Snrub, smb like rock piles that have the larger sized half football sized rock you speek of. we call it chunk rock and look for it along shorelines. It wont be long now, maybe 3 or 4 yrs when your smallies are good fighting sized fish. I don't care for eating them, or at least eating the size I normally catch in the 2 to 3 lb size, there is just not enough meat on them. But I sure do enjoy catching them. Wishing you the best. Oh! I would also like to have an excavator at my place. I might be like Bob L and wind up with 8 or ponds.
I caught about ten SMB today. Moved 4 to my forage pond and put a half dozen in my sediment pond. Biggest one was 7" and the smallest about 4". All kinds of SMB recruitment. I put about 16 ton of the larger size rock in scattered around the edges. Some of it this spring and a lot more recently. I had read that the SMB liked rock piles.
SMB are crazy fighters. I use a barbless 1/32 oz jig head and the small 4-5" fish don't load the rod to keep the line tight very well. They shake so violently they shake the hook out a lot. I have learned when I hook a small one I pull it right out and towards the bank because about half the time it will shake the hook and land on the ground. If I tarry too much they shake the hook and I loose them. I thought BG were fighters but these tiny SMB are just crazy fighters and are as aggressive as HBG to bite the hook. The 4" fish can barely get the hook of the jig head in their mouth.
Have not really tried any crank bait or worms or anything to catch the original stockers. I have so much recruitment I figure the larger SMB will eliminate a lot of them so I might as well catch a few and start them in my sediment pond.
The picture below I would guess is an original stocked fish. I stocked some 6-9" fish and also 4-6" so I suppose this could be one of the original 4" fish.
Eric I may be seeing SMB on nests. I just assume they are RES but can't really get close enough to tell for sure. And looking down on top of fish doesn't help with the ID.
I did catch one SMB today that was about 6" that looked like it had swallowed a golf ball. I don't know enough about fish to know if it was a female ripe with eggs (I would think it is too small/young) or if it had just gorged itself on pellets. It was sure fat. Wish I had taken a picture of it.
Edit: added two pictures of the same nest. One with fish on it and one without. This potentially could be a SMB nest as it is kind of by itself and a little larger than most of the other RES nests. I just could not get close enough to see the fish well enough to tell for sure. If you look close you can see nest is dug in the 1" and finer limestone gravel that I had dumped in numerous places along the bank.
Been waiting for the pond level to decrease and my energy level to increase to do a water level improvement to this pond. With rain a few days away in the forecast and the pond level a good foot below full pool because of the exceptionally hot dry weather the time had come. After watching the pond a year and considering the watershed area that fills the pond I decided I could safely maintain a higher water level on the existing dam (less freeboard space). I have done a similar exercise to three of my other ponds.
This pond has an 8" PVF overflow pipe. First step was to take the laser level and establish full pool level, dam height and emergency overflow height. I determined I could safely add 9" to the depth of the pond by installing a 90 degree elbo on the 8" overflow pipe. The vertical part of the elbo was cut down to about an inch above the top of the 8" pipe. This will give me about 9" additional water depth. I left the emergency overflow at the same level and at the new full pool level the water will be running about 4" over full pool through the overflow pipe when the emergency overflow is reached. So during heavy rain events under soil saturated conditions, the emergency overflow will really become more like just a normal earthen overflow and flow water. So the emergency overflow will likely get used once or twice a year. More normal rains will simply pass through the overflow pipe. I did cut the dam down in the emergency overflow area to make sure the flow area width was very wide and could handle the water coming out of both field terraces that flow into this pond from adjacent crop field. Wanted to make sure the dam would not breech during an exceptional rain event.
Pictures with descriptions below.
No one would hire me as a concrete contractor. But what I did will work. I dug down about two feet to where the clay was very hard and solid to form a base to hold the concrete block and then drove two T posts down into the bank an additional couple feed and embedded them into the concrete. Added some rebar also.
And now the "rest of the story". I started out with the intention of raising the water level 9". But while marking where the new full pool water line would be I realized on the west end of the pond the ground was relatively flat and would make more 0 to 9" deep water than what I wanted.
So I thought I would just go get the scraper and dozer and make that small area two or three feet deep. So the small project of making the pond deeper turned into expanding the pond size with some earth moving. So I got started on that project and come to the realization that I would have dirt to do something with. No problem as there were a couple spots that additional dirt would make the slope easier mowing and some erosion had made the dam peak kind of rounded. Plus it would not hurt to make it a little wider and add a few more inches of freeboard just for safety in case of heavy rain. But to do what I wanted to do would take more dirt than just 2 or 3 feet deep. So the little dirt project turned into a bigger dirt project and the deepest part ended up closer to 8' deep from the new full pool level.
