not expecting them to come from this pond. crazy

The initial fish were stocked mid October in 2014 so right at two years ago. I'm pretty happy with them.

The difficulty I have now is deciding how many and what to take out. I have no idea for sure how many large ones there are in this little 1/20th acre pond. I've been taking out all the Golden Shiners I can trap as they are pretty thick and taking out whatever small RES and Hybrids go into the trap. I suspect over this last year I have moved at least a hundred of the offspring. Ideally, if I could I would remove everything except about 3 or4 each of male and female RES, but that will never be possible without draining the pond.

I did stick about 20 2" fingerling RES into this pond yesterday. I got a batch of 100 from Dunn's fish farm truck to repopulate my sediment pond that had the fish kill and decided to put a few in this pond simply for genetic diversity. The Fingerlings I got from Dunn's looked really good this time (unlike the original fish stocked in this pond from them).

If they are like my BG Tracy they will grow really well to about the size I am catching, then they seem to plateau and not have really good growth thereafter. But I think that is because my LMB are not doing their job on keeping the recruitment's thinned out in my big pond. In this pond I have no predators so it is up to me to remove enough fish so they do not stunt. I am pretty sure that at least some of the RES have learned on their own to eat the feed I put in this pond for the minnows. That is how I have learned to catch them. Throw some feed out on one side of the pond and fish while the minnows are eating. Once in a while I can see a bigger swirl near the bank and if I throw my jig in the area I have been able to catch some of them. So I am pretty sure they are coming over to get the feed as it soaks up and sinks. Funny I have tried and tried to fish out in a few feet of water, but nearly all I catch is about a foot from the bank in a foot or less water depth. Seems like they come right up next to shore, I assume because that is where the snails hang out.

I just got in some Optimal and Optimal JR and have started using it for the feed in this pond. Now that I know the RES (at least some of them) are eating it, the rest of this year and next I am going to keep them on Optimal and see how they do.
Posted by: snrub

Some more RES - 10/29/16 10:29 PM

Couple more RES out of this forage pond from tonight. All together caught 6 RES (moved them to my sediment pond that had the fish kill) from 5" up to the size pictured and several RESxGSF hybrids that went into my main pond.

The GS seem to like the Optimal feed. Of course they like the AM MVP also. I'm pretty sure at least some of the RES are eating the feed because I have caught on that is the way I am catching them. I throw a little feed out in front of me, wait till the activity gets going good on the feeding, then put my small jig in the water a foot or two out from the bank. I think the RES hear the feeding activity and come over in the feeding mood and I catch them.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Some more RES - 10/29/16 11:05 PM

Are you still using the Chartreuse "Gulp Alive" waxies on the jigs?

BTW, I have caught three nice eater channel cats on them.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 10/29/16 11:28 PM

Definitely. I also use some other of the Gulp baits but just tonight I was using the green waxies. In fact I only had to change the bait once to catch 6 RES and several more RESxGSF hybrids all out of my forage pond.

Using the smallest hook 1/32 oz plain jig head I can find and either one or two of the waxies on the hook. The RES seem to be timid bites. It will be tug, tug, then they take it and I catch them. All about a foot or two out from the bank and in 12-18" of water. Even the 10" ones.

I'm throwing some feed out, then when the GS take to hitting the feed the RES come over and I catch them. I am sure some of the RES are taking feed. I would think they would have to be to be fat and sassy as they are in such a small pond. 10 inchers in two years. Have not weighed any of them, but the biggest one must have been a pound.

I also catch CC on them out of the main pond. Up to 3#. Pretty good fight for a rod set up to catch BG. They definitely pull some drag.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 10/30/16 10:08 PM

Another 8" RES.

I finally figured out my source of all the RESxGSF hybrids. I figured there must be at least one adult GSF in the pond. Either that or one of the RES had GSF genes and was passing them on. But there seemed like there was just too many of the hybrids. Yet I have never caught a large, full blooded GSF even though I have fished the pond quite a bit lately.

Up to tonight. Tonight I fished around the cover of the pallets I have for FHM spawning substrate. And one right after the other caught the two GSF in pictures two and three. Both were decent size but the first one was a tub. Fat and healthy. Transferred those two over to the main pond and the RES to my sediment pond.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 03/28/17 11:10 AM

Fished this 1/20th acre forage pond for a while yesterday. LOTS of hybrids (RESxGSF) 5-6" long. Moved all of those I caught, about 15, to the main pond. Caught several nice RES and a few smaller ones. The hybrids are much more aggressive so it is pretty easy to catch them. Throw out a little feed in one area and the fish are soon concentrated there and easy to catch. I want to move all the hybrids out I can catch as well as all the smaller RES, to make sure the biomass level does not get too heavy. I return all the large good looking RES I catch to spawn and create more.

Descriptions along with the pictures.

Edit: See pictures in post directly above for the parental GSF stock creating the hybrids. Also compare to the hybrid picture below.
Posted by: farmallsc

Re: Some more RES - 03/28/17 01:10 PM

I'm enjoying your thread. I have a question about your catching methods. Keep in mind, I'm asking not judging. I've been wanting to start netting, weighing and measuring my fish. I kinda would like to do this ever 30 to 45 days. I thought about throwing the feed out and netting them, but I was afraid I would spook them and then maybe they wouldn't come up to feed. Do you think it makes a difference or should I try to catch them at other times rather than at feeding times.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 03/28/17 10:58 PM

Others can probably give you better advice. But from what I have read it is not really recommended fishing where you feed as it will tend to make the fish avoid the food or get hook shy. If that is the case I suspect casting a net would be even more disruptive, but I do not know that as a fact.

In my case with this pond, the brood stock RES I really don't care if they get hook shy. In fact I would just as soon not catch them generally, although I do like to hook into one once in a while to see what size they and how they are doing. But if they get hook shy, it is probably best for both them and me.

Most of the other fish I move to another pond anyway. So they get caught once and moved to another environment. That is the real purpose of this pond, raise RES to populate my main pond. That and golden shiners (used to be FHM but between the RES and a couple GSF, the FHM got extirpated). I trap and move small fish with minnow traps and larger ones by hook and line.

Another thing is I don't really fish this pond all that often. So the fish might get fed 30 times for every one time I feed and fish.

Sorry I can't really give you a good answer, but in my case I am not too worried about putting the fish off feed by luring them in with feed. The times I have done it, I throw out some more feed and they are right back to the trough.

