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#467723 - 03/26/17 06:06 PM Grandmother's old pond.
chunting Offline

Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 13
Loc: North Louisiana
Two and a half years ago we acquired an 18 acre tract with small, three bedroom house, outbuilding and my bride's Grandmother's old pond, about an acre, more or less. It was the last piece of the original tract owned by her maternal grandparents to be acquired by the bride and her brother.

Here's the pond as it looked when the property was acquired. View from porch of house. I retired a few months after the purchase and spent several months sampling the fishery and developing plans, one to manage as is and one to renovate and begin over. Upon a thorough investigation of the fishes, we determined it was full of stunted black crappie, green sunfish and green sunfish/bluegill hybrids. Green sunfish were the apex predator as we did not confirm the existence of one largemouth bass. We agreed to take it down to grown zero retaining as much of the original dam's integrity as possible.

View showing portion of dam with willows, large pines, briars and mats of alligator weeds. The dam had deteriorated such that it was simply a narrow dike holding the water back.

First step, pumping pond as low as we could. We scrounged up a pump within the family and a family member willing to spend the time[with compensation] pumping it down. We still had a ways to go in this photo but you can see what we were dealing left. We were able to get it down to a two foot average depth along the dam. Once this was completed Rotenone was to kill the remaining fish. Our initial assessment was correct, no bass and a bunch of runts. I never found a fish or minnow that survived the Rotenone. If you have used Rotenone or attempted to acquire it lately, you will find it a laborious process dealing with licensed chemical applicators, etc., to acquire and have it applied.

I hired a long time acquaintance who builds ponds and renovates earth dams as part of his business. I stayed on the property with the contractor the entire three days to insure we lost no time when we had to solve a problem or change direction based upon some issue. The two earth, casting piers he is building accomplished a couple things. It added pond edge with deep water, provided easy access to deeper water and clear back cast room for the fly rod, my favorite weapon. smile The pier downhill from the house is a great place to feed pellets over deep water. It saved me the problem of what to do with all the dirt and silt the contractor was generating and access to more water, which correlated to more deep water. With a goal of growing big copper nose bluegill, I wanted a high ratio of deep water to shallow and clean banks to make it easier for the bass to locate and eliminate small blue gill.

Here's the finished product.

Dam covered with straw mats used to control erosion and seeded with winter wheat. I used them to cover the earth "casting piers" as well to control erosion.

The pond finished at a little over an acre. We stocked 800 copper nose bluegill, 200 red ear sunfish, 50 largemouth bass and 10 pounds of fat head minnows in late February, 2016. I put them on Aquamax 500 as soon as they would come to pellets and have monitored their growth monthly. We plan to begin removing some of the original stocking this summer and bass over 14". These are what our largest copper nose look like. The gill pushing 9" is noticeably the larger of the two but the photo doesn't do it justice.

#467724 - 03/26/17 06:14 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
CMM Offline

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 564
Loc: West Central MO
Nice write up, good pics and super looking fish. Gills on the fly are sweet! May you and your loved ones have many hours of enjoyment.

#467727 - 03/26/17 07:00 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
anthropic Offline

Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 902
Loc: Louisiana, USA
You obviously had a very clear objective right from the start, which helps tremendously. Congratulations!

PS I love flyfishing for CNBG too. On the appropriate tackle, a 1 lb fish feels like a monster.
7 acre pond in east Texas, full pool reached March 2016. CNBG, RES, FHM stocked Nov 15; TP May 16; LSL bass 30 June 16.

#467728 - 03/26/17 07:59 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
farmallsc Offline

Registered: 02/09/17
Posts: 400
Loc: Texas
Looks like all the work paid off. Congrats

#467738 - 03/26/17 09:25 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: anthropic]
John Fitzgerald Online   content

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1643
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: anthropic

PS I love flyfishing for CNBG too. On the appropriate tackle, a 1 lb fish feels like a monster.

Try a 6 lb CC on a 13 ft light action crappie pole with a 1/64 oz jig. I did that last fall. What a fight!

