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Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26477 01/21/03 04:56 PM
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I have a problem, I think? My 5 acre lake has visability exceeding 10 feet! It's totally spring fed, 45 yrs. old, has lots of coontail, and is 25 ft. deep at deepest point. It was a pay lake for many years, so I know there are fish in it. I would really like to knock the clearity down ALOT! I have not had the water tested yet for ph, would this be the first step? Need advice please! My goal is TROPHY BASS, with a b-gill forage base. I've read "Raising Trophy Bass" and with my situation it was a bit unclear to me exactly what to do.

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26478 01/23/03 09:32 AM
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Brad, is your lake a strip mine? What kind of watershed do you have? I'm guessing that in your area it is a mine with little runoff to have that clarity. The large amount of plants may also act as a filter. Have you ever had an oxygen temp. profile done. The western lakes with trout and tropy bass have always made me curious as to if this would work in the midwest. I have some pond clients in the Mt. Vernon area, and will be visiting in Feb. I would love to send you some literature. Hopefully someone can give you some fertilizer advice if it is an option.
Thanks,
Robert B fishmgr@hotmail.com

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26479 01/23/03 10:36 AM
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I have a collateral question. I also have very clear water-my pond has very active springs and high turnover rate. I believe my clear water probally is the major contributor to my filamentous algae problem (see posting at "controlling algae" for a more detailed description of my pond). My question is what is the downside of having a clear pond? I enjoy being able to watch the fish and plant life because of the clarity. My bass and bluegills have grown significantly since their introduction 1 1/2 years ago. Will the clarity and lack of fertilization effect the numbers of fish the pond can maintain? the size? If it remains clear are there any other long term negative effects on the fish or ecosystem? I really am not necessarily interested in raising monster fish but would like to have a healthy ecosystem.


THOMAS R. NESHEK
Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26480 01/23/03 01:37 PM
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Tom, the clear water means that your productivity isn't as high as a pond with excess nutrients being pumped into the food chain. I live near Janesville and most ponds and lakes around have the same characteristics. As long as there is enough nutrients available to start out your young fish, or baitfish, you should be allright. There are many ways to effectively manage a simple recreational fishery, especially since every pond, and pond owner are different.I or someone else from my company would be happy to stop out to talk sometime or give you info. Let me know, We will have a booth at the Madison Garden Expo on Feb. 7-9 also.
Robert Burke

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26481 01/23/03 05:26 PM
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Robert B: thanks for the response; E-mail your company's name and number to me if you could. TNESHEK@HOTMAIL.COM. I'm in Elkhorn. Also any thought on my algae problem. See my posting under "controlling weeds"


THOMAS R. NESHEK
Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26482 01/24/03 03:34 AM
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Robert, No my lake was not a strip mine. It was dug about 45 years ago, actually it sits higher than the corn fields around it, so there's hardly any runoff to it. It's spring fed totally. It would be classified a "clear infertile lake". Since I just bought this property, I'm not sure exactly whats in it. Clear water is just so hard to fish, I'm sure the coontail has alot to do with the clarity and I don't want to get rid of it. I was toying w/ the idea of trout but will have to wait till summer to see how cool the water stays. I've caught more big fish from dirty ponds than I have from clear ones, and I've fished plenty of both, I'm just afraid I don't have as healthy of a lake as I could have and would like some advice on how to kick start a good bloom this spring.You can e-mail me at bassnut17@yahoo.com Would love to get more info.

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26483 01/24/03 04:37 AM
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Brad I also have a spring fed clear lake of 8 acres here in Texas. Although it is a bit more of a challenge, you can raise large fish in it and it is fished on a regular basis with good results. Fertilization is difficult due to the flow through water from the spring so I have taken other alternatives. It was an existing lake with too many fish in it so about 4 years ago I started an aggresive removal program of all bass under 14 inches. I added two feeders along with stocking coppernose and shiners. I added structure to the lake in 4-8 feet of water. I also removed all crappie caught and there were too many large catfish so we removed some of those. We have gradually gone from a top end bass of 2lbs (with the majority under one pound and very skinny) to a healthy, fishable pond. We have caught some 7-8 lb bass and have a good population of 4-5 lb bass. Clear water, in my part of the country, can still provide good fishing and a good fishery. Good luck

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26484 01/24/03 01:50 PM
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Thanks Tim, thats encouraging to say the least. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I'll wait till spring to see how the fish pop. is and go from there. I can't go with the coppernose due to frequent sub zero days here in Illinois, but I'm sure I have a good b-gill population already. The previous owner told me there was a 7&8 lb. bass caught a few years back so I know it's possible to raise bass in an environment like this, but clear water just gives me goosebumps. (I'm also a tournament fisherman!) Guess I'll work on my sight fishing skills!!! Like I said I just bought this property and I'm so excited, with a million things racing through my head I'll just have to slap myself from time to time and say "don't rush it, you've got plenty of time". I'll keep asking questions and soak up all the knowledge I can. Any more advice?

