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anthropic, DrewSh, FishinRod, RAH
Total Likes: 12
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#551399 08/12/2022 7:11 PM
by DrewSh
Hello! I live on 20 acres of woods in Southern Ohio (Georgetown area). Our project of ground water management at the front of the property has quickly escalated to putting in a pond for some of the dispersement. I love fishing, so I'd like to manage this to an excellent fishery. I was hoping to stray from the "traditional Ohio pond," but was not sure how well it would do. Soil is primarily clay and we have a fairly high water table as our sump pump runs year round. So far the plan is a little less than 0.5 acre, we're planning on 3:1 slopes, a 3ft shelf, a 5ft shelf, then down to somewhere between 8-10ft with a couple even deeper holes dug in there. I'd love YP, BG, SMB, and WE (or even Sauger), but have no idea if that would work. My primary goal would be big panfish with a secondary goal nice to big SMB. I'm guessing SMB would help control the YP, but maybe not so much the BG as for the second predator of WE or Sauger (I know WE wouldn't produce, I'm just concerned about survival in Southern Ohio as to why I've thrown out Sauger potential as well). Maybe HBG instead of BG if WE/Sauger wouldn't work out. I do plan to build a nice minnow base, and we already have burrowing crawfish, frogs, lizards, and salamanders I figure would play a role in forage base as well. I would be happy managing big BG in a BG, LMB, CC pond, but I'd be happier with big YP and BG and SMB if it would work where I'm at smile. I am completely open to suggestions, definitely plan on aerating year round, and I won't mind feeding as well. Also, if there is anyone highly recommended in the area that draws up stocking/management plans I'm not opposed to hiring their services as long as I can trust them. I have spoken with Jones Hatchery some who has recommended this:
20# FHM
15# GSH
25 SMB
75 WE
200 BG
100 HGB
75 RES
100 YP
On a side note, I've also heard about Japanese Black Trapdoor Snails in leu of TGC, supposedly they live birth and don't over produce like other snails, but have no idea if this is actually a good idea or not.
Thank you all so much for your time on this and I value all recommendations.

Liked Replies
#551407 Aug 13th a 03:07 AM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Welcome Drew and he says "" We're planning on 3:1 slopes, a 3ft shelf, a 5ft shelf, then down to somewhere between 8-10ft with a couple even deeper holes dug in there."
Firstly the bottom basin belly of a 0.5 pond is not a very big area. Not much bigger than 3-4 bulldozers. IMO leave out the couple deeper holes and just make the bottom basin all one depth or a gentle belly slope toward one deepest end away from the beech shallow zone or end. I would deepen the pond basin toward at least 13ft to a better 15-16ft. This bottom area is not very large and is added with cheap $, fast dirt removal for the long term benefit that the 3-4 extra feet of depth provides "healthy water" for a northern Ohio pond. This bottom depth will be beneficial as the pond ages past the 15 - 20 year range and sludge / muck accumulates. NOTE a circular pond has the least amount of shoreline compared to kidney shape or elongated rectangle shape pond - calculate shoreline areas for several pond shapes. Weeds and algae problems always grow on shorelines thus less shoreline results in fewer weed problems. Choose your best shape for your goals.

Jones FH is in the business to sell fish and get profit and not necessarily the best way to achieve your goals. Most fish farms are pretty good at growing and selling small fish but not experts at growing those fish into trophies. Trust our growing big fish opinions (they are free) and then decide which ones fits best for your goals. You will not need to stock nearly as many FHM and GSH as suggested by Jones if you follow our advice below.

As mentioned above start first with minnows / shiners and maybe fingerling up to 4"-6" YP or fingerling RES in spring 2023 or this fall and then next fall add the predators. Stocked to first reproduce -- it will only take 3-4 lbs FHM and 3 lbs GSH in spring to jump start this new pond with 10s of thousands of minnows for a fall predator stocking. Note the correct panfish species can be stocked with minnows in spring (see below) then with thousands of reproduced minnows add predators in fall or the next spring 2024.

