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#290675 - 05/06/12 05:09 PM New member, old pond: water, algae, etc.
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)



Hi everyone. I'm John, and I've been lurking the PBF for a while now, finally made an account. I had been at a loss for what to do with our pond for years until I stumbled across this site. After reading for weeks, I have questions about algae management, water testing, as well as corrective fishing for stunted LMB, and CC.


The BOW

My family owns 80 acres of claypan prairie in central Missouri, complete with a 25 year-old, 2.2 acre farm pond. I estimate the max depth at about 12'. We are just now starting to manage it actively. The watershed is entirely farmland, with a 100' permanent grassland buffer between the edge of the pond and any livestock. Most of the watershed is not on our property and includes some livestock and some crop production, mostly soybeans. Soil testing in this area showed low pH, which is fairly typical.

The water
We plan to test the water soon through the local ag extension program. What do I need to order? I know we need to determine the pH, but they also Nitrate-N and/or nitrite-N, Ammonium-N, Chlorides, Sulfur-sulfate, Phosphates (ortho), Boron, Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, Micro-nutrients (zinc, iron, manganese and copper), Carbonates and bicarbonates, Electrical conductivity, Total solids, and Hardness.

The algae
The pond visibility is generally moderate, with Secchi depths of about 2' I would estimate. It's limited by what I would guess is planktonic algae. We did the Mason jar sediment test, there wasn't any sediment, colloidal or not. It sounds like at least 2' of visibility and a green, fertile pond is not something to worry about? Filamentous algae currently covers 10-20% of the total surface area, worse this year than last most likely due to a nitrogen application in the adjacent field. Trying to tell our neighbors what to do with their cropland would be ill-advised in these parts...So to manage this it sounds like planting tilapia would be a good idea, but they're illegal to stock in MO. Any thoughts?

The fish
The pond contains BG, CC, and LMB, the classic Missouri Dept. of Conservation stocked combination. After fishing the pond for two summers, I can say with some confidence that it has the typical 'bass heavy' distribution of under-fished ponds with most LMB about 10"-12" and thin. The pond record currently stands at a measly 15". The pond is teeming with fish, and there do appear to be abundant BG, so I think the balance can still be corrected. For about 10 acre-feet of water, how much weight of LMB should I pull out? Do I even need a slot at this point? After correction, how much weight of LMB and what slot should I use for maintenance?

There are also some green sunfish, all of which we either eat or toss on the bank. The CC are huge, averaging about 3' long. I'm not sure what to do with these...should I get rid of them? We don't really like to eat catfish and fishing for them is so boring. They're probably eating my LMB, too.

Priorities
I'm hesitant to mess with aeration, feeding, or structure at this point. My priorities are water quality and population management at this point. Please let me know what you think about the plan.


Edited by Bocomo (05/19/12 07:25 PM)
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#290688 - 05/06/12 09:34 PM Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. [Re: Bocomo]
Doctor Duck Offline
Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 42
Loc: Anguilla,Ms.
Sounds like you don't want the catfish. You should remove every one you possibly can. They are competing with your bass. I wish I had never stocked them in my pond. They are hard to catch even though I enjoy eating them. The small bass need to be removed as well. If you are after large bass I'd leave the bluegill alone. If on the other hand you are after large bluegill, you'll need to remove some of them as well. I'm sure some of the real pond pros will let you know what will work. Feeders can be helpful without breaking the bank. Check out some of the units available.

As far as the filamentous algae. It seems to be a never ending battle to keep it under control. Not sure of Missouri's laws but you could possibly get permission to add the tilapia. Good luck and Keep us updated.

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#290733 - 05/07/12 03:45 AM Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. [Re: Doctor Duck]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 6976
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Tilapia will never be allowed in a pond as long as we have our current MDC Director. You may want to treat your FA with Green Clean.

You are right,asking a farmer to limit fertilizers will get you laughed at at best, or shot in rural Boone County...(I grew up in Cooper County).

24" of clarity, limited by a "healthy green color" sounds ideal. I would not be concerned about ammonia, nitrites and nitrates because you would have fish dying if there was an issue. The soils will give you a more accurate Ph over the widely swinging water Ph and I am sure around 15 ton of lime spread directly into the pond and inflow areas will be called for...MFA charges about $8-12 per ton delivered and spread.

Unless your pond is aerated, only about half or less of your 10 acre feet of water is habitable for most of the year. A rough guess on ponds of bass to remove would be about 220-250 pounds, anything skinny and everything 14" and below.

