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#504432 - 04/16/19 03:31 PM My ponds seemed fishless at first....
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Purchased a farm with a couple spring fed ponds - one is small about 1/3 acre - the larger one is about 2 acres.

When purchasing the property was told that the larger pond had been bucket stocked by owners former husband with crappie and yellow perch and that the owners had enjoyed good fishing in years past. Former owner had gone through a divorce some years back and hadn't done much fishing or maintenance over last 5 or more years.

Large pond was overflowing banks due to a family of beavers that had dammed up the output stream. This problem has been solved as I trapped out the beavers and tore out the dam over last couple weeks. Also trapped a large snapping turtle of about 30lbs.

However I haven't seen any fish in the ponds other then small minnows. Water is fairly clear and I don't see any sunfish or bass. Have cast plastic worms & plugs that usually work on ponds with no hits. Also tried fishing some live minnows with no hits. I'm wondering if there was a fish killing event sometime in past or if the crappies overpopulated and died off. Pond seem to get good wind across it but I'm thinking it may need some more areation. Supposedly about 14' at deepest point.

Leaning towards re-stocking the pond with bass and bluegills from a hatchery this spring. What suggestions do you folks have? How many fingerlings of each would you recommend for both ponds? Any additional fish like fat head minnows?



Edited by nvcdl (05/01/19 07:30 PM)

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#504434 - 04/16/19 05:06 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Caswell co NC
I would want a much better idea of what fish are currently present before putting expensive & tasty fingerlings in.

I might do some shock fishing.

ETA: nice username. I was a very early VCDL
Member.


Edited by Clay N' Pray (04/16/19 05:07 PM)

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#504435 - 04/16/19 06:12 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Cool - I started NVCDL and was founding member of VCDL. Farm is in Orange.

I figure hiring somebody to do shock fishing would be similar in cost in simply stocking some fingerlings. Is there a inexpensive way to do it?

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#504436 - 04/16/19 06:14 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
cb100 Offline


Registered: 12/19/14
Posts: 167
Loc: lake co calif
What is vcdl?

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#504438 - 04/16/19 06:32 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA

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#504439 - 04/16/19 07:55 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Caswell co NC
Google electro fishing on youtube.
Lots of homemade setups.

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#504475 - 04/17/19 04:10 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Walked the shoreline today to see how it is drying out now that the water levels are back to normal. Saw a pair of pan sized crappie along shore (spawning?) so at least some crappie left in the pond.

Checked the PH and it looks to be around 6.3-6.5 or so.


Edited by nvcdl (04/17/19 06:17 PM)

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#504494 - 04/17/19 06:58 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Welcome nvcdl! Here's my 2 cents, from someone who became the 'new' owner of an old pond 4 years ago. Don't be in a hurry to make any changes until you have a full understanding of how your pond currently functions, and have confidence you know what species of fish are already in it. Because there is a mountain of knowledge available here at the PB forum, from dozens of certified experts. But the first thing they'll say is 'it depends'. And that's not meant to be glib or off putting. It just means, the more knowledge you have about YOUR pond, the better advice we (the PB family) can give you.
I just fished a lot and observed all I could for the first season. Get a little boat if you can, take depth readings any way you can; wade the shallows. Watch how the pond reacts to rainfalls (small type and gully washer type). Take note of what plants grow on the edges and in the water. See what other wildlife use it (frogs, turtles, crawdads, minnows, etc). Keep written notes to help you remember what you saw and when. And read other people's stories and problems on the PB forum. I found that my problems were common to a lot of pondmeisters around the country (and world even). So you don't have to 're-invent the wheel' or go to the school of hard knocks, but just give it some time to learn more BEFORE any changes. Then, when someone here asks you 'what's your goals?' you'll have a ready answer, based on what you already know about your pond.
_________________________
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
- Confucius
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#504496 - 04/17/19 07:30 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
I just ordered an inexpensive Garmin fishfinder for my jon boat.

