I live in Ohio. My father has two ponds(now sister owns). My mom has 3 ponds at her current house and 1 at her old house. Both grandparents had/have several ponds. I grew up around ponds and helping dig some of them.
I just built a 1/2 acre pond!!! We are so excited! This forum has been very interesting to read. I've picked up a ton of great ideas. I'd love to pick up some more tips or suggestions if you have them.
Here is what I have so far:
0.44 acre roughly water level is roughly 1/2 way up rocks when full (i hope? lol). 15ft water level depth at deepest. 16ft to top of rocks Current Depth = 6-7ft Clay, lots of clay, blue clay down deeper. No sand in sight. House downspouts, house sumps and well are filling it. 1/3 hp Sump Pump fountain with 17ft of tubing to nozzle, running 24/7 Stocking Plan: 5 pounds of fathead minnows (add now?) -- 250 Red Ear Sunfish (add in fall?) -- 75 Hybrid Striped Bass (add next summer?) Tractor Supply Pellet feed = Sportsman's Choice TrophyFish Feed 36% protein (best I can source locally I think)
Fish Attractors with flower float to mark them.
Fat Head Minnow spawning structure on south Pallets are leaned on Milkcrates, all tied together.
1) I have 6 feet of water in there now, it's pretty chilly as my well is putting out a large amount of water and it's colllddd. Is it too early to add Fat Heads?
2) Should I add some sort of habitat for RES spawning? Maybe old disc blades from farm equipment? There is a beach area that stretches out a ways, they could spawn in that and be fine?
3) The Hybrid striped bass will eat up my minnow population, will they decimate it? Should I take out the pallets in a few years as the minnows will be gone? I plan to pellet feed by hand, I'll probably miss nights.
3) The 1/3 hp pump pushing water 15ft up isn't moving a ton of water, but it taking it from the bottom to the top and creating disruption. Is this 'good enough' for my stocking plan?
4) I have a 1 year old constant pressure 60psi well pump. Well is year old too. I'm using a 50ft 3/4 hose running 24/7 into tile. Am I going to run my well dry? lol I'm able to run sprinklers and shower at the same time and can't tell the difference as pump is keeping up with demand I guess.
5) I'm not that keen on sinking trees... should I not be?
6) Are my things too deep? too shallow? Could be better in some way?
7) What to do for a dock. Floating with barrels homemade? Purchase something?
99) I'm missing like 100 more questions probably. Anything you suggest? add change etc?
Thanks!!!! You've already helped me so much with all the reading I've done here. amazing resource you have here. Wish I had this info back when I was digging dad's ponds with him.
Welcome, Klingj8, you have come to a good place for information. There are numerous members more insightful than I and I am sure they will help soon enough.
I am a big believer in cycling a pond before adding the desired fish populations. Adding minnows as a forage base first, jump starts the pond cycle and allows them to begin reproduction before the predator fish are added. FHM are little more than living fish food but they help cut the mosquito population while around in good numbers.
This 1-3 month delay also affords you time to identify any water quality issues. To be honest, since your pond is surrounded by crop land, nutrient pollution could become an issue? Allowing your shorelines time to develop may mitigate the issue to an extent.
I would think it helpful to add the minnows now and start testing the water for insight prior to adding more desirable fish this fall or next spring.
A few things to consider from my limited experiences.
1.) adding FHM now is a good idea, but they will need the pallets in the water to really multiply well. I would suggest floating maybe 10 of them with ropes that are anchored at full pool so you can control them as the water rises. SIDE NOTE: I'm not sure about what temps they require to spawn, so check that out first before stocking them.
2.) Your pallets structures will need to be anchored and/or weighted down or they are going to wonder off on you. The FHM's will dwindle as the first few years pass. I am on my third summer with the minnows and the second with HSB and HBG and the FHM populations is a small fraction of what it was the first year with out any predators. I strongly suggest giving the FHM's a FULL year to do their thing...you won't regret it. My 1/4 acre pond has over 20 pallets in it (several stacks of 2 to 3 pallets each...maybe overkill but they produce many YOY) I'm not sure if I will take them out or not once the FHM are extinct (probably not as they will still add structure for the fish).
3.) I believe you will want more then just RES in the pond, maybe HBG and/or YP too. IIRC, RES only spawn once a year where HBG can pull off multiple spawns and your HSB will want more to eat. You could easily add 3 to 400 HBG to your stocking plan or consider YP in the mix.
4.) You should do some more research on the intake level of your fountain. I would be concerned that a deeper intake might be bringing up dead water and making the upper water conditions worse. Fountains are good for aesthetics and surface aeration and neither require a deep intake. At least with bottom aeration systems, you want to turn the whole body of water over once a day to keep ahead of the lowers water column from stagnating...I doubt a 1/3 hp pump is going to do that. Something to verify as I'm no expert in the matter.
5.) The creation of habitat (submerged tree) is not a necessity and it depends on your goals and how the fish populations balance out. The fish like to hang out around such stuff and, if it's dense enough, small fry can use it to hide in and grow larger so they can become snack for larger fish.
6.) Hard telling about your well. An expert might be able to guide you. All I can say is...if your watershed is large enuogh, a few good rains and the well is not needed. You'l have to evaluate that and balance it with your patience and risk acceptance.
