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#10505 - 12/23/03 01:54 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Brad Bortz Offline
Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 85
Loc: Millstadt Il.
You go Dudley!

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#10506 - 12/23/03 06:52 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
Dudley, I just thought I was an accomplished BS artist. You just might send me back to my day job. Or, are you accepting apprentices?

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#10507 - 12/23/03 10:48 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Greg Grimes Offline
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Cody, Good idea on the Norm pond article. However, I would never recommend stocking several of the species he mentioned. It is great to think outside the box. However Big POnd already is excited about Norm's pond and I can tell you Big POnd if you stock several of the species he mentioned you will be very sorry you did.

I'm really not trying to be negative. Lots of folks would love to have the fish Norm talks about, but I don't think they would like the work it takes to keep it in balance to produce decent size fish of several species. Once again it is about your goals. If catching lots of diff fish is fun, go for it. If goal is for good growth of any one sepcies this probably not the best and sure is not the easiest route to take.
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www.lakework.com

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#10508 - 12/23/03 11:58 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11983
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I woke up last night thinking about Norm's pond/lake and what he has done. I made some important notes. After Christmas when I get back from a visit, I will provide more thoughts about his pond ecosystem and hopefully give people more to think about and consider before rushing out to get more types of fish for their pond. Stay in touch for more later.
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#10509 - 12/23/03 03:09 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
big_pond Offline
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Registered: 11/12/02
Posts: 1027
Loc: North East Georgia
I was really excited about this post! Norm has about 12 different species in his lake! Greg you are right, it would be wonderfull if we could easily run an operation like this, but in reality we can't. Greg what species would you absolutly get rid of?
There are certain spciese that no has ever seemed to comment on like: Fresh water drum, white bass, and Rock Bass? How do these fish do in lakes and ponds?

I am in the process of building an 8.2 acre lake at around 30 feet deep. I got all the leagel paper work from the Core and Georgia safe dams. The thing I am worried about now is construction and cost this is far more important than what you stock.....
When I do get around to stock this lake I will have all three bream red breasted, copper nose, and redear. Then I might add shad. Then 50 bass, 10 hybrid, 10 black crappie, and 7 to 10 blues per acre... this would give a conservitive 80 predetors per acre. This is about as diverse as I can get. Might add a feeder or two for the forage base...

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#10510 - 12/23/03 06:56 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Dudley Landry Offline
Hall of Fame 2014

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Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 865
Loc: St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
Awww shucks, guys. It weren't nuthin. I knowed i weren't the only one alive with his priorities in order and with his face buried in the cornucopia.

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#10511 - 12/27/03 10:27 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Greg Grimes Offline
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Big POnd with your goals in mind I think you are thinking on the right track with your mentioned stocking regime. Add fathead minnows to your list for initial stocking. You can also add crawfish to the mix. Several of the species mentioend will do poorly in our southern climate and I know of no sources (hatcheries) around here that would not be cost prohibitive for many of the species. My advice do not stock green sunfish, redhorse or other sucker species. I would also advise fertilzing and supplemental feeding to maximize forage base. This will allow more food to reach predators mouths.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#10512 - 12/29/03 11:03 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11983
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
This post was edited and modified again on Jan 01, 04.
Here are some of my thoughts about high fish diversity in a pond and some things to keep in mind when attempting to develop a pond similar to what NormKopecky is doing.

1. Norm seems to have a unique pond situation. Numerous fish species (20+) in his small lake of 4 acres works for what his goals are: a. catch numerous species, b. easy to catch fish and lots of them, c. does not expect predators to reproduce, d. catch and release.

2. Since I am not familiar with his lake, I have to make a few assumptions which may likely be wrong. Hopefully Norm will respond and supply some needed details.

