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#484682 - 12/29/17 10:42 AM 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a great Christmas! I have been working on our structure plan using the topo as recommended. I tried to find shallow areas that dropped into 8-10 foot of water quickly. My plan is to sink Christmas trees in clusters in the deeper areas and hopefully plant some vegetation in the shallower bedding areas. We are also open to adding gravel or other stone to these bedding areas if it would be an advantage for spawning. I've attached my first draft of the structure plan for everyone to critique. Please note that these depths are full pond. The water is currently about 2' low. The lowest we have ever seen the water is about 3' below full pond.

I do have a question about the transition areas. I have been reading a lot here and seen that it is recommended to make a structure "highway" for the fish to use to get from the bedding areas to the deeper water. These drops are areas I would expect the bass to use for feeding. As such, I would like to make these areas as fishable as possible. I expect Christmas trees will induce snagging and difficult bait presentation for artificial lures, right? If we do need to make highways to tie the bedding to deep cover, what would you recommend? Something like my bucket shrubs (pic) or would those not be dense enough? I also considered something along the lines of the attached pic but with a netting over each end of the tile to prevent bigger fish from entering. If that is feasible, what size should we try to limit passage to?

We are waiting on a quote for the electofishing but we are definitely going to do that asap. I'm not 100% sure at this point but there is a possibility that the electroshocking will need to wait on warmer water so that a good sample would be obtained in shallower waters. The company who is quoting the job is supposed to let me know the earliest they can/would come out. So this leads me to my stocking question.

As I mentioned before, we have fished and threw the cast net in this lake a lot over the last 2 years. The only fish we have taken with a rod has been green sunfish. I'm almost 100% sure that until I transported bream this year, there was no bream in the pond. I got a call today from a Hatchery I spoke with earlier and they said they could deliver CNBG and RES this weekend or next week. We had gotten a quote for 10,000 @ .30. These are non-graded fish from 2"-5". The owner asked if there would be a downside to going ahead with the stocking of CNBG and RES and structure improvements while waiting on the survey. I told him Mr. Lusk's message said to do electrofishing and structure improvements BEFORE stocking but I wasn't sure of all of the pros/cons on survey first. I couldn't figure out how to post pics on a PM to Mr. Lusk so I thought I would post this here for all to see and comment on. So what are the pros/cons of stocking CNBG and RES now as opposed to waiting until the spring - this is assuming the survey will show we do need these fish.

My thoughts: we know there are at least 10 bass that were stocked this year. 7 stocked on 7/14 and 3 stocked on 11/24. So I'm thinking those would not have spawned in our pond this year. There could possibly be more bass there that we don't know about but again, we have never caught any. So the risk is stocking with predators resulting in loss of investment. Adding structure would help mitigate some of this but should be done before or quickly after stocking. Benefit would be stocking in cold weather when predators don't feed as heavy allowing a few months of growth -slow but hopefully some growth- before the water warms and feeding starts heavy. Is this wrong? Am I totally off track? I know I am working with limited knowledge here so please point me in the right direction.

Thanks again to everyone here and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!


Attachments
Structure plan small1.jpg (103 downloads)
transition cover1.jpg (80 downloads)
transition cover2.jpg (83 downloads)


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#484693 - 12/29/17 12:59 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
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Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3065
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
The pros of stocking those bluegills now are:
1) You introduce a necessary species...based on your assumption there are no bluegills in the lake. If that assumption is correct, you'll make a good decision.
2) That 2-5" size range is deceiving...if they are mostly 4"-5", you've hit a home run.

The cons of stocking them now are:
1) If your ten bass actually did have a late summer spawn, and most of those bluegills are 2", survival rates are likely to be low.
2) The price of $.30 each is market price for 2-3" fish and you can get that price during spring, too.
3) Sounds like its more about the hatchery needing to make a sale than helping solve a fisheries problem.
4) This is probably the most important point. Stocking bluegill now gives you no advantage over stocking them in March. They won't grow, and they won't reproduce (unless you get a few back-to-back bluebird 80 degree days in February).

I still stick with the advice about doing the electrofishing survey and then make a plan. Stocking will be part of that plan.

