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Joined: Mar 2005
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Hi my brother and his kids have been enjoying my small (1/3rd acre)pond.He is concedering building one himself,but like most of us money is a issue.We would like to know what is the smallest practical size for a trout pond.We have access to feed trained fingerlings near by that range in size from 3-11 inches.Our plan is to stock larger fish and feed and catch though the summer.Holding them over the winter is not a issue because the restocking price around here is decent so his plan is to reload each spring. We are located in southern manitoba canada,he was hoping to get away with a pond roughly 8 feet deep,and as big as he can get it until the bank manager (his wife) says enough.Any thoughts or advice would be great.Thanks in advance.

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Snowdog,

Bigger is not better with trout ponds unless it stays cold all summer up there. The smaller it is the easier it is to keep it cool in summer. However you want steep sides if possible to keep warming down and if you do choose to grow out the trout through the summmer you need to add cold aerated well water if you don't have artesian well flow.

Usually it's not winter that's the problem in temperate climates -- it summer and trying to keep summer temps below 20 C. and ample oxygen.

If thick ice is a problem in winter then keep a small area open with a diffuser and a small compressor.

I grew these beauties in a 1/10th acre pond 88 by 59 feet. Steep sided and 9 feet deep. That's small enough to keep cool with well water and large enough to have fun playing a fish.

I look like like a hard drinkin' Cunuk with a hangover in the brook trout photo eh? \:D Actually I just got up and it was cooooooold out there! I also have allergies and my eyes look that way when I first get up. And I'm a slob! :p






If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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If you start out with a good base of fathead minnows, and feed a good high protein feed, then i dont think you will have a problem with trout in a small pond. Just try to make it as big as you can.
I personally own a 1/2 acre rainbow trout pond with about 200 trout. I have had great success, and my trout thrive. However, i have alot of fathead minnows, and a small amount of crayfish. I feed also, and my fish seem nice and healthy.

If you have any questions or you just feel like updating us on your progress please post, im sure cecil, ,me, or someone wil be able to help you.

Cecil,
Nice pics!!

- Jighead

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Thanks for the quick reply guys.I must admit i don't know much about fish ponds since i have only been at this one year my self.I stocked 100 8-9 inch rainbows last year.I feed some but not near what my fish guy said.The pond is in a low laying swamp and is just teaming with bugs.Between this and our stocking with local minnows the trout seem to be doing fine.My pond is around 14 feet and is covered with about 2 feet of ice at the moment,but i might add this has been the warmest winter on record for these parts.The ice fishings been good so i guess my fish made the winter.The summer's around here can get very hot but the nights are generaly cool,and even the really hot streaks don't last long.Good swimming starts around july first and can be done by mid sept.I guess we will wait for the snow to melt and,the ground to dry and get at it.Thanks again and i'll try to keep you posted on both my pond and the headway we are making on my brothers. One more thing before i go,Jighead you said about fathead minnows to stock before the trout and yet the local resource officer says not to because they will compete with the trout for bugs ect.I placed some in mine and they seemed to do alright,bearing in mind that this is my first kick at the cat here.Any other thoughts on this.

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Wood also has some good experience with growing trout in your region of Canada.

I think for your situation in Manitobia the pond size will be determined mostly due to if you have well water or spring water flow to continually feed the pond. With out fresh cool water inflow the deeper the pond will have to be, to maintain enough cool water to keep trout alive during the hottest part of the warmest summers. Most summers in your area will not be too hot for trout to survive at depths of 7-8ft deep. Occassionally but rarely you could get a hot summer and it could cause survival problems without additions of well water or spring water.

If you have a constant small flow of spring water then you can raise some trout in a pond as small as 6-8 feet in diameter and about 4ft deep (cement ponds). I saw guys do this in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

If you can keep snow off your pond with 20"-30" of ice you can raise trout in small ponds that are abt 8 ft deep without aeration throughout the winter in your area. Wood testifies to that. Read his old posts for additonal advice.


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Minnows are not all that important as forage items in a trout only pond if you feed the trout on a regular basis.

If you do NOT feed trout pellet food, I think you can grow more and larger trout per acre if you have minnows as forage compared to trout by themselves that are just thriving on invertebrates. Does any one have more information on this topic?


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Here are a couple of interesting & informative posts from Wood about trout ponds and fish survival under ice cover:
I too have rainbows and am looking at aeration. This is a new pond dug last fall, no vegetation yet and have just stocked 150 trout 5-7". Pond is 150ft x 50ft x about 12ft deep.
Bill Cody, yourself and others have helped me get started already but I am intrigued by your opinions on aeration specific to Trout. First, Bill had suggested that I MAY not even require aeration for the first couple of years due to low amounts of sludge and nutrient, (I am not feeding) and has explained the benefits of a diffusor style system.
I do intend on over-wintering at least some fish. Alberta winters are very extreme, with ice on by Oct/Nov and not off until mid to end of May. Ice thickness last winter on local lakes was 30" minimum. I realize the benefits of removing snow, but am undecided on aeration and after reading your posts I am more unsure.

I will shut down the compressor at first ice, early October and will re-start when completely off, April or May usually. Remove snow from two-thirds of surface once it is safe to walk on and keep it free of snow. I had no fish kill doing this last winter with ice thickness of 36". I did not change my compressor run times at spring startup, 6pm to 8am and my pond did not stratify this year. For me at least, snow removal is more important than winter aeration.

In a later post with more winter experience Wood stated:
Last winter I had 196 days of ice on my pond. Maximum ice thickness was over 30". I did not aerate and had no winterkill at all. This is a newer pond and fairly low density. I did remove most snow cover quickly and routinely.
The one thing I found that did suprise me was the amount of light penetration through very thick ice. Dropping the underwater camera down even with only 6" of snow cover showed almost complete darkness, yet where I kept the snow off was very well illuminated all the way to bottom even with near 3 foot ice thickness. For my purposes, snow removal is key to over wintering trout and not aeration.

Wood


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