I think what I am mostly feeding are the RESxGSF hybrids and golden shiners. And to a much lesser degree some of the RES.
Posted by: farmallsc

Re: Some more RES - 04/02/17 02:39 AM

What is your thoughts on the GSFxRES?
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/02/17 02:38 PM

Ask me 4 years from now. laugh

I like some hybrid sunfish in my pond. I've only been doing this 4 years, so another 4 years down the road I might have a completely different attitude. But for now I like some hybrids mixed in with my regular BG. Why? Because when nothing else wants to bite a hook, I can nearly always get a GSF or a HBG to bite. They are just a lot more aggressive by nature. So I like to catch them.

The GRES (GSFxRES)? Time will tell. Most fish farms sell HBG as BG male x GSF female cross. I have wondered if a RES male x GSF female would not be as good if better cross from a growth standpoint. RES can get a little bigger than BG. So I have wanted to try some. The few HBG that I originally had in my main pond were a few that were accidentally mixed in with my originally stocked BG. They were not supposed to be there, but I found that I liked catching them.

Fast forward to my forage pond. Was supposed to be only RES and FHM in the pond (and later I put a dozen GS). Well somehow at least two GSF got in there. Either by stocking mistake, swimming up the overflow, or who knows how. But they got there because if you look further up this thread I believe I posted pictures of two that are about 7" long that I caught and removed. There may be more, but I hope I have got them all fished out. GSF tend to be easy to catch in a pond full of RES because the RES are hard to catch and the GSF relatively easy.

So those two GSF (of which I am hoping they were both either male or female and not one of each mad ) created a lot of baby GRES hybrids. So I got my wish of having some GSFxRES hybrids quite by accident. To date I have not trapped or caught any YOY of what I thought were pure GSF. So maybe I got lucky and the two GSF were of the same, likely female. The reason I say female is because a male GSF x female RES is an unlikely cross in nature (at least that is what I have read - can be done in a lab though) while the opposite RES male x GSF female is very easy and readily happens in the absence of the GSF female finding a suitable GSF male.

But I digress, giving you a long winded explanation while not answering your question. Why do I like GRES? I don't know. I just do. Same way with RES. Somehow from the time I first learned they exist, I have been fascinated with them.

Some more pictures of GRES caught yesterday. I know they are GRES hybrids (RESxGSF)and not HBG (BGxGSF) because in this particular forage pond there are none and never have been any BG.

Most people find it very hard to catch RES from their pond. My personal theory on that subject is it is because there are probably a thousand hungry BG trying to get to the hook before the one in a thousand RES which tends to be a persnickety biter. Just numbers alone put odds against catching them, then add their behavior and more persnickety diet and the average pond owner rarely catches one. But get them in a pond by themselves, they are catch-able.

I'm posting lots of GRES hybrids because they are a more unusual cross than a HBG and the pictures might help others identify RESxGSF (GRES) hybrids from their ponds.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/02/17 03:14 PM

Originally Posted By: John F
Are you still using the Chartreuse "Gulp Alive" waxies on the jigs?

BTW, I have caught three nice eater channel cats on them.

John, I was using the Gulp Waxies yesterday and the fish were kind of slow to bite. Not catching as often as I usually do. Switched to a Gulp cricket and started catching fish. Could have been the bait change, or could have been the fish just started biting, but when I changed to the Gulp cricket started catching fish one right after the other in the big pond and caught a couple RES in the forage pond.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 05:48 AM

I have settled on Stubby Steves as my BG bait on a # 6 circle hook with a bobber and haven't used them for years. I've been doing it while feeding. The smaller fish can't take it and I haven't had but one that was deep hooked. They are relatively expensive but nothing I do at my ponds is affordable. Sooner or later they will probably figure out that the red and white bobber can be dangerous so I'll probably have to go to a fly rod with the Stubby.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 10:06 AM

Dave the reason I went to jig type hooks over regular ones is the fish don't seem to swallow them nearly as bad.

Seems like the circle hooks are hard to find in small sizes and I have a lot better luck catching BG with small baits and small hooks. Of course that could be the reason I don't catch many big fish too.

But I like action and if I am not catching anything find something else to do.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 10:21 AM

FWIW Small circle hooks can be hard to find. I get mine at Gander Mountain. I don't think they come in sizes smaller than 6.
Posted by: farmallsc

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 11:57 AM

Have you guys tried Allen hooks? They are right here in Texas. They throw 20% off sales pretty often
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 12:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill D.
FWIW Small circle hooks can be hard to find. I get mine at Gander Mountain. I don't think they come in sizes smaller than 6.

Posted by: jgr

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 12:28 PM

I have gotten #8 & #10 circle hooks at Cabela's. We still had plenty swallowers. My wife and I have by far had the best luck using a 1/32 jig with almost none swallowing the jig. We have used larger jigs but we have way more bait stolen. That is our experience and we have been working on this for while.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 02:41 PM

That is what I use also, the 1/32 oz jig and I have found some brands have smaller circumference hooks which I like.

I'm no expert angler by any means, but I also like the way jigs present the bait. I seem to have far better luck catching BG with small hooks and small bait. At least when I am fishing with bait.

Smallest size crank bait in LMB pattern works well on BG for me too.

But I do not catch a lot of fish much over 8". So either I may need to use bigger bait/hook or maybe the bigger fish just are not there. Opinions on that?

Edit: I do catch the occasional 3# CC with those 1/32 oz jigs though. grin
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 05:20 PM

John, I've also had trouble finding smaller circle hooks.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 05:25 PM

Originally Posted By: John F
Originally Posted By: Bill D.
FWIW Small circle hooks can be hard to find. I get mine at Gander Mountain. I don't think they come in sizes smaller than 6.


Thanks! Now I'm on a quest for the smaller ones! smile
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 06:22 PM

See the picture I posted earlier today. The circle hooks can be found in size #8 at any good tackle store or ordered online. The 1/64 ounce jigs can be ordered from "". Search on their site for Panfish Micro Jigs. The ones I use are 1/64 oz chartreuse with #10 hook.

