Pond Boss
Posted By: 5444 Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 07:27 AM
Well its been a few years since my initial post. I finally just decided to do it and I contacted my builder back in April. He completed the pond on June 14th. It's too bad pond wasn't completed before May because we received 11 inches of rain that month. I have been fortunate though, the pond is approximately half full already and I have 1000 FHM doing their thing. I did not have time to get all my structure in before the rain and had to place my giant satellite dish in the bottom with 30" of water.

My pond is approximately 1/2 acre and located in western IL area. Pond will also be 12' deep. My question is should I add BG and RES this fall with CC or wait a whole year before adding CC and LMB. The local USDA office has some excellent pricing on BG and RES. They would be available in late September. Or should I wait until the spring and add the BG and RES then? I was also wondering if the suspended clay would eventually settle?

I'm also having issues resizing my pictures, otherwise I would have several attached.

This forum is an excellent resource and I appreciate everyone's input.

Thanks, 5444
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 02:41 PM
Unless you have a keen interest in CC consider not adding them. Pros and cons to them. Decent guests to dinner. They do not clean the bottom nor eat bottom muck, they are pellet hogs, they learn to be hook smart as such biggest ones are difficult to catch so harvest all you catch, when larger than 18" they eat fish and each one takes the place of one bass, with several large ones in the pond they can make the pond cloudy (less than 3ft) by seraching for food or digging cavities for spawning and resuspended silt which is especially true when the pond is aerated which mixes respended materials. Consider adding yellow perch and or hybrid striped bass instead of catfish. CC can always be added at a later date; once they are in, they are rather hard to get rid of.

BG-RES can be added anytime. Adding them now as this 2019 year clsss of 2019 fingerlings will assure that they spawn in spring of 2020. If you add them now as larger ones (3"-6") a few will spawn this year. Otherwise if you stock fish truck fingerlings now or next spring (1"-2") they likely will not spawn until 2021. Your fishery goals will determine what and when to stock.
The fish from USDA can, but not always, be substandard quality as far as growth rate, desired size, other unwanted species mixed in with the fingerling sunfish, not be pellet trained, and sometimes health or guaranteed survival issues. Fish from a reputable fish farm are usually worth the added price.

Remember - the first fish stocking establishes the genetic basis of your entire fishery. Good fish genetics resulting in rapid growth is pretty important in producing a high quality fishery rather than just having an average fishery.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 02:41 PM
I would consider adding all the fish next year at or about the time of the first spawning of the FHM's. This assumes that all your gamefish will be similar in size (3 to 5")at the time of stocking. My thoughts are that the FHM babies will make excellent forage for those small fish.

Will you be feeding the fish pellets?

And, are you hoping to manage your pond for larger panfish or larger LMB?

In the big picture, it probably doesn't make alot of difference whether you stock in the fall or spring. Fall stockings will likely be that years YOY, while spring stockings are typically from last years recruitment. If you will be feeding pellets...you should stock as soon as possible so that they do not spend the fall season at the fish farm not being feed (or fed much).. They are in business to produce numbers of fish, not pounds of fish.

The biggest consideration is if you are planning to promote the BG over the bass or vise-versa.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/01/19 02:47 PM
As 1/4 acre says your goals will determine your stocking plan.
Posted By: Bob-O Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/02/19 09:32 PM
5444, sounds like good calibers for pistols. seriously tho BC and QA are very intelligent and have tons of knowledge about ponds. All I can add is knowledge from Cody. FH are fine for a start but are slow, not too good at avoiding predation and will probably only last one yr. BNM and SFS are sooo much better long term forage. Also it is importnt to provide cover and spawning structure for both. Eel grass is an excellent plant to provide cover. Kinda hard ta get but if ya pm me we can make argreements for me ta mail ya some for free. I have Red tipped. Also the recomendation of YP and HSB should be seriously considered. Also SMB can be more fun than LMB. I now have some 20" or so and they are like aquatic Wildcats. Hold tight to your rod. Carry on and enjoy.
Posted By: Bocomo Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/02/19 09:53 PM
If you're in western IL you're in Rex (Rainman) or Herman Bros territory. Great people. Give them a call.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 02:36 AM
So the USDA gets their fish from Logan Hollow Fish Farm. They stated they have been in business for 38 years and all of their fish are certified by an IL wildlife biologist. They said I would not be able to get YP, but recommended HBG instead of BG. What do you guys think? For structure I have a medium brush pile on the west side of pond I made out of white oak limbs and smaller branches. I have three separate pallet structures on the east, west, and south side of pond and I have a large 10' satellite dish in the center of the pond at the bottom. I realize most of my structure will eventually decay and possibly add to DO problems, but purchasing plastic cover was not in the budget.
I have no issues with not adding CC. I really just want to do whats best for the pond. I would like some really good horse sized BG/HBG, but I love catching monster bass too. I will look into BNM and SFS for forage. I appreciate the great info fellas. I would love the SMB idea, but I do not believe I have a economical source. I'm getting read to build a deck. I got my footings in and hopefully the pond will be full soon. I would love some ell grass BOB-O, I will send a message soon. Again thanks everyone.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 03:54 PM
HBG are a little more aggressive to swimmers than BG, but if girls swimming is not important HBG can work. Make sure you read the posts about HBG in the Archives before pulling the trigger for HBG. Also HBG will not grow very big bass unless you buy pellet trained LMB and feed them like crazy. A predator with HBG that will grow bigger than the LMB is the HSB if you feed them regularly with pellets; also read research them.
Producing your goals of ""good horse sized BG/HBG, but I love catching monster bass too"" are two goals that are not easy to do because growing big BG or HBG requires them to be in low numbers while growing big bass requires lots of smaller BG or very high numbers of the proper sized forage fish. It is hard to get this done in a small pond and even in a larger pond. Pellet feeding helps a lot to get around this management dilemma.

My being very knowledgeable about bluntnose minnow and spotfin shiners, neither of them will do well with LMB due to the high predation tendency of LMB and the smaller top end sizes of BNM and SFS. These forage species work best in waters with fewer predators, those with smaller mouths, and abundant diverse submerged vegetation & habitat. GSH would work better with LMB in you have adequate cover which takes quite a bit for GSH to thrive with LMB as aggressive predators.

Hybrid Bluegills HBG
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=256325#Post256325
Hybrid Striped Bass HSB
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92629

Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 05:35 PM
"I would love the SMB idea, but I do not believe I have a economical source."

