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#17734 06/11/02 09:07 AM
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I recently purchased a 12-acre lake in North central Texas. The lake was impounded in the early 1990's. The previous owner stocked the lake correctly; however, it appears the lake has been mismanaged....bass last year were 1/2 lb under weight.

I am now harvesting all bass under 16" and am trying to rebuild the depleted bluegill population.

Above the lake there is a 1/2 acre sediment pond (which feeds into the lake). The sediment pond is approximately 9 feet deep when full. I plan on converting this sediment pond into a brood tank for forage species.

Here are my thoughts, please let me know if you think this would work:

-Convert the 1/2 acre tank into a Brood Pond for forage.

-The brood pond has some natural drainage feeding into it (to aid the well in filling). An earthen spillway should be in place as an “emergency spillway” [when rain is too heavy for trickle tube (surface spillway pipe) to handle].

-Electric well (5 HP, 40 Gallons per minute-GPM) feeds the brood pond

-A Corrugated pipe (trickle tube approximately 20” in diameter-might need to be larger depending on volume. The tank/dam contractor could determine) is located on the surface of the brood pond (opening is at pool level). Well water feeds the brood pond. 40 gpm goes into the pond and theoretically 40 gpm exists the pond via the surface pipe spillway. The brood pond water exits the surface pipe, travels through the dam pipe and feeds into the lake at 40 gpm. The brood pond is getting plenty of aeration and cooler water (from the well). In addition, as the well water circulates through the brood pond, it becomes semi-fertilized before entering the lake.

-Ahead of the surface spillway pipe is a valve. This valve opens and shuts the drain going through the brood tank dam. This valve is located ahead of the spillway pipe leading through the dam, so the water will continue to exit the brood pond and feed the lake at 40 gpm while the drain is closed.

Ideas for Brood Pond:

-Stock 25 Tilapia in April

-Tilapia have several advantages….they spawn every 6-8 weeks (depending on species). The water from the well feeding the brood pond should be the correct temperature for continual spawning activity.

-The 25 brood Tilapia are stocked in April. They breed continuously from April through late August. The tank can be drained (or partially drained) earlier; however, the Tilapia released early might hurt the fishing (Bass would be harder to catch)! In late August, the 25 brood fish (and all subsequent offspring) have populated the brood pond into the thousands (ideally). The valve is opened and the entire brood tank is emptied into to main bass lake. The bass/catfish/bluegill feed on the Tilapia from August through December (until winter die off). The bass gain their Fall weight (which will aid in winter survival and spring spawning) and the newly released Tilapia will take the pressure off the bluegill population for a few months.

-Tilapia are an “Ecologically Safe” baitfish. They die once water temperatures drop below 55 degrees. There is no fear of them overpopulating a North Central Texas lake. Their numbers can be controlled (every Spring, you know you are starting with zero Tilapia in the main lake).

- Tilapia are low trophic level feeders. They feed on vegetation, phytoplankton, algae and manufactured fish foods. Since the population density would be high in the brood tank, they would probably need a supplemental fish food fed twice daily.

-This type of brood system appears to be very cost efficient…start with 25, end up with thousands. This initial construction of the dam/valve (trickle tube) is expensive, but the water well would be running anyway….. use it to aerate the brood pond. The same water going into the brood pond would have been going straight into the lake. It seems like a better use of the well source.

Disadvantage:

-Cost to run well from April through September
-Feed bill (fish pellets) for maintaining brood pond
-Several of the Tilapia in the brood tank will be 2 lb chunks at the time of release. Too large for most bass to consume (why a huge fish fry should occur on the day of release)



I don't know if the above ideas would work; however, it looks pretty good on paper (I hope you can understand my description).

Please let me know if anyone has thoughts/concerns over my brood tank ideas.

Thanks,
Gauge

#17735 06/12/02 10:23 AM
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Well thought out, well written post.

Im not the expert, so you need Lusk to let you know the problems with your scenario.

Couple of thoughts. First, with well water entering your pond, which is around 65 degrees year round in Dallas, would your talapia stay alive in the winter? If so, you would have the option of not emptying your brood pond (not having to buy new talapia every spring) and having a continual supply of talapia.

Secondly, couldn't you seine about half of the brood pond every month or so, eat the big ones, and toss the small ones into the large pond for fish food? There is your continual supply of feeder fish, both for you and the bass.

