Pond Boss
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

We close in March but it's a done deal. I'm actually just waiting to close on my *house* first since this is going to be owner financed. I've posted some pictures and stuff before. In my profile is a link to all my current pictures I took today.

It DEFINITELY has a population of hungry bass. Lots of em jumpin around today. Almost caught one (had it right next to the bank) that was definitely north of 2Lbs maybe up to 3.

Questions (because of course I have questions).

Is there a "poor mans" way of checking the fish population aside from calling a pond specialist to come in with an electrofishing boat? Or are yall gonna just tell me to go drop some more lines?

I'm contemplating throwing in (40 lbs) of Shiners and Gambusia Minnows next month to feed these guys, and maybe they'll start a breeding population. (fatheads are not available commercially, only from bait shops). Thoughts on that?

In April I'll start building some fish cities and then get some more forage to populate em. Then I'll put some feeders around the cities. Tons of natural places for forage to hide for now.

What types of structure are best for Shiners and Gams? Do they need flat surfaces like FHM do?

Ok so forage I want to add more of:
Shiners and Gams, since that's the ONLY supply I can find right now.

Bluegill, Crawfish (what type of craw would you go for?)
Tilapia
Sterile grass carp.



Am I missing anything obvious to help this pond get some big bass? Can someone link me a test kit so I can measure DO and see if I need an aerator (I dont think so, but a fountain could be cute anyway)
I know from having a bass pond that forage fish can play a big part in having big (in my case small) bass. You might want to fish with worms and a small hook to see if there are any smaller species of fish. That's the cheapest way to do it. I'm sure others will have more scientific ways of analysing the pond. Good luck with the project.
After catching the 1st fish - a LMB, you can for now assume there is a population of LMB established with reproduction and recruitment. Now IMO you should start exploring what comprises the forage fish community. From your picture it appears there is lots of shallow shoreline cover and habitat. Now find out what is utilizing that habitat.

Two ways I would start.
1. Get a couple Gee Minnow traps new or used. Stay away from rubber coated black traps as videos on Youtube show those traps are not the best at catching minnows; my experience also is the same. If trap is new and shiny, spray paint them brown or black or a mixture of brown, black and dark green to blend in with shoreline cover. Bait traps with various items such as stale bread, bakery items, dried pet food or when you start feeding fish, you can use fish food as trap bait. Set traps in shallow water 8"-16" deep parallel to shore and near cover as these are areas where all small fish "hang-out". Depending on your time schedule,,, fish or run traps for various time periods. I often start with overnight or full day sets. Once the bait is consumed the fish start looking for pathways out of the trap. Short time sets such as 1-3 hours can be productive. Let your catch results be your guide which time sets work best.

2. Good numbers of what you catch in traps will be suggestive of the adult panfish - minnow community. Now do some extensive angling for panfish or maybe for large shiners or other larger (4"-8") minnow - shiner species. Use small hooks such as #10 or #12 aberdeen hook/s on light line 4lb-6lb test. Get a small slender bobber/float or similar tiny small slip bobber. Use a broken tooth pick to plug the hole in the tiny slip bobber. You want a small bobber to detect light bites. Set the bobber 2ft -3ft deep and fish along shoreline near cover. Try to keep a low profile, I like to sit down. Using a high standing profile makes you very visible to shy bite fish and causes larger fish to be cautious and move offshore. With a good panfish community using this method you should be able to catch 15 to 35 panfish per hour. Your goal is to catch at least 100-200 panfish any size 3"+. Some of these fish should be good sized adult breeder panfish if they are present in decent numbers. You should record on paper what specie and length (measure them) of what you catch. These data will tell managers very good info about your panfish community. Using this method, expect to catch some predatory fish such as your smaller bass (6"-15"). In a balanced fish community expect to catch one bass (small predator) any size for every 20-30 pan/forage fish. Remember record document your catch specie and length. With tilapia in the pond you might not catch a lot of tilapia since they are predominately vegetarians. This bait small worm angling will tell the "rest of the story".

3. Come back with the above results and we can provide a good beginners evaluation of your fishery and its balance. They we/you will know the best way or options to proceed.
Congratulations CityDad. If only March would come sooner? Glad to see this is happening for you.
Congratulations CityDad!! I second to what Bill C said above but the first thing I would do is go get some sort of notebook or at the very least a legal pad. If you want to get fancy, they make "write in the rain" paper and pens. Even if the paper gets wet you can still write on it.

Take your phone with you too for pictures to show us to help you identify any fish that you have questions about. You might want to source a clear plastic container that has straight sides (square or rectangular) that will be large enough to hold a fish or two so we can get a good look at it from the side. Get a pair of pliers and bend the barb down on the hook, it will make it a lot easier to get out. If you don't have a small/medium of gently curved hemostats, see about getting a cheap pair or 3. I use those to get the hook out if it's further inside the fish's mouth than I can grab with my fingers. The hemostats will lock closed, so you can "clip" them to your pants or shirt so they are close by.

I've found it's easiest to get one of those fish measuring boards like they use for crappie tournaments or bass tournaments. Something that you can bump the fish's nose against and quickly get a reading at the tip of their tail.

Once you start fishing for bigger fish, get a rubber landing net. Dragging the fish up on the bank disrupts their slime coat and stresses the fish more. Get all your stuff together, net the fish, take quick measurements and get it back into the water.

You can also get a inexpensive baby scale to weigh fish instead of trying to poke a bigger hole in them and hang them on a hook or possibly damage a gill by hanging it by the gills. Not needed for the smaller fish, but for larger bluegills (6.5"+, or bass/catfish 12"+, the weight will also tell you things about your pond).

