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#513983 - 11/13/19 01:23 AM Improving forage in an existing pond
Steve_ Offline


Registered: 10/29/19
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
I currently am trying to improve a 16 acre pond with a friend. It is part of a housing community in central North Carolina but has been neglected. It is currently overrun with yellow bullheads which tells me the LMB population is poor. Our goal is to turn it into more of a catfish (CC and BCF) pond so the lack of LMB isnít much of a problem. I have been tempted to try out the golden shiner package from Anderson Farms but my fear is that they wonít live long enough to reproduce and establish themselves before being eaten in an established BOW. It was suggested to me in another thread to start stocking with large, adult BG to increase the amount of BG offspring to become food for the predators.

So, 2 questions. Would adding golden shiners to a pond that had a few predators in it already be a waste of money? I havenít seen any other baitfish in here. And is the bluegill approach really feasible? Would small BG keep the catfish happy?

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#513985 - 11/13/19 06:13 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2946
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Hay there Steve. Here is a thought for you. The shiners will spawn once per year and do that only if they survive from being eaten. Best bet for the shiners surviving is if they can hide in thick, dense cover. Bg in my part of Texas will spawn 5 times each year and produce a lot of fry for others to eat. Not sure how man times a bg will spawn in NC but I would think at least 3 times and maybe 4. And for the most part they cost very little when you are catching them for transfer verses purchasing the golden shiners that might not survive. Predators like catfish will eat bg. They will also feed the lmb.


Edited by TGW1 (11/13/19 06:14 AM)
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#513987 - 11/13/19 08:03 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: TGW1]
Steve_ Offline


Registered: 10/29/19
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: TGW1
Hay there Steve. Here is a thought for you. The shiners will spawn once per year and do that only if they survive from being eaten. Best bet for the shiners surviving is if they can hide in thick, dense cover. Bg in my part of Texas will spawn 5 times each year and produce a lot of fry for others to eat. Not sure how man times a bg will spawn in NC but I would think at least 3 times and maybe 4. And for the most part they cost very little when you are catching them for transfer verses purchasing the golden shiners that might not survive. Predators like catfish will eat bg. They will also feed the lmb.


I guess I underestimate the forage value that spawning bluegills provide. I guess that will be my fall/winter project... to catch and transfer as many adult BG that I can find and hope they spawn in the spring. Thank you for the insight cool

I also saw that Anderson Farms has their golden shiners on Amazon now and you can get them up to 4Ē which might already be big enough for them to spawn? I donít know but I think itís really cool and want to try it. Worst case scenario, my bigger fish will get some expensive snacks.

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#513993 - 11/13/19 11:07 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 759
Loc: NW Kansas
GSH can spawn at 2 to 2.5", and depending on your growing season and how high your water temps get mid season they can spawn 4-6 times in southern areas and 1-3 times in more northern areas. Predators in number being present may affect those numbers.
This summer I trapped gravid females from May through August.


Edited by Snipe (11/13/19 11:10 AM)
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#513996 - 11/13/19 02:07 PM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Snipe]
Steve_ Offline


Registered: 10/29/19
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Snipe
GSH can spawn at 2 to 2.5", and depending on your growing season and how high your water temps get mid season they can spawn 4-6 times in southern areas and 1-3 times in more northern areas. Predators in number being present may affect those numbers.
This summer I trapped gravid females from May through August.


Wow thatís really awesome! I might give it a try at some point.