This is truly something you have to want.. If you want SMB, don't be afraid to pay to get what you want.
I drove 7hrs to get my SMB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes. It's easy to say it's too hard.. Life's too short, get what you want.
My 2 cents because none of this is cheap in the end.
Posted By: Bob-O Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/04/19 08:05 PM
More good advice from Bill and Snipe. I would rather catch a 3lb SMB than a 5lb LMB. They and HSB are full of fight.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/05/19 10:09 PM
I really like the idea of HSB and SMB instead of LMB. I also found a source for pumpkinseed sunfish. I guess they are similar to RES. Snipe how did you keep the SMB alive for 7 hours in the car?
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/06/19 01:56 AM
Note the HSB and SMB will not do as well with BG as they will with HBG. HSB-SMB are better suited and co-exist with HBG who have fewer offspring rather than BG.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/06/19 04:33 AM
Originally Posted By: 5444
I really like the idea of HSB and SMB instead of LMB. I also found a source for pumpkinseed sunfish. I guess they are similar to RES. Snipe how did you keep the SMB alive for 7 hours in the car?


I have the necessary tanks with aeration and O2 to move fish although it doesn't require much to transfer 2" SMB. You can haul 100 2" SMB for 8-10 hrs with a 20qt cooler and a small stone aerator with lower water temps.
I would definitely heed Bill Cody's advice on HBG vs BG though.
BG are just too prolific for smaller gape SMB to effectively control them.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/25/19 03:39 AM
So I have decided to go the HBG, SMB, HSB stocking plan with the goal of having large HBG. I also plan on feeding them. Will RES be ok to add with these fish? Should I stock the HBG/RES this fall and the predators a year later?
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/25/19 03:33 PM
RES should be added to your stocking plan. They will help keep the snail populations down which reduces fish parasites (black spot disease and others). I added 90 RES to my 1/4 acre pond, but I knew the snail populations were high due to high nutrient levels in my water. 40-50 would have been a more acceptable number for a 1/4 acre pond with clearer waters. The yellow and black grubs on my fish were pretty abundant the first year as were the number of snails seen at the banks. This is the second year and I see alot less snails and parasites. I have not seen any of the RES since they were stocked however.

EDIT: Give your FHM's all this year to do their thing and stock all the fish next spring at the same time (in simialar sizes, bass being slightly larger). You want the predators to start controlling the HBG YOY as soon as possible if you want larger HBG. You would want the HBG to pull off some spawns before adding predators IF you wanted larger faster growing bass.
Posted By: bassmaster61 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/25/19 09:41 PM
5444: I bought 70 1.25 pound LMB, 850 5"-7" BG and 25 8" HSB from Logan Hollow Fish Farm in June of 2017.

I have absolutely no complaints. The fish were healthy and they gave me good service. Caught a number of LMB 3+ lbs. this spring. I would definitely buy from them again. BM61.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/27/19 01:46 AM
Ok sounds good. I actually saw some schools of baby FHM swimming yesterday evening so they're doing their job; I was pretty excited. Quarter Acre: I glad you mentioned waiting to stock because I know that it the best thing to do, even though I want to put some fish in really bad. My pond is still only half full and hopefully it will be full before winter. BM61: that's good to know, thank you.
Posted By: Quarter Acre Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 07/27/19 03:48 AM
You wont regret giving the FHM's their time. Here is a quick thread that shows the first summer's HSB growth...most due to the abundance of minnows...

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=38025&Number=494998#Post494998
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 08/03/19 10:12 AM
q
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 09/03/19 02:28 AM
So my FHM are spawning like crazy. I have hundreds, if not thousands of little minnows everywhere you look in the shallows. I recently added 6.3 ton of 4-8" rip rap in piles along the shore for additional cover. Once pond is full the piles of rock will be 3-5' from the waters edge. I originally added 4 pounds of FHM last May/June, should I add a few more pounds this fall? Or is it not neccessary?

I've also decided against adding GSH after reading an informative article by Grand Master Bob Lusk.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 09/03/19 03:42 AM
My opinion is we still have the possibility of some hatch from full blown adult FHM so the adults you have are still producing. If you're NOT adding predators this fall go ahead and add a few more pounds, the growth the attain will put them closer to spawning come spring. I don't think you can overdo it prior to predators.
I also feel there is a fit for GSH but every situation is different.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 02:03 PM
Snipe, I added 4# of FHM late May/early June. They successfully pulled off a spawn or two. I then added another 4# of FHM on Sept 30. So I have 8# total plus all the fry. Maybe I over did it but hopefully not. I noticed the FHM are not feeding since the weather has turned cool. Should I stop feeding them for the winter? Or should I throw some food out every few days even though they are not feeding on the surface?

Here is my stocking plan for my 1/2 acre in the spring, please let me know what you guys think:

200 HBG
100 RES
100 Pumpkin Seed
100 YP
25 SMB
25 HSB

There is also a possibility of this plan due to availability:

250 HBG
250 RES
50 HSB

I know one supplier of SMB only has them in October.

Thanks for the input fellas.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/24/19 04:59 PM
I'm not an expert on this but have read a fair number of posts lately where folks with good intentions for having a predator/prey balance found out that the HBG got way ahead of the predators. Unless you want a trophy BG pond as your priority most are wishing they had never started with BG or HBG.

Several midwest pond owners posted recently about unpleasant nipping for swimmers, converting of the hybrids back to their purebred green sunfish parent and then the multiplication of young rate being way more than anyone had promised them when they stocked them.

Also, someone else can chime in but the HBG fit better with a LMB predator, where the LMB has a bigger appetite and a bigger mouth.

You have a great plan and it looks like SMB is going to be your top predator. I would say you are going to run into the same issue with too many bluegill.

Your HSB sound great and they will help to some degree but won't keep up with all the young RES, PS, and bluegill.

A SMB dominant pond (with extra predator help from the HSB) sounds like a great opportunity and many wished they could have gone this route in their pond. But if it was my pond I would drop the HBG all together. You only have 25 SMB, they can easily have their hands (actually mouths) full eating minnows and trying to make a dent in the number of young of the RES and pumpkinseed parents.

RES and PS aren't as prolific in their offspring production but the RES and PS might still get a head of the predators here with plenty of minnows to eat.

Do you have crayfish for the smallmouth?

If it was mine I would do my best to avoid LMB and BG of any type seeing you have worked so hard to set this up for success so far.

Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 01:48 AM
5444, I'm falling in line with canyoncreek here.
I could see short term results and long term being a different story.
With that mix in 1/2 acre I would have to believe the YP would suffer and I believe the smb would not reach a desirable size after the initial stockers. The list contains some efficient predators of FHM and would be short lived.
BUT.. If you are extremely dedicated and are willing to feed regularly you could provide most of the diet to all but maybe RES if you obtain feed trained stock. I see the problem coming at year 2 with an abundance of reproduction from PS, HBG and YP. My question would be-without some natural predation there will be substantial numbers of offspring that are going to need culling as far as YP, HBG and likely PS, I might be wrong though but it sure is going to be hard for HSB to control 3 species.
I can't help but feel the smb will decline sharply once the FHM are gone-and that will happen.
I just don't "think" the SMB will make a good living on the HBG, PS & YP. I'm trying to see around that but I can't.
Maybe Bill C will weigh in, possibly jpsdad or TJ..
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 02:38 AM
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
.
Do you have crayfish for the smallmouth?
.


IMO crayfish are a preferred forage for SMB. If you take the time for the crayfish to propagate before introducing predators and provide the correct habitat for them, so that they can thrive, your SMB stand a much better chance of surviving. My pond has both SMB and LMB and the SMB are doing ok. I think that is because the SMB is more patient and will wait for the crayfish to crawl out of their nooks to feed. Without the crayfish in the pond, I think the SMB would be gone or struggling.

Just my one cent.....
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 03:00 PM
I appreciate the input fellas and it really makes sense. I thought the HBG being approximately 90% male would definitely hinder reproduction, but canyoncreek is 100% right. Many owners have been having issues with them reverting back to GSF. I've been trying to take it slow and do what's best for the pond; but then I start researching all the types of fish and just get overzealous and want to have them all smile. Canyoncreek,Bill D and Snipe, thank you for the reality check and my pond thanks you!

I have put maybe 1/2 dozen crawfish in the pond. My pasture has crawfish randomly living in it. I'd never guess in a million years I would catch crawfish in a midwest pasture. I even have them by the house. I figured they end up in the pond anyway. By no means is it a sustainable population, it's barely a start. I did check to make sure they are not the evasive rusty craw. But if I have them in the pasture, it's only a matter of time before they make it to the pond. A couple of summers ago my boys and I were catching frogs in a 4wheeler rut in the pasture that was full of water. I began scooping up the mud and I thought I had a bunch of dragonfly larva. No, they were a bunch of baby crawfish.

So I am going to steer clear of CC, BG, YP and HBG.

What kind of numbers should I consider for RES, PS, HSB and SMB? Would you guys consider any other type of fish for forage? Where is a good source of crawfish? Again, thank you for your time. I truly appreciate your time and input.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/25/19 06:30 PM
I'm not sure you should exclude YP completely but consider a couple of options with the YP

1. If you can source larger size ones to stock then you have flexibility to add them at any time later. So you can see how the SMB, HSB and the panfish balance out. If you like to add YP for how fun they are to catch and how good they taste, you could add them later. It might require stocking 5-6" size fish to keep them from being eaten by the SMB.

2. If you can find YP that are pellet trained then the YP are a great option because you get the added fun of having a fish that is super easy for kids to catch, super fun to watch eat pellets, and are great eating. Also, they help control snails, help control crayfish population and they don't put pressure on your minnows as much since you can supplement feed with pellets.

I didn't catch where your pond is in the midwest but if it ices over in the winter then the YP of course have to make it all winter on minnows so they will put some pressure on the minnows.

I love our YP and if our predators hammered them I would just stock more pellet trained YP. The kids feed them like pets, the YP are aggressive eaters (don't believe anyone who says they only eat in low light conditions), and they lay enough eggs each season that you probably will be removing eggs as a population control strategy.

Read the posts here about trying to source some type of shiner outside of a GSH (active posts with good information have been happening today)

Some local creeks will have bluntnose minnows, various dace, and sticklebacks etc.

if you can source lakechubsuckers these are a great additional option.

Someone in the last couple of weeks had crayfish shipped to him from a midwest state, you might be able to find that thread as it went well for that PB member.

Curious where you are sourcing Pumpkinseed as many forum members would love to add those to their northern ponds.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 02:21 AM
I have been reading a lot on an alternative forage other than FHM. It seems the GSH are more readily available. I haven't found a source for an alternative forage yet. Although Anderson fish farm has black salty's. Keystone Hatchery is where I will source my fish from this spring.
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 02:26 AM
Keystone is awesome in my opinion. Mike and Diane Robinson are great people. My bride and I look forward to our trips there. We will heading that way soon for some WE and GSH for our fall stocking.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 02:29 AM
Good to know Bill. I'm actually going to be within 30 minutes of them here in a few weeks for training. I thought about stopping by to pick there brains a little.
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 02:36 AM
Cool. It is a very busy time for them. My advice is shoot Mike an e-mail from their website so he can be a available for your visit.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 03:43 AM
Just FYI, The black saltys are hybrid gold fish, aka carp..
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 05:24 PM
Thats good to know Snipe, thank you. Whats the difference between FHM and tuffies? I see that Keystone offers both.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 08:13 PM
I do not believe there is any difference. Some say the "tuffies" are just male FHM. sometimes they sort them out at bait stations because spawning males tend to be less desirable on a hook.
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 11:16 PM
I sent Mike at Keystone an e-mail with the question. I'll report back when he answers.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/28/19 11:58 PM
"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"



Just another name..
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/29/19 12:57 AM
Originally Posted By: Snipe
"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"



Just another name..


I think you're right Snipe. I remember asking one of the biologists at Keystone this same question several years back. IIRC the answer I got was there is a difference in providence between their FHM and Tuffies. Keep in mind, this is going by my memory and I am older than Pat W's Falstaff beer supply! The FHM are pond raised and may have a few stickleback mixed in. Their Tuffies will be pure FHM and produced in a more costly procedure. There is a price difference. I will be interested in Mike's reply. I always get the FHM as I don't mind a few stickleback.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/29/19 01:22 AM
If in the upper midwest you are getting sticklebacks in with FHM then the FHM are coming from wild ponds in MN or WI. Pure cultures of FHM are usually coming from AK farms. As Snipe noted below the AK should be AR for Arkansas. Mis-typed happens a lot!
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/29/19 01:58 AM
Alaska??? AR maybe?? :-))))
I didn't just catch Bill in a mis-typed situation did I? grin
Posted By: Bill D. Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 10/29/19 11:56 AM
From Mike at Keystone...