Figure I'll see what is out in the deep part of the pond. Might be that the water is on the colder side as it is spring fed. Looked to me like the crappie I saw were spawning or getting set to spawn today so it may be the lack of fish was more related to water temp and the fact that the water levels were off due to the beaver activity.

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#504531 - 04/18/19 01:28 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19920
Loc: Miss.
Good idea. Keep in mind the limits of the system. Cone width at depth. Can be hard to sample in shallow water (less than 10 ft).
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#504533 - 04/18/19 01:46 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 237
Loc: Missouri
I think I would fish with worms and minnows on small hooks with bobbers and see what you can pull out.
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#504745 - 04/22/19 08:34 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Looks like I was pre-mature in my judgement.

Used a small beatle spin and caught several bluegills about 7-8" and several small bass. Lost one bass that looked like a two pounder when he threw the little hook. Caught a couple that were around 10-11" long.

Caught some more small bass on 5" plastic worms and a jig dressed with a grub. Lost one bass that broke the line after taking a plastic worm - think the line must have been damaged but seemed like a decent fish.

Also caught 2 crappies about 8" on the beetle spin.

The bass looked fairly healthy - not chunky but not all head either. It would appear there are plenty of bass in pond so I'm not going to bother stocking any more.

I'm thinking I might add some shellcraker sunfish and Fathead minnows to increase the forage. There doesn't seem to be a lot of minnows or small sunfish in the pond and it seems predator heavy.



Edited by nvcdl (04/22/19 08:34 PM)

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#504756 - 04/23/19 05:34 AM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Caswell co NC
Most any fingerlings you stock will become snacks. If it were me, and adding forage was my goal, I would add 20-30lbs of food sized tilapia (once the water was above 75 degrees). They will spawn immediately & often. The fry are perfect bass chow.

They will not survive the winter.
They are cheap in this area. Sold live by the pound. Easy to transport.
I have found no downside yet.

Eta: no downside unless you want the bass to eat BG. The tilapia fry will definitely take some predation off the BG.
Tilapia are shaped perfectly for LMB chow and are slower than the BG. Especially when the water temps cool in the fall.


Edited by Clay N' Pray (04/23/19 08:15 AM)

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#504767 - 04/23/19 11:38 AM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19920
Loc: Miss.
You would be better off spending the $ on adult forage fish (Tilapia , BG etc.). Need to be sure what and how many you have now , first.
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#504954 - 04/27/19 05:14 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
I pulled and ate 20 8-9" crappie out of the pond over last couple days. About 60% were full of eggs so I'm assuming they haven't spawned yet. My plan is to remove all the crappie I catch.

Caught some more bass in the 9"-11" range - hard fighters for their size. I'm thinking they might be males getting spawning sites ready as many didn't seem to swallow the bait as much as lip it a bit (lots of strikes without hooking) Haven't caught any decent size bass yet so I'm wondering if the females haven't come in to spawn yet.

Using my garmin depthfinder I can see the pond is mostly 9'-14' deep with a shallow end that is about 5' deep - was catching mosty bluegills in the shallow area. Caught bluegills in other shallower areas also. They seem pretty heathly size but not huge - 6" to 7" long (all thrown back). I was catching crappie in edges of pond about 5' near deeper water with fish staying near lily pads &vegetation. Most of the deeper/dam side of pond drops quickly into deep water about 6-8' from shore.

At times I saw what appeared to be fish (on garmin) in deeper parts of pond suspended around 5' - 6' down. Couldn't get a feel for how big they were as I couldn't get any to strike on any of the lures I tried. I'm thinking they were either crappie or female bass.

I ended up adding about 400 small coppernose bluegill/shellcraker (hatchery truck had them mixed) to big pond and 100 of same to my smaller pond. I imagine most will be eaten but hoping a few will survive to improve pond stock. I added them in a very shallow area where they wouldn't immediatly be attacked by bass/crappie.

To the suggestion I add Tilapia - I don't belive it is legal to do so in Virgina without a permit.




Edited by nvcdl (04/27/19 05:26 PM)

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#505162 - 05/01/19 07:27 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
New wrinkle - today I took a second ultra light rod that had a shad dart already tied on it. Decided to see if the fish liked it and threw in from deep water to edge of weed line. Had a stong hit in open water and a good fight - turned out to be a healthy 10" white perch full of eggs.

