Pond Boss
After asking a round of questions and getting some fantastic help I'm on my way for my new 1/2 acre pond project. (Thank you Bill Cody, Omaha, Sunil, Ewest, and Eshhup for your help!)

Here is where I'm headed: (YP, RES, HSB, SMB?, BCP or Hybrid Crappie?)

-Pond is 1/2 acre and deepest point is around 14'. It is dug out fairly deep and averages 8-10' I would imagine. I've got some structure in the pond including (sand, several rock piles under water, some tile, a small rock pier, and a few home made pvc type structures). I plan on adding a pile of cedar limbs as well here soon in a very shallow area for spawning purposes. I will be feeding the fish pellets as well as much as I can reasonably afford.

-I have 2" conduit preparing to be laid in a trench that is being dug for my new home construction. They are running the natural drain from my basement to the pond. I'll pull wire out here hopefully late summer and get prepared to install a bottom aeration system that helps turn the water over.

-In early March my hope is to do the following stocking
5lbs of FHM
50 4-6" RES (to help identify them and not get any GSF or BG)
20 8-10" YP (Hoping to pull off a spawn in year one)
60 3-4" YP

-I'm likely not to install aeration until 2023 as I can imagine I would only have power ready to go out there towards early fall of 2022 so I doubt there would be much benefit at that point and from some conversations I've had in Ohio I may be ok without aeration for a bit given the biomass I have at this point)

-Fall of 2022 or Spring of 2023 I'd like to introduce some predators to the mix depending on how everything is doing?
25 3-4" HSB
more FHM if needed for the HSB?


From there I'm not sure! I have SMB as a maybe because I know I'd like to but some GSH in the mix as well. Mainly for forage, but if they get too large I will pull them out and use as catfish bait. I've seen a few posts here about success with YP RES SMB or HSB so I'm hoping I can mimic that! The other large goal I have is to add hybrid or black crappie into the mix successfully. I don't need them in large numbers, but I would like to grow some larger ones! I know that can get tricky with overpopulation. But I plan on pulling out YP and Crappie when necessary for the frying pan.

Let me know what you all think! Please advise if my stocking numbers sound off or odd, I do struggle with that. The goal is to grow fat and healthy fish! I'll keep posting here and updating my results and hopefully will learn alot!

Photos below!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


https://imgur.com/a/Ksm1QMd
Posted By: Sunil Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/06/22 12:57 PM
It will be a great journey.

From your pics, how much of the hard structure is showing? If what we can see represents a large part of it, you may want to add much more in the areas yet to fill.

For example, where we can see that black thing with the tentacles, if that's the only one, I'd try to add 5-10 more in just that area alone.
Thanks Sunil!

Under water I have 2 rock piles, a large ring of 1' tall concrete pilings, and a fake PVC tree type structure. I also plan on adding a bundle of cedar limbs in a shallow corner, with a few larger brush/log pieces around it.

I do think you're right though, I have enough concrete to make 5 more of those tentacle type items and it would probably do some good putting them all together there. Thanks for the suggestion!
Good start for documenting the pond progress. To add to Sunil's comment I would create a line of those spider structures AT LEAST all the way back towards the string of rocks descending toward deeper water. An even longer line of them would be even better for providing cover/habitat for the small fish community. Think 20% of the shoreline length. You need to focus to long term prop-up the forage fish for the planned combination of larger fish. IMO for your planned fishery, you need a lot more shallow habitat that parallels the shoreline. Think of it as an artificial weed bed. If at some point, which I doubt, you see too many forage fish, then you can always pull out some of the artificial weed bed. Remove and add as necessary based on existing density of minnows.

Your plan of hybrid crappie has merit buy I very much doubt that you will ever find any of hybrid BCP in OHIO especially close to where you live. Those fish in OH are always rare or non-existent as teeth on a chicken.

Adding your fish as late as March 24 in OH will get you a YP spawn. Others will spawn later in spring.

I would take your 40-60 3"-4" YP an blend into that total some 4"-6" YP; any percentage. Impt note - YP in central midwest esp OH are going to be exceeding rare in spring of 2022 due to numerous farms had very bad YP spawning success in spring of 2021. Big shortage of stocker YP for spring 2022. Many of the larger fish farms in OH have gone to western states this fall for 2022 perch. Those that do not have their YP now will likely not have much in regards to YP for 2022.

HSB could be added in fall of 2022 if you can find them which may be difficult. HSB are most commonly available in spring early summer then they get sold out and farms do not repurchase until the next spring. Based on your small fish densities I would consider cutting back on the 25 HSB and initially stock 15 at 6"-8" size. Then the next year if needed and forage is abundant stock 10 more. 15 12"-14" HSB will eat a lot of fish because they are constantly hungry and growing fast. Ladder stocking concept. The smaller the stocker size of HSB the more they struggle to survive the transplant. Another option is buy the 25 3"-4"ers in spring put them in a cage, feed them and stock what ever survive in fall of 2022. From my experience expect large losses of transplant HSB from fish farms. This spring I add what appeared to be 30 3"-4" HSB to a cage and 2 survived!. HSB are touchy and quite sensitive as stocker fish. My many experiences. YOU will verify this by putting some what look healthy into a cage. Healthy HSB will thrive in a cage IF they are handled properly BEFORE you get HSB and IF you properly temper them prior the caging them or pond stocking them. Larger size HSB stockers have proven many times to be much more hardy for survival after stocking. Numerous times those smallest ones are stocked and never seen again.
Thanks as always Bill,

As far as structure, do you think I should be using something different than the spider type structures? I like the idea of artificial over a lot of trees in my pond. Just want to make sure these would be okay to start throwing a lot into the pond like you suggested.



I've updated my stocking numbers based on your recommendations, hopefully I don't run into too many issues. Have you heard much on the quality of perch from Urbana FF? As of now I plan on making a call up to Shelby Fish Farms for most of these to see what I can get ordered.



Spring of 2022

50 Redear 4-6"
20 YP 8-10"
20 YP 4-6"
40 YP 3-4"
5# FHM

Fall 2022 or Spring 2023
15 HSB 6-8"
5# FHM
5# GSH

Spring 2023
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.

Hoosier Pond Pros (esshup on Pond Boss) has had Hybrid Crappie in the past. I think(???) he was not able to get any last year. If that is your source, then I highly recommend that you get in touch directly with esshup to determine availability and timing for 2023!
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.

Hoosier Pond Pros (esshup on Pond Boss) has had Hybrid Crappie in the past. I think(???) he was not able to get any last year. If that is your source, then I highly recommend that you get in touch directly with esshup to determine availability and timing for 2023!

We had them last year. I had some that I kept all summer and was able to feed train about 60% of them. Nobody ordered them in the Fall so I stocked them into my pond. They grew from 2 1/2" in late May to 5"-6" by late October feeding them Optimal Starter #4 and then transitioning to a mix of Optimal Starter #4 and Optimal Bluegill Jr. I fed them once or twice a day when I remembered. You will need a good self-sustaining minnow population if you really want them to take off growth wise, or put them in a cage and feed train them, THEN release them into the pond.