3. My first question is about his predators. In his Dec 21 post: "Most of the predators are size appropriate for managing for large panfish". How does Norm keep most of them predominately in the smaller sizes if there is no or very limited harvest? Without harvest and assuming an average life span and normal mortality, existing predators with adequate food should continue to grow (but maybe slowly) to large sizes. I suspect Norm has a "fair amount" of pretty large predators who have been escaping the hook&line and are feeding on appropriate sized forage. Possibly the larger predators are not biting and not being caught. With limited reproduction, I assume that high numbers of smaller predators are due to regular stockings of subadult fish.

4. QUOTE from a NK post. "There is a very great difference in different species ability to use the resources in our lake". Based on the fish Norm has listed as present, I propose that there is also a great deal of niche overlap among many of the fish species that Norm has in his lake. The niche overlap may not occur all at one time by all the same sizes of fish. As many fish grow, they utilize different niches, different foods, and use different feeding areas. Also some or often many types of fish are opportunistic feeders and can utilize different niches or food sources at different times, providing the food has not already been consumed by someone else. More on this later.

5. Condition Factors or plumpness of fish. I suspect that numerous fish of Norm's are on the skinny side or at or below average weight. There are also probably other fish (large predtors) that are plump. Presence of skinny fish, I assume is due to Norms comment that some of the fish are caught 25 to 100 times per season. Hungry (low condition factor) fish are easier to catch. Typcially the same fish does not rebite hooks this frequently unless they are either really dumb or very hungry and hunger overpowers their instinct to be caucious or wary. Most fish learn fairly quickly to avoid hooks and unnatural looking "baits". I think many fish in high density & crowded, competetive conditions just exist and do not really thrive. Thriving fish are typically fat and growing "normally" and some people also include reproducing as a requirement.

5. Many fish are opportunistic feeders and some are specialists that can become more opportunistic when necessary. Fish can and do feed on other food items when necessary, providing someone else in the other niche has not already eaten or depleated that food. For instance many fish feed on different foods when their typical or mainstay food is in short supply or the season is "wrong". Example, walleye will binge eat hatching mayfly larvae during the mayfly emergance. But if another species of fish sucker / redhorse in another niche has already consumed the majority of that food as its preferred food, then what is the walleye to eat during lean times? The bottom feeders have sucked most of the mayfly larvae out of the sediments. This also can apply to many hatchling or juvenile fish. They feed primarily on zooplankton and small foods. But if you have a species of adult fish that feeds primarily on plankton & small items in the water column in your pond they are consuming / grazing lots of the zooplankton out of the water column and leaving it relatively barren of optimum sizes of zooplankton for the numerous young hatchlings. Adult bgills who usually eat insect larvae among weed beds often resort to eating zooplankton esp during winter when few insects are available. Bgill will also feed at times on certain types of snails when other food items are scarse. If zooplankton populations are low or not present in adequate numbers due to other species of plankton eating fish being present, what is the bgill population supposed to eat during winter? Snails were previously grazed by redears or pumpkinseed sunfish. At certain times, Catfish and suckers are known to feed in open water high off the botttom. Examples of niche overlap among fish species are numerous.

6. #5 also leads us to: over eating of the forage base. Over grazing of the forage base by several species of fish all eating the same type of food in several niche overlap periods results in few food surpluses being present. In "lean times" many fish that rely on this type of food surpluses have nothing to fall back on for supplimental food resources. Thus they get skinny during these periods. Skinny or stressed fish are vulnerable and more susceptable to disease and parasites compared to plump well fed fish.

7. Food Production of a habitat has limits to the amount of food it can produce. Adding more consumers does not create more food in the habitat. Addition on more types of consumers causes more of the previously uneaten food to be consumed which I contend moves the habitat more toward overgrazing of reserves that would have been eaten by existing fish during other food scarse periods. Fertility determines amount of food producion. Whenever overgrazing occurs, the habitat quality and production ability is sometimes compromised. Thus over eating a forage base can have ecological implications or negaive impacts on the habitat or system. For instance, over grazing a pasture kills the grass. Dead grass no longer holds the soil in place and erosion occurs. Dead grass provides no habitat for lots of invertebrate organisms that live in the grass canopy and thatch. Some birds & field mice would have nested in thick or taller grass. Over grazing or over eating the food resource caused these things to occcur. Similar things happen in aquatic habitats when they are over grazed. Over grazing underwater is hard to see from above.

