Pond Boss
Posted By: PAfarmPondPGH69 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/28/22 02:42 PM
We have a 1/2 ac pond that currently has no structure and limited vegetation. I'd estimate between 500-700k gallons. We have planted cat tails, water lilly, hyacinth and there is some plant growth, perhaps coontail. There is a large population of golden shiner, although at this point I'm not certain because of their dark green backs and silvery bodies, sunfish of all sizes, BNM and other bait species I have not identified in small numbers. We will be getting 30 SMB in a couple weeks given to us which I think would do well with no other predators. They are supposed to be in the 3-8" range.

At what point would structure be required to keep the shiners from being decimated? The bigger ones must be around 5-6" and pretty thick. The sunfish are from fry up to maybe 9" but I rarely see the bigger ones feeding on pellets. I have lots of 4" corrugated pipe, 6" hard pipe and other pieces I planned to make artificial habitat using stainless screws and cement block.

Would the SMB be pellet trained if they are hatchery fish?

As far as I know the pond has never been managed.
Posted By: Sunil Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/28/22 02:50 PM
I recently had some SMB shipped in from Hartley's in KS. That was about 25 days ago, and those fish were about 2.5" long on average.

Yesterday, I drove to Zetts and picked up another 34 SMB, and they were all 1 to 1.25" long.

So, I'd be dubious about availability of any SMB over 4" or so in a few weeks.

Much of those adult golden shiners you have should be unaffected by the new SMB if they are over 4 or 5" until the SMB grow to about 12-14" plus. Depending on your forage base, and if you feed, that might occur in early 2024 although it could happen in late 2023.
I guess I'll find out how big they are in a few weeks. I can't complain as they are being given to us.

Do you think this pond's forage base natural reproduction could support the 30 SMB?
Posted By: Sunil Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/28/22 03:00 PM
Originally Posted by PAfarmPondPGH69
I guess I'll find out how big they are in a few weeks. I can't complain as they are being given to us.

Do you think this pond's forage base natural reproduction could support the 30 SMB?


Yes, for some amount of time, maybe 2-3 years. After that, you have to manage.

You should entertain putting Yellow Perch in also.

Ive just put a total of (45) SMB into a new pond that's maybe 1/5 - 1/6 acre. We'll have to cull eventually.
I've thought about adding native crayfish for additional forage. My wife hates YP because of their spikes and thinks they are jerks, I think they are a neat looking fish though.
Posted By: Sunil Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/28/22 03:33 PM
Every fish has spikes, almost. BG, SMB, YP, LMB, Walleye, etc.


Conventional wisdom says Yellow Perch are a better forage fish for SMB than Bluegill.

I just put (130) YP in the 4" range into this new 1/5 - 1/6 acre pond.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/28/22 04:03 PM
IMO the shiners should survive well over time because you have you have submerged vegetation that you think is coontail or maybe it is Myriophyllum (water milfoil). Those plants spread. As Sunil says the shiners will get a good head start and establishment prior to the new SMB. As long as it is present, the underwater vegetation will provide ample cover and later maybe even too much cover for the shiners and SMB as predators. My concern is the sunfish and SMB combination.
SMB are not very good predators to adequately control sunfish populations specially when underwater weeds are common in the pond.

What fish in the existing pond do you think has controlled the population of sunfish young to 9" long??? . There surely has been some form of population control to allow the sunfish numbers to develop all sizes present and a 'normal' population structure. Do you know the specie of sunfish????. Is it green sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill or some form of mixture and hybrids?
The submerged vegetation does not seem to spread and based on aerial photos for the last 20-30+ years it seems to be stable. There isn't a lot, only a patch on the inlet side, maybe 4x10'.

They are bluegill and only bluegill as far as I can tell. All I can do is assume that the few large ones are just plain old.

I was told last fall there were 5# bass in the pond but I do not believe there are any bass at all and they could have died out a decade ago. There are lots of tadpoles and frogs that just float around which would be easy snacks if there were any predators.

