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#43513 - 03/14/03 06:47 AM grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Will any one on this forum give me a list of the reasons for adding these monsters to a pond.I have alot of people ask me to stock these fish in there ponds.I always have to go through this speach about how they hurt the pond but they still don't get the message.I don't know how the members of this forum feel about this fish but personally I wouldn't have one in my lake if you promised me a date with miss usa.They are the most annoying when you are trying to sneak up on a large bass that you have been trying to catch all season.About the time you get ready to make that bait land in the perfect spot one of these over grown bottom feeders take off like a bat out of hell and scare your trophy away till next season.Is it just me or does this everybody? Well I have vented my thoughts on this topic time for someone else to step up and take a turn Doc
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#43514 - 03/14/03 09:39 AM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Doc -- My guess is that most fisheries folks are going to agree with you.

Certainly, every time you come around a corner and startle a grass carp, they stir up the entire area! Similarly, they are difficult to remove if/when you decide there are too many. I hate to call them "smart," but everything I've ever tried works about one time, and never again.

Biologically, the biggest problem with grass carp is what I call the "all or none syndrome." Very commonly, we stock grass carp, see little reduction in submergent vegetation for a year or two, and then the next spring, nothing comes up. The reason for this is pretty simple. It's not the number of grass carp/acre of vegetation that control the plants, it's the pounds/acre. As they grow, suddenly they will be in sufficient weight and essentially eliminate all the vegetation. It is VERY difficult to get any type of partial vegetation control with grass carp without knowing a lot about type and abundance of plants, number of grass carp, size of grass carp, etc.

It's probably not as severe for those of you in the southern part of the country, but in the Midwest (including us in SD), the submergent vegetation is the key habitat for maintaining good largemouth bass and bluegill reproduction and survival. We just can't get by without it.

I've noticed that most pondowners seem willing to tolerate a lot less vegetation than biologists think is good for a pond. Let's say that we think 20-30% coverage is ideal. Most pondowners would say that is too many "weeds." I usually try to get them to rake or perhaps chemically treat a localized area -- perhaps a swimming area or some fishing lanes. As you indicated, we can talk and talk about the value and importance of the plants, but not everyone listens!

I'll be very interested to hear viewpoints from other areas of the country.

Dave Willis
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#43515 - 03/14/03 08:33 PM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Thanks for the reply Dave you are in agreeance with me on these carp I have a little trick I use to catch these monsters.I just go down to the grocery store and buy a can of artichockes.Put them on some 50 pound test spider wire with a treble hook tie that to a good stout flexable limb throw it in some of the weeds that are left and walk away.Check it the next day and I usually have something to filet and give to the inlaws.Well better go that red head is giving me the eye. Doc
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#43516 - 03/15/03 01:52 PM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
After grass carp had stripped the vegetation in some of our fish culture ponds, they easily switched to feeding on floating food (pellets). Once they were trained, we would throw out a handful of pellets, and then toss out a fly (such as a sponge rubber spider with the legs removed). That first run on a fly rod was something to behold!!
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#43517 - 03/15/03 10:22 PM Re: grass carp
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
I dont agree with you. here in Atlanta I use grass carp often. I see your point about scaring a bass or two but I have never seen fishing get bad because of grass carp.

Over the long run grass carp are far more cost effective than using herbicides in a pond or lake provided you stock the fish to control submersed weeds. Many people around here will not allow the use of herbicides in their pond and will gladly stock carp instead of using chemicals.

I agree that grass carp will clean a lake of vegetation. I disagree that vegetation is necessary for sucessful bass and bluegill reproduction. I keep most of the lakes I manage free of aquatic vegetation and the bass and bluegill reproduce just fine. Weeds take nutrients away from plankton thus reducing the primary productivity. Any reduction in productivity will reduce the fish population.

I dont know much about mid west ponds but here in Georgia 10% weed coverage will turn into 90% in a hurry.