8. Norm's pond management is approaching more of what I would call an aquatic zoo rather than a balanced system where all fish are thriving. However this technique works for his special goals. A whole bunch of different fish species put together in a limited space and frequent restocking of sizes larger than fingerlings. Note, that zoos, for a reason, do not put all their animals togther in one big pen even though most have different niches.

9. Example. Lets say we have a 5 acre pen with growing grass / vegetation and a net over the top so nothing escapes. In our 5 acre pen we put piles of big rocks, piles of broken concrete, brush piles, some standing timber & tree limbs, some tall grassy areas, maybe even a small natural low growing area of shrubs, a bare sand area and an area with large gravel, some bare ground area and two watering holes. Sound familiar? Now lets put in our pen 300 house mice, 200 field mice, 100 chipmunks, 100 norway rats, 80 hamsters, 50 guinea pigs, 10 squirrels, 10 ducks 10 canada geese, 20 chickens, 3 owls, 5 muskrats 3 beaver, 5 opossum, 20 rabbits, 2 goats, 3 raccoon, 4 fox, 4 coyote, 8 house cats, 8 dogs(2 poodles, 3 doberman, 2 cocker spaniel, 1 German shepherd), 2 mountain lion cubs, and 2 wolves. We add no food on a regular basis. What will happen after one month, two months, one year? All these animals have different niches but many eat similar things when placed into a standard habitat with a limited number of niches in 5 acres. The only way we can keep any sort a balance and the orginal diversity in this "zoo" is to continually replace the disappearing or thinly populated species. In this land based example we will see the losses, but in our pond or lake we do not see the losses or changes in fish sizes and density that occur so the reality of loss is not as dramatic as it would be in our terrestrial based example above.

10. Most pond manages and advisers who advocate simple stocking plans of relatively low diversity combinations do it to try and achieve a balanced, self-maintaining system, so the populations are relatively easy to manage, so that too many grazers do not over graze the pasture, and so good growth of all fish can occur. Lower diversity stockings are easier to manage and cost of replacement fish is low due to the spawning fish in balanced conditions are replacing those that are lost to harvest or natural mortality. With proper management, larger fish will be produced so a harvest can occur for sport or food. Since Norm mainly practices catch and release I assume the higher cost of restocking and replacing fish, that he mention earlier, is due primarily to losses caused mostly by predation. This refers back to why I thought Norm has some big, fat preators.

Summary. This is not a pro or con position of what Norm has done with his pond. What he has done seems to work well for his special situation and neees. It can also work when fish numbers, regardless of how many types are present, are NOT allowed to get too crowded or abundant.

I also recognize that in some habitats there are food items that are not being eaten. But when "regular" food items become in short supply, often sometimes existing fish will adapt or learn or to utilize these unexploited food items. However this is not always true because some fish are not adapted to eat certain things. Example. In Lake Erie the invasion of Zebra mussels created attached layers of small mussels on all underwater surfaces. It did not take numerous species of fish long to figure out that these were edible (To name a few, catfish, perch, bgill, sunfishes, sheephead, suckers, carp, sturgeon, and round gobbie have had Z.mussels in their gut).

I've tried to present additional ideas to consider when you are thinking about adding numerous fish species to a pond or lake. Many different fish feed on similar food items during the "off season", during different life stages or when "times get tough".

I welcome all comments and additional discussion.
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#10513 - 12/29/03 11:54 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
big_pond Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/12/02
Posts: 1027
Loc: North East Georgia
Greg I'll do as you sayand add fathead minnows, I just wish I had a lake to add them to. These loggers are really leaving a mess!!

Bill I totaly understood what you are saying, I defenitly do not want be half as devirse as Norm is, but, what about high diversity, and low numbers? What I mean is, a few number of each species, so that the sum of the whole group would equal the rate a normal bass pond?
The biggest danger to Norms pond to me is the crappie.
Not only does he have black crappie, but he has white crappie as well all in the same pond!!

