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Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
#517775 03/10/20 06:42 AM
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I am just building the forage base for a new 1 acre SMB pond. I won't be adding the SMB until late in 2020 or spring of 2021. If there is a lot of rocky cover for the crawdads can they reproduce and provide ongoing forage for the SMB, or is it just a one time feeding type of thing? Will the SMB just eat all available crawdads until they are all gone? I am just trying to evaluate the return on effort! eek


Thanks!

John
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517782 03/10/20 08:38 AM
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I would think the long-term viability of crayfish depends on how much cover they have and the type of crayfish present. Papershells seem to be preferred in SMB ponds. I credit mine with a dramatic decrease in curly leaf pondweed in my 1 acre pond.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Water is now 12" higher completely covering jetty

Last edited by RAH; 03/10/20 08:46 AM.
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517786 03/10/20 09:33 AM
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Summer 2018 I put 2lbs of papershells in.. Fall 2019 I took 3 5 gallon buckets of crawdads out while fall net sampling. I can assure you I didn't hurt the population any and SMB were present at the time of stocking but small enough they didn't start utilizing the craws until 2019 sometime. If you have some nice areas that are rocked, you'll have crawdads last for a long time.


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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517790 03/10/20 11:23 AM
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*Any adverse effects of stocking papershells?
*Do they tunnel and cause issues in the dam, etc?
*Where is a good source for these papershells?
(I live in NE Ohio)

Thanks all.


Buckeyedude
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517815 03/10/20 04:44 PM
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Thanks for the responses and DITTO to Jeff's questions....and just to show that I don't know, are papershells the same old crawdads I have caught in Indiana rivers forever, or some specific breed that nurseries carry?


Thanks!

John
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517817 03/10/20 08:29 PM
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Pond dwelling crayfish adverse affects would primarily be more turbid water when the crayfish (crawdad) become very abundant as in a forage pond with no predators such as bass. Crayfish can get abundant enough that they denude all the vegetation except cattails. Sunfish will eat lots of the small crays less than 3/4-1". Papershell (aka calico crayfish) crays will not create long deep tunnels unless the water is almost all gone in the pond.

Papershells live primarily under flat objects (rocks, concrete, etc) and most of the time forage for food primarily at night, low light. Papershells have firm shells similar to all crayfish except when molting. I've caught 10" perch with 2.5" papershell in the stomach, thus the same would be true for 10" bass. The more cover available the more crays that will thrive in the pond which is basically the same with all wild animals. It takes a LOT of rocky cover to have abundant crays in a bass predator pond; plus the adult sunfish will eat the young small crays. One will not get a very big population of crayfish in the relatively small rock pile of a 1/3 ac to 1 ac pond shown in the RAH picture above. The more cover available the more animals that will survive. Not many pheasants, quail, and rabbits, live in barren, sparsely vegetated fields. Cover is very important for raising forage (prey) with predators.

Papershells (Orconectes immunis) in my experience do not crawl out of the pond and dig/build the mud chimney mounds on top of the tunnel. Chimney building, burrowing crayfish are a different genus (Cambarus, Procambarus) group of crayfish. Papershells and most all other species of crayfish live in streams as do almost all crayfish species. Papershell and several other species are well adapted to live in ponds.

Many fish farms have overabundant nuisance crayfish that they sell collected from their ponds. Very few farms sell pure strain/specie of Papershell (Orconectes immunis). Common in most fish farms are White River Crayfish, Red Swamp crayfish(Procambarus) , Northern Crayfish, and Rusty Crayfish. Three of these species all belong to the genus Orconectes; all are more aggressive and get larger and even quite a bit larger than the Papershell crayfish depending on the specie. Do your homework and due diligence. If the crayfish specie is not native to your locality it is considered an INVASIVE specie and almost always causes harm to the native crayfish populations even to the point of displacing, 'killing out' the native species.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/10/20 08:47 PM.

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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517825 03/11/20 05:56 AM
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As always, thanks for the outstanding information, Bill. I came across your 5 part article(s) for bass resource.com on smallmouth bass. Wow. The best I have discovered! I really appreciate your knowledge and sharing.


Thanks!