I have fished extensively using a variety of methods for various species for over 55 years.
Posted by: FireIsHot

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 06:51 PM

I get my smaller circle hooks at fly shops.
Posted by: anthropic

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 07:37 PM

Anybody try Stubby Steve lures on small circle hooks? I'm thinking of getting them for my grandkids, a lot cleaner & safer than worms.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 08:24 PM

I used to use the #8 circle hooks I pictured. A couple of years ago I switched to 1/64 oz #10 hook yellow jigs tipped with "gulp alive" waxies. I can catch more BG and even RES and catch them faster on the small jigs and "gulp alive" than on the small circle hooks with live bait and 1/64 oz sinker 8" above. All on 4# or 6# test monofilament line.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 08:46 PM

Originally Posted By: John F
I used to use the #8 circle hooks I pictured. A couple of years ago I switched to 1/64 oz #10 hook yellow jigs tipped with "gulp alive" waxies. I can catch more BG and even RES and catch them faster on the small jigs and "gulp alive" than on the small circle hooks with live bait and 1/64 oz sinker 8" above. All on 4# or 6# test monofilament line.


What technique do you use to fish the jigs?
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Some more RES - 04/03/17 09:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill D.


What technique do you use to fish the jigs?

I use a 12 or 13 foot light or ultra light action crappie pole with 4# or 6# monofilament line. I pull out an amount of line past the tip almost the length of the pole. I swing the jig out as far as I can and slowly bring it back in by sweeping the pole to the side. These jigs are too light to cast; that's why I said swing them out. I try to keep the jig just off bottom. I can feel it if it touches the bottom.
The key is to tip the jig with some kind of tasty morsel. I prefer the chartreuse "Gulp Alive waxies" by Berkley.

A three pound CC puts up quite the fight on this rig. Last fall I pulled in a five pound plus CC.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/04/17 12:54 AM

I fished some late afternoon today. While feeding I noticed the fish were not coming to feed so I quit. Only a few takers for the feed. Guess the weather change and recent rain caused their behavior change. Maybe cold rain.

Did not figure I would catch much. Could not get a bite the way I usually fish for them, so went out on the dock and fished the bottom in 6-7' of water. Caught quite a few that way but mostly small ones, One 9" GSF and one nice 8" BG. I would bounce the jig off the bottom was the only way I could get them to bite. Mid water only caught one fish. Used the Gulp green waxies and pink maggots, but the Gulp worm (just a pinch) worked best this time.

I have seen really small jigs in fly shops. I think like 1/128 oz or something like that. Tiny. For sinking flys I assume.
Posted by: xraytrapper

Re: Some more RES - 04/04/17 01:08 AM

I believe I got these at cabelas or possibly gander mountain. haven't tried them but read they were very good bluegill hooks.
Posted by: farmallsc

Re: Some more RES - 04/04/17 01:13 AM

Originally Posted By: snrub

I have seen really small jigs in fly shops. I think like 1/128 oz or something like that. Tiny. For sinking flys I assume.

Yes Sir.
I use a 1/124 for the Cap Spider.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/08/17 07:04 PM

Neat video. Wife says she will tie me some up!
Posted by: farmallsc

Re: Some more RES - 04/08/17 07:46 PM

Originally Posted By: snrub
Neat video. Wife says she will tie me some up!

Good deal. Just fish it real slow and barely twitch.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Some more RES - 04/10/17 07:10 AM

I'm using a #6 circle hook with a Stubby Steve. Small BG's can't take it and the fish take it deep.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 04/26/17 06:14 PM

This forage pond was supposed to have only RES and FHM, with GS later introduced.

Some how it got a few GSF so I have been getting a number of RESxGSF hybrids from it. I keep posting pictures of these hybrids for future reference helping others identify RES hybrids. Out of several hundred fish caught and trapped out of this pond I have never had anything look like a BG. So I am certain these fish are hybrids composed of GSF and RES genetics. I have no idea the gender of each parent, but from literature I read it is much more likely to be a RES male and GSF female.

There is one picture of an adult GS from this pond and one picture of a HBG from my main pond. I do not know for sure but I believe the HBG to be one of the CNBG/GSF that originated from my sediment pond (where lots of hybrids were created from a few GSF contamination) that was transferred over to my main pond as a fingerling about a year ago.

Descriptions with pictures.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 10/20/17 12:38 AM

Well I got good news and bad news.

The good news is that I caught a couple of RES out of this forage pond, which is what it is supposed to be raising. Pictures are in this RESxGSF hybrid thread so will not re-post them.

Also caught a few in the previous week.

The bad news is am still catching hybrids shown in the above linked photos and the worse news is it looks like I have a bang up crop of GSF late spawn fingerlings. I have not trapped much this year and by the looks of the picture below, I need to be.

I checked the three traps three times in the time span of about an hour and the results were a total of 4 RES fingerlings and a dozen or two of GSF and perhaps some hybrids. So my little forage pond is going "green" as in GSF and I do not like it. Will trap as many as I can in the next few weeks. I had removed about a half dozen 6-7" GSF a few weeks ago by hook and line. Looks like they got their deed done before I got them out.

The RES went back in the forage pond and the GSF went "away". I'm getting some RES recruitment but the GSF are keeping the numbers way low. I should have loads of RES fingerlings instead of all these GSF fingerlings.

Maybe I will have better luck in my pond dedicated to raising RES.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Some more RES - 10/20/17 10:34 AM

Snrub - you are finding out that the GSF are a highly aggressive species and in time will eventually crowd out the RES from your forage pond. I am convinced that young GSF, due to their aggressiveness and large mouth, eat a lot of fish fry.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 10/20/17 10:52 AM

Yes, at some point I will probably either need to nuke it and start over, or introduce some predators and end up with a tiny ordinary pond.

The one advantage that aggressiveness provides is it makes them easy to catch, both by trap and hook and line.

I can never get rid of them in that pond but sure can put a dent in their population by aggressively trapping and fishing. That will get really old some day, but at least currently it gives me a challenge.

I hope some how GSF do not get into my Pond dedicated to RES. If that pond establishes pure then raising RES in this tiny pond will be redundant and I can do something else with it. I have fished that pond three times and have caught nothing. That is actually a good sign for me (a better sign would have been to caught some RES). Had there been any level of GSF population with the small jig I was using I would have caught something.

Fingers crossed. grin
Posted by: esshup

Re: Some more RES - 10/20/17 10:53 AM

I agree with the nuking it part. They will out compete RES and YP.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Some more RES - 10/20/17 11:34 AM

I don't mind getting the hybrids. In fact I kind of like that. But either I am not getting the RES fingerling production or I am not getting them in traps like the GSF (which is possible).