7.) Docks are a funny thing. If your confident in where the water level will stabilize, a fixed dock is great especially if you can get it in before it fills. I went with a floating dock for fear that my water level would fluctuate and I used rather flat rectangular floats (purchased from Menards). Barrels can be used, but can be less stable...the dock could have more wobble to it.
8.) Optimal fish feed can be purchased online and delivered to your house for about $55. It's real good stuff.
That's all I got for now...Your pond looks fantastic and welcome to the forums!
The property and pond are both built up from the existing grade. The pond's banks are probably about 2 foot above the field. The grading of the field takes water away not towards my property and the other side of the road goes the other direction. I shouldn't have much if any runoff. I think.
1) This weekend we will take a trip and try some FHMs. If they die due to cold they aren't that expensive and it's an excuse to make the drive to the fish farm.
2) I'll work on some better anchor systems and perhaps stack a few more pallets, probably some temporary ones for the current water level as well for the FHMs.
3) I'm shy of HBG because we added them to dad's pond when we first dug it, fishing was great for a few years then it was all Green sunfish. I'm shy of regular BG because if my wife gets nipped she won't want to go back in the water, and swimming is something we want to take full advantage of. I agree RES by themselves aren't enough... but I'm just nervous about adding others. Dad made plenty of mistakes with HBG, Crappie and adding lake fish. I will do more research on YP, the Ohio handbook doesn't suggest them but I know they are becoming more popular and recommended for swimming ponds.
4) Great point. The 1/3 pump can't turn it over that much, even a 1hp couldn't. I will restart my research into Windmills vs Electric pumps to supplement it.
Another question: I'd like to have turtles. Painted turtles, abandoned pet turtles Red Ear Sliders / Yellow Belly Sliders. I will make a floating platform for them. There aren't any close by creeks or water areas other than my Koi pond. Due to my rocks, will they still likely leave? I know they like mud and more natural ponds. I added a painted turtle to my Koi pond and he was gone in less than 24 hours. He had nowhere to go so he probably met his demise in the field somewhere.
Maybe I should give up my turtle dreams and let them come naturally?
I was thinking older abandoned turtles from craigslist may have a better chance of staying around as they are used to relying on humans for food?
I have put turtles in other rocked ponds, sometimes they stay for a year or two but eventually leave, but those ponds have muddy creeks nearby that are attractive to the turtles where my pond does not.
Here are pictures of the Beach area. It's manufactured sand (crushed stone).
I believe the end of the sand area will be about 7ft when it knives down. It stretches down there aways, pictures didn't quite show it's length.
Will RES spawn here? Should I add something for them? In this area circled? It's like that on both sides of the beach.
Should I add more natural sand ontop of this crushed stone? I can have a dump truck bring a load and spread it out ontop. Would that grow weeds? The stone shouldn't have any weed problems I wouldn't think, it's thick.
Koi pond has 2 white kois and some bluegill I seined out of my dad's pond. Put a lot of tadpoles in and have a frog. Turtle ran away instantly.
Rooted vegetation will grow on sand, gravel, mud, in between the rocks, etc. Pretty much wherever it decides to grow.
Your RES will probably like the manufactured sand. I put 50 1.5"-3" in my pond on the 24th of June. A few of them are now working at bedding on crushed limestone 1.5" surface material in less than two feet of water.
It's rather comical watching them chase the FHMs away from the beds. RES don't take any BS from a minnow. lol
Now would be the time to spread some crushed rock on those areas next to the beach that you have circled in red. It will give your sunfish an alternative to the beach for making beds. Might improve recruitment if there's going to be a lot of little feets pitter-pattering in the water on the beach.
Nice looking deal you've got going there. I look forward to seeing it full of H2O.
Yes, I mix 50% Aquashade and 50% cheap generic. It was just a test but I like the color. I think Aquashade works better and has a nicer color than the generic and when mixed I think it also looks really nice (and cheaper!).
*earlier pics was just generic, it has a weirder lighter blue color. Only the last two pics has aquashade too. Hard to tell in the pictures too though the color of the water. After adding Aquashade with the generic it really looked a lot better.
yes, the darker color make it look more natural, i think. I watched some you tube videos of the airmax products. I was surprised how much i like the black in the video. I think it is best for the wooded areas though, where the reflection of trees is more normal.
if you feed pellets and minnows get a little structure to hide out in when young, you could easily stock the YP and RES together. Ideally the RES would be a little bigger at stocking time so they might pull off a spawn in late summer next year, the YP would be a little smaller so they would target the pellets and the small FHM rather than taking a swipe at the smaller RES.
consider crayfish, a bunch of young crayfish are good sustenance for YP.
I also found that the FHM could not sustain in the presence of even a small population of YP. Consider strongly another forage strain of minnows or shiners. One that reproduces quickly and swims faster than FHM. It isn't too late to put them in your pond now, although they won't begin reproducing till water warms up next year.
If you can source them, I would strongly suggest spotfin shiners. They need special spawning conditions but reproduce rapidly and are hardy and speedy. They are outpacing my hungry perch and panfish easily. They also are murder on pellets even launching themselves completely out of the water as they go berserk for food.