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#453391 - 08/03/16 05:26 PM How much gravel for bream beds?
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Will be using gravel for bream beds. I need to decide how thick the gravel will be so I know how much to order. I've read a lot of posts on using gravel for beds but I cannot find any recommended thickness of gravel. My beds will be 20' x 30' or so and in 2' to 3' deep water.

My question for the forum members is this. If you were doing this, how thick would you make the gravel? 4"? 6"? A foot?

Thanks in advance!

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#453392 - 08/03/16 05:43 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1969
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
I made mine about two inches thick, placed on old carpet to keep the gravel from sinking into the bottom. You absolutely need a substrate to keep it from sinking, otherwise the thickness needed becomes too great to be economical. Old carpet should be very easy to come by. Crushed limestone will work, but natural pea gravel is better.
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#453394 - 08/03/16 06:04 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
4-6"

I did mine 2-3" and they will push it out to make a depression where the middle of the bed is back down to pond bottom.

Like JohnF says, something under it is a good idea. I did not do that. Something I think would work great if you do not mind spending the money and/or do not need to many of them is the plastic concrete hand mixing things. They can be found at big box stores like Home Depot for about 5-6 dollars each. Under water and out of the sun I think they would last for many, many years. Stack them edge to edge or spread them out with gravel in between. His carpet idea sounds like a good alternative also.
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#453397 - 08/03/16 08:58 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Thanks. Those answers make sense. Need something under it. I think I'll go 6" thick and put something under it for sure. Old carpet, some kind of Geotextile, etc. The gravel/sand mix I'm getting delivered w/tax for $180 per load which is 20 yards.

By the way, I wonder how long old carpet will last under water?


Edited by Alabama30 (08/03/16 08:59 PM)
Edit Reason: added question

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#453398 - 08/03/16 09:18 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1969
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: Alabama30

By the way, I wonder how long old carpet will last under water?


It should last the useful life of the pond.
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#453406 - 08/03/16 10:17 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
If you go with fabrick or carpet I would suggest putting a row of rocks or blocks surrounding the area. Those fish will seriously move some gravel around. Keep it contained for best results.
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#453412 - 08/04/16 07:20 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
That's great news that the carpet will last that long because I have access to used carpet.

My plan is to use cinder blocks to border the bed to keep the gravel from washing away.

So I think I have my plan. 30' x 30' area(s) with old carpet as the base, 6" of gravel on top and a cinder block border around 3 sides.

Thanks everyone for the advice.

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#453430 - 08/04/16 09:46 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
TKD Offline


Registered: 06/13/16
Posts: 104
Loc: S/W Louisiana
That's great advice. My pea gravel was delivered yesterday and I wish it was $180.00 for 20 yards. Mine was $480.00 for 13 yards. What about using visqueen under the pea gravel. I hope that wasn't a bad idea??? Any negitives for using visqueen? I also lined my with broken pieces of concrete.
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1 1/4 acre L shaped pond, 6 to 9 ft deep. Finished 7/7/16. Stocked with LMB, HBG, BG, CNBG, RES, FHM. Can't wait to fish it. GO SAINTS!!!

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#453460 - 08/04/16 07:17 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
I got a quote on pea gravel and it was $450 or so a truckload (20 yards they told me) so I went with what they call "driveway gravel" which is rocks, sand and no clay. $180/load. That pea gravel is expensive!

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#453462 - 08/04/16 07:35 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
I think the multi sizing of rocks will actually be preferable, in my non expert opinion. The fish will manipulate it to suit them.
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#453463 - 08/04/16 07:38 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: TKD]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
Originally Posted By: TKD
That's great advice. My pea gravel was delivered yesterday and I wish it was $180.00 for 20 yards. Mine was $480.00 for 13 yards. What about using visqueen under the pea gravel. I hope that wasn't a bad idea??? Any negitives for using visqueen? I also lined my with broken pieces of concrete.


The only concern I would have is potential trapped gas built up underneath something that is air/water tight. I might go and poke some holes in it about every foot with a sharpened spike or screwdriver. But I may be over thinking the problem.


Edited by snrub (08/04/16 07:39 PM)
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#453484 - 08/05/16 08:34 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
Theo Gallus Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12369
Loc: Central Ohio
I need to tell the BG and RES that have been spawning on soft clay in my ponds for 15 years that they should stop until I install pea gravel.
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#453495 - 08/05/16 12:10 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19377
Loc: Miss.
As long as the area is not subject to silting it should be ok. I don't use fabric etc.. Tamp the area down and then take a shovel and use the back side to make a plate sized depression. To that depression add a shovel of rock (bigger rock is better than pea size - use dime to silver dollar sized rock) . See pic below for how to group BG beds to make a colony.

snrub here is the science.