If this were a new lake, with zero fish in it, I'd say go ahead and do it. But, that's not the case. You don't know what you don't know and that's what the electrofishing survey will help. You'll know more after that.

To reinforce that point, are there chain pickerel there? Where did the green sunfish come from? What about bowfin? With the species you have found, using the methods you've had, your samples are biased. Electrofishing mitigates that bias.

Do your habitat plan, electrofish the lake and then make decisions.

Speaking of habitat, what you designed and show in the photos is great transition structure. I like it a lot.
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#484718 - 12/30/17 10:36 AM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
Here is the structure archive. Some pics are missing but there is good text. Nice plan. I would put several structures in the deep water from bottom to within 3 ft of the surface for winter and spring/fall fishing. I would spread out the feeders some to different points around the pond to improve feeding efficiency (if you feed at the same time all feeders then spreading them out feeds more fish). Brush piles near the feeders gives BG a safe space and allows LMB fishing around them for lurking LMB waiting for a meal. Some xmas trees near BG beds helps survival of young BG.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92463#Post92463


Edited by ewest (12/30/17 10:37 AM)
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#484741 - 12/31/17 08:01 AM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4399
Loc: SE Kansas
You already have advice from more than one professional, and I am definitely not a professional, but since this is a discussion board I'll add my unprofessional opinion.

If you do choose to ignore the advice of the professionals and go ahead and stock some fish, I would not waste my money on the 2-3" fingerlings. Spending twice or three times as much per fish on 5"-6" BG that survive and buying 1/3 as many is still a better investment than buying 3 two inch fish for the same cost that get eaten in the first week. I have had experience with GSF in a one acre pond, and if these things get established before your other forage, they can be as bad as a bunch of fingerling LMB as far as ruining your stocking plans.

I would be worried about a bunch of existing GSF already in the lake more than the dozen LMB you put in.


Edited by snrub (12/31/17 08:08 AM)
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#484751 - 12/31/17 04:29 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Thanks for the replies! We will definitely be following the advise of the professionals and holding off on stocking. I called the hatchery back and they said to expect 5-10% of the fish to be in the 4-5" range. Not enough to take the risk in my opinion. I heard back from the guy on electrofishing and he said he normally starts back up March-April. That gives us time to work on our structure plan and be ready come spring.

John, there is an established GSF population in this pond for sure. We see a bunch of 2" but have caught a few hand sized and 1 giant. I didnt think GSF got big but I think he was pushing a pound. Wish I would have measured him. I think the electrofishing is going to be interesting to see what all comes up. Would they normally cull any GSF that come up in the survey? Thinking about GSF as predators for the 2-3" CNBG, we may have to stock larger fish or get a nursery pond set up to stock 2" and raise to 6" before transferring them. I may be calling on your GSF experience in the future!

Thanks for the link, Ewest. I had browsed through that looking for ideas and I will probably end up with a mix-n-match from a few of them. Great info throughout that thread and the others linked there.

Whats everyones thoughts on the pipe for transition cover? Should the inside of the pipe be filled with limbs to create dense cover for fry moving from bed to deep? How deep will the fry go, assuming I have a cluster of standing Christmas trees in 8-10' water? I was thinking of starting with the pipe upside down and filling it Christmas tree limbs. Put something across the bottom to hold the limbs in and flip it back over to put pvc limbs on the outside. I dont have any of the corrugated pipe yet so I can't make one for show and tell.

I have another idea I'm working on as an alternative as well. I will share that as soon as I can get it all together.

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#484752 - 12/31/17 04:38 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
Yes those pipe structures will work well for fishing. Not as thick as I would like for protecting small fish around beds though. Hard to beat xmas trees for new fish protection. Best advice is be sure to think in 3 dimensions. Vertical relief is a key concept. Most pond fish like structure and highways so as not to have to swim across open water with nothing there. This is not the case for shad or HSB which are pelagic.


