Pond Boss
Posted By: bassman_67 Pond update - 01/15/21 10:07 PM
Ok so just on monday I ordered 100 black crappie 3-4in, 100 perch 3-4in, and 2000 minnows for dads pond fish wont be ready til late april or even May. For those of you that dont know about this pond. Its just about 2 aces in size and 16ft deep at about the center and was build back in 2010 it also has 3 springs in it. We have BG, CC, LMB, and GC. I am wanting to add more structure to the water. I already have 2 tubes at the bottom for the catfish, have about 4 buckets with PVC in them to makes trees for the panfish. My question is how much more structure do I wanna add? Also what type do I wanna make? Like I said I got the pvc trees in it already. But I am wanted to do like cedar trees, or do some type of palette structure like a palette triangle. Now my next question would the palettes last longer than the trees?

Thanks for the info!!!
Posted By: Matzilla Re: Pond update - 01/15/21 10:37 PM
what are your fish goals? what size structures are the current fish in the pond? Those two things will help you decide what to put in for cover
Posted By: bassman_67 Re: Pond update - 01/15/21 11:00 PM
Matzilla. We currently have an average size bluegill of 1lb 10in. LMB is just over a 1lb and average of 16in, CC are 24in at 3lbs. I think we have hit our goal for our fish. We are just worried about not having enough structure. Last spring I only caught what seemed like 9in LMB and those weighted just under half a pound and thats all I caught in the spring and the summer. We are also wanting to add more fish cause everyone is getting tired of catching LMB, BG, and CC.
Posted By: Sunil Re: Pond update - 01/19/21 08:16 PM
bassman67, have you considered blocking off, via nets, an area of the pond to try and grow out the new black crappie and yellow perch?

I would guess you could experience well over 50% mortality of the 'new' stockers due to predation by the LMB and CC that are already in the pond. The 2000 minnows may get eaten out too.
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Pond update - 01/20/21 12:36 AM
Based on my experience:

FHM won't make a dent, waste of money. It takes 10-20 lbs of forage to equal 1 pound of growth. Adding FHM to existing fisheries is not productive, only winner is the hatchery. This has been discussed in the magazine and on the forum many times.

Stocking BCP and YP that size and in that limited quantity most will be vulnerable to heavy predation for at least 2 years meaning you may [and likely] end up with zero survival.

YP do not perform well in presence of established LMB population unless there's abundant macrophytes established.

BCP are not recommended for BOWs under 10-20 acres, although I don't feel you'd have an issue with BCP population management as I'd be surprised if any of those fish made it beyond 24 months.

If you're catching stunted LMB but large BG your fishery is unbalanced - if you want a more balanced fishery you need to cull LMB in a slot, say anything under 100 WR. You should also be feeding your BG. These are two immediate management steps to undertake.

If you want to vary the fishery you could consider HSB. They will readily take supplement feed like your BG and will add another fun species to the fishery.

If you want to stock YP I would source adult fish less vulnerable to predation. Still I doubt you'll have any meaningful YP recruitment due to heavy predation via juvenile LMB. The YP that make it through the predation gauntlet will be good fish, but you'll likely need to supplementally stock 8-10" fish to keep a viable population.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Pond update - 01/20/21 03:24 AM
100 BCP and 100 YP at 3-4" for both could very possibly eradicate 2000FHM in 1-2 days.
LMB will clean house on that size of YP also, as LMB females are feeding up heavy about the time you are stocking.
I would also recommend larger fish and possibly a different time of year stocking-maybe late fall on the larger perch so they will have a better chance at spawning come early spring.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Pond update - 01/20/21 07:45 PM
Great sage and wise advice so far. Heed the good practical knowledge and experience.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Pond update - 01/20/21 08:16 PM

Think through the suggestions above.

If you must add to what you have, look for a way to block off part of your pond or have a second forage pond that can be a grow out cell. Then you could truly buy 'stocker' size fish and then release them when the time is right and they are larger..

Or a heavy fish and cull program that may take a long time.

If you really want a different backbone of the dominant predator vs the most needed forage, and if you want to be less affected by the constant battle (often losing) of maintaining FEW enough LMB, and the correct size classes of forage and bluegill, you could consider a reset. A couple hundred of dollars spent on rotenone, wait 30 days, double check you have a clean slate, and you have 2 acres of freedom. Or to save money and better assure a clean slate, pump it down or use any existing drain pipe you have and you will need less rotenone. Then, when empty you can start all your future small forage at the same time. Then add a few of your preferred predators, add in YP at a cheaper stocker size without fear of predation as they will be the biggest fish in the pond Let them establish and spawn and create their own stocker YP the next spring. Add some bonus species if you like (pickeral, NP, HSB) in small quantities at a small size to save on cost without fear of predation.

If you want to go back to a LMB/BG dynamic you can easily add that back in at anytime and the population of those two will explode again.