Mixed road gravel a little bigger than pea gravel is best.

8 - 32 mm is optimum

See this thread.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=199269&page=1

Role of Male Parental Care in Survival of
Larval Bluegills
MARK B. BAIN AND LOUIS A. HELFRICH
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Science•
Virginia Polytechinc Institute and State U niversity
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Abstract
Mortality of larval bluegills Lepomis macrochirus from predation was measured in 56 nests
guarded by males and 21 nests from which the male guard was removed. Mortality was s ignificantly greater in unguarded nests(median= 68%)than in guardian nests (median= 14%).Fish
traps placed in unguarded nests captured significantly more predators than traps placed in
guarded nests. Bluegills( 3-12 cm total length)w ere the most abundant nest predators Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus (7• -11 cm),largemouth bass M icropterus salmoides(4- 5 cm),and whitefin
shiners Notropis niveus(5 -6 cm) also were nest predators. Nest preparation by male bluegills
exposed coarse gravel( 8-32 mm diameter)and pebbles(3 2-64 mm) in nest substrate and removed particles smaller than 2 mm. Particles larger than 8 mm provided suitable interstitial
space to accommodate bluegill larvae. Survival of larvae was directly correlated with the proportion
of coarse substrate in the nest.


Some points of interest:

Our data from
Virginia implicated juvenile bluegills as the major
predators on bluegill larvae, followed in importance
by pumpkinseed. Dominey (1981)
drew the same conclusions from a New York....


In addition to direct protection afforded larval
bluegills by nest-guarding males, nest preparation
by the male parent influenced survival
of larvae in Lake Caroline. The availability of
suitable nesting substrate has been recognized
as a major factor affecting reproductive success
of centrarchid fishes (Breder 1936; Kramer and
Smith 1962; Muncy et al. 1979).

In laboratory observationss,
coarse particles provided suitable interstitial
space to accommodate yolk-sac bluegill larvae.
That coarse substrate may function as protective
shelter for larvae was supported by field
data: ....


Although
other factors undoubtedly influence
mortality of tested larvae, our data suggest that
predation, particularly intraspecific predation
(cannibalism), can be a major cause of early
bluegill mortality.




Fishshocker
Junior Member

Registered: 20/03/06
Posts: 4
Loc: Ackerman, MS New to this forum, but let me put my 2 cents in. Have been placing gravel to enhance spawning for warmwater fish, mostly Bream/Bass for 25 years and this is what I have observed: A. Bream prefer gravel as a spawning substrate. Why gravel?? Gravel allows for water to circulate throughout the egg mass as the guardian male fans the nest. This in turn carries the oxygen necessary for the survival of the individual eggs. Better circulation = better hatch from each nest = better fisheries dynamics. Washed pea gravel is probably best, but also the most expensive. Washed river rock #57 grade is also good and less costly. Washed rounded rock allows for better circulation. Sand, "white" rock, lime rock all tend to "lock up" and restrict the circulation of water/oxygen to the bottom of the egg mass necessary for egg survival in that part of the egg mass.
B. Thickness of the layer of spawning gravel will thin or "pancake" out after several years and eventually becomes useless. The mechanical action of fanning the beds makes the gravel migrate out over time. Counter this by boxing in the gravel with 1x12 inch cypress boards, filling in the outside of the boards with dirt. Looks like a shaved off pitcher's mound with gravel recessed in the ground. Dirt shoulders keep the hooks from snagging as easily.
C. Avoid sloping ground, level sites have the greatest use.
D. Dispurse the sites according to depth and aspect to allow for greater overall use throughout the spawning season.
E. Avoid locating sites adjacent to incoming streams, or tribs, they end up being silted in.
Just my 2 cents, hope this helps.

See pics below. Last pic shows rock size.
















Edited by ewest (08/05/16 12:14 PM)
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#453626 - 08/08/16 10:52 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Theo Gallus]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Originally Posted By: Theo Gallus
I need to tell the BG and RES that have been spawning on soft clay in my ponds for 15 years that they should stop until I install pea gravel.


Bluegill will lay eggs in a mud puddle if they have no where else. And humans will eat out of a dumpster is that's all they have. Survival rate is what I'm after. Plus concentration of beds for fishing during bedding.

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#453630 - 08/08/16 11:42 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Originally Posted By: Alabama30
Originally Posted By: Theo Gallus
I need to tell the BG and RES that have been spawning on soft clay in my ponds for 15 years that they should stop until I install pea gravel.