Edited by ewest (01/01/18 11:29 AM)
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#484755 - 12/31/17 05:01 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 735
Loc: in the mountains
You could just run the pvc all the way through the half pipe to the ground and basically have a mirror image of the pvc underneath the pipe. Then if it wasn't thick enough for you just zip tie some branches, 2-3" pipe, etc to the pvc underneath. Could also just add more pvc. Make it look like a pin cushion.


Edited by wbuffetjr (12/31/17 05:01 PM)
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#484756 - 12/31/17 05:04 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Do you think if the pipes were filled with brush to create dense cover the small fish would use the inside or still hang to the outside?

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#484757 - 12/31/17 05:07 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Yeah, wbuffetjr. Thats kind of what I was thinking. Or doing similar with brush.

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#484764 - 12/31/17 07:58 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Mdodson461 Offline


Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 89
Loc: River Valley Arkansas
66 acres. Wow.
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#484788 - 01/01/18 11:32 AM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
Mixed brush piles - all sizes of stuff from xmas trees to big limbs work well as all size fish will use them. One way to do that is with the post method.


From the Hands On Structure presentation during PB III.

A method of adding structure to a pond with water. This is an adaptation of the Ray Scott method from the Great Small Waters video. It can be done using xmas trees , buckets of limbs , pallets , or pvc structures. It involves driving a post into the pond bottom and using it to mark and hold the structure items. Using a boat (if unsteady you can use an A-frame ladder to drive the post) to drive the post ( using a shovel or fence post driver or hammer or ax) . After the post is in place tie the xmas trees to the post with small trot line string. Think about how you want the trees to hang in combination. Top up or down , horizontal . vertical and at what depth for each. You can also tie several trees together in squares to triangles (tree tops to bottoms to form and even structure). Then tie and place it over the post. Note after a year or so you can cut the string and allow them to fall to the bottom and tie on new ones. This will form a pile or cone of trees from bottom to top.


Edited by ewest (01/01/18 11:35 AM)
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#484801 - 01/01/18 04:22 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Interesting idea Ewest. When you are making thick cover with Christmas trees, how deep are you targeting? We have several areas that drop quickly from 3' to 8-10'. My thinking was put the trees in the 8-10' water if I can get them to stand up in clusters.

We just picked up 24 trees today and should get more this week. This should give us 2 good clusters of cover. Using the topo attached above, which areas should I start with?

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#484837 - 01/02/18 01:45 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4399
Loc: SE Kansas
If you use a large pipe (say 12" to 24") as a fish highway for small fish to transfer from one area to another, you need to drill LOTS of holes (2" or so) along the way in the pipe. I see big pipes (pilings) laying on the bottom somewhat regularly when diving certain locations. The fish, sponges, etc will use the first foot or two into the pipe from each end. The rest of the middle of the pipe will be pretty well barren.

As an example, say you have a 16" plastic pipe 20' long running from one brush pile to another. Seems like the perfect fish highway for small fish to transition from one place to another. A solid pipe will hardly get used.

Drill about a hundred 2" holes in it and it will work well I think.

The water inside the solid pipe will get stale. It will be dark in there, even more so if you cram brush inside. Put lots of holes and suddenly 1-2" fish can dart in and out the holes for protection. The holes allow water exchange so there is O2. The holes allow light penetration so algae can grow so more food and O2.

A good tool to make 1" holes in plastic pipe is a multi step drill. Harbor Freight sells 1" and bigger ones. A wood bit works decent but tends to break through and not cut a full size hole. Hang on to the drill. I have found step drills to work much better.

If you want to put some stuff inside that would be fine but I would not pack it tight. Just a few branches or something. Place it above any thermocline or at a level small fish will use.

That is the way I see it in my non expert mind.

step drill These may not be a very good bit for a lot of metal drilling. But for plastic I have had good luck with them.

For bigger holes or "slots", drill two holes close together then connect with jig saw or sawzall.


Edited by snrub (01/02/18 02:10 PM)
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#484841 - 01/02/18 02:16 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
Xmas trees in shallow water (lay down not standing) about 20 ft from BG beds to help improve BG survival.

Xmas trees can be used along with big limbs or open brush in water any depth for fishing.