As mentioned SMB will NOT control BG. RES is a better panfish with SMB with a few HSB. YP are even better than RES with SMB. HSB and RES-YP also work okay. Another option is HSB-walleye(WE) and RES-YP as panfish. Jones 100 YP and 75 RES is a good start option in your panfish pond. If you start with 4"-6" pellet trained YP in spring with minnows and feed YP pellets you can have 8"-10" by fall - I've done this in a lot of ponds. Check with Brehms Perch farm in West Liberty OH for high quality fast growing pellet trained yellow perch. Jones often buys some of their YP from them and Brehm's partner in Marysville! Remember that YP have proven and reported in the literature to eat a fair number of small sunfish and minnows during winter. So adult YP are also predators. I think Dave Smith at Freshwater Farms of Ohio in Urbana buys their YP from Brehm's.

This WE-HSB-YP-RES is a good combo because neither WE-HSB reproduce,, so you have VERY good control of the number of predators - need some add some; have too many predators thinning too many small fish then remove and eat a few predators. No more predators than you will need in 0.5 ac pond,,,,, adding a few predators as replacements occasionally will be cheap $ management in the long run. EACH predator including even each SMB will eat 250 to 300 fish a year so it will not take very many predators to thin out reproducing panfish such as RES&YP. and maybe some minnows which would be after the 3rd year just golden shiners. FHM are very slow swimmers and very vulnerable to predation; plus they only grow to about 2.5"-3" and are easy for a 8"-9" fish to eat adult FHM. I've had just adult YP alone in a small pond eat all the FHM and eliminate them.

Jones is adding WAY too many WE for a 0.5 ac normal Ohio panfish pond. 75 WE alone in a pond if when 10"-12" long to grow 1"-1.5" would need to eat 22,500 small fish in one year (sunfish YP minnows). WOW - What will your other predators be eating????? Your pond would not need any more than 6-7 WE with a few HSB or a few SMB for a balanced food prey situation. WE should be considered only a bonus fish for small ponds unless the pond is a basic walleye production growing pond. HSB inch for inch will be the hardest fighting fish that you will ever catch in freshwater

I've used HBG-YP in with SMB and HSB. They worked well until about the 6-7th year and then the HBG offspring backcrossing and inbreeding or recruitment of individuals trended toward the more dominant genetics of green sunfish rather than BG. After 20+ years all sunfish caught now look very close to GSF. No new HBG have been added periodically to this pond which as an option would have provided large faster growing panfish into this gene pool fishery.

If you want BG with WE-HSB-SMB as predator you can add male only BG that you buy or catch from another pond. Two forum members and I wrote how to do this in 3 issues of Pond Boss Magazine. The danger here is if the pond has RES,,, the male BG will cross (hybridize) with the RES. Been there done that. In that pond after about 10-14 years the hybrids died out and primary sunfish caught now is RES. Hybrids died out because I think the cross of RES female X male BG were not fertile and when original stocked male BG died hybridization stopped?

Reference for the articles of using and stocking of only male BG - available in back issues of Pond Boss Magazine:

Mar-Apr 2006 Pond Boss Magazine. BEHEMOTH BLUEGILLS IN SMALL PONDS. In Part I, Cody, Condello and Baird provide the necessary details of how to accurately sex bluegills as the first step to produce BG trophies in small waters.

May-Jun 2006. GROWING BEHEMOTH MALE BLUEGILLS; Part II. Cody, Condello and Baird present info about size, growth, stocking densities, and choosing proper male bluegills.