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#10514 - 12/30/03 08:56 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11983
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
b_p, Good point. High diveristy with low numbers can work. Crowding and over abundance is usually where the problem lies. Where most pondowners run into problems is when fish reproduce, proper thinning is not done and then overpopulation and over crowding occur which then puts too much pressure on the food resorces.

With numerous species stocked together one or two types seem to reproduce better than the others and their young survive better than the others and then problems start occuring. Probably what helps out Norm is his frequent addition of juvenile predators who keep abundant young fish thinned out.
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#10515 - 12/31/03 11:16 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Greg Grimes Offline
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Big POnd not the right thread for this, but with the loggers in place are you creating an underwater fieh haven? I really hope you are leaving some cover in the right places. Hopefully I will one day see the project. Video tape some of the work. It will help you once the pond is full of water. ALso, I may want to use it one day in a video I'm thinking about putting together. Happy New Year everyone!
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#10516 - 12/31/03 11:36 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Dave Willis Offline

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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
For those of you interested in Norm's pond, I may be able to eventually report some more information.

I have not actually been to his pond yet. However, this upcoming fall, I will teach my advanced fisheries management class (for graduate students who plan to be fisheries biologists). One of the things I like to do is have all students do some sampling, and learn to write a management plan. Norm has indicated that I can send a couple of the students down to his pond for their class project. I'll have them electrofish and trap net the fish community, and work up the sizes, condition factors, and relative abundances for the various fish species. I'm especially looking forward to comparing condition of the various predator types, and seeing what prey supplies might actually be there.

With Norm's permission, which likely will not be a problem [:-)], I can share the sampling overview with the Pond Boss group.

Dave
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#10517 - 01/02/04 03:23 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Norm Kopecky Offline
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Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 764
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Our whole family was able to get together and we loved it.

We donít charge anything to have people fish here. Iím retired and this is our way of giving back to our community. We try to give a very good fishing experience to people that normally wouldnít get it otherwise.

Bill, I really appreciate your detailed thoughts on this subject. Now I would like to get everyoneís ideas on how to manage the situation I have. Imagine that you are hired by a local nonprofit organization to manage their 4-acre lake. They want to provide a quality fishing experience for kids, people with disabilities and the elderly. They especially want to ďturn kids on to fishingĒ. In their minds, this is what they want to have happen. They want everyone should catch lots of fish and they want this fish to be big enough that the kids get excited about them. And then they would like everyone to catch a good selection of the local fish species so that the kids can learn what they are. They have given you a big enough budget to buy fishing equipment, bait and some replacement fish. They certainly arenít giving you enough money to stock the lake every week. Lastly, they have put a lot of money into making this lake and they want to see it used and used a lot.

I donít have a board of directors telling we what to do (my wife excepted) but this is about the situation we have accepted. This is how Iíve tried to manage this situation. How would you manage this situation differently?

The first thing I did was to think of this management as the simplest terms possible. That is a bass, bluegill and catfish lake with a small wiper component. Since it is easier to catch bluegills than bass or catfish, I decided to manage for large bluegills. That also allows the size of all of the fish species to better fit the fishing equipment I bought. There was also had one other problem. Between natural and catch and release morality, I couldnít afford to loose many more fish from the lake. Once I got a fish to a size everyone liked to catch, I had to do everything possible to protect that fish so that we could catch it again and again. This formed my basic management plan and the one that I continue to follow.

Then I did one thing different. I started managing groups of species as if they were just one species. That gave me a forage group, a bass group, a catfish group and a small wiper group. To this (because of our northern conditions), I added a walleye/yellow perch group.