I need to seine it but all my grandsons have grown up and moved away. No slave labor to help me and Carolynn has no intention of setting foot in a muddy slimy pond.
Posted by: snrub

1/20th acre forage pond - 10/31/17 10:47 PM

Been trapping fingerlings out of this pond the last couple weeks. Been getting lots and lots of GSF. mad Looks like maybe next year might just be the time to pump it down, seine it and start over fresh. Was hardly catching any RES in the minnow traps.

Till yesterday. GSF go into the traps for feed much, much more readily. I get the feeling the RES go in more by accident than on purpose, though I do not know that for sure.

It has gotten cold and my propensity to check the traps has lessened. In fact I removed all of them today. But when I run the traps yesterday I had not checked them for two days (usually check them multiple times each day). The standard opening traps had a number of the usual 1-1.5" GSF. But lo and behold when I checked the trap with an expanded size opening, all the GSF had likely exited once the feed was gone (the trap having been there two days since baited) but the 2-2.5" RES fingerlings pictured below were there. So I did get RES recruitment in this pond. Just hard to tell how much without seining it.

I have noticed this in the past, that when I leave the traps sit longer, I tend to get more RES in them. I find that interesting. If I am trapping to try and get the GSF out, I bait and check 15 minutes to a half hour later and do it often. The GSF are chow hounds. They go right after the feed, and if the feed is gone are pretty good at finding their way out of the trap. It seems like it takes a lot longer to get any RES fingerlings in the trap.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: 1/20th acre forage pond - 11/01/17 08:53 PM

It is normal for GSF when uncontrolled to pretty quickly become overabundant and crowd out many other species including large invertebrates crayfish.. They are an aggressive fish with a large mouth and big appetite.
Posted by: snrub

Re: 1/20th acre forage pond - 11/10/17 10:43 PM

I was starting to believe I had more GSF in this tiny 1/20th acre pond than RES. I had caught a number of 6" GSF and removed them and have caught several dozen fingerling 1 1/2 inch GSF in the minnow traps. It is funny, I will catch nothing but GSF in the traps, then all of the sudden I will get mostly RES. Can't explain why that happens but the GSF seem to have a much greater propensity to go in the traps for the bait feed. I think the RES more tend to wander in accidentally.

At any rate I figured the GSF were pretty bad. So I decided to take another approach. Had forgotten about the cast net I have. Had not used it for a long time. Thought I would give it a try and lo and behold I got RES! I caught about twenty in five casts, all similar size. Pictures below.

So I think there are more RES in the pond than I imagined (or less GSF). I have just been getting the GSF because they are more aggressive to bite a hook or go into a trap for food.

I think I will start casting the net each day about five times and move all the fingerling RES I get to my main pond. Will leave the breeder size in this pond. Funny thing is, I never got a single GSF with the cast net. Either they are quick to avoid it, or I have more RES than I imagined.
Posted by: snrub

Re: 1/20th acre forage pond - 11/12/17 07:25 PM

Caught some more RES fingerlings with the cast net tonight. Four casts netted 41 2-2.5" RES, one GSF and a hand full of GS. The GS and RES got transferred to my main pond.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: 1/20th acre forage pond - 11/12/17 08:20 PM

Thanks for posting the pics John! I may not reply to this and your other thread on fishing that often but I am definitely following along. Good stuff!
Posted by: snrub

Looky what I caught in the cast net - 11/21/17 11:41 PM

Decided to throw the cast net in some of the deepest water of this 1/20th acre pond. Look what I caught. I put it right back in the pond to make more babies. That is one of my RES brood stock.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 11/21/17 11:45 PM

Nice fish!

Lusk says RES will cold stress so it's good you're doing the migration before it gets much colder.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 11/22/17 12:10 AM

Hadn't heard that but I can believe it. These 3" RES seem a lot more lethargic at current water temperatures (50-55) than the same size BG.

A week or so ago I dumped a batch of them in my main pond. Thought they were going to die as they rolled over and floated around. From then on I was much more careful about tempering them to the new water. In the case of my forage pond and main pond, they are 30 feet from each other. I figured temperature and water would be close enough no problem. Big problem. I suspect there is a pH difference as the forage pond is nearly entirely lined with limestone rock.

So from that point forward I was much more careful about tempering the water in the bucket to the new pond water and had no more problems.

But I can tell the RES swim away a lot more lethargically than what BG would. They are already cold.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 12/06/17 09:46 PM

This small 1/20th acre pond takes a new direction today.

The only fish stocked have been RES, FHM and GS. Somewhere along the line GSF got into the pond and I have been managing them by removal, both hook and line (for the ones that make it to larger size) and minnow traps.

I was afraid the GSF had gotten the upper hand and were on the verge of taking over. I was ready to throw in the towel next year, pump it down, seine it, and nuke it. I had removed ten or twelve 5-6" GSF and had been trapping lots of GSF fingerlings and only a few RES. But then I got out the cast net and removed over 400 3" nominal RES fingerlings over a couple weeks and was still getting quite a few with the net when I quit. And rarely a GSF in the cast net.

So I learned something. Minnow traps and fishing are not reliable ways to evaluate a RES vs GSF population, because the GSF are much more aggressive toward hook and line and are much more likely to go into a minnow trap for fish food. The reality turned out to be I had lots of RES in the pond and a much smaller population of GSF and have been able to reduce the GSF population down to the point I can no longer catch them by line and am only getting the occasional one in the minnow trap.

So change of plans. No nuking the pond next summer.

Instead I put 10 6"-9" SMB in this small pond. This is the first time this pond has had an apex predator.

Where will I go from here with this tiny pond? Not sure. Originally its purpose was to raise FHM and RES fingerlings to supplement RES stocking in my main pond. Once I introduced the GS, between the RES and GS the FHM pretty well went by the wayside. Now I have lots of GS and rarely catch a FHM. I have managed to put several hundred RES fingerlings from this pond into both my main pond and also more recently my RES only pond.

But now with the one acre RES only pond, I should in the future have all the RES fingerlings I need from it. So raising RES fingerlings in this tiny pond would be redundant.