John
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
Bill Cody #517826 03/11/20 06:08 AM
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Bill - In addition to the 30' jetty, the pond initially had a lot of curly leaf pondweed that probably provided cover. The pondweed is almost gone, but I have not tried to catch any crayfish to know how they are doing. The SMB seem to have grown at an amazing speed based on one I caught 2 years ago when I last fished the pond, and the ones my neighbor caught last fall, but I have GSH, YP, and LCS in the pond which may be the main forage for the SMB. I also have a significant amount of marginal plants and water lilies which may provide cover for the crayfish. I only added 100 so if they removed almost all the pondweed, they must have initially thrived. I know there is a lot of speculation here, so without more investigation of my pond on my part, that is all it is. For me it is just a fun hobby. Also have RES in pond.

Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517842 03/11/20 12:17 PM
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RAH - The crayfish reducing the weeds will also reduce their numbers by reducing the cover and bass will easier find and catch crayfish. Your best place to sample for the crays with a trap will be around the rocky jetty.


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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #517845 03/11/20 12:46 PM
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Rodger that. Will wait for warmer weather.

Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #519345 04/13/20 07:54 PM
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The only way you can tell that the crawfish are reproducing is if you see holes on the edge or banks of your pond.

Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #519347 04/13/20 08:37 PM
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Crayfish will reproduce in a pond if they do not get eaten first; it's basically the same concept with most any wild animal. It requires lots of good habitat cover for a breeding cray population to maintain their numbers year after year. Also the number of predators per acre also affect the number of crayfish offspring that survive. Habitat, Habitat, Habitat!.


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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
Bill Cody #519351 04/13/20 10:08 PM
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Over the last week I have caught an estimated 150 of half inch long crawdads below my pond overflow in a swampy area and transferred them up to my RES/SMB pond. The pond has both FA and is chocked with bushy pondweed which I hope they will work on as they grow. I have 2 to 4" rocks lined all the way around the pond edge as well as a few larger rock piles and rock spawning areas so hopefully they will have plenty of cover.

Funny thing about the overflow pipe, both snails and these small cradads were trying to go up the overflow pipe to the into the pond. Some of the snails were making it. Don't know if the crawdads were or not but I could see them in the pipe.

I also put in 4 grass carp last fall, so I probably will go from overgrown with bushy pond weed to a barren and muddy pond. I hope the crawdads and SMB can find some happy medium and just mostly control the pondweed. We will see.


John

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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #519353 04/13/20 11:05 PM
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
Snipe #519361 04/14/20 12:20 PM
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Berried up nicely.

Do you know what variety of crayfish that is?


John

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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
RJE64 #519363 04/14/20 12:29 PM
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a few years back I added around 1200 of those little bity crawfish to the pond. As they grew I discovered they were red swamp craws and like just like Crawfish Dealer described, I wound up having crawfish holes all around the ponds edge. I had so many that the coons were feasting on them by digging the craws up along the shoreline. And what few plants I had wound up being completely denuded, all of my efforts to establish good plants went by the wayside. Today I still have crawfish around the ponds edge, a few holes here and there but not near as many as that first year when I had only new fingerling lmb in the pond. My thinking back then was the craws would feed the RES for the mostpart and the very small lmb along with maybe a few cnbg. I know RES love to eat those itty bitty craws. I added around a hundred of those small craws just a couple of weeks back with plans to add a lot more. But, the weather has been wet and cold lately so just waiting for a nice day in the near future to capture another couple of hundred for the pond. One thing I think ii came to believe is that the crawfish burrows must have been shallow if the coons were able to dig them up and these crawfish by that time were not little bitty crawfish but large 5 -6" crawdads

Last edited by TGW1; 04/14/20 12:35 PM.

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Tracy
Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
TGW1 #519469 04/16/20 09:00 PM
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Tracy I don't remember what size your BOW is. Trying to get an idea on how many per acre of water your 1200 crayfish represented.


John

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Re: Can stocked crawdads reproduce ina SMB pond?
snrub #519471 04/16/20 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by snrub
Berried up nicely.

Do you know what variety of crayfish that is?

John, these came from Hartley. He says he bought them as true papershells but my ID says northern Virile. They DO NOT make burrows or any visible chimneys.


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