A few years ago I was called out to a pond for weed control. the pond was 6 acres in an industrial park. The owners of the park used the pond for irrigation of the common areas. I'm still not sure what the weed was that was growing over the pond, I thought it was slender spike rush, one DNR biologist I took it to identifyed it as needle rush. Nevertheless, it grew all over the pond bottom and floated up in large mats covering the pond (almost 100% coverage). It was being sucked into the intake of the irrigation system and destroying the pump. There are no herbicides on the market that would kill that plant. endothal did not work, diquat did not work, most of the vegetation was submerged thus glyphosate was not even tried. The pond had too much water flow for floridone to work. The only option was grass carp. I stocked them at 30 fish per acre and within 6 months the weeds were under control, the irrigation system has not broken since and I have a happy client.

Also the same pond was void of bass. It was obvious because you could almost walk across the pond on three inch bluegill and tadpoles. I stocked some adult Fla. bass and the guys who work out there are catching some nice fish. The bass are reproducing just fine and growing nicely.

does anyone have info on partial poisoning of grass carp? I have noticed that grass carp seem to come up much faster than game fish in the ponds that I have applied rotenone.

Shan

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#43518 - 03/16/03 03:05 AM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Allright Shan" That was some good reasons to have those fish in a body of water.And I agree with you if I was in Georgia.Your weed control problems are alot worse than ours in the north.I would use anything that works if necessary.But I don't use these fish.With the options that are availible for weed control these fish are at the bottom of the list.The grass that you mention was more than likely caused by a farmer spilling just the right nutrient to start that fast infestation.So I would have run some tests to determine the type of nutrient that has to be diminished and that in most cases takes care of the problem in a gradual and effective way without the total elimination of all vegetation.Thanks for the post but I'm still not sold. DOC
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#43519 - 03/16/03 09:52 AM Re: grass carp
Greg Grimes Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Can't speak for northern states, but echo Shan's thoughts. I manage about 40 subdivision, neighborhoods lakes around Atlanta. Grass carp are a life saver for me. I must maintain the asethetic appeal of the ponds and lakes. If I had to use herbicides to consistently rid of weeds, I would be losing money. Also most use the lake as a source of irrigation making herbicide use restrictive. So what if all weeds are gone? (yes you are right it is an all or nothing soultion with grass carp) We place other types of manageable cover if a lack of fish habitats are a concern.

Doc, as far as your comment about testing to determine upstream nutreint source. This is great in theory, but how many times have you tested to actually determine this and then how did you reduce the nutreint loads from what can be several sources? Very difficult and extremely costly to do and you still may have "weeds". I work in reality. Weeds grow in most of these ponds because they have been sedimented in due to urban development resulting in a shallow area. Mix this with clear water and weeds will grow no matter what holistic appraoch you take.
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#43520 - 03/16/03 12:00 PM Re: grass carp
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
Doc,

Results from water tests in that pond were are follows pH-7, hardness- 16ppm, alkalinity-17ppm, aluminum-1.06 ppm, boron-negligible, cadmium-neglig, calium-2.5 ppm, chromium-negligible, copper-negligible, iron-0.96 ppm, magnesium-1.1 ppm, manganese-negiligible, molybdenum-negligible, nickel-negligible, PHOSPHORUS-NEGLIGIBLE, POTASSIUM- 2.0 PPM, silica-6.01, sodium-3.1, zinc-negligible

water tests were run multiple times during the summer that I was trying to treat the lake with herbicides. results of all the tests were similar to the one above.

there are no farmers in the watershed. The only source of water for the pond comes off runnoff from the industrial park (roofs, parking lots, etc) There is a large population of geese on the pond. I can only assume that this is the source for introduction of the weed.

I have read several books and studies conducted on largemouth bass and bluegill. I have never seen any that say aquatic weeds are essential to the recruitment of these species. Maybe I'm out of the loop. could you provide some stuides on northern ponds that talk about this? I would be interested to learn more.

we have mentioned chemical and biological weed control. the only other form of weed control I can think of is mechanical. A backbreaking waste of time around here, and from what I read in Pond Boss devastating on fish fry. What other methods of weed control do you practice?

