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#493696 - 07/12/18 09:08 PM Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish
Swamp_Yankee Offline


Registered: 07/08/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Hunterdon County, NJ
I have a very small pond (5000-6000 SF, 5-7' deep max) that even with aeration would be a challenge to keep at a reasonable DO level, especially in the winter. Right now the only life in the pond is turtles and frogs and I really just want my kids to be able to catch some fish. Another poster on a thread here suggested bullheads, eastern mudminnows, and killifish. I would imagine that the mudminnows and killifish should be easy to find, but bullheads, especially brown bullheads, which are supposedly the most low DO tolerant, seem to be tough. Ironically, the State Division of Fish and Wildlife raises and stocks them, but the only fish they sell to the public are triploid grass carp (with a permit) and a certain type of minnow that controls mosquitos. Anyone have a good source for these in the Northeast? Can they be shipped long distance for a reasonable price? I'm completely new to this and have never bought or stocked fish.

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#493699 - 07/13/18 06:55 AM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
RAH Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4133
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Like common carp, most folks do not want bullheads in their ponds due to muddying the water. That is probably why no one sells them. Is deepening the pond in your budget so you can have more desirable fish? If you are set on bullheads, maybe put an add on Craig's List if moving the fish is legal, and some kid might catch and sell you some. They are easy to catch on rod and reel, or net in water plants. I did both as a kid in Mercer County.

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#493703 - 07/13/18 07:29 AM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
NEDOC Online   content
Lunker

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 733
Loc: SC Nebraska
Seems like a pond that size with aeration should be fine. Ive got grow out ponds much smaller and shallower and its supporting 16 tiger Muskie that are 16 long and 1200 small hsb in a cage.
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#493725 - 07/13/18 11:05 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 119
Loc: Texas
Swamp Yankee,

Here is a link where where you can find places to catch brown bullhead in your state. Here is another link where the state reports where they have stocked bullheads. You only need one of each sex for reproduction. If you caught 5 the probability you would have at least one of each sex is > 90%. Now until Fall is the time to catch them so they would be fit and ready to spawn next year. This would work provided there are no rules regarding transplanting fish into your private waters in your state. You could take the girls for an outing and I'd bet they will never forget the trip and stocking the pond.

Alot of farm ponds have been stocked this way. If stocked alone, based on my grandfather's pond, this might be what to expect. They will live about 6 years typically and will top out around 12". They bite anything and feed the entire water column. You can catch them under bobber easily. Kids like action and bullheads will bite. Their spines can puncture a young one's hand. Same with channel catfish. We use a debarbed (with pliers) hook which makes unhooking channels easy.

My grandfathers pond was muddy. It was built on hardpan clay and was chock full of Bullhead. Whether yours would get muddy, might depend in part on the type of soil you have and how thick the muck is on the pond bottom.






Edited by jpsdad (07/13/18 11:08 PM)

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#493730 - 07/14/18 12:09 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 302
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Have you considered some GSF?I'm not sure how they do with low DO.We took our daughter to some fair thing, they had a pool set up full of them for the kids to fish in.At first we was using worms and catching them as fast as you could drop it in.I got tired of getting another worm and started using the bare hook and it only took a few seconds longer to catch one.
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#493732 - 07/14/18 01:06 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
NEDOC Online   content
Lunker

Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 733
Loc: SC Nebraska
Id think stocking it with HBG would work great also.
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#493739 - 07/14/18 05:31 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 119
Loc: Texas
Its an old pond and may have had fish in it at one time in the past. If so, I understand concerns about winter kill for a pond in this stage of eutrophication. Aeration wouldn't help through the winter. It's a tough call, but if one wants a solution that is worry free, self maintaining, and low expense, the use of species that are adapted to excel with the BOW's current conditions might be desirable.



Edited by jpsdad (07/14/18 05:32 PM)

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#493744 - 07/14/18 08:43 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 613
Loc: West Central Missouri
I kinda like the GSF route. It's easy and cheap and fun. The HBG could be a step up if you would rather just buy some fish rather than bucket stock from outings at local ponds. I think the BH route is a proper option too, but I would have to throw in some pan-fish. If the pond gets overpopulated, you could put a few flat heads in and grow some monsters and then jug-line them out and do it again. That's my plan if my pond ever goes south. The shallowness of it and being in NJ would keep me from spending much money on fish. Find some local holes, go fish for an hour and bring them home whatever you catch. A few times and you have a "thrown caution into the wind pond". How carefree is that? Here, most of us fret and sweat the details, you have a blessing in disguise.
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Fish on!,
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#493749 - 07/14/18 11:17 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
4CornersPuddle Online   content


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 235
Loc: southwest Colorado
+1 on what Quarter Acre said

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#493757 - 07/15/18 08:51 AM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 244
Loc: Louisiana
I've bucket stocked about 20 BG, a couple warmouth and maybe a dozen RES this spring, and three 10-12" LMB a couple months ago for crowd control. Along with the BH and GSF that just showed up, partially due to hurricane Harvey and "natural causes", Ive now got a very diverse mix of fish. Hand feeding a mixture of Game Fish Chow and Aquamax 500 once a day. I'm now seeing BG and GSF in the 7" range and lots of 3-5" fish. The BH I see and catch are between 6-10". Haven't spent a dime on fish, just on pond maintainance (500# of ag lime from TSC) and feed, and fully expect to start harvesting some nice sunfish by next spring. The only major expense I'm planning is on aeration, and think I can get that done for around $500.

