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#13609 - 11/16/05 06:52 PM Multiple pond stocking strategy
Canepole Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 26
Loc: Bartlesville, Oklahoma
I am completing a deep, 7+ acre pond and will very soon start on a second pond on the same property. The second pond will be very different as it will entail building a dam across a heavily oaked creek that runs for a half mile on my property. I plan to back it up to the edge of my property and flood whatever I have to flood to accomplish that. The first pond may take two or three years to fill, depending on weather. The dammed creek will likely fill with the first good rain. So the second pond will likely be ready to stock before the first.

I am planning to stock shiner minnows and hybrid giant bream with the thought that there might be something for the nephews to start fishing for within a year or so. Bass, the real object of all this, would be stocked much later.

My brother and I are great fans of the noble goggle-eye perch, which I understand is also called a green sunfish. But they are widely disparaged in this forum, and it has not been made clear to me why. They are aggressive, good eating, and their big mouths enable them to hit artificials that the bluegill cannot attack. Is that big mouth the problem? Do they eat up the forage fish?

Any suggestions on species and timing for new ponds in SW Oklahoma would be appreciated. Regards, Tom

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#13610 - 11/16/05 07:02 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Bruce Condello Offline
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Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 8854
Loc: United States
Although I personally don't "dislike" any fish, here are some of the negatives that I've seen noted on this forum concerning green sunfish.

1. Relatively large mouth size makes them a direct competitor with largemouth bass and other piscivores.

2. Fecundity and niche overlap make green sunfish a direct competitor with bluegill.

3. While competing with bluegill, green sunfish have less growth potential than do bluegill, thereby tying up biomass in smaller average size fish.

4. Green sunfish marauders will cruise spawning areas in the spring and raid nesting areas of newly hatched fry.

Positives that I can imagine include:

1. Green sunfish are able to withstand poor water quality.

2. They readily take artificial presentation, thereby creating angling opportunity when other fish won't bite.

3. Beautiful coloration.

4. If you can grow them big enough they have similar eating quality to other sunfish.
_________________________
Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.

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#13611 - 11/16/05 07:16 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Theo Gallus Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12401
Loc: Central Ohio
GSF Pro:

Agressive. I have fished a local public 5 acre pond where there were numerous BG we couldn't get to bite, but just a few GSF that took whatever bait (live or artificial) we offered.

GSF Con:

This is maybe the biggest anti-GSF sentiment at the forum. If your ultimate goal is (big) bass, GSF are a notably poorer choice forage fish than BG (spawn less, compete more with small LMB).

About how big do you think the flooded creek bed pond will be?
_________________________
"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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#13612 - 11/16/05 08:26 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19627
Loc: Miss.
Tom :

I could not reccomend using GSF unless you are going to have bad water conditions. I think they have undesirible genetic traits for ponds. Small size and low fecundity ( # of offspring) for the amount of space (bio-mass/carrying capicity)they take up. Hybridizes with other lepomis ( BG,RE RBS etc) with poor long term results. Also pure GSF stock is often hard to find. In my opinion BG and RE are a better choice and grow just as well if water quality and forage are good. Here is some info below you can compare. Plenty more info around if you need more let us know. ewest

GSF link
http://www.cnr.vt.edu/efish/families/greensun.html

BG link
http://www.cnr.vt.edu/efish/families/bluegill.html

RE link
http://www.cnr.vt.edu/efish/families/redearsun.html

Fish Base- GSF
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=3371

Fisg Base--BG
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Lepomis&speciesname=macrochirus

Fish Base -RE
http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?genusname=Lepomis&speciesname=microlophus
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#13613 - 11/16/05 08:58 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Tom,

Good topic. This one will tax your planning skills. It forces you to carefully examine your objectives (all of them) and how best to meet them. Without providing my opinions, let me throw out some items to think about:

1) Will the 7+ acre pond “scratch your itch” for a LMB fishery? Take into account the discussions herein on LMB conditioning in catch and release ponds with fishing pressure. Assess whether or not it will meet your expectations.
2) Depending on the answer to 1) above and the size of the second pond, many options may be available including a second LMB pond to help take pressure off the other LMB pond, a grow-out pond for supplying forage and/or different LMB genetics for the other pond, etc.
3) Sounds like you may have a secondary objective…a fun pond for the kids and kids at heart catching GSF and/or hybrid BG. Does this secondary objective outrank the desire or need for additional LMB fishing? True, you can start over in a year, but that may not be as easy or even as desirable as it might seem. You loose a year and the kids and kids at heart loose what may have become a very fun thing for them.
4) HSB might enter your thinking for the second pond. They are certainly a fun fish, grow rapidly, and can serve as an alternate predator providing fishing diversity. Kids would be absolutely thrilled to catch a HSB as are kids at heart (oops that sounds like opinion). Stocked in sufficient numbers, they could make a good combo with BG , but again if starting over in a year may not be worth the cost or effort.

Just some thoughts from a slightly different angle.

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#13614 - 11/17/05 01:44 AM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Canepole Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 26
Loc: Bartlesville, Oklahoma
The green sunfish comments make a lot of sense. I'm convinced, no goggle-eyes. They will probably come in anyway.

Ewest, thanks much for the references. I will get smarter soon.

Meadowlark, I am already worries about some of the issues you raised. I plan to release any LMB over 2 pounds or so, but I do like to eat the smaller bass and will try to target the smaller fish. I don't know what I am going to do about the fishing pressure and the conditioning of the bass. I can enforce the catch and release part, but I don't know how to keep friends and family from conditioning the LMB. An earlier string recommended only fishing 1x to 4x per year. That sort of defeats the purpose. I am interested in these more aggressive strains of LMB. Do you have any experience with them? They claim to competitively make the standard LMB more aggressive too. It has to be a catch and release situation though or you will very soon remove these aggressive fish. How do you handle the problem of conditioning on your ponds? I think two big ponds will be enough to keep my brother and I sated, but I am not sure about our extended friends and family. It does worry me to spend all of this time and effort on a lifetime dream that almost has to ruined by the people I love most. What is the alternative???

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#13615 - 11/17/05 01:46 AM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Canepole Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/05
Posts: 26
Loc: Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Theo, it's a little tough to tell just by eyeballing it, but I'm guessing it will be about 12-15 feet at the dam and around 100-125 feet in diameter. It's going to be very long and very narrow. I'm guessing the average diameter across the upper half of the pond would be around 50 or 60 feet. It should be fun to fish from a tube or bass buggy. The banks are steep and heavily wooded, so it might be tough to fish artificials from the shore. But that's why I have the other pond. I like both types, although they are very different. I'm thinking I will have a harder time keeping rough fish out of this second pond as the creek probably has it's origin somewhere in the Wichita Mountains 20 miles away. Once the pond is mature, I would hope that the bass could stay ahead of any small rough fish arrivals. Is there any sort of screen or fence that is effective in keeping larger fish from washing in? I would think that limbs and bark would quickly occlude nearly anything you installed to block the entry of larger rough fish after a big rain.

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#13616 - 11/17/05 08:20 AM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Tom,

These are difficult issues. I'm trying several things to get around the conditioning problem...genetics, reduced fishing pressure, no artificial feeding included.

On genetics, I'm a fan of the F1 LMB, a cross between a pure Florida and a native (nothern) LMB. It has the aggressive tendencies of the native LMB and the growth of the Floridas. If you can stock them in your climate, I would really recommend them. The way I'm getting around fishing pressure is somewhat unique...I do not accept fishing less as an option, so my only other choice was to build more ponds. By rotating among the ponds, and also having a specific pond for just fun fishing (HSB, BG, etc.) I feel I can minimize the effects of fishing pressure on the "high performance" ponds.

Artificial feeding is another consideration, althought very controversial...I should say my position on it is very controversial and as a result I've been called just about everything you can imagine in PM's. My belief is that a predator fish that has to earn its keep, that has to hunt for its dinner, rather than lay in wait at a feeder, that is not satiated, but slightly hungry...that fish will hit lures/flys much better than the same fish that is provided a handout twice a day...many disagree, perhaps most. I've seen it happen repeatedly and I'm running an experiment with all three variables in play to convince myself.