The forage group consists of bluegills, hybrid bluegills, black and white crappie, rock bass, pumpkinseeds and green sunfish (which I wish I hadnít added). All of these species work together as a forage panfish group. So far, Iím not doing anything different than anyone else does when they have a bluegill/redear sunfish combination. Iím just doing it with more species. Again, this is nothing different than a natural southern lake with bluegill, redear sunfish, warmouth, black crappie, white crappie, green sunfish and redbreast sunfish.

The bass group consists of LMB and SMB. The catfish group has channel catfish, freshwater drum and shorthead redhorse in it. The wiper group has wipers (23 individuals), white bass (about 50) and goldeye (17 individuals). I manage each of these groups exactly the same as many of you do with single species. The total numbers and size structure of each of these groups is about the same (hopefully) as is appropriate for raising large panfish.

So far, what Iíve done is nothing different than anyone does managing a LMB, bluegill, channel catfish and wiper lake. We can make this difficult and complicated but I try to make it all simple.

The walleye/yellow perch group is the least successful group in our lake. Because of their size and shape, everything eats yellow perch. However, the only good prey in this lake for the walleye are the perch. What this means is that we donít have many perch in our lake and the walleye grow very slowly.

Over time, Iím sure one or another of these species will tend to dominate each group. However, with only 4 acres, I can seine, trap or remove by other means any species I wish and achieve any balance I want. The only group that I can imagine my needing to manage intensively is the forage group. The people fishing this lake enjoy catching all of the forage species. Unless some species gets wildly out of control, I donít think Iíll have to do too much management with this group.

A small lake like this is not conducive to reproduction by walleye, wipers, white bass, goldeye, catfish, drum or redhorse. So automatically, Iím committed to continually stocking these species. That leaves the LMB and SMB. They might reproduce naturally but Iím committed to not letting the predator/prey relationship get out of balance. Stocking fingerlings of these species, in general, is a waste of time. They end up just being expensive forage. Thatís why I stock subadults.

I donít think that the number of species has much effect on the growth rate of most fish in this lake. What makes a very big difference is that I overstock predators on purpose. This is consistent with growing large panfish. This means that the predators are hungrier than they probably would be otherwise. I view this as a positive. It also means that the predators grow slower than they probably would otherwise. This is also fine with me. Some of the biologists reading this can comment about longevity in slower growing fish.

I donít think that the comparison to a zoo is accurate. I would compare this to an aquarium where all of the predators are of similar size and temperament. The difference is that we are raising the food for these fish right in our lake.

Is this ďnaturalĒ? Of course not! But if you look at all of our lakes critically, there is very little ďnaturalĒ about them. Most of the lakes themselves are man made. Many of the fish species we use are not native to the areas we are putting them. Florida strain LMB did not naturally occur in Texas or California. And the fact that we actually manage our lakes is not ďnaturalĒ.

Do the people that fish our lake really care that the fish they are catching were stocked and didnít grow up in the lake naturally? No. Do many of the fishermen around the country care if the fish they catch were stocked or not? Do fishermen care that the salmon in the Great Lakes arenít native? In most cases, these issues are irrelevant.

The more I think about it and watch our lake, the bigger fan I am of nonbreeding populations of predators in small ponds. It costs a bit more but managing the predator/prey relationship is so much easier this way. Also, if we make a mistake or change our minds, it is much easier to change with nonbreeding populations.

In general, most species are in good condition. Next to the walleye/yellow perch group, the open water feeders of the wiper group seem not thrive as well as other species. There really isnít much open water forage. The goldeyes are the thinnest followed by the white bass. The wipers can always find something to eat and are thriving. Iím going to let the white bass die out since most people canít tell them from wipers and just go with wipers. I want to keep about 20 or so goldeyes in the lake just for something different.
All of the species of the bass and catfish groups seem to be doing well. Of the forage species, both species of crappie tend to be thin. I like crappies and will see what I can do to improve their health.

This is an extreme situation and it forced me to think about things differently. In so doing, Iíve had to develop ways of managing this lake that may have applicability in other situations.

