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#302688 - 08/10/12 07:59 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Wow!! That's amazing! Just for future reference, how do you pellet train smallmouth? Also when they spawn is it possible for the new fish to be trained? I would love to grow some that big!
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#302724 - 08/11/12 12:52 AM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Check for current threads in the sunfish section by Cecil Baird and Shorty on their feed training methods. In smaller numbers you can accustom the SMB to you feeding them live feed, then gradually switch to frozen/dead feed, then moistened freeze dried, then moistened pellets then hard pellets. Most species can be feed trained in this manner. I have 2 RES, 1 black crappie and 1 YP I have trained this way in my tank. I'm currently starving them for the conversion to hard pellets. They were caught as 1" fish and are now in the 3"-5" range.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=287829#Post287829

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=299490#Post299490

SMB are harder than many species to pellet feed train. Some wild born fish may learn from larger feed trained SMB to take pellets but that would be in low numbers. You can capture small YOY and feed train them and release them. Otherwise subsequent generations of SMB will be non feed trained for the most part.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/11/12 10:28 PM)
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#302757 - 08/11/12 11:38 AM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Great info CJ, I just got back from the pond. Cleared a bunch of the underbrush and saplings out. Duckweed has almost blown all the way across the pond to one side. I also checked the muck. It is only about 6 to 8 inches deep before I hit hard bottom. I checked all the way around the pond and it was consistent. Will I be able to run my frontend loader or bull dozer and scoop this out, or what is the preferred method. I did not break open the dam to drain the pond yet. Still lots more work to get it where I can mow or bush hog around it, but already looks much better. If I can figure out how to post a picture from my iPhone I will put up some before and afters so y'all can see my progress and continue to give me pointers. Thanks again for everyone's advice and help!
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#302769 - 08/11/12 04:42 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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What professionals often do when rebuilding a pond and dealing with damp or still wet slop is to mix dry dirt with it so it can be pushed or lifted. Don't get stuck in that wet stuff,, it can be deceiving and sticky. Maybe after the pond is drained, let it dry out for at least a week. A week of warm sunny breezy weather can cause a lot of drying of wet sediments. My advice is keep your banks steep down to 6-8 ft or the bottom on some shorelines to minimize weed growths. Create a ledge 3-5 ft deep to hold stone, rocks, broken concrete from rolling all the way to the bottom. FYI - Flat spots or humps 6-8 ft deep with clear water can easily grow submerged weeds if the water has visibility of 3-4ft which is good clarity for a SMB pond. Line downwind shorelines with rocks or broken cement from contractors. Cement contractors are good guys to know when looking for rip rap. Minimize flat shallow areas unless you want weedy mossy nursery areas with wetland type vegetation. Maybe one or two small areas (5% max 2000sqft) per acre.
When you rebuild the dam make doubly sure it is well packed. Maybe even mix some bentonite packed in with the dirt esp on the dam face. I suggest that you rip-rap the dam face at least a few feet above and esp below at the waterline. Stone, riprap covered shorelines down to 3-5 ft below high water line reduce wind erosion and discourage muskrat-nutria from digging burrows.

Others may disagree and are welcome to add input.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/11/12 04:57 PM)
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#302773 - 08/11/12 05:16 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Thanks Mr Cody. I will do all of that. I really appreciate all of the great advice I have received. I can get tons and tons of crushed and broken concrete as my neighbor is a contractor. He has already given me a few good truck loads that I was planning on building my SMB beds with. Is there a certain formula to creating water clarity to 3 or 4 feet. I was under the impression that I only wanted about 18inches of clarity with fertilization due to plankton bloom. Will my forage food be able to survive with water clarity that deep? Again, not trying to ask stupid questions, I just want to get this right. I am trying to read threads, and everytime, I learn something else new and amazing!
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#302779 - 08/11/12 08:08 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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No stupid questions if one does not know the answers. It is a learning curve and we are here to help pond owners with that curve.