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#514019 - 11/14/19 11:21 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2946
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Snipe, thanks for correcting me about the GSH spawning more than once. I thought we only get one spawn here in E. Texas. Maybe because our water temps get so high here that I thought we only get one spawn. GSH are pretty new to me when talking as a forage fish in our ponds. I added them to my pond this past spring. It's nice to hear they might spawn more than once. I will say I have some really good growth in my GSH after adding them in the 3 to 4" size and now see some of them in the 7 to 8" size. I added them last March but I have not seen any fry or new recognizable fry. I should have gotten a spawn, I think.
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#514027 - 11/14/19 01:30 PM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 759
Loc: NW Kansas
Mine spawned this year and there are yoy from 1/2" to 2-1/2".
These little guys look a lot like a FHM until about 2" then you can see visual keys to which species they are fairly easily.
I think every impoundment is different on how many times a Female GSH will lay eggs. When I've discussed this with Anderson's while asking about spawning structures, they disclosed the captive larger aduldts will spawn 6-8 times on average when they use the mats for eggs. In the ponds where they let natural reproduction occurs they use cedar piles and say April to mid july, then tappers off with an up-tic in spawning in late September again until as late as the end of October.
I think in a BOW with normal pond fish present they get pushed into other areas "other" than where they may want to spawn and like other species, if they can't get it done when eggs are ripe they reabsorb them or just blow them randomly.
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#514032 - 11/14/19 03:59 PM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 1065
Loc: in the mountains
I am considering GSH for my place. I read one quote from Dave Willis that makes me a little uneasy. He said the only place he had ever seen GSH become a problem was in a trout pond. I guess that if my trout winter killed and the GSH did not I might have a problem.
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#514046 - 11/15/19 12:14 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 759
Loc: NW Kansas
We use a lot of Dr. Willis's data and I can safely say if he felt they were an issue in a trout pond, I'd never even consider them on his note alone. My 2 cents.
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#514048 - 11/15/19 08:12 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
RAH Online   content
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4530
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Are there clear cases where adding gambusia to an established Midwest pond might be detrimental?

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#514050 - 11/15/19 08:28 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: TGW1]
Steve_ Offline


Registered: 10/29/19
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: TGW1
I will say I have some really good growth in my GSH after adding them in the 3 to 4" size and now see some of them in the 7 to 8" size. I added them last March but I have not seen any fry or new recognizable fry. I should have gotten a spawn, I think.


Wow, hearing that your first batch practically doubled in size in less than a year is really amazing and might just push me over the edge into buying some. Since Iím dealing with a 16 acre BOW, I would need to rely heavily on getting them to spawn a few times before increasing my predators. I canít afford to buy the recommended stocking numbers for such a large pond/lake. I read that females can lay up to 200k eggs per spawn so I really need Mother Nature help me out when I do decide to get some.

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#514051 - 11/15/19 08:37 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5538
Loc: SE Kansas
I have a 1/20th acre forage pond that originally had FHM and RES in it. I used it to raise the two fish for stocking in my other ponds. A couple years in I added a couple dozen GS from a bait shop. The first year I had a mix of GS fry and FHM. Then the FHM went by the wayside and were extirpated. Don't know if it was the GS eating the FHM eggs or the RES eating the FHM's, but at any rate the GS became the dominant forage fish.

I pulled lots and lots of GS out of that pond for the next couple years (and the RES did quite well at producing fingerlings in that time too).

Just my experience with GS. I'm back to only FHM in that pond again right now after eliminating the remaining population of GS and RES.
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#514053 - 11/15/19 08:46 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Snipe]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 1065
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: Snipe
We use a lot of Dr. Willis's data and I can safely say if he felt they were an issue in a trout pond, I'd never even consider them on his note alone. My 2 cents.


Snipe - If he had said absolutely do not do it I would not even consider stocking them. He said it was the only time he had seen them become a problem. I read it as a single case. What if he had seen other trout ponds that GSH worked well in? I worry if I start getting brook trout to the 3-4lb mark, it's going to take more than FHM and scuds to push them to much higher weights especially if the FHM are eliminated. I would think a 7-8" forage fish would help substantially??


Edited by wbuffetjr (11/15/19 08:56 AM)
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#514055 - 11/15/19 10:14 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 759
Loc: NW Kansas
wbuffet, I'll be 100% honest here.. I'm the wrong guy to give any advice about a trout pond. I have very little experience with trout, even though I understand what you are looking for I just have no knowledge of how the GSH may affect the cycle of any trout species.
The one thing that comes to mind to me about trout is their ability to subsist on small larva, insects and small aquatics in general.
Maybe ewest, Cody or someone else here will have some input on this. I just don't feel comfortable suggesting adding GSH with no knowledge of this combination.
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#514056 - 11/15/19 10:31 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Steve_]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 759
Loc: NW Kansas
I can add to Tracy's experience on growth rates. These went in, through the ice-in December-at 3". This was 3 weeks ago.

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#514073 - 11/16/19 12:27 AM Re: Improving forage in an existing pond [Re: Snipe]
Steve_ Offline


Registered: 10/29/19
Posts: 16
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Snipe
I can add to Tracy's experience on growth rates. These went in, through the ice-in December-at 3". This was 3 weeks ago.




Awesome! And that answers another question I had regarding whether or not it mattered what time of year you added them to your pond. Itís been incredibly cold here in North Carolina lately and the pond has dropped into the 50s.

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