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#204069 - 02/14/10 11:48 AM 1/4 acre pond expectations
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
Hello everyone.I just had a pond built over the summer.It is roughly a 1/4 acre with average depth of 10'.How soon can I start stocking?I would like to stock it with bass and bluegill.What are the pros and cons of stocking from a hatchery vs. stocking it myself with caught fish?.....Joe

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#204089 - 02/14/10 01:30 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: bowjo]
txelen Offline
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Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 271
Loc: Orange County, CA
Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on the pond!

People with a lot of experience will be in here shortly to answer your questions. I think you'll find the general consensus will be that a 1/4 acre pond is a little bit small for fast-reproducing species such as largemouth bass and bluegill.

Have you thought about other species, such as channel catfish or hybrid striped bass?
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#204095 - 02/14/10 02:23 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: txelen]
burgermeister Offline
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Registered: 02/27/05
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Loc: Houston, Tx.
bass and bluegill combo can work in a small pond, just dont expect very many 3-4# bass. You can have a nice bluegill pond coupled with good smaller bass fishing and the occasional larger one.
Plan on feeding the BG heavily and probably fertilize if you plan on harvesting and consuming a lot.

Hybrid striped bass and hybrid bluegill is another option. Definitely plan on heavy feeding; I personally highly recommend aeration if you want to push the biomass. A small pond only requires 1 diffuser and a small 1/4 hp compressor at 10 ft depth.
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#204099 - 02/14/10 02:51 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: burgermeister]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
Thanks guys.I always wanted my own pond,but the way my property lays only allowed for a small one.Do LMB require more area than the HSB?I have read that the hybrid bluegill can revert back to small green sunfish,is this true?I have no electric near this pond for an areator.Please Keep the answers coming,I have lots more questions and all the help is appreciated....Joe

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#204105 - 02/14/10 04:39 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: bowjo]
Bill Cody Offline
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NO electric near the pond? How do you define near?. Then two options for aeration, a windmill (if youhave plenty of wind exposure or push air from electric compressor up to 400 ft to the pond.

There are several options for a fisheries (fish community) in small ponds based on ones goals. What are your goals?. In deciding your goals keep in mind:
1. One cannot raise lots of fish or lots of really big fish in a small 0.25 ac pond unless you do some fairly intensive management that involves aeration and daily feeding the fish as if you were raising farm animals, which is what would you be doing - aquaculture. Fish aquaculture requires a fair amount of time, effort and regular maintenance to keep over-crowded fish healthy, thriving and from getting sick and dying.
2. If pond is for some occassional, casual fishing and basic swimming, recreation and enjoyment then those are far different goals requiring quite a bit different methods.

Basically the more fish or bigger fish one wants to grow in a smaller pond the more effort it requires. Do you have time for it? It is not just fish, it involves watching water quality and weed management. The fewere fish one has generally the fewer overall weed problems they tend to have.

3. Generally, small ponds do "better" and are easier to manage with fewer fish species.

Fish IMO that are options for SW OH small ponds are listed below. Remember only one or two main species can do really well (thrive, reproduce and grow well) in smaller ponds. YOu can have an aquarium as a small pond but rarely do all those fish actually thrive - they are just present - put & take.
LMB, largemouth bass
Bluegill BG
Hybrid bluegill HYB
Catfish CC
Smallmouth bass SMB
Hybrid striped bass HSB
Yellow perch YP
Trout as put and take stocked in the fall (water temp65F) and harvested before water gets 70F in spring (usu sometime in mid-late May in SW OH).

Generally each of the above fish as one or two species fish stocking combos requires different management methods to produce a great fisheries. Create some goals and make some decisions as to what you might want to do and we can advise. Also to help you decide there are lots often many past discssions on this Forum (SEARCH feature) to help guide (or confuse) you. Maybe check out some of the topics in the Q&A Arvhives:
http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=22&page=1