So I am not sure what direction I will head with it. I may fish the SMB out after they get enough size to avoid predation in my main pond and put them there. Or I might just leave the SMB in this tiny pond and see how they perform. They have enough GS in this pond to almost walk on. At least for the first 6 months or maybe a year they should be well fed. Maybe I will see if I can get some SMB recruitment in this pond. The pond is almost entirely lined with crushed rock so maybe they would find suitable spawning sites.

Don't know. No specific goals yet. Think I will just observe for a while and see what shakes out. I know "no goals" is kind of anathema to this forum. But maybe specifically "no goal" is a goal in this case??? grin Whatever the case, I think I will have some more fun with this 1/20th acre pond.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 12/07/17 11:54 AM

snrub - very good information and observations about the activity in your small 1/20 ac forage pond. Thanks for the informative update. It is good fish management info.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 12/07/17 02:37 PM

Thanks for the report.

No Goals is an entirely valid option. When most of us say goals it really means "what do you want". If what one wants is no goals "free range fish" then that is good.

A couple thoughts. Crawfish go well with SMB and so do smaller forage fish (smaller than adult GS). Lots of GS may mean no/little SMB reproduction/recruitment as they repress spawning and eat eggs and fry.

Small ponds like that offer lots of options. What about a few adult YP ?
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/17/18 10:23 PM

Wondered if the RES made it through the winter ok so threw the cast net about eight throws. Came up with about two dozen 3" RES and one that was about 5". Moved them to my sediment pond as I figure I still need to keep the biomass down in this pond to let the remaining fish room to grow.

Also caught some golden shiners in the cast net. There seems to be a big population of them as they really hit the feed pellets aggressively. That will make good food for the ten 6-9" SMB I put in there last December.

Caught three 5-6" GSF by hook and line. Hope I am getting them thinned out. Also caught one 6" GS. Fat bugger. Caught a few GSF/RES hybrids also. No pure RES but I suspect they are still pretty sluggish in the cold water. 50 degree water temp the other day when I measured.

I mostly wanted to get a feel for how this tiny pond fared through the winter. Looks like it may have done ok.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/22/18 08:51 PM

My very first SMB caught in my life. (My wife did catch a really nice one up at TJ's though). Was fishing for GSF trying to remove them in this pond before they had a chance to spawn this spring. Did catch and remove 3. Was bumping my lure along the bottom to see if the RES were active with no luck. Then this hit my jig baited with a bit of Gulp Alive worm on it.

Just a shade over 9". I stocked ten of these in the 6-9" range last December in this 1/20th acre pond. Nice to know at least one is still in there and looking good.
Posted by: teehjaeh57

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/23/18 01:23 PM

Not bad John - will absolutely benefit from GSH spawn this Summer and should beef up considerably. Pretty good shape coming out of Winter - when that gape increases it will grow fast.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/25/18 10:52 PM

Fishing in this 1/20th acre pond to remove unwanted GSF and hybrids to reduce biomass and caught this nice 10+" RES male (I think). One of my brood stock for the pond to raise the RES fingerlings. It went back in to make more babies.

Also been throwing the cast net to take out some more of the RES fingerlings and also a huge crop of GS. Only caught a few RES fingerlings but by throwing some feed out before throwing the net got around 50 4-5" nominal GS in about fifteen minutes. Transferred all these to my sediment pond. The sediment pond has bad FA and no GS stocked till now. This forage pond has lots of GS and no FA. So I am stocking the 1/10th acre sediment pond to see if the GS will take hold and help with the FA there. Hopefully will be a win-win. Reducing biomass in the forage pond to make room for the RES and SMB to grow (these GS are too big for the 6-9" SMB to eat) and if they will spawn in the sediment pond maybe eat some FA and provide forage for the 100 4-6" LMB I put in there last December.

Second picture is of my cast net repair crew fixing the tears I got throwing the net in an area with stuff it hung up on. Bless her heart!
Posted by: ColdSpringsFarm

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/26/18 02:48 PM

That is a good looking fish! I really need to upgrade to a larger cast net. I throw a 6 footer which is easy to throw but apparently misses a lot of fish. I discovered this last weekend when trying to clean out the fish in puddle left from my pond draining. I threw the next 10 times without a single fish then finally started throwing in a pattern to "herd" them to one corner. Even after all that, the hydrated lime application turned up a few that I missed.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/26/18 05:24 PM

My experience with a cast net is that they work well only when you have fish concentrated. Either by knowing where a school is or using it in a confined area where there is already a concentration of fish.

Fish are pretty thick in this 1/20th acre forage pond. Still, I have to feed the GS to get them grouped up to get very many per throw. Even then at times I will get a lot in one throw then maybe just a few in the next.

When casting for RES fingerlings, I found that waiting till almost dark (last fall) the fish would be coming up into shallow water to feed and I could get acceptable numbers per throw. In mid day casting to the same area I would get very few or none. I also found that if the water was cold and the fish sluggish it helped. In hot weather when the fish are very active, I think a lot of them can flee beneath the weights before they hit the bottom. Fish are quick. If a person is really into cast nets, you want to use the biggest mesh that will work for the size of fish you are targeting. The reason is, for a given amount of lead weight, a coarser mesh will sink faster than a fine mesh. Too fine of mesh with a too small diameter net will mean the net sinks too slowly and fish will swim out from under the weights before they hit the bottom.

So just like fishing with a hook, bait and line, knowing where the fish are, casting appropriately, and having the right size/mesh/weight ratio are all keys to success, in my opinion. I am not always successful. But I have found a few specific instances where it works pretty good.

Stay away from artificial structure. It plays havoc on a cast net. smirk And my net repair crew does not do outside work and is high maintenance grin .
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/26/18 06:41 PM

Nice looking RES John!
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/26/18 09:15 PM

Thanks! I liked catching it. I have mixed feelings about catching these larger fish in this pond. On one hand I like to disturb them as little as possible because they are my breeding stock. On the other hand, I like to see how big they are getting and also like to know they are still there. smile

Here are some pictures of the GS I have been getting in the cast net. There are also lots of smaller ones but they go right through the net mesh and escape. I have two or three every cast that get gill hooked in the net and likely will not survive. They are just the right size to get their head and gill cover through but too big for the rest of the body to pass through. But if I loose a few it is no big deal.

