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#249876 - 02/28/11 06:27 PM Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
Hello all! New to Pond Boss, and think it is an awesome resource.

I am seeking advice on stocking 2 man-made ponds, both about 1/4 in size on the farm where a friend currently lives in western WA, NE of Seattle. Further stats on the ponds:

- both are about 11-12 feet deep in their deepest parts
- both have large boulders submerged, floating & submerged logs
- emergent plants such as cattails, wapato, wild rice and pickerel weed have been planted
- the intention is to raise fish for the table with little to no supplemental feeding
- both ponds have rain-fed inflow of water for 3/4 of the year
- Considering a BG, LMB, catfish combo of some kind
- Ideally my friend would love to have a self-sustaining population of fish for the table
- He plans to use fishing for his family as a means of partial population control

Have any of you stocked ponds in WA state? Have you raised Bluegill for the table in ponds this small? What advice would you give for a beginner for this climate/pond size/etc.?

I will add, that we are taking great considerations to continue to provide good habitat for native amphibians as well as the fish. We realize that the fish will likely prey on the amphibian larva/and/or adults, and plan to set up structures to create some safe areas for them. We also know we will likely give some fish to the local great blue heron that comes by once in a while, and don't begrudge it that. Much of the ponds is deeper water, which will hopefully provide some safe haven from constant heron predation...

These ponds are meant to be both habitat for wildlife as well as a source of protein. Perhaps, that is a lot to try and balance at once but that is our intention right now.

Thank you so much for any feedback.


Edited by 3sp Stickleback (02/28/11 06:47 PM)

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#249881 - 02/28/11 07:01 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
vaheelsfan Offline


Registered: 11/18/10
Posts: 110
Loc: Virginia
Hello and welcome from another new member! How often your friend would like to eat fish from his pond will likely determine whether or not his goals are attainable. I would think that in a pond that size supplemental feeding would be needed to harvest fish on a regular basis and periodic restocking may also be needed. One option may be to stock one pond with bass and bluegill from which fish could occaisionally be removed to eat and to stock the other one with channel catfish to be harvested on a more regular basis. I'm not sure what type of climate you have up there but there are other options for food fish as well, trout are pretty popular with some people and tilapia seem to have a following here as well. Any of those three fish being stocked in a pond that size would benefit greatly from being fed, especially if there will be a heavy harvest. Someone else will be able to provide more detailed info.

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#249882 - 02/28/11 07:25 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: vaheelsfan]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
Thank you!

The climate here is generally high 30's to low 40's in winter, overcast, rainy. Some weeks we have hard freezes, with temps in the 20's for perhaps a week, or max. 2 weeks at a time. Spring & Fall generally temps in 60-70's, sunny to cloudy. Summer usually in the high 80's to low 90's, rarely hits 90-100's for short periods in August.

My friend is willing to match his harvest to what is feasible. Also, is it possible to create your own supplemental feed? For instance, could the fish be fed scraps or is that not wise?

He has considered trout and may decide to go with them for 1 or both ponds. If that were to happen, how would trout combine with BG? We are talking most likely rainbows...

Also, has anyone tried to raise cutthroat trout in a pond? He has some native cutthroat living in a local stream.


Edited by 3sp Stickleback (02/28/11 07:26 PM)

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#249885 - 02/28/11 07:38 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
adirondack pond Offline
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Originally Posted By: 3sp Stickleback

He has considered trout and may decide to go with them for 1 or both ponds. If that were to happen, how would trout combine with BG? We are talking most likely rainbows...

Also, has anyone tried to raise cutthroat trout in a pond? He has some native cutthroat living in a local stream.

Unless you want to just keep the trout from fall untill late spring I thing the pond would be too warm for them in the summer, but many people have trout in the cooler months and fish them out when it gets warm.
If you could pump or supply colder water from another source then it's possible.
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#249886 - 02/28/11 07:38 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
vaheelsfan Offline


Registered: 11/18/10
Posts: 110
Loc: Virginia
Having trout year round would be dependant on having a strong spring in the ponds if it gets that warm in the summer. Anything above 65 degree water temperature for a long period of time will likely kill the trout. They may survive up to 70-75 but I'm not sure how well they'd do in a heavy stocked pond at that temperature without lots of aeration. Trout and bluegill can survive together but trout prefer and thrive in much cooler water than bluegill, so they probably wouldn't be a good mix for what he's looking to do.