Jul-Aug 2006. THE ART OF MANAGING BEHEMOTH MALE BLUEGILLS. Cody, Condello and Baird conclude their three part article about raising trophy male bluegills. Discussed are best size of ponds, natural foods, supplemental feeding, angling implications, females only, and creative ways to use male bluegills. A standard weight table for bluegill is included.
3 members like this
#551412 Aug 13th a 04:23 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Black Japanese Trapdoor Snails - I would never add these exotic nuisance snails into a sport fish pond. A few fish farmers I know hate these big snails. They are a pest. As I know it the only thing that around ponds eats the big ones is otter. One of the farms sells the snails to the zoo as food items. If you introduce the snails and they reproduce to a be a pest how will you get rid of them? Big problem. A fish renovation chemical rotenone may not even kill them. I would only stock them if the seller says he will remove them if you find them to be a pest. You want to minimize snails in the pond because they are a vector for fish parasites and swimmers itch. RES will keep snail populations to a minimum and maybe eliminated. I do not and never encourage snails. IMO the only beneficial snail the the common pond snail Physella. They have thin shells that many fish can easily eat including YP and sunfishes. A newish rocky lined pond I am working with had an infestation of Physella. Owner was concerned about fish parasites of black spot, and white, yellow grubs and swimmers itch. Last year and this spring we added RES. August of this year I was there testing water quality and I could not find any snails on the rocks.

This is copied information from a seller of trapdoor snails.
"The Black Japanese Trapdoor Snails (Viviparis malleatus) are the preferred snail species for pond owners and water gardeners. Japanese Trapdoor Snails are one of the few varieties that will survive in northern climates. Pond snails are helpful in keeping algae under control in your pond as they groom your plant containers, rocks, liner sides and plants. Trapdoor snails will consume excess fish food, fish waste and decaying leaves from the bottom of the pond. Japanese Trapdoor Snails are live-bearing and only breed twice a year. They will not over reproduce and become a nuisance like egg laying snails. To have a positive effect on algae growth, a minimum of 10 snails per 50 square feet is necessary. Large natural ponds would require at least 200 snails per acre to be effective."

This information above is just a sales pitch to sell these snails. They MIGHT be okay for a lily garden pond but IMO never put them into a sport fish recreation pond. Eventually the pond will be over populated with these big problematic snails as some fish farmers discovered and see the problems the trapdoors are contributing. Nothing you want around will eat the adult trapdoors. The sales pitch promotes them as "helpful for algae control" All snails eat algae but never enough to control or impact algae enough of the abundant fast growing algae that can grow in a sport fishpond.

If you want BENEFICIAL algae control and all things trapdoor are promoted to do --- stock a few tilapia each year and then in fall ----- catch and eat the tilapia. How good is that??? Now that is effective wise pond management algae control. What other chemical algae control can you later eat?? Yes you can eat the snails but you can't have fun catching them on a fish pole! Plus the tilapia will never promote fish parasites and each year you can adjust their density in the pond for optimizing algae control by buying more or fewer individuals. Tilapia also eat and digest fish waste and the tilapia small offspring groom the "plant containers" and rocks. Tilapia will not just eat algae but they also as algae becomes limited eat the more delicate submerged weeds such as Chara, small pond weed, Naiads, etc. Tilapia in Ohio will absolutely NEVER overpopulate your pond from one year to the next year - Guaranteed - or I will come fix the problem for free.
3 members like this
#551403 Aug 12th a 08:17 PM
by Augie
Welcome to PB!

I have a very similar pond in central Missouri. I added HSB but don't have WE.
Based on my experience over the past four years I believe your plan is generally sound, but recommend you carefully consider removing BG/HBG from the mix.

SMB are not able to keep BG in check. I soak traps 24/7 from March until November and pull out every BG I catch that's <9".
BG are also are savage little nippers who will plague swimmers mercilessly, so if you plan on using your pond as a swimming hole you don't want them.
2 members like this
#551402 Aug 12th a 08:09 PM
by RAH
I think everything but the BG would work. I personally stock much lower numbers.
1 member likes this
#551406 Aug 13th a 01:22 AM
by Theo Gallus
Theo Gallus
Ahhh, Brown County. We looked into moving there a few years ago - after spending the day walking around a 224 acre farm with over 300 ft of elevation change, we realized we are flatlanders!