Edited by ewest (01/02/18 02:37 PM)
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#484849 - 01/02/18 05:27 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Matzilla Online   content


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 176
Loc: Iowa
I'd wager that smaller clumps of structure, staggered, forming a line from one area to another would also serve as a great highway. Semi-natural fish highways are creek channels in a reservoir - picture along depression with steepish sides, littered with cover.

Instead of buying the pvc and corrugated drainage tubing you could probably save some money buying PEX in bulk and using it instead of pvc. The large tubing cut in half could also be made of plastic drums.

I added some green to your plan to represent areas I'd add cover - mostly near bedding areas, provide highways between beeding areas, cover in pinch points (natural highways) and transition areas from shallow to deep.

I added a single 20' cedar in my pond last year that bridges the transition from 3' to 14' of water. It is heavily used year round by both predators and prey alike. I have a 50' oak that fell into the pond years ago, the trunk lays shallow from bank to 7', always has a bass hiding under it. The top transitions from 9' to 3' and holds yoy fish and predators year round. Be sure to vary your cover types as stated above.


Attachments
Structure_plan_small1.jpg (62 downloads)



Edited by Matzilla (01/02/18 05:27 PM)
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1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
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#484888 - 01/03/18 10:21 AM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
I tried to copy the map and place yellow structure dots. Says file is to big. Look at your deep water area and place a bottom to top structure at three places. Starting at the top of the pic place one at the 19 ft location , one at the 20 ft location in the middle and one at the 16 ft location - a line of all depth structure across the lake as a highway.


Edited by ewest (01/03/18 10:25 AM)
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#484898 - 01/03/18 12:59 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Thanks for all of the great input! Y'all have got my gears turning on some creative options for structure. I just wish I didn't have to work for a living so I could get started trying some of them.

Ewest,
I wanted to see if I could come up with a dense cover to put close the the bedding area for protection of fry but also not be as snag/tangle prone as Christmas trees. We will definitely have lots of kids fishing and my experience is they will hang up 9 out of 10 throws if at all possible. At least my kids do anyway. We are working on their casting accuracy but... I digress.
That was what got me thinking about the large pipe with dense structure inside. But with the info above from snrub, sounds like that is not the right way to go. Im still pondering on this problem. Seems hard to make dense cover snag resistant.

On the deep water cover from bottom to top, would suspended cover in the middle of the water column work? The reason I ask is, first I dont have anything quite that tall. And second, we like to pull the kids on the tube in that area. Here is what I had in mind.

Material:
Plastic 55 gal drum with screw on lid
Irrigation drip tubing - 3' lengths
Pool noodles or other buoyant material
Rope and weight

Open barrel and put bouyant material inside. Close and drill holes at random all over the barrel. Insert drip tubing "limbs". Drill holes in the bottom of barrel, attach limbs, and rope/weight to the center at correct length to suspended. Drill holes in top, attach limbs and a rope loop to assist in pulling up this contraption in the future. Sink 3 in triangle formation at each location. Height would be where the top limbs are 5' below full pond - due to known fluctuations of at least 3' in depth. Each barrel would be around 8' in height and width.
PS-I am an engineer and tend to over think things at times. Please feel free to make suggests or just tell me I'm crazy :-)

Matzilla,
Thanks! As noted above, I have found that irrigation drip tubing is cheap and works great as limbs. The pic of the pvc/drainpipe structure was something I found on this forum. Was just thinking of putting my spin on it for dense cover underneath. I may end up using some trees for transition cover as you mention but do want to have one or two "kid safe" areas. These will probably be around the bedding areas in the back close to the feeders.

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#484901 - 01/03/18 02:39 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
These should help with the idea.



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#485412 - 01/19/18 08:33 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Hi everyone. I finally got a chance to get out to the pond and do a little check up. I tried to do a water test with my pool kit but that didn't quite work out as planned. The only thing I got a good measurement on was the alkalinity is between 25-50 ppm. I ordered a full pond water test kit and a second one for alkalinity and hardness testing.