I believe there are a few blacknose dace or simliar fish but not in high number. I did see two distinct cloudy clusters of fry so they do spawn even with a lack of gravel.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/29/22 02:05 AM
Good info. Is there any way to collect some submerged vegetation and post a picture or a link to a picture of it?
Weed picture hints
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=371748#Post371748
I'll get some pictures. There are several patches of it and its gotten pretty thick but only in a few spots where its less than a foot deep or so. Looks a lot like coontail pictures online. Kind of like minature seaweed but the tentacles are more like a scraggly christmas tree.

I am amazed at how fast some of the water lilies have grown. Was just a tiny plant this spring. Might be some thinning in a few years.

Attached File
IMG_20220717_140217150.jpg  (59 downloads)
Posted By: canyoncreek Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/29/22 12:31 PM
I can download the file but the picture is 'empty' or blank. Am I the only one? Any way the mods can fix the glitch lately with photos uploading as empty?
Posted By: FishinRod Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/29/22 02:45 PM
Originally Posted by canyoncreek
I can download the file but the picture is 'empty' or blank. Am I the only one? Any way the mods can fix the glitch lately with photos uploading as empty?

I believe the moderators are working on that problem!
Posted By: esshup Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 07/29/22 03:36 PM
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by canyoncreek
I can download the file but the picture is 'empty' or blank. Am I the only one? Any way the mods can fix the glitch lately with photos uploading as empty?

I believe the moderators are working on that problem!


This moderator doesn't have the computer skills required. BUT I texted Bob Lusk this morning and he is getting in touch with tech support.

The only way I know of now to have pictures show up is to put them on a hosting site, such as imgur, then link to them here like this:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Fish arrived at their new home today. I wasn't there so I didnt get the full scoop yet.

[img]https://ibb.co/Z6fJXyC[/img]
Posted By: Snipe Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/08/22 04:33 PM
That's NOT a SMB if that's what you ask for.. That is a LMB.
Please confirm on that.. I'd like to know what happened there.
Visually whats the identification, the striping and mouth size? Doesn't look like the jaw extends past the eye. I wasn't given a choice on which type or how many, I also didnt have to pay for them.

I'm perfectly fine with LMB as they'd be better suited anyway.
Posted By: Snipe Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/08/22 04:50 PM
It's your pond, your decision. This is the kind of stuff that those of us raising fish have to be absolutely certain about. Management strategies are different for both predator and prey.
The horizontal lateral line and pigment markings are very clear, the jaw line is huge compared to a smallie.
"X" acres of water will support about 25-30% more lbs of SMB per acre than LMB.
If you are good with it, that's all that matters.
Generally, LMB lay more than double the eggs of equivalent length SMB also. Just wanted to point out what it is with consideration to what I thought you were expecting.
My preference was LMB since I have an abundance of BG but was told SMB intially. Yes, I'm quite happy with what I got.

Sunish:
https://ibb.co/dMdRXmT
Posted By: FishinRod Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/08/22 06:48 PM
Originally Posted by Snipe
"X" acres of water will support about 25-30% more lbs of SMB per acre than LMB.

Snipe (and everyone),

That is not one that I had heard before. (But that is true of LOTS of things!)

I like "rules of thumb" for complicated issues, as they typically provide good starting points for more thorough investigations.

What is the reason for the ability to support more biomass of SMB?

Does that rule generally apply from north to south, or does the SMB advantage become smaller for warmer ponds at more southerly latitudes?
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/08/22 07:16 PM
Adding this to the discussion. I agree with Snipe and also some published literature from research indicates SMB can produce more biomass in a pond compared to LMB because the SMB thrive better on a diet lower in the food chain the is high in invertebrates when fish in the diet become limiting. LMB to produce higher biomass require more food higher on the food chain such as fish in their diet compared to SMB.

Agreeing with Snipe the bass in the picture is a LMB.