As of right now, resist the urge to put bait fish in there, until you know the population and set your goals for the pond there is no need to spend the money.
I suggest not wasting money on forage fish unless they are too large for your predator fish to eat. They will likely become expensive fish food, especially FHM. If you have extensive cover, like submerged plant beds, you might be able to start some other forage species but you could just as easily cause adverse effects on the populations currently in the pond. Be patient and see what you catch and what condition those fish are in. The best plan may be to start removing fish rather than adding anything. It depends on what the current fish population structure is and what your goals are. Best of luck!
3 days after the next full moon walk the shoreline looking for lmb on their spawning nest. Take the time to walk it slowly and look carefully. It works better if the sun is out, Cloudy day makes it harder to see them. This can give you an idea on what are the largest lmb in the pond. The largest will be the first to move to the nest. Here in E. Texas the lmb will move up when water temps are in the 52 to 55 degree range. It comes sooner than most people think. And then check it again the next full moon for the next batch to move up.
More pictures here, including a skinny 8" guy I did manage to catch, also pictures of various algae and duckweed. Looks like healthy amounts at the moment.
https://imgur.com/gallery/QrWDowb

If I build "fish cities" before adding the forage would that be better? There are definitely spots I can carry or wheelbarrow bags of fish into natural structure.I can't see much harm (except to my wallet)?

Since this is my first personal pond my only "goal" is to get some Big Ones growing out here, and make sure it has lots of fish that like to bite.

I had considered netting off the area from that small island to the shore in a 1/4 pizza shape that would be ~1/4 acre for growing out the forage. That would take up a lot of my easiest access fishing but would be worth it mid/long term maybe (I'm gonna clear more spaces to fish from anywhere)? Next trip i'm going to investigate other areas I could do that.

*Could I get recomendations on the type of netting for something like that? Link?*

Shiner Sam seemed to think the shiners might establish but the minnows would get eaten off quick (my intention was to "distract" the bass with minnows so the shiners could establish.

I thought if I went *big* with the forage purchase enough would survive for a few spawns. Water temps in the 60s so they should be happy enough to do that.
If you are catching skinny predators, don't throw them back in. In my 1 acre pond, I ask my neighbor to remove 50-60 BG per year and at least 10 8-12" LMB. Last year another friend removed a 6.4 lb and a 4.5 lb LMB. A common error in managing a pond for nice sized fish, is to release too many. The big LMB were caught at high water temps which made them prime candidates to die anyway. I do not have GSH in this pond. I have plenty of BG, so I count on them as forage for the LMB. Still, I think removing 50-60 BG per year is needed so that I have some big ones, plus enough small ones to keep kids having fun.
@rah Agreed! I'm going to hold off on that type of culling until I have some pigs or chickens to eat em though smile
[quote][/quote]You are putting the cart before the horse. You don't even know what kinds of and numbers of forage fish that are present. You might have adequate forage producing adults; just too many bass eating too many forage fish. From the pictures the pond has plenty of cover, probably just too many bass which is a common problem. Throwing more food to too many wolves does not solve anything.

That pond appears to be overgrown and too much shallow water. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Personally I would call that pond in its present condition a 'glorified' wetland.
The wildlife will clean up culled fish, or maybe you have a trustworthy neighbor that can catch and eat them? Probably will take some time to figure out who's who in the area though.
Bill, It's Dry season in Florida. I'm probably fishing from area that is full after the first real storm comes through. Otherwise yea definitely lots of swamp smile I'm going to try to Dam off a lot of the areas that are currently "Muck/Swamp" and let them dry out. Hopefully get more pasture area out of it plus a "private" 1/4 acre pond.

Those will all be long term projects. Getting back to those spots with machinery is problematic
Citydad, get to know the pond before you start trying to improve it.

Catch fish, analyze and measure the fish for size and body condition. Record everything. Give it some time while learning what it has and has not. Somewhere along the trip, figure out what needs to be done to achieve an ever elusive balance of predator and prey.

When you finally get it in balance, congratulate yourself. That generally ends pretty quickly.
I agree with what's said above, find out what's there first. Don't stock any forage fish, it'll be $$ down the drain and maybe feeding fish that you will cull out.

You will NEVER be able to stock or even grow enough bait fish to stop the bass from stunting. The pond's carrying capacity most likely won't be able to handle it. You will most likely have to remove 30# of bass/acre of all sizes for the first 2, maybe 3 years while you work on habitat before you start to see it turn around. Too much cover in there will hurt you the same as too little cover. Get to know the pond first. i.e. crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Different fish species and different sized fish need different habitat.

Harvest is an essential and integral part of pond management.
Mmm Yall are right. Thanks for talking me down. I'm just excited smile.
That doesn't mean I'm not gonna go grab $50 worth of shiners and toss em in to see if a feeding frenzy starts up (bet it does).

I was planning on inviting some local fishing clubs to come down for a fish fry and help me cull a bunch. Maybe do that first thing after we get our vaccines spring/summer. Still want to wait until I get my pigs, since itll save me on feed.

@Esshup there are a million threads about fish structure. I definitely know "where to start" and im starting to collect stuff to re use.

Are there good articles about specific structure for each fish? I.e. build these specifically for BG, Minnow, Shiner?
Originally Posted by CityDad
@rah Agreed! I'm going to hold off on that type of culling until I have some pigs or chickens to eat em though smile

Small LMB like that taste very good, in my opinion, at least from my water. I don't know if the "swamp" like water will make them taste different, but I would give it a try. I ate lots of 10" bass this summer. You'd think they are too small but you can get some decent fillets off of them.
If the fishing club members come and fish request or maybe demand for the free privilege of fishing, that they record on paper every fish caught and its length. See if you can't convince some of them them to fish mainly for panfish with the live worm/bait bobber method. IMO weight of every fish at this point in time is not as important as data for specie and length considering your current goals. Basically IMO you just need to know who or what is there and how long it is. Your personal angling data with length and maybe weight can be adequate at this point in time. If you want weights of the fish then have someone or you not fishing, weigh/measure all individual fish that are culled.
I am sure that you know, but be sure to keep the pigs and their waste from getting into the pond.
Dont worry, pigs will be away from the bass! Closest their pasture will get is about 300'. And err kinda hard to explain but during the wettest season the water will be 'connected' via swampland, but theres like several hundreds yards of maze/canal things before it gets to the "real pond" that will filter it out.