So the pond is about 3' low - the lowest I have seen it. I decided to do a little flyover with my Christmas present and give everyone a good look at the pond. The cool thing is with a polarized filter and the shallow water, you can see the shallow areas really well. Check it out and see what you think.
Lake Flyover

You will notice the round spots on the bottom of the lake in the video. I checked these areas to find out what they were while exploring for vegetation. I only found 2 plants in the water and both of them are like grass. The one that shows up in the video is a grass that grows close the the bottom and almost looks like moss until it is disturbed. This was by far the most common vegetation I found. The other grass -pic labeled pond grass tall- was found spread around but not in big clusters like the other. Any help identifying these and determining if they could become a problem is appreciated.

I only managed to get 25 Christmas trees so I have revised my structure plan to reflect my first steps. The trees will be concreted into 5 gallon buckets and dropped in clusters standing upright. The plan is to line the drop-off in one area with trees being 2 or 3 wide. I am also working on a plan to tie the bedding areas to the standing trees to make the "yoy highway" but I haven't figured exactly how I want to do that yet.

I hope to get my water test kit next week and get back out to the lake before next weekend to test again. Hopefully I can get that data back up here to get some recommendations on what plants would be best for the bedding areas. Anything else you think I should check on my next trip, let me know.

The electrofishing should happen March-April and I am excited to see that and finally get a solid plan together for stocking.


Attachments
pondgrass1.jpg (28 downloads)
pondgrass2.jpg (18 downloads)
pondgrass3.jpg (14 downloads)
pond_tall_grass.jpg (20 downloads)
Pond-plan1.jpg (20 downloads)


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#485413 - 01/19/18 09:44 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12113
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Good video of your lake. At 50-80 acres, I would call that a small lake although it is technically a large pond.

Plants- I'm not positive as to what they are. The ones with the white 'stems'; are the white parts roots or stem-leaves on the bottom side? It is very hard to identify aquatic plants when they are held all bunched and matted together. Get us some better pictures - see examples in the link.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=371748#Post371748

The 2nd type plant. Is it completely submerged or does it grow in shallow water with some of the leaves emergent?


Edited by Bill Cody (01/19/18 09:47 PM)
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#485421 - 01/20/18 09:27 AM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Hey Bill,

Luckily I brought some home just in case. Its been in the boat for a week but still seems to be ok. Hearty stuff evidently. The white side is definitely the root system. As you can see from the attached pic, it is almost like a mat with all of the roots attached like a web. It is really hard to seperate the strands without them breaking - very thin and fragile.

The other plant was only found in a few places and was individual clusters in less and 3' of water. It was completely submerged. The pic above was of the biggest sample, most where much smaller. Ive attached a few pics of the smaller version.

Thanks for the feedback and pic tips!


Attachments
20180120_085238.jpg (32 downloads)
20180120_090810.jpg (24 downloads)
20180120_090607.jpg (22 downloads)
20180120_091853.jpg (17 downloads)
20180120_091903.jpg (18 downloads)


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#485427 - 01/20/18 09:02 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12113
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Those two plants have me without a name. They are definitely from different genera due to growth habit. I do not have the book Aquatic and Wetland plants of Southeastern US (Vol 1 monocotyledons) which is a very good book to have for identifying aquatic plants is SE US. I have passed the the pics on to a friend in South Caroling with botany contacts. It may take a several days for an answer.


Edited by Bill Cody (01/20/18 09:03 PM)
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#485428 - 01/20/18 09:50 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19075
Loc: Miss.
Look at this and see if you can id the plant.

https://aquaplant.tamu.edu/
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#485429 - 01/20/18 10:51 PM Re: 66 acre pond - structure plan & stocking question [Re: Daniel Powell]
Daniel Powell Online   content


Registered: 12/19/17
Posts: 35
Loc: Maxton, NC
Thanks Bill. Please let me know what your contact says!

I looked through the link from Ewest and it looks like the one could be baby pondweed, bushy pondweed, or widgeon grass. I think it favors bushy pondweed the most due to the root structure. Right now it is really close to the bottom but maybe that changes with warmer weather. The water was 48 last weekend.

We are going to work on the water quality this spring and with the addition of feeders I expect we will improve the fertility of the water - even if we dont fertilize. If I need to get a handle on bad plants, it would be easier to do now before they blow up.

Thanks for the help!

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