As far as feeding scraps, some fish may eat it but it's not a good idea. Different feeds are made for different fish, it'd be best to get one well suited to whatever he decides to raise.

Rainbows from a hatchery will be better to raise as food than the cutthroats from a local stream. They'll already be conditioned to accept feed and it won't be depleting a wild fishery.

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#249943 - 03/01/11 03:14 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: vaheelsfan]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
I talked more with my friend John regarding his 2 ponds.

He said he is set on having BG in at least one pond. I have read a lot of folks on this site mentioning that it is wise to bring in some LMB to help predate and reduce the population of the BG. If he were to start of with 100 BG in one of the 1/4 acre ponds, how many LMB would be good to start with? How soon should they be put in and how big should they be when they are put in to keep the BG healthy and not overpopulating?

Any other species you would recommend to bring in also? I have heard many people recommend a BG, LMB and catfish combo. Is this wise, keeping in with the considerations mentioned above? All 3 would be fished for and eaten at some point. Other species combos recommended for this region (Pacific NW, Puget Sound/Cascades foothills)?

Meanwhile, the 2nd pond may be stocked with trout instead. It is still being debated. If he were to bring trout into this clay-bottom pond, what might be useful to help create a space for them to breed in?

Both ponds will be monitored closely for the next 4 seasons, temps will be taken in the shallows and in the deepest parts of the ponds. The pond plants, insects, amphibians and other life will also be monitored and recorded.

Thank you for the insight. Hope I am not asking to many questions...


Edited by 3sp Stickleback (03/01/11 03:15 PM)

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#250084 - 03/02/11 12:08 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
CJBS2003 Offline
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It's very difficult to manage smaller sized ponds for LMB/BG. If you will not be suplementally feeding, you're not going to be able to harvest very many fish per year from a 1/4 acre pond.
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#250121 - 03/02/11 04:41 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: CJBS2003]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
CJBS2003,

What are some of the challenges of managing for LMB/BG for a pond of this size?

What r some possible solutions?

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#250141 - 03/02/11 08:33 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
burton Offline


Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wa
Hey Stickleback! Im from the Puget Sound area also so I may have some helpful information in regards to stocking options for our region.I managed a few small ponds growing up mostly by trial and error and have an idea of what works.I believe your best bet for a pond of 1/2 acre or less would be to stock either RBT or cutthroat trout with supplemental feeding and prior stocking of FHM if you can find them. RBT would be my choice beacause they normally grow bigger and faster than cutthroat but a combination of both would be fun too. Plus RBT are extremely easy to find and very inexpensive. As far as summer water temps go you shouldent have a problem. RBT are fine up to about 70 degrees and water temps here rarely reach that even in the summer. Aeration if possible is a definite plus but not essential. In every pond ive stocked them in they have done very well and depending on how much you feed they can grow quite large. Easily 3-5 lbs after a few years. Another plus to RBT will be that you will be able to control the population because they dont have the ability to reproduce in a pond setting.

As far as a BG pond goes it is definitely possible in 1/2 acre but it will take a lot of management to make it work. Unless you want a pond full of 4" BG you will have to cull extensively and keep the population thinned down to allow the remaining fish to utilize the available food and grow. You could add LMB to keep the BG in check but again you will have put in a lot of work culling smaller LMB so you dont the run the risk of the LMB reproducing like mad having a pond full of tiny LMB and BG due to overpopulation. A 1/2 acre pond in our area is realisticlly only able to sustain a handful of 2-3 lb LMB wilh BG as the main forage. If you are dead set on a BG pond I would go with the pumpkinseed. They only spawn once a year, they are the very pretty looking and they can get up to 8-9" in the right setting.