I don't know how close you are to Anna, Ohio. Steve at Shelby Fish Farm packages small quantities of fish for people to pick up in plastic bags and cardboard boxes when the order isn't enough to deliver. With the price of diesel fuel and all the related price increases of everything else that is associated with it, we are going to have to rethink our minimum order size and/or what we have to charge for delivery. At 12 mpg, making a delivery 200 miles away is starting to cost some serious $$ when you have to figure in all the expenses related to hauling fish and than add labor on top if it. For a 400 mile round trip just the cost of the diesel fuel alone is $127.....
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.
IMO lots of regular fish farms have not yet learned the benefits of hybrid black crappie(HBCP) thus they do not use/have them. Also demand is very low because few pond owners know very little about the benefits of HBCP. To them a crappie is a crappie; who cares if it is a hybrid. So demand is very low. This would be another fish tank space needed for their current hatchery facility and lots of fish farms are already full with current species being handled. No doubt they see no real dollar benefit unless thousands are sold for dealing with another species when they already handle black crappie(BCP) that they think are very adequate if a customer wants a FEW crappie. IMO most fish farms are much more concerned for their benefit rather than the customer's desires and needs which is financially understandable. These are reasons HBCP are as rare as teeth on chickens. One has to go way out of their comfort zone to get hands on them.
Originally Posted by Bill Cody
IMO lots of regular fish farms have not yet learned the benefits of hybrid black crappie(HBCP) thus they do not use/have them. Also demand is very low because few pond owners know very little about the benefits of HBCP. To them a crappie is a crappie; who cares if it is a hybrid. So demand is very low. This would be another fish tank space needed for their current hatchery facility and lots of fish farms are already full with current species being handled. No doubt they see no real dollar benefit unless thousands are sold for dealing with another species when they already handle black crappie(BCP) that they think are very adequate if a customer wants a FEW crappie. IMO most fish farms are much more concerned for their benefit rather than the customer's desires and needs which is financially understandable. These are reasons HBCP are as rare as teeth on chickens. One has to go way out of their comfort zone to get hands on them.


Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possiblity if the BCP have a prolific spawn.
Posted By: Sunil Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/07/22 06:47 PM
I truly like to have diversity whenever possible.

The feeling of not knowing what's on your line is a thrill of it's own every time.

I feel any negative aspects of Black Crappie will be somewhat reduced once you have larger predator fish in the pond. In that regard though, I'm not sure how much Hybrid Striped Bass will keep Crappie in check. Smallmouth would have a better chance, leaving largemouth out of the picture.

Now, another factor for the early years of Crappie would be the stocking numbers; if you're introducing them when the pond already has other mature predators, I think the lower numbers of crappie you stock, the less chance of overpopulation in the following years.
Originally Posted by Sunil
I truly like to have diversity whenever possible.

The feeling of not knowing what's on your line is a thrill of it's own every time.

I feel any negative aspects of Black Crappie will be somewhat reduced once you have larger predator fish in the pond. In that regard though, I'm not sure how much Hybrid Striped Bass will keep Crappie in check. Smallmouth would have a better chance, leaving largemouth out of the picture.

Now, another factor for the early years of Crappie would be the stocking numbers; if you're introducing them when the pond already has other mature predators, I think the lower numbers of crappie you stock, the less chance of overpopulation in the following years.

Since BCP migrate to open water after hatching I would think that hybrid stripers would decimate them since this is their home and feeding area. LMB follow the BCP in my 6 acre pond and have almost wiped out my BCP. That’s why I don’t have any stripers….. would love them but having a hard time getting any recruitment from BCP
Posted By: Sunil Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/07/22 11:49 PM
Pat, back when I first got my main pond over 20 years ago, it was already a mature pond, 4.5 acres, and we had BCP. I never felt bad about having them, but never had to make a decision to actually willingly stock them. But I enjoyed them.

I'd have no reservations about putting them in tyler's case.
Posted By: Sunil Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/07/22 11:53 PM
Forgot to talk about HSB.

I've had some HSB in my ponds to maybe 5-7 lbs. I've always felt their mouths are not that big, but I was thinking about them eating 4" plus BCP.

I've seen them clean up on schooling fish so I see your point about them getting the YOY BCP.
tylerd1994 - Not a lot of research has been published on HSB for controlling BCP but there has been a few articles about this. Basically young new born crappie move to open water for several months to live and feed away from shoreline. This open water is where HSB spend most of their life. Thus the two species intermingle a lot when crappie are small. Research studies concluded that HSB when adequately abundant can eat a lot of small young of year(YOY) crappie and reduce or control recruitment of crappie.

BE aware during years with heavy crappie spawns a pond could get a reduced overpopulation of small crappie when HSB is not enough, and the owner would have to manually harvest 4"-6" crappie to put the crappie population back toward resembling some sort of acceptable balance. A pond with crappie would IMO require a closer fish monitoring of fish numbers compared to other common combinations of fishes. Bottom line - crappie are risky but doable in smaller ponds. Remember crappie are basically just smaller predators and to grow well they need lots of food that would have been eaten by other pond fish. Each crappie detracts from another fish in the pond - competition. The 'weakest' one usually suffers or both do not grow to the their potential.

The more fish species and numbers that are in a pond the more difficult it becomes to keep all species growing at their best rate because each species tends to feed in its own unique food niche that often can detract from the food feeding niche of another species - competition. Both species might suffer rather than both being enhanced.
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.

I go to Steve's on occasion. Let me know when you are going and how many you'd want, and if Steve will hold them then that is a possibility. If it's not, I have had people get fish from me and transport them in clean plastic garbage cans or large coolers with a battery powered aerator, or a spray bar that is plugged in to their cigarette lighter.

One guy in the far Southern part of the state met me part way down for all his fish for his new pond. He borrowed an O2 tank from work and a 2 stage regulator, and had a 300 gallon tote inside his enclosed trailer. He had cut the top just large enough to get a net in and out. He asked what air stone to buy and he had it already hooked up for the trip back. We fiddled with the valve on the O2 tank because he didn't get a flow meter. It worked.
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.

I go to Steve's on occasion. Let me know when you are going and how many you'd want, and if Steve will hold them then that is a possibility. If it's not, I have had people get fish from me and transport them in clean plastic garbage cans or large coolers with a battery powered aerator, or a spray bar that is plugged in to their cigarette lighter.

One guy in the far Southern part of the state met me part way down for all his fish for his new pond. He borrowed an O2 tank from work and a 2 stage regulator, and had a 300 gallon tote inside his enclosed trailer. He had cut the top just large enough to get a net in and out. He asked what air stone to buy and he had it already hooked up for the trip back. We fiddled with the valve on the O2 tank because he didn't get a flow meter. It worked.



I will let you know when I get my order in with Steve, thanks so much Esshup!

