I finished building a 1.5 acre pond about a month ago. It's steadily filling and has 4-5 feet of water covering at least 0.75 acres so far. It has another 5 feet to fill. I am planning on stocking bluegill, shellcracker, and largemouth. I will be getting some flatheads, shellcracker, and bluegill this week. I won't stick the bass till next spring. I'm wondering if I should stock more than 200 total fish since the pond isn't full. The water has turned a nice deep green and there are plenty of bugs but I was worried about food availability. Should I stick with my plan or add 500 or 750 total? I was going to stock 5 pounds of flatheads as well. What are your thoughts?
I'm not an expert, but I would stock the full amount. Think about how small the initial fish are. Unless you think there is some reason the pond will be unusually slow to fill, the BOW should grow with the fish.
I stocked forage in March at 1/3 pool and was planning on stocking predators the next spring, but the BG and FHM grew and reproduced so well, stocked LMB and CC late that fall. Pond filled normally through the year.
Myself I would wait until spring to stock any fish. I saw $600.00 worth of fish disappear in a pond because of turbid water. Granted you say your pond is clearing up but what if you get a gully washer and it becomes muddy? Most fish are sight feeders and a new pond rarely has sufficient ground cover to prevent muddy water if you get a significant rainfall event.
Everybody can't wait to get the fish going in a pond but is it worth the chance? Your fish won't be doing any growing in the winter anyway and they certainly won't be reproducing.
If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.
I was going to up my order to 300 BG and 200 RES and stick with the 5lb of FHM. I'm in central VA. Upstream I have about 30 acres of pasture. I was surprised at how fast things cleared. It started pretty muddy after finishing the dirt work but within a week things settled on down. A real nice green has settled in and visibility is a couple feet. I don't eat fish but have a neighbor that will gladly harvest to keep things in check. My goals are more a healthy balance. I don't plan to aerate. I do plan to drain most of my overflow through my bottom drain with the rest through a surface drain. I'm working on plantings now for all my OBL plants in the inlet. I covered with cereal rye across all the above water surfaces and rye grass a few feet below full pool to help seal in the clay. That's all coming in nice. I'm looking to plant a mix of native grasses and flowers suited for the various moisture zones. I'm looking for a nice native habitat. I was going to put in 150 or so LMB. I believe that was the rate I read.
I ask this because we are in a similar situation with our pond. It is 1.5 acres and has about 3 foot of water in some places covering close to an acre of surface area. We lose close to 2 inches every week. Im curious as to how "normal" this is due to the surrounding soil wicking and evaporation rates.
We're pretty short on rain but I'm filling at a rate of about half an inch per day. I'm sure I'm losing water to saturation in the ground and evaporation but I'm not sure how much that is. I would guess the spring flowing in is probably 20ish gpm but that's just a guess. I don't see much seepage below the dam different than when the core was being put in and the stream was damned up farther back. You can see springs just feeding in all along the sides of the stream bank below the dam. I don't think I have anything going past the core. It was dug down 12 feet the entire width of the dam and back filled with good clay.
I put the 200 RES, 300 BG, and 5lbs of FHM Friday. I've been adding some cover using rip rap, stumps and logs. I'd love some suggestions of additional things I could do. I just want to have a nice balance. The back end of the pond will be lilies and other water plants so should have lots of cover. I'm working on moving crusher run to the back as well to put in some of the flat areas the are a couple feet deep.
I've seen a few dead fish around which I assume is normal. I've only seen a couple BG or RES around the edges. Where do you think would be best to look for them? I'm guessing they might be hanging out at the big stumps in the middle with all the stringy roots?
Its been a couple weeks since I added the fish and its been raining quite a bit. The pond is up to just ender 2 feet below full pool now. Its back to muddy though but I suspect it'll clear up. The grass and cereal rye is coming in good now. It's averaging in the 60's during the day and down in the 40s and 50s at night.
I'm just curious now, is it normal to not see the fingerlings around the shoreline? I haven't really seen any fish since stocking. I saw a few here and there around the shore in the first week but nothing since. Is this common?
I put 100 CNBG and 200 RES in my sediment pond a few weeks ago and have only seen a couple fish in shallow water. This sediment pond is usually pretty low visibility water from recent rains and when it clears algae blooms.
I threw in a cast net a few times and came up with a few of the RES, so I know at least a few are still there.
Your fish are probably just fine.
I don't recall seeing a lot of the fish I stocked in the big pond last year in the beginning either.
