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4CornersPuddle, FishinRod, gehajake
Total Likes: 6
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by LarryBud
Hello All,

I have an old pond which I've been watching for the past two years since I've owned the property. It has trees on the dam and is silted in a fair amount.

It's 1 acre and 11' deep when full and has overflowed each of the past two years with the spring rains but it's now about 2.5 - 3' low. I had 8' of max depth when I did a good depth check a few weeks back.

I know this is not an ideal pond. My plan is to do the best with what I have vs trying to rehab an old livestock pond. Perhaps I start fresh if I have the funds and motivation?

Anyway. I had the MO DNR Fisheries guy come out this week. He thought the pond was just fine for stocking and suggested 1-3" BG this fall followed by 2-4" LMB and 4" CC next spring. I believe the proper number of BG would be 500. Anything wrong with me starting with 250 to see how it goes and limit my expenses?

FYI.. I did stock FHM in 18 months ago. I don't see any now but they were prevalent in the shallows last spring. Also, I'm pretty sure there are no fish in the pond. ( can't catch any and have never seen any ). I do have a ton of crayfish, frogs, turtles etc.

Liked Replies
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
If LBud's pond has ""I do have a ton of crayfish, frogs, turtles etc." It is a very good hint that there are no predators in the pond. Even lots of green sunfish will reduce crayfish populations to where there are not lots of them present. If the water is fairly turbid then good chances are there are real high numbers of crayfish, however if the water is clear with 5'-7ft of clarity then chances are crayfish are not abundant. Lots of frogs with minimal cover also indicate predatory fish are not real abundant. Although Frogs will thrive with predator fish in ponds with ample cover.

The other concern about the condition of this pond is status of the FHM that were stocked in spring ""I did stock FHM in 18 months ago. I don't see any now but they were prevalent in the shallows last spring.""
If FHM were common in the shallows last spring -- where are they now? Either they were eaten, died in a fish kill, or are staying in deep water due to no predatory pressure. Two ways I would check on presence of fish. 1. crumble dried white bread and toss it in on the up wind part of the pond. Sit patiently and watch for any fish activity. Wet bread crumbs when put in the pond will sink and also attract small fish. Small fish often attract larger fish. 2. Buy a Gee brand minnow trap add some old bread or pet food as bait and set the trap parallel to shore in shallow water . Most all fish species will enter the baited trap. Gee traps are proven to be the best at catching small minnow type fish.
2 members like this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Don't forget that 4Corners is from CO and has different climate and water quality that your pond in MO.

No current established fish in your pond suggests the pond has periodic fish kills due to severe sags in dissolved oxygen(DO). High amounts of dead bottom muck and autumn leaf litter causes a large DO loss at various times during the winter and summer. Be prepared for those events to happen. It is saddening to work and create a nice fishery and then have a DO loss ruin all your efforts. This is why a pond rebuilding and maybe a down sizing to 0.3 to 0.5 ac at lower cost is worthwhile for old ponds with periodic poor water quality events.

I would do as 4Corners suggests and stock the smaller BG (200-300) this fall and try and locate a nearby fish farm to get at least 4-12 larger BG (4"-7") that will reproduce for you next May-June. If you can't find a local fish farm, I am sure if you stop at any local farm pond and just ask the owner if you can fish, collect and buy about 6-10 of his adult bluegill - almost every pond owner will be very glad to help you for your project. The hardest part of all this IMO will be mustering up the nerve to just stop and ask. Pond owners like to help other pond owners! As homework, make sure that you know how to correctly identify types of BG, hybrid BG (HBG) , green sunfish,, warmouth so you get pure stain BG from a local pond, if your goal is having pure strain standard BG.

Once you see BG on the nest then ASAP buy some fingerling or small bass at least 30-60 or even 100. IMO I would omit CC unless you really like catching, cleaning and eating CC. Every CC basically takes the place in biomass and predatory ability of one bass. Please return and keep us updated about your pond project. We love hearing pond stories.
1 member likes this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Fishing Rod has good questions about overflow topics. Answers provide insight as to possibility of invader fish being present. Even if the pond is flushed heavily most of the FHM should still be present. There is a significant reason the FHM are not obviously abundant in a fishless pond after 18 months. Detective work should answer this question.

The pond being dry and reworked in 2012 indicates the likelihood of fish kills are minimized compared to a tree lined, overgrown pond that is 40+ years old. A 11ft deep MO pond will thermally stratify with depths of 7-11 ft being devoid of DO and then a summer turnover brings most of that anoxic water up into the top 6ft. This situation is deadly for fish.

How big were the 250 BG just added? 2"-3"? With ample food some of those fastest growing early maturing BG could spawn in August of 2023. Do your best to visit the neighbors that have ponds for a fishing opportunity to buy a few adult BG for a May 2023 spawning.
1 member likes this
by 4CornersPuddle
LarryBud, I was writing a long post for you about just getting some fish in there. But it disappeared and one of our experts is here now.
All I can say is if you want BG/LMB then go ahead and stock some BG. Put in what you think you can afford. Get them going.

Personally, I'd stock those fingerlings and also some adult fish, too that would spawn next summer. I chose to ad 25 7" to 8" BG three summers ago to our 1/4 acre pond already packed with other species. There are BGs everywhere from fingerling size to 11". I have GSF those sizes; YP too. Several trout patrol the feeding area, splashing us and our cell phones when we feed them. There are monster grass carp (to 40"), plenty of pesty LMB up to 4 pounds, a couple of SMB.

Kids come by who have never fished in their lives, giggle at all the fishies swimming around the dock, then catch 30 fish on their first day of fishing. They get to ID two, three, four, five different species.

How can you beat that?
1 member likes this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
A good way to verify pure strain BG is to closely and carefully look at the gill flap. Pure BG will have an ALL black margin on the rear portion of the gill flap. The commonly occurring hybrids will have a lighter colored non-pure black rear narrow gill flap margin. When in doubt it helps to with a thin blade to lift the gill flap.
1 member likes this
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