Bill thanks again for your words of wisdom. The crappie endeavor will be a well thought out process and I do not mind actively managing the population. If I do get my hands on these Hybrid Crappie I think that could help their predation by HSB quite a lot I hope!
Okay folks, I'll be going out to the pond site tomorrow. The plan is to make as many more shallow water structure items as I can as recommended earlier in the thread. I'm hoping to make that entire bank side littered with structure! Here is a picture of some of the structure before the pond filled. I had placed the PVC tree in a deeper section of water and you can see it peaking out. Does anyone think I need any more deep water structure than what is shown here? I do plan on aerating.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
I don't think you need any deep water structure. The shallow structure that you have now is basically nothing. The pond is only 1/2 ac. Deep water structure is mainly for fish attractors and in your small pond where are the fish going to go that you can't find them???? If you are not catching them in this small pond then something is remiss.

IMO put your money and efforts toward shallow fish habitat structures using various sizes of tubing. Litter the entire area from the black spider down the to the small rock pile depth clear towards the elongated stone pile if you want small fish habitat. The spider structures should be touching or close to toughing each other as performance of small fish habitat. It would be even better to extend the habitat clear back to the measly 2 cement drain tile in 3ft of water. You can always remove some of them if you have too much cover, but IMO rarely ever do ponds have too much artificial cover. Continual presence of FHM indicate there is an adequate amount of cover.

tylerd says " Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond WHEN YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possibility if the BCP have a prolific spawn."

There are a lot of fish balance issues for a fishery. Balance will be determined on your goals for the fishery. Just surviving is at the lower end and all species surviving at optimum growth is at the other end of the balance. The more species one adds to a fishery especially if they eat some sort of fish the more complex the balance becomes.

Here are some things to think about before stocking regular fertile crappie into your pond with adult YP, RES, HSB, GSH, FHM. Hybrid crappie have shown to not cause overpopulation problems in LMB ponds. However HBCP do eat fish and proven not to eat pellets. This is an important consideration. Relatively little IMO is known about their (HBCP) performance of with SMB, HSB, WE, RES and or YP. Yes - RES will consume some tiny fish during their adult life. Your pond can be one more learning example.

1. If the pond behaves normally to my experience do not expect the RES to thrive and annually provide numerous youngsters. This IMO will result in the GSH and YP carrying practically all the forage fish burden. This is why I emphasized adding more numbers of the spider tube brush like structure. Make them abundant with dense tubes. For best protection of breeder forage adults you need a numerous amount weed bed like cover – like 20% or more of the 2’-4ft deep water.

2. Thoughts - Depending on how many foxes(HSB) that you have in the chicken (minnow) coop, the availability of small sized forage fish may not be adequate to keep the HSB growing well. What are the fishery goals????. Can you sacrifice growth of adult HSB to have nice crappie? However,,,,, these generally small HSB’s could be a very good thing because smaller sized adult HSB (around 13"-16"max) could only eat around 1.7"-2.7" maybe 3.0" forage fish of YP and maximum length 4"-4.5" shiners. These max size HSB IMO would focus the predation pressure more onto small crappie and others. This plan would involve slot harvesting all HSB above 15”-16” and then replacing them with small stockers – aka ladder stocking as needed.

3. With heavy predation of all small fish, now what are the larger 5"-7" crappie going to eat when 1.5"-2" small fish are scarce??? BCP of any genetic strain do not take to pellets. If they did then one would not have to be concerned about density of small forage fish for growing crappie. IMO crappie larger than 6” are going to want easy to catch small fish 1”-2”. IMO you would be wiser to use a panfish predator that will readily eat pellets and small fish such as pellet raised YP or HBG.

Expect the HSB to heavily prey on 2"-4" YP and GSH because of the slender body shapes rather than the HSB eating wide body 3"+ BCP. Strong recruitment of YP due to lots of egg ribbons and adequate shoreline habitat may help keep enough prey size foods present to sustain several HSB in ½ ac. Maybe 10HSB?

4. For a general idea of what the HSB will be eating each year plan on each one eating at least 1.5 fish per day from Apr1 to Nov1 and some small fish if available each week during winter. All this equates to around each HSB eating 350-500 fish each year. Even if you feed the HSB pellets I still think they will eat at least 1.5 fish per day. 10 HSB = around 5000 small 1.5”-3” fish per year. Remember all the larger YP and BCP will also “like” to eat small 1”-2” fish so they can continue growing to the 9”-13” sizes. Using mostly all pellet eating stockers will allow more small fish to survive. Hopefully you can add enough cover so some adult FHM can continue producing some easy catch small minnows of FHM&GSH.

5.. Maintaining the right balance and right sizes of all predators including YP & BCP in the pond will be your pond management challenge. Not having the HBCP or BCP will make fish balance easier. I suggest that you remove 3-4 pellet eating perch which equate to every BCP that you add. When you are noticing no breeder FHM and few small shiners compared to years 1&2 reduce the number of fish eating fish.

6. Keep us advised of your pond progress by returning to this thread with updates.

PS --- expect during summer drought periods that the water level will drop and be at the bottom of the stone ledge. For your sake I hope not, but I find that 80% of the pond construction methods in Ohio leads to this. We will see just how good during drought years that your pond builder was.
[quote=Bill Cody]I don't think you need any deep water structure. The shallow structure that you have now is basically nothing. The pond is only 1/2 ac. Deep water structure is mainly for fish attractors and in your small pond where are the fish going to go that you can't find them???? If you are not catching them in this small pond then something is remiss.

IMO put your money and efforts toward shallow fish habitat structures using various sizes of tubing. Litter the entire area from the black spider down the to the small rock pile depth clear towards the elongated stone pile if you want small fish habitat. It would be even better to extend the habitat clear back to the measly 2 cement drain tile in 3ft of water.

tylerd says " Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possibility if the BCP have a prolific spawn."

There are a lot of fish balance issues for a fishery. Balance will be determined on your goals for the fishery. Just surviving is at the lower end and all species surviving at optimum growth is at the other end of the balance. The more species one adds to a fishery especially if they eat some sort of fish the more complex the balance becomes.

Here are some things to think about before stocking regular fertile crappie into your pond with adult YP, RES, HSB, GSH, FHM. Hybrid crappie have shown to not cause overpopulation problems in LMB ponds. Relatively little IMO is known about their (HBCP) performance of with SMB, HSB, WE, RES and or YP. Yes - RES will consume some tiny fish during their adult life. Your pond can be one more learning example.

1. If the pond behaves normally to my experience do not expect the RES to thrive and annually provide numerous youngsters. This IMO will result in the GSH and YP carrying practically all the forage fish burden. This is why I emphasized adding more numbers of the spider tube brush like structure. Make them abundant with dense tubes. For best protection of breeder forage adults you need a numerous amount weed bed like cover – like 20% or more of the 2’-4ft deep water.

