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I have property near Louisville, KY that seems to be ideal for a pond. The topo and soil specs look good. It will be 2.5 acres with a maximum depth of 40'. I will be daming a revine with which there is 20 acres of watershed and a spring above the pond location. I am willing to put a decent amount of money into the pond. I will aerate and feed. My goal is trophy LMB (or as close to trophy as I can get with Louisville weather). I plan to put alot of cover and habitat in the pond prior to filling including alot of rip rap for the crawfish.

After reading on this forum for months it seems there is some push to go to 20-1 sunfish to LMB ratio for growing big bass. Has anyone had good success with this? I want to also add FHM, GSH, and paper shell crawfish. It seems like this is a lot of forage (too much?). My stocking plan is below. Please provide your comments.

FHM - 25# - Fall 2014
GSH - 25# - Fall 2014
PSCF - 1000 - Fall 2014
2-4" BG - 4000 - Spring 2015
4-6" BG - 1000 - Spring 2015
2-4" RES - 1000 - Spring 2015
Northern LMB - 100 - Spring 2016
F-1 LMB - 200 - Spring 2016

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Looks good to me. In talking with your fish supplier, see if he can specifically supply "shooter" LMB - the fastest growing in the bunch.

I know Greg Grimes goes into Ky. to stock fish on occasion, and he's had tremendous success growing some LMB to larger sizes QUICKLY. I'd give them a shout and see what they have to say.

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Hey from an ex-Ky boy,we taught school in Brandenburg in 74 and loved the area. That will be a nice pond. Good luck!!!


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Thanks Scott. DK please feel free to flip me an email. We redid pond for Chris Redman in Louisville. Love that area. I just left Nashville where I gave a presentation to state biologists from around the SE. They were pretty amazed at the growth rates. We have a 44:1 ratio.

You have a good plan. I think you can speed up the plan also I suggest scaling back bass a bunch however. More like 125 total. Lots to discuss and better talking than writing. Let us know if we can help. With a pond that deep you will want some good shallow habitat for several of the species and I would consider aeration as well.


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Thanks for your comments.

I mis-read the topo and the pond will be 20-25 ft deep. I do plan to aerate,feed and provide a good amount of habitat. I am starting the planning now so that I can budget approprietly. And while investigating what I need to budget I have officially become obsessed with this pond dream. Now I can't turn it off and will research this to death smile

Greg, I will definitely give you a call when the dream gets closer to becoming a reality. I'm hoping to start next year but in reality will probably be 2015.

A couple questions for anyone:
1. Am I too far north for coppernose bluegill?
2. Is it too far north for pure Florida bass?
3. I am sure I (and friends) will fish the pond steadily and don't mind culling. Greg advises to stock less bass but I am worried about the bass becoming hook shy if I put them back often which will make the trophies harder to catch as they reach that size. If I cull often during the first few years do you still see a problem with stocking bass in higher numbers?
4. My area gets about 45" of rain a year and has good clay. How many acres of watershed (assuming no spring water) do I need for one acre of pond surface area? I've heard anywhere from 5 to 20.

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Originally Posted By: DKCard




A couple questions for anyone:
1. Am I too far north for coppernose bluegill?

2. Is it too far north for pure Florida bass?

3. I am sure I (and friends) will fish the pond steadily and don't mind culling. Greg advises to stock less bass but I am worried about the bass becoming hook shy if I put them back often which will make the trophies harder to catch as they reach that size. If I cull often during the first few years do you still see a problem with stocking bass in higher numbers?

4. My area gets about 45" of rain a year and has good clay. How many acres of watershed (assuming no spring water) do I need for one acre of pond surface area? I've heard anywhere from 5 to 20.


1 & 2. IMO yes too far north for best results.

3. Less LMB use 6 inch LMB - 50 Northerns , 25 F-1s. Don't harvest those original stocked LMB only their offspring.

4. Others should answer this one.

Newer info suggests 25 to 30 to one BG to LMB in southern ponds. Northen ponds suggest LMB after minnows , then BG later to avoid BG stunting and no LMB recruitment. Question is where does Ky fall in the differences in stocking advice. I would go with your sizes and numbers other than LMB (75 at 6 inches) and stock the LMB and BG at the same time. It is much easier to add more 6 -8 inch LMB later than to have to harvest the overrun. I assume PSCF is paper shell crawfish.

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ewest,

why a mix of northern and F1, why not all f-1


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In KY you may have a hard time sourcing papershell crayfish and may have to use what crayfish you can locate at local fish farms. I agree with ewest and go with northern and F1 LMB. Ewest or Greg Grimes will explain.


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Northerns for aggressivness and local adaptation - it does get cold up there.

F-1s for size potential. There are some other potential tricks but they carry risk.

IMO in your location the northern LMB at 2X the LMB with Fla genes is the best mix for your goal. Too cold for Flas to reach their potential
















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I'm still learning here but I have researched and this was my conclusion for my pond strategy. I've tried to think this through but need some expets opinion.