The green sunfish could be remnants from hybrid bluegill....are you catching straight northern gills?

Before doing much in the way of fish removal, try to get a good idea of exactly what all is in the ponds as far as sizes and species first by heavy angling and trapping along with good record keeping.
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#290883 - 05/07/12 09:16 PM Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. [Re: Rainman]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Thank you both for your thoughtful answers.

I will probably rig a trotline for catfish one of these days just to be rid of them.

We did soil testing two years ago and limed all the cropland last year. Most of the run-off comes from other people's property, though, and the soil is known to be acidic throughout the area. How do I determine if I need to lime the pond, and how much? Which water tests are worth ordering?

EDIT: After some more PB reading, it sounds like you mean I should test the soil from the pond bottom itself. I assume I'd need to send multiple samples. How many, and what depth?

There are what appear to be proper Northern bluegills in the pond. I'm really not confident I could say for certain. What ratio of greens to blues warrants starting over?


Edited by Bocomo (05/09/12 01:43 AM)
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#291620 - 05/14/12 01:56 AM Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
The local high school has a wildlife conservation class, and they're all coming out to fish this Wednesday on the last day of school. We will be yanking skinny bass left and right. I'll try to post some photos.

The FA has all died back, as has the phytoplankton. The Secchi depth has soared to 6'!

It sounds like the greens are okay for the moment, thanks, Esshup. Soil and water tests are pending.
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#291772 - 05/15/12 12:17 AM Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
"Operation Eat Bass" has begun, and they are biting furiously. We recruited our best fisherman, my niece Julia, for the job. She is three (and a half!!). She can't quite cast yet, but she loves to reel, so we tied on a Roostertail. She has a yellow Disney Princess pole with LED lights that flash when you crank it and she landed this fish on her own. Her pop looks proud.

The Princess Pole


Her first big one



Me at the "office."


Should have brought the fly rod!



Edited by Bocomo (05/15/12 01:38 AM)
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#291785 - 05/15/12 07:13 AM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Doctor Duck Offline
Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 42
Loc: Anguilla,Ms.
Great pictures. Keep it up and keep us updated.

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#295649 - 06/13/12 11:17 AM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Missouri Bill Offline


Registered: 06/01/11
Posts: 88
Loc: Missouri
Bocomo,

Where in Boone County are you located? I'm about four miles northeast of Harrisburg.

To catch some of your CCs, try this: Get a 50-pound bag of shelled corn. Dump it into a couple of 5-gallon buckets, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. Fill entirely with water and leave them out in the hot sun for the next 10 days. Add water as needed.

When the corn is good and ripe, scatter a bucket of it into 6-8 feet of water, maybe 25 or 30 feet offshore. Dump it in the evening. The next morning, at daybreak, fish in the baited spot with chicken livers, Sonny's dip bait or whatever bait you prefer. I like fresh chicken livers. Use a couple of split shots to slowly sink the livers. You can wrap them a few times with cotton thread to hold the livers on the hook. Don't try to fish more than a couple of rods, because you will almost certainly lose one of them if you do.


Edited by Missouri Bill (06/14/12 09:43 AM)

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#295652 - 06/13/12 12:11 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Missouri Bill]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Bocomo, Julia looks like the LMB put her thru the wringer! No hat, hair a mess. laugh
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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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#295659 - 06/13/12 02:26 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19590
Loc: Miss.
Thanks for the pics. Have you found the answers to your questions ? Test results back yet?
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#295686 - 06/13/12 08:03 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Missouri Bill]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Missouri Bill, our place is 15 miles east by northeast of Columbia. Your catfish recipe sounds like fun, I'll have to try it after we take down the seed corn this fall (free bait).

Esshup, earlier this summer Thomas started to teach her how to fish with plastic worms. She reels so slowly the LMB can't stand it and she hooks up every time. Last time one of the LMB jumped at the dock and scared her, so she dropped the rod into the lake... Lately Thomas has been fishing down at Table Rock Lake (see http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=295471#Post295471).

Ewest, yes, I have, thanks for all the help, everyone. We are in the process of thinning the LMB herd. I am planning to spend nearly 3 weeks at the farm in October and I hope to do a lot of culling. I will send the soil and water tests at that point, too, as we want to test some of our production fields as well and it's best to do that in the fall. The FA problem has disappeared, and I didn't have to lift a finger. In future years I will probably rake the lake to manually remove the nutrients from the ecosystem.

