Pond Boss
Excited for first post. New member but long time Ďlurkerí
Especially thankful for the amazing experience and willingness to share it on this site. Fulfilling life dream to create my own pond.
Goals for pond: sustainable panfish and decent sport fish BOW while managing healthy water and ecosystem
After much research on this forum, Iíve converted from standard BG/LMB/CC to HBG/RES/HSB....at least to start for first few years and find balance while maintaining some level of control.
Pond finished 7/19, averages 6-10í with 2 basins up to 14í, 9 locations of double stacked pallets (18) + 4 down tree logs pulled in. Clay bottom all around with no rock yet. Built 10-15 spawning pad circles out of old paver bricks in shallower areas.
Thanks to QuarterAcre posts, plan to develop forage this year with April stocking and then introduce HSB in fall19 or spring21.
1. What think of stocking plan?
400BG, 200HBG, 200RES, 30#FHM, 5#GSH
Followed by 75 HSB in fall this year or spring Ď20?
2. Feeding. What and how much. Optimal is my plan, but what size/amount/frequency?
3. Aeration. Plan on surface aerator but not in budget until Ď21. That ok?
4. Thoughts on LMB fall21 or spring 22?
First welcome to the club. How big in acres are we talking bout here? That will change your stocking rates depending on the size.
RStringer. Right at 1acre
My 2 cents, Leave the HBG out. Trouble later in my mind.
I would double the RES to 400.
I'd plan 3-5" stockers and it will be full of young by fall. HSB I believe would be fine in fall of 2020.
I'm fairly sure your biggest sunfish will be from your original stockers and if you stock LMB the following year you will continue to see large sunfish, just not as many, but I believe that to be what you want. You will want to start pulling some LMB over 15" when you start to see fewer and fewer sunfish numbers of substantial size.
1. What think of stocking plan?
400BG, 200HBG, 200RES, 30#FHM, 5#GSH
Followed by 75 HSB in fall this year or spring Ď20?
4. Thoughts on LMB fall 2021 or spring 22?

Snipe has a good suggestion IMO to for starters leave out the HBG. HBG can be a good fish and if you really want them add them when you add the LMB. For some good initial panfish diversity I would reduce BG to 300 and make RES 300 and IF you can get them add 200 yellow perch(YP). You can get all sizes of excellent pellet trained yellow perch (3"-12") from Brehms Perch farm north of you in West Liberty.
or Shelby Fish Farm, Anna Ohio.

In your plan, IMO the YP will be primarily an early pond history panfish. But while you have them, they will be a favorite panfish.
Once you add the LMB expect the YP to gradually decline in numbers until the old breeder adults die out unless you ladder stock. IMO it is better to have had some great YP compared to have never had them. Once the YP start to be noticeably fewer in the angler catch results then that would be a good time to start adding HBG?

LMB love to eat YP rather than BG. Since you are using BG, I am not sure how well HSB alone will control the BG, thus the LMB will likely be needed. I think HSB will also 'tend' eat more young YP compared to BG. Thus YP will after 4-6 yrs struggle to annually recruit very many small perch. Qualifier - I have very limited experience with YP and BG together in ponds.

If you want to try the pond without LMB, the good thing about the HSB alone is you can keep ladder stocking each year enough numbers of them until you get good control of the annual BG recruitment. If it is not working you can always add LMB at just about anytime. If you are feeding pellets the BG even though abundant in 1 ac should continue to get good overall growth rates due to the pellet feeding, but remember to harvest BG (see below). In one acre you may have to add pellets in two different locations to get a high percentage of the fish receiving pellets to maintain good growth rates.

First year pellet feeding will likely not require more than 50-75 lb of pellets of Aquamax 5D05 3/16", or Optimal Bluegill. Don't forget if you regularly pellet feed the fish, remember to practice annual panfish harvest to keep the fishery from becoming over a reasonable carrying capacity. One acre with aeration and 250-300 lbs of pellets each year should allow around 80-150 lbs/ac of panfish harvest each year once BG reach 8" (yr 2or3). Predator harvest should be appropriate for your goals of the fishery as in an emphasis of mostly larger panfish or larger predators.
Thank you Bill and Snipe. Very helpful.
I am intrigue by the YP. Researched it and now plan to go with the 200 YP this spring. Thanks for the Shelby Fish Farm recommendation, much better pricing than where I was looking.
New plan is 300 BG, 300 RES, 200 YP, 30# FHM, 5# GSH. Then 75 HSB in Fall20.
Will probably ladder stock the YP and consider LMB in F21 or later.

