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#262919 - 06/25/11 12:01 PM northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye?
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
Is currently stocked with 250, 4-6" YP from Remlinger Fish, 65 "shooters" from BLynch (Mill CreeK Perch Farm), 75 RES, 25# FHM, Spotfin, Bluntnose, Golden Shiners and softshell crayfish. These were all stocked over a year ago and everything except the YP, I've confirmed having spawned.

I hand fed AM mix of 500 & 600 hydrated for the 1st summer and the YP have grown nicely. Feeding was active until a month ago when I mounted a TH 125 feeder. Very few YP hit the surface food and the minnows dance around every pellet. I've noticed, during low light, the minnows shooting out of the water where the bubbles from the diffuser meets the surface. I've tried hydrated food again without much action from the YP. Did I loose these from pellets to minnow eaters?

My goal is for a nice harvest of YP each year.

Without knowing if the YP spawned, should I still add a predator in the fall? Some of the Golden Shiners are in the 6-8" range and the rest of the minnow population is extreme. I was thinking of SMB or WE or a combo of each. The pond was set up for SMB and a successful spawn would be likely. Thanks





Edited by Bill Cody (06/27/11 10:06 AM)
Edit Reason: Fixed title and minor edits

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#262923 - 06/25/11 12:10 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
jeffhasapond Offline
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Help a city guy out, what is a shooter?

(In the city we use the term shooter to describe either (1) the passenger in the car that is in charge of commuting security or (2) a drink in a bar that reduces intelligence to minimal levels).
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#262925 - 06/25/11 12:56 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: jeffhasapond]
Bill Cody Offline
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A ' shooter ' is one of that 10% of a population that grow the fastest, i.e. "that fish is a shooter" - an unusually fast grower.

Minnows jumping out of the water are shiners probably being chased by a larger fish, in your case no doubt some of the YP. Since your YP are now larger and water is warm (high 70's low 80's) many of the pellet feeding YP have ceased feeding at the surface esp if they have put on a lot of body fat earlier when water was cooler. I suspect the YP feeding on YP are a few from Remlinger that went off pellets due to high numbers of small minnows available. Shooters rarely go off pellets. I think you still have a good number of pellet eating YP, they are just not feeding well in warm water temps, common in mid summer for largest YP. All my large YP are now not eating pellets, only those YP mostly less than 9" are active at feeding time. Also sometimes there is a slight adjustment lag period to converting from hydrated to hard pellets. I assume you are feeding at the same time as before the auto-feeder? Very high numbers of minnows indicates many of the YP are pellet eaters and not predominant minnow eaters.

Predators. Use your minnow trap to check for a YP hatch. You almost definately had some sort of egg hatch, maybe just a small one. 2011 YP in northern OH should be around 2" =/- 1/2" and big enough to be caught in a 1/4" mesh trap by Jun 20-Jul 1. If you have small YP plan on adding predators this fall. Adding SMB will result in a spawn from them probably in 2013 unless you can find SMB stockers 6"-8" which are extremly rare at OH hatcheries. You can mix SMB and WE. WE will help somewhat to thin numbers of small SMB. If you want to maintain lots of minnows/shiners just stock WE which will not spawn, overall eat fewer forage fish than the SMBWE combo. With jsut WE you will have better control of how many minnows are present by adding or removing WE. I have found that if you only stock WE and not SMB you can stock more WE per acre and all will do quite well. This is due to lack of recruitment and thus less predatory pressure from SMB.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/26/11 10:54 PM)
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#262934 - 06/25/11 03:32 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
Is there a particular "zone" in a pond that the YOY YP would congregate for the placement of my trap? What would you use as bait? Yes, the feed time is the same and added a 2 second shot @ 6am.

How many WE would be a good conservative starting point? I do like lots of minnows and would like to keep it that way.

If I could change one thing, it would be the stocking of Golden Shiners. They clean my hook before it even has time to sink.


Edited by wigwam (06/25/11 06:13 PM)

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#262953 - 06/25/11 10:55 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
Bill Cody Offline
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For trapping young perch set trap shallow parallel to shore with top just under the surface to 12" over the trap top. Dried bread and fish pellets work good for me as trap bait. YP will feed a little better is pellets are scattered closer to dark about 15-30 min after the sun sets.