As far as catfish go i wouldnt recommend them. The only species of catfish that I know of in the puget sound area are of the brown bullhead variety and while they taste great they easily stunt to about 6" in ponds without an apex predator present. There are no hatcheries that I know in the state that have CC and due to our relatively mild water temps they probably wouldnt grow very well anyway. The only successful area in the state for CC that I know of is in Eastern WA which has a far different climate than we do out west.

Ideally I would love to try HSB in our area but I believe they are probably illegal to stock and like CC next to impossible to find in Western WA

Ive tried SMB in ponds but they normally cant keep up with the reproduction of BG and the BG end up stunting. YP may be a better option for that route. Although ive never attempted it a SMB PKS combo could be a possibility but would still require considerable management of both PSK and SMB populations to prevent a disaster.

At any rate I definitely think the RBT with supplemental feeding would be the best and most productive way to go. Good Luck!

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#250148 - 03/02/11 08:52 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: burton]
adirondack pond Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 3135
Loc: big moose ny
burton welcome to the PBF, sounds like you have some experience with ponds.

I'm not as optimistic about trout in stickleback's ponds, he mentioned 1/4 acre ponds 12ft. deep and only supplied by rain runoff. In his part of WA. he said summer temps regularly in the 80's & 90's which would warm up a small pond in a hurry.
He could cool it with well water which some people do who raise trout, but without someway to cool it I think the odds would be against trout.


Edited by adirondack pond (03/02/11 08:54 PM)
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#250166 - 03/02/11 10:29 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: adirondack pond]
burton Offline


Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wa
Thanks for the welcome! I am definitely dont consider myself an expert by any stretch just someone who is familiar with the region and lucky enough to grow up in a family that has ponds. The climate in western Wa is actually quite mild. Lots of rain but rarely very cold or very warm even in the summer.From my experience it seems to suit RBT just fine year round but then again every pond has a different set of circumstances.

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#250174 - 03/02/11 11:59 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: burton]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
burton, I have a friend that grew up in Oregon. She said that the climate West of the mountains is 100% different than the climate East of the mountains. What is Washington like?
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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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#250216 - 03/03/11 11:45 AM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: esshup]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
This is excellent food for thought! Please, keep it coming!

Yes, Esshup, WA and OR have very similar climates West of the Mts. vs East of the Mts. The western sides of the mts. squeeze out most of the rain, so there is a major rainshadow on the eastern sides of the mts. Temperate rainforest on one side, semi-desert Sagebrush-Steppe on the other!

We live in the rainy, temperature rainforest zone.

Burton, thank you for the local knowledge! Since FHM are illegal, do you know of another species of small minnows we could stock in my friends pond? Some native 3spined sticklebacks would be awesome, but dunno if any hatcheries raise them.

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#250220 - 03/03/11 11:55 AM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
adirondack pond Offline
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Registered: 08/31/07
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Golden shiners are a good forage although they can get large, but you can also use a trap to control numbers if needed.
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#250244 - 03/03/11 05:18 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: adirondack pond]
CJBS2003 Offline
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GSH are most likely illegal in WA as well. They are very stringent on what they do and don't allow to be stocked. Because they have been more isolated than much of the rest of the country, they're trying to not have all the problems of introduced species like most of the rest of the country has. WA state doesn't have an overly diverse native Cyprinid community though. Pickings are going to be slim and the odds of a hatchery raising any of the native species is not likely.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#250253 - 03/03/11 06:49 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: CJBS2003]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
Here is the WA state Invasive Fish List:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/ais/search.php?id=5

Yes, our state is pretty strict about introducing fish.

Could not find any mention of GSH. Perhaps they are not on the no-no list yet.