"Yes, they are both Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) but the Tuffies are raised in Arkansas. Because of how they are raised and harvested, they are hardier in the summer. Basically, Tuffies are the thing to stock if you are trying to seed a new pond in the spring, but they are a waste if you are trying to feed a hungry bass pond, because they will both get eaten either way."
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 11/04/19 06:09 PM
Good to know fellas, thank you. The pond is almost full with the rain and snow melt from the 3" we received. I believe I'm only 12-18 inches from being completely full. I emailed Mike from Keystone since I will be within 30 minutes of this place in a few weeks. I do not think he will have time to talk. Bill D you were right, he is pretty busy right now. He did say he would meet if I absolutely had too. But that is not the case. Man I cannot wait to get some fish in this hole.

I did walk to the bottom of my dam the other day due to a small dead tree falling along my property line. I noticed some pudding and dampness. It was a day or two after a rain, so puddles of water were here and there. I just did not expect it to be where I found it due to the incline. How would I know if the dam is weeping?
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/13/20 02:14 AM
So quick update. We just received 1.5 inches of rain and my pond is full. The dock I built with a friend was perfectly placed and all is well so far. My 8# of FHM pulled off a successful spawn last summer and are hopefully surviving the winter. I placed an order with Keystone Hatchery for the following:

150 Pumpkinseed
150 Redear
150 Perch
30 Smallmouth Bass

What do you guys think of these numbers for my 1/2 acre pond? Keystone stated he is not sure if the smallmouth and pumpkinseed will be available this spring, or I might have to wait until next fall. If that's the case, what should I adjust for fish numbers? Thank you to everyone who has given me input. I would not be where I am without you guys (Canyoncreek, Bob-O, Bill D, Snipe, Bill Cody, 1/4acre, Teejaeh). Hopefully I didn't forget anybody.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/13/20 02:16 AM
I'm also planning on purchasing some papershell craws this May.
Posted By: snrub Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/13/20 12:42 PM
I can't give you advice on the numbers, but will just make a comment on the PS.

I wish they were native to my area so could stock them. They are just a darn pretty fish.
Posted By: ewest Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/13/20 03:50 PM
PS and RES are similar in niche environment. PS are known to stunt (possible) as do YP and RES are not known to stunt. What size fish will be delivered ? I would want to be sure of my source of predator fish before I stocked YP and PS.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/13/20 06:37 PM
Midwest? Where in the midwest is the pond; as north, central, or southern Illinois? This does make a difference as to how well your RES will survive. Generally the further south it is the better RES will thrive. Can we assume that Keystone buys their RES from AK rather than raise them their self? Southern raised RES are famous for not surviving northern midwest's hard winters. Do you have a strong reason to stock both RES and PS? Both have same food habits and niche habits thus the intraspecies competition will be an influence so each does not reach its full potential.

Common knowledge here about not stunting of RES is mostly due to experience and comments of Dr.Dave Willis. I tend to agree, however I have seen and know of ponds with RES to become stunted when their density becomes overly abundant due mostly to lack of predation. IMO just about ALL reproducing fish will stunt when predation is not adequate to maintain a fishery density 'balance'.

Wanting a forage or predator species and obtaining a forage species are completely two different things due mostly to availability. Some commonly discussed fish species here are scarce as 'chicken teeth'.
Posted By: esshup Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/14/20 04:34 AM
Without having enough cover in the pond to provide hiding places for the fingerlings and YOY when the PS/RES/YP spawn, and having the correct cover in the pond to encourage them to pull off a successful spawn is key. I think the numbers of RES/PS are too low, but you may be OK if you have cover in there and wait a year before introducing the SMB.

Here is a typical SMB from a 1 ac pond that has some underwater weeds, but not a lot, and no cover for the YOY/Fingerlings to hide in. It was stocked with more than double the amount of RES and YP you are planning on stocking Plus 5# of Golden Shiners and 5# Fathead Minnows and the pond owner waited a year before stocking between 50 and 75 SMB.

The SMB reproduced in the pond like the owner planned, and the SMB that are 6"-8" long are 110% RW.

The SMB is 4-5 years old.


As you can see, having cover in the pond is critical to the ponds success.
Posted By: snrub Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/14/20 12:55 PM
Originally Posted By: ewest
PS and RES are similar in niche environment. PS are known to stunt (possible) as do YP and RES are not known to stunt. What size fish will be delivered ? I would want to be sure of my source of predator fish before I stocked YP and PS.


Eric the main problem about RES for most of us are the darn things are almost impossible to catch! I have decent luck in a pond where they are the only fish. Put them in with a bunch of hungry BG, and catches are far and few in between.

Of course that could be because I an not a very good angler and severely lack patience! grin
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/16/20 03:53 AM
Pond is located in western Illinois. I also plan on adding 15-20 HSB. Snrub I can't agree with you more. They are such a pretty fish. Ewest, Snrub, Esshup, thank you for the input. Esshup, I have quite a bit a cover in pond, including 10 rock piles.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/17/20 06:44 PM
So I looked up a stocking plan Keystone gave me from 2017 for my 1/2 acre pond. I'm a little concerned by what he suggested based on all the information I have gained from this forum over the years. Here is what they suggested:

25# of FHM
200 RES23 Redear Sunfish, 2-4"
200 PKS23 Pumpkinseed, 2-3"
200 BLG35 Bluegill 3-5"