#481218 - 10/17/17 10:12 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline

Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 13
Loc: North Louisiana
Soon after posting we added a Texas Hunter directional feeder. Once we began a regular, daily routine of feeding twice a day with a mix of AquaMax 500 and AquaMax 600 pellets, our fish really began putting the weight on. In late September my wife caught and released the first of our bluegills to reach the 16 ounce mark, a hefty 9.75 inch specimen. This past weekend we had our youngest granddaughter for a few days and she landed another hefty bluegill measuring 9.0 inches that weighed 15 ounces.

As noted above we stocked in late February 2016 and caught our first bluegill to weigh an honest 16 ounces on the kitchen scale we use to monitor growth along with a bump board for measuring length, in September 2017.

Wife's 16 ounce fish.

Granddaughter's 15 ounce fish.

One I caught and released on a 2 wt fly rod but didn't weigh. A big, hefty fish.

When we began the process, I figured we could get our bluegills to a pound by end of the third summer, but we were pleasantly surprised to find we accomplished it by the end of the second summer. I don't think it unreasonable to think we might have some fish reach 1.5 pounds by the end of next summer.

We continue to mow, weed eat and spray pond side weeds[alligator weed and soft rushes] to encourage local grasses to stabilize the banks. We are able to use a finish mower on a Kubota tractor along 90% of the banks. I manually remove lots of smaller bluegills with two minnow traps and one baitfish trap to assist our bass with their job.

Edited by chunting (10/17/17 10:14 PM)

#481223 - 10/17/17 10:51 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
KapHn8d Offline

Registered: 10/02/17
Posts: 135
Loc: TX
Thanks for sharing this journey... really nice write-up and I love the pics of progress and fun. Congrats on a plan coming together!

96.85840735 percent clayton... the rest is just pi.

We become what we think about.

#486433 - 02/22/18 02:20 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline

Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 13
Loc: North Louisiana
Our pond just celebrated two years since stocking. We caught our first 16 oz bluegill in September, 2017.

We have continued to make improvements around the pond killing rushes and other noxious weeds. This has resulted in grasses spreading around the pond, replace the weeds. Regular mowing with bush hogg, ridding mover and weed eater now allows us to mow/weed eat 90% of the shoreline.

Our main water weed issues are pond weed and alligator weed. Currently I'm managing the pond weed simply buy reaching out with a long handled net with fine mesh and dragging it out on the bank when it becomes a problem. Using the net, I'm able to remove hundreds of small bluegill and some green sunfish that hide in the pond weed. The green sunfish re-entered the pond after stocking and we just have to manage them and some hybrids best we can. I spray the alligator weed and once it dies use a heavy rake to pull the alligator weed mats out of the pond. This year we will need to deal with some of the "slimy" mosses that are enjoying the rich run off from the neighbors cows.

Here's one of the green sunfish/coppernose bluegill hybrids that was spawned after we stocked. We remove all these and green sunfish and either fillet them or feed our resident coon that nightly visits our bird feeder.

I shut off our feeder during a bout of cold weather but plan to turn it back on after we get through with these heavy rains. Until then, I hand feed them some to keep them interested.

The older the pond becomes the more work is required to stay with the plan. This year we will need to do a better job of removing fish. Our small bass are still fat, indicating they are not successfully removing enough small bluegill. I will add more minnow traps to help out. I noticed while hand feeding earlier this week that a number of large bass are still eating pellets. I will take pleasure in remedying that. smile

While removing those alligator weed mats I exposed several American eels. They love to hide out in those weed mats.

I think this year will see some of the better gills move close to the 1.5 pound mark. We have made the decision to not remove any redear sunfish unless injured. They don't reproduce well in a small pond and earn their way by eating snails that serve as intermediate hosts for certain parasites that infect fish.

It has been awhile since I handled a 1.5 pound copper nose. Last I did came out of Hughes Old River off the Altamaha River in Georgia in the late 1980s.

#486438 - 02/22/18 09:04 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
beastman Offline

Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 207
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
Enjoyed this thread and the photos, I say you are well on your way to 1.5lb BG. Stocking some HSB could be a cool bonus fish in your pond, hear they are fun to catch on the fly...
I Subscribe!
3/4 Acre Pond: HSB,SMB,YP,HBG,RES

#486462 - 02/22/18 07:55 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
canyoncreek Online   content

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1683
Loc: West Michigan
Chunting, neat thread, thanks for the pictures. If you ever get a picture of your RES or of the EEL please post them. I'd love to see these critters that you speak of. I love the picture of the HBG that hit the lure that is about as big as itself! Those GSF genes really show up in those hybrids and make them crazy aggressive eaters.