Tried tossing the dart some more but no more hits from perch - caught another dozen crappie in the shallow weedy areas and a couple small bass.

IME on the Potomac i found perch tended to like worms so think I'll try some bits of worms next time I go fishing to target perch,

I've been thowing back the small bass I catch as the numbers don't seem out of control - on average I catch one evey hour or so fishing. I'm thinking there might be some lunkers that live on crappie so ordered some big crappie swimbaits to try out.



Edited by nvcdl (05/01/19 08:22 PM)

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#505209 - 05/02/19 03:44 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19920
Loc: Miss.
I would add adult BG and keep (target) all Crappie for removal.
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#505739 - 05/11/19 05:00 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: ewest]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Originally Posted By: ewest
I would add adult BG and keep (target) all Crappie for removal.


I've been throwing back all the bluegill and bass. The bluegill I have caught seem healthy and normal sized. I have yet to catch a bass over a pound. The bass don't seem to be overpopulated - my theory at the moment is that I'm catching the smaller bass and that there may be bigger bass that are eating crappie as forage. The crappie are of a size that a 3lb bass could proabbly swallow the smaller ones whole.

I also put out some crayfish traps in my ponds - one with catfood - the other with fish heads. Got nada over a period of several days. There are some kind of land based crayfish around pond that build little chimneys tho.


Edited by nvcdl (05/11/19 05:49 PM)

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#506502 - 05/25/19 09:54 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Caught a 4-5lb largemouth on a plastic worm today. Beautiful fish - put him back to grow some more. Think I lost the same fish a couple days ago when it threw a frog at the bank.

I think my pond has another large bass as I've had my line broken twice on opposite side of pond by a fish. Been more meticulous about keeping drag looser since....

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#506506 - 05/25/19 10:47 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 237
Loc: Missouri
Sounds to me like you have a real nice pond!
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#506518 - 05/26/19 11:35 AM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: Redonthehead]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Originally Posted By: Redonthehead
Sounds to me like you have a real nice pond!


Thanks - it does seem to be doing pretty well. I think If I add some more adult bluegill and continue to cull crappie I can improve the average bass size.

Started adding pallet structure this week using an old paddle boat as a barge - fun times!


Edited by nvcdl (05/26/19 11:37 AM)

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#506536 - 05/27/19 06:02 AM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Caswell co NC
I'll be in Sterling, Va Tues & Wed of this week. Wish I could bring you some BG.
I've been making fish Tacos every other weekend and it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle.
(I toss the males back)

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#506543 - 05/27/19 01:05 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: Clay N' Pray]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Originally Posted By: Clay N' Pray
I'll be in Sterling, Va Tues & Wed of this week. Wish I could bring you some BG.
I've been making fish Tacos every other weekend and it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle.
(I toss the males back)


Are you eating Tilapia?

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#506549 - 05/27/19 05:20 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
Clay N' Pray Offline


Registered: 12/03/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Caswell co NC
Originally Posted By: nvcdl
Originally Posted By: Clay N' Pray
I'll be in Sterling, Va Tues & Wed of this week. Wish I could bring you some BG.
I've been making fish Tacos every other weekend and it feels like I'm fighting a losing battle.
(I toss the males back)


Are you eating Tilapia?


Bluegill.

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#507249 - 06/11/19 09:18 PM Re: My ponds seem to be fishless.... [Re: nvcdl]
nvcdl Offline


Registered: 04/16/19
Posts: 48
Loc: Orange, VA
Added 275 4"-5" bluegill to the pond this week. Have caught and eaten at least 80 crappie over last couple months I've owned the pond. The crappie fishing has slowed down in recent weeks but I have noticed that the crappie have been getting thicker and longer. Last few crappie I've caught were all 9-10" whereas in April they were all 7-8". I'm thinking they are getting bigger eating their own fry - could be that getting rid of beavers and bringing water level back to normal levels made for a big spawn this year.

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