**October or November**

20 SMB68 Smallmouth Bass 6-8"
150 YLP57 Yellow Perch 5-7"
20 WLY79 Walleye 7-9"
50 LMB58 Largemouth Bass 5-8"
20 CCF68 Channel Catfish
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/17/20 06:46 PM
I thought you should never combine SMB and LMB.
Posted By: RAH Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/17/20 08:14 PM
SMB will not recruit with LMB. I prefer stocking at lower numbers than most though.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/17/20 08:35 PM
Fish farms are in the business to sell fish. They are proposing a mixed fish stocking for variety. In most of our opinions leave out the LMB and catfish. They can always be added later if you decide you need them. Once you add the LMB expect to gradually see your SMB numbers dwindle unless you ladder stock 8"-10"+ individuals.
Posted By: esshup Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/18/20 05:18 AM
I agree 110% with Bill Cody. If BG start to get too plentiful, I'd look into stocking more SMB or possibly HSB.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/18/20 07:34 AM
I gotta get my 2 cents in FWIW.. If it were me I would leave the LMB and CC out-for now.
I know what young WAE will do with plenty of BG or other small sunfish present and with WAE you have some control over numbers without having to worry about recruitment. Yes, that can happen but odds are strongly against any YOY WAE for at least 3 yrs, and not likely after that. You can ladder a few every year if you want and keep good control of BG/PS.
I "think" you'll see more diversity if you leave the LMB out. CC won't really consume much in the way of controlling anything for many years but they can and will eventually affect visibility within the pond which will heavily affect your desired species which are sight feeders.
Bill C and esshup are more experienced than me with the pond management and I will agree on possibly more WAE or HSB, but not any more SMB, they would only suffer or cause another species to suffer from lack of appropriate sized forage.
Again, only my 2 cents as they may see something I haven't.
Posted By: RAH Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/18/20 10:13 AM
Also, it is beneficial to get forage going before adding predators if you want good size predators.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 03:30 AM
I plan on leaving out CC and LMB. I am going to add 10 walleye though. So If I add my predators in the Fall, I'll be promoting larger predators and if I add them in the Spring, I'll be promoting larger forage? So my predators totals would be 30 SMB and 10 WAE. Keystone does not carry HSB.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 04:07 AM
I think you'll have a tuff time finding WAE in the spring, probably tuff finding SMB as well. Big thing is not taking somebody's runts which in the spring would be WAE less than 9-10" or SMB much less than 5-6".
The idea is to promote forage period. By letting the FHM propagate all summer you have many, many hatches of differing sizes filling the forage "box", which you want as full as possible when predators are introduced for best growth. FHM introduced in the Midwest by May 1 should be spawning fairly quickly and every viable female will be laying eggs every 5-20 days. There will be new FHM hatching every day through the end of September. A full summer of this and you have a pretty decent amount of forage so stocking predators in fall is the earliest I would consider.
If I had it to do over, I would have waited until the second fall for predators in mine but it's over and done.
I "think" I would max my SMB at 25 seeing what I have in my 5/8ac pond, maybe 12-15 WAE.
I might add that I think the WAE will have an advantage over other fish as they can and will continue to forage in the dark when the target is more likely to be at a resting-staging position for the night.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 04:33 AM
I went back and read this thread again and I have to back up here..
If you have an abundance of cover I think the BG are going to become a huge chunk of your biomass in 3-5 years.. I'm not sure the BG are something you want in many numbers-with lots of cover present.
SMB are not going to control BG unless there is very little cover present, just keep that in mind. WAE will hammer BG when they can but not sure they are near as effective as LMB, which presents a potential issue to me. I'd say wait and obtain some male only BG but they will cross with RES and you will have some (small numbers) cross back to mostly BG. The potential is there.
Posted By: esshup Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 05:16 AM
FWIW, I have a client that is willing to experiment with his 3+ acre pond. He has a LOT of cover in the pond, both wood and rocks but his sides are steep so there isn't a lot of flat spawning habitat. The bottom of the pond is primarily clay. There was an influx of water from the river just as construction was completed, so the pond was rotenoned in 2016 prior to stocking. Both Bullheads and GSH were killed and there are none showing in the pond 3 years later.

The water typically is higher in the Spring/early Summer than the Fall, and there is grass growing to the waters edge which provides spawning habitat for the GSH.

His goal was a trophy SMB pond with large panfish and great ice fishing.

With that said here is what we stocked:

Fall 2016 we stocked FHM and GSH
Spring 2017 we stocked HBG, RES and small YP
Fall we stocked 8"-10" YP (also wanted to stock SMB but couldn't find any)
Spring 2018 stocked 6"-9" SMB and White River Crayfish
Spring 2019 stocked HBCP
Fall 2019 stocked 8"-10" HSB (I also threw in a dozen Golden Rainbow Trout and 2 regular colored Rainbow Trout)

After the winter of 2017 there were virtually no fatheads seen in the pond. To this day there are quite a few GSH most likely because they have ample spawning habitat in the shallow shoreline grass in about 1/3 of the pond and they provide ample forage fish. Some 8"+ specimens are caught when ice fishing. The majority of the pond is lined with 6"-8" riprap down a foot below the water line. ALL fish stocked were feed trained with the possible exception of the HBCP. The HSB were stocked because of the abundance of GSH.

There is one TH feeder on the pond feeding a 50/50 mix of Optimal BG and Bass food. A 2nd TH feeder will be added this Spring. The owner hand feeds in late evening when he can.

YP are 13"+ HBG are 10"-11" and 1.5"+ thick. SMB are 3#+ (they were stocked as feed trained fish but he has not seen any actively feeding on the pellets). He has not actively fished for the SMB so they don't get hook shy. Any caught are incidental catches.

No underwater or marginal plants were observed in the pond after 2 years so this September Blue Flag Iris, American Pondweed, Arrowhead and Pickerelweed were planted.

As Snipe noted BG were NOT stocked because of the SMB being the planned apex predator in the pond.
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 06:11 AM
Originally Posted By: Snipe
I went back and read this thread again and I have to back up here..
If you have an abundance of cover I think the BG are going to become a huge chunk of your biomass in 3-5 years.. I'm not sure the BG are something you want in many numbers-with lots of cover present.
SMB are not going to control BG unless there is very little cover present, just keep that in mind. WAE will hammer BG when they can but not sure they are near as effective as LMB, which presents a potential issue to me. I'd say wait and obtain some male only BG but they will cross with RES and you will have some (small numbers) cross back to mostly BG. The potential is there.


Good stuff here from several EXPERTS that eat, breathe and sleep these issues daily. Follow their advice!

I speak from experience, SMB will not manage BG populations even in a BOW virtually devoid of cover/structure. Even with dense apex predator populations of WE, HSB, HBCP, YP and SMB I still must employ management techniques to harvest BG populations through seining, angling, cast netting, trapping, you get the picture - it's a PITA year after year after year. Problem is a 5-6" BG is virtually bullet proof in a cool water, limited gape fishery - that's where the stunting occurs and per Kenny above the primary concern here is that the BG are adding significant [and worthless] biomass and pressure on the fishery. Yes you can collect and repurpose BG to feed your fish, but this is labor intensive and robs one of the precious time meant to spent ENJOYING the pond, not intensively managing it every day.

