Finally pulled the trigger!

Posted by: 5444

Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 03:27 AM

Well its been a few years since my initial post. I finally just decided to do it and I contacted my builder back in April. He completed the pond on June 14th. It's too bad pond wasn't completed before May because we received 11 inches of rain that month. I have been fortunate though, the pond is approximately half full already and I have 1000 FHM doing their thing. I did not have time to get all my structure in before the rain and had to place my giant satellite dish in the bottom with 30" of water.

My pond is approximately 1/2 acre and located in western IL area. Pond will also be 12' deep. My question is should I add BG and RES this fall with CC or wait a whole year before adding CC and LMB. The local USDA office has some excellent pricing on BG and RES. They would be available in late September. Or should I wait until the spring and add the BG and RES then? I was also wondering if the suspended clay would eventually settle?

I'm also having issues resizing my pictures, otherwise I would have several attached.

This forum is an excellent resource and I appreciate everyone's input.

Thanks, 5444
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 10:41 AM

Unless you have a keen interest in CC consider not adding them. Pros and cons to them. Decent guests to dinner. They do not clean the bottom nor eat bottom muck, they are pellet hogs, they learn to be hook smart as such biggest ones are difficult to catch so harvest all you catch, when larger than 18" they eat fish and each one takes the place of one bass, with several large ones in the pond they can make the pond cloudy (less than 3ft) by seraching for food or digging cavities for spawning and resuspended silt which is especially true when the pond is aerated which mixes respended materials. Consider adding yellow perch and or hybrid striped bass instead of catfish. CC can always be added at a later date; once they are in, they are rather hard to get rid of.

BG-RES can be added anytime. Adding them now as this 2019 year clsss of 2019 fingerlings will assure that they spawn in spring of 2020. If you add them now as larger ones (3"-6") a few will spawn this year. Otherwise if you stock USDA fingerlings now or next spring (1"-2") they likely will not spawn until 2021. Your fishery goals will determine what and when to stock.
The fish from USDA can, but not always, be substandard quality as far as growth rate, desired size, other unwanted species mixed in with the fingerling sunfish, not be pellet trained, and sometimes health or guaranteed survival issues. Fish from a reputable fish farm are usually worth the added price.

Remember - the first fish stocking establishes the genetic basis of your entire fishery. Good fish genetics resulting in rapid growth is pretty important in producing a high quality fishery rather than just having an average fishery.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 10:41 AM

I would consider adding all the fish next year at or about the time of the first spawning of the FHM's. This assumes that all your gamefish will be similar in size (3 to 5")at the time of stocking. My thoughts are that the FHM babies will make excellent forage for those small fish.

Will you be feeding the fish pellets?

And, are you hoping to manage your pond for larger panfish or larger LMB?

In the big picture, it probably doesn't make alot of difference whether you stock in the fall or spring. Fall stockings will likely be that years YOY, while spring stockings are typically from last years recruitment. If you will be feeding should stock as soon as possible so that they do not spend the fall season at the fish farm not being feed (or fed much).. They are in business to produce numbers of fish, not pounds of fish.

The biggest consideration is if you are planning to promote the BG over the bass or vise-versa.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 10:47 AM

As 1/4 acre says your goals will determine your stocking plan.
Posted by: Bob-O

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/02/19 05:32 PM

5444, sounds like good calibers for pistols. seriously tho BC and QA are very intelligent and have tons of knowledge about ponds. All I can add is knowledge from Cody. FH are fine for a start but are slow, not too good at avoiding predation and will probably only last one yr. BNM and SFS are sooo much better long term forage. Also it is importnt to provide cover and spawning structure for both. Eel grass is an excellent plant to provide cover. Kinda hard ta get but if ya pm me we can make argreements for me ta mail ya some for free. I have Red tipped. Also the recomendation of YP and HSB should be seriously considered. Also SMB can be more fun than LMB. I now have some 20" or so and they are like aquatic Wildcats. Hold tight to your rod. Carry on and enjoy.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/02/19 05:53 PM

