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#501787 - 02/09/19 12:33 AM Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond
Willard123 Offline


Registered: 02/08/19
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
Hello I am new to the forums. I have slowly developed some land in the mountains of western north carolina. I installed a bunch of permaculture swales on the mountainsides to harvest water and let it seep into the ground. After a winter of constantly soaking rainfall a few springs popped up on the mountain and a few more popped up on the valley floor.

Around two years ago I started developing these springs and now have a small acre pond on the mountain that is a collection of the mountainside springs which constantly overflows and forms a kinda mini-stream that flows into a 15 acre pond that was developed from the springs that popped up on the valley floor. I also dug a shallow area around the shoreline on one side of the 15 acre pond (hoping this will become a nursery for small fry) that has become full of reeds and water iris and I think some wild rice too, but I'm not sure. Along the edges of the rest of the 15 acre pond there are lots of fallen trees for cover and underwater vegetation that forms a kinda underwater jungle, I also stacked rocks to form caves and dropped in some old wine barrels for future catfish spawning. As for the upper pond that forms the stream, I didn't dig out a shallow area, but there is still lots of submerged vegetation and fallen trees for cover. I've monitored the water temperature the past year and since the entire system is spring fed it doesn't go over 70 degrees F, even on hot summer days. In fact, the deep parts of the 15 acre pond (which can go as deep at 25 feet) stays a nice 40 degrees F in the hot summer months.

With this kinda set up, I've been itching to try to raise trout in it. But what I really want is a sustainable pond that I don't have to restock ever, or give supplemental feeding. This pond is pretty cold, so I'm wondering what kinda cold-water fish combinations work well with trout. I was thinking bluegill and bullheads for a forage base, maybe some yellow perch too, then channel cats and maybe walleye as predators (maybe small mouth bass too as they are better suited to cold water than large mouths and maybe even chain pickerel) and of course the rainbow or brown trout. I'm hoping I have enough habitat for natural spawning. I'm sure I will have to help the predator fish by harvesting bluegill and especially bullheads. I'm afraid if I add chain pickerel I might end up with a bunch of fat chain pickerel and walleye that will eat most of the trout and yellow perch and that I will have a stunted population of bluegill and bullheads that the channel cats wont be able to keep up with (I might even try blue cats since they are better predators than channels). Hopefully I can help with the bluegill and bullheads by harvesting, as I like to eat bullheads and bluegill a lot. Other than what I've stated, does anyone else see any other potential problems? I've been very slow at developing this and I don't wanna mess it up. Oh and I forgot to mention that I've stocked nothing so far other than crayfish, which I hope will become good forage for many future fish.


Edited by Willard123 (02/09/19 12:49 AM)

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#501788 - 02/09/19 02:55 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1710
Loc: East Texas, USA
Sounds like you've got a great opportunity! Re not wanting to restock, I'm doubtful the trout will spawn in your pond, so you may need to put more in periodically to maintain the population.
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#501789 - 02/09/19 03:13 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: anthropic]
Willard123 Offline


Registered: 02/08/19
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
I would think they would spawn in the stream or even the water from the gushing springs. However, I do not have any experience with this as I have never actually had a year round stream flowing into any ponds I have owned.


Edited by Willard123 (02/09/19 03:16 AM)

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#501795 - 02/09/19 07:55 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
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Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Welcome to Pond Boss. I can’t comment on this. The only way Texans get cold water is from ice cubes
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#501799 - 02/09/19 09:20 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19781
Loc: Miss.
As a general rule the more species present the harder it is to manage for goals. If all natural (put them in and see where nature takes it) is a goal then just go for it and see what happens. If you want trout as your goal then learn as much as you can about the species (especially food sources and reproduction) and set the pond on that course.