A technique for WE stocking is to over stock the traditional numbers so WE grow slower and stay smaller and thus result in eating more smaller YP. Traditional stock density is 16-25/acre. Overstocking is 50-100/acre, these fish will likely take about 8-10 yrs to get to 19" long. You can start removing them at 15"-16" long and restock 7"-9"ers to replace those removed.

GS are pesky bait stealers esp with small soft baits such as earthworms, larvae, and wax worms. That is why I no longer have GS. To minimize pesky GS use primarily minnows 1.7"-3" as bait. I have caught 9" YP using 4" YP as bait, thus larger YP will bite on larger minnows/shiners up to 4" long.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/26/11 04:23 PM)
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#262957 - 06/26/11 07:45 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
CJBS2003 Offline
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wigwam, where did you source your spotfin and bluntnose? Have you seen signs of them spawning and compete well with the FHM and GSH?
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#262961 - 06/26/11 08:31 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: CJBS2003]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
CJ, I received them during a memorable trip to one of the moderator's ponds. Both species have spawned with the aid of stacked CD's on a rod. As far as "competing well" well.......I stocked only a couple hundred of each compared to 25lbs of FHM. I do see them when feeding and have seined them in search of YOY YP.

Can you help me to understand the WE overstocking technique. Would stunting only happen when most of the minnows and smaller YP are gone?

Would WE prefer to eat a GSH or YP of the same size?

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#262964 - 06/26/11 08:52 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Glad Bill could help you out! I wish more people would consider those species for their ponds... They really don't know what they are missing. I will bet they will become far more common compared to FHM once the bass and WE go in...
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#262968 - 06/26/11 09:39 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: CJBS2003]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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My term for shooters is "hog out".
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#262980 - 06/26/11 03:15 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Bill Cody Offline
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Quote:
Can you help me to understand the WE overstocking technique. Would stunting only happen when most of the minnows and smaller YP are gone?

Overstocking WE is a technique where Nate Herman (N8ly - Herman Brothers Pond Management- hbpondmanagement.com ) and I have seen some good results when used in the right habitats with the right fish species present. Although "good results" definately depends on one's goals for the fishery. If you want large WE then this these are not good results. You should contact Herman's for second opinions.

I have only seen this WE overstocking/stunting in a few ponds where YP and 3-4 minnow species are present. The concept is in its infancy. The slow growth of WE in ponds seems to be the standard characteristic of WE in ponds, even if only a few (10-30/ac) per acre are stocked. In ponds of 0.5-2 ac WE seem to rarely get bigger than 5 lbs. Crowding them (50-100/ac) even in larger ponds seems to result in them growing slow and staying small i.e. 19" after 10 yrs. Dr Dave Willis has also reported here and in the PBoss magazine of slow growth of WE where they were crowded. As I recall growth rates increased in the crowded pond after some WE were removed. Maybe he will respond to this thread?

As N8ly and I see it, the benefit of having slow growing small walleye (stunted if you prefer) is they are 'forced' to feed on smaller forage items probably in most cases fish. The smaller the WE is, the smaller its most common forage item will be. IMO if you have YP with WE you want the predator to eat mostly the common smaller YP and not the 8"+ table fare YP. Although what you want is not always what really happens. In my experience, it does not take a real large WE to try and eat an 8" YP. I've caught 8" YP with frayed fins and teeth gashes on the body when 20"-23" WE were present. I not sure how many 7"-8" YP were getting eaten but it was a sign the WE were trying and probably often successfully eating 8" YP. Numerous reports in the scientific literature indicate that adult WE prefer slender forage items of generally smaller sizes. A 16" LMB will eat an 8" YP; saw that happen. The correct forage size is often improtant to maintaining the optimum growth rate for many predators. This is commonly seen with LMB where their growth rate will plateau when their main diet is too small of forage item.