Things like aeration and feeding we will postpone until we can afford a better dock. The one we have now is a tiny floater in rough shape. I hope to convince my dad that he'd enjoy something a little closer to the house and a little bit more comfortable. I think the way to convince him will be to wear down my mother first, as she loves to serve dinner outdoors in the summer months, and where better to do that than on the water without any pitching and rolling with the wind ... wink


Edited by Bocomo (06/13/12 08:05 PM)
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#297032 - 06/25/12 04:20 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Soil questions...

We have taken samples from the pond bottom at various places. Some of the samples came up looking like clay, and some came up looking like muck. What's the best way to get a representative sample of the pond's soil chemistry? The muck, the clay, or a mix of the two?

We've also plumbed the depths with a pole and a canoe. It looks like the max depth is 10' at full pool, with an average depth of 6'. We're currently one foot below full pool.


Edited by Bocomo (06/25/12 04:24 PM)
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#297051 - 06/25/12 07:20 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Treat the pond bottom as would your fields, just on a much smaller scale.
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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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#297163 - 06/26/12 02:04 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Thanks, Esshup. Soil samples mixed together and submitted!

If we were to aerate, could we expect any reduction in muck over time?


Edited by Bocomo (06/26/12 02:05 PM)
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#297189 - 06/26/12 06:32 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Yes but it's a slow process. You'll see results in inches not in feet.
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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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#297190 - 06/26/12 06:37 PM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Inches per year? smirk
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#297231 - 06/27/12 12:46 AM Re: Pictures!! [Re: Bocomo]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
That's correct.

Give Nate Herman a shout. He's doing stuff with bacteria and he might be able to shed more light on it.
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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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#302048 - 08/06/12 02:58 AM The drought (photos) [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)










40" down.


Edited by Bocomo (08/06/12 02:59 AM)
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#305990 - 09/08/12 05:47 PM Soil tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Soil test results on pond bottom samples are back. Water test on Monday.

Any thoughts? Ag lime, and how much?

pH 5.2

Neutralizable acidity 3.5 mEq/100g

Organic material 1.3%

Bray available inorganic phosphorus 10 lb/Ac

Ca 3585 lb/Ac

Mg 511 lb/Ac

K 272 lb/Ac

Cation-exchange capacity (CEC) 14.9 mEq/100g
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#306068 - 09/09/12 08:36 PM Re: Soil tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19590
Loc: Miss.
I have not seen results in that form. Is that all the info and did they test for pond use?
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#306070 - 09/09/12 08:51 PM Re: Soil tests are back [Re: ewest]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
They're soil tests, for unspecified use, I guess. Do you need different units? Water tests will be sent Monday.


Edited by Bocomo (09/09/12 08:57 PM)
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#307489 - 09/25/12 05:31 PM Water tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Finally got the water tests back. Some problem with the e-mail address...

Please help me interpret these! Do I need to do anything? I'm guessing my alkalinity is low. I have about 9.6 acre-ft of water. How much lime do I need?

  • pH 7.98
  • Electrical conductivity 0.219 ppm
  • Total dissolved solids 140 ppm
  • Carbonate (CO3-) 0 ppm
  • Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 87 ppm
  • Nitrate-N (NO3-N) 0.059 ppm
  • Sulfate(SO4 2-) 4.1 ppm
  • Chloride (Cl-) 20.4 ppm
  • Phosphate (PO4 3-) 0.02 ppm
  • Calcium (Ca2+) 22.5 ppm
  • Magnesium (Mg2+) 3.97 ppm
  • Potassium (K+) 2.19 ppm
  • Sodium (Na+) 11.9 ppm
  • Iron (Fe2+) 0.03 ppm
  • Manganese (Mn2+) 0.005 ppm
  • Copper (Cu2+) 0.005 ppm
  • Hardness 72.7 ppm


Edited by Bocomo (09/25/12 06:36 PM)
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#307503 - 09/25/12 08:06 PM Re: Water tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
Bocomo Offline


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1157
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Using SRAC's guidelines for estimating lime needs (http://www.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/LimingPondsAquaculture.htm) I get to an Effective Neutralizing Material (ENM) requirement of 1110. Probably 2 tons of ENM 600 ag lime would do the trick?
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#307547 - 09/26/12 09:07 AM Re: Water tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
djstauder Offline
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Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1012
Loc: Mississippi
Was the soil test done from the pond bottom? If so, how can the soil test come back PH-5.2 and the water test PH=7.98.

5.2 is acidic and 7.98 if minimally alkaline???
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#307557 - 09/26/12 10:10 AM Re: Water tests are back [Re: Bocomo]
ewest Offline
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