Edited by Bill Cody (02/14/10 05:12 PM)
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#204111 - 02/14/10 05:01 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
CJBS2003 Offline
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My personal feelings on smaller ponds is to use fish that won't reproduce much if at all.... In smaller ponds I like HSB(hybrid striped bass), CC(channel catfish) and HBG(hybird bluegill). If you feed them, stock at a reasonable density and realize you will have to stock fish annually or biannually, I think you will be pleased with the results. Those three fish can be mixed together with good results. All 3 feed on pellets readily, are good for the table and reproduce little if at all. This means you have complete control over the number in your pond by what you catch and keep and how many you put in. No worry about them reproducing themselves into a stunted mess. You you want to intensely manage your pond, other species are an option such as a SMB, YP pond...
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#204119 - 02/14/10 05:16 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
The pond is across the road from my house and 150 yards away,so electric is not available.The pond will be for fishing and wildlife watering hole.I will set up some type of feeder for the fish.I would like to grow bluegills big enough to harvest.Then maybe a few bass to catch for fun.I have been reading alot on this site today and learning more.Its got me thinking about the HSB.I catch them in the Ohio river,but didn't realize they could live in a farm pond.Are the windmill areators very expensive?I really appreciate all the advice and instruction,thanks ....Joe

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#204123 - 02/14/10 05:22 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: CJBS2003]
Bill Cody Offline
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AS CJBS eludes to just about everyone will have a different opinion and favorite fish or fish combo for stocking a small pond. There are even people here, who will suggest green sunfish (GSF) and or redear sunfish (RES) as both are possible choices for a small pond. There is even a GSF promoting society here on this forum - watch out for them - yikes!

Maybe your best "bet" is to pick one or two species you prefer and then the "experts" will provide pros and cons of if it can be done and how to go about getting it done.

As I mentioned above IMO you have many choices from a single species to a community aquarium. For example and as an extreme you could stock only fish pellet eating LMB, HSB, CC, or YP feed them daily and have fun catching & harvesting some great fish that one could hardly believe from a 0.25 ac pond..


Edited by Bill Cody (02/14/10 05:25 PM)
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#204124 - 02/14/10 05:35 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
esshup Offline
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Welcome! You've had some good answers from some of the top experts on the site (IMO). They didn't address hatchery bought vs. catch and transfer. I don't know what the legalities are in Ohio. A while back (in Indiana) I was told that if I took and stocked fish from public waters, then the public could fish the pond. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm surely not putting up a sigh saying "public invited"!

Transferring fish in my opinion:
Pros:
1) Cheap
2) You can get large fish
3) Fish caught locally will surely be acclimated to the local weather conditions.

Cons:
1) Being able to positively identify the fish. Could possibly be a type of hybrid.
2) Transferring a disease or parasite to the pond
3) Transferring unwanted fish
4) Transferring unwanted, undesirable pond weeds.
5) Getting enough of a certain species and sex.
6) Starting out with fish that could be hook shy.


Edited by esshup (02/14/10 05:36 PM)
Edit Reason: added hook shy.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#204126 - 02/14/10 05:39 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
Bill Cody Offline
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For a pond across the road you can check with the local utility and they will often put a wire drop and meter for low cost. An elecrician (or friend electrician) can wire up a pole and plug at the meter base. IMO Electrical aeration in a 0.25 ac pond is cheaper (esp DIY), more dependable, and in the long run more efficient than a windmill. For a windimill plan on $1500.00 with regular maintenance of changing the diaphragm every 1-3 yrs 12-20 ft in the air. Also plan on replacing bearings which are a real pain every 10-15 yrs. A windmill without lots of wind from at least 3 directions is IMO pretty much a waste of money. A windmill not turning frequently in Jul-Aug (calm dog days) is not much pond aeration when the pond usu needs the most aeration.

I have seen Good electric aerators ($450-1000 - rotary vane) in operation for 20 yrs and only maintenance has been occassional change of air filter and checking & cleaning of the diffuser which should be done with windmill or electric. These pumps are getting due for a vane change rebuild which can be done quickly and simply on the work bench. Your small pond should not need constant 24/7 aeration - IMO 4-6 hrs /day (Apr-Oct) will keep it well circulated as evidenced by numerous aerators in small ponds in my NW OH region.
The pond will not need aeration but it will stay in better overall "condition" with fewer problems and age slower if it is aerated. Aeration will also improve the fishes but exactly how much improvement is still not a definate number.
http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=202413#Post202413

There are numerous OH pondowners here, several of them in SW OH area. They can lend opinionated support to your project.

PS - Welcome to this The Pond Boss Forum. How did you find us?