@billcody that's my plan! Do some kind of giveaway for most fish caught which means we gotta tally it up at the end and measure em all.
Fingers crossed we get our damn vaccines on time so I can do this sooner rather than later.
$50 in bass pro gift cards to save hundreds on electrofishing yes please!


As for the panfish. This weekend Ill set up 2 or 3 rods to do that while I've got the nicer rods looking for bass, and Ill do a minnow trap too.
I'll need to make a rack. Mmmm sounds like a good afternoon project for tomorrow.
This time of year, Florida weather is looking pretty good! BTW - Your place looks pretty good!!
Thanks! I'm picking up a hedge trimmer this week so I can clear out more spots to fish from.

Note- Can someone link me water test kits?
Hey guys!

Had huge Algae bloom today, but the spring that feeds the lake had some big clear spots, Water temps ~61* and I expect climbing soon. 2.5' visibility, maybe more.

https://imgur.com/gallery/ZQeCFbC

The bass were hungry, but as an inferior angler I couldnt grab too many today. Had 2 that were about the same size as last week, but thicker (not fat, but not skinny). I picked up a scale on my way there but of course it was broken right out of the package so...
Had 2 that I think were bigger break off on me.

I did grab a minnow trap filled it with hotdog and buns. It was swarmed almost immediately but Idont think any went inside. it is very shiny. Maybe that's why. I didnt grab paint for it. I left it overnight since ill be back tomorrow.

Figured out a plan for the area I want to dam but can't get machinery to. Going to build a cinderblock retaining wall. I think it could work, on the backkside of it I'll add in fill dirt mixed with bentonite. Then on top I'll put a nice fishing platform. That's definitely a next year project since I've too much to do already with a new house and getting this lake rolling nicely.

There are lots of scraggly bushes and dead trees and plant some cover grass along many sections to help erosion. What is your favorite native cover grass to use?

Walked even more of the bankline than I had before. I never saw a spot that *didnt* have small fish there. I didn't see anything intermediate sized, I'm wondering if the bass eat everything that gets past the size of Fry and that's part of the problem?

I also did not notice any freshwater mussels or crayfish, which was shocking. I wont go out of my way to add mussels (unless oneof you big brains suggests it), but I will definitely be trying to bucket stock some crayz and putting them back in one of the muckier areas that the big fish can't access until the rains come. I did finally find a local company to get my fish from (only 3 hour round trip!) but they dont have craws.
Try fishing using some of the small fish that you catch in the minnow trap. As I said , You are going to find that you will catch more minnows in a dark colored pained trap. Hot dogs will catch crayfish but not minnows. Any mollusks that you have will likely be in deeper water. However IMO your pond will not have very many if any mussels because of the thick muck bottom. Freshwater mussels need firm bottom sediment materials. They do poorly if live at all in soft sloppy bottom muck.
All that needs to happen is some of the shine to wear off of the minnow trap. I have the Gee galvanized minnow traps and they work 10:1 vs. a black painted/dipped minnow trap that looks exactly the same.

Yes, I believe the bass are eating the intermediate sized fish, LMB like to eat fish 1/4-1/3 their body length. That's why harvest is important.
CityDad,
Cool body of water you have. I understand your in the Tampa area, too?

Do you now the history of it whether it was dug for fun or if it was a borrow pit of some sort? There are lots of those around. f that's the case, it could be deep.

Best money you could spend right now would be on a little jon boat to get out and cover some water to see what you have. Bass are already beginning to bed here and bream will start shortly. That is as good a time as any to survey the banks for bedding activity by sight and smell. Need some polarized glasses with the dark waer.

Keep an eye out for the birds; heron, osprey, cormorant, eagle, etc.. They are better fisherman than you and I would ever be. smile

Being Florida, you're gonna have fish in there. There are lunker bass in the smallest of stormwater retention ponds around here.
Without electrofishing my current plan is to cull 50-100lbs of skinny LMB and adding at last 3 fish condos with feeders above them (probably cheap moultries bc $$$) before rainy season starts (aprilish) and I add BG, Shad, Minnows, and Craws (if I can find craws). Hopefully that will kick start the forage and help out the bass.

Near the fish condos I think I'm also going to plant vegetation in buckets (so it can't spread). What plants do yall like near your spawning area/condos?

So far I've got 2 volunteers to help me out, both better anglers than me so can probably hit that if not Ill invite more.

Over the summer take out anything at all that is skinny.

Re-evaluate in the fall. Maybe invest in some new genetics for the pond (note this is Florida fall, so its still warm)



Non fish related pond projects for this year:
*Purchase water test kits and monitor closely
*Invest in DO meter for same
*if money isn't an issue, invest in a digital bobber to map the lake bottom
*Clear out lots of scrub brush along the bank to fish from.
*Plant lots of grass where scrub brush used to be
*Plan future landscaping for banks (I somehow have very few cypress trees, I think that should be fixed for erosion control and habitat double header)
*Monitor water/banks and make plans to improve them next year via riprip, bentonite, and cinderblock retention walls.
*Relax and enjoy

Have I missed anything?
I wouldn't add any forage until you remove those 100lbs of bass or else you will just be encouraging more overcrowded bass.
I'm in Bill's camp about not adding any forage fish or anything that they could eat. You would be just throwing money away.
Yup you've convinced me, that's priority number 1, as well as building the fish condos. I think I found a good spot for a nursery in the back, if I can find a good net I might go ahead and net it off and put the forage back there to grow out and hopefully spawn a bit.
As we all know its a combination of time, money, and work. If I can make a grow out spot and then invest in time to spend less money, I'm gonna do it.

Recomendations on the net/netting for something like this?