Here is my 'take' on your questions. Others may have good opinions to consider. Firstly, historically 18" of clarity due to a bloom and the resulting pond or ecosystem productivity is based on BG-LMB, minnow-shiner production pond type systems. This amount of visibility is also condusive to minimizing submerged weed and FA growths. IMO these higher productivities are too productive and too "risky" to produce and maintain for a truly quality SMB fishery. These higher productivities at the 18" level are much more likely to have periodic DO crashes within the life span of your typical SMB compared to ecosystems with 3ft to 5 ft+ visibilities. These clearer water systems are typcially where SMB are most common and naturally thrive. Thus this is my rationale for clearer water and higher annual DO concentrations that are more condusive to consistantly growing great smallies. Consistant and long term being important items here.

I not saying that one cannot grow smallies in waters with 18"-2ft visibilities, but what I am saying is more problems will occur and long term chances of succeeding will be fewer, IF the water has higher phytoplankton densities due to higher fertilities. This applies especially to more southern waters where higher annual water temperatures prevail. see next.

Secondly - Remember as water increases in temperature, its ability to hold DO DECREASES and decreases fairly rapidly as temperature increases above 75F and 80F. There is probably a graph for this phenomenon.

Thirdly - I suspect that adult SMB have a lower DO threshold compared to adult LMB. Another factor to consider in this big 'picture'. I suspect that SMB evolved in higher oxygenated clearer water environments compared to LMB.

Forthly - Foggy asks: "Will my forage food be able to survive with water clarity that deep (3-4ft)?"

Your your forage will most certainly survive in water visibilites of 3'-4'. It just won't have as many foragers, i.e. less productivity equals fewer naturally produced individuals including fishes. Phytoplankton and zooplankton thrive quite well in very clear water (10-30+ft visibility). Waters with this clear of water almost never have summer fish kills due to very low BOD - Biochemical Oxygen Demand. Not as true in ice covered waters. Plankton and forage including fishes in clearer waters are fewer in number and biomass, but they are thriving and thriving quite well. Sometimes the community composition is even different in clearer lower nutrient waters. This all basically means you raise fewer pounds of smallies per acre in the lower productivity waters. Productivity and the resulting food chain or web is on a continuium from low to high or high to low. Nature's tradeoffs.

Fifty - There is no real formula as I know it, for producing water visibilities of 3-4ft. Visibilites at least those due to phytoplankton are due to the amount of nutrients available for the phytoplankton growth. More nutrients equalling more growth and phytoplankton as being the base of the food chain. Actually it nutrients and bacteria form that base of the food chain, but here we will use phytoplankton-plants as the base. More fertilization = more phytoplankton = in the end, more fish.

One place to start is if your water is clear, add fertilizer gradually until the transparency gets to where you want it. This assumes the alkalinity is adequate. Then try to maintain that visibility by thereafter regularly adding fertilizer in lesser amounts compared to the 18" visibilities recommendations. IMO is could be a very 'slippery' slope if a 'clear water' type fish is the goal.

If I was doing it, and for IMO simplicity, I would want as clear as water as possible and then just feed the smallies and the forage fish to keep higher numbers reasonable in the clear water. Or just be satisified with fewer predators (smallie pounds) per acre - the easiest plan-path. Big smallies can be raised well in very clear water. You may just have one 5 pounder per 1-2 acres. It would be very interesting to hear the clarity of the water where Ozarkstriperscom and Bobby Rice who recently caught large smallies in Wisconsin and where ever Ozark got his dandy SMB. There could also be data available of the poundage of smallies per acre of these water bodies which would help us better understand the standing stock of SMB in water with higher transpariencies.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=24047&Number=302320#Post302320

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showgallery&Number=301763

FYI - here is info from Dale Hollow Reservoir where one of the record smallies was produced. "Summer secchi disc readings average between 18 and 20 feet. Dale Hollow is fairly infertile, and there is adequate dissolved oxygen throughout the water column. The remote location and lack of development keeps the water quality quite high." Note the last sentence suggesting low nutrients & low productivity.


Sixtly - Now keep in mind that the clearer water will naturally result in the pond growing more submerged plant growth due to clear water. Plan on that happening (problem). My plan would to have on the average deeper water for increased carity. There are some ways of dealing with weeds in clear water. Thus this puts us back to the beginning,,, mainly in the design of the pond - preplanning to minimize weed growth in clear water. Something that is not considered by most people wanting to raise SMB. IMO raising smallies requires a different philosophy and from the beginning, the pond should be designed for smallies or other more clear water thriving fish species. Rather than have a pond and just put smallies in it. That too can be done, and often done well, if ones uses proper management and with some 'luck'. This becomes more true esp in more southern waters where annual DO budgets become a larger "player".