Bluegill will lay eggs in a mud puddle if they have no where else. And humans will eat out of a dumpster is that's all they have. Survival rate is what I'm after. Plus concentration of beds for fishing during bedding.


Careful on the harvest where those big males are concerned.
_________________________
"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.

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#453662 - 08/08/16 04:59 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: ewest]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
Ahh ha. I remembered reading something like that and it must have been when you posted it some time earlier Ewest. Thanks. If I could only remember what I once knew, I would be a lot smarter than I am.

So the larger rocks mixed in actually gives the larval BG a place of protection. They likely cluster around the larger rocks. Makes sense. I see larval fish in the ocean clustered up in a group using a coral head or even a rock on the bottom to stay out of the current and away from predators.


Edited by snrub (08/08/16 08:19 PM)
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#453676 - 08/08/16 08:46 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: sprkplug]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Originally Posted By: sprkplug
Originally Posted By: Alabama30
Originally Posted By: Theo Gallus
I need to tell the BG and RES that have been spawning on soft clay in my ponds for 15 years that they should stop until I install pea gravel.


Bluegill will lay eggs in a mud puddle if they have no where else. And humans will eat out of a dumpster is that's all they have. Survival rate is what I'm after. Plus concentration of beds for fishing during bedding.


Careful on the harvest where those big males are concerned.


Bad idea to catch them on the beds? Because he's protecting the eggs from predators?

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#453678 - 08/08/16 09:04 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
sprkplug Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Male Bluegill hierarchy is a wee bit more complicated than many are aware.

Try this: http://www.sdstate.edu/sites/default/fil...ul-Aug-2005.pdf
_________________________
"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.

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#453682 - 08/08/16 09:21 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: sprkplug]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Originally Posted By: sprkplug
Male Bluegill hierarchy is a wee bit more complicated than many are aware.

Try this: http://www.sdstate.edu/sites/default/fil...ul-Aug-2005.pdf


Interesting. Thanks for posting. Sounds like if looking for dinner try to keep smaller males and release large males and females. Now if I can learn to tell the difference...

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#453695 - 08/08/16 11:05 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
In a nutshell, if you routinely remove your biggest, best, fastest growing fish think what it does to your gene pool. Leaves the runts to reproduce. Also leaving big males tends to keep smaller fish in growth mode (to compete with the large males) rather than them going into reproduction mode while small. Net result overall larger fish population.

Put your best breeders back to produce superior offspring.

Think if you had a cow heard and routinely butchered your best cows and bulls and left the inferior ones to reproduce.


Edited by snrub (08/08/16 11:06 PM)
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#453703 - 08/09/16 07:36 AM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2340
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Alabama, I thought it was funny u used the example of eating out of a dumpster. But it's not about eating, it's about SEX and humans have had sex in a lot of different places, I could mention many a locations, but smile I did sand for spawning beds and man o man, lots and lots of yoy bg sure do show up. May not be perfect, but like Theo said, they spawn. But have some fun a build the beds if you can

Tracy
_________________________
Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.
Thank The Good Lord the government in Washington DC gets little done.
Outlawing guns will make a lot of us down here in the South
Outlaws and proud of it

Tracy

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#453773 - 08/10/16 02:15 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: TGW1]
Alabama30 Offline


Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 20
Loc: Lowndes County, Alabama
Originally Posted By: TGW1
Alabama, I thought it was funny u used the example of eating out of a dumpster. But it's not about eating, it's about SEX and humans have had sex in a lot of different places, I could mention many a locations, but smile I did sand for spawning beds and man o man, lots and lots of yoy bg sure do show up. May not be perfect, but like Theo said, they spawn. But have some fun a build the beds if you can

Tracy


Well heck Tracy, now I'm even more determined to create beds. More humans have sex in beds than anywhere else, so why not BG? Maybe I'll use mattresses instead of old carpet, add some pillows, etc. And of course be respectful enough not to look when I paddle by&#128512;

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#453790 - 08/10/16 09:16 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: Alabama30]
woodster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Wi
Ok... I admit it.. I do watch. I have an under water video camera and I check to see whats going on. My wife accused me of watching fish porn!

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#454082 - 08/15/16 09:38 PM Re: How much gravel for bream beds? [Re: woodster]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4838
Loc: SE Kansas
An article I recomend is "Bluegill Nesting' by Dave Willis. It has a picture of what I perceive to be the perfect spawning bed material based on various research I've gleaned here on PBF. It is a pdf download and not sure where I got it but likely a google search will turn it up. Might have been on this web site in archived articles.

Another good one is "The Secret Life of Bluegill", also by Dave Willis in pdf download format. It also has a lot of nesting information along with interesting spawning information.


Edited by snrub (08/15/16 10:32 PM)
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