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#490151 - 05/16/18 10:59 AM Old Strip mine pond
TimJean Offline


Registered: 11/25/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Ohio
Please excuse this long post, but I want to give as much information as may be important. 6 years ago I bought this property with an existing old strip mine pond. It is horseshoe shaped covering about 2 acres but only about 50' across. It has steep high walls on all but one end near the house, where it slopes up genitally. The deepest part I have found is about 12'. I never saw any sign of fish being in it so I assumed for a while it was too acidic. 2 years ago just for the heck of it, I caught about 3 or 4 small bull heads from a creek nearby and released them in the pond. I never saw them again, but never found them floating either. Last fall, I had a local fish hatchery test my water. It tested a PH of 6.3 which he said was fine and he could see "zooplankton" in the water which told him I was good to stock fish in the spring. This spring, I tested the water again, it was running about 6.2 so I built a dock, installed an aerator, and bought 30 LMB, 60 bluegill, 30 Hybrid bluegill, 30 shell crackers and 2000 fathead minnows to get them all started. While sitting on the dock, I started seeking a few bullhead catfish babies about 3 to 4 inches long. I thought, I'll be darned, those catfish spawned and must still be in there. I also noticed some white spots on the baby catfish like "ick". One by one over several weeks I saw dead baby catfish floating. There are still a few I see now and then that do NOT have any whites spots and seem healthy and fine. BUT, BUT, BUT....I have NOT seen even one of the fish I bought and paid for. Not swimming, floating or otherwise in any shape or form. Are they dead laying on the bottom? Are they gone, or are they just hiding in all the underbrush??


Edited by TimJean (05/16/18 11:02 AM)

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#490153 - 05/16/18 11:15 AM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2012
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Adult Bullheads get up to well over a pound, and will eat small fish. The world record for Bullhead is 8 pounds. I have seen some around here pushing two pounds.
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#490154 - 05/16/18 11:15 AM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 761
Loc: West Central Missouri
Welcome to Pond Boss Tim, I would suspect that your fish are still there. I also believe your stocking numbers to be on the very low side for a 2 acre pond. For example, I just stocked my fishless 1/4 acre pond with about 650 fish (500 HBG, 40 HSB, 90 RES) and I do not see many at all. I have been there most every evening over the last 3 weeks since stocking and spend about 30 minutes observing the pond and I get a glimpse of a stocked fish every other day. I am trying to get the fish to take to pellet feeding too. The funny thing is that the first few days after stocking I could see small groups of fish here or there, but they have taken up residence in deeper waters, I guess.

How big are the original BH's?

Are they big enough to eat your stocked fish?

On a side note...You might consider adding more stocked fish. I think I am on the higher side of the scale for my stocking plan, but your numbers sure seem low.
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Fish on!,
Noel

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#490157 - 05/16/18 12:27 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1931
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Lay on your dock and look down on bright sunny days. The fish will gravitate towards the shade and you will have a good chance of spotting them there if the water is clear enough. Just stay still long enough and they should float up.

Don't worry, they are likely there. Next thing you know the spawn will start showing up in fleets and you will start worrying about other things.

It may be a good idea to think about liming the pond to bring the PH and alkalinity up a little. While your PH is OK, it will thrive even more if it is a bit higher.


Edited by liquidsquid (05/16/18 12:28 PM)
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#490158 - 05/16/18 12:46 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: Quarter Acre]
TimJean Offline


Registered: 11/25/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Ohio
Thanks for your response, I hope you are right. I know it was a small number of fish to stock, but I was hoping they would stay down on the end where the dock is due to the aerator being on that end of the pond. I sorta looked at it as stocking a 1/2 acre pond. Once I know for sure the pond isn't killing everything I put in, I will be adding more fish. Thanks again, Tim



Attachments
2073 thumb.jpg (68 downloads)



Edited by TimJean (05/16/18 12:51 PM)

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#490159 - 05/16/18 12:54 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: liquidsquid]
TimJean Offline


Registered: 11/25/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Ohio
I know changing the PH too quickly can be a problem. I have some granulated lime. How would I know how much to add, where and when to change the PH a little at a time?

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#490160 - 05/16/18 12:59 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: liquidsquid]
TimJean Offline


Registered: 11/25/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Ohio
What I stocked March 23 were 3" to 4" BG, HBG, LMB, and shell crackers. Will the BG get large enough to spawn this summer?

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#490162 - 05/16/18 01:30 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1931
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
There is no way of knowing how much lime to add until you get a better water test. Not just PH but alkalinity and other factors will impact how easily the PH can be adjusted. If the alkalinity is low, the PH will be easy to adjust, and may occur too fast if you over-do it. The other way around, and you may find you don't have enough lime.