At least you have a Forum in which you can hear about alternate ideas. When I started many years ago, there was no one raising the issues of conditioning in LMB and no one that I knew of looking for solutions. Now there are many doing both.

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#13617 - 11/17/05 10:44 AM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Sunil Offline
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Hall of Fame 2014

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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11558
Loc: Somerset, PA
Tom, the "catchability" issues for LMB (whichever strain) is something that you need to consider, however, I'm not sure you should worry about it too, too much for several reasons. Don't loose sleep over it.

If your pond is going to be 7 acres, you are in the upper 5% or so of what most forum members have as far as size of ponds. Plus you are going to have way more depth than most of us have, even though not all of the depth will be used by the majority of LMB.

My pond is 6-7 acres, and gets fished several times a week during the spring, summer, and fall.
We have no problems catching fish using artificials or live bait. Basically, I'm a 99% live bait person using shiners or fatheads, however, my brother is 99% fly fishing only. Other friends only fish artificials.

Except for throwing out a few handfuls of feed when I'm at the pond, there is no regular artificial feeding happening.

Also, I think that with 7 acres, you can have a very diverse fishery with numerous fish of different species.

I think you could have LMB, SMB, HSB, CC, BG, Yellow Perch, maybe some walleye, crappie, etc.

I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong on the catchability issue. I'm just saying that your body of water is bigger which gives you way more options.
_________________________
Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#13618 - 11/19/05 11:20 AM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Regarding the size of pond eliminating or minimizing the catchability problem, we have seen what appear to me to be reliable posts of catchability problems in 50 acre ponds/lakes and have seen several posts of ponds in the 10 to 20 acre class, especially "subdivision" ponds that experience extreme catchability problems. Part of that may be due to the 90/10 rule which says 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water. In a 7 acre pond, its not difficult at all to expose all the LMB to the catching phenomenon.

While I agree with Sunil that size matters, I don't believe it eliminates the problem. I totally agree with Sunil that live bait obviates the catchability problem...every LMB in my ponds can be caught on a live BG. Whether to worry or not about this problem or non-issue(whichever you view it) is entirely a personal matter....I like challenges and the catchability problem poses a challenge for me which I love to try to solve or at least minimize....tackling problems is fun for me, especially pond related ones.

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#13619 - 11/21/05 03:50 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Canepole, I guess I will make everyone mad. ;\) I agree with ML and Sunil on a few points but disagree about others. Agree with SUnil no reason to worry about catchability. Not saying it is not an issue but I take the opposite approach and it works for my clients. That is try to maximize number of bass lbs in the environment thus creating more bass so less lure shy. Also I feel healthy bass have more energy to chase lures. However I disagree with Sunil
about diverse fishery. It is about goals if wanting to max bass grwoth limit the number of predators to just largemouth bass.

On the second pond that has more water and concern of trash I agree with ML. Have a diverse fishery with "other" fish keep it bass heavy as well to limit the success of trash fish. You can have fun with this one and plenty to read about.

Back to bass pond, iff goal is quality/trophy bass here is my free 2cents based on 7 acres:

when half full:

5500 coppernose bluegill
1500 redear (shellcracker)
7000 fathead minnows
spring load(7,000) threadfin shad
June after other fish 350 F1 Bass Fingerlings
June 175 Florida Bass "
If legal Tilapia (# ML-?)

Lime to acheive > 20 ppm alkalinity if necessary
Fertilize to achieve 18-24 inches visibility
Fed to satiation might require 3 feeders.
Proper bass harvest starting in year 2.

This will result in max lbs of bass in the pond. this should provide great fishing for maximum amount of fishing enjoyment for bass and ok fishing for bluegill. \:D
_________________________
Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#13620 - 11/21/05 05:25 PM Re: Multiple pond stocking strategy
Sunil Offline
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Field Correspondent
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11558
Loc: Somerset, PA
Greg, I can't be mad at your input; my experience is based only on my one pond that I've had for a whopping seven years; and I've certainly threw a wrench in the eco-system that was in existence prior to my arrival.

While my 6-7 acre fishery is very diverse, I've also had the benefit of having some large adult fish stockings. It does not seem like others have had this option. I think I'll start another thread on that topic.
_________________________
Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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