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DrewSh, DrLuke, FishinRod, gehajake, SetterGuy
Total Likes: 9
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by canyoncreek
canyoncreek
Hello, this post is based on Bill Cody asking for me to circle back and give advice on how things went with a small pond and a few walleye.

Our pond is a groundwater pond, no inlet or outflow. It is about .2 and maybe .25 acres when overflowing its banks. There is a fairly big swing of water as we get runoff events and then we lose some through evaporation and tree action plus some loss through the bottom/seams. I think our trees really suck water in the hot days of summer. I have sealed it with soilfloc on two occasions which has helped in a huge way minimize entry/exit through ground water seams.

Soil has small percentage of clay, mostly loam/sand mix. No gravel.
I have bottom aeration set at 10' but by mid summer the diffuser which are raised up no a tote are probably 7' under while depth is probably 8' in the middle in summer. Wish I had gotten the right equipment in to dig it deeper when we built our house. We had the edges mucked out and a bulldozer pushed dirt out of the bottom as deep as the operator could go without getting stuck. There was ground water in the middle when pond was pumped empty at that time so the original intent of being around 12' in middle didn't happen.

WE stocked FHM, GSH, and 100 YP in 2014. Over time I have tried to add bonus species including RES, LES, LCS, and SFS. A few pumpkinseed have been added over the years. Sadly one lone BG was bucket stocked by a careless person. The goal was to have zero BG due to a host of issues with BG management.

YP have done very well (pellet fed by hand when time allows) Biggest female YP are 13", may even be one 14" specimen in there. Last few years we have had lots of egg strands but poor fertilization and survival so we may have less males left, or GSH are consuming fry.

GSH are mostly gone, only a few old and probably sterile widows are caught on hook and line occasionally (6" plus)

FHM were gone in 2 weeks

No other predators, till one fall I ran up to Stony Creek Fish farm (was it 2 years ago already?) I stocked a dozen 4-6" walleye. I figured for my size pond the correct number of WE to stock is probably 2-3 but I didn't know what survival would be in my 'shallow' pond and figured winter kill was likely.

I have tires and pallet structure in shallows, but otherwise no other structure. No rocks, sadly no vegetation at all so little place for walleye to hide in. I guess they could stack up around and next to the diffuser and tote structure in the middle. Soilfloc makes the bottom like concrete and we get no plants. I now see some buttercup species (swamp? marsh buttercup?) bushes popping up all around the waters edge.

No sign of walleye ever again. I didn't try to fish for them. My son said he saw a big 'V' chasing something up into the shallows which clearly was larger than a YP and something that YP would not do. I had hoped that there actually might be a walleye that survived some two years later! I figured outside of an underwater game camera I would never know if they were there or how many survived. Certainly there is clouds and clouds of SFS everywhere so there should be plenty of food if walleye wanted to eat SFS minnows.

But then we had a big rain event a couple weeks ago. A big flush of heavy rain plus street run off added a huge inflow of stormwater plus whatever chemical may have washed off the streets with it. The next day we had a few floaters of the largest YP, no small fish. Then each day for 2 days later we had a few more floaters, some smaller YP. One of the biggest 'YP' somehow was dragged up on one of my floating turtle platforms and left there. When I got closer to it, it clearly had the mouth and teeth of about a 14-15" walleye!! The body had decomposed and was partially eaten on the underside so hard to get a good idea on condition, coloring, health etc. I thought it was funny that the turtles who probably started snacking on the fish went right for the 'walleye ear' meat and after digging that out left most of the rest of it alone.

Then as I was raking algae the next day I found another large slender 'floater'. It was another walleye, same size, about 15", but with good heft in the midsection. Looked like it was well fed.

I don't know if they died from too much silt in the water from the big plunge of water coming in the pond, or rapid temperature change or what. I would say that with aeration there should have been plenty of oxygen. air and water temps were not excessively high. It could be that the cold water refuge below the 'thermocline' was suddenly disrupted with all that water coming in.

So the take home is that even in my tiny pond, with not much depth, very little structure, little opportunity for cold water refuge, no flowing water, and only YP or SFS/GSH to pick from for a food source my few walleye made it 2 years, went from 5" to 14" and without a big runoff event would probably have continued to survive on.

Now I'm excited to think that some of the other walleye stockers may still be in there. We'll have to see. I like the idea that they are in a way my apex predator. They are selective in how they feed and will not reproduce which is to my advantage.

So bottom line is if you have a northern pond, even small, even if somewhat shallow, don't exclude the possibility of walleye as your apex predator (as long as you don't have a problem with too many BG) A shiner/YP/SMB pond would work really well and it would be exciting to add some bonus WE for fun, variety, good eating. Or you can even do a shiner/YP/WE pond (no bluegill, no bass) and I think it would work well. Think of the quality of your table fare with access to YP and WE at will!!