What was the west end of the pond will now be an under water hump coming within about 9" under water at the shallowest parts. Added some new rock piles at the edge so will now be rock piles along the new "hump".
These "projects" always take on a life of their own. But two days after starting it was all done and I think it turned out nice. Don't think I will regret any of it. Pictures below.
Caught my first RES by hook and line today out of this RES/SMB pond and lo and behold I'm pretty sure it is a hybrid. I moved it to my old pond.
I have been very careful with the RES I stocked from my forage pond to only use specimens large enough that I could positively identify them. But I also stocked 200 2" fingerlings from Dunn's Fish Farm and they were too small for me to be positive about all of them.
I don't think I have many hybrids or I would be catching lots of them as they tend to be easy to catch.
My other issue with this pond is I had a flock of cormorants that may have wiped out a bunch of fish. Plus I could have had some winter kill. So not even sure how many RES survived. But I have been seeing them on nests so I know I have some and I have added some more since the cormorants from my forage pond. But the reality is I just don't know what my RES population currently is.
I know the fish pictured below has RES in it. But I would call it a hybrid with some GSF genes in it.
Edit 10-27-18 the fish is definitely a hybrid. I have caught several since this one along with a number of pure RES also. I have a few of these hybrids but I think not all that many. The ones I do have are just more aggressive to bite a hook so I catch them easier. I remove the hybrids I catch.
It could as it currently is, although starting out 9" more full it will have to drop 9 more inches than what it currently has this year.
When the new part fills I may take the backhoe and connect each end as deep as I can dig then it will always stay one pool. I'm not going to do it till we get some rain because if I did it right now it would lower the pond even more by a couple inches and I have fish on nests right now that are already really shallow.
Once we get just a little runoff, enough to fill the new part, then I could connect it without dropping the old part.
Have been keeping an eye on the RES on nests in this pond for a few days. Up till now I would see some on the nests but they did not seem too "committed". That changed today. Every nest in a colony had a RES male on it and they were actively guarding. Once in a while would see a squable between nests and I saw one male drive away a couple 4" SMB that wandered too close to the colony. Water is low enough and nests shallow that I can see the red ear tab on some of them.
I just can't get over these SMB recruitment's YOY. They are voracious.
In just slightly over 5 minutes I caught these five fish. I moved them to my forage pond. My thinking is most of these are going to become food for the 10" and larger SMB in this pond, so since there are so many of them I might as well move a few to another pond where they stand a better chance of getting bigger.
I find it interesting that at under 4" (the smallest one pictured was about 3.25") the SMB fingerlings have a distinctive black band on the tail. It is easy to ID them swimming from other shiners or FHM by the tail band. Somewhere around 5 or 6" this black tail band fades away and the tail color matches the rest of the fish.
FINALLY caught a RES out of this RES pond. Nice 7" female that has the classic RES snout and look.
The fingerling YOY SMB just kill me. Got to thinking maybe I was catching too many. But then I set in one spot on the pond and caught about 10 in a row. Ended up getting 20 in that bucket before taking them to my sediment and forage ponds then came back and got about 15 more. About 2/3 of them 3 to 4" and the rest 5-6". I'm thinking maybe the larger ones are from the smallest of the 4" stocked late last fall but I am unsure. I am sure the small ones are YOY.
I can catch the 4" ones one right after another. I figure many of the small ones will end up the same fate as a FHM and get eaten so I see little harm in removing a bunch and growing them out in another pond. I been putting the 4" ones in my forage pond where there are few predators and the 6" ones in my sediment pond where I do have some 10-11" LMB that were stocked as fingerlings last fall also. I caught one today at 11" and have been moving them to my main pond.
Everything caught today on a 1/64 oz jig with a pinch of Gulp Alive fake earthworm or green waxie
I would guess the SMB in the first picture is probably the size that is responsible for all my SMB recruitment's. I've caught several this size but none any larger. Of course I have actually been trying to avoid catching fish this size by using a small hook and bait. But I get one once in a while anyway. This one was caught on a 1/32 oz jig tipped with a Gulp Alive Chartreuse Waxie. I switched to a 1/64 oz jig to try and not tempt my original stocked fish as I only want to catch the recruitment's to move some more to another pond for grow out.
Second picture shows the water added in the new addition with the last rain. If we get another rain to bring the water level up to where the original pond is I will take a backhoe and "marry" the adjoining water together. When the pond is full the area between the two waters will all be submerged. I'm in no hurry for the waters to become one because as you can see the new water doesn't look too good for fish life. I did hand toss some ag lime out into the water today.
Third picture shows how I put some limestone around the existing water line (will be submerged when the pond is full) and how wave action washes the lime into the water. I did some of this around my main pond recently also.