2. Thoughts - Depending on how many foxes(HSB) that you have in the chicken (minnow) coop, the availability small sized forage fish may not be adequate to keep the HSB growing well. What are the fishery goals????. Can you sacrifice growth of adult HSB to have nice crappie? However,,,,, these generally small HSB’s could be a very good thing because smaller sized adult HSB (around 13"-16"max) could only eat around 1.7"-2.7" maybe 3.0" forage fish of YP and maximum length 4"-4.5" shiners. These max size HSB IMO would focus the predation pressure more onto small crappie and others. This plan would involve slot harvesting all HSB above 15”-16” and then replacing them with small stockers – aka ladder stocking as needed.

3. With heavy predation of all small fish, now what are the larger 5"-7" crappie going to eat when 1.5"-2" small fish are scarce??? BCP of any genetic strain do not take to pellets. If they did then one would not have to be concerned about density of small forage fish for growing crappie. IMO crappie larger than 6” are going to want easy to catch small fish 1”-2”. IMO you would be wiser to use a panfish predator that will readily eat pellets and small fish such as pellet raised YP or HBG.
3. Expect the HSB to heavily prey on 2"-4" YP and GSH because of the slender body shapes rather than the HSB eating wide body 3"+ BCP. Strong recruitment of YP due to lots of egg ribbons and adequate shoreline habitat may help keep enough prey size foods present to sustain several HSB n ½ ac.

4. For a general idea of what the HSB will be eating each year plan on each one eating at least 1.5 fish per day from Apr1 to Nov1 and some small fish if available each week during winter. All this equates to around each HSB eating 350-500 fish each year. Even if you feed the HSB pellets I still think they will eat at least 1.5 fish per day. 10 HSB = around 5000 small 1.5”-3” fish per year. Remember all the larger YP and BCP will also “like” to eat small 1”-2” fish so they can continue growing to the 9”-13” sizes. Using mostly all pellet eating stockers will allow more small fish to survive. Hopefully you can add enough cover so some adult FHM can continue producing some easy catch small minnows of FHM&GSH.

5.. Maintaining the right balance and right sizes of all predators including YP & BCP in the pond will be your pond management challenge. Not having the HBCP or BCP will make fish balance easier. I suggest that you remove 3-4 pellet eating perch which equate to every BCP that you add. When you are noticing no breeder FHM and few small shiners compared to years 1&2 reduce the number of fish eating fish.

6. Keep us advised of your pond progress by returning to this thread with updates.



Thanks again Bill, lots of valuable info here....I will focus on the Hybrid Crappie when the time is do, but I do have quite some time to be patient and observe my forage sustainability.

I hear you, and I would gladly sacrifice the growth rate of the HSB to cater to larger panfish such as the YP, RES, and Hybrid Crappie. The only reason I wanted to add them would be to be a larger predator in this equation as I was thinking it would be necessary.


I'll be posting shortly with additional structure placed in the pond. I have about 500' of 1/2" and 500' of 1/4" irrigation tubing to go into buckets to litter that bankside with. I also have some plastic skids and cedar limbs to use as well. I'm hoping to accomplish what has been suggested here and really get some denser cover in the area.
Your structure area when you are done should look like a damn weed bed. Dense if you want it to function as year round habitat even during winter when natural weed beds die back. When you use tree branches as structure plan on them lasting only 3-4 years then the only things that are left are the 1 plus inch diameters that serve as fluffy very coarse cover not dense cover.

See those larger rocks as your rock structure?? If it was my pond I would have 1/3 to 1/2 the pond shoreline lined with this size and larger rocks.

PS --- expect during summer drought periods that the water level will drop and be at the bottom of the stone ledge. For your sake I hope not, but I find that 80% of the pond construction methods in Ohio leads to this. We will see just how good during drought years that your pond builder was.
Speaking of Hybrid Crappie, I wonder if it would be worthwhile to stock them in forage pond & feed them until they are large enough to withstand most of my pond predators? Maybe I'd need to first get FM going in forage pond, along with feeding.

Just a crazy thought. Would be fun if we could have large crappie without them taking over the lake. I already have some decent 18 plus inch LMB and even bigger HSB.
I have a customer who's pond is 4 ac. SMB, HSB, HBG, YP, RES, initially FHM and GSH, now all that is left of the minnows is GSH. We stocked 100# of each when the pond was 1/2 full of water, the FHM lasted a year with the HBG and YP in there. Tremendous amount of cover in the pond.

HBC were stocked at year 4, Jury is still out on them, but some were pushing 13" at year 2. The owner feeds 1/2 pallet of Optimal a year.
anthropic,

What is the depth of your forage/grow-out pond at full pool?

I can't recall, but is there a chance that a big rain event would overflow your grow-out pool and wash crappie into your main pond?

Forum question, how deep would a hypothetical crappie grow-out pond need to be? (Based on summer needs, feeding needs, and keeping some fish over at least one winter. Whichever is the most water-depth intensive requirement.)
Update on Structure

As recommended in the thread I’ve got some more denser cover added. What does everyone think? I’m sure I need more but this does feel like a good start.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
anthropic - Actually this topic deserves its own thread. I think one could easily use a small FHM producer forage pond to grow out some HBCP to nice sizes either for restocking or table use harvesting. It would be a very good Pond Bosser fishery experiment. I think the pond would need to be drained and restocked every several years to eliminate any or all the F2 or F3 generation crappie and to see just how much hybrid crappie reproduction does occur. The details of this experiment would be very valuable and interesting information for the PB forum and for the story as publication in PBoss magazine. Before doing it I suggest that your talk to Bob Lusk because he might have suggestions to provide helpful hints for enhancing the project. IMO more documented, practical pond management science like this needs to be done by members of the forum. I hope you decide to "Get er Done"!
tyler - Very good start. Keep it growing. Now you are getting the idea for what minnow and small fish habitat is. I think you should also have another row or two rows of spiders between the buckets and the stone ledge. It needs one row anchored or planted right at the base of the stone ledge. See if you can regularly go to the local recycling center and hand pick containers that would serve as holders for your tubing. After visiting the plastic recycling bins it is amazing what can be created for free to hold and display your tubing. I find that 2.5 gallon jugs laid on their side with one side cut open and with a thin layer of cement in the base will nicely hold tubing spider legs. Structure experts say that if one can keep the base about 4"-6" off the bottom where fish can get under the base this makes better habitat especially when building log cribs. Consider creating some structure using some plastic snow fence. I will see if I can find a link for an example.
Thank you Bill!