I have never managed a pond that gets covered in ice. I made an assumption that keeping the pond free of weeds was essential to keeping BOD down when the pond freezes over. If 30% of your pond is covered in weeds wont vegetation rotting under the ice cause oxygen problems?

in all, I think grass carp are great. I emphasize this point because I think many of the people using this site are do-it-yourself types. they are not going to hire a pro and are looking for a way to control weeds. Based on my experince I would recommend grass carp to anyone who is unsure about using chemicals in their pond. they will greatly reduce most weeds for about 5 years. Pond owners will be free to fish and swim without worring about weeds tangling them up. For some types of weeds (submerged) grass carp are on the top of my list for effective control.

Shan O'Gorman
Pro Ponds

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#43521 - 03/16/03 06:51 PM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Hi Shan – I wasn’t sure, but it seems that some of your last questions were directed to a couple of my original points. I’ll try to provide a little more input.

First, please realize that I would never say that submergent vegetation is necessary in southern pond management. I’ve never worked any place south of Kansas!! Also, Mike Maceina of Auburn University told me that grass carp removal of vegetation in Alabama and Florida essentially had no effect on largemouth bass recruitment. So, he certainly is supportive of what you have said.

So, let me try to answer your questions. First, I think that “literature” on the more northern waters is pretty clear. I’ll provide some information below. However, if you want copies of any of the papers, you’ll need to give me a mailing address. I found your web page, but it did not have a mailing address.

I suppose the “biggie” paper on this is Wiley et al. 1984 (North American Journal of Fisheries Management [NAJFM]), who worked on Illinois ponds. Maximum production (pounds of flesh “grown” by the population in one growing season) occurred at a submergent vegetation coverage of about 36%. Below that, largemouth bass recruitment was lower, and production declined. At 0% coverage, they found about half the largemouth bass production as they did at 36% coverage. Above 36%, there was too much cover for small sunfishes, largemouth bass could not keep them in check, and production also declined. Over the years, I have heard many discussions about the “magic” level of coverage. I chose 30% as a good, reasonable number that most Midwestern biologists would agree on. In fact, there was one study by the Central States Small Impoundment Work Group (never published) where coverage up to 50 or 60% was still OK. I was surprised by that, and still believe that much coverage is a problem. However, my point is to pass some of this information on to you.

In South Dakota, we looked at the influence of habitat on largemouth bass abundance in 20 ponds. The only two variables that influenced bass density were submerged vegetation coverage and water transparency. When vegetation coverage was down near 0%, we typically collected about 10 largemouth bass (8-in and longer) per hour of night electrofishing. When vegetation coverage was near 30%, we averaged just under 100/hr. These results were not especially surprising, and we only put them in a SD Academy of Science publication. Again, I’d be glad to send a copy if you want it.

Have you seen the NAJFM paper by Durocher et al. (1984)? In Texas reservoirs (80-36,000 ha), they found that largemouth bass abundance increased as submergent vegetation increased from 0 to 20%. While this is not the Midwest, Texas reservoirs probably have some of our same problems with wind, waves, water turbidity, fluctuating water levels, etc. Those are the big negatives for largemouth bass recruitment in the Midwest (the wind blows “once in a while” here). The vegetation probably provides a refuge and food supply for the young largemouth bass. In fact, the big Lake Conroe grass carp study was done in TX (Bettoli et al. 1993 in the NAJFM). The reservoir had about 40% vegetation coverage before grass carp were added, and largemouth bass biomass was 11-14 kilograms/hectare. After the vegetation was eliminated, the bass biomass averaged 2-6 kg/ha.

I guess those are my best citations for you. Please realize that I say all of this realizing that higher bass density is not always good if you are trying to manage for large bass. Too many small largemouth bass is a very common pond management occurrence up here. Reduction in recruitment can actually lead to increased sizes of bass in the pond.

Now, on to your ice cover question. You made a darn good point! Actually, in eastern SD, our winters are so long and the ice cover can get so thick that it takes a truly high quality pond, with lots of depth (= lots of water volume), to make the winter. The only ponds that I actively manage right around here in the east-central part of the state are either very deep (most are 25-30 ft) or are gravel pit lakes in which we have constant ground water movement throughout the winter. In the central and western part of the state, we have much more mild winters, and ponds that are shallower can make the winters. We still try to get at least 20 ft of water, because we can expect periodic droughts.