Edited by Bill Cody (02/14/10 05:55 PM)
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#204132 - 02/14/10 06:03 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
Bill Cody Offline
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Transferring home caught fish. You are not going to need that many fish for a 0.25 ac pond. Buy them from prob a local hatchery - maybe Jones Fish Hatchery - Newtown. Some Soil and Water districts in OH annually sell good quality fish fingerlings. Some Pros and cons of where to get fish were listed above. In my long and varied experiences, the only main reason to get non-hatchery fish is because no hatchery has the species you want. I and others here have driven 3-8 hrs one way to get good hatchery fish. Hatchery fish are best fish - period. Going to get fish at the hatchery is an adventure the kids will love and will remember a long time. Fish can be delivered for an extra charge but that is not as fun for the kids or you. Cost of good quality fish for your small pond is minimal, compared to the cost of the pond and troubles you could get from doing it wrong.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/14/10 06:15 PM)
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#204137 - 02/14/10 06:32 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
I will visit the fish hatchery this spring.There is a fish hatchery called Marlows that is very close to me.Jones hatchery is probably only a 2 1/2 hour drive.Shortly after the ice dissapears I would like to sink a couple trees and get some fathead minnows started.How does a HSB and bluegill pond with a few channel cats sound?I will set up a feeding program also...I was Googling pond questions this morning and found this site,great find!!!


Edited by bowjo (02/14/10 06:37 PM)

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#204170 - 02/14/10 09:24 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: bowjo]
Bill Cody Offline
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Regarding HSB-BG with 5-10 CC, it is not something I would do, but I have never experienced a pond like you propose. There could be problems with this combo:
1. Research studies indicate that HSB are not real efficient predators of BG for various reasons. Not saying it can't work, it is just a risky combo.
2. Predators of HSB are not reproducing thus if not careful BG could become overpopulated due to no small yearling to consume high numbers of newly hatched BG. HSB (14"-18") will be usually too busy eating pellets to care about small 1/2"-1.5" BG.
3. In correct situations CC even wiht HSB present, will reproduce and offspring can become overpopulated resulting in lots of small 6"-10" CC. I have that happening in one pond. Do not put places in your pond for CC to spawn, esp good cover and with no LMB present.
4. On feed (pellet feeding) trained HSB and CC, both will eat pellets and will not aggressively prey on forage fish which could easily result in too many BG.
5. If you want panfish maybe a better fish would be HBG. They have very limited reproduction thus needing less predation pressure than BG. HBG will eat pellets and grow big (8"-9") fast. You can restock or not restock them and replace with BG if wanted. RES are an option but they very rarely eat pellets and are sort of hard to catch for youngsers compared to HSB or BG. Thus RES have limited value with your pond fish goals.

If you are sold on BG why not start with pellet trained LMB, a few (4-6) HSB as bonus fish, and forget catfish unless you love eating CC. CC are pellet hogs, will grow big, get very hook shy and IMO each one will take the place of one bass. But You can definately have a couple CC for variety. Every few years remove a few (5-8) LMB, HSB, larger BG (8-16) and restock same number of pellet eating LMB and HSB to maintain numbers of pellet eating predators. BG will repopulate and so will LMB but those young LMB will not eat pellets and should be targeted for harvest. There should be plenty of young LMB around to keep BG numbers in check. If not get the kids fishing with worms & bobber often.

Remember without good aeration you will not raise lots of unlimited fish in this small 0.25 ac pond. For fish stocking, I sugggest you use our stocking rates and not those from the fish hatchery. They LOVE selling fish - we don't sell fish, we just know how to grow them to big sizes.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/14/10 09:39 PM)
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#204175 - 02/14/10 09:36 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
esshup Offline
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FWIW, Jones had pellet trained LMB last year.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#204178 - 02/14/10 09:54 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: esshup]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
Thanks alot,I like the sound of that plan.I never thought about the BG populating too fast.Where can I find honest stocking rates?Are they on this site somewhere?.....Joe