I’ll keep working on adding structure. My other question is if this structure is suitable for perch to spawn? Or do I need to add more for that ?
That structure will be excellent for perch to drape their eggs. To make more spawning even more successful you could collect egg ribbons from tree branches placed temporally along the shoreline, remove the egg ribbons and place them on pipe of your artificial weed bed.
I hope you have seen the structure thread in the Common Pond Q& A Archives?? . See this one that shows a snow fence crib made by Brettski and posted by ewest It is just one of many ideas of snow fence habitat.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92463#Post92463
page 1 29/07/07 1:23pm.
To reduce the cost of buying buckets one can use a bucket or similar basin such as a plastic dish pan as a plastic mold and pour about 2"-3" of cement with your pipes sticking out or have trimmed 1/2" - 1" dia tree branches sticking out. 1/2" - 1" dia hardwood tree branches would not decompose until about 8-10 years later. In the meantime you could create or develop new forms of structure to replace the wooden branches that were free. Look through the Structure ideas in the link to Archives Structure for examples.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92463#Post92463
I went through what I have and I do have a plastic skid and some milk crates. I'm thinking I can make something similar to what shows up in the structure thread. I'm thinking that should make some excellent forage structure as fish of a certain size won't be able to get inside of it. I'm thinking I could place that near the rock ledge like suggested above. I also love the idea of some more rip rap. I just need to source the rock!
Intermixed broken concrete from construction sites will work just as effectively as various sizes of natural rocks. Contact some local concrete contractors for sources of waste concrete materials. Some might deliver it for free rather than pay to dispose of it. Lengthy sections of concrete pieces lining shoreline provide excellent habitat for spawning and refuge areas of FHM.

Edited by Esshup:
If adding the broken concrete, try to get pieces without rebar or mesh in them, that metal sticking out of the concrete is a fish line catching monster, and if anyone were to fall on that it's much more dangerous than falling on plain broken concrete.

Be aware that in fertile nutrient rich ponds filamentous algae can at times swamp all types of underwater structure. The FA masses flourish and die back based on season, water temperatures, and nutrient fluctuations. FA in itself serves as structure / habitat and allows production of lots of natural tiny foods such as invertebrates utilized by small fish.
Originally Posted by FishinRod
anthropic,

What is the depth of your forage/grow-out pond at full pool?

I can't recall, but is there a chance that a big rain event would overflow your grow-out pool and wash crappie into your main pond?

Forum question, how deep would a hypothetical crappie grow-out pond need to be? (Based on summer needs, feeding needs, and keeping some fish over at least one winter. Whichever is the most water-depth intensive requirement.)

Rod, my grow-out pond is roughly 1/8 acre, max depth 8 or 9 feet. Not ideal for netting out fish, but it does connect to my main BOW & I can simply open sluice gate & drain it to there. The unusual depth proved my salvation during the arctic blast last winter, as my CNBG survived. I'm sure that would not be the case with 3 foot depths!

The upside to draining is that it gets all the fish out, few if any left. Also very easy, and helps a bit when main pond is low. The downside is that it can take months & months to refill, as no natural stream runs into it & watershed is meagre.

One interesting point re water temp in cold of winter or heat of summer is that it is snugly ensconced in relatively deep dirt on all sides.
Originally Posted by Bill Cody
anthropic - Actually this topic deserves its own thread. I think one could easily use a small FHM producer forage pond to grow out some HBCP to nice sizes either for restocking or table use harvesting. It would be a very good Pond Bosser fishery experiment. I think the pond would need to be drained and restocked every several years to eliminate any or all the F2 or F3 generation crappie and to see just how much hybrid crappie reproduction does occur. The details of this experiment would be very valuable and interesting information for the PB forum and for the story as publication in PBoss magazine. Before doing it I suggest that your talk to Bob Lusk because he might have suggestions to provide helpful hints for enhancing the project. IMO more documented, practical pond management science like this needs to be done by members of the forum. I hope you decide to "Get er Done"!

Interesting idea, Bill. I'll take a look at it! Not normally a big crappie fan -- prefer firm fleshed BG to be honest -- but they add some diversity & fun for kids. Hybrids that won't take over pond rekindle my interest.
Posted By: Sunil Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/10/22 04:43 AM
Great addition to the structure.
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Tyler,

Your spider army is coming along very nicely!
Posted By: Augie Re: A new pond journal.. lets see where we go! - 01/10/22 02:27 PM
That spider army will eat every jig that tries to swim through it for the next 50 years.
As goes the habitat, so goes what lives in it. The fishery will become a consequence of what I call "Happy Water" and the best habitat. Your mission is to create habitat for the different sizes of the different species of fish you plan to manage. If you know what each species of fish need at their different life stages, you can mimic as much as that as possible. That's what everyone's advice above is basically telling you.

Even better news about your pond? If you get a few years down the road and you don't like where it's going, you can make major changes to fix it in one day. That's one of my favorite things about small ponds.
Bill:

Let me know what posts you want moved (You can use the post number in the upper right corner of the post) and I'll move them to their own thread.
Augie says
Quote
That spider army will eat every jig that tries to swim through it for the next 50 years.
'
I have always said that for relatively small ponds a 'large spider army' of buckets w/ plastic pipe or a big thick area of weeds in a pond that make it or the area unfishable becomes a very good refuge and respite relief for the fish from over zealous anglers who fish the pond way to frequently. Too much angling in ponds and small lakes creates hook smart fish and very often too much harvest in public waters sportsmen's clubs, etc. .
So I did put in a call with Steve at Shelby Fish Farms and at Brehms for Perch...

Brehms won't have any perch for this spring... a small chance they'll have some 2-3" ers

Shelby Fish Farms isn't stocking until April so I'll likely miss a spawn chance for perch. Also Steve said he isn't sure what he will get in, so we will have to see when we get to April.


That being said, I may need to adjust my plan:


Does anyone have any experience with fish from Freshwater Farms in Urbana, OH? They have some cheaper prices on HSB, and I haven't called them on RES or YP availability yet.

See below adjusted plan.. yell at me if you think it is stupid to add hybrid crappie before the HSB in the fall. I was just thinking adding them before predators would allow them to get above eating size, then stocking good size HSB in the fall would allow them to knock out the spawned fish the following spring easily. Lastly does anyone have good suggestions on IDing RES so that no mutt sunfish make it in the pond if I do go smaller than 4-6" do to availabilty?

Late Spring of 2022

50 Redear 4-6" (if available may have to go smaller)
20 YP 8-10" (if available may have to go smaller)
20 YP 4-6" (if avaible may have to go smaller)
40 YP 3-4"
50 Hybrid BCP (if I can get them from Hoosier)
5# FHM

Fall 2022
12 HSB 10-12" bumping up size to account for hybrid crappie spawn in spring of 2023
5# FHM
5# GSH
Double check with them to make sure that their current prices are for 2022...... I have not dealt with them.

I was at Steves on Monday evening delivering 30,000 LMB fingerlings.
Update : Pond is full!

It seems there isn't a large amount of variety in Perch sizes locally so I ended up stocking 75 5-6" YP and 5# of FHM yesterday. Updating my below list! Does anyone think 5-6" Perch would have the potential to spawn this season or are they too young?

Spring of 2022

50 Redear 4-6"
75 5-6" YP - DONE
50 Hybrid BCP
5# FHM - DONE

Fall 2022
12 HSB 10-12" bumping up size to account for hybrid crappie spawn in spring of 2023
5# FHM
5# GSH





[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Yay! Congrats on the full pond and the initial stocking!

There are lots of YP experts that live in your neck of the woods that might be able to answer your spawning question.