If you're in western IL you're in Rex (Rainman) or Herman Bros territory. Great people. Give them a call.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/03/19 10:36 PM

So the USDA gets their fish from Logan Hollow Fish Farm. They stated they have been in business for 38 years and all of their fish are certified by an IL wildlife biologist. They said I would not be able to get YP, but recommended HBG instead of BG. What do you guys think? For structure I have a medium brush pile on the west side of pond I made out of white oak limbs and smaller branches. I have three separate pallet structures on the east, west, and south side of pond and I have a large 10' satellite dish in the center of the pond at the bottom. I realize most of my structure will eventually decay and possibly add to DO problems, but purchasing plastic cover was not in the budget.
I have no issues with not adding CC. I really just want to do whats best for the pond. I would like some really good horse sized BG/HBG, but I love catching monster bass too. I will look into BNM and SFS for forage. I appreciate the great info fellas. I would love the SMB idea, but I do not believe I have a economical source. I'm getting read to build a deck. I got my footings in and hopefully the pond will be full soon. I would love some ell grass BOB-O, I will send a message soon. Again thanks everyone.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 11:54 AM

HBG are a little more aggressive to swimmers than BG, but if girls swimming is not important HBG can work. Make sure you read the posts about HBG in the Archives before pulling the trigger for HBG. Also HBG will not grow very big bass unless you buy pellet trained LMB and feed them like crazy. A predator with HBG that will grow bigger than the LMB is the HSB if you feed them regularly with pellets; also read research them.
Producing your goals of ""good horse sized BG/HBG, but I love catching monster bass too"" are two goals that are not easy to do because growing big BG or HBG requires them to be in low numbers while growing big bass requires lots of smaller BG or very high numbers of the proper sized forage fish. It is hard to get this done in a small pond and even in a larger pond. Pellet feeding helps a lot to get around this management dilemma.

My being very knowledgeable about bluntnose minnow and spotfin shiners, neither of them will do well with LMB due to the high predation tendency of LMB and the smaller top end sizes of BNM and SFS. These forage species work best in waters with fewer predators, those with smaller mouths, and abundant diverse submerged vegetation & habitat. GSH would work better with LMB in you have adequate cover which takes quite a bit for GSH to thrive with LMB as aggressive predators.

Hybrid Bluegills HBG
Hybrid Striped Bass HSB

Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 01:35 PM

"I would love the SMB idea, but I do not believe I have a economical source."

This is truly something you have to want.. If you want SMB, don't be afraid to pay to get what you want.
I drove 7hrs to get my SMB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes. It's easy to say it's too hard.. Life's too short, get what you want.
My 2 cents because none of this is cheap in the end.
Posted by: Bob-O

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 04:05 PM

More good advice from Bill and Snipe. I would rather catch a 3lb SMB than a 5lb LMB. They and HSB are full of fight.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/05/19 06:09 PM

I really like the idea of HSB and SMB instead of LMB. I also found a source for pumpkinseed sunfish. I guess they are similar to RES. Snipe how did you keep the SMB alive for 7 hours in the car?
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/05/19 09:56 PM

Note the HSB and SMB will not do as well with BG as they will with HBG. HSB-SMB are better suited and co-exist with HBG who have fewer offspring rather than BG.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/06/19 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: 5444
I really like the idea of HSB and SMB instead of LMB. I also found a source for pumpkinseed sunfish. I guess they are similar to RES. Snipe how did you keep the SMB alive for 7 hours in the car?

I have the necessary tanks with aeration and O2 to move fish although it doesn't require much to transfer 2" SMB. You can haul 100 2" SMB for 8-10 hrs with a 20qt cooler and a small stone aerator with lower water temps.
I would definitely heed Bill Cody's advice on HBG vs BG though.
BG are just too prolific for smaller gape SMB to effectively control them.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/24/19 11:39 PM

So I have decided to go the HBG, SMB, HSB stocking plan with the goal of having large HBG. I also plan on feeding them. Will RES be ok to add with these fish? Should I stock the HBG/RES this fall and the predators a year later?
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/25/19 11:33 AM

RES should be added to your stocking plan. They will help keep the snail populations down which reduces fish parasites (black spot disease and others). I added 90 RES to my 1/4 acre pond, but I knew the snail populations were high due to high nutrient levels in my water. 40-50 would have been a more acceptable number for a 1/4 acre pond with clearer waters. The yellow and black grubs on my fish were pretty abundant the first year as were the number of snails seen at the banks. This is the second year and I see alot less snails and parasites. I have not seen any of the RES since they were stocked however.