Also- What plants do yall like? I want to scatter 10 or so 5 galloon buckets of vegetation in some spots as fish attractors that dont overtake the pond. I want that in before I add all the forage too



Forgot photos from yesterday! First time bringing the family out to enjoy it. My FIL also helped me clear a few spots to fish from and we are planning the next patches to clear.
https://imgur.com/gallery/2GILnuv

Temperature spiked hard overnight, and I think that made the bass mad. Couldnt get any bites. I saw a tons of schools of fairly large perch or tilapia (couldnt catch em) hanging out eating grass. If I had to guess a few of em passed 1lb. Camera phone couldnt capture em. They looked beautiful though, and I want to stick a fork in one... Next time Ill bring a cast net.
I was re-reading some Forage Pond threads and someone mentioned putting them in large water tanks to grow out.

DUH why didn't I think of that? I've been collecting them for other purposes for the farm and can definitely set aside 2 for raiisng forage. I think the water in them will get REALLY hot though. Any thoughts on keeping them cool? Central florida is already 80* and water temps climbing from the low 60s. Set em up with a pipe into the actual pond should be simple enough. Screen on top to keep birds out. Gravel and sand on the bottom to hold a few plants/spawning beds.

Any other advice on that topic?
Raising fish in outdoor tanks can be very different methods between north and south regions. Species in the warm-hot south would have to be high temperature tolerant fish. Raising fish in tanks is definitely not as easy as it sounds. It becomes and requires methods specific aquaculture.
Hi Bill-

Some quick googling shows me that Gams prefer ~77* f and can tolerate up to about 100*
Bluegill seem to be almost as tolerant of warm temperatures (maxing at ~95*)

Gams Seems like a good place to start this project. Hopefully sooner than later because time is money. If It works out ill do BG later. Time to start hunting for pumps etc.
Hey guys.

i know the short answer is going to be "as much as you can afford" but I'm going to ask anyway....

I'm pricing out riprap etc as structure for crayfish. How much is the "minimum" size pile you'd make for them?
I ordered a triaxle load and built a jetty for crayfish. At full pool, it is submerged completely. I thought that this use of riprap might provide more habitat for the crayfish, but I have no concrete evidence that it does. However, after adding the papershells, my curly leaf pondweed is all but gone.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Over the past 6 yrs I have kept my eyes open for the stuff that I can use for cover in the pond and is free for the picking. Piles of used brick, or different sized rocks scattered around the property. All kinds of free stuff out there if you don't get in a hurry and take your time and your eyes open. Free gambusa minnows that live in the wet low spots and free crawfish in those same low spots in the spring. There are plenty of places to spend money on the pond, like a good fish feeder, fish food, stocker fish. forage fish, sein nets, cast nets, scales to weigh fish along with measuring boards. Building material for a pier. I can go on with all the money that one can spend on a pond. I am happy to see you got your pond.
RAH- That is one truckload? How many yards? If so that looks like a great start. Also uhh.... I might invest in changing the way that rock is laid out. Or is my mind just corrupt?

TGW- hitting construction sites for garbage that i can use is definitely high on my list, but I also want to do the turn money into time thing by getting some good stuff right away.
I've put rip-rap on most of the dam in my pond. Also have three submerged peninsula piles that run perpendicular to the shoreline.

~60 ton in so far with another ~15 ton to go.
The design RAH has is a good one, especially if you ever think you will be electroshocking the pond. To do that effectively, you need some areas that the fish can be "herded to" to trap them in the current from the e-shock boat.
Just one truckload. It is sold by the ton rather than the cubic yard, but I cannot remember the tonnage. Carrying each stone out separately by hand and placing it was the real work, especially with the water level being where it is shown in the photo. I later raised the full pool by 1 foot using a water control box from AgriDrain which covered the top of the rocks, but not very deeply. I did this for establishing bald cypress in my last pond as well, and I just added an elbow to the pipe in my 3rd pond to raise it as well, but don't have bald cypress in that one. During droughty times, the top of the jetty still sticks out of the water.
HAHA ok no one else sees anything funny in the shape, I guess my mind is just dirty.
I think the place down here sells em by the "yard" vs the "truck" I've left em messages but no response yet to confirm. Of course their website has "by the truck" rates for fill dirt but not rip rap...

I also need to get some bald cypress going. It's shocking that a pond in FLorida doesn't have a ton of it already but *shrug* any advice for me on planting it?

I'm going to load my riprap onto a john boat and then across my pond when I get it so.... Yea thats gonna be a pain in the ass but worth it. Or maybe not, but I'm doing it. I'll post a picture later of where I'm putting structure and feeders.

Going to look for some american pondweed and arrowhead this weekend. Then plant both in buckets to see how they do. I get 2 days at the pond this weekend, 1 solo 1 with the fam smile perfect mix.

Im gonna do a bunch more clearing of the banks to fish from, and hopefully at least a little fishing. Might try to throw oneof these things I think is tilapia on the fire smile
Originally Posted by CityDad
HAHA ok no one else sees anything funny in the shape, I guess my mind is just dirty.

This forum is serious business, no joking allowed! wink
Post a picture of what you think are Tilapia and we can ID it for you.
plaanning on catching one this weekend and doing a taste species test
NEW PHOTOS!

https://imgur.com/gallery/fhsPVBS

Can you ID the lil baby fish?

Visibility ~3'

Also- I think I saw 3 spawning beds... clean bowls in the sand but with no fish guarding them. Am I crazy? Maybe birds got em? Would they scoot if they saw me walk up?

Hopefully will have more fish to ID tomorrow from the minnow cage. Also gonna focus on catching these tilapia that stare at me. They *might* be common carp.

Also saw what I think is a sailfin catfish.

For the catfish and carp/tilapia I'm gonna have to get a bow smile I dont want non natives in my lake!