Thanks to all who have helped me get this far.
Liked Replies
by Omaha
Omaha
Originally Posted by gehajake
I stocked my YP and WE later then the rest, I have yet to see or catch a YP, dont know how, have never caught one, I thought they may be great for ice fishing if the ice ever gets thick enough for it.

YP tend to disappear when LMB occupy the same waters. Though if you have that much cover, maybe some will survive.
1 member likes this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
I agree well with Snipe. It is likely that your original stocker WE are growing slowly especially if they have low relative weights. Note males grow more slowly compared to the females. The 19"er was likely a female and smaller ones are males. Pond walleye usually do not grow much bigger than 4 to maybe 5 lbs at 23-24" maximum. If you grow some 25" consider yourself fortunate and doing something right. Natural reproduction is very rare in regular pond habitats but not unheard of. Do not consider that WE are reproducing in your pond unless you catch some that are 8"-12" long. Do come back and tell us if you catch some 8"-10 walleye from your pond.
1 member likes this
by Snipe
Snipe
A 19" WAE at 1.5lbs is 56.7%RW.
A 19" WAE should weigh 2.64lbs to be 100%RW.
Chances of reproduction are very, very low. WAE topping out at 14-16" in a pond is not uncommon because they don't do well on sunfish generally. It would take a large abundance of golden shiner to keep them happy in a shad-free pond.
Lot's of rock/sand/gravel substrate in 1-4' of water with current is needed for higher chances of reproduction.
1 member likes this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
geha - In certain situations and weather conditions WE have been known to have a small amount of recruitment in pond habitats. Walleye do spawn in ponds HOWEVER the eggs very rarely hatch due to lack of proper conditions for egg incubation. IMO and experience water quality and clarity are important parts of the equation along with proper zooplankton for fry, good types of habitat / cover, and right type of predators to allow survival to the 8"-10" sizes. Usually it is more luck than planning. As I mentioned confirmation of egg hatching and survival of fry to juvenile walleye will be evidenced by catching or sampling some individuals that are 8"-10" providing no fingerlings nor yearlings have been stocked within 2 years. We are interested in how the WE perform and survive in your MO pond. Take some water temperature measurements surface and near bottom this hot summer and report back. Thank you.!
1 member likes this
by Snipe
Snipe
CC, Ron's got a very unique situation at his place and I absolutely wish him the best with the new ponds as well.
As for your WAE ventures, try a 3-4" minnow on just a hook, fish under a bobber (pencil type) in 4-6' with bait about a foot off of bottom.
The last 30 min of daylight to 30 min after is likely the best time. If no luck on a minnow, try the largest nightcrawlers you can find, fished the same way.
1 member likes this
by Fishingadventure
Fishingadventure
This thread has evolved to ponds stocked with unusual species for the Latitude. A quick description of mine, WE and YP in an unusually far south pond. Stocked 6" WE in my 1.8 Acre pond April 2021, caught 14" WE in Oct , 2021 , 16" Dec 2021 . Fall of 2020 through fall of 2021 stocked
850 YP, 195 lbs of FHM's / Golden Shiners . ( lots of 3" to 9" GSH caught this spring early summer on lures , beautiful bright gold ,
back to silver color now ) . We are still catching WE 14" to 16" . Western Oklahoma , on I-40 , 61 miles from Texas Panhandle. Never seen a skinny one , see lots of 1.5"-2.5" GSH while feeding Optimal . Still catching YP on regular basis . Water depth average is
about 12' at Full pool, probably .2 Acres over 20' at full pool. Visibility summer months 24"-42" , winter 70"-96"+ . Don't know if this info is of interest , But must say, the Bonus Fish catches of WE, YP, and SMB , is exciting for the fishermen in Western Oklahoma , where every pond is LMB, BG, and CC , over and over .

My SMB , stocked with my WE, appear to have 2 successful spawns . Stockers 14"-18", 2022 spawn now 10" , 2023 5" caught in a clover leaf trap last week, only one so far.

Q#1 : Is lack of current , across a rocky , gravely bottom the #1 reason for lack of spawn for WE in smaller BOW ?

Q#2 : The 5"-9" GSH, although they colored up beautifully this spring , are they most likely sterile ? would you cull in a WE/SMB/YP pond ? The ovarian disease, at 3,4, or 5 YOA , is there still sufficient egg production to justify keeping ? If belly appears gravid and good golden color, does this indicate fertility ?

Q#3 : Stocked RES June 2021 for a massive snail infestation. 400, guessing I received ?150? RES, 100 NBG, 100 GSF, 50 assorted Hybrids , all a guess, niave enough to believe if a bought RES , I would get RES. 1" fish , so you know the story. The Lemonade is 9"- 10" BG, very thick , 8" GSF that thrill the kids. I do not want LMB. If I introduce my WE to my friend Mr.Skillet , how many Saugeye
would you stock to knock down the BG, GSF #'s substantially ? To give my YP a chance ?

Sorry first paragraphs rambled , hope you can make sense of them . God bless each of you.



.
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