Pond Boss
Posted By: Bones Forage Pond - 07/29/08 08:55 PM
I have recently built a 16 acre pond with the back water abuting the levee to an old 3 acre pond. My fish guy recommended raising fathead minnows in the smaller pond to supplement the LMB in the larger pond (stocked with BG, CC, LMB and FHM this past spring). I rotenoned the small pond and nothing besides small BG and small shinners surfaced. I took this as a good sign because even though the pond had been holding water for several years there were no "trash" fish brought in from other sources. I stocked the pond with FHM's and they have taken off. I built a pier and set out a fish feeder to train them to come to the pier. They love the floating feed. I built a swing arm with a pulley on the pier thinking I could use it to net the FH's as they feed. I guess time will tell if this will work. Interested in ideas, suggestions, similar experiences, etc.
Posted By: GW Re: Forage Pond - 07/29/08 09:30 PM
Hey Bones. It would be neat if you could devise a way to release large amounts of water (and FH) into the larger pond periodically.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 07/29/08 11:06 PM
I would have to cut the levee to do that and put in some kind of pipe with a valve. I have a 24" diameter pipe at a 20 degree angle draining into the bigger pond. I have thought about draining the pond periodically and seining the FH and dumping them into the other pond. Wish I had thought to do this while I was working on the levee.
Posted By: GW Re: Forage Pond - 07/29/08 11:10 PM
On a much smaller scale I'm thinking about building a FH forage pond just upstream of the culvert that feeds my pond. When we get a good rain the water moves through that pipe pretty quick and I think it might automatically wash some FH into the main pond periodically. That would be cool.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 07/30/08 02:57 AM
Thanks GW, you have my gears turning now. I have a large area of run off that goes to the small pond and takes a good bit of water through the pipe on big rains. If I set up a feeder close to the pipe, the FH might hang out there and have a better chance of being washed down the pipe. Anybody know the habits of FH enough to know if this might work?
Posted By: jeffhasapond Re: Forage Pond - 07/30/08 03:29 PM
 Originally Posted By: Bones
I have recently built a 16 acre pond with the back water abuting the levee to an old 3 acre pond.

In accordance with Pond Boss Posting Rule 301, Article IV, Section 1.5(a) you MUST post photos of your pond.

Ok, I admit that I made all of that up, but the point is we wanna see pictures of your pond.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 07/30/08 05:13 PM
I will give it a try this weekend. I haven't posted photos online before. Is there a link with any special instructions for posting here?
Posted By: Brett295 Re: Forage Pond - 07/30/08 05:27 PM
yes there is a link.


I upload my photos to photobucket and then paste the link in the Forum. It took me a few tries but it's pretty easy.

I am looking forward to seeing your pictures.
Posted By: ewest Re: Forage Pond - 07/30/08 08:02 PM
Bones FH are good forage for small LMB (yoy up to 10 inches). Not so good as LMB get bigger if they last that long. I would use the growout pond for CNBG , FH and GShiners. The other option would be TShad for the big pond now before the LMB get big. The small pond with TShad plus CNBG and others. If needed you could augment the big pond by using TShad out of the small pond. How far north are you ? TShad die in cold water < 42F.

Seining would be a more viable option than hoping they wash in , no matter what species you pick for forage.

You could seine like normal or use the method depicted below. Feed in same place and after the fish get use to the location put out the net as shown below. After a few days of feeding in front of the net then feed and while the fish are feeding slowly pull in the ropes , transport to tubs and move to their new home. This method will not work on TShad because they don't eat pellets and are pelagic (open water) except when spawning . That is when you seine TShad.

Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 07/31/08 02:05 AM
Thanks for the replies. I am in north central MS and we do get several weeks of cold weather in the winter so I don't think the TShad would make it. It may be best to seine the FH and feed the LMB the first 2 years or so of growth and then rethink the use of the forage pond. Such as growing out fingerling CC to 9-10 inches and transfering them into the larger pond. I really am just having fun with this. I doubt seriously that I will be able to fish enough to even keep up with the LMB once they get some size. Ewest, were you thinking of using the CNBG as forage into the bigger pond? Would this overpopulate and stunt the BG? I like to catch big LMB but I want decent BG for the girls (I have 3) as well as for flyfishing. How often would you suggest transfering the FH?
Posted By: GW Re: Forage Pond - 07/31/08 02:47 AM
 Originally Posted By: Bones
I really am just having fun with this.

Wise man!
Posted By: ewest Re: Forage Pond - 07/31/08 02:55 AM
FH are fractional spawners and can be moved anytime the #s are high enough and the size is right. Always leave a bunch in the small pond to repopulate and grow. The FH in the big pond will be eaten.

Yes adding either BG or CNBG from the small pond where they are grownout to 6 inches + - and moved to the larger one will help the LMB grow and insure enough big BG to catch on flies or live bait. A good supply of larger BG will help deter BG stunting and provide lots of small BG for LMB forage. You can gauge the LMB/BG relationship by yearly seine survey and fishing and visual info.

We use this same method via blocking nets rather than a forage pond but the concept is the same.


Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/01/08 06:50 PM
Here are some attempts at pics. Criticisms appreciated...