If you will feed a small amount of food around the bank the fish eventually will get used to it and come around for the feed. Especially the FHM. Don't expect to see much of the RES. The BG will take a while longer.
Don't get carried away. Just small amounts till they get used to knowing what the feed is and where to get it. Once they get used to it, the FHM will go crazy over it and push pellets all over the pond. They are kind of fun to watch.
I was hoping they were all just out around the structure in more of the center of the pond where I just can't see unless I get out there somehow. Thanks!
On another note, I have an 8" pipe through the bottom of my pond that I necked down to 4" with a ball valve and after that I'm planning to split with a 4" T and cap with a 1.5" ball valve coming out to allow most of my flow out through this pipe and my normal pool overflow to just make up the difference. I have a pretty constant 20 GPM or higher flow. It seems to drop down around 20 GPM after sustained low rain conditions and then goes up after rain. I figured I can at least pull some water off the bottom but the 4" ball valve is to big to throttle hence the T and smaller valve. I probably have 10 feet or so of head. What do ya'll do in the winter if you have water in the pipe? I figure the flow will be enough to keep it from freezing but do you cover/insulate the pipe in any way. I'm in central VA so we can get down pretty cold. We were in the single digits a few times earlier this year.....
Update: Now that it's warmed up the fish I stocked last fall while filling are really active. FHMs are spawning like crazy and now have fry everywhere you look. The bluegill are jumping left and right. I haven't seen the shell crackers but I'm not sure they would hangout near shore. Tadpoles are a thick black mat and bull frogs are just lazily floating around. I've seen a green and blue heron fishing a few times. A couple mallards have already found the pond as well. Unfortunately, so have a couple geese....
Would it be wiser to stock the LMB this fall or wait till spring still? I figure the bluegill will start spawning soon as they are growing fast.
I would guess around 2 to 3 inches. I need to catch a couple and see for sure. I haven't thought about size for the LMB. I guess I would stock 100 fingerlings. My goals are still just a balanced environment. Does this seem reasonable. I assume you can't have to many minnows?
Sounds like a lot of bass for the number of BG and RES you stocked earlier. Might you be a little light on their numbers? You don't want to stock LMB that are large enough to decimate the BG right off the bat.
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"
If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1) And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1) Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT? PB answer: It depends.
I was light on the bream and minnows. I'm ok waiting till next year on the bass to let numbers build. Would that make more sense then?
I'm doing what I can to deter the geese. I run them off every time I'm there but we haven't started on our house yet so I'm not there every day. I'm keeping the grass really high around to help deter them. I planted native prairie grass on the dam so there isn't much there yet other than seedlings and some tall cover. The ducks are scratching up piles of straw but that's ok since seedlings are coming up and the straw isn't preferred for a prairie planting. I was just concerned with erosion so it put it down with a winter eye cover last fall and oats this spring. The rye didn't come up well so again, concerned about erosion while my natives come up. If it works out it will be nice and worth it but at this point I'm wishing I had just planted grass.....
Based on having stocked on the light side last fall (300 BG, 200 RES, 5lb FHM, I'm trying to figure my next move to finish stocking with LMB. It sounds like 100 is to many so I'm back down to around 50 for this 1.5 acre pond?
The FHM are spawning all over the place. I have not seen any BG spawn but I'm not sure I would know the difference. I do see a school of BG hanging out in the past couple weeks at the one corner of my dam. I would guess they are at least 3" if not bigger. I have not caught any to see. In the pictures above, its the corner in the bottom left with the lines of rocks. The water is up past the straw so I'd say the top of those lines are at least 3 feet under and not visible. My dog always walked in this corner and I have as well planting so there are all kinds of small round spots in the mud so I can't tell if they are nests. The BG dart all around and at each other in this corner. There are minnows closer to the shore from them. I couldn't decide if they were spawning or feeding.
I have been working on trying to establish lilies without a lot of luck so far (another post). I have had good luck getting iris, rushes, sedges, picklerweed, duck potato, swamp milkweed, and some other plants going in the back end but they aren't established well in the water yet for much cover. The back portion of the pond was kept between 1-3 feet for lots of vegetation. I have high hopes of for the view of all the plants and wildlife they attract and should provide good forage cover. That's my thinking anyway. The only other cover I have is the rock piles, lines and stumps in the pictures. I have some longer logs floating around as well. A little green heron loves the one.
Based on all this information in my rambling, should I stock LMB fingerlings this summer/fall or wait till next spring? I'm in no rush. I just want to make sure things stay somewhat in balance.
Thanks for all the input and thoughts. I don't know what I'd do without this forum!