Back to your question. I don't think the stunting of the WE happens only when most of the smaller YP and minnows are gone. My main over WE stocking example is in a 1 ac pond with lots of minnows - GS, fatheads, bluntnose, and spotfins, with some papershell crayfish. Lots of minnows around the entire pond show up at pellet feeding time. YP are present although not abudnant, maybe not even common; many are larger than 8", annual YP spawning occurs. No major weed beds present, rocky, riprap shoreline. I do not know ratios of all the forage species yet. Pond has 100+ WE per acre for going on 11 years. No suplimental WE stocking since 2001. Last fall (2010) 40 more WE (7"-11") were added. Most common WE are 19". From my analysis the WE are feeding on the largest minnows/shiners and smaller YP (2.5"-5") since this size of YP are scarse. I think the WE and many predator fish are eating (selecting) most the largest and most readily available forage item they can eat. Eating too small of forage items for your genetic metabolism is not efficient and leads to slow growth and extra effort for the fish.

WE and YP are bottom oriented fish. YP are primarily day active settling to near bottom at dusk-dark when WE are known to be most active. YP are thus vulnerable to WE predatory habits. Thus the two species are well suited to live together. I think the WE in the example pond are eating a large percentage of the YP due to optimum forage size and availability when WE are 'hunting'. The minnows and shiner are abundant in this example pond due to 1. a non-reproducing predator and not a lot of YOY or young WE are present eating small minnows; lack of recruitment and predator control, 2. minnows and shiners are prolific, annually adding lots soft rayed forage, 3. WE are eating a large percentage of the small YP, 4. YP are relatively scarse resulting low predation pressure on minnows and good growth of YP. 5. WE do not eat a high percentage(?) of small minnows because they are not an efficient food source for 15"-19" WE. 6. Several species of minnows-shiners and papershell crayfish are present thus diversifying the forage base, an important feature in successful fisheries. As small WE are suplimentally stocked then this puts added predation on the minnow forage base and the populations fluctuate accordingly. I am learning that presence of an annual reproducing predator such as LMB does complicate management and fishery balance.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/27/11 09:51 AM)
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#262991 - 06/26/11 08:23 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
Bill, thanks for the informative reply! My only concern with this stocking plan is the survival rate of YP yearly class. How many pounds annually can be harvested? Can I harvest some of the 300+ YP this year. If so, how much?

I really like the ability to control the amount of WE in this pond. I just hope I'll know when it begins to be out of balance.

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#263006 - 06/26/11 10:22 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
Bill Cody Offline
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I think you can start YP harvest when you are seeing presence or good YP recruitment of 4"-6" perch. Those fish will take the place of the 8"+ that are harvested. Number to harvest is dependent on several things and assuming a good hatch of eggs each spring. 1. Relative number of YP you want in the pond, sparse, medium, or dense easy to catch harvestable sized YP. 2. Number of WE. Obviously the 'stronger' the WE population the fewer YP will be present due primarily to lower recruitment of 6" YP from predation by WE. I prefer the dense easy to catch YP thus for this the WE should be stocked at the lower rate <30/ac. 3. Productivity. The more productive the pond the more YP will be present and the more that can be harvested. Pellet feeding really helps boost the YP harvest rate to around 50-70 lbs /ac per yr. No pellet feeding then the harvest rate drops to almost one half. First harvest from 300 stockers after they reach 8"-12" can easily be 30 fish. Heavy first harvest would be 50-80 YP. Again number to harvest depends on strength of the 5"-8" class of YP.
I harvest about 50 lbs of YP/ac per year and the harvest could be heavier (70-80lb/yr), but I prefer higher numbers of larger YP to be catchable.

WE are much easier to add than to remove. Plan on each WE to eat at least 200 small fish per yr. Half or more of them could be YP. If you are mainly interestred in YP, I would start with lower numbers of WE and then add a few every other year based on how many WE are harvested once they get to 15"-16". I would harvest any WE over 15" and then replace them with restockers (7"-9").

Watch your catch rates of YP - keep records of angling success, sizes, and numbers caught per hour of angling. Data will show trends. Visually watching what size YP are coming to pellet feed is a pretty good indication of population structure. If catching of smaller YP is increasing for a couple years, then more harvest or predation pressure is needed for younger YP. If angling results in usually catching YP larger than 8" then things are IMO balanced. Watch these things annually and make adjustments as appropriate. You will see differences in catch rates from year to year. Compare your records. While working with it you will get a good 'feel' for a proper balance. Generally inbalance does not 'go south' all at once, it is a gradual thing over a couple years and generally shows up in catch records if one has good records and good control of who fishes and what is harvested.