Faith Lake (16 Acres)
Stand Pipe

Driveway to House
Driveway to Main Road Boathouse
Forage Pond (3-4 acres)
Forage Pond Feeder/Swivel Arm Happy Dog Boss Dog
Fish Cleaning Station
Hungry BG/CC Overlooking Ponds Backyard Forage Pond Pipe
Posted By: ewest Re: Forage Pond - 08/01/08 07:06 PM
Very nice place and a great set-up for the forage pond. You could use the forage pond also for big BG. If you keep the numbers of 3-6 inch BG in the forage pond reduced by moving most of them to the big pond as they get that size , then those that are left will grow large.

Also consider a sand beach next to the pier on Faith Lake.
Posted By: ahvatsa Re: Forage Pond - 08/01/08 08:24 PM
FIRST CLASS Bones! Thanks for posting. Is the small boat a Pelican?
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/01/08 09:37 PM
Thanks, ahvatsa. That is a 2008 WaterQuest 10.6 Fishing Boat. I had been debating buying that model off the internet for several months. One day I looked out my office window and there was the boat and trailor in the parking lot across the street with a for sale sign on it. Turns out I knew the guy selling it and told my wife that it was a "sign" to buy the boat immediately. He had just bought the boat from the same place I was checking out but he didn't consider the fact that his 6'3" 290 pound body with bad knees wouldn't fit comfortably in a small boat.
Posted By: GW Re: Forage Pond - 08/01/08 09:44 PM
I got the WaterQuest 10.2 and I'm loving it.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/02/08 01:28 AM
Ewest, I hear some say take out all the BG you can catch to help keep balance and I hear some say leave all the BG and take out the LMB. It seems to me that if there is a good balance of > 10" LMB, they would devour the extra BG. I am thinking focus on keeping the LMB fished at a good rate and let the BG do what they do. Is that your take?

I like your idea of taking the 3-6" BG out to increase the size of the larger BG in the forage pond.
Posted By: ahvatsa Re: Forage Pond - 08/02/08 11:59 AM
Bones, I'm looking for my "sigh". lol I believe, as your wife, in those "signs"...(smart lady). When I 'force' something without a "sigh", it just don't seem to work out so good! I have water level issues (almost 8' low) and love your boathouse. When we drill a well, to supplement ponds, I hope to have a scaled down version. I want one of shorty's water bikes but, they have NO Texas dealers. I like the looks of the Waterquest also. Again, beautiful place.
Posted By: ewest Re: Forage Pond - 08/02/08 12:47 PM
Bones your job as manager is to assess and maintain the population in accord with your goals. If it were me ,given what you have provided in the way of goals , I would manage Faith lake for good LMB fishing and the small pond for trophy BG. The 2 fit together well with your goals , facts and location.

That is the premise of my prior post. You would have excellent BG fishing with fly and live bait in the small pond and healthy LMB in Faith lake. You would still have good BG fishing in Faith but the quality would be better (trophy) in the small pond.

You need to learn how to do a population analysis. Its not hard. You use creel/catch info , seining info and visual info.

Faith Lake unmanaged will tend to be LMB crowded (to many small LMB). The forage pond with FH and BG (I would also put in GShiners and RES) will if unmanaged tend to be BG crowded ( to many small stunted BG). The key word is unmanaged. You will need to ascertain the population's status and remove fish as needed. In year 3 you will likely need to start keeping (take out) some 10-12in LMB from Faith Lake and starting in year 2 seine and trap BG , RES , FH and GShiners from the small pond and add them to Faith. My guess is about 30-40 % of the standing crop of the small pond's fish (in the right sizes). For FH just be sure to leave about half , for BG and RES move all the 2-6 in ones you seine/trap/catch and for GShiners move all you catch. Even if you do a good job of seining (in front of the feeder not whole lake seining) and trapping you will only catch a small % of the fish. My guess is you will need to seine about 4 times per year ( not in April or May) and trap as needed. Seining in late June , late Aug and Oct and Feb will spread things out. In the small pond don't take out the largest BG.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/02/08 01:55 PM
I have a retired Mississippi Dept Wildlife and Fisheries biologist who is helping me with the ponds. He asked me on our first meeting what my goals were but I really had nothing better to say than I wanted to catch BG/LMB. Since then I have realized the potential of the forage pond. I really like the idea of managing for trophy BG.
Posted By: Sunil Re: Forage Pond - 08/03/08 01:59 PM
That is a sweet, sweet set up, Bones.
Posted By: jeffhasapond Re: Forage Pond - 08/03/08 02:33 PM
 Originally Posted By: Bones
Here are some attempts at pics. Criticisms appreciated...

Yea right. Criticize what?! Beautiful setting, lakes, house, docks, fish cleaning station, boat, canoe, heck even the dang dog looks great.

Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/04/08 12:36 AM
Thanks JHAP. I meant the photos themselves. I had never posted pics before and wasn't sure if they would turn out. Pretty good for a first try. I just opened an account with Photobucket and followed the instructions on the link Brett295 gave me. Nothing to it.
Posted By: jeffhasapond Re: Forage Pond - 08/04/08 12:42 AM
Well you did a great job Bones.
Posted By: Brett295 Re: Forage Pond - 08/04/08 04:42 PM
you have a beautiful home, ponds, dogs, etc... Are those Cypress trees growing out of the water? Whatever they are the trees around the pond add a real natural look to the pond.

I guess I could criticize the lighting on the first picture ;\) it's kind of dark.
Posted By: Bones Re: Forage Pond - 08/04/08 05:33 PM
Hi Brett295, The trees growing out of water are soon to be dead from the water. There is a steep bluff on that side of the pond so there will be plenty more trees above the water line. The contractor and several others advised that I leave the standing timber for cover. I hope I don't regret it.
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