IMO the sunfish in this pond in this thread will be better controlled when using LMB compared to the original plan of using smallmouth.

If you want a definite name for the sunfish in the pond post a good side picture of a couple of the sunfish out of the pond. They could easily be bluegill.
Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Adding this to the discussion. I agree with Snipe and also some published literature from research indicates SMB can produce more biomass in a pond compared to LMB because the SMB thrive better on a diet high in invertebrates when fish in the diet become limiting. LMB to produce higher biomass require more fish in their diet compared to SMB.

Agreeing with Snipe the bass in the picture is a LMB.

IMO the sunfish in this pond in this thread will be better controlled when using LMB compared to the original plan of using smallmouth.

If you want a definite name for the sunfish in the pond post a good side picture of a couple of the sunfish out of the pond. They could easily be bluegill.

Bill,

I believe they are all bluegill sunfish but need to net some and take some pictures. I have spotted a few larger ones and a monster sized one while feeding. Not sure if they had been in deeper what or what.

Here is a picture of the main plant mentioned earlier in the thread:
https://ibb.co/HPvpP7S
Posted By: jpsdad Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 03:19 AM
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by Snipe
"X" acres of water will support about 25-30% more lbs of SMB per acre than LMB.

Snipe (and everyone),

That is not one that I had heard before. (But that is true of LOTS of things!)

I like "rules of thumb" for complicated issues, as they typically provide good starting points for more thorough investigations.

What is the reason for the ability to support more biomass of SMB?

Does that rule generally apply from north to south, or does the SMB advantage become smaller for warmer ponds at more southerly latitudes?

FishingRod,

The main thing that determines the ... is the breadth of trophic exploitation. So one of the ways this can be determined is to raise fish in monoculture. The link is a reference to such tests that were conducted in Illinois by Buck and Thoits. Essentially, the LMB are more dependent on prey that is further up the food chain which is why they don't achieve as great a standing weight in otherwise equal water. The SMB are able to consume more because they are inclined to consume things that the LMB may not. Buck and Thoits thought pond invertebrates where under utilized by LMB. So the food chain is a pyramid where the greatest biomass is at the base. Usually fish that have the broadest (and lowest) trophic exploitation achieve the greatest standing weights.

Buck and Thoits remarked that SMB were hardy fish that handled well. There is probably a limit to how far south one should try them but where conditions are not adverse to SMB ... they should attain higher standing weights than LMB. Exceptions could occur where community interactions prevent them shining. For example the combination of LMB and BG is not conducive to high standing weights of SMB and the pressures of both species through competition (and predation) will in most cases eliminate the SMB overtime. So other members of the community are important.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 03:06 PM
Main submerged plant in this pond thread as pictured (https://ibb.co/HPvpP7S) is due to the forked leaves called coontail aka hornwort. Coontail does not have true roots, sometimes forms false roots, and the plant base thrives close to or on the bottom with upper stems higher in the water column to form large tangled masses to become a pest. It reproduces mainly by forming winter buds that in fall, separate, and sink to the bottom to perpetuate the plant in spring. Not needing roots it also grows from stem pieces.
It competes with phytoplankton for dissolved nutrients thus when abundant it can promote clear water.
Coontail is one of the most common underwater plants in the US. It can compete with other more beneficial submerged plants. Luckily I do not have it.

Best way to sample the sunfish is with a small hook, pieces of worm under a small thin bobber. Catch several sizes and photograph those that appear different. We can help identify them.

jpsdad has referenced one of the best research studies on single species in small ponds.
Posted By: FishinRod Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 04:34 PM
jpsdad,

Good reply and link!

It even helps explain some other rules of thumb that are generally applied for pond management.

Many of the state agencies have for decades recommended LMB/BG ponds for pond management rookies. Creating multiple, sustainable food chains in a pond is certainly a more complicated task for a first-time pond manager compared to creating bountiful BG for forage. I wonder if that was a factor in their recommendations?

