I took the plunge. Have been thinking about building a very small pond to raise some FHM and RES to help stock various older ponds I have been cleaning out and a few more I might get to some day. Well I jumped on the dozer yesterday and there is a hole in the ground now. (I know Bill Cody, equipment operators dig holes, pond builders build ponds LOL. Well I'm neither , so we will see if it ends up being a pond or a hole in the ground.
The other fish seem fairly easy to get out of my main pond to stock the other ponds, but the RES are harder and the FHM will be gone out of my main pond in another year (probably).
Probably not a practical idea. Probably better to just buy the fish I need. But who says a hobby needs to be practical. Matter of fact is, I just wanted to do it, so I did it. The experience is the main goal more than the fish anyway. I just want to see if I can do it. Raising fish is pretty new to me and kind of exciting for the time being.
It is awfully small. Roughly 60x45 feet which is only about 1/20 acre. Will get a better measurement later. I did not want it great big because am planning on using a pump to lower water if I ever want to seine it. Thinking mostly will use traps to get the fish I want out when needed. I was able to trap a bunch of FHM (probably 5 or 6 pounds) out of my main pond the other day pretty easily. Guessing depth at 8' but will get the laser out later today to get the water level set, overflow level and dam level established later today so will check it for sure then. Hopefully will have all but the finish work and seeding done by evening today.
It is adjacent to my main pond. I had some extra room that was only going to be a mowing job anyway as the area was not useful for much else. I have room to make the forage pond bigger but thought about putting a cabin for guests someday in the same area adjacent to it so did not want to take all the area up. Also since am planning on using a pump to remove water did not want to get the water capacity too big.
This may not be a well thought out plan , although have been thinking about doing this for most of a year now. Nothing new there. Any suggestions (even discouraging ones) are welcome. Have read several of the older threads about forage ponds for ideas.
Rolled in to Keo Fish Farm near Keo, Arkansas at 8am sharp this morning and left with two bags totaling 500 1.5" Hybrid Striped Bass. Got home before 4pm, tempered them and released them into this 1/20th acre forage pond. Had one mortality that I noticed when they were coming out of the bag. Brought 5 inside to a tiny aquarium to observe them. They went right after some food we gave them.
Martha took my money and Mike helped get the fish ready (the two owners).
The HSB are about the same size as the FHM adults in this pond. Mike said they likely would not eat much feed as long as they had FHM's but would readily take back to feed once the FHM's were consumed.
I don't seem to be able to rotate some of the pictures as needed. I can do it on my computer but it does not seem to affect the upload. You may have to tilt your head sideways on a couple pictures.
Anxious to see how they grow. The pond is chocked full of FHM's and 100 RES that are not about 3" are the only other fish in this 8' deep puddle.
That's some pretty good growth already. Do ya have a guess of what these will weigh next year? Thought it might be cool to look back and see hoe close your guesses are.
I have no clue but if you look back through these posts as I recall someone very thoughtfully gave me estimates of feed consumption and growth and I think he knows what he is talking about.
If you want to come over and fish some out or we might be able to get some with a cast net you are welcome to some. They probably are not quite big enough to escape large LMB predation but if you want to get some early and then get some more later as they have gotten bigger (I'm guessing this fall some time) that would be fine. I figure at least a percentage will escape predation.
If most of them have lived from the original 500 there are still over 400 in this tiny 1/20th acre pond. I have taken out less than 100 so far.
I have heard they can be raised in really dense populations if the feed and aeration is there (I do have aeration in this pond). But I would just as soon thin them out a little and reduce the possibility of a fish kill. That goes for anyone else on this forum that have indicated they would like to have a few. Get a few small ones now that might or might not escape predation then get some more when they get a little bigger. By thinning them out in this pond the remaining ones should grow better.
If you have a way of transporting them, come get some. I have been thinking of making a transport but have not got around to it yet. A barrel would probably do it at this size.
I also have a small seine but not nearly large enough to go across the pond. But might be able to corral some in a corner or something if you don't mind getting wet.