Assuming all natural is not your goal then I don't see how you manage all the mentioned species toward a goal of good trout pond. Way to many variables to get and maintain that goal.
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#501805 - 02/09/19 02:40 PM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Brad346 Offline


Registered: 09/04/18
Posts: 45
Loc: Colorado
Trout have very specific needs to spawn. Clean cool running water, adequate gravel beds, all at the right time of year. The trout that is most likely to spawn in small water are brook trout. If they spawn add some browns or tigers to regulate their population. FHM are a great food source. Most trout eat aquatic insects until they get pretty big.
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#501816 - 02/09/19 07:10 PM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5805
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Welcome to PBF Willard!

I'm not sure how well BG and/or BH will do in a pond with a maximum summer time temp of 70F. They might survive but I would worry they might not thrive. If they do thrive, I doubt trout can control their numbers. Hopefully, one of the pros will weigh in on that.
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#501827 - 02/09/19 10:13 PM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12769
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
For starting this pond. Firstly begin with minnows; maybe even some you can catch from a local stream or small lake that is stream fed. We can help with minnow identification if needed. Several native minnows/shiners could be added with the FHM. In the first couple years the several native minnows that can reproduce will reproduce thus you will know which one are thriving. Few if any native true minnow/shiners will be a problem in the pond that you have/propose. Several of them plus maybe trout would likely spawn in gravel areas(homemade) of the inflowing stream the fills the upper pond. There are only a few small fish that you want to avoid from local streams: carp, suckers, sunfishes, and initially BH. You can always add BH later if needed or desired. But you can't get them out and can easily be a big problem once they are added and reproducing. Any fish can easily be added but they are extremely hard to remove them all when they are reproducing and causing problems for the whole pond balance. Certain species can absolutely ruin a nice cold cool water pond. With the BH you want an well established mature fishery before ever adding BH to minimize their chance of overpopulating. And even them it is a big gamble. About the only fish that controls BH well is the largemouth. My main concern with BH is when common to abundant they will make the pond turbid/muddy which causes problems for most all other fish species except Carp, CC and BH.

I would first establish your minnows/shiners for one summer then in fall or spring add trout with maybe yellow perch. You want a good food base to feed the trout. If you like eating BH and BG you will absolutely love eating delicious YP. Learn how the pond behaves and produces water clarity before adding BH so you have some good baseline pond ecology information prior to having BH. BH almost always produce cloudy water. Turbid water will strongly interfere with predatory behavior (sight feeders) and their control of small fish. I would not want a turbid muddy looking pond which BH will easily produce. Walleye do not control BH well - tried it. I doubt SMB will control BH either. The YP could be added the 2nd or 3rd year. Leave the BG out until the trout and minnow base is well established and you see a desire for BG. I would have BG and maybe LMB in the 15ac not the 1 ac.

HOMEWORK - Lookup and learn the Minnows and Shiners of North Carolina. Read about their spawning requirements and habits.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/09/19 10:27 PM)
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#501831 - 02/10/19 01:10 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Bill Cody]
Willard123 Offline


Registered: 02/08/19
Posts: 3
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks! Any insight on the chain pickerel? I know they are native to the Piedmont and Coastal area of North Carolina. There are some northern pike in the mountain area where I am, but I would think they are way too big and would eat all the trout and yellow perch, since that is the body-shape they prefer.

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#501849 - 02/10/19 07:53 PM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12769
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I've never worked with chain pickerel primarily because they are rare fish in my area. A few in a 1 ac pond would reduce numbers of small fish - good maybe bad? My concern is if they would spawn and become too abundant to where numbers would have to be reduced. This I found for growth in a cool spring fed pond. 1yr 4-5", 2yr 7", 3yr 10", 4yr 12-14", yr5 17-18", 6yr 20"; life span around 9 yrs.