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#204182 - 02/14/10 10:09 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: esshup]
burgermeister Offline
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Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
If you're set on bluegill, then you must stock LMB, period.
If you want HSB, then hybrid bluegill is the obvious option. Similar tasting as BG. more aggressive and harder fighting. WILL NOT revert back to green sunfish. Some offspring will look like parents, some more like bluegill and some more like gsf. Nearly all their offspring will be consumed by the hsb. Plan on stocking more as fished out. Redear added for reducing grubs and as a pure lepomis species. In this scenario, I dont see a problem with a few CC to help control the panfish offspring. Not too many, and fish them out after 12-18 months, BUT, I would wait to see if you really want or need them. 8-10" CC can be obtained easily and cheap for stocking later.
You mentioned that the pond is across the road. Is it a paved road. If not, run a 3/4 semi-rigid air line under the road in a trench. If paved, may still be able to push one in a conduit. Mr. Cody has mentioned a few times the importance of aeration, BUT you have time, probably summer after next to get this done as the carrying capacity increases. You will not have wind in hot summer at night when you need aeration the most. You have time to look into a small solar system. Enough to digest for now.
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#204189 - 02/14/10 10:33 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: burgermeister]
CJBS2003 Offline
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As far as the LMB go, if you can find them and that is a big if... Pellet trained, single sex LMB, preferably female would be truly ideal IMO. The biggest concern with LMB is they spawn and have lots of babies. The original stockers are pellet trained, but the offspring sometimes learn to eat pellets, but many times don't... So after a generation or two, the benefit of pellet trained bass is slowly lost. This can be partially remedied by fishing. You can usually tell which bass are eating pellets and which ones aren't. The fat ones are pellet eaters, the skinny ones haven't figured it out. Let the fat ones go, keep the skinnier ones. Every year or every other year, stock a few more pellet trained bass.

As far as stocking numbers, well we are all here to help. We'll give you the best advice we can. So once you decide which fish you want in your pond, we'll give you good numbers to shoot for. Bill Cody probably knows more about OH ponds than anyone, so advice given by him is hard to beat!
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#204192 - 02/14/10 10:38 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: burgermeister]
bowjo Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
I am keeping the areation in mind.I am glad to hear that the HBG are safe to stock,don't know why I had been told they would revert.The only good thing about the pond being small is It should be easier to correct any stocking mistakes I make.I also think some RES is a good idea.How many of each type fish and when should I introduce each species?With a fish hatchery so close to me,time and convenience is not an issue.Thanks again everyone.I have learned alot today and eager for more...Joe

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#204199 - 02/14/10 10:58 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: bowjo]
CJBS2003 Offline
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If you absolutely interested in LMB and cannot find single sex fish, I would absolutely get pellet trained LMB. With pellet trained LMB, this is my opinion of the number and combo for your quarter acre pond and stocking timing...

This early spring, stock FHM as soon as is feasible and they are available. Not too much after ice out and they should be capable of stocking. 2 lbs of FHM will get you off to a great start...

I'd wait until the late spring to early summer(June or so, when the water hasn't warmed up too much) when I would stock the HBG at 100-200 depending on just how many fish you plan to harvest to eat and if you want to stock them annually or every other year. Less if you are stocking them every year and more if you plan to eat more... 2"-3" fish should be a good size.

I would also stock the RES at the same time as the HBG. 50 fish should be a good number to get your off to a healthy start, again fish in the 2"-3" range would work well.

The following late summer to early fall(Sept or so) I'd stock 20 pellet trained LMB. You should be able to find them in the 4" range but larger ones up to 8" would work. At that size, they shouldn't be big enough to eat your HBG or RES as they should have put on a good bit of size through the summer growing months.

I would also stock 10-15 HSB with the LMB if you are interested in an added option to your pond. These fish will not reproduce and will need to be restocked every now and then, yearly, every other year or so... Even less numbers, say 10 or less if you plan to stock annually.

If you really want CC in your pond, I'd keep the stocking numbers low, around 10 and no more than 20. Do not allow them to grow huge. Harvest them when they reach no more than 18". After about that size they really can start to hog feed and cause problems.

This stocking plan is jut my opinion. Let's see what others have to say...
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#204207 - 02/14/10 11:15 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: CJBS2003]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
I really appreciate the example.I will probably leave the catfish out for now.Not for sure on the LMB right now.I am definately sold on the HSB,RES and the HBG.Does it help or hurt to put more FHM in?Can you put too many?...joe


Edited by bowjo (02/14/10 11:24 PM)

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#204209 - 02/14/10 11:42 PM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: bowjo]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Loc: northern VA
Yes, you can put too many. Since your fish will be pellet fed, the need for FHM is less. I would say any more than 5 pounds is a waste. A summer of spawning in a pond without predation and 2 pounds will be many times that...