Also, the recommendations on Pond Boss as LMB generally being the best predator to control BG makes even more sense to me now. Yes, LMB have several morphological advantages to preying on BG, but if they primarily target BG then a LMB will certainly eat more BG than a SMB that might pass on a BG snack because she just ate a large crayfish.

Finally, I wonder if spotted bass have a greater trophic exploitation than LMB. If so, would a small pond with spotted bass as the top predator be capable of higher bass standing weights relative to a LMB pond? (I have caught lots of spots that had crayfish feelers sticking up out of their gullets when the harvested LMB of similar size did not.)

I have posted spotted bass threads on Pond Boss several times, but I do not believe we have a single active pond manager with a significant spotted bass population. Also, I have not found any fish suppliers that carry spotted bass.

I may have to try it in one of my planned ponds and use the expertise on Pond Boss to manage the experiment!
Posted By: Snipe Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 05:14 PM
A couple of things, Rod.. the state agencies have recommended LMB in the southern half of US because their books told them SMB need deep, clear, rocky water, which is incorrect. Best growing temps are the same for both but maybe (I say maybe because I have no documented proof) the SMB can't take the highest temp extremes in the south country-maybe..
As for spotted bass, I have 3 in my main pond, stocked at 6-8" and I haven't caught one since (stocked 2 yrs ago).
Spots are equipped to locate craws but in larger bodies of water where present, they tend to be more shad dependent.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 06:36 PM
FishinRod -- the forum family needs more members such as yourself willing to experiment with using different fishes in pond stocking rather than the typical agency recommended fisheries of LMbass, BG and catfish. I do hope you can find a way to stock spotted bass into an experimental pond. It will be very good, actually excellent to learn more about spotted bass performance in pond habitats!
Posted By: Augie Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 07:32 PM
Spots are the red-headed stepchild of the black bass family.
They don't grow to huge sizes like the LMB and they're not sexy like the SMB,
but they are scrappy as all get-out when hooked.
I've never heard of anyone trying them in a smallish BOW.
Here in Misery they live in our Ozark rivers/streams/impoundments.
I expect they are also abundant in the eastern Kaw streams as well.
Forum members have proved that what "they" told us about SMB in ponds is almost all wrong.
I think it would be an interesting experiment to try Spots in a pond.
Posted By: FishinRod Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/09/22 07:32 PM
Step 1: time excavation of ponds in wet clay during a drought. That step is currently well underway!

Step 2: get family budget far enough into the black to spend money on ponds. That step is started, but has a ways to go for completion!

Step 3: go out fishing with buddies for spotted bass. OK, that step should be pretty enjoyable!
Posted By: Snipe Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/10/22 03:48 AM
Here's something to consider... I'm not trying to kill the mood here but getting several spotted bass of legal size (to move) will be the biggest hurdle as they are not common above the 15" mark but the statewide length limit is 15..
I obtained my fish legally, but it wasn't by fishing.
If you want to try spotted bass Rod, and are serious about it, I'll see that you can get some fish, it'll just take some time to get the numbers. One time deal.
Posted By: FishinRod Re: 30 SMB fingerlings 1/2ac bait pond - 08/10/22 05:33 PM
Snipe,

Thanks for the important notification about the length limits.

I haven't been able to get out bass fishing in Kansas for a few years, and had no idea that the 15" length limit now applied to ALL black bass!

Hopefully, I would have noticed it somewhere when I checked the possession limits before heading out on a fishing trip. I guess there may actually be a downside to having a lifetime hunt/fish license.
LMB are doing well. Rarely would see them through the summer but now seeing them group together 1-3 near the shore. I did start seeing them come feet with the shiners and BG, although the water is crystal clear now that the temp dropped with visibility to 4 feet.

I'd say some grew about 2 inches and look very healthy. About 10" when we got them and now at least 12 inches on the upper end. Not sure why now but did see some take pellets, though this seems pretty rare.
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