Caught the biggest fish I've had in that pond so far! Skinny but I kept it in because the length was so nice.
I did also catch a 6" one that maybe I should have culled? I thought it was young enough that I should let it stay in? No picture of him, I caught it kinda funky and wanted him back in the water.

I'm pretty confident that there is an extreme shortage of bluegill in this pond. I haven't seen any vaguely bluegill shaped shapes in the water. The fishery only sells BG as large as 2-4" MMmmmm gonna have to figure out how to grow em out I think. I'll have some chain link fencing to recycle in a few weeks, maybe Ill set up that to keep birds and bass out of one of the areas I labeled 'potential nursery' in the photos.
The small fish in your pictures above is a mosquito fish probably a male.
Thanks Bill!

I think I'm going to try to catch a few hundred of em and stick em in a tank to spawn em and put em back. There's tons but they appear ot be the only forage fish.

Any advice for stocking BG and crayfish to established ponds?
The bass that you put back in should have been removed. Too skinny. The length and weight tells me that there aren't enough fish in the pond of the correct size for it to eat to grow any larger, or heavier.

The tall grassy things should be removed too - those are cattails and will get so thick you can't walk to the water.
Esshup-
ooh thanks for the warning about cattails

i was worried id be removing too much cover.

.... yer right, i just felt bad for em. My heart yearns for all bass to be free! Whats the max size i should keep? about 8"?
Originally Posted by CityDad
.... yer right, i just felt bad for em. My heart yearns for all bass to be free! Whats the max size i should keep? about 8"?

Whatever is under 100% Relative Weight. Honestly, I would remove every bass you catch that is under 120% Relative Weight until you reach removing 30# of bass of ALL sizes per surface acre. That will get your pond back into shape quicker.
Oh jinkies I thought keeping healthy ones and small ones was a good idea... guess you won't appreciate an update from yesterday...
Can you link me RW charts? I've got people meeting me there next weekend to help start... THE CULLING

https://imgur.com/gallery/i9YqQY2

BEST day of fishing I've had there so far.

My FIL was put in charge of catching tilapia and bluegill and couldnt get any. To me that is confirmation of 0 bluegil since I've never known one to resist a liveworm.
Once I get feeders set up hopefully the tilapia will be attracted to one spot and I can seine a bunch out to make room for the bluegill I want to add.

I thought I read some threads about Tilapia providing forage for bass similar to BG? I dont think that's holding too true here.

What's the best structure to build for small BG to live in? Corrogated pipe "condos?"
Let your fingers walk your eyes through the Pond Boss Common Pond Q&A (Archives). There's a lot of info there that is asked all the time. Here's a small sample: https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=160456#Post160456
Found em in the thread, thanks I stopped going through those lists of links a while back since almost all those links are broken.
Thanks for the updates. I'm enjoying this thread. Those "small" bass are good size for around here.
Hey yall.
Only 1 day out there this week, yesterday.

Caught a bunch of small ones and let them back. Lost 2 or 3 big ones (2+ lbs) and was happy to see em.

i know i know I need to cull the small ones, but they were so cute I couldnt.

Almost killed myself getting into my canoe, but managed to only pull a muscle, making me feel old...

Accidentally left the lights on in my car, killing my car battery and had to wait over 2 hours for a tow truck bc my land isnt near. Took the time to take some nice walks around the property which led me tothe following thoughts...

1- How deep to bluegill need ot be in to survive? There is an exceptionally grassy bit that the ducks seem to avoid. I'm willing to bet as soon as the first hurricane blows through itll overflow into the lake. It looks to be from 2-8" deep. I've got a shipment of 2-4" bluegill coming March 6, only about 300. If I put them in here, you think they'd be ok until they get washed into the main lake? Just want to give them more chance to grow... And maybe spawn? How old/big do they need to be to spawn?
2- Based on the price of bluegill and my budget I'm definitely considering Raising some in a 250 gallon tank (repurpsoes LBC tote) at my house. Any articles or good reading on the subject? Even if all I do is grow em out there and bring them over itll be a good use of time/effort IMO.

3- Found a good way to connect my pasture areas and make shuffling animals easy!

4- Yall I'm gonna need to start mowing this. a 30 minute drizzel and Ive got 2' high weeds and grass. Or maybe I just need a cow.


Edi-t Every time I'm there I smile the whole time. Yall need to get vaccinated and come for a camp/fishout


Here's the note from Bob:

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If you wouldn't say it to your Mother, don't say it to us.
Did I use unwelcome expletives? My bad. In my defense I learned em from mom!
Ok maybe I learned em in college.

I'm closing a big deal on Friday. Gonna splurge a lil bit. I think that splurge is gonna be 3 of these

https://www.moultriefeeders.com/6-5-gallon-directional-hanging-feeder-1

Might even just get the piece to plug into a larger bucket.

And 2ish of these
https://www.moultriefeeders.com/xa-6000

Plus enough of this to make a little grow out area

https://www.thepondguy.com/product/...ch/water-gardens-fish-ponds-pond-netting

^^^ That a good net for what I want?


I know this forum is kinda Anti moultrie feeders, but I need more than 1 to make an impact so I'm gonna take the risk on these.
Also if my wife randomly googled the price on one of the big texas feeders I'd be a dead man.
Pictures from Yesterday
https://imgur.com/gallery/cgNI2r9

The culling isn't going well because they keep looking at me with those innocent fishy eyes.... Next week some cold hearted anglers are coming to join me so will likely start getting caught up on culling.

I have an order of 350 2-4" bluegill coming on the 6th so I NEED to close off my mercy and got to town

I may add some crawfish to that as well. Budgets...

Hopefully before the come I will have the parts I need/want to convert an old 250g water tote into a grow out aquarium, otherwise Ill seed them in a grassy area and cross my fingers a few of them survive long enough for a spawn.
Option 3 is grabbing a bunch of milk crates cheap and sinking them and hopeing the BG are smart enough to hang out inside of them for a while under a feeder, should have 2 by next week. ALso need to order the water test kits from amazon

On a similar note in April-ish I'm going to spend some weekends trying to bill buckets with the limit of 50 bluegill to bring over to my pond. FIL has offered to help, so hopefully we can get a hundred or so larger bluegill to bring down.