I'd leave out the BG and HBG, due to concern ove SMB controlling them. I handle BGxRES in a half acre with SMB and YP predation by removing about 500 sunfish each year via angling. If you are willing to do that, HBG would probably work.

Put in some SMB spawning beds, with nearby wood staked down, on the 3' and 5' shelves. I'd stock more SMB and fewer WE, but total predator numbers would probably work.

If you can stand to let the FHM and GS breed for a year before stocking predators, they will have plenty to eat.

Good luck!
1 member likes this
#551417 Aug 13th a 06:53 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
[/quote]I would not add grass carp until you see a need. Some submerged weeds are beneficial for several reasons and their growth always competes with algae for available nutrients. Competition is how nature works. No pond weeds? Then algae is the only plant present that will grow fast to consume the always available dissolved nutrients. Jones FH loves naive new pond owners because they can sell them all sorts of money making items - products.

[quote] As much as love SMB, I do like you're suggestion of WE-HSB-YP-RES. Do you think something like 6 WE, 2 HSB, 2 SMB would be a good start, or would you recommend just trying to stick with 6 WE and 4 HSB for now?

The WE-HSB-YP-RES combo is very good for numerous reasons best one is if you don't like what it produces,, you can always later add BG-HBG-LMB and they will soon dominate the fishery. Can't do the opposite of producing WE-HSB-YP-RES with established BG-LMB.

You can initially use SMB but remember they WILL reproduce but not always in abundance. You can't stop it without a concerted effort of stocking one sex SMB. So with SMB you will have to manage for population control due to their ability to almost always over eat the food source. Dr Willis our fish guru from SDSU had numerous instances of SMB overpopulating producing too many small SMBass in his northern research ponds. Limited natural foods can be minimized by feeding high quality fish pellets. I have found that many of the recruitment SMB in ponds will learn to eat fish pellets. Feeding pellets almost always produces more fish biomass that if not harvested appropriately becomes a bigger and bigger pellet consuming "machine" to cause reduced water quality from eventual over fertilization. Feeding pellets feeds eutrophication (enhanced nutrient enrichment and plant growth). SMB will do very well in a small Ohio pond. I have grown them to 21" and 5 lbs in a 1/3 ac mud bottom pond. They can even thrive as the only fish in a small pond however as lone fish specie growth will usually be small in the 8"-10" range. I often use SMB as a "tool" to assist in specially management of various pond organisms.
1 member likes this
#551419 Aug 13th a 07:28 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
IMO a balanced 0.5 acre pond can sustain a high quality predator population of around 20-40 high end predators of various size classes. The fewer the predators present the larger they will generally be as growing adults. Keep in mind that pond fish biomass is based on carrying capacity thus predator biomass is the smallest amount or weight of the total fish pond biomass. Read up and study about Pond Carrying Capacity to help with pond management.


Other good fish farms in central OH
Shelby Fish Farm Anna OH,
Mill Creek Fish Farm Marysville
Fenders Fish Farm Baltic - Charm OH.
https://www.atac.cc/ rick rogers near Dayton
Freshwater Farms Dave Smith PhD Urbana OH.
Almost all Ohio Fish farms are fish brokers similar to Wal-Mart. They raise very few fish themselves. Most all small fish they sell are bought from other big producers. Brehm's Perch Farm and Mill Creek hatch and raise about all of their own perch. Fenders farming about 230 ac of water is about the only one that actually hatch and raise a large number of their own fish and even they do not raise CC, grass carp, crappie, WE, northern pike and often a lot of their other fish they sell when they run out and need more for sales.
Jones buys elsewhere almost all the fish they sell.

Be careful and watchful of all these fish farms, they have their own opinions of what you should buy and stock and often based on their sales needs not your best needs. Here on Pond Boss forum we are not selling anything except good free pond management advice. Always check in here for good 1st or 2nd opinions.
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