Choose a different lepomis species as companion to the SMB fishery - RES are absolutely safe - per Scott, PS can stunt although they are less fecund than BG, so you could also go that route. HBG are an option but F2+ generations will revert to less desirable GSF genetics per Cody. Agree with everyone else, leave out the CC and LMB - give your SMB fishery a good run for 4-5 years first. I like Scott's stocking for his client....if you can avoid GSH try to go with a different shiner species like Spotfin or Reds and Bluntnose minnows. GSH do compete with YP and YP lose - at least in the several fisheries I manage. I still see nice YP in the fisheries [14"+], but frequency of angling dropped off severely since GSH were stocked. GSH aren't going to RUIN your YP fishery, just relating there are more desirable species to try and source.
Posted By: esshup Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 04:10 PM
TJ:

The HBG offspring are smaller and less vigorous in their growth so hopefully the SMB and HSB in addition to the larger YP and soon to be larger HBCP can keep the YOY under control. Since HSB occupy the same space in the pond as GSH, I think they will be the controlling predator of them. I like GSH because the adults are bigger than many of the SMB can eat, therefore there will be adults every year in the pond to reproduce. The smaller YOY GSH can feed the HBG, YP. HBCP and the medium sized GSH can feed the SMB and HSB.

With the difficulty in sourcing enough of the other shiner/minnow species, at this time I don't see that as a viable stocking option for ponds compared to the availability of GSH. At least not around here. Do you have a supplier that can produce enough of those to stock 1-3 acre ponds? What numbers do you have to stock to keep a reproducing population and can that be achieved in a year before stocking apex predators?

In those YP fisheries that you manage, what is the underwater vegetation situation (type and amount), and are there any other apex predators in the pond besides YP? Is there sufficient habitat for YP reproduction?
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 07:12 PM
" Do you have a supplier that can produce enough of those to stock 1-3 acre ponds?"
We're hoping to change that in the next year esshup, in particular the Red shiner.
As for the spotfin, they have the longest lifespan suggested and that may allow longer spawning opportunity but that is yet to prove itself. Hope to know more by summers end 2020.
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/20/20 11:05 PM
I agree HBG populations are far easier to manage and that's a benefti vs BG, but they come with their own downside per Cody [outbreeding depression?] unless fresh HBG genetics are stocked supplementally [also per Cody]. There are benefits and negatives stocking GSH - the primary negative I have personally experienced is their impact on the YP fishery, that's why I want to explore shiner alternatives [per Cody and Kenny]. Since alternative shiner species aren't commercially available across most of the US it's critical habitat exist to establish the population prior to predator stocking. Few of us are fortunate to have reproduction ponds like myself so supplemental stocking of rare shiner species is going to be difficult and expensive - placing increased importance on establishing the forage base well in advance of predator stocking. Stocking numbers of alternative shiners is a guideline we haven't established yet, but several PB members have Spotfins established - perhaps they can share their experiences.

On GSH/YP relationship other factors have been eliminated, predator density and pond habitat remained unchanged the variable was GSH stocking.

Alternative shiner species may be made commercially available by an enterprising hatchery owner someday, perhaps soon!
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/21/20 06:34 AM
esshup, my intent is #1, finding alternative forage species that may produce in a way that relieves pressure from 1 specific species already present and It'll be quite some time before I can determine if there are any similar traits to GSH. As for testing, I'm in a very good position to have that done should I decide to venture out but for now this is a test I'm conducting for my own experience-no plans to sell. The hell I went through getting my hands on what I did was not an easy task but I plan to share the end result with all that want the information and as of right now I only have 1 gent I plan to supply Red shiner to because he's wanting to experiment as well. Where that takes us, who knows??

Sorry 5444, didn't mean to get so far off base here but we're looking for similar answers about forage choice.
Posted By: ewest Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/21/20 02:55 PM
Great thread with lots of info.

One general point to make here is management.

Every species has its traits , uses and +- .

The management issue is - while we know the traits of each species individually we really don't know what happens when they all get together. That is why multi species waters(natural ones) like reservoirs or river fed waters are so hard to manage. There are so many variables just between species not to mention all the natural factors like weather. The more variables present the harder to manage to a specific goal.

It would still be fun to roll the dice and watch - just don't get frustrated about reaching the goal. Goals often change.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/21/20 05:02 PM
Snipe, no worries at all. I'm learning so much everyday from you guys, I have no issues with the direction conversations go.

So here is my stocking plan now. I do have 10# of FHM that have successfully spawned last summer.

*Spring 2020**
5# Fathead Minnow (per lb.)
150 Pumpkinseed, 1.5-3"
150 Redear Sunfish, 2-3"
150 Yellow Perch 3-5"

*Fall 2020**
30 Smallmouth Bass 4-6"
10 Walleye, 6-8"

So my question is what should I do if the Pumpkinseeds are not available and should I get 25 YP that are 5-7" or over 7"?
Posted By: esshup Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/21/20 07:37 PM
IF PS aren't available I'd just double the number of RES and I would add the larger (over 7") YP because you'd have a greater change of adding to the females in the pond. Typically female YP are larger than males, but Bill Cody knows more about YP than I do, I'd be interested in hearing what he says.

Will the YP and SMB be feed trained fish?

While PS are a pretty fish, when stocked with RES they tend to act more like Bluegills than RES, and there have been instances (per Dave Willis) of PS overpopulating and stunting in a SMB only pond. PS wont' grow as large as RES.

Another note on the RES. I don't know where the pond is located in the "Midwest". Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana is about the upper limit where RES can live due to the colder winters. Any further North and it's PS only. I know (and have seen) PS/BG hybrids, but never seen a PS/RES hybrid. A local lake here has PS/RES and BG in it, but the predominate fish are BG, then RES and lastly PS. PS are not colony spawners like BG/RES.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 01:06 AM
As above, some larger YP will more than likely be female and add (potentially) a good shot of forage the next spring although I'd venture to say some of your stocker 3-5" YP will spawn the following spring anyway. I'd probably up my RES by 50-75.
Posted By: ewest Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 02:40 AM
Almost all Centrarchidae (better known as sunfish ) can and do cross. PS can cross with both RES and BG.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 03:18 AM
I'd bet a PSXRES would be an interesting looking fish.
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 04:21 AM
Originally Posted By: Snipe
I'd bet a PSXRES would be an interesting looking fish.


We've seen a few on the forum, they are amazing Kenny - really a pretty fish.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 05:52 PM
Esshup, YP and SMB are not pellet trained.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/22/20 07:33 PM
Reference - 5444 pond is approximately 1/2 acre and located in western IL area. Pond will also be 12' deep.
Not having pellet trained YP nor SMB puts a significant decrease on fish numbers that will be grown in the pond. Plus normally their growth will be relatively slower and likely not as big. This all being due mainly to amount of available food. However one can grow decent sized fish in a 0.5ac pond it is just they will be fewer and average size will be smaller in comparison to fish in a pellet fed pond.
So for: *Spring 2020**
5# Fathead Minnow (per lb.)
150 Pumpkinseed, 1.5-3"
150 Redear Sunfish, 2-3"
150 Yellow Perch 3-5"

Since you already have a pond full of FHM I would move the 5# FHM to the fall stocking.