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26485 01/24/03 06:04 PM
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I would say that Brad and Tom do not have problems. Most of my customers would give their left foot to have clear water. In Brad's case, the clear water is probably a result of the Coontail, and in Tom's case it is a result of springs and Chara (Muskgrass). Hi Tom! These are both effective types of water filtering vegetation that should not be killed off. They also provide shelter for forage fish in the pond/lake. If you fertilize and reduce the water clarity, you will kill the bottom vegetation and reduce cover for the forage. I know that in Tom's area the fertility of the water is plenty high, and the only spot in Illinois that has significantly low fertility is far southern. Usually, in Illinois and Wisconsin you are better off concentrating on your forage base and habitat than you are on fertility.

Mike Robinson
Keystone Hatcheries


Mike Robinson
Keystone Hatcheries
Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26486 01/25/03 05:47 AM
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Brad - good luck on your endeavor - it will be fun. I think the biggest impact I have had on my lake, aside from getting the bass population under control, is the feeding program. Although a bit costly, I feel it has the greatest impact on a clear water pond. Once the forage base is established, using a high quality protein feed such as Purina Fish Chow really boost the health of the forage and therefore stimulates a better and more frequent spawn. During the feeding months, I will feed up to 10-15 lbs per feeder per day. I spread the feed times out at 5 different times during the day, just feeding enough each time that they can eat in 15-20 minutes. The structure in a clear pond is also important in that it provides more "hiding places" for the forage fish which allows for some survival.In my part of the world, cedar is abundant so I cut large, full cedars, drug them into the water with my boat, anchored them with large rocks tied with wire, and sunk them standing straight up in about 4-8 feet of water around the edges of the pond. The hybrids of course are the mainstay but I am also pleased with the shiner population. I have added crawfish each year and they got established so that just diversified the food chain. Personally, I love fishing the clear water - there are times when conditions are right that I enjoy just floating around in my boat and looking - like a huge aquarium! Anyway, the process of growing large bass takes time - my final advice is to continue asking Pond Boss questions and reading all the books they have available - outstanding info and advice from these guys. Good luck Tim

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26487 01/25/03 09:16 AM
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Hey Tim, I know what you mean about looking at your large aquarium, I have those thoughts too. But as I think about the food chain in a clear water environment I have to wonder. I am considering a shad and crawfish forage base to compliment my b-gill, and will be sure to start a good feeding program for the b-gill and cats! Do you think the addition of fatheads would be too much or is there such a thing when your talking "small" fish forage? B-gill,shad,crawdads,fatheads. Too much? Or managable?

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26488 01/25/03 10:54 AM
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brad - the fatheads are a waste of money in an established pond with bass already stocked. They are slow swimmers and the bass will wipe them out almost immediately especially in clear water. They can be used to "boost" your spring feed but that is a really expensive snack. The crawfish usually will either become established and multiply or fail totally - not much in between. If you have some rock rip rap or mud shoreline you may have a shot at the crawfish getting established - worth a try though. Tilapia and shad are the only other forage fish I am aware of but they can both have downsides to a pond. Let some of the pros on this site like Bob Lusk advise you further. TK

Re: Need help w/ ultra claer water
#26489 01/25/03 01:54 PM
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I kinda believe in annual doses of fatheads. For the most part large bass won't mess with them due to the energy expended in the chase. However, I believe that if you put them in early enough and have a fertile pond you should get several spawns. It may be that very few survive the entire year. However, they and their spawn, make an excellent food source for bluegills and smaller bass. As far as expense, they cost about $8.00 per pound in my neck of the woods. That is, as I was told, about 400 fish. They spawn continously. I think it may take a lot of pressure off the young bluegills and bass plus provide food at just the right time.

As far as being an expensive snack, have any of you guys found anything about having a pond or fishing itself that wasn't expensive? Heck, a friend of mine just paid $15.00 for a new crankbait. I just paid $3.00 for 6 fish hooks. If you think holistically, you are providing protien for the fish that feed the bass. Sounds like a bargain to me.


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