The current CC will be eating machines and make future stocking challenging. They likely are reproducing adding to the pond imbalance. They probably can't all be harvested by angling so that variable is 'stuck' in the equation too. They are a once in, always in kind of problem for you in 2 acres.

The most telling part of your post above was 'Everybody is sick of catching LMB, BG, and CC"

That means everyone is about ready to significantly change the main fish species of the pond.

I can totally understand though where you worked hard to get very nice size panfish and it is hard to start over!!
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Pond update - 02/02/21 06:49 PM
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful feedback.
Posted By: Dave Davidson1 Re: Pond update - 02/03/21 11:01 AM
Listen to what TJ says re crappie.

Lusk says that over 95% of the eggs laid will not result in a one year old fish. They get eaten. But the crappie spawn earlier and become an apex predator of other species. That’s why they are not a good idea in ponds of less than 20 to 25 acres.
Posted By: ewest Re: Pond update - 02/03/21 05:27 PM
Originally Posted by teehjaeh57
Based on my experience:

Stocking BCP and YP that size and in that limited quantity most will be vulnerable to heavy predation for at least 2 years meaning you may [and likely] end up with zero survival.

BCP are not recommended for BOWs under 10-20 acres, although I don't feel you'd have an issue with BCP population management as I'd be surprised if any of those fish made it beyond 24 months.

To add to TJ comments especially in red - in case the BCP (applies more so to WCP also) do survive to a reproducing age then you probably will have population mgt problems. Here is the archive thread on crappie and it is full of info.


A huge issue with crappie is the boom and bust cycle of reproduction which becomes unmanageable in small waters. DD1 is right with his comment on most eggs/yoy being eaten. Survival as a species in a pond/lake is always about #s. An example - crappie have been documented to produce in excess of 500,000 eggs per female/yr one source and 200,000 in other sources. Other species don't come close to that number -- even BG are in the 10-50 thousand range. At five to ten times the reproductive potential as BG , crappie can quickly overwhelm a pond. If 50 reproducing pairs have 500,000 eggs/yoy each that is 25 million potential offspring. If 95% are eaten that still leaves 1.25 million 1 yr old crappie who can spawn in year 2. You can run the numbers from there on and see the scope of the possible problems. There are some ponds who for unknown provable reasons do well with crappie but it is a big risk.

Here is a small sample of Study text.

White Crappie Tank Culture and Out‐of‐Season Spawning
Charlie M. Culpepper III ,Peter J. Allen North American Journal of Aquaculture 2016 American Fisheries Society

Despite the popularity and socioeconomic value of crappie fisheries (Miranda et al. 2013), crappie population management has provided a difficult challenge to fisheries biologists for decades. Boxrucker and Irwin (2002) provided a synthesis of the fisheries research and challenges hindering crappie fisheries management. Typically, both White Crappies Pomoxis annularis and Black Crappies P. nigromaculatus overpopulate their environments, particularly in small impoundments (<20 ha), limiting crappie fisheries to large lakes and reservoirs (Busack and Baldwin 1988; Mitzner 1991; Allen and Miranda 2001). Crappie populations often fluctuate, with a dominating single year‐class being produced every 2–5 years and the years in between having low recruitment and stunted year‐classes (Swingle and Swingle 1967; Busack and Baldwin 1988; Parsons 1996; Miranda et al. 2013).

An Exploration of Factors Influencing Crappie Early Life History in Three Alabama Impoundments
Russell A. Dubuc , Dennis R. DeVries Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
2002 American Fisheries Society