Picking up a pound of HSB fry from KEO Fish Farms at 8am Monday morning. Should be back at the pond around 4pm to put them into this forage pond to grow out. A pound of these fry should be between 400 and 500 fish, depending on what size he has at the moment. He said he would try to get me some of the larger size.
Thanks to NEDOC for showing me his cage raised HSB a couple years ago at his place and getting me excited to raise some.
Got a couple of local PBF'ers that hopefully I can help stock their ponds with some if I get them raised up to size successfully. If most of them live I will have a way more than I need for my other ponds.
51 days from stocking today and this is my first HSB out of this pond caught on hook and line. 1/64 oz jig for a hook and a Gulp Alive green waxie for bait. 6" long and I caught 4 more in short order all in the 5-6" range.
They are hitting pellets really well now. Still see them thrashing the water in schools I presume whooping up on the FHM's in about a 3' diameter frothy circle on the surface. Top picture was size at time of stocking.
Snrub any chance you have caught any of the HSB this year. I havnt caught any myself. I do see them (I think) at feeding. All the fish are so fast it's really hard to tell. Also the water clarity still isnt very good since doing more digging. Just curious at the rate of growth of them.
Here's one my buddies 10 yr old caught from my pond the other day.
That fish is 4 years old, was stocked as a 4"-6" fish.
Guys, I finally caught one of the fish we gathered at snrub's place. 7-8" fish turned into a nice 16", healthy specimen. I think I brought 5 or 6 home. I had a buddy that caught one last summer late that was about 12" but healthy so I know at least 2 survived the 535 mile trip.
I'm still in Bonaire over wintering but will be home in a couple of weeks. I'll try to catch some and post pictures of their progress.
I think your farm has gotten about 4" of rain in the last 24 hours.
If this keeps up, you will be able to don your scuba gear and sit on your patio and observe your HSB up close and personal!
If I was home I could look up a picture and post what the pond looks like when it is about a foot over full pool, has the "bench" on the bench dam covered so the size of the pond probaby gains a half acre, the pipe overflow is screaming and can hear it from our patio, the emergency overflow is running hard and connecting through our back yard to the seasonal stream that runs along the west and south side of the pond and it almost looks like one big body of water with the dam in between.
I don't think GSF can get into the pond (we already have them so not a big deal if they do) via the emergency overflow because by the time it reashes the creek through the yard it is less than yard grass deep and is quite a ways, but I also would not put it past a determined one. GSF are tough fish.
I do need to get the scuba gear on and clean my air diffusers. But I will wait till the water is warmer! Probably June or July. You can basically see nothing. The best it ever gets you MIGHT be able to see the ends of fingers on an extended hand. That is on a very best day of the year and it looks ultra clear from the surface. On a more normal day start with hand at the mask and start extending it and the sight of fingers will be gone in about a foot or a little more. The only way to see fish, most of the time, is lay on the bottom at the proper depth (where the fish are congregating) and sit as still as possible, not even blinking the eyes excet minimal. Eventually the BG and maybe a CC or bass will get curious enough and will swim in front of the mask where a person can see them. Take some feed down and can get a bunch of small BG feeding. The fish are around because I can feel them tugging on my leg hairs or arm hairs. But they are very leery of eyes in the mask. Fish are not as stupid as we sometimes think they are. They know you are there and they can see you before you can see them under water.
From the trip to Arkansas to pick them up, the people there at Keo were accomodating for me being just an individual picking up a few fish compared to big commerial fish growers that are their main customers. Showed me around and answered my questions.
Releasing them and raising them was fun. Starting out with the tiniest of feed. Stocking the FHM's early in the season long before I got the HSB and feeding them. Watching them progress in size and the feed size they preferred.
Catching a few as they got big enough to bite a hook and sampling them with a cast net was fun. Man they grew fast!
Then you guys and gal coming over and helping me harvest them - that was great.
It was a positive experience all the way. Will probably never do it again (although as my dad was fond of saying when I as a child and told him in anger I would "never" do something, he would just say "never is a long time"). But am very glad I did it this time.