I would add one other question. There are lots of members that remove the YP egg strands from their ponds in the spring.

Would it be possible for Tyler to perform an "artificial" YP spawn this year by transporting some of the egg strands from a nearby Pond Bosser?

Is there a simple way to keep the eggs viable during a short drive and then successfully acclimate them into a new pond?

If so, would that be helpful to his pond goals, or would it just complicate his plans by adding a significant variable?
I assume that you got the 5"-6" YP from Fender. Shelby did not sell any fish yesterday. If some of the YP appeared plump or sort of fat then those were the females. Normally male YP will be mature at 1 year whereas only a small percentage of the female YP will develop eggs at 1yr. So you could easily have a limited spawn in April. The earlier developing 1yr old females will tend to spawn a little later than older perch. If your new pond is muddy as in prior pictures during the spawn period eggs may not hatch well and plankton as fry food will be very reduced. YP fry need to eat well to survive. Minnow traps in Aug-Sep will collect 2"-3" YP to verify the success of a 2022 YP spawn.

5 lbs of FHM in a new 1/2 ac is more than enough to produce plenty of small FHM assuming the pond water begins to clear during the long spawn season of FHM. Normally you will begin to see FHM fry in early June. If you see lots tens of thousands of FHM in Sept I doubt you will need to add more FHM in fall 2022. Depending on the size of the spring 2023 numbers of FHM you might want to add 1-3 lbs of breeder FHM.
Thanks Bill!

Hoping the water clears up soon, before the monsoon rains it was pretty clear, sod will help I'm sure this spring/summer. I ended up finding the YP at Freshwater Farms in Urbana, seemed like good folks and they are pellet trained. I did see a good portion of plump YP when adding them to the pond, maybe a third of them. I'll put some more cedar limbs out on the different bank sides and see if I get any spawn!

Thanks for heads up on the FHM as well!
Quote
Lastly does anyone have good suggestions on IDing RES so that no mutt sunfish make it in the pond if I do go smaller than 4-6" do to availabilty?
Sorting RES from mutt sunfish at 2"-3" is very very risky for novice pond owners. My money bet is then on the side of getting the mutt sunfish. I even do not stock the 2"-3" size of RES if purity is important. . If you get the RES from Fender then IMO even the 4"-6" RES could contain mutt sunfish. They used to grow most of their own RES in wild ponds where hybrids are common. Sorting and 100% no mistakes is extremely difficult when seining and sorting thousands of fish. It is easy to drop a wiggling flopping fish into the wrong tank. Most fish farm help are not nearly as demanding as a very particular pond owner who wants all pure specie fish, mainly because the fish farm help do not need to deal the the consequences of mistakenly adding a wrong fish. Their thinking is "So what there are a couple mutt fish in the mix"..

If you get Fender's 4"-6" or larger RES in Apr or May you will get a good RES spawn this year. Fender does often have 5"-7" RES and even larger ones. An option would be instead of 50-100 2"-3" RES, spend the same $$ for several larger RES 5"-7" that will spawn for you this spring. With no predators lots of RES fry will survive. This will be a much safer chance of getting pure RES. Non-pure sunfish can really disrupt a small pond fishery long term in several ways. Once in and spawning you don't get them all out.

Background. Most all fish farms buy all their RES from out of state farms usually AR. So most all RES are sold shortly after arrival as 2"-3". Fender farms around 200+ac of water and is big enough to grow most of their own RES so - 1. Fender usually will have large sizes of RES some up to 8"-10". 2. These Fender RES are acclimated to OH climate and survive cold water winters well. So several breeder sized RES (5"-7") will result in the same or a better RES population for your new pond compared to 50-100 small 2"-3" risky sized RES..

I looked at Fenders prices. 50 2"-4"RES = $50. $60 will buy 30 4"-6" or 15 6"-8" RES. If it were my brand new pond I would buy the 15 6"-8". or a $60 mix of 4"-6" and 6"-8". If you want larger RES you should preorder them from Fender and they will call when they have them available.
Freshwater Farms is an okay place. I know Dave Smith the owner. If the YP from them were held outside this fall winter then the plump fish will spawn. But if Smith held them inside as did Shelby FF this winter then the YP will not spawn because YP need to go through a lengthy cold period to develop gametes. The plump YP could have been from added fat as pellet eaters rather than having eggs. Evidence of egg ribbons on the tree branches the end of March and first 2 weeks of April will verify egg ribbons.
As always thanks for your help Bill. I’ll see what Fender can get me for big RES. Do you have an opinion on the hybrid specklebelly brim? I tried doing some research but didn’t see much info?
This is what one of our member moderators (Theo Gallus) says about SBS.
"If you are referring to Jonesfish, "Specklebelly" (SBS) is what I believe they are calling their BGxRES hybrid (based on their webpage and the conversation I had with the young man from Jones who treats one of my ponds).

I love my BGxRES (developed naturally from male BG and slutty RES females as opposed to purchased). They do indeed take very well to pelleted fish food. My current record is 13.25" long and a little over 2 1/2 pounds.

They have one negative that may be of importance to your pond - they will breed in higher numbers than RES (although not as high as straight BG). I suspect you will have insufficient predation to keep their numbers in check with just 12 HSB. I have breeding populations of YP and SMB in my 1/2 acre pond with RES and BGxRES, and remove 400-500 BGxRES annually to (try and) keep their numbers to what I consider optimum. (I feed fairly heavily, and about 1/3 of these are eating sized.)

As with all hybrids, subsequent generations are not a pure BGxRES, but random mixes of these two sets of genes. This has caused variation in appearances but no noticeable negatives or problems in my pond (my first BGxRES appeared in 2008, so I have had several generations of grandchildren and backcrosses with RES).

We do not swim in this pond, so I cannot comment on whether BGxRES will "nip" at swimmers as BG, but not RES, are sometimes complained about doing. FWIW my family has never had a problem with BG "nipping" at us while swimming in our other pond. (Perhaps we taste bad.)"

IMO I would wait until you have your other fishes established and doing well before adding SBS. If they have offspring that becomes mature the genetics could over several generations revert towards the more prolific specie which would be some sort of F generation of BG. If you decide to use Hybrid crappie HBCP, I would not stock SBS because both would be producing wide bodied offspring that could become too prolific that would require LMB as population control which may be okay for your goals. LMB would eventually eliminate or make the YP a very rare fish.
Any recommendations for shallow water artificial structure that helps maintain forage species such as GSH, BNM, SFS, etc?

I know I've seen Bill Cody recommend grass like structure for significant portions of the pond. Any recommendations for dense artificial structure that would get the job done in 1-2' of water? I have a nice area behind the spider like structure to lay 15-20' of dense structure. I just don't want an eyesore sticking out of the water.

Thanks!
Unless your pond is unique, the water level of your new pond will fluctuate 1ft-2ft during wet and dry years. IMO it will be hard to put something in 18" of water and not have it stick out of the water during a dry summer.
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Any recommendations for shallow water artificial structure that helps maintain forage species such as GSH, BNM, SFS, etc?