EDIT: Give your FHM's all this year to do their thing and stock all the fish next spring at the same time (in simialar sizes, bass being slightly larger). You want the predators to start controlling the HBG YOY as soon as possible if you want larger HBG. You would want the HBG to pull off some spawns before adding predators IF you wanted larger faster growing bass.
Posted by: bassmaster61

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/25/19 05:41 PM

5444: I bought 70 1.25 pound LMB, 850 5"-7" BG and 25 8" HSB from Logan Hollow Fish Farm in June of 2017.

I have absolutely no complaints. The fish were healthy and they gave me good service. Caught a number of LMB 3+ lbs. this spring. I would definitely buy from them again. BM61.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/26/19 09:46 PM

Ok sounds good. I actually saw some schools of baby FHM swimming yesterday evening so they're doing their job; I was pretty excited. Quarter Acre: I glad you mentioned waiting to stock because I know that it the best thing to do, even though I want to put some fish in really bad. My pond is still only half full and hopefully it will be full before winter. BM61: that's good to know, thank you.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/26/19 11:48 PM

You wont regret giving the FHM's their time. Here is a quick thread that shows the first summer's HSB growth...most due to the abundance of minnows...
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 08/03/19 06:12 AM

Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 09/02/19 10:28 PM

So my FHM are spawning like crazy. I have hundreds, if not thousands of little minnows everywhere you look in the shallows. I recently added 6.3 ton of 4-8" rip rap in piles along the shore for additional cover. Once pond is full the piles of rock will be 3-5' from the waters edge. I originally added 4 pounds of FHM last May/June, should I add a few more pounds this fall? Or is it not neccessary?

I've also decided against adding GSH after reading an informative article by Grand Master Bob Lusk.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 09/02/19 11:42 PM

My opinion is we still have the possibility of some hatch from full blown adult FHM so the adults you have are still producing. If you're NOT adding predators this fall go ahead and add a few more pounds, the growth the attain will put them closer to spawning come spring. I don't think you can overdo it prior to predators.
I also feel there is a fit for GSH but every situation is different.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 10:03 AM

Snipe, I added 4# of FHM late May/early June. They successfully pulled off a spawn or two. I then added another 4# of FHM on Sept 30. So I have 8# total plus all the fry. Maybe I over did it but hopefully not. I noticed the FHM are not feeding since the weather has turned cool. Should I stop feeding them for the winter? Or should I throw some food out every few days even though they are not feeding on the surface?

Here is my stocking plan for my 1/2 acre in the spring, please let me know what you guys think:

200 HBG
100 RES
100 Pumpkin Seed
100 YP
25 SMB
25 HSB

There is also a possibility of this plan due to availability:

250 HBG
250 RES
50 HSB

I know one supplier of SMB only has them in October.

Thanks for the input fellas.
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 12:59 PM

I'm not an expert on this but have read a fair number of posts lately where folks with good intentions for having a predator/prey balance found out that the HBG got way ahead of the predators. Unless you want a trophy BG pond as your priority most are wishing they had never started with BG or HBG.

Several midwest pond owners posted recently about unpleasant nipping for swimmers, converting of the hybrids back to their purebred green sunfish parent and then the multiplication of young rate being way more than anyone had promised them when they stocked them.

Also, someone else can chime in but the HBG fit better with a LMB predator, where the LMB has a bigger appetite and a bigger mouth.

You have a great plan and it looks like SMB is going to be your top predator. I would say you are going to run into the same issue with too many bluegill.

Your HSB sound great and they will help to some degree but won't keep up with all the young RES, PS, and bluegill.