Last couple of pictures are of RES fingerlings from last years spawn. I got maybe a half dozen of those today in about 20 minutes and probably 50-60 GS. No GSF or hybrids which is great. Have not got a single cast net with any GSF or hybrid this spring, although I have caught a half dozen larger ones by hook and line. Hopefully I am getting them thinned out enough so they will be of minor consequence.

All of the fish pictured went into my sediment pond to stock it.

The last RES measured 3.25 inch long.
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 03/27/18 09:28 AM

Hmm, maybe I should try a cast net. Throw it when you are feeding? I would not know where else to throw it in a one AC pond. I'd like to clean out the HBG fry that are probably GSF.
I haven't seen many of my RES, but I know they are there. We catch one every now and then fishing for YP.
I'm not sure throwing the net in when I'm feeding is a good thing. I want them to continue to come to the feeder. Maybe just a toss or two sporadically.

Your fish sure look nice and healthy. Great info.
Posted by: ColdSpringsFarm

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/27/18 09:56 AM

Here's an idea that I learned from my grandfather many years ago. I haven't seen this concept used very much since then. Its basically a fish hoist as illustrated below. The top ring is a floating ring that you throw the fish feed into. about 1 foot below is a slightly larger non floating ring with net attached. You train the fish to get comfortable feeding from the top ring then you can quickly lift the net and catch them from the bottom up. As 10 year old it amazed me that you could catch enough fish to feed 4 or 5 people in the span of 5 minutes. It was also not terribly disruptive, the fish resumed feeding shortly after.

It works best in an area like the corner of a dam or dock where you can walk a perimeter to rotate the fish load to the bank. The other tip is to have the center point a metal pipe with the Y being loosely fitted into the pipe so that it will rotate.

Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/27/18 02:01 PM

That looks like a great idea. It would certainly be less disruptive.

As far as setterguy's concerns, I think they might be valid for some species of fish. But the GS seem to be dumb as stumps. I can wait a few minutes, throw another hand full of feed out and they are back.

I think it is important to point out that this is in a 1/20th acre pond. The fish likely are very hungry and can't run far away. I would not expect as much success in my 3 acre pond.

Something I think would work is throw it at night when the HBG are sleeping near shore. I have not tried it with the cast net, but I actually picked up a small BG in my hand one late night in less than 6 inches of water.
Posted by: ColdSpringsFarm

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/27/18 03:59 PM

Originally Posted By: snrub
Something I think would work is throw it at night when the HBG are sleeping near shore. I have not tried it with the cast net, but I actually picked up a small BG in my hand one late night in less than 6 inches of water.

Funny you mention that. I have been checking on my new CNBG fingerlings night and day. Two nights ago I went with a flashlight to see if I could spot any of them. I was surprised at how many were sitting motionless on the bottom in less than 6" of water. I was also able to grab one by hand. Is this "sleeping" behavior typical for fingerlings? Seems like an easy way to get picked off by racoons or other predators.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/27/18 10:20 PM

Yepp. Very common. At least in my pond. Small ones close to shore in shallow water with larger ones ranging out as you get deeper.

Kind of explains why raccoons hang around ponds at night to catch fish and why large CC, being more nocturnal feeders, can do a number on the BG population. Also likely why you can find GBH fishing on moonlit nights.
Posted by: John Fitzgerald

Re: Building new forage mini pond - 03/27/18 11:06 PM

I have seen that for years with the small BG next to the bank after dark. We used to net some of them for trotline bait years ago by walking slowly along the lake banks with light and net. Mostly under 4 inches. I have never caught a BG at night by hook and line. They seem to be inactive at night.

I have found that large CC become very easy pickings for otters during winter when the CC lie on the bottom and barely move. I probably lost about 175 to 200 pounds of CC from my ponds this winter due to otters. Seems zero CC left in the ponds.

Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 05/19/18 11:00 PM

Been catching some GS out of this forage pond to stock my sediment pond and main pond in addition to reducing the fish load in this pond. Fish are thick enough to almost walk on and I fear a fish kill later this summer unless I get some of them harvested and out of here.

While casting for GS I have been getting a couple of 3-4" RES per cast also. Lo and behold I also got three big ones in the cast net pictured below. All in the 7.5-9" range. Normally I would put these large RES back in to raise more RES fingerlings. But considering I removed several hundred 3" nominal RES last fall and am still getting 3-4" fish in the cast net, I think I have plenty of fingerlings in there even without the large breeders. So these three went to the sediment pond to raise some RES fingerlings there. These were caught about a week ago and just got around to posting the pics.

On another sadder note, I found two dead 9-10" SMB (out of 10 originally stocked) in this pond floating around the edge. I had put the aeration on timer but don't know if this had anything to do with it. Put this pond back on 24-7 aeration because it has such a heavy fish load. That was a couple days ago and no more dead SMB since. Fingers crossed. Fish were too decomposed and partially eaten to determine death.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 05/20/18 05:47 AM

I envy you guys. I've stocked RES several times in each pond. I only remember ever catching but one.
Posted by: snrub

Re: Looky what I caught in the cast net - 05/20/18 12:55 PM

Dave in my main 3 acre pond out of hundreds and hundreds of BG I catch each year I am lucky if I catch 2 or 3 RES. I have been putting fingerling RES out of this forage pond in the main pond trying to bring their numbers up in relation to the BG population. They are tough to catch when in with a mixed population of fish.

Now in this forage pond where RES are the only sunfish (except for a few GSF that I remove when I catch) I can catch them. It still is not particularly easy compared to BG, but where they are the only fish it helps.

My theory is that in a pond full of hungry BG the more persnickety RES simply do not get to the bait in time. Or when they do they are a lot more picky about taking it. In this pond when I catch a RES by hook and line it is usually a small tug, another small tug (kind of like a tiny fish is messing with the bait) then once they have "tasted" it they take the bate. Seems like for me and the bait I use at least it is rarely just a full on strike like a BG or GSF would do.

In my RES dedicated one acre pond I should have several hundred catch-able size RES by now and stocked 90 SMB. Fishing to sample for the RES I caught two SMB. Go figure.
Posted by: snrub

First cast of the cast net tonight - 05/20/18 10:53 PM

This was the contents of the first cast of the cast net tonight. 9 RES and 11 or 12 GS. No GSF (yea!) Biggest RES in the picture about 4-5".

Second cast I got about a 6" RES. All came out of this pond and went into the sediment pond.