Other things-
Tilapia have definitely started spawning, and Ithink I missed a bunch of it. I didnt bring bait for the minnow traps but there are large bowls in the sand and tiny fishes that dont look like the GAMs swimming around. How bad is having the big tilapia around? Should I leave them or try to cast net them out? Do they compete with bluegill for food?

I dont think I've seen any bass beds, but a bunch of the bass I've caught definitely seem to be preggers.

EVERY time I'm there I can see fish splashing around. I LOVE it. It's hilarious when I cast out and a school of tilapia gets scared shirtless and it makes a frenzy.

Definitely saw some plecos in the pond. Invasie buggers, not sure how to get them out.
Get cold hearted quick. If Mother Nature gets her fingers in the pie, you won't be happy. She is MUCH more cold hearted than you ever think you could be.
Thanks for the report. I have been told by others on the forum that releasing too many bass might lead to them becoming hook shy, making it hard to cull them later. That might be something to keep in mind.
@fyfer

Good point, I'm actually curious about this myself. This BOY is combined ~15 acres during low season, and just under 20 at full. (~5 is on "my" property).
It has Grassy areas, about 1 acre of just lillypads (this area is the "barrier" between the neighbors section of pond and mine), and tons of wood structure.

The other owners barely touch it/ I've never seen them fish.

Can 1 person fishing lets say 4 hours a week "overfish" this?



Another question for the brain trust. What should I do about this structure? Fish love it, but I'm starting to hate it... except for it's usefulness as a fish attractor. (follow imgur link)
https://imgur.com/gallery/UI58AR2


Also I was looking into the American Flagfish... how does this thing even exist? It only laws 20 eggs at a time??!!!?! And its perfect bass food size
If you cut it off below the water level you won't know that it's there and still get hung up on it.

As for the fish, it looks like a nice aquarium fish.
The others here would know better than me, but I'm also the only one who fishes my pond, although much smaller, and I don't see any issues with pressure. I know for a fact that bass in my pond have been caught multiple times, so whether or not they become hook shy, I am really not sure. With that said, I am concerned about hook shy fish and do not release many trout or bass. This summer I am planning on keeping all bass in order to prevent hook shy fish and reduce the population.

If you do not want to keep bass, know that they are good eating, at least in my pond, so there is not much downside if that's what people are recommending.
First weekend I havent really been able to fish. Saturday I was prepping fence posts for animals coming in about a month, and Sunday I had a stomach bug that kept me home bound.

I did get a 2 hour recitation of the history of the property from the neighbor who rode her riding mower out to monologue to me about everything from Gator mating season to politics. Nice lady but I dont think I said more than 10 words in 2 hours.

She said there ARE bluegill but they only eat crickets. Maybe on her half of the lake? Ill do some investigating.

Also claims she catches tilapia on crickets and that she pulled one out that weighed almost 10 lbs. Which seems a bit of an exageration, but there are deffinately big tilapia in there.

Also a 14' gator she calls "Grandma" that shes going to try to ahve FWC remove
Gator is fine eating. Do the big ones get gristly and tough, or do they stay good no matter how big they get?

If they stay good I'd be inclined to "remove" it myself, and relocate it to my freezer.
No gators allowed at my pond. The buzzards need something to eat too.
Haha! She cautioned me that the FWC does flyovers, so if I must eliminate a gator for self defense I need to be careful with where it ends up...

I wouldnt know how to process a gator! I bet my FIL does though. Havent been out there in 2 weeks due to the move, hopefully Ill get out there on Friday. Taking PTO do build fences for pigs and do some fishing. I want to see if there is any spawning for the bass yet as I've only seen Tilapia beds and I"m hoping some big bass finally come out to play.

I've decided to be a fairly intelligent individual and not invest in extra plantlife or too much forage until I see how this spring goes at least. With the alleged presence of bluegill I"m not as concerned. I will be getting at least 2 of the moultrie's I posted to try to feed the forage fish, probably this month.
CityDad, good luck on all of your upcoming projects!

We expect a full report of your family picnic next year that consists of bacon-wrapped tilapia as the main course, and beer-battered gator chunks as the appetizer.
Once everyone gets vaccinated BBQ at my place absolutely! Hogs should be ready for July 4!
CRAPOLA I had a big post written and it seems like it didnt post w/e I'll do it again.

Got back out today to get work done on the hog pen. Its about 70% done and itll be 95% before they arrive on Sunday AM. For the first ~2 months theyll be kinda close to the pond, but then they are going away from it for their permanent pasture so itll be ok 9i swear).

I did get some fishing in, lots of observations/facts.

1- FREAKING HUGE TILAPIA EVERYWHERE. Seriously I was expecting to see the bass bedding but alas i see tilapia as far as the eye can see. A literal city traffic jam of em. At least from the area I like to fish from the most. I think they schooled up, drove most of the bass out of this area, and bedded.
I did take the canoe out and their were more scattered around, but heck the "prime" bedding area was overrun with TILAPIA.

Is this a bad thing or a normal thing in Tilapia/bass ponds? I'm worried these jerks are hurting bass recruitment. I honestly think their could be tilapia here that beat the Florida record.

2-I MISSED the bass spawn? I saw several schools of fish that I am 73% certain were bass YOY. ill try to set a minnow trap for em tomorrow. but like.... WHY DIDNT I EVER SEE EM? It blows my mind, did they all check my calendar see I was busy and do their thing? Kinda bummed that I'm past the bass spawn in my pond.

I'm so confused.....