I really don’t know what to say about the vegetation causing winterkills. Obviously, it does, but we need the vegetation to provide habitat for our largemouth bass. On the other hand, we are working in some pretty darn fertile waters here (fertile soils). So, if grass carp strip the vegetation, we will simply get massive algae blooms, and I assume they must also add quite a bit of oxygen demand during their decomposition. I guess I really don’t know what else to say. Winterkill is the limiting factor for our pond management program. North Dakota has almost no pond management, except in the southwestern corner of the state. So, we’re sort of on the borderline here in SD. There is more and more interest in the windmill aerators as a result.

I hope this was not overly technical for the general readers. I know the Pond Boss web page/front page indicates plain language!! I also realize that this got long, but Shan certainly asked some legitimate questions.

Dave Willis
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#43522 - 03/16/03 11:44 PM Re: grass carp
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
Dave,

great post. I absolutly want the studies done on the smaller lakes/ponds if its not too much trouble. Not real interested in the larger lake data. I can see how weeds would help in a larger lake, concentrating baitfish in a much more diverse food chain.

Address: 807 Nix drive
Gainesville, GA 30501

I never considered the nutrient rich soil. I have a few ponds on old cattle farms that absolutly have to have some marginal plants to keep nutrients down. Around here nutrients in the soil are hard to come by. bass are not hard to come by. most ponds around here are full of them. So full none of them grow. I remove around 20 pounds of bass per acre every year to keep the other bass growing. thats a job on a 100 acre lake.

I'll bet instead of having wimpy competing species like warmouth and green sunfish you guys have Northerns.

thanks for the info, look forward to reading it

Shan

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#43523 - 03/17/03 12:56 AM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Wow!This is really getting good.Dave that is some good info and proves a good point.There is alot of different ways to deal with weed control.I don't see anything in the earlier post about prevention.I do 90% of my weed control during construction.Alot of the damage that can happen to a lakes ability to be managed is in the construction.I have built ponds that are completely self managed and has never had one chemical sprayed in them they seem to have some of the best fishing and largest average size as any thatI ever been to and it all started in the construction.With some simple preventive steps and a carefuly monitored stocking rate this can be achieved.I don't have the desire to use this forum to sell or drum up any kind of profit from these post.I don't sell feeders or fish food or do I want to but I do like to come here and pick the brains of the members.I think I pick up a little info every time that I log on.Greg there are alot of proven ways to target a nutreint source.But at risk sharing a Holistic theroy I'll just leave it alone. Doc
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#43524 - 03/17/03 09:25 AM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Good morning, Shan. I'll get a packet in the mail for you.

I'm just the opposite of you -- I've always worked where too many nutrients were the problem. I've never done a pond fertilization in my life.

I have to work hard on the locals to keep northern pike out of the ponds. Man, they can decimate fish communities. They are eating machines, and suited for bigger waters, not ponds.

Dave
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#43525 - 03/17/03 10:24 AM Re: grass carp
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
Thanks Dave,

due to the website I get calls from people everywhere. I'm sure I'll use that info sometime. lakedoc took the words out of my mouth. I was going to as about building flats for weeds. Good post.

All in all I guess in boils down to different parts of the world require a different management strategy. pretty cool

Shan

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#43526 - 03/17/03 09:56 PM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Hello everyone!Thanks for the info Shan it helps when I no what I'm dealing with.Dave if you wouldn't mind I would love to get that report you posted.I have the same kind of enviro,as you and I like to learn any bit of knowlage I can get my hands on.From what I've read in your post you have plenty.I think if we all keep an open mind and ask questions we will find out info. that can save us all time and money.Shan you were right you in the south have more infestation and takes control alot faster than we do in the north.You also see the new types of pest before we do so I think that it is imporant for people like Dave and myself to find out from pros. Like you your methods before they reach here.On the other hand I Can't believe what dave posted I thought that I was the only one on this forum but I to have never even considered fertilizing a pond.In the corn belt I do the total opposite and try to eliminate any type of nutirent source that gets close to my ponds that is one reason that I dont like the grass carp they take away the good plants that absorb alot of the nutrients before they get into the entire body of water and cause an algae bloom.They also seem to keep the sediments stired up so that they increase infestation into other areas.I use alot of those little one pound plastic bags of all natural germs to neutralize and keep the control I need with out chemicals for nothing but touch ups.This is getting to be a book so I call it quits. DOC
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#43527 - 03/18/03 09:21 AM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Lakedoctor -- just need a mailing address for you.