A SMB dominant pond (with extra predator help from the HSB) sounds like a great opportunity and many wished they could have gone this route in their pond. But if it was my pond I would drop the HBG all together. You only have 25 SMB, they can easily have their hands (actually mouths) full eating minnows and trying to make a dent in the number of young of the RES and pumpkinseed parents.

RES and PS aren't as prolific in their offspring production but the RES and PS might still get a head of the predators here with plenty of minnows to eat.

Do you have crayfish for the smallmouth?

If it was mine I would do my best to avoid LMB and BG of any type seeing you have worked so hard to set this up for success so far.

Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 09:48 PM

5444, I'm falling in line with canyoncreek here.
I could see short term results and long term being a different story.
With that mix in 1/2 acre I would have to believe the YP would suffer and I believe the smb would not reach a desirable size after the initial stockers. The list contains some efficient predators of FHM and would be short lived.
BUT.. If you are extremely dedicated and are willing to feed regularly you could provide most of the diet to all but maybe RES if you obtain feed trained stock. I see the problem coming at year 2 with an abundance of reproduction from PS, HBG and YP. My question would be-without some natural predation there will be substantial numbers of offspring that are going to need culling as far as YP, HBG and likely PS, I might be wrong though but it sure is going to be hard for HSB to control 3 species.
I can't help but feel the smb will decline sharply once the FHM are gone-and that will happen.
I just don't "think" the SMB will make a good living on the HBG, PS & YP. I'm trying to see around that but I can't.
Maybe Bill C will weigh in, possibly jpsdad or TJ..
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 10:38 PM

Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Do you have crayfish for the smallmouth?

IMO crayfish are a preferred forage for SMB. If you take the time for the crayfish to propagate before introducing predators and provide the correct habitat for them, so that they can thrive, your SMB stand a much better chance of surviving. My pond has both SMB and LMB and the SMB are doing ok. I think that is because the SMB is more patient and will wait for the crayfish to crawl out of their nooks to feed. Without the crayfish in the pond, I think the SMB would be gone or struggling.

Just my one cent.....
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 11:00 AM

I appreciate the input fellas and it really makes sense. I thought the HBG being approximately 90% male would definitely hinder reproduction, but canyoncreek is 100% right. Many owners have been having issues with them reverting back to GSF. I've been trying to take it slow and do what's best for the pond; but then I start researching all the types of fish and just get overzealous and want to have them all smile. Canyoncreek,Bill D and Snipe, thank you for the reality check and my pond thanks you!

I have put maybe 1/2 dozen crawfish in the pond. My pasture has crawfish randomly living in it. I'd never guess in a million years I would catch crawfish in a midwest pasture. I even have them by the house. I figured they end up in the pond anyway. By no means is it a sustainable population, it's barely a start. I did check to make sure they are not the evasive rusty craw. But if I have them in the pasture, it's only a matter of time before they make it to the pond. A couple of summers ago my boys and I were catching frogs in a 4wheeler rut in the pasture that was full of water. I began scooping up the mud and I thought I had a bunch of dragonfly larva. No, they were a bunch of baby crawfish.

So I am going to steer clear of CC, BG, YP and HBG.

What kind of numbers should I consider for RES, PS, HSB and SMB? Would you guys consider any other type of fish for forage? Where is a good source of crawfish? Again, thank you for your time. I truly appreciate your time and input.
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 02:30 PM

I'm not sure you should exclude YP completely but consider a couple of options with the YP

1. If you can source larger size ones to stock then you have flexibility to add them at any time later. So you can see how the SMB, HSB and the panfish balance out. If you like to add YP for how fun they are to catch and how good they taste, you could add them later. It might require stocking 5-6" size fish to keep them from being eaten by the SMB.

2. If you can find YP that are pellet trained then the YP are a great option because you get the added fun of having a fish that is super easy for kids to catch, super fun to watch eat pellets, and are great eating. Also, they help control snails, help control crayfish population and they don't put pressure on your minnows as much since you can supplement feed with pellets.

I didn't catch where your pond is in the midwest but if it ices over in the winter then the YP of course have to make it all winter on minnows so they will put some pressure on the minnows.