I do plan on bottom aeration this spring (researching now) and
will pellet feed Optimal BG.
? recommendations for proven bottom aeration?

Feeding question:
Picked up from facebook live this week that I should start pellet feeding when 1'depth temp is >=55deg and to feed 2x per day...then, 1x per day when 1'depth hits 83 deg.
Sound right?
How much to feed each time? (plan to feed in 2 locations in my 1 acre pond)

First attempt at posting a pic:
It may take 10-12 days for fish to figure out the feed situation but I would decide on the area I wanted to feed in and stay there consistently. When you start, I'd say around 1/2lb per feeding/feeder. As activity picks up you can increase or decrease as needed to see that all feed is consumed in about 10-15 minutes. Don't be disappointed in the first several days if only a few show up. It may take several days for "any" to show up-each situation is different.
I would say start with 1 feeding in the evening until fish have found the feed and eat well before setting a second timing up.
I don't feed early and late, I feed 3 times in the evening at 20 min intervals but again, each situation will be different.
Bill may have some good ideas on how he would recommend feeding as well that may suggest an early am feed, we'll see what he says.
Thanks for the tips snipe. You do a great job of explaining how while sharing your experience. I feel like I have a plan now!
It seems several others have gone through similar plans to what Iím about to do.
Really appreciate any otherís inputs.
Check with Shelby Fish Farm (Steve) about the size of feed he has been feeding his fish and then buy one of his bags of same size pellets. Tell him I suggested you contact him. He will insure you get great fish. I use the food brand he sells. I would ask him about his feeding schedule and come close to what he is doing. His fish will be used to his feeding schedule and you try to imitate it at least one of his daily feeding times. Fish are strong creatures of habit. He may feed 2X per day but one of those times will be enough for starters. As Snipe noted they may not eat until tafter about 5-10 days and they are accustomed to a new pond setting.

Often FHM and or GSH are the first to locate the pellets and these early eaters lead the other fish to the feeding location. Always feed at same time of day and same location. In new ponds I usually suggest using a floating feeding ring (thin wall 1" PVC square) to contain pellets so they don't float to shore and become waste and algae fertility.

Get at least two sizes of YP. If you get them prior to Apr 1-4 they could spawn within 10 days after you get them if some are 6"-8". For starters I would hand feed and only feed what they are willing to eat that day. Expect feeding aggressiveness to noticeably increase when water reaches 65F.
Thanks Bill. I follow you and will take this advice.
I called and ordered my fish from Shelby last week (talked to Steve). He talked me in to the YP as well!
I ordered 200 YP, but, at that time, went with all 3-4".
I like the idea of 2 sizes...and especially the chance to catch some spawners in the spring by stocking early April. I'll call him back and talk about that (and drop your name!)
I highly suggest to NOT get all 3"-4" YP in early spring. These are graded perch and mostly males. Split the order to get at least some 4"-6" and even a few 6"-8" YP even if you end up with fewer fish for the same amount of money. Larger ones will be the females and faster growing of same age perch. Your first YP spawn will result in plenty of 3"-7" YP by fall of 2020.
Thanks Bill.
I called him back and split the order to 100 3-4" and 100 6-8". Will stock the 6-8" in March well ahead of spawn and egg loss during transfer and then get the remaining 100 with the full stocking of other forage in April.
I'll hand carry the March 100 YP and the rest will come with the delivery in April.
Thanks for the advice. I'm using it!
Using Bill's advice, I just stocked 100 8+" Yellow perch ahead of their natural spawn this spring.
First fish in ....and my pond just became a 'stocked' pond!
Thanks again Bill. Very happy with Steve at Shelby Fish Farm.
And you put some 4-6" perch in also, right?
Sorry to repost but it would seem extremely important to know that something in that 4-6" range went in as well.. 8"+ is going to be females. Need to make sure there are smaller males present to fertilize those ribbons or you may be disappointed in lack of any reproduction. Maybe verify you also stocked those 4-6" fish too?
Snipe, Yes. Steve split 50/50 M/F for this round. All of those fish are 2nd year fish. They vary in size (M/F, normal size variation) but they were all 2nd year fish.

I'm stocking the rest of the forage fish in April, including 100 smaller perch in that stocking as well.
HSB in the fall.
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