I just don't want an eyesore sticking out of the water.

I have seen numerous posters tie structure, spawning habitat, etc. to the shore. If the water goes down, you can haul it out and throw it behind the shed.

Alternatively, your could pick it up and throw it back into the pond to a spot that is currently 18" deep during a low water period. Then when the water goes back up to normal pool, you can just drag it back up the slope.
Good point Bill!

Any recommendations for that dense structure other than Christmas trees ?
Tyler, I saw a PB ad for Texas Hunter artificial grass structure that might fit your needs. One is 2 feet long, the other 4 feet. You may wish to give them a call.
Originally Posted by anthropic
Tyler, I saw a PB ad for Texas Hunter artificial grass structure that might fit your needs. One is 2 feet long, the other 4 feet. You may wish to give them a call.
Yes I was thinking that looked perfect, I'll have to see if they have it distributed yet.
Got the drag out yesterday and got the ground leveled out and some grass seed down before todays rain. Haven't seen any of my 5lbs of FHM or 75 YP as of yet, I've been tossing small amounts of feed out every few days to see if any will come up, but no takers yet. Hopefully that changes soon! Next steps will be getting some large RES for the pond and to continue to work on structure. When my home build is finished in July I'll be able to run some power out to the pond and get aeration started. The pond is getting a ton of wind action on it which I assume really helps in mixing the water as of now.

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Good job on getting the grass seed down on your bare ground!

Do you have running water at the house yet? The reason I ask, is that it is important to get your grass thick and healthy before you get a frog strangler rainstorm so that you don't wash a bunch of sediment into your new pond.

Work hard on that grass this entire year, especially in the main flow path that supplies your pond - and your pond will thank you later!
We have running water next door which is my parents house. The plan would be to water as needed! Unfortunately we have had a lot of rain before I was able to get any seed down this spring. I'm hoping to mitigate as much as I can. I likely will reseed in the fall as well. Any other pointers for the grass?
I am certainly not a grass expert!

However, I would definitely try to apply the recommended amount of fertilizer (for the correct stage of growth) now to get that grass established. A little fertilizer will probably wash into the pond, but right now the pond probably has low fertility, so it is the best time to have some fertilizer reach the pond.
Originally Posted by FishinRod
I am certainly not a grass expert!

However, I would definitely try to apply the recommended amount of fertilizer (for the correct stage of growth) now to get that grass established. A little fertilizer will probably wash into the pond, but right now the pond probably has low fertility, so it is the best time to have some fertilizer reach the pond.


Yep! If you wanted to save some $$, get a soil test done specifically for turfgrass. That will tell you exactly what fertilizer and lime is needed so you don't over fertilize. A $10-$12 soil test is a lot cheaper than buying too much fertilizer.

I'd also get some jute erosion matting and lay that down over the newly seeded area. That will stop any future rains from washing topsoil away and will help keep the seed and fertilizer in place. Don't use the plastic erosion mats with straw in them, the straw will degrade and leave the plastic netting behind. That netting, if below full pool in the pond, can act as a gill net for smaller fish.
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
I am certainly not a grass expert!

However, I would definitely try to apply the recommended amount of fertilizer (for the correct stage of growth) now to get that grass established. A little fertilizer will probably wash into the pond, but right now the pond probably has low fertility, so it is the best time to have some fertilizer reach the pond.


Yep! If you wanted to save some $$, get a soil test done specifically for turfgrass. That will tell you exactly what fertilizer and lime is needed so you don't over fertilize. A $10-$12 soil test is a lot cheaper than buying too much fertilizer.

Especially important now that events in Russia & Ukraine have sent fertilizer prices skyward!
Thank you for the grass suggestions!

At this time I'm heavily considering what forms of habitat I'll be creating for the minnows and forage in the pond while at the same time trying to balance the physical appearance. My wife isn't very found of seeing the black plastic piping and buckets, so I'm hesistant to add more artificial structure and cedar/brush in shallow water that will be seen in water fluctuations.

That has led me to the rabbit hole of pond plants! I see there is tremendous amounts of converstaion about hybrid water lilies, and a few other non invasive species. I'm attaching the area that I believe would serve as a good place for plants as it is relatively shallow and comes close to my spider armies. The green area I was thinking would be a great area for plants, and then the black area for some rip rap or whatever rock I can find over time.

For plants I was considering dwarf hybrid water lilies planted in containers and managed for spread, and potentially another plant. From my research here I have seen flag iris, pickerel weed, and arrowhead reccomended. Does anyone have a reccomendation out of those that would work well in 1-3' submergent? With this being a small pond I do not mind some maintenance for spread, but I've heard a lot of tales of rapid spread and nightmare. So I'm open to suggestion! Is this a crazy idea? I think it would look quite attractive vs large groups of brush and artifical structure.

Thanks as usual!

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Also considering corkscrew/spiral eelgrass and dwarf Saggitaria. They may be a btter opiton than pickerel weed/arrowhead since they would be submerged and give denser cover.
Been hand feeding pellets every few evenings and the FHM have been eating them up. No signs of the YP eating pellets yet. Is it likely they are full on FHM and not keen on the pellets ?
Just stocked 75 RES and 75 Hybrid Crappie. Thanks to Scott at Hoosier helping me get the hybrids and helping sort through the RES to make sure they weren't BG.

That puts me at

75 YP 5-6"
75 2-4" RES
75 2-4" Hybrid Crappie
5# FHM

The perch are starting to feed aggressively on pellets, and it looks as the FHM are gearing up to spawn. Next steps are to keep analyzing the minnow population and feeding, as well as adding structure where possible. Looking to do a few HSB in fall or next spring.
Sounds like the makings of a very interesting fishery!

Thanks for the updates, and good luck growing your little fishes to big fishes.
When I had those Hybrid Crappie in a holding tank last year, about 75% converted over to feeding on Optimal Bluegill Jr when I'd feed about 20 min past sunset.
Thanks for info, Eric.

What is the advantage of hybrid crappie? Lower reproduction, greater aggression, better health?

I have a good population of large HSB at my place, kinda wondering if the hybrid crappie might be a candidate for inclusion.
Lower reproduction rate, hybrid vigor in regards to growth.
Originally Posted by esshup
Lower reproduction rate, hybrid vigor in regards to growth.

Thanks esshup.

Do the subsequent generations after the F1 hybrids experience slower growth and vigor in crappie?

If so, should a pond owner subsequently cull all small crappie in hand that are certainly not of the original hybrid stocking?

Further, should the pond owner plan on some type of ladder stocking scenario if they intend to create a hybrid crappie fishery?
Good questions, Rod. That strategy makes sense, but I don't know if it would actually work. Guess it would depend on how big a spawn they have.
If them boys are like my BCP they don’t spawn at all.
Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
If them boys are like my BCP they don’t spawn at all.

I have read numerous articles that BCP are better for small ponds than WCP, presumably for the lower reproduction rate.