Maintaining a population of smallies on feed is a big challenge and one that is not for most managers especially if the pond is large. I have found that the SMB that I have worked with are easier to feed train compared to LMB of the same size and age.




Edited by Bill Cody (08/12/12 09:09 PM)
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#302784 - 08/11/12 08:54 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
loretta Offline
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Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 546
Loc: MI
I hear about a lot of people fertilizing ponds to get a bloom. I know fertilizing a pond can increase phytoplankton and reduce visibility but is there any scientific evidence that increasing phytoplankton increases zooplankton populations?
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#302786 - 08/11/12 09:00 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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Large amounts of scientific evidence are available that occur in hundreds and likely a few thousand articles- how much you feel like reading? Also - Zooplankton species composition of the community will be greatly affected by the types (species) and numbers of grazers.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/11/12 10:44 PM)
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#302791 - 08/11/12 09:47 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
spinnerbait Offline
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Loc: NC
Would a smallmouth pond in southern water benefit from additional aeration to turn the water column more than once a day?
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#302795 - 08/11/12 09:59 PM Re: First attempt at pond management: LMB vs SMB [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
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Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
""Would a smallmouth pond in southern water benefit from additional aeration to turn the water column more than once a day?""

Very good question and probably the answer is a big yes. It would likely depend on numerous factors but generally yes IMO. Raising smallies in the more southern regions is really a NEW concept and science that needs a lot more practical research and trying it so we have better ideas of what works best and what fails in the various types of waters. I still contend that the most common or main limiting factor in the absence of LMB is adequate dissolved oxygen 24/7 and not temperature.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/11/12 10:08 PM)
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#302798 - 08/11/12 10:17 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
spinnerbait Offline
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Sounds like a good PB magazine article in the future!
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#302817 - 08/12/12 12:02 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Could SMB handle highly fertile waters but you just don't find them in them because of competition with LMB? Whereas without LMB being presnt to outcompete the SMB, the SMB would do fine in fertile waters where clarity is less than 2'? In other words, it's not the fertility and subsequent occasional DO crashes that keep the SMB out but rather competition from LMB. In lakes, you generally can't keep them LMB free but in smaller ponds, you can.