Raney (1942) studied chain pickerel in a New York pond and found that golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) were found in the stomachs of 47.3% of the 234 chain pickerel examined. Common bullheads (Ameiurus nebulosus) were found in 13.8%, and common sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) were found in 13.2%. Crayfish (Cambarus) were present in 42% of the chain pickerel. (Jenkins and Burkhead, 1994; Raney, 1942; Rohde, et al., 1994; Ross, 2001; Trautman, 1981). https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Esox_niger/

https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/strategic-management-plans/pickerel.pdf
As long as a lake contains relatively shallow, weedy habitat, the pickerel is likely to do well. It’s believed that largemouths, which frequent weedy areas, are serious predators on young of the year pickerel which are largely confined to these patches of aquatic vegetation. ……there is little doubt that pickerel adversely impact a trout fishery. In that study newly stocked spring yearling brown trout were observed in the stomachs of 15 (28%) of 54 pickerel. The smallest pickerel, which had consumed a brown trout, measured 15.0 in. A single 18.0 in pickerel
had 3 brown trout in its stomach.

Chain Pickerel Average = Std Weight
https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/PennsylvaniaFishes/Documents/ChainPickerelManagement.pdf

List of more common minnows/shiners in NC
Full list of all freshwater fish in NC
http://dpr.ncparks.gov/fish/checklist_pdf.php
24 Chrosomus oreas ......................... Mountain Redbelly Dace
25 Clinostomus funduloides .............. Rosyside Dace
28 Cyprinella analostana ................... Satinfin Shiner
29 Cyprinella chloristia ...................... Greenfin Shiner
30 Cyprinella galactura ...................... Whitetail Shiner
32 Cyprinella lutrensis ....................... Red Shiner Not native
33 Cyprinella nivea ............................ Whitefin Shiner
34 Cyprinella pyrrhomelas ................. Fieryblack Shiner
38 Cyprinus carpio ............................ Common Carp
43 Hybognathus regius ..................... Eastern Silvery Minnow
47 Luxilus albeolus ............................ White Shiner
48 Luxilus cerasinus .......................... Crescent Shiner
50 Luxilus coccogenis ....................... Warpaint Shiner
53 Nocomis chubs, River Chub, Bigmouth Chub, Bull Chub
57 Notemigonus crysoleucas ............ Golden Shiner
58 Notropis alborus ........................... Whitemouth Shiner
59 Notropis altipinnis ......................... Highfin Shiner
60 Notropis amoenus ........................ Comely Shiner
61 Notropis bifrenatus ....................... Bridle Shiner.
63 Notropis chiliticus ......................... Redlip Shiner
64 Notropis chlorocephalus ............... Greenhead Shiner
66 Notropis cummingsae ................... Dusky Shiner
67 Notropis hudsonius ....................... Spottail Shiner
68 Notropis leuciodus ........................ Tennessee Shiner
73 Notropis petersoni ........................ Coastal Shiner
75 Notropis procne ............................ Swallowtail Shiner
78 Notropis scepticus ........................ Sandbar Shiner
79 Notropis spectrunculus ................. Mirror Shiner
80 Notropis telescopus ...................... Telescope Shiner
86 Pimephales promelas ................... Fathead Minnow
90 Semotilus atromaculatus .............. Creek Chub






Edited by Bill Cody (02/10/19 08:28 PM)
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#501856 - 02/11/19 06:55 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
RAH Offline
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Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4296
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
If I could source chain pickerel, I would definitely set up my next pond for them. Just a cool fish!

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#501869 - 02/11/19 12:54 PM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19781
Loc: Miss.


Edited by ewest (02/11/19 12:55 PM)
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#501893 - 02/12/19 12:53 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 241
Loc: NW Kansas
Keep in mind the fact CP have Y bones just like Northern Pike and although not difficult to learn the technique to clean these fish, I would at least consider the added effort if you intend to eat any you remove.
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#501894 - 02/12/19 01:02 AM Re: Stocking Idea in 15 acre cold-water pond [Re: Willard123]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1710
Loc: East Texas, USA
Originally Posted By: Willard123
Thanks! Any insight on the chain pickerel? I know they are native to the Piedmont and Coastal area of North Carolina. There are some northern pike in the mountain area where I am, but I would think they are way too big and would eat all the trout and yellow perch, since that is the body-shape they prefer.


You could consider tiger musky. They are more heat tolerant than NP, plus they don't reproduce in a pond.
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