3- Caught a bunch of dinks. I will recatch them and feed to my pigs when they get here sunday. 1 guy I swear I caught 3 times in 10 minutes. I love the aggression but I'm concerned hell die from the stress. Caught one that was almost 2 pounds, made me feel better but I'm still struggling to figure out where any big bass are. Theres gotta be some in the 4-5 pound range if there are bowfin that big right? but I also caught...

MY FIRST BLUEGILL! WHOOPEEEEE Dude ate a lure that never woulda gone in his mouth, maybe it was on a bed? I think ill put my minnnow trap near HERE tomorrow to see if any lil BG are around.

I also got my 2 Moultrie feeder attachments. Tomorrow Ill be grabbing hog feed and fish feed smile.


So questions concerns and comments-

Are these tilapia "Taking Over" by stealing bed space and eating bass YOY maybe? There seem to be trillions of big ones. I hope they gravitate to the feeders so I can cast net a bunch out. And by a bunch I mean like 150+ lbs.... which may not make a dent!.
Bass and Tilapia reproduce at different H2) temperature. If you are seeing Tilapia making beds/spawning, you are at least a month behind the LMB spawn.

Get a really small mesh net, and scoop it through the "Cloud" of what you think are bass fry, or run a 4" crank bait through the cloud. Daddy LMB might take offense and bite on the crankbait.

I've ripped a treble hook through the cloud and impaled a few small fish on it, and they've had a horizontal stripe with black tipped tails - LMB fry.
I actually did the crankbait thing (by accident) friday and caught a bass. If your hypothesis is correct maybe he was chomping tilapia.

Pretty sure the fry had a stripe, thats how I ID them from the canoe.

Hopefilly I can grab some tomorrow for pictures, as long as the pigs dont take all my attention. Definitely lots of wee things in the water.

And I need to yoink all the 1lbers I can so the wee things can feed the 2lbers, and maybe the 3-5+s will start to show up soon.

It was STILL Tilapia city everywhere today. i think I got some photos of em Ill try to upload to imgur shortly... Nope... one photo that should have 4 had 1 kidna sorta shown, and the other photo had 0.

esshup- I thought bass were 65 and tilapia 68? At least that's what google told me when I asked.

How many Tilapia beds would you expect to see in like a 100' stretch? More or less than 10?
You are correct on the LMB temp (could be a 3-4 degrees either way based on photoperiod) but you are off by 10-15 degrees on the Tilapia. What is your water temp now?

How many Tilapia beds? That depends on the Tilapia population.
So I got out to do more than feed the pigs... but couldnt do much more.

Tilapia are all done bedding. Temperature reads ~68* best I can tell from the termometer I used. While the winter lack of rain is definitely lowering the pond there is still a steady supply from the creek that maintains it. Still not seeing bass on beds.

The lower water is pushing baitfish from the grassy areas into the water, which sent a school of 1lb bass crazy, but I could only grab 2 before my wife made me back it in to bring her and the little one home. I was watching them jump and eat the whole time I was takin care of the bacon seeds.

Aside from needing to continue cullinb 1lbers, I wont stock any more baitfish until the water goes up, since their habitat is kinda going away and will probably stay that way until tropical storms move through.

Tons of lil baby tilapia. Didnt see any more BG this time around.

Set up a wildlife cam, Turkey have been hanging out with the pigs, and a deer. Some cool birds around too (lots of woodpeckers, and hawks I havent been able to identify yet).

Definitely ducks, herons and such eating up my baitfish too. Any ideas on cheap habitat to protect the fry from them? Just knock over more trees when I have time outside the grassy areas maybe?
Also- I felt personally attacked by 2 articles in this quarter's magazine. The ones about management and culling.

I GET IT I NEED TO BE MORE AGGRESIVE ABOUT CULLING OK??!!!!!

smile Good reading there.
Enlarged LMB fry pic

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

Attached File
P5150040.jpg  (102 downloads)
Yea next time I go out I'm going to drop the basket in again, I just can't figure out how I friggin missed the spawn? Like hello????? Was I blind?

Edit- Finally got the first fish feeder set up! 3 times a day 10 seconds each. If i dont see a bunch of activity near it next time I'm out Ill likely move it. I want to get it to the back where there's grass and I found that bluegill, or get another one back there.
Just wanted to report that I culled 2 fish today. A 1/2lb bass and a ~2lb mudfish
The first one broke my heart

The second one was a jerk after i canoe flipped him and i didnt mind leaving him out for the birds (do turkeys eat em? hope so, i've got wild ones on my property)
Your heart will feel that way until you witness a fish kill because you didn't take out enough. Then your heart will realize that what you are doing is for the best interest of the pond and it's fish.
What types of things would cause a fish kill in a pond this size?
Originally Posted by CityDad
What types of things would cause a fish kill in a pond this size?

DO crash due to bio overload most likely.
Put my fish in last march had aerator running since last march have lost several fish in last 2 weeks.The pond never froze all the way about a 15' hole in middle.The fish look good so i dont understand what it could be? Lack of food in a new pond? Any ideas would be appreciated.
I think we get too much fast flowing creek/river water for DO to really be a problem. There's never not a light current going through the pond.
natural predation also helps with numbers Herons hawks, alligators and probably other things I forgot
Originally Posted by Gramps61
Put my fish in last march had aerator running since last march have lost several fish in last 2 weeks.The pond never froze all the way about a 15' hole in middle.The fish look good so i dont understand what it could be? Lack of food in a new pond? Any ideas would be appreciated.

IF you had the aerator running all winter long in the deepest part of the pond, they could have been stressed from the cold water. What type of fish died? Redears are the most susceptible.
Wasn't in deepest probably 4 or 5 ft most dead fish were hybrid bluegills.You could right ponds not very big i will move it shallower come fall?
Originally Posted by Gramps61
Wasn't in deepest probably 4 or 5 ft most dead fish were hybrid bluegills.You could right ponds not very big i will move it shallower come fall?