*Fall 2020**
30 Smallmouth Bass 4-6"
10 Walleye, 6-8"
FHM

I am glad to see that you dropped out the BG and HBG for initial stocking. They can easily be added years later with good success if desired.
Firstly I would have an alternate plan for not getting the PS and SMB. These two fish species are commonly not available at some fish farms depending on the historical consistency of the Fish Farm. Do your homework diligently, ask how many times in the last 10 years did they not have SMB. If it were me, I would be locating other farms that sell PS and SMB if you really want them for your initial stockings. SMB almost exclusively are only available as fingerlings in the fall as individuals from that spring's hatch. They sell out fast and supplies are limited due to low production by smallies. I have seen numerous times where Walleye are more available than SMB in the fall. This is because the Farms generally go to a dependable producer and buy the stocker walleye. SMB as a whole can have a bad spring and almost no one has them throughout the common retail market. I would do my best to locate a place that sells HSB as an alternate for SMB. I would be seriously looking at SMB from TJ as very high quality dependable pellet trained smallies. Your entire fishery will be a whole lot better if you can start with pellet raised smallies. I refer back to Snipe's earlier statement: ""I drove 7hrs to get my SMB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes. It's easy to say it's too hard.. Life's too short, get what you want.""

Yellow perch. I agree with esshup to at least get some 5"-7" YP for the initial stocking even if you have to settle for fewer initial YP numbers. Maybe 25-30 (5"-7") 60-80 (3"-5"); cost can be equal to 150 3"-5" YP. Also see later.

The other thing you could do is slightly decrease the numbers of PS-RES to increase the number of perch. If you get the mixed sizes of YP early enough, as in March, you will get YP eggs and a YP hatch this spring (2020) which happens in April. For a YP hatch this spring, you need mixed YP sizes to get a decent number of smaller males for fertilizing eggs of the larger 6"-8" females. Just one egg ribbon from a 7"-8" YP will give you lots of small YP for a 2020 year class. With your planned panfish forage supply, the YP are likely to be your main pond forage fish because RES-PS might not produce lot of small fish each year. Thus the YP will be the backbone of your SMB-WE fishery. Plus you might not even get PS and your RES survival may struggle during the Illinois winters.

If you do this to get a YP hatch in 2020 you could stock some 3"-5" HSB spring 2020. HSB are readily available in late spring early summer. Then add some fingerling, juvenile SMB in fall 2020. All will do fine because the small HSB will eat pellets all summer if you fed them AND reduce their predation influence while allowing good recruitment of FHM. Do not hesitate to drive 3-5 hours to get good quality fish and the species for your planned stocking. "I drove 7hrs to get my SMB-HSB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes." Small numbers of properly bagged oxygenated fish travel very well.

Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/23/20 04:13 AM
Bill Cody, thank you. This was very helpful. So I found out today that my supplier will substitute 4-6" YP if the 2-4" are not available. So assuming the PS are not available, should I get 100 RES and 300 YP for a spring stocking? Or is this too many perch? TJ will you please send me some info on your SMB.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/23/20 05:12 AM
TJ's SMB only have 1 eye.. they all face north in the morning and south in the evening... :-))
Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/23/20 06:38 AM
We're working on raising hopefully a large batch of pellet trained SMB this season employing some methods we've learned over the years, but - per Cody, so many variables influence SMB success it's hard to predict results come Fall. Feel free to reach out anytime I'm happy to help anyone I can on anything I can. I typically only work with NE fishery management companies, so any interstate fish travel regs would have to be researched thoroughly by the client. Raising fish is a hobby I spend a ton of labor on annually - I do it to help buddies achieve their dreams.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/23/20 09:59 PM
If you get your perch in the spring2020 only buy a few (15%-25%) as 2"-3"YP. In early spring they are last year's mostly males and slower growing stock. Highly preferred are the 4"-6" of the 2019 or prior year class; larger ones are more money but better growing fish and fish, that especially if pellet fed, will be better pellet eaters thus one reason they are the larger sizes. If the Fish farm has 4"-6" ask you you can buy some of the larger ones in their 2019 harvest. Almost always they have some 6"-7.5" ones available fastest growers of that hatching. You need to request these early because they sell out quickly. In spring all the YP are left overs from the previous fall harvest or last year's year class of perch.

If no PS then 100-125 RES and 250-300YP. If not feeding pellets to the YP, then I would reduce total stocked panfish to 200-280 not 400 in 0.5 ac. RES will very rarely eat pellets. Without pellet feeding all panfish will be eating only invertebrates and small FHM(0.5"-1") so, IMO you will get better initial panfish growth with fewer stocked panfish. Plus the panfish will have adequate food resources to make them as better healthy condition through their 1st winter. Current Jan-Feb2020 Pond Boss mag article "Winter Year Class" by ewest aptly discusses this topic.

A pond's invertebrate community can quickly be depleted of the natural foods when over abundant hungry panfish are present. Overall growth then slows.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/30/20 03:30 PM
Bill Cody, thank you. Snipe, that is hilarious. So is there a way I can add to my ponds invertebrate community or is this a natural occurring thing? I do plan on purchasing some crawfish this spring when they become available. Teehjaeh, I wish I was one of your local buddies. They are very lucky to have you.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/30/20 08:13 PM
Most of the invertebrate community arrives by Nature's natural processes either by winged adults, water transfer, or all pond visitors. It can be good to add some critters such as crayfish. It is very hard to get crayfish established by stocking them into an existing fishery due to intense predation. Abundant shoreline shallow cover such as lengthy rocky shorelines is needed for crayfish to thrive.

I prefer the papershell crayfish also known as calico crayfish if those are native to your region. Look up crayfish endemic (naturally occurring) in your state. Then choose one from that list. IMO the genus Orconectes is best for pond dwelling. Another common crayfish in the midwest and north is the northern crayfish technical name Orconectes virile. The northern specie grows bigger and is more aggressive compared to the papershells all have pros & cons. Bigger more southern crayfish are white river and red swamp crayfishes.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/31/20 02:36 AM
5444, I know we've talked via pm in the past and I don't remember your exact local but there is a supplier in south-central KS if TJ is unreachable. TJ first, if that doesn't work let me know and maybe one of us can help you with papershells.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 01/31/20 05:08 PM
Snipe, that would be fantastic. I'll reach out to TJ this spring, thank you.
Posted By: ewest Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 02/04/20 11:00 PM
I think this is the thread where someone ask about actual pics of SMB spawning/beds. What you can't see is just out of the pic to the right is a large wood pier .