I planned to add LMB at a fairly high rate after FHM, GSH and BG had a breeding season. Wait for a breeding season so there is so much food in front of the bass that they have no choice but to eat and get big. And even though i'm stocking a failry high volume of LMB the high volumes of shiners and BG will hinder the LMB recruitment. This allows the initial LMB to not have to compete for food with younger LMB in the future. I can also cull the males, especially the norhtern males. I plan to have somewhat stunted BG because of numbers but will also be feeding so some will get big enough for those big female LMB too. I can also supplement the LMB diet with trout or talapia after a few years to top them off. In essence, the pond may only be a trophy LMB pond until the first generation of LMB die off, or better get hooked on the end of my line smile. After the first generation catch rate become unacceptable to me I will transition the pond into a balanced fishery. I would guess 5-7 years. If done properly I will have to add LMB to balance the fishery.

What do you all think of this strategy?

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1) How will you tell the Northern LMB from the other LMB?

2) I think that a better route would be just to stock shooter LMB at a lighter density rather than heavy. Once the fish start growing larger, I doubt you'll be able to keep enought forage in the pond for them.

3) What do you consider a high volume when you say you'd stock a high volume of LMB?

Just be aware that the sky isn't the limit on how many pounds of fish you can have per surface acre in the pond. Water quality issues will rear their ugly head if the number of fish (in pounds) gets too high.

2.5 acre pond. If you can carry 50 LMB per acre, they will need 10# of fish per LMB to add 1# of weight every year. So right there you are talking over 500# of fish per acre, which is starting to push the limit. Now, make sure you have more than 10# of forage fish per LMB in the pond and you see where the numbers start to get a little scarey.


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Keep in mind it will gets pricey trying to maintain good growth with stocking enough forage. I still feel it is best to stock less bass for best growth. You can always add more but can't replace loss growth time.


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Originally Posted By: ewest
Northerns for aggressivness and local adaptation - it does get cold up there.

F-1s for size potential. There are some other potential tricks but they carry risk.

IMO in your location the northern LMB at 2X the LMB with Fla genes is the best mix for your goal. Too cold for Flas to reach their potential


so in colder climate the target is to get LMB with 20-30% FL Genes and heavier genes form the native. 50% FL genes will not thrive well?


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They are individual fish so the % will be all over the place as they spawn. But none will have over 50% Fla genes. It is not a straight line event even over long time periods as fish adapt and evolve. Each individual trait is subject to the rigors of selective evolution with some traits going extinct/dormant and others flourishing. You can attempt to adjust the results by adding new fish (genetics) but nothing is certain. When in doubt go with fish that are adapted to your area and be sure there is enough for them to eat and good water.

I hope this helps. Genetics of LMB can get real complicated and there are far more unknowns than knowns.

F-1s have been shown to be closer to Northernís WRT the trait for cold tolerance than to Flaís. There is some evidence that the male Fla X female Northern has better cold tolerance than the reciprocal cross female Fla X male Northern . However the opposite is true WRT size as the larger fish is the female Fla X male Northern. Darn genes they do what they want to which is not necessarily what you want.



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Esshup and Greg make good points about being able to maintain enough forage for an abundant bass population. One does not realize how much forage it takes to keep a reproducing LMB population growing until they experience the eating rate of older 50-100 LMB/ac not counting their offspring. Keep in mind that LMB of several sizes greater than 10" start competing heavily against each other for forage foods depending on forage sizes and types available and that is often where many forage bases become limiting or get into "trouble" (shortages); various size classes of bass all surviving on a limited forage community that can not keep up with the increasing predatory pressure. LMB is sizable ponds can reproduce faster than anglers can remove them.

I concur with ewest about the blending results of F1 and northern genetics.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/12/13 09:19 PM.

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Bill, you said it much better than I could. I am fighting that problem in my pond right now. I stocked 38 feed trained LMB from another pond at 14"-16" size in 2011. They are tagged with a numbered floy tag, so I can tell which ones they are. My pond fluctuates in water depth about 60", so any shoreline cover for forage fish to hide in is gone starting in August and it continues like that thru the winter. They are basically swimming around in a bathtub. When that happens the LMB have a field day eating all they can. I also feed AquaMax 600 2x day when water temps are above 60įF, and feed the trout that I stock during the winter all year long once a day. I also stock Tilapia during the warmer months to combat Filamentous Algae.

The rule is to take out every LMB that is not tagged, no matter what the size. I still can't keep a good forage base going in my pond. I stocked between 1,500 and 2,000 2"-4" BG 2 years ago and I doubt that 20% remain alive in the pond. 4 years ago I stocked 200 adult Golden Shiners that were between 8" and 10" long. None remain in the pond today.