Do you know how the GSF got back in your pond?

I agree that it might be good to have another predator that may not be such a prolific spawner that could help control the young BG of all types and not be a management concern in and of itself like LMB can be. HSB, chain pickerel, Walleye, or similar predator would be neat to add.

#486467 - 02/23/18 08:28 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
Dam'dWaters Offline

Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 84
Loc: Iowa
Great looking renovation. I like following your progress. Keep up the good work and I trust you'll hit that goal of 1.5 lb CNBG.
J Waters
Dam'd Waters Farm
2/3 ac dam'd stream pond

#486468 - 02/23/18 08:53 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
chunting Offline

Registered: 12/27/15
Posts: 13
Loc: North Louisiana
Here's one of our redears caught and released last spring. In older times redears were called "Government bream" and stocked along with other fish in ponds, One of the reasons is spelled out here:

"A few freshwater species of fish have a very unique diet. One of these is the redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus), also called a shellcracker. Redear play a distinctive role in the balance of a pond ecosystem by targeting mollusks such as snails and small clams as their primary food source. Pond managers and fisheries biologists often stock redear into ponds because their unique diet helps break the life cycle of fish parasites that hamper the health of other fish."

It appears that a handful of green sunfish and GS/BG hybrids were able to move up the spillway of our pond from the intermittent stream it empties into during a freakish 15 inch rain event a few months after our pond was stocked. The first spring our redears spawned first next to the spillway and later our bluegills spawned in several spots. All spawning this first spring occurred in shallow water next to banks which made it easy to monitor the beds. A seven inch green sunfish showed up first on a bed with the redears. I removed it by planting a .270 next to it. The shock waves rendered it easy to remove with a long handled net. I caught another green sunfish and one hybrid that were feeding on pellets along with the BG using a pole and small piece of worm. We remove all green sunfish and hybrids. I doubt we can get rid of them but can reduce their impact. I know green sunfish and hybrids have their following but I simply don't like them and don't want them in our pond, smile We continue working on the spillway by adding "rocks." Rocks are plentiful in this area and stabilize our spillway well.

Largemouth bass are capable of controlling our bluegills, we simply just don't have enough yet to do the job so I aid them mechanically.

#486480 - 02/23/18 01:05 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
canyoncreek Online   content

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1683
Loc: West Michigan
Thanks for the pictures. I hope my RES in my pond look nice and fat and fully colored like yours. So the GSF and hybrids came up the creek during high water but where did they come from? I can't imagine there is a body of water or stream that naturally has hybrids in it? Or maybe you have more than one pond?

And another perhaps unrelated thought, why is it that so many public bodies of water do not have hybrid bluegill in it? Natural hybridization between NBG and GSF should happen on its own but it seems we see beautiful HBG pictures in our ponds only because we stock them. Wouldn't it be kind of surprise if you went to one of the non-managed local lakes in your county and started catching HBG?

Can't wait to see more of your pictures and your progress. I love your story and the term 'gubberment Brim'


#486631 - 02/27/18 02:56 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
Linda Robert Offline

Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 27
Loc: Shelton, CT USA
Excellent! I really like your thread and pictures. Thanks for sharing

#486663 - 02/27/18 09:40 PM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
scott69 Offline

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 985
Loc: Chambers county(Valley), alaba...
i believe with your goals and techniques you will eliminate the gsf within a few more years. i battled them at both my ponds when they were new. i can't remember the last time i saw one here.
Scott Hanners

#486674 - 02/28/18 11:51 AM Re: Grandmother's old pond. [Re: chunting]
ewest Offline
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19164
Loc: Miss.
Great job ! Now is the time to start doing seine surveys to gather info on the ponds status. Creel data is good but only gives you a partial but important picture. Keep at the management as it is obviously paying off. The hard/complex part of pond mgt starts about 3-4 years after initial stocking.


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