Iím very much looking forward to have Dave Willis bring his class to study our lake. And yes, Dave, I do hope you can spread the information you gain from this lake as widely as possible.
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#10518 - 01/02/04 09:54 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
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As I said earlier, I think Norm is managing his lake pretty good for the goals that he has established for his lake. My earlier discussion was to generate thought for pondowners who are stocking new ponds so they could be better informed of consequences or possible repercussions of their stocking plan.

I also agree that nonreproducing fish are easier but not necessarily cheaper to manage. And maybe even cheaper in the long term. I advocate it as often as possible when appropriate. However many pondowners do not want to spend much effort of money yearly or even every 2 yrs to replace fish or suppliment populations. Many are primarily interested in catching not managing. It's not a priority for them or money for restocking is limited.

Nonreproducing fish (predators and some panfish) also allow you better control of habitat grazing so there is less chance of overgrazing. Control is a key element in management or population manipulation.

I agree most all stockings and management are artificial in artificially created water bodies, i.e. the term fishery managment. When introduced populations are left to develop naturally or they are allowed to be indiscriminately harvested they usually go out of balance one way or another. In natual undisturbed settings, nature will eventually adjust unbalanced densities. However most people are too impatient to wait for nature to make the adjustments and / or they do not like the way nature does it.

I would not have stocked Norm's lake a whole lot differently other than maybe leaving out one or two problematic taxa. Norm is learning that certain combos do not compete well with a diverse mixed fish community. Some species are more adaptable at surviving with other species competition than others. For example his walleye/perch species are not flourishing. Under different conditions the walleye-perch could be the dominant fish and the others would struggle. His crappie are not doing real well as far as body condition. Ideal forage items or conditions for these fish are not optimum. But then can survive.

I sort of like his philosophy of grouping similar types of fish species together based on feeding behavior / adaptations. I even used his same stocking concepts once in one of my ponds. When my goals chqnged, I wound up draining and restocking. One gets a real education when they drain a pond where lots of various types fish have been stocked into it over the years.

Also in Norms case slow growth of predators can be good. Slow growing, smaller predators have to eat smaller forage items compared to significiently larger bodied fish of the same species. Smaller predators are helping produce larger panfish.

Norm had some background knowledge /education of what he was doing before he started. He mentioned ecology class. Also Norm mentioned that he is COMMITTED, he does population sampling and population thinings adjustments when necessary. Plus he has some money to put toward his "project". He did not just start adding his favorite fish to his lake. Overall I think Norm has done a good pretty good job of stocking appropriate fish species based on his goals which is why I recommended PBoss magazine do an article about his lake. Some others may like this type of catch & release and variety fishery and would like to learn how to be as successful as Norm has been.
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#10519 - 01/04/04 07:40 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Norm Kopecky Offline
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Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 764
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD
Every community needs a lake that is used for kids, handicapped and elderly fishing. Iím not kidding about this. Think about your community. We already do a lot of different things. We have kids fishing days. Here in Sioux Falls, SD Fisheries puts trout into a swimming pool and lets elderly catch them on a special day. In Des Moines they stock a city lake with large bullheads and have a huge kids fishing day. This is all great and I hope that we can add to the ways we can bring fishing to people, especially kids.

There are many organizations, local governments or private individuals that might want to provide this type of fishing to their communities. Iím thinking about the Izaak Walton League, fishing or sportsman clubs or maybe someone that is retired like me. If people get the idea that this is possible and needed, how will they manage their lakes? Typical fisheries techniques arenít really designed for this type of fishing. The best size of lake for this type of fishing is probably less than 10 acres. That is exactly the size lake that Pond Boss is developing expertise in managing.

The walleye/yellow perch component of our lake isnít doing well. However, in South Dakota, everyone is walleye crazy. Even if our walleyes are 14 inches and skinny Iíll keep them in the lake just because everyone is so excited that they caught a walleye. Around here, catching a bass doesnít mean much to most people.

Iím making an assumption that the people that subscribe to and read Pond Boss just donít dump a bunch of fish into their lake and let it go. For the many people that let their lakes go, the simplest system is the best. For Pond Boss subscribers though, some of these ideas might be applicable.