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#250259 - 03/03/11 08:08 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Interesting they ban FHM but not GSH. I would say GSH would be a far greater threat, but what do I know...
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#250293 - 03/04/11 02:01 AM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: CJBS2003]
burton Offline


Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wa
If you are going to stock a forage species you are more than likely going to have to source it from the wild. I know of no hatcheries in our region than carry species such as stickleback or GSH. If you want to try GSH there are only a couple lakes that I know of in western WA that they are found in. Ironically they are two of the better lakes for LMB fishing as well. Also remember than when you stock from the wild you can also bring in unwanted diseases and parasites in with the fish. So be careful. I believe the Stickleback could serve some purpose as a forage in a pond but Im not sure how well they are going to reproduce. In lake Washington they are the very abundant and I know the cutthroat predate heavily on them. I did also read that a very high percentage of stickleback in the wild harbor tape worms so if the pond will be used for harvesting food you might want to take that into consideration as well. Another main forage species of trout around here in the wild is the mottled sculpin. Trout and bass absolutely love them but again its a crap shoot as to how well they will reproduce in a small pond. In only 1/4 acre after the first couple years whatever species you decide to put in as forage will more than like be consumed anyway by predators without supplemental stocking but they will provide a good jumpstart and help supplement the pellet feed.If you can, give the forage a year head start to reproduce and grow before adding the predator fish. Good luck with the ponds and keep us updated!

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#250322 - 03/04/11 11:27 AM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: burton]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
Thanks again for the continued food for thought.

Here is a neet little tidbit about sticklebacks in the Seattle area: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/05/080520-fish-evolution_2.html

I did not realize that they could carry tape worms. According to the sources I could find, the tape worms are not the same kind as infect humans, however, I would not want to potentially infect my friends small pond fish population with any kind of parasite.

Mottled sculpin are found on his property, living in the stream. They are fairly abundant, and would be easy to transfer a few to the pond. Perhaps adding much more rocky areas on the bottom would help them survive.

Where do you know GSH are found? I don't think I will collect any, but I am curious if I am familiar with the same BOW with the good bass populations.

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#250323 - 03/04/11 11:36 AM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Mottled sculpins require water quality very similar to trout... Temperature must remain cool and DO high. They are more of a stream species, but can be found in colder lakes. Not sure they'd survive in a pond. They are predators in their own right. Very large mouths for their body size. I have kept them in aquariums in the past and it is amazing what they can swallow.

GSH are probably found in the lakes in your area where other non native game fish have been stocked. Remember, there are no bass, sunfish or any of the other warm water species we commonly stock in our ponds native to the Pacific Northwest. Most of the minnows/cyprinids native to the Pacific Northwest are predators themselves, such as the squawfish/pikeminnows... Where bass or sunfish have been stocked, there is a good chance GSH were brought in and stocked as well.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#250351 - 03/04/11 06:07 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: CJBS2003]
3sp Stickleback Offline


Registered: 02/28/11
Posts: 17
Loc: WA, USA
CJB,

I do understand that there are no native bass/sunfish/catfish in the PNW region. Infact, the list of native fish species is fairly short. Which is precisely why I am encouraging my friend to be very careful and thoughtful about this process.

We are both very interested in making this ecologically sound and sustainable. We live in a very wild and fairly pristine part of the country, and would not wish to cause ecological degradation in anyway.

Your comment regarding GSH likely being where LMB were stocked makes perfect sense. Thank you. I was more curious about which particular BOW Burton was talking about, is all.

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#250352 - 03/04/11 06:43 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: 3sp Stickleback]
burton Offline


Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wa

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#250357 - 03/04/11 07:41 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: burton]
esshup Offline
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Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana


I'd say that they were established with them getting 2-3 different year class fish!
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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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#250361 - 03/04/11 08:48 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: esshup]
burton Offline


Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Wa
LMB BG and or PKS can be found in at least 80% of the lakes in western WA. GSH for whatever reason are in fact very rare here. With only 2-3 lakes with known established populations and maybe a handful of others that havent been documented yet. The lakes that do contain GSH arount here do tend to have bigger and more abundant populations of LMB that I have noticed anyway. With our mild water temps the BG are lucky to get off two spawns in a season so in the average BG/LMB lake forage options for LMB can potentially be limited. I belive the addition of the GSH definitely has a positive effect on LMB growth rates in these lakes by giving them an additional forage option.

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#250379 - 03/04/11 11:50 PM Re: Stocking 2 ponds, app. 1/4 acre each [Re: burton]
Gambusia Offline
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Loc: Western North Carolina
If you go with mottled sculpin give them some rocks or flat boards to hide under.

I have kept mottled sculpin in cool aquaria before but never a pond.

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