If you are only going to stock the HSB, I would stock a few more, perhaps 20-25... As has been said, CC in the 8"-10" range are easily to find and fairly cheap, so they can always be added at a later time. Just putting 1 LMB into the pond with the HSB would work well. It's amazing what 1 LMB can do to help control the few HBG F2 spawned in a 1/4 acre pond.
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#204256 - 02/15/10 10:50 AM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: CJBS2003]
Bill Cody Offline
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If you are stocking primarily HSB, RES, HBG, and feeding pellets then IMO you will not really need many if any FHM. FHM are basically used to "jump start" the new young LMB fingerlings/stockings. All HSB are raised on fish pellets and very willingly eat fish food, sometimes to the exclusion of eating fish when pellets are plentiful. As suggested 2 lbs of FHM stocked early spring will be plenty. You will be amazed at how many FHM can be produced in 0.25 ac with LMB present. Use the money to buy other fish and put it toward fish food and aeration. With no LMB present the FHM could last a long time or indefinately if there is some shallow habitat/cover refuge (15%-25% of shoreline) for them. For good natural fish cover, look for my water lily articles in PBoss magazine: 2010 Mar-Apr, Jul-Aug.

Adding one regular non-pellet trained LMB is an okay idea in your situation. Plan on it eating 250-350 fish per year- hopefully many of those will be HBG young.

Understand that the HBG, esp if not replentished regularly (every 2-4yrs) will produce some fish that look in varying degrees like BG or GSF or mixtures of both. The best success of them is in regular harvest and restocking. One additional note about HBG they are sort of aggressive and willing to bite and bump swimmers. So if swimming is a big thing for this pond rethink your plan.

The beauty of your small pond is it can be fairly easily and cheaply drawn down several feet, or treated at full pool, the fish killed off to restock a new fishery and start over.

Note that the fish farm closest to you may not have HSB. Check with them when waters thaw out. I think 50 RES may be too many for your pond. Consider 20-30 added when FHM go in. ALSO note that if any LMB or larger CC are present, HBG that are restocked should be larger usually 4" or better 5"-6" to avaoid being eaten by 15"-17" predators. Generally fat pelleting predator fish do not eat a lot of fish, mostly they prefer a regular easy diet of welfare pellets.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/15/10 11:28 AM)
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#204268 - 02/15/10 11:21 AM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
esshup Offline
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Bill:

Lacking pallets or other submerged horizontal surfaces in the top 2' of the water column, will FHM utililze the underside of floating objects (i.e. lily pads) to spawn on? What else could they utilize?
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#204271 - 02/15/10 11:30 AM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: Bill Cody]
bowjo Offline
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Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 149
Loc: southeast,ohio
Thanks again for all the advice.I at least got a plan now.I will still have to work on areation.The electric company charges about $1000 for hookup with $500 a year minimum bill (OUCH).I may try to run my own wire under the road if the distance allows.....My biggest challenge will be trying to get my friends to not swing by and throw 2-4 pound bass in to "Help me out"...
With the pond being small it should be easier to manage.

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#204272 - 02/15/10 11:33 AM Re: 1/4 acre pond expectations [Re: esshup]
Bill Cody Offline
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Sometimes friends are not behaving in your best interest. Often they have selfish motives. Tell them to get their own pond to mess with.
FHM will use floating objects or most any firm underwater surface in shallow water or floating. I have seen FHM spawn on the underside of marker floats of a swimming area. Sometimes undersides of lily leaves have a slime or gelatinous coating and FHM will not use them for depositing eggs.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/15/10 11:35 AM)
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Concrete tailings??
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0 seconds ago
Help me build a 4 acre pond!
by anthropic
24 minutes 15 seconds ago
Surprise
by ewest
Yesterday at 09:48 PM
Perch ribbons, mid March and cold!
by SetterGuy
Yesterday at 09:17 PM
Happy Birthday DonoBBD!
by Sunil
Yesterday at 09:05 PM
TP in Mid East OH this spring?
by Bill Cody
Yesterday at 08:31 PM
Leak in pond
by John Fitzgerald
Yesterday at 05:13 PM
Oily Surface on Pond
by Mike Whatley
Yesterday at 02:19 PM
1st full pool since 4/13/18
by Mike Whatley
Yesterday at 10:50 AM
Do you need BG > 7" in order to grow a 10#LMB?
by Dave Davidson1
Yesterday at 09:47 AM
Newly Uploaded Images
Pond site
Pond dig
My recent haul
Hello From Lufkin Texas!
Cant seem to Identify what this is.  Any thoughts?
Evaluating and adjusting Fish populations and ID

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