Last picture is of a nice little RES I caught the other day. Hopefully it is making some babies for the SMB to eat.
Been messing with this pond quite a bit lately. Had an explosion of bullfrog tadpoles. Been trying to sample some RES fingerlings by trapping them and the trap fills up with bullfrog tadpoles in first picture. It was taken a few days ago (you can see the back legs but no front legs yet) and now I see small bullfrogs with a 1" long tail all around the pond. I would guess there are a hundred of more. Maybe my larger SMB will thin them out.
Second picture is of a RES I caught last night which got put back and the third is a hybrid which I removed.
Fourth picture is showing the new addition water and how it has improved. If you look back at an earlier post you will see the new water in it looks like chocolate milk. Can't see anything at all in it. Now a little while later the water has cleared a little (can see a few inches into it) and has got a green cast so algae is getting started. I had put a few buckets of the pond water in it to get the algae kick started and it appears to have worked. Water is starting to look like fish could actually live in it now. The lime I added also helped. Took a couple loader bucket full and hand tossed it out into the water with a shovel. I think this helped the clay settle out better.
Last picture shows how the pond is near two feet below where it will ultimately be when the rains come and the pond fills to the new overflow level (previous post adding 9" to pond depth). And harvest is in full swing as you can see in the background.
SMB are coming along nicely. The first picture fish was just a hair over 12". Did not measure the second one but it was similar. Maybe a bit smaller. The second and third pictures are of the same fish but one taken when I caught it and the next taken a few minutes later after being in a white bucket. Notice the bland look in second picture and the pattern in the third.
Both of these fish got transferred to my main 3 acre pond. I really debated what to do but I purposely overstocked SMB in this RES pond specifically to move some fish to my main pond when big enough to escape predation. Thing of it is, I'm not sure how many of the original stockers survived. I think a flock of cormorants did a number on them. BUT..... one thing I do know it that I have a tremendous amount of recruitment as I am still catching lots of 3.5"-4" SMB by hook and line as well as quite a number of 5-6". So I really have no fear of removing "too many" and my final thought before transferring these two 12" fish was that many of the 4" SMB would just be food for these larger fish if left in. So I now have SMB in my main pond.
Talk about fighters! The first 12" SMB did a tail stand/Michael Jackson moon walk on top of the water and the second fish cleared the water by nearly two feet twice before I landed it. Lucky it didn't shake the hook as I am using barbless jigs. I really was not wanting to "fight" either one much and get them landed quickly because the water is still pretty hot (but has cooled significantly with recent rains). So I was not wanting to stress them but they had other ideas. SMB are feisty fish!
SMB are very special fish!! Definitely my favorite of any freshwater fish. I landed a 7 pounder in mid Feb years ago on Ft. Loudon Lake, Tn, in 40* water. She jumped and cut flips 4 times before I got a net under her. One more and she would have gotten away. My rattletrap had one hook left in the skin of her bottom lip. I was trembling for an hour afterward.
A 7 foot hollow fiberglass medium action rod is the only way I'll throw a trap now.
I'll take one SMB over 10 LMB ANY DAY!!!
Last edited by Mike Whatley; 09/06/1812:46 PM.
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epitome of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia,Mud Minnows, Crappie, and now shiners!!...I subscribe!!
The SMB recruits are really hitting the feed now. Almost as aggressive as BG in my main pond. The water has really cleared up. As clear as I have ever seen it. Fish are easily seen and seem to be hungry. A number of RES are also now taking the pellets. They probably were before but today I clearly seen them feeding.
Wow there is a lot of the SMB recruits. A lot of 5" and 6" fish but still lots of 3-4" fish also. A larger one once in a while but they tend to stay out further from the bank so harder to see. When a bigger one does come closer to shore the 3-4" fish scatter.
Either there was a later spawn or the smallest fish just never got to eating pellets and are slow growers. I can see some of the small fish hitting pellets but some of them clearly are not. They will act agitated when the other fish are feeding but they never go to the top and take a pellet. At least while I am watching.
I'm feeding these a mixture of Optimal starter #4 (which few appear to be utilizing while I am watching), Optimal BG Jr, Optimal BG and Optimal Bass. Occasionally I will also feed them some AM MVP but use mostly Optimal in this pond. The Optimal Starter is utilized very well by my small BG fingerlings in my main pond but the SMB seem to prefer the larger pellets. They also seem to have preference to size. That is why I am feeding the mixture, to give the various size fish whatever they prefer.
If you do not go out to your pond at different times of day I suggest you do so. When the sun is overhead and the water clear it is amazing what a person can see. I think I took the pictures around 11am.