After a few casts the fish kind of get spooked and I have trouble getting decent numbers so I quit. I throw a hand full of feed out in an area and wait a couple minutes for them to get into a feeding frenzy before casting the net.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 05/21/18 06:42 AM

John, I admit to not really knowing how to fish for them. If a fish won't hit a Stubby Steve, I'll never know they are there.
Posted by: Dam'dWaters

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 05/21/18 10:19 AM


I trust you've probably addressed this before in your thread, but is there anything you'd have done differently with your smaller ponds now that you've had them for some time. I'm thinking about building a couple small ponds for forage, breeding, grow-out, "pets", etc. I was wondering how small you think you could have gone? Would you change the shape? Would you change the medium (gravel vs mud)?
Posted by: snrub

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 05/21/18 11:20 AM

I like what I have pretty well for what I do with them. I think a person needs to know what he expects of them to design them right. For example if you plan on seining them make sure the pond is the correct shape/depth/bottom type.

I think my 1/20th acre pond is as small as I would want to go and try to maintain a fish population. Smaller would be ok for raising seasonal forage or something like that but the smaller the pond the more intense any changes that can happen will happen. For example water exchanges is something to be very mindful of in the design. This 1/20th acre forage pond I lucked out and got about the right amount of runoff and most of it is from my graveled farmstead watershed. The amount of watershed (assuming a watershed pond and not one filled by well or water table) is important because too little and your pond gets low. In a small pond that low level can be even more critical than a larger BOW. Also too little watershed means not very much flow through. This small pond is chocked full of mostly RES and GS. I feed them and that means fertility buildup. With little flow through that fertility builds and builds and becomes a problem. With occasional flow through with adequate watershed runoff this excess nutrients gets flushed out. That is very helpful in maintaining quality water.

Now the other side of the coin. Too much water and flow through. This can be very challenging and stressful on the fish in the pond. This describes my 1/10th acre sediment pond. Being a sediment pond to protect my main pond from sediment runoff, its purpose in life is to take large water flows, slow them down, and give the water a chance to give up anything unwanted from getting into the main pond. So by its nature it can have huge water amounts pass through the pond. This can make the water quality go from anything from perfect to mats of FA because of excess nutrients (in periods of low rainfall and therefore low flow through) to nearly all new, turbid water loaded with sediment. The point is, a pond with huge fluctuations of water flow through can be very challenging for the fish living there. They can go from nice water to abrupt temperature change water to nasty water in a matter of hours or even minutes. This is tough on fish.

My 1/20th acre forage pond and 1/10th acre sediment ponds are only about 50' apart. Yet the nature of the two ponds differences are like night and day. They both raise lots of fish but the sediment pond can have wild swings and even some partial or in one case nearly total fish kill (because of my dumb management mistake of the watershed).

In my three acre pond a big rain event might create a water exchange event on the order of 10 or 20% of the pond water over a day or two. Probably similar for my 1/20th acre forage pond although I have never actually tried to figure either. By contrast my 1/10th acre sediment pond could have several 100% water exchanges in a single 24 hour period in a big rain event. So one very critical aspect of a small pond (in my opinion) is managing the water shed so it is the best size for the pond and the anticipated runoff amounts for your particular area. The smaller the pond, the more critical. I have what I call the Pre-sediment pond just ahead of my sediment pond. I don't really even call it a pond any more as I have connected it to the sediment pond (via a 6" underground pipe) but it used to be completely separate. It is about 20 feet wide and 50 feet long and catches 100% of the water that the sediment pond sees (water from a field terrace flows through it before it goes into the sediment pond). It is a size I can clean the sediment out with my backhoe. I had given up trying to manage a pond this size with the flow through it gets. Parts of the year it will raise tremendous amounts of fingerling fish. But one big rain and the water flow through and number of exchanges and any fish 6" or so in size likely will be laying dead on the bank the next day. Just too much extreme water quality changes too abruptly for the fish to handle.

So if there is one thing I have learned from my small ponds it is that water exchanges and the rapidity of the exchanges can make a world of difference on how the pond performs. If you are making a small pond keep this in mind. If it is going to have valuable fish that you expect to maintain a population you might want to arrange diversion terraces to keep excess water out. If it is just for raising seasonal forage fish, it might not make much difference.

The other thing I would say is if you intend to push the pond by feeding expect it to get to carrying capacity quickly. This means the potential for a fish kill. Aeration becomes even more important in a small pond than big pond if you push the pond to its limits. If you let it progress naturally without extra feed, maybe not as much of a problem. But small ponds things can change rapidly in them. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. This means that things can go from good to bad quickly. But it also means you can make management changes relatively easy and quickly.

That is probably enough for now. Probably put everyone attempting to read this to sleep.

I see no disadvantage (in my acid soils) to the limestone rock lining. In a small pond it is practical to do it.
Posted by: snrub

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 06/18/18 12:10 AM

Did a few throws of the cast net tonight mostly to get a few GS for my wifes little concrete pond and to show her some fingerling RES. Lo and behold this nice RES was caught in the first cast. Just a hair over 10". Not bad for a 1/20th acre pond.

I moved this one to my main pond. There are still lots of fingerling RES in this pond so trying to get some of the biomass out so the ones left can grow. This has been one of my breeders to produce fingerlings but time for him to go to the main pond and make some babies. No monster but a nice, plump, good looking fish.
Posted by: snrub

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 08/14/18 11:16 PM

Been removing lots of unwanted GSF from this pond. Fish pictured in bucket were caught tonight by hook and line. Caught about that many last night also. Have been trapping the smaller GSF and I think the numbers are getting thinned out because getting just a few in the traps where I was getting lots. I think I have them back down to manageable levels again. Will fish it a time or two more to make sure. No way of getting all of them, just have to keep their numbers in check. Notice the fat bellies on the GSF. Pellet hogs. My CC and a pet LMB in my main pond sure like the GSF with their tails cut off fed to them one at a time. Fun to watch them hammer the GSF.

Have been adding some additional SMB fingerlings to this pond and the larger ones I added last fall should start to make a difference on controlling the smaller GSF. Saw a big splash near shore tonight and a GSH leapt out of the water nearly on the bank so I think the SMB are starting to put the hurt on some of the smaller fish.