How many were dead, and what did they look like (body condition wise)? Typically up here (I am about 30 miles South of the Indiana/Michigan state line in the center of the state) the diffusers for winter are in 1/4 total pond depth but in an area where the open water extends to shore so in case anything goes into the water it can get out without having to climb up on the ice.
I have probably lost 15 or 20 they looked good no sores and not skinny i will be for sure moving it this fall
Do you think i should shut aerator off till water warms up?
Originally Posted by Gramps61
Do you think i should shut aerator off till water warms up?

Yes. Move it to deepwater get ready to turn it on shortly. Take pond water temps, using a swimming pool thermometer. If you wait long enough for a thermocline to form, then you have to use the start up procedure for the aeration system.

In my pond I will turn it on for the summer (the deepest one) when the water temp is in the low 60's and leave it run 24/7.
So as soon as temps reach around 60 or so just plug it back in and let it go like i was before? i dont think i mentioned my pond is ground water pond if that makes any difference in water temps.
So Umm.... a few things happened the last few days. 1 of which i will save for another post.... so lets talk about Fish and how I'm obviously the worst angler/pondmeister of all time.


Trillions of lil bass fry everywhere. My phone is busto and wont upload photos to anywhere right now but i'm 97.3% certain they are bass fry. WOOHOO


But... when did they come about?


Um... Ya know all that whining I did about Tilapia? I think they were just bass..... Or at least a lot of them were. Since I couldnt catch any and still dont have a cast net I went with the "if it wont eat a lure its not a bass" method of fish indentifying.

But I think I'm just dumb. Also an inferior angler (this was known)

Those had to have been bass that were just too smart for me/I'm a terrible angler. In my defense I never got em out of the water, and my FIL confirmed they looked like tilapia.
I can't fish bass off beds in a pond with 0 other fishing action? Jinkies....


The bass were definitely out and about yesterday. I was testing new lures that they didn't like much but tons of jumping and feeding. Managed to cull two ~1lbers that were eating fry. Saw several small schools of 3-5 diving in and out of the grasses pestering the fry/minnows/etc. Lots of bigger ones doing similar solo mostly.
Going to try putting a big ned weight with some weedless worms and chuck into grass shortly.

Definitely a bunch of beds out that are bass beds with decent looking bass sitting on em (2-3ish? maybe a few bigger?)

Florida's current dry spell really needs to end though. Beds that were submerged a few weeks ago are 3 inches out of the water now. I'm going to use this time to cull some stick fish,
Water Temps are in 70s, and still plenty of creek water coming in so it might get lower but aside from predators eating out all the baitfish forced out o fgrass i think everything will work out ok after we get some gosh darn rain.



............................Its so hot and dry out someone might accidentally burn down 5 acres of the nieghbor's cow pasture.................................................................
My lake has a FB page if you are interested.
https://www.facebook.com/ButterflyLakeFarmandConservation

Also I have a new theory that will have to be tested over the years:

The winter dry season lowers the level of the pond too much for many forage fish to survive, resulting in a food fest for predators in the early spring, and I will need to re-stock after the first big rains if I want to grow the bass bigger.

I will definitely want to set up a forage pond/tank or something tohelp with these costs. Hopefully I'll get a tractor soon so I can knock out the beginings before the rains come.
Just keep harvesting the bass. That will allow the remaining bass to grow bigger. The problem with adding more fish to the pond to feed the smaller bass is that you will soon run out of carrying capacity for the pond, and when that happens Mother Nature makes room for more fish by killing 90% or more of the fish in the pond.

So, keep harvesting the small under performing bass.
I culled another yesterday. Theyw re jumping like crazy but my inferior angling skills (or lure choices) meant they wouldnt bite. The bastards.

Between natural predators and what I'm sure will be fish loss due to overflow in the rainy season I doubt I can afford to exceed carrying capacity.
Going to hold off on adding until the rain comes, but I do think it needs to be on the agenda once or twice a year to restock BG, and maybe some shiners as a 'distraction' so they BG can hide while the predators go after shiners.

I think HSB are legal in the area, might do some of them next year after I see more of what's going on.

Anyone here know what kind of fish food tilapia respond to the best? I want to figur eout how to get them to clump up so I can cast the biggest ones out.
https://imgur.com/gallery/XEFO6Ro


A few pictures of my little fish feeder. 3 or 4 more of those by summer.

Any guesses what the bugs are the are flitting around on top of the water near it? Definitely tons of yoy eating at the food.

I've been going back and forth, but I think this area is going to get a bunch of felled trees fairly soon. That should help the yoy and then when the rain comes this is where Ill put a few hundred bucks worth of BG. Habitat+BG + 4 feeders should get me a few spawns before the bass get em all. Maybe? Who knows.

Didnt fish it today, going to try out a new lake near my house with my wife and son for easter. Also need to build a chicken coop for 7 new layer chicks.
What kind of feeder is it?
Dave- I got the moultrie adapter and stuck it on a 5G barrel. The trick is making the hole big enough to drop that feed, otherwise works fine so far.
https://www.moultriefeeders.com/quick-lock-directional-kit



Only had a few minutes to fish, this guy was sitting on top of my favorite honey hole... Caught nothing despite lots of stuff jumping. I have proven, yet again, I am the inferiorist angler.
https://imgur.com/gallery/eSU6fqC

Bass Forecast says this weekend will be nuts, but I'm worried my bass are freaked out since the lake looks about 4' too low (which is keeping the BIG gators away, which is helpful i guess). Hopefully wife lets me get lots of time in smile.

I did see a few bass getting some late spawning done, but they wouldnt bite.

The big tilapia still hanging around shore. Mocking me.

The GAR are now spawning, or at least a few were hanging on shore and nibbled on lures I chucked at them then spit it back out. Should I be culling gar if I catch them or leaving them in?

Also supposed to finally get rain this weekend, hopefully that cools down water temps, and gets my grass growing back from the fire. Pigs need rotating but I can't get a post into the damn ground.
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