With lower WE numbers in 3/4 ac (10-20), I try to annually trap and remove some smaller 3"-6" YP, if the traps catch good numbers of this size of YP. Build or buy at least a couple fish traps, one with 1/4 mesh and one with 1/2" mesh as described here on the forum. I have about 10 fish traps of various sizes. Maybe remove the largest GS when caught in traps or by angling with small hooks (#12-14) and small pieces of worm. You may also catch small YP this way which can indicate their relative numbers. I annually do this around early July but since you have pesky GS this technique is a little more difficult, frustruating and tedious.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/27/11 09:40 AM)
Edit Reason: Minor fixes and clean-up
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#263126 - 06/27/11 07:47 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
I set a minnow trap 3x and caught a 150+ minnows each time. Not one YOY YP! I caught a few YP in April to see how they fared the winter. I unhooked the first 2 YP by holding them in the mouth. The third, and last, I grabbed around the body and it milked all over. I had a leak from a tile so, the water was about 4 ft from full, at this time. I was fishing while watching the excavator digging in search of the tile. He found it and we received lots of rain after. Could the sudden increase of water ruin my YP spawn? It's the only thing I can think of as to why not.


Edited by wigwam (06/27/11 09:34 PM)

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#263142 - 06/27/11 10:24 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
Bill Cody Offline
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If the water got real murky or silty after the heavy inflow then maybe siltation on eggs reduced hatch success. If you can't catch (angling or trapping) any 3"-4" YP this fall it would not hurt to supplimentally stock some YOY or 4"-6"; abt 70-130. This would provide for a little larger harvest of adults during this fall and the next few years.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/27/11 10:26 PM)
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#263147 - 06/28/11 12:50 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
fishm_n Offline


Registered: 05/18/11
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I like the WE YP combo too. I have it in one pond and am looking for more to add.

Have another with LMB WE BG Yp Bullhead, and everything but the YP seem to reproduce, Darn bullhead anyways. Not the sort of pond one would think of for WE to spawn in.

It is a supper small pond too, 1/4 acre.

The land owner needs to let us thin out the LMB a bit, and I hope to put some more breeder YP in, and I think the minnow population is gone.
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#263156 - 06/28/11 07:25 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: fishm_n]
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With 3/4 acre pond if the perch arent successfully reproducing yet than that is super ideal, hold of on the predators and start your own class this fall if you want to start harvesting. It is possible you could have predominantly female perch in the pond, especially with 'shooters'. reproduction may take awhile, hopefully so in your situation.

You can hold off on the predators until you see bunches of small perch.

Then when you do stock predators I would still consider smallies, cause they are just awesome, you could do some feed trained ones if you want. If you do walleye, you can stock them at any number really, but if you want dont want them to eat your big perch than just simply harvest the ones the grow past 16 inches. Typically the less you stock the faster they will grow. one thing to consider is typically most people are adding walleyes into ponds with already other predators, mainly largemouth bass. without another predator in the pond, typical stocking rates actually should go up for walleyes per acre. 100 per acre I would not consider overstocking anymore in a pond that doesnt already have 100 bass per acre.

random thoughts to consider, sounds like a super fun pond you got going on!!!!! ENJOY and keep us updated.
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#263176 - 06/28/11 11:01 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: n8ly]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
Posts: 22
Loc: ohio
I think the silt was the problem. I tied off my minnow trap to the dock (no bait) and in a couple of days when checked it would be covered dirt brown. I added Aquashade only for verifying the leak for the digger so it's deceiving how cloudy it really is.

n8ly, thanks for your thoughts. It is fun and nerve-racking at the same time!