I am not the expert here, my pond is the other way from yours. The "clay" I have is powderized dolomite from glaciers, so very "hard" (alkaline) and the PH is closer to 7.8.

Unless your pond is really fertile, it is unlikely the BG will reproduce this year, but next spring you will have tons of them! One thing I didn't see is the foundation of the food chain, fat head minnows. Get a load of them ordered, and they will spawn this year, and provide food for everyone else. It is usually the first thing to stock before adding anything else the following year.

The problem will be keeping those Bullhead under control until your bass get big enough to eat them. 40 may not be enough.
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#490163 - 05/16/18 01:39 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: liquidsquid]
TimJean Offline


Registered: 11/25/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Ohio
I forgot to mention the fat head minnows. I put 500 in last fall before I stocked and another 2000 in the same day I stocked everything else. I put them in an hour before everything else to give them a chance to hide and take cover. I also have fish food to feed. I have tossed a couple of hand fulls in but haven't seen anything eating any of it yet. :-(


Edited by TimJean (05/16/18 01:39 PM)

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#490175 - 05/16/18 08:05 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 6962
Loc: St Louis, MO area
TimJean, I would suggest killing off everything and starting over correctly, IF you'd like a better than good chance at a quality fishing pond. I hate sounding harsh, yet it would be the fastest, easiest, and least expensive solution to what is happening...

You are woefully off on stocking numbers....With only 60 Bluegill to feed 30 Bass, the bass will be, or already are, starving....you need about 10:1 minimum BG to LMB...The 2000 Fatheads is only about 2.5 pounds. Chances are high that the Bullhead ate most everything within hours of being stocked.....The Bullhead are why I suggest killing and sterilizing the pond.

Given your latitude, and the steep sides (I assume rocky sides), I'd suggest a Cool Water pond stocking with Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and Yellow Perch along with your Redear and the Fathead minnows (no bluegill for a few years). The rocky sides would be great for SMB spawning and habitat, yet a typical Bass bluegill and catfish pond will do well also.

Stocked properly in your latitude, you would need about 20 pounds of Fatheads stocked a year before everything else, or about 50-60# if stocked with other fish.....If going with largemouth, you'd need about 3000 Bluegill, 500 Redear and 100-200 Largemouth. If you like fishing for Catfish, go with Channel catfish, and keep numbers pretty low (no more than 100).

Anyway, I hope you are getting some ideas, and sterilizing the pond is not that hard or expensive if using Hydrated Lime, and the pond could be stocked within a couple weeks after being sterilized.

As for aeration, I'm not thinking it is doing much either if your pond is long and thin. Your fish will only congregate around the aeration plume if the rest of the pond is low on dissolved oxygen.

Agricultural Lime (pelletized, pulverized or bulk) (not Hydrated Lime) will not change your pH quickly. It will take weeks and months to raise your pH...You could easily add 20 or more ton of Ag Lime to the pond safely (and that is probably close to the tons needed, if added).

I understand your wanting to stock something, and only stocking a few fish till you know they will survive...Unfortunately, that caution can also create a situation where it becomes FAR more expensive to correct than a less cautious approach would have cost originally.

Once your Bullhead went in....only killing off the pond will get rid of them...My educated guess is that most everything you stocked was quickly eaten by the starving bullhead....Have you fished the pond much to see what may bite? It is rare that 2 acres of water has been left devoid of fish for very long.....


Edited by Rainman (05/16/18 08:26 PM)
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Rainman

www.TilapiaStockers.com


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#490177 - 05/16/18 09:21 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2012
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
It all depends on what your goals are for the pond (pit), and how much time, effort and money you want to put into it. Ponds can be $$$ or $$$$$ and more.
If there's a nearby creek that has otters, you will eventually get otters, and they will eat a lot of your fish.
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#490287 - 05/18/18 03:36 PM Re: Old Strip mine pond [Re: TimJean]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1931
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
Well, I would be the more adventuresome guy myself and ride it out, you can always sterilize later! I would bet that the bullheads spawned and there is a ton of forage for the bass. Maybe not the FHM like hoped, but the BH instead. If lucky, the bass will grow fast enough to keep the BH in check. Don't add more BG until the BH are knocked down. From what I have read here is the BG are the preferred forage over BH, so keeping the BG numbers low will force pressure on the BH.

Now if you need to go the "nuke from orbit" route, I would also stock cool water species as mentioned, but consider some trout! While riding out this storm, keep records of your water temperatures at various depths and see if you can keep trout year round! You may have a great resource for that.
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