Although black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus and white crappie P. annularis represent important sport fisheries in North America, we still know little about what influences their variable recruitment. Several abiotic (e.g., water level fluctuations) and biotic (e.g., prey abundance and size structure) factors have been suggested as important to crappie recruitment, but results have not been consistent among studies. We quantified adult characteristics, larval abundance, growth, diet, and postlarval juvenile abundance of crappies in three Alabama impoundments to determine factors consistently affecting crappie life stages across systems. Although adult condition (relative weight, Wr), fecundity, egg diameter, gonadosomatic index, and ovary weight differed among the three impoundments, the differences were not consistent with among‐lake differences in chlorophyll‐a concentration. Larval density was highest in the least productive system (Lake Martin), and larval production was not related to either adult condition or fecundity. Diet analysis indicated that larvae 4‐14 mm in total length strongly selected the smallest prey available in all lakes but that larvae in Lake Martin consumed greater numbers and a higher biomass of crustacean zooplankton than those in Weiss and Jones Bluff lakes, probably because of the higher density of large zooplankton in Lake Martin. Despite the generally earlier presence in spring of crappie larvae in Lake Martin during both years, age‐0 crappies in that lake were not larger than those in the other two lakes in summer. This is probably attributable to cooler early‐spring water temperatures in Lake Martin. The catch of postlarval juvenile crappies was higher in the more productive lakes than in Lake Martin. Collectively, our results were not consistent with our expectation that lake productivity would positively influence the density of both zooplankton and age‐0 crappies. The lack of a positive relationship between larval crappie density and system productivity or zooplankton size was an unexpected result that is probably important to the early life survival and eventual recruitment of crappies and that warrants further investigation.
However, little is known about factors affecting early life and eventual recruitment of white crappie Pomoxis annularis and black crappie P. nigromaculatus, despite their importance as sport fishes. Because crappie populations typically undergo cyclic and variable recruitment (Swingle and Swingle 1967; Allen and Miranda 2001), identifying mechanisms influencing year‐class strength is desirable.
Clearly, production of eggs and survival of larvae are important in determining year‐class strength (Siefert 1968). Density‐dependent reproductive potential (i.e., increased fecundity and increased larval fish production at low adult density) has been suggested as important for renewing crappie populations during periods of reduced adult density, as might occur with heavy exploitation (Jensen 1971; Healey 1978; Mathur et al. 1979; see also Allen and Miranda [2001] concerning the influence of environmental factors on density‐dependent recruitment in crappies). In addition, abiotic factors may influence the spawning activity and early life survival of crappies (Jenkins 1955; Goodson 1966; Mathur et al. 1979; Mitzner 1984). Increased water levels, both before and during spawning, may provide more favorable conditions for crappie reproduction by increasing the coverage of vegetated areas, which are preferred as spawning habitat (Hansen 1965; Beam 1983).
Posted By: Pat Williamson Re: Pond update - 02/04/21 03:23 PM
Hard as I try we can’t seem to get the crappie to pull off a successful spawn other than the first one in 2014. Now you can’t catch any BCP at all. Guessing that the LMB ate the 7-9” ones and the BG robbed the nests before they could hatch. Hmm strange that none of the local ponds that have a few BCP in them don’t get overcrowded with them
Posted By: gehajake Re: Pond update - 02/04/21 09:30 PM
Too many crappie is like too much money, Ive never experienced it.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Pond update - 02/05/21 12:58 AM
Pat, this is reverse of what I normally think but have you ever tried introducing some 10"+ adults??? Maybe 25-30 and see if you get any recruitment from them. I still think 1 of 2 things or both are happening. 1. BG are raiding nests very efficiently. 2. Hatch is being decimated by end of year-0 BG about to turn 1. 300000-400000 eggs per female is not out of the question and that's massive amounts of eggs to eat. It's possible that the few that make it are being consumed by Bass but they also have an abundance of BG to eat of all sizes. If things are even close to suitable I would think a few would show up.
Have you ever had anyone set a fyke net or 2??
Posted By: ewest Re: Pond update - 02/05/21 06:14 PM
Good idea to test (seine , fyke and or electroshock) would help with answers. If the BG are the issue then they will show up in the survey as small/stunted and overpopulated. If there is an out of balance crappie status then that can lead to reduced spawning - one reason for boom/bust crappie reproduction.

There are several things that can cause loss of reproduction in crappie. Could be starvation. If the plankton bloom is too late many could starve in the fry stage.
Posted By: Pat Williamson Re: Pond update - 02/05/21 07:38 PM
Have not tried a fyke net but can’t catch any crappie any more. Let 13 crappie go in my pond this winter from a neighbors pond that were 14-15” . We will see this spring. Used to catch tons of 8” BCP every time I went fishing. Now nada

It is possible that the plankton bloom or lack of plays a part... the water visibility now is less than 24”, hope that holds through the spawn
Posted By: liquidsquid Re: Pond update - 02/05/21 08:54 PM
FWIW local pondmeisters have had very little luck maintaining a healthy population of BCP. My YP outstrip them in reproduction and voracity. I started off worried about my 1/2 acre pond being overrun when I first learned about the issue of not being a small-waters fish. Now I am concerned they are slowly fading away.

If I were to guess, the perch love the cool climate and waters, and out-breed them.

Plus my waters are alkaline and not very fertile.

So like anything else here, it depends...
Posted By: Snipe Re: Pond update - 02/06/21 04:52 AM
Originally Posted by ewest
Good idea to test (seine , fyke and or electroshock) would help with answers. If the BG are the issue then they will show up in the survey as small/stunted and overpopulated. If there is an out of balance crappie status then that can lead to reduced spawning - one reason for boom/bust crappie reproduction.

There are several things that can cause loss of reproduction in crappie. Could be starvation. If the plankton bloom is too late many could starve in the fry stage.
Exactly, this is why I was wondering about the fyke net sample as it "may" show small BCP are present at an early stage but are not recruiting. My thoughts were a 1/4" mesh fyke.... I wish I was closer Pat, I could sure make that happen and maybe-"maybe" find a few answers. I could probably be talked into a road trip fairly easily...
Posted By: Pat Williamson Re: Pond update - 02/06/21 05:26 PM
Wish you were closer also. Around here none of the ponds with BCP in them are overrun with them , so this fact makes lots of questions more than answers about them. Not gonna give up yet trying to have a catchable amount of BCP. Appreciate any input
© Pond Boss Forum