How would my minnow population hold up with smallies (not pellet trained)? How hard is it to keep a balanced pond with SMB? Stocking rate?
thanks

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#263333 - 06/29/11 08:10 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
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Your minnow population is not going to hold up once you add smallies or walleyes, but I wouldnt put too much merit in your minnow population unless that is your ultimate goal. Now if your goal is growing big perch than you more than likely are going to need to add a predator to keep their population in check. Folks put way too much value on forage minnow populations so dont fall into that trap.
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#263347 - 06/29/11 10:57 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: n8ly]
Bill Cody Offline
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Wigwam- A different opinion. Since you have FHM, bluntnose, GS, and spotfin shiner your minnow population will hold up for sure to WE numbers and only maybe to limited reproduction of SMB. It is the constant recruitment of bass and lack of good cover that together is the killer for normal FHM or minnow populations. Recruitment of all sizes of LMB and SMB put tremendous predatory pressure on minnows- shiners. Maintaining your minnow species diversity with some crayfish will be a lot more successful depending on how many weed beds and the type of weeds you have. FHM, as CJ indicated, will be the very first species to disappear. They always go first due to their size, habits and behavior. Very few, if any members (maybe one) here know the habits and interactions of all your 4 minnow species. Take my word to the bank, reasonable numbers of WE & YP by themselves will not eliminate all your minnows. Add SMB then it becomes questionable about minnow/shiner survival depending on type of habitat. Artificial stuff does not provide the best habitat as refuge areas for minnow species. I have several ponds near me with SMB (moderated) and just GS who maintain themselves year after year. A couple other ponds with SMB, YP, RES, and GS where all survive. There is one weedy pond near me where even LMB, PS, w/ GS, and all survive well for the last 15 yrs. Almost no one would toleate the amount of weeds in this pond - mostly milfoil and dense in summer.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/29/11 11:14 PM)
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#263361 - 06/30/11 03:07 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
CJBS2003 Offline
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I have been able to maintain bluntnose minnows, golden shiners and banded killifish in ponds with SMB for several years. My key was limiting natural reproduction of the SMB by not providing spawning areas for them.

In my experience, the tolerance to predation of forage fish in order or most tolerant first:
gambusia(mosquitofish)
Mudminnows(my experience is with the eastern species but the central species is nearly identical)
golden shiner
banded killifish
spotfin shiner
bluntnose minnow
fathead minnow

I'm currently experimenting with some new species.

Habitat type also plays into which species are better suited for each pond.
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#263372 - 06/30/11 07:28 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: CJBS2003]
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Minnow population "holding up" a guess could be defined, and for sure the walleyes would be less of a drain on the population than reproducing smallies, but the introduction of predators is going to greatly reduce the overall minnow population. It will never be the same. But again, do you want to manage for the best minnow population or do you want to consistently grow big perch? Your perch could very well and most likely will stunt out down the road without a good predator against the little guys (you could be that predator if desired). Regardless of your minnow population, you need a predator.
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#263402 - 06/30/11 12:29 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: n8ly]
Bill Cody Offline
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Very good comments. As evidenced here many, many times, management is very important to producing good, high qualtity fisheries. Management involves monitoring and adjusting the densities of predators, panfish, forage fish and the habitat. All "work" or interact together. It is all about balance in the pond and the correct numbers of each. The type of balance is also determined by ones goals. When 'things' get out of balance then those are seen as problems.



Edited by Bill Cody (06/30/11 12:31 PM)
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#276368 - 12/30/11 08:39 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: Bill Cody]
wigwam Offline


Registered: 04/18/11
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I didn't add any YP this summer to make up for the lack of a successful spawn this spring. I don't know how this slipped my mind but it did. Is it to late? If so, is this a real bad mistake? I was hoping to harvest a few pounds this winter through the ice. We have not harvested a single fish and looking forward to a few winter meals. Would it hurt to harvest the smaller YP and leave the shooter fish for a good genetic spawn? thanks

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#276377 - 12/30/11 11:26 PM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: wigwam]
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Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
I don't think it would hurt at all to harvest some of the smaller fish this winter. Just remember to make up the numbers when stocking the YP in the Spring. It's too late to stock now, without having to do a lot to acclimate the fish to the pond water. Better to wait for Spring.
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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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#276380 - 12/31/11 12:00 AM Re: northern ohio 3/4 acre pond - YP & walleye? [Re: esshup]
txelen Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 271
Loc: Orange County, CA
Questions for the more experience pond guys:

-Would adding some Christmas trees or other cover in shallow water help YP recruitment? I've heard DNR biologists say that leaving treefalls along lake shorelines helps with WE growth rates by providing good spawning cover for YP.

-Would HSB be a viable option to add in this pond? I've heard that they are very effective predators of GSH and preferentially eat small forage, and obviously they are sterile so they can be removed if needed.
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