I just wonder how DO and temp sensitive SMB are at different sizes. I do believe larger SMB are far more senstive to low DO than small SMB. One may be able to grow SMB in highly fertile waters up to a certain size at which point they become far more suceptable to fish kill from DO crashes, much like comparing small HSB to large HSB. However I don't think the DO needs are as extreme in SMB.
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#302820 - 08/12/12 12:17 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Again thanks everyone for all of your comments and help. The nice thing is that we will be draining my pond (3/4 of an acre) and will be able to start fresh. As mr Cody stated earlier, I can make the edges 6 to 8 feet deep as needed. I am going to be looking into aeration to add as soon as I get closer to putting water back in the pond. I am thinking about maybe a windmill type of aerator. I think this will be a good experiment to try. Especially if I have all of you guys in here to helpe through!
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Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302826 - 08/12/12 12:32 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
CJBS2003 Offline
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We'll be learning a lot with you. Please check back in as you progress and keep us posted on your results.
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#302870 - 08/12/12 02:18 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Cj, I will be on here everyday. I will try to find out how to post pictures so I can show you updates as well as tell you and ask questions. This is really exciting and I am getting really ready to get it all underway and not just in the planning stages! Thanks everyone.
_________________________
Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302872 - 08/12/12 02:59 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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With a windmill, we can't help if the wind doesn't blow strong enough to produce a good uwelling boil when DO is needed on cloudy windless days. it will truly be an experiment.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/12/12 02:59 PM)
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#302885 - 08/12/12 06:06 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
So windmill aeration is not a favorable source? There is no electricity at either location of my ponds. What options do I have? Should I check into putting electric on the farm? What type of aeration is mostl commonly used for ponds <1 acre?
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Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302887 - 08/12/12 06:39 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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Without electricity, windmill aeration is acceptable especially so, if there is good exposure to wind from all directions. Don't put a windmill in a wooded area where I've seen some located. In good conditions I've seen where a windmill can work okay in a 3/4 ac 17ft deep pond. A good working windmill is a lot better than no aeration. Also explore solar aeration. I have no experience with solar aeration. Maybe others here can provide input about solar aeration. I would at least check on the cost of getting electricity to within 400ft of the ponds. From there a buried airline can deliver the air to the pond.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/12/12 08:59 PM)
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#302923 - 08/12/12 09:38 PM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
We are working at clearing the woods out. Mostly it is thicket type underbrush that is very undesirable. I have decided to keep a few of the nice larger maples, but will open the majority of the bank up. I think I will try windmill aeration for a while until I can get electricity to the farm. Trying to get all of my ducks in a row to break the dam open this weekend and drain.
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Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302955 - 08/13/12 03:37 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
esshup Offline
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If the windmill aeration system isn't taller than the trees, or not at least a couple hundred feet from the trees, the performance will greatly suffer.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/13/12 09:44 AM)
Edit Reason: added not
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#302974 - 08/13/12 09:43 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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FoggyJ - I've seen SMB survive to sizes of 19" long with a couple HSB for 20 yrs in a small pond with no aeration (despite my pleas) until an algae bloom, and the DO sag killed them one August (due to progresive pond aging and eutrophication). No HBG nor YP died. The pond owner then installed electric aeration. The pond is used as a domestic water source. The pondweeds were kept to less than 20% with grass carp and aquashade. Tree leaf and corn fodder inputs were minimized with fences. Fish received pellet feedings about once or twice a week.


Edited by Bill Cody (08/13/12 09:46 AM)
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#302975 - 08/13/12 09:44 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Esshup, there is no way that I will be able to get above the trees, I can set it as far away as needed, the pond is in the middle of a pasture feild in basically a thicket. That is why I have been clearing it out. I would suspect that once it is clear, there will be very few trees anywhere near the pond. Maybe 25 very large maple or oaks. As far as setting it a couple hundred feet from the pond, that is not an issue with space, only with cost. As long as I can talk my wife into it, distance should not be an issue. We are set to drain now, as soon as the rain stops, we will cut the dam open and get all the water out.

The pond has hundreds of big mature bullfrogs. I have made several trips over there in the last couple of days to thin them out, will they return when the water does? Will a SMB eat a bullfrog or tadpoles? Again just some questions that I have wondered about. Thanks again for all of the help guys.
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Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302979 - 08/13/12 09:50 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Bill Cody Offline
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SMb readily eat bullfrog tadpoles and the young frogs. You likely will not have very many bfrogs with smallies unless you have good amounts of emergent vegetation and some small shoreline shallow wetland - marshy areas. Hybrid water lilies would work in these areas also. Places and habitat that provide some refuge for frogs.
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#302980 - 08/13/12 09:52 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Mr Cody, yesterday evening I talked with my father-in-law and he suggested the same thing you did. He wants to deepen the banks also. The banks are currently very steep and are about 3 to 4 feet straight down in many areas, but we are planning on going deeper. I love the idea of having 19 to 20 inch smallies. One concern that I do have with fish that big, is in such a small pond, won't I only have enough area to support very few fish especially of that size? I can look at getting electricity and will eventually have it there, but I guess any aeration is better than no aeration. I think that o would be sick to my stomach to have such a high quality fishery and have an algea bloom kill the all off! Again, I am brand new to all of this and every comment and price of advice is greatly appreciated and listened to. I want to get this right!
_________________________
Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." -

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#302981 - 08/13/12 09:54 AM Re: First attempt at pond management [Re: Froggy Joe]
Froggy Joe Offline


Registered: 08/08/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Western ky
Should I look at planting this type of vegetation or should I leave it alone? I would rather not have something that is going to hinder what I am looking at accomplishing. I can build a shelf on the front side of the pond to support the aquatic vegetation if it is desired, but I do not have to if it will hurt the chances of what I want to accomplish.
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