To me, a game fish is any species that is easy to clean and easy to cook. I hate this bias. When many people in South Dakota catch goldeyes, they slit their throats and throw them back. In Canada, they are considered the tarpon of the north and Winnipeg smoked goldeye are considered a delicacy. When people catch a goldeye in our lake, I get all excited and congratulate them on their catch. The same with drum and redhorse. The redhorse are so brightly colored it is almost like catching an ornamental fish. Skipjack herring just barely get to South Dakota but if I could get them, I would put a few in the lake immediately.

When I talk about having these different species in our lake, many people think Iím talking about hundreds of them. In fact, Iím only talking about 15-30 individuals. That is enough for people to catch them sometimes but not enough that they affect the dynamics of the lake that much.

There is one other variable that many people donít consider. Our lake has very high fishing pressure. This fishing pressure affects how we have to manage as much or more than many of the other variables.

The most important thing this lake has forced me to do is analyze why things work or donít work. Then I write down every way I can think of that might help make the situation work. Maybe some of these ideas will help you also.

Here are some things Iíve had to manage: crappie populations, managing groups of species, high fishing pressure, use of other species than LMB and bluegills, keeping fish biting all the time, stocking subadult fish, costs of managing a lake and much more.
_________________________
Norm Kopecky

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#10520 - 01/04/04 11:10 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
big_pond Offline
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Registered: 11/12/02
Posts: 1027
Loc: North East Georgia
Ok...I have been studying this post very carfully and I have a couple of questions...
1) Which species of Norms lake can survive in the deep south? (Georgia)
2) The two species that I think will hurt the most are the White crappie and the green sunfish, why stock both Black crappie and White crappie?

3) It seems very hard to me to put crappie black or white in a class of just pan fish, because they are predetors, I would think they would eat more than bass. So really you have White Crappie, Black Crappie, and green sunfish eating on the forage base...This has been the biggest problem with these guys all along, they eat as much as bass and multiply like crazy. Remember I said "eat as much as Bass" "but not like bass" in other words Crappie can put a dent into a fry of bream minnows while bass will try to feed on the bigger more adult bream.
4) How would drum fish do in a southern pond like north GA what are there draw backs?
5) what are red horse?

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#10521 - 01/05/04 01:43 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Greg Grimes Offline
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Norm I once again think for your goals your doing a great job. I look forward to seeing David results. I just don't want folks to think that if they want a pond for kids or the handicapped they need one like yours. VERY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE. A pond stocked with bluegill, redear, channel catfish that is maintianed bass heavy with lots of skinny bass, fertilized, and with a fish feeder is hard to beat. It is great for kids that can catch numbers of large bluegill, small bass and some catfish. I can see the only advantge of all the species being a diversity for the folks who fish it frequently. Otherwise low diversity is what I would recommend for a kids pond.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#10522 - 01/05/04 09:18 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
TyW33 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/03
Posts: 310
Loc: Mankato, MN
On carying capacity,
There are two things that I think have been some what overlooked so far.
First, every lake has a maximum. No matter what you do your lake can only produce so much algae.
Second, trophic levels. Plankton is the first trohpic level. About 99.99% of the mass of a trophic level is lost when it is consumed. i.e. 1000 pound of plankton equals about .1 lb minnows. Diffrent fish eat diffrent parts of the lowest trophic levels. A school of gizzard shad feeds in open water and BG feed in cover. They utilize somewhat diffrent habbitat and so thier net production exceeds that of just BG.
But to directly answer and earlier question, No your forage base can never be large enough so that diffrent predators do not compete. The predators, if reproduction occurs, will simply expand untill they reach the limits of thier enviroment.
The limits of thier enviroment include food availability, and food availability is directly tied to the limited amound of plankton in your lake.