I love our YP and if our predators hammered them I would just stock more pellet trained YP. The kids feed them like pets, the YP are aggressive eaters (don't believe anyone who says they only eat in low light conditions), and they lay enough eggs each season that you probably will be removing eggs as a population control strategy.

Read the posts here about trying to source some type of shiner outside of a GSH (active posts with good information have been happening today)

Some local creeks will have bluntnose minnows, various dace, and sticklebacks etc.

if you can source lakechubsuckers these are a great additional option.

Someone in the last couple of weeks had crayfish shipped to him from a midwest state, you might be able to find that thread as it went well for that PB member.

Curious where you are sourcing Pumpkinseed as many forum members would love to add those to their northern ponds.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/27/19 10:21 PM

I have been reading a lot on an alternative forage other than FHM. It seems the GSH are more readily available. I haven't found a source for an alternative forage yet. Although Anderson fish farm has black salty's. Keystone Hatchery is where I will source my fish from this spring.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/27/19 10:26 PM

Keystone is awesome in my opinion. Mike and Diane Robinson are great people. My bride and I look forward to our trips there. We will heading that way soon for some WE and GSH for our fall stocking.
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/27/19 10:29 PM

Good to know Bill. I'm actually going to be within 30 minutes of them here in a few weeks for training. I thought about stopping by to pick there brains a little.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/27/19 10:36 PM

Cool. It is a very busy time for them. My advice is shoot Mike an e-mail from their website so he can be a available for your visit.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/27/19 11:43 PM

Just FYI, The black saltys are hybrid gold fish, aka carp..
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 01:24 PM

Thats good to know Snipe, thank you. Whats the difference between FHM and tuffies? I see that Keystone offers both.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 04:13 PM

I do not believe there is any difference. Some say the "tuffies" are just male FHM. sometimes they sort them out at bait stations because spawning males tend to be less desirable on a hook.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 07:16 PM

I sent Mike at Keystone an e-mail with the question. I'll report back when he answers.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 07:58 PM

"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"

Just another name..
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 08:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Snipe
"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"

Just another name..

I think you're right Snipe. I remember asking one of the biologists at Keystone this same question several years back. IIRC the answer I got was there is a difference in providence between their FHM and Tuffies. Keep in mind, this is going by my memory and I am older than Pat W's Falstaff beer supply! The FHM are pond raised and may have a few stickleback mixed in. Their Tuffies will be pure FHM and produced in a more costly procedure. There is a price difference. I will be interested in Mike's reply. I always get the FHM as I don't mind a few stickleback.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 09:22 PM

If in the upper midwest you are getting sticklebacks in with FHM then the FHM are coming from wild ponds in MN or WI. Pure cultures of FHM are usually coming from AK farms. As Snipe noted below the AK should be AR for Arkansas. Mis-typed happens a lot!
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 09:58 PM

Alaska??? AR maybe?? :-))))
I didn't just catch Bill in a mis-typed situation did I? grin
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/29/19 07:56 AM

From Mike at Keystone...

"Yes, they are both Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) but the Tuffies are raised in Arkansas. Because of how they are raised and harvested, they are hardier in the summer. Basically, Tuffies are the thing to stock if you are trying to seed a new pond in the spring, but they are a waste if you are trying to feed a hungry bass pond, because they will both get eaten either way."
Posted by: 5444

Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 11/04/19 01:09 PM

Good to know fellas, thank you. The pond is almost full with the rain and snow melt from the 3" we received. I believe I'm only 12-18 inches from being completely full. I emailed Mike from Keystone since I will be within 30 minutes of this place in a few weeks. I do not think he will have time to talk. Bill D you were right, he is pretty busy right now. He did say he would meet if I absolutely had too. But that is not the case. Man I cannot wait to get some fish in this hole.

I did walk to the bottom of my dam the other day due to a small dead tree falling along my property line. I noticed some pudding and dampness. It was a day or two after a rain, so puddles of water were here and there. I just did not expect it to be where I found it due to the incline. How would I know if the dam is weeping?