I'm adjusting the pond rule this year. I will still be removing every LMB that is not tagged, but I will also remove every Male LMB that I can catch that is tagged. I will fish heavily during pre spawn and spawning time to target all the male LMB, and aggressively target LMB the remainder of the year.

I will also be adding cover for the forage fish, both in shallow water and in the 6'-9' depths (at full pool). I will also be adding cover for the fish in the deepest part of the pond, so it can be utilized during the winter months instead of having the fish swimming around in a bathtub.

This LMB is NOT a feed trained LMB. See what ample forage will accomplish. It looks like a feed trained LMB. 17.5" 4# 4 oz.
Relative weight 149


Stocking the correct number of LMB in the beginning, AND having the correct amount of cover for the forage fish is MUCH easier to do rather than to scramble to correct your mistakes later. Been there done that.

If I had to do it all over, I'd consider a HSB/dozen Female LMB pond.


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Why not try gizzard shad?


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The Gizzard Shad quickly grow to a size that Northern LMB cannot eat (the year that they are hatched). If the pond doesn't have a large population of large (IIRC 22" and longer) LMB, then the GS could overpopulate the pond in short order.


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1) How will you tell the Northern LMB from the other LMB?
Their accent, of coarse smile. Or I could tag/clip them if I stock large enough ones. Maybe just harvest any males I catch.
2) I think that a better route would be just to stock shooter LMB at a lighter density rather than heavy. Once the fish start growing larger, I doubt you'll be able to keep enough forage in the pond for them.
How common is it to be able to get shooter bass? I planned on going to American Sport fish for Gorilla and Tiger bass.
3) What do you consider a high volume when you say you'd stock a high volume of LMB?
I planned to stock 300 LMB and 6000 BG/RES. Iím rethinking this now.

4) Just be aware that the sky isn't the limit on how many pounds of fish you can have per surface acre in the pond. Water quality issues will rear their ugly head if the number of fish (in pounds) gets too high.
Good point. Didnít think about that.

Since having enough forage base seems to be a big concern I think I will stock BG one year ahead of the bass (and FHM and GSH 1.5 years ahead). And if I stock a good amount of 4-6Ē BG (and LMB fingerlings), they will have a very good head start on the LMB. I figure a BG heavy pond can be overcome easier than a LMB heavy pond. I will harvest younger LMB as long as the BG donít completely overpopulate.

What is the approximate survival rate of fingerling LMB? Would stocking 200 fingerlings be the same a stocking 100 6Ē bass?

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As I see it an additional problem with using gizzard shad besides them getting to large for most bass to eat, is abundant adult gizzards have two major impacts on the total fishery and pond ecosystem. 1. Abundant adults can take up too much fish biomass that is basically unusable other than being brood stock for more young shad. Other species of angler friendly panfish could be better suited as forage fish. 2. Abundant g.shad will change the zooplankton forage base to smaller individuals and overeat the plankton to a point that the shad resort to feeding in the sediments for organics and attached algae (epipelic algae). This in turn causes increased turbidity inhibiting sight feeding by the predators and inhibiting plankton production due to decreased sunlight penetration into the pond/lake. Loss or decline of a healthy zooplankton community will cascade negative impacts upward in the food chain /food web. We are starting go see these impacts or affects in the plankton studies of problematic ponds. G.shad definately have pros and cons. Weigh the situation carefully before using g.shad. G.shad can be real troublesome when out of balance in large body of water. Removal of g.shad is not an easy task in larger water bodies.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/12/13 09:24 PM.

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Great thread! Exact same issues I'm dealing with now.


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Another problem is GShad have a nasty aspect of suppressing recruitment (reproduction to adulthood) of several other species including BG and LMB.

Cody note: I think shad suppress recruitment of other fish by filter feeding on the fry of any species in the water column inhabitated by all sizes of shad. The degree of supperssion will depend on several things.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/12/13 09:33 PM. Reason: added note















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G. shad entered my back pond via a flood in 2011. There were TFs in there in 2003 when we bought the back pond. When the state fishers expert came to test the water saw a TFS on the deck, he asked me how much I spent on something that would die out that winter. I told him I didn't know how they got there but they have thrived ever since. The question is does GS crowd out the TFS and if they do how long till it is readily noticable.


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TShad and GShad have a very interesting relationship to each other.

In some cases it has been noted that the TShad actually suppress GShad reproduction much like GShad do to other species. I have not seen any info suggesting that GShad suppress TShad reproduction. Could be an evolutionary adaptation by TShad to survive in waters they both share.

Bill no doubt part of the suppression from GShad is related to feeding. The studies suggest that most reproductive suppression in pond type fish is chemical in nature. An actual chemical suppressor. I recall that such has been proven in sunfish and I think in GShad but need to check to be sure on GShad.
















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Originally Posted By: DKCard
1) How will you tell the Northern LMB from the other LMB?
[i]Their accent, of coarse smile.


You're catching on! You'll fit right in. wink grin


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