Dave
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#43528 - 03/18/03 07:39 PM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Ok Dave the address 1051 ave e box a Greencastle In.46135 Thanks.I wanted to ask you if you have had any problems or have any comments on high ammonia after a large weed treatment of watermill.I can't be sure but last year I had a pond that was covered and I treated it and was successful but my ammonia levels jumped up real high your thoughts on this would be APPRECIATED! gota go for now
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#43529 - 03/19/03 09:03 AM Re: grass carp
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Good morning, Doc. I'll put those papers in the mail for you today.

I really don't have the experience to answer your water quality question. The question is sort of buried here in this long track. I'll bet if you cut out that question, and re-post as a new topic, you'll get some quick answers.

Dave
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#43530 - 03/20/03 08:35 PM Re: grass carp
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Lake Doc, have to agree with you for a change. Proper construction can dramatically help deter weed growth. Also agree plants take up nutrients, and this is my main reason for not having aquatic plants and my love of grass carp. We want to the nutreints to reach phytoplankton to promote the primary productivity of the pond. thanks, Greg
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#43531 - 03/20/03 11:01 PM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Greg I think that with our different locations that there are also different ways that we have to manage and maintain our lakes up north we have such a fertile soil and surrounding our water ways and basicly all of our run off has years and years of fertilizer built up.It has been about 10 years ago that the farmers started this no til farming and they spred there fertilizer about 1"from the top of the ground if we get a heavey rain an there is no preventive steps to deter these nutrients from entering a body of water then you have a blue green algea bloom that takes over in less than 24 hrs.so you can see my point about needing some healthy plants to help absorb the nutrients the grass carp go along the edges kill the plants and stir and spread the nutrients to the main body even more. when the plants had helped keep them more or less contained to a smaller area with alot less advirse effect to the game fish.
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#43532 - 03/21/03 12:22 PM Re: grass carp
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
lakedoc,

What do you do to control a bluegreen algae bloom? I'm having some problems with one. the pond was overfertilized 3 years ago and now any amount of fertlizer will create a stinky brown/teal green mess. Pond is 3 acres in size avg depth 3.5 feet. Here proper fertilizer rate is one gallon per acre. One gallon of fertilizer will kick off bluegreen badly. I'm concerned about the fish population, no fish have died but I'm worried about the drop in productivity having very bad effects on the population. any suggestions would be much appreciated

Shan

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#43533 - 03/21/03 03:33 PM Re: grass carp
lakedoctor Offline
Member

Registered: 02/19/03
Posts: 122
Loc: Indiana
Hello Shan sounds like you have a mess that I can help you with I deal with this kind of stuff all the time the thing that I would do is very simple and very effective with no adverse conditions to fish.The plan that works the best for me is a two stage treatment 1 apply 3pounds per acre ft of revive this will bring down your nutrient level to a proper level if you have a way to raise your o2 levels that will help keep your fish healthy so you can hit your bloom with your cooper.If you have time you can wait to treat with the cooper and let the revive do the job it will take about two weeks for you can see the algae start to weaken and then you hit it with a light dose of copper it should take care of the problem so you don't loose your fish and don't spend the rest of the season to get it in control hope this works for you let me know. this works in In. don't know about there.Good luck Shan DOC
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#43534 - 03/21/03 04:08 PM Re: grass carp
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Shan,
had the same problem and we installed an aeration system. Now the pond is not stratified and the aerobic bacteria is helping to reduce the nutrient levels. We also added a bacteria product with both anaerobic and aerobic species to "kick start" it. Good luck.
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