Lastly, how do talapia behave with flowing water, would they all swim through your drain system and into the big pond? If so, a screen to stop this is in order. Suggest mesh big enough to allow a continual supply of small ones to get through into the big pond.

I am also from Dallas, if you put this into operation, I would like to see it. Email me at fisherfesser@yahoo.com if you are interested in showing it off.


Nick Smith
#17736 06/12/02 12:49 PM
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Nick-

Thanks for your insight. The construction/well digging should be under way soon.

I am still debating on species for the brood tank... Tilapia, Fathead Minnows, threadfin shad....they all have thier pros and cons.

If you had a brood pond for forage species (in which you were able to drain (or semi-drain) the brood tank into your main bass/bluegill lake), what species would you recommend and why?

Thanks,

Gauge

Fishman- Thanks for your insight on the above. I would like to see how others respond to the same question.

#17737 06/13/02 11:51 AM
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One other thing that I was reminded of, if you are adding water from the well to the pond, add it so that it falls through the air before entering the pond water, so as to add some oxygen to it and to your pond.

As far as my choice, I know that bass prefer the more narrow body shape of minnows, shad, etc to the flatter brim, also minnows and shad do not have the spines that hamper bass eating them.

As far as my choice, Good question. The best ponds for large bass (if you want bass) contain more than one type of forage.


Nick Smith
#17738 06/17/02 12:10 PM
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Gauge,

Sounds like you're a man with lots of resources. Think about this option to suppliment forage for your trophy bass lake – build yourself a crawfish pond. I have a friend who built one in Columbus MS. It's a acre, on flat land and only 3 ft deep. A guy with a backhoe built it and it was not too expensive. My buddy is doing this as a hobby/business write off for his property.

I intend, with my father, to do this on the old home place for an annual crawfish boil and provide additional forage for our planned bass pond. The following link is a good publication for crawfish. This may be cheaper than creating a brood pond with all the features. It may not create enough additional forage for you however.

http://aqua.ucdavis.edu/dbweb/outreach/aqua/CRAWPM.PDF

#17739 07/23/02 10:30 AM
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Gauge,
I'm new to this site and don't even know if the water temp out of your well would be cool enough but have you considered using rainbow trout as you brood feeder fish? I don't know if they would spawn very well but as most big bass fishermen know, one of the reasons those huge bass in the cool Claifornia reserviors are so big is because they fatten up on the 4-8' trout that are stocked each year. The trout are said to be much higher in protein than any of the feeder fish we find in most lakes and ponds. I've been thinking about away to stock trout in a pond up here in Tennessee for years and your idea of an electric well may be the answer. It would give them the constant moving cool water they need. Does anybody else know any more about stocking trout?

#17740 07/24/02 05:17 AM
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Zetts has a book about crawfish farming for $4.50.

ZETTS FISH FARM & HATCHERIES, ROUTE 53, PO BOX 239, DRIFTING, PA 16834)-( PHONE:(814 345-5357

John


#17741 07/24/02 09:06 PM
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That sounds great!! One question, what is the water temp of a well? One guy said 65 "in texas". I once heard it was 55 "in Michigan". Can this be true?

#17742 07/25/02 08:11 AM
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Hi jawbone, according to the geo-thermal guys the temp of ground water remains nearly constant year round and is approximately that of the soil below the relatively thin topsoil region. The temp of the soil is approximately equal to the areas average annual air temp so this would explain why Texas is 65 and 55 in Michigan and here in North Alabama I run about 59 degrees year round. Hope that helps to answer your question. Bob

#17743 07/25/02 02:44 PM
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Great!! Thanks Bob

#17744 07/26/02 12:22 PM
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Just wanted to let you know that Bob Lusk said once that he has seen talapia flop around in the mud rather than flush through a pipe. Maybe the seine all year long idea would keep you from losing your whole crop if they do that.

#17745 12/27/02 10:21 AM
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Everything is going well. Was able to release Tilapia from the brood pond into the lake all Summer and Fall. Bass weights should be up 1/2 lb next Spring?!?!?! Time will tell. The water temp in the brood pond seems constant. Not cold enough to kill my "brood" Tilapia yet this winter.

BrianH, you are correct, seining is the only way to transfer.

Thanks for everyone's insight.

#17746 12/27/02 12:11 PM
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What is your water temp? I am thinking of doing the same thing. My pond temp is currently 56.


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