I guess what I'm saying is....it definitely can be done on a very small budget. Get yourself a bag of feed and let the kids start hand feeding. They'll love it as much as catching them, and you'll grow some really nice fish to eat.
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.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#493760 - 07/15/18 10:17 AM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 119
Loc: Texas
GSF are adapted to survive lower DO than most species and I considered suggesting them but refrained because they are not native to NJ. I've done a little research and found that it is unlawful to possess or release GSF in New Jersey. Anglers are asked to destroy them when encountered fishing. One can find more here ...

https://njfishandwildlife.org/aquatic_invasives.htm

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#493783 - 07/15/18 08:42 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Swamp_Yankee Offline


Registered: 07/08/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Hunterdon County, NJ
All great advice-thanks to everyone for contributing. I have multiple threads going because I wanted to keep everything in the right place according to topic, so here is a link to my latest post in the pond renovation sub:

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=493782#Post493782

I think I have a plan now and I like quarter acre's idea. I will definitely purchase eastern mudminnows and killifish and either transplant brown bullheads or buy them. I'll try to transplant other stuff within reason (obviously I'm not going to put in trout, etc...) and see what happens. What I can't seem to get a handle on is whether or not its legal to transplant fish in NJ. I'm going to call Fish and Wildlife tomorrow. *EDIT* What about crawdads? Would they thrive here? Any reason not to stock them? My girls would love them.


Edited by Swamp_Yankee (07/15/18 08:53 PM)

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#493787 - 07/15/18 09:13 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Mike Whatley Offline


Registered: 04/22/18
Posts: 244
Loc: Louisiana
With crawfish, as long as you're transplanting a species native to your area, I don't know why you couldn't. Importing something like Louisiana mudbugs would probably be a no-no, tho.
_________________________
.10 surface acre pond, 10.5 foot deep. SW LA. The epidomy of a mutt pond. BG, LMB, GSF, RES, BH, Warmouth, FHM, Longear Sunfish, Gambusia and apparently, now crappie.

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#493796 - 07/16/18 09:15 AM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 613
Loc: West Central Missouri
Craw dad's would need rock piles for cover. Add rock sizes from 4" to 6" and at least 2 layers thick around the bank, the more bank coverage the better and to depths of at least a foot or so. These rocks will give them a place to hide. Keep in mind...Crawdads can muddy the water and can also reduce plant populations, so think about the timing at which you introduce them. You'll want plants in the pond first, before the crawdads. Your rocks will reduce the available space for plants so don't over do the rocks. Crawdads typically hatch their eggs in the spring, only hatch once a year, so putting a few in the pond in the spring that have eggs under their tail will boost the population....gotta jump to plane mode. More later.
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Fish on!,
Noel


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#493853 - 07/17/18 04:06 PM Re: Stocking bullheads and other low DO fish [Re: Swamp_Yankee]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 613
Loc: West Central Missouri
After a day of traveling...

So, if you can find crawdads that have eggs, a few installed will yield a good population to start the pond, but if you miss that time of spring just bucket stock your crawdads as you can find them. I can't really recommend a stocking number, but I can tell you what I did, right, wrong, or indifferent.

I stocked FHM's in April after the pond hit full pool after renovation then added crawdads (virile) from the creek. Some I trapped while others I netted. All in all I put about 300 crawdads in the 1/4 acre pond over the course of the summer and had a lot of peaceful trips down the ankle deep creek with a bucket and a net. Once the crawdads went in they disappeared to rarely be seen. The FHM's reproduced while the crawdads stayed hidden. My thought was if I added too many crawdads that some would just "walk away" to find greener pastures. So far all is good. Plant life is teaming, clarity is normal for my location at 2 to 3 foot depending. We did see a monster craw (5 incher) while digging the trench for the aeration lines so that was exciting because I did not put any in that big. My pond has about 80 to 90 feet of the dam lined with stones that are about 3 feet wide, mostly in the water at full pool.

Here's a pic of what I did. Notice some of the "veins" of rocks extending down into the deeper parts. These are just in case the water level falls badly. If so, the crawdads have some refuge.



Disclaimer: I really don't know how many crawdads have stayed, how much they like the habitat, or how long they will last, BUT I had a lot of fun doing it!
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Fish on!,
Noel


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