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#10523 - 01/05/04 09:43 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11983
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
b_p and all: There are about 12 species of redhorse in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Redhorses (sometimes called mullet)are a group if very similar looking, laterally compressed fish in the sucker family. I consider them with a more high back than the cylindrical shaped suckers. They have a sucker type mouth like a white sucker & positioned more underneath (bottom) than a carp mouth. They suck/strain their food (mostly invertebrates and small mollusks) out of the bottom sediments. They can get up to 14 pounds but most range from 1-7 lbs. Many species are not present in the deep south, but 1 or 2 species have ranges extending into TX and Mexico. Most are stream spawners and thrive better in streams than lakes. Those in thriving in lakes have streams entering the lake. They typically do not do very well in polluted or turbid waters. For a picture go to some of the web sites listed in this forum.
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#10524 - 01/05/04 11:09 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Sunil Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11356
Loc: Somerset, PA
What is a goldeneye? I checked on some of the sites, and what I saw seemed more like an aquarium fish. I didn't have time to do a full search though.
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"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#10525 - 01/06/04 05:50 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
TyW33 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/03
Posts: 310
Loc: Mankato, MN
A golden eye is an aquarium fish, but a Goldeye is not. Hioden Alosoides is a wide ranging game fish. It is found in turbid rivers and small lakes accross the northern US and south of the great lakes in the missouri and missippi river drainages. Fishbase.org link
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Hiodon&speciesname=alosoides

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#10526 - 01/07/04 10:56 AM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Norm Kopecky Offline
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Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 764
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD
I buy most of my fish from a dealer in Nebraska. He told me that in terms of dollars, he sells more subadult and adult fish than fingerlings. He also said that this percentage is continuing in favor of larger fish. The sizes of these larger fish are 6-8Ē bluegill, 8-10Ē yellow perch, 10-12Ē crappie, 10-15Ē LMB and 5-12Ē wipers. He sometimes gets larger fish and they sell immediately. Please note that he sells lots of larger panfish.

He uses a number of perspectives to sell these larger fish. The biggest, of course, is that after spending all of this time and money on a lake, it is crazy to not spend money on the fish. It is the same as building a big new house and sodding the lawn rather than seeding it. You might find this reasonable in stocking a new lake. After all, a person can get immediate fishing this way. Most of us donít want to wait a couple of years to start fishing in our new lakes.

He isnít just selling larger fish for initial stockings. These sizes of fish can very easily be stocked into existing lakes. He uses these perspectives. You wouldnít expect to buy a car and not expect to spend money on continued maintenance. Having a lake is no different. There are continuing costs of aerators, feeders and stocking fish to maintain the predator/prey balance.

Another comparison he makes is to the average fisherman. What does it cost for each fish caught. Consider the cost of the boat, tackle, gas, motels, licenses etc. and then divide this cost by the number of fish caught. As you can imagine, the cost per fish is quite high. It makes sense then to spend money on fish for our lakes.

If people in your area donít want to spend money for larger fish on continuing bases, it is probably because they have been sold on the idea that they donít have to. It is then a matter of selling them on the idea that spending money on our lakes on a continuing basis is part of having a lake.
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Norm Kopecky

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#10527 - 01/07/04 03:45 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
TyW33 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/03
Posts: 310
Loc: Mankato, MN
I have heard that the average MN fisheman spends $100 dollars a pound to catch walleye. Norm's fish look pretty cheap in comparision.

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#10528 - 01/07/04 03:47 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Greg Grimes Offline
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Norm I guess I wish I had more folks like you around here. I sell fish, but a properly balanced, managed pond does not require regular stocking. If your goals are geared a certain way occasional stocking may be necessary. When talking about trophy bass where you have poor bluegill and no shad, it is necessary for example. However it is alot cheaper to produce your own fish via fertilizing and fish feeding than stocking. WHat you said is the attitude I would expect a fish dealer to take.
_________________________
Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#10529 - 01/07/04 04:18 PM Re: Hi diversity vrs. low diversity species in ponds
Dave Davidson Offline
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Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
Norm, It APPEARS to me that you are overstocking by filling so many of the niches in the pond. What is your water quality like?

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