Pat, are you getting zero spawning in your 5-acre pond?

If so, any special conditions to that pond?
I have a 6acre pond with at least an acre of flooded timber an brush. From what I can tell there have been one successful spawn since 2014 and you could catch them anywhere you fished. Now hardly any at all. Have had them taken off my line by large lmb more than once. There is many bg that surround BCP trying to spawn. The bg also have been doing it to LMB also. They are definitely not overbreeding here or in many ponds in my area
Thanks for that reply.

It sounds like you have an awesome fishery.

It is also interesting that you believe it is the BG population in your pond that is slurping up the BCP fry rather than the small bass. And then any crappie that make it to medium size are targeted by your large LMB.

Do you catch any large BCP in your pond these days?

Every now and then, there are new posts on Pond Boss from people that want to make a crappie fishery in a small pond. Most of the replies indicate their plan is unlikely to work in their pond.

Do you think crappie stocking in a BG heavy pond could create a good crappie fishery? I am envisioning something like stocking 3-4" crappie (that are beyond the mouth gape of the BG) every few years.

The complication would be what large predator is in the pond to control the BG numbers, and how that predator would interact with the crappie. (Maybe CC would target the BG niche in the pond more than the crappie niche?)
Rod
I have CC and BC also. Biggest caught is about 8#. I don’t think the BCP make it long enough to be yoy due to bg harassment to the egg laying process of the crappie. Haven’t seen any groups of lmb fry either also due to bg interaction, have actually seen this happening all over the pond both with LMB and BCP . Have removed some LMB up to 10 # and put them in neighbors pond ( with his blessings). Since BCP yoy migrate to open water if they make it that far then LMB 10-12” would work them over. When feeder goes off there are thousands of bg there. 18 seconds of feed is gone when feed stops Hitting the water
Pat,

Thanks for adding all of that extra information!

As I said above, sounds like you have an awesome fishery. I think most of the LMB people on the forum would love to have to cull 10# LMB to their neighbors' ponds!

Originally Posted by Pat Williamson
When feeder goes off there are thousands of bg there. 18 seconds of feed is gone when feed stops Hitting the water

That is a great quote for people to gauge the BG population of your pond.

I hope y'all have some great fishing there as you finish out May and early June!
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
Lower reproduction rate, hybrid vigor in regards to growth.

Thanks esshup.

Do the subsequent generations after the F1 hybrids experience slower growth and vigor in crappie?

If so, should a pond owner subsequently cull all small crappie in hand that are certainly not of the original hybrid stocking?

Further, should the pond owner plan on some type of ladder stocking scenario if they intend to create a hybrid crappie fishery?


Although it’ll take some time, I’ll keep reporting back on these Hybrid Crappie and see the results. I think the challenge will be keeping them fed consistently unless they luckily convert to feed. At some point I’ll add some GSH to the mix and hopefully some different minnow breeds that sustain better like BNM.
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
Lower reproduction rate, hybrid vigor in regards to growth.

Thanks esshup.

Do the subsequent generations after the F1 hybrids experience slower growth and vigor in crappie?

If so, should a pond owner subsequently cull all small crappie in hand that are certainly not of the original hybrid stocking?

Further, should the pond owner plan on some type of ladder stocking scenario if they intend to create a hybrid crappie fishery?


Good questions. I don't have enough experience over time with them to answer those questions. I would cull small crappie no matter what the genetics though.

This is only the 5th year that we're stocking them, I will have to go back and talk to the customers that stocked them 4-5 years ago to see what they are seeing in their ponds. I know that if there is sufficient forage in the pond, they grow FAST. 4" fish can be 12" in a year. These have the black stripe on their nose, so you can tell which ones that they are. I'll ask to see if the offspring have the black stripe too.
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
Lower reproduction rate, hybrid vigor in regards to growth.

Thanks esshup.

Do the subsequent generations after the F1 hybrids experience slower growth and vigor in crappie?

If so, should a pond owner subsequently cull all small crappie in hand that are certainly not of the original hybrid stocking?

Further, should the pond owner plan on some type of ladder stocking scenario if they intend to create a hybrid crappie fishery?


Although it’ll take some time, I’ll keep reporting back on these Hybrid Crappie and see the results. I think the challenge will be keeping them fed consistently unless they luckily convert to feed. At some point I’ll add some GSH to the mix and hopefully some different minnow breeds that sustain better like BNM.

Tyler, last year when I held some in the holding tanks about 60%-70% converted to feeding on floating pellets, Optimal BG Junior was what I was feeding.
After finally tasting crappie last weekend, the thought of these hybrid crappie in the pond kinda makes me drool, but I think I'll have my hands full enough with trying to make HBG/RES/YP/SMB work in my little pond.
Picture updates

The stocked fish are doing great. Perch and hitting feed well, but only in the late evenings. It appears some of the hybrid crappie are raising and hitting the pellets too. I’ve got loads of FHM fry around the banks and the RES have been hunting them down sitting right on the bank swooping in and taking bites. Very fun to watch!

I’ve added a 6’ tall cedar tree to one corner, and also added a series of milk crates zip tied together with my spider army to help protect some of the forage.

I also planted lots of plants yesterday. After digging back in time on the forums I found a ton of advise. I planted several dwarf hybrid water lilies in buckets, some blue pickerel weed in pots, some blue flag iris in pots, as well as some spiral eelgrass (vallisneria) and dwarf Sagittaria as well. I did plant both in trays and some of the spiral eel grass in the pond bottom. I’m really hoping these take off as I imagine they will make great cover for the forage.

Hoping to keep working on my structure and density to help promote the sustainability of forage. Ultimately my goal is to sein some BNM in a local creek and get them established before I introduce any HSB. At this point I think I’ll be best served to have a handful of HSB in the 12-18” range and will remove them once they are too large to help balance this system. Bill Cody had made that suggestion earlier in this thread. They hopefully will keep the Hybrid Crappie spawn in check, and I’ll help manage perch by harvesting myself as well.

It’s been great watching all the life come too in this small pond!

https://ibb.co/jww0wXS
https://ibb.co/8xTPrT4
https://ibb.co/HD35M3j
Great plan, great pics!

I hope it keeps coming together well.
Hello folks! Fish are eating and growing...

My corkscrew vallisneria is growing really well too! It has doubled in a few short months.

https://imgur.com/bAZSzwq
My experience with corkscrew is it grows very well in summer. It's growth problem is surviving northern winter ice conditions. I hope your corkscrew survives for you to sprout and grow next spring. Keep us advised.
Decided to catch one of my perch to see how they were doing. Seems healthy and eating!

https://ibb.co/XLbTzn6

Unfortunately I do have a leak in my pond. I’ve been speaking with TJ and taking measurements all summer. I think the likely issue is with improper compaction on the overflow stovepipe. My contractor is coming back out to take a look. Hopefully we can get it sealed properly. My water level is at the bottom of the 90 on the stovepipe he installed, so I think that is where water is leaving.
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