The other pictures are of overachiever RES fingerlings. About 7pm all of the sudden started catching small RES. No big ones, just the fingerlings. Caught all 6 fingerlings within 15 minutes.
Posted by: Clay N' Pray

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 08/15/18 05:34 AM

My clover leaf perch trap arrived yesterday.
I plan to set it Friday after work in the shallows.
Hopefully it's full of 3" GSF by Saturday afternoon.
My minnow trap has been less than productive, so high hopes for the cloverleaf.
A cast net will catch fish of all sizes and I have no help, so traps are my best bet.
Posted by: snrub

Re: First cast of the cast net tonight - 08/15/18 12:15 PM

Catching fish by various means is interesting to say the least.

If I put a minnow trap out with feed in it, a person might think I only have GSF in this pond or sometimes GSH. It is kind of funny, if I catch GSF I sometimes catch quite a few at a time. Like they travel in schools and I either get a bunch or none (occasionally I will get one or two at a time but usually a bunch or none). I'll get a few RES but not a lot.

Yet if I throw a cast net around dark I will get mostly RES fingerlings and rarely a GSF fingerling.

My conclusion is the GSF are chow hounds and go into the trap and the RES mostly stumble in by accident (though when I do get RES in the traps their bellies are usually extended full of pellet feed so they are eating it).

If I throw a minnow trap in my main pond I will get bunches of BG fingerlings (there are no BG in this forage pond so never get any).

Will be interesting to see how your cloverleaf trap works. I have another style of trap I rarely use any more. Will try to remember to take a picture. It is for larger than fingerling fish. I have caught BH and GSF with it in the past.
Posted by: snrub

minnow trap fish - 08/30/18 09:31 AM

Here is the content of two minnow traps. Can you pick out the RES from the GSF? Look at the center of the bucket then just to the left. There is a GSF about the size of the two RES laying beside it. Also some smaller GSF around the edge and at the bottom. That is what I have been doing for the last couple months. The GSF get their tails cut off and tossed off the dock to waiting LMB and CC. The RES get moved to one of 4 other ponds.

At the beginning of the trapping most of the fish were GSF and only a few RES in the trap. Sometimes a get quite a few GSH which are also in this forage pond. But as you can see by the picture my trapping over time has removed many of the GSF and in the bucket are mostly RES fingerlings now.

I've also removed a lot of the larger GSF by hook and line. Will never get rid of all of them (without nuking the pond and starting over) but by taking the time to manage what I have it keeps the GSF numbers down to a manageable level. And my CC and LMB that hang around the main pond dock love it when I toss the tailless GSF to them. They act like a kid going after candy.

Last fall I put 10 SMB in this pond Two died that I know of and I think maybe more) and this summer I have put probably 20 more fingerling SMB in. These should start putting the hurt to any new GSF fry to help me with my trapping and fishing removal. You will notice in the bucket along with the one GSF that is about the same size as the RES some smaller GSF around the edge of the bucket. That is what I have been getting mostly lately in the GSF is the smaller ones from a later spawn.

As those SMB get to 10" or so I will fish them out and move them to my main pond for a bonus fish to finish growing up there. I have tried to be careful to remove lots more fish than I put back in with the SMB additions. And the pond is chock full of 1-2" GSH so the SMB should have plenty to eat for a while. I hope to remove several of the SMB right before winter so the pond has less bio load over the winter.

Edit: some of the smaller fish could be RES (but I do not think so) but I never trust my ability to properly ID those smaller fish. I only transfer to another pond the ones large enough that I can positively ID as RES. Sometimes I get hybrids RESxGSF (but not many lately) and those I will transfer to my main pond or sediment pond (because I like the hybrids) but I never take anything that I might suspect hybrid to my RES pond. And transfers to my RES only pond get scrutinized the most.
Posted by: snrub

Re: minnow trap fish - 09/07/18 01:09 AM

Caught this 13" SMB from this forage pond today. I stocked ten 6-9" SMB last December. Two that I know of died because I removed them floating. That happened a couple days after catching two fish but also when I reduced the aeration run time. Not sure which done them in but I went back to a 24-7 aeration run time after it happened.

But I had not caught any more since those two earlier this spring. So I was not sure I even had any of the original SMB left. I have put around 50 4-6" SMB fingerlings in this pond over the last couple months transferred from my RES/SMB pond to grow them out to a size capable of avoiding predation in my main pond. But now that I know there was at least one 13" SMB in this pond the fingerlings might have been as well off where they came from eek Oh well.

Catching any of the larger SMB (if there are any more) is tough because the pond is thick with 3-4" GSH so getting them to bite on an artificial lure is a challenge. I have fished this pond quite a lot to remove GSF and in fact was what I was attempting to do when I caught the one pictured below. Nice fish for a December stocking. I hope there are more. I had not noticed any SMB recruitment in this pond like I have had in my RES/SMB pond, thus the reason I was putting the fingerlings in here to grow them out. There is plenty of live food for them and I feed pellets too.

Edit: the tape is up above the fish a little and makes it look to be only 12" long but I did measure it and it is a full 13+".

PBF get together in SE Kansas September 22, 2018
Posted by: ewest

Re: minnow trap fish - 09/07/18 11:41 AM

Nice , well conditioned adult SMB.
Posted by: snrub

Re: minnow trap fish - 09/07/18 12:21 PM


It got transferred to my main pond. I figure a 1/20th acre pond can't stand too many of those that size and I had tremendous BG multiple spawns this year and need the predators to help clean the small ones up.

I'm very careful to try and remove multiple times biomass in any pond I am adding fish. Don't want a fish kill from over crowding.

Reminds me, I need to go fillet about 30 HBG and BG in the holding pen in the main pond.
Posted by: snrub

Re: minnow trap fish - 11/03/18 04:23 PM

I continue to move biomass out of this pond while adding some small 3.5-4" SMB to grow out this winter through next spring/summer. Added 18 3.5-4" SMB.

Caught a number of RES via the cast net to transfer, some to my sediment pond and some to the main pond.

Moved a few GSH also but the numbers that will stay in the cast net have been reduced significantly as I catch fewer and fewer. I still see lots of 3" (that slip through the cast net mesh) and smaller but the SMB are also making an impact on their numbers.

Also caught one nice 8" SMB. Don't know what I was thinking but I put it back. It should have went to the main pond. That is the size, 8-10", that I am growing the 4" SMB to so they are large enough to escape predation in my main pond.