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Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 03/02/20 04:10 PM
ewest, that is a nice looking SMB. I walked around the pond today and my minnows survived the winter. Well at least the fry did. I have not seen any adult FHM yet. It hit high 60's here yesterday and thought I might have some action down by the pond.
Posted By: Snipe Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 03/03/20 02:18 AM
The adults tend to stay secluded in other areas. The only time I see adults is when I start feeding but they are obviously there.
When you start "not" seeing the groups in many numbers you'll now the adults are getting extremely thin.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 03/03/20 06:10 PM
Makes sense Snipe. I plan on adding another 5# of FHM when I introduce my YP, PS, and RES this spring. That will bring my total of FHM to 15#. Hopefully they will pull of some spawns this spring and summer before I introduce some predators next fall.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 04/19/20 11:45 AM
Pond is doing well! I hope all forum members are doing the same and in good health. No fish yet other than FHM. Although I see a really big wake every now and then. I hope it's a FHM. Frog and toads are spawning. I had a few frogs die after ice out, and then found them with missing appendages later on in the day. So I believe a turtle or two have found my pond. I messaged Keystone and they said they were still open, but I haven't received a confirmation email on when fish would be ready. I need to hit TJ or Snipe up for some papershells too. I'm going to try to attach a pic, but I have not been able to see other pics that people have posted since the new forum update.

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Posted By: teehjaeh57 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 04/19/20 06:17 PM
Try Hartleys out of KS for crayfish, if you can't find papershells - northerns will work, they grow larger and do burrow but they work ok for me. Be careful about stocking crays into ponds with zero predators - crays left unmanaged by predation can lead to turbidity issues. Not saying it's GOING to happen, but it certainly CAN happen - trust me, been there done that several times. I'd wait until you have some macrophytes established and some predator fish stocked. YP and SMB will hammer YOY crays - but I've found that sunfish alone cannot keep up with cray reproduction.

If Hartleys doesn't sell/ship we need Brettski chime in - he had papershells shipped to him in OH [I think].
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/05/20 12:10 PM
I wanted to give TJ a quick shout out for his help and expertise. This guy really knows his stuff (pond savant) and I wish I lived closer to him. I realize we have quite a few pond savants on this forum, however he took the time to help me solve a weeping dam issue. He took my information, dissected it, and formulated a plan to help solve the problem. TJ, I truly appreciate your time and will get you the remaining data you requested.
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/05/20 03:18 PM
5444, the forum is fixed, can you repost the picture from your post above?
The 'wake' you see in the pond is not a turtle. Concern you may have a predator already (LMB?) You should soak a minnow trap, or make your own, or try to set up a seine net in the shallows and catch some minnows. Put the biggest minnow under a bobber and catch that cruising predator and let us know what it is! IF you have LMB already then your plan for stocking crayfish may be able to change a bit early.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/05/20 04:20 PM
CanyonCreek, this is the last pic I can find on my computer. I will get you a better one soon. I will try to catch what I see every now and then. I figured if it was a bass it would ravage the FHM when the come up to feed. I haven't seen that happening or the ripples lately, but I'm sure its still there. I also need to catch some crawfish so I can get them identified.

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Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/22/20 11:42 AM
So I got my fish in from Keystone the other day. 150 RES, 150 perch, 150 PSS, and some more FHM. All survived the trip. All was well over the next few days. I would occasionally find a few dead fish here and there over the next few days. A few perch, a few RES, and a few FHM would randomly be dead on shore. Things were fine, I head out last Sunday to collect some firewood and it's pouring rain. I get home to check on pond and I find my fish (perch and FHM) were swimming up hill through the water runoff that was entering my pond and I had fish laying all over my pasture. I start gathering as many fish as I can and begin putting them back; only to see them try to swim out again. I send momma to the store and have her buy two seine nets that I stake and anchor with rocks so my fish do not commit harry carry. I wish I would have taken a pic of the fish trying to swim through the net, but I was too busy saving fish. I did take some pics of my solution to the problem.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/22/20 11:50 AM
Had to resize pics.

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Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/25/20 06:40 PM
Found this guy the other day.

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Posted By: anthropic Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/25/20 09:12 PM
Sounds like it might be an oxygen crash, but I'm no expert. Heavy rains can trigger turnovers when conditions are ripe.
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/26/20 06:29 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head anthropic. I had a heavy downpour again last night and this morning had 6 dead perch and a few FHM. Should I get some aeration going at night?
Posted By: SetterGuy Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/27/20 05:46 PM
5444, my pond is more than likely not too far from yours. (Near Hannibal Mo). You’ve received some great advice from thought leaders here on the forum. I went with similar stocking plan, and am really enjoying it, for the most part. I added HSB, but had no survivors, so not a factor. I also added some HBG. They turned out to be a pain in the backside. They multiply too rapidly for my SMB to control. I think you’ll be happy you left them out. (If I read this correctly, you are). The only benefit is that grandkids can always catch something if there are HBG in a pond. I do also have golden shiners, and am glad I do. I had millions of FHM, but they disappeared fairly quickly. The golden shiners are hanging in there.
My YP were feed trained, and continue to come to the feeder.
If you find a source for walleye please let me know. The two hatcheries near me have continually said they will get some in, but have not done so.
Good luck with your pond, and all the rain we’ve had recently..
Posted By: 5444 Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/31/20 12:09 PM
SetterGuy, my pond is near Macomb, IL and I did leave out the HBG. Although I did add Pumpkinseeds. Hopefully they do not turn into a problem too. I also added about 60-80 golden shiners a few weeks ago, they were the bigger 4'' plus so hopefully they will pull off a spawn. I'm acquiring the walleye from Keystone Hatchery; they are located in Richmond, IL.
I started aerating last night for the first time and found 3-4 dead shiners this morning. It was only shiners and thought that was strange. I had some family over the last few days and the kids were fishing off the dock catching perch. One perch had the tail of a FHM sticking out of its mouth. I'm glad I listened to the experts here on the forum too, their wisdom is priceless.

TJ was instrumental in helping with my weeping dam issue. I can't thank him enough.
Posted By: SetterGuy Re: Finally pulled the trigger! - 05/31/20 12:16 PM
Richmond IL is about 2.5 hrs from our pond. I’ll have to research if I can transport them that far without an oxygenator.
Thanks for the info.
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