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Last Spring had a new SMB reproduction pond constructed with the goal enabling me to:

- Collect fish solo
- Eliminate need to seine through excessive vegetation with volunteer labor
- Help reduce handling stress on SMB

1/10th AC pond was constructed so the lowest point was at the outlet, hopefully funneling fish through this lowest point.

Tried several variations on the standpipe, ended up going with 8" drain controlled by a gate valve on the backside of the dam.





90 Elbow into collection tank with 1/2" galvanized wire netting/cap secured to prevent fish escape





Everything was in place, so I let her rip!



We had about 20 SMB stuck in vegetation we had to collect, otherwise ended up circumnavigating all previous issues of vegetation, time, labor, etc. and yielded approx 500 4-7" SMB. Entire collection process took 2.5 hours for complete draining and collection, and I didn't don waders once!

Failures: At one time I estimated 2500 SMB YOY around the edges of the pond, but since this was a new, sterile pond, they had no vegetation/cover with exception of the SMB spawning beds to escape predation from a few shooter brothers and sisters. Within two weeks they all but disappeared - seemingly from predation. Next year I'll allow vegetation to grow by filling the pond earlier in the season, and may temporarily place cedars around the edges to provide some cover.



Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Glad to hear that it worked TJ!



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It is a great design and very good success for easy harvest of fish from the forage production pond. It is great when a plan comes together and works!! I like it - congratulations on designing and building a nice system.

Temporary removable structure items should help with survival of fingerlings. You can experiment with different types of structure each year to compare which ones work best. Tree limbs and/or brush placed with butt ends on the bank and limbs in the water so they can be easily drug out may be the easiest and cheapest to use. Tree limbs tied together and stretched across the pond will provide lots of small spaces may be helpful for easy removal. Lots of periphyton and biofilm will grow on tree branches increasing production. The more surface area that you can provide underwater the more periphyton that it will grow. See the current issue of PBoss Mag No-Dec 2013 for an article by Bruce Kania (pg20) that explains how periphyton will increase fish production.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/18/13 01:51 PM.

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Aside from myself feeling pretty irrelevant at the moment, this was a great plan!

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Good ideas Bill - I have abundant cedars I can lay into the pond for a couple months to help ensure better survival. I feel the pond will be much more nutrient rich next year which should provide vegetation and invertabrate forage helping to bump recruitment, too.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Josh, you can come open the gate valve next year!


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Yessss! I have purpose again!

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I could see this working great for a forage pond ...Just have it dump right into a main pond...

Could have a small pond Full of GSH or FHM and just dump right into the main pond. Refill and start over again .....

could feed a lot of mouths with a pond full of minnows dumped in every year.

Last edited by BobbyRice; 11/18/13 02:08 PM.

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BR - exactly. Keep a few adult brooders prior to opening the valve and you're good to go.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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TJ, I think the removable small fish cover would be the way to go (cedars). With vegetation growing in the pond basin, more SMB would be trapped and you'd have to hand fish them out after the water was down. Remove the cover before opening the drain, or have the trees going across the pond like Cody said. If the branches/cover just hangs into the water, as the water receeds, they will flop out of the cover to stay in the water. Not so much if the cover is laying on the pond bottom.

I'd fill the pond asap in the spring if you are leaving it dry over the winter and put in a buttload of sorted FHM to keep the babies from eating each other.

How do you get the adults out post spawn?

Did you notice much scale loss on the fish you collected?


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Yes, I'm going to use larger cedars [6-8'] and tie the trunks to the stakes on pond edge and leave the rest in the pond as cover. Good ideas, and I have plenty to spare.

I actually forgot to mention this in the original post, but I stocked 4 adult BG into the pond in mid June in hopes they would pull a spawn and help feed the SMB with their larval/YOY offspring. I had probably 1000 BG from 1/2" - 1.5" when I collected the SMB, and all fish were in pretty solid shape - WR 90-100%. It was an educated guess that worked out OK for me since feeding the SMB daily is difficult for absentee owner.

As brood SMB I only use pellet flys to catch the brood fish for two reasons:

1. Pellet trained fish I can keep fed and hopefully reduce cannibalism.

2. Pellet trained fish are easier to catch and remove.

Fish were all in great shape in the tank - had zero mortalities. That's a first for me - apparently the ride wasn't too rough for them.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Cool!

I'd consider FHM as food instead of BG tho. Mouth gape on the SMB, more fusiform fish without sharp spines for the forage fish.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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BG are free! FHM $35/1000 around here plus hour drive.

Just say it, I know you're thinking it..."TJ is a resourceful genius."


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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That's not quite it. I was thinking that TJ should start a FHM only forage pond. wink grin


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You come dig it, it shall be done.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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couldnt you just keep a FHM back and dump them in when you refill, they should reprouce quick enough just from a few...

even just leave a few adults in the holding tank that you use as your basin tank until the pond refills

or make another micro pond just for FHM, get a glass minnow cast net with small mesh. couple net fulls into the brood pond to seed it after refill

Last edited by BobbyRice; 11/18/13 04:01 PM.

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Better yet have the micro FHM pond drain into the Micro Brood pond.

When you are ready pull the drain for a few minutes and spew some FHM into the Brood pond then close it back.


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Leave SMB pond empty during winter to help reduce nutrient load/vegetation. I will fill in early March, add some FHM, and should have plenty of YOY by June. Depending on what I see I may add a couple female and 1 male BG in June, too.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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BG will eat FHM too. Put some FHM love condos in there! If you have a good bloom in the pond, I'd not put BG in there - but that all depends on the amount of forage FHM in there.

When will the excavator be on site? I'll be there to run it. wink


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How about a small number of adult GSH instead of BG?



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If you were to leave water in that pond during the winter, I would worry that it might freeze solid in the pipe leading to the gate valve and cause damage to both.

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Agreed Richard - that 8" gate valve will take several years of SMB babies to pay off as it is. They don't come cheaply.

BG worked great this year, and spawned at the right times for the SMB apparently. SMB collective body condition was better than any other year, and I had one 8.5" shooter that looked like she was ready to explode from BG YOY - that's a new record for a 5 month old fish on the farm. I like the idea these fish are trained BG assassins out of the gate, too. BG Assassin SMB - that's Georgia Giant marketing school right there.

I'll likely add FHM in March, might add a few GSH later in the Summer, but I am not confident they'll spawn. So far the BG are working well.


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Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
BG Assassin SMB - that's Georgia Giant marketing school right there.

Bet you could sell some to Condello for a thousand bucks!!

TJ, this is a great project, and your ability to envision it, then see it though is really admirable.

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Like Esshup keeps saying, I'm a resourceful genius.

Thanks Yolkie...owe the pond engineering to Bill, Cecil, Travis and Luskie. The collection idea actually was hatched during a rare moment of clarity when I was drifting to sleep. I'll have another good idea around the Summer solstice, 2049.


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SMB need more than just FH as they get bigger. To much energetic drain chasing FH. Snacks yes but meals no. Add some GShiners. They will help reduce BG eggs/fry but also FH eggs/fry.

If BG are the problem keep #s reduced by any means possible. YP will eat BG in cold mths well but they will also eat yoy SMB and FH.

I don't care for gate valves as they tend to stick shut and cause major problems unless you open and close them several times a year.
















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