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Joined: Aug 2018
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Hi All, new to the forum. Been reading for awhile, but this is 1st post.

So, just created a new pond in CT - 1.5 acres, 12.5' deep down the middle with pretty gentle slopes from there. Several large rock piles, and I have been making/placing a good amount of artificial structure in anywhere from 3'-10' in depth. Good runoff flow and also partially spring-fed - despite the unsettled clay the water has that nice green/blue hue around the edges and it's filling quickly - it's over half full depth-wise after 2 weeks in August.

Accordingly, I'm trying to get a stocking plan together that I can begin to execute next spring once the pond is full and water has cleared.

My intent/goal is to make this a sportfish pond that we can regularly harvest fish out of in limited quantities, both for consumption and in an effort to help my predator fish grow larger by keeping their numbers down a bit.

There was an interesting article by Bob Lusk in the March-April issue where he was pushing the idea of SMB and YP for a combination of predator fish. While I would LOVE to end up with a stable YP population that achieve some size, I am not sure if that will be feasible in a 1.5 acre pond... even if it does have good depth and reasonable flow.

So, I'm at a crossroads and need some advice -- do I attempt the YP route and combine with SMB (and do my best to keep out LMB) to give them a chance, or is YP wishful thinking in a pond the size of mine and should I just do what I *know* works well up here and do LMB, harvesting some on a regular basis to keep them from overfeeding on the smaller species?

EITHER WAY, my plan would be to stock FHM and Pumpkinseeds first - early next spring once the pond has had a chance to fill and the water clears, and in time for them to spawn (or so I've heard).

Please let me know what you think, and feel free to poke holes in anything I've said above you think may not be accurate, I'm inexperienced and just trying to piece together a plan based off my reading -- so your wisdom and experience is greatly appreciated!

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Hey, JW, welcome to PB. A great source of info concerning all things ponds.
I will give you an example of a successful YP/SMB pond. First I know very little compared to many here but have been guided by two of the best, Bill Cody and Cecil. Before I dug my hole I contacted Cecil who had raised YP of 15+" YP in a pond that was around 2/3 of an acre. Not much later I made contact with Bill. Cecil was more specialized in raising LARGE YP while Bill knows everything about everything. I was told to get a good forage base well established. In order to keep a good forage going is to have good hiding places for them. I choose Eel grass as it is good for all fish and does'nt spread too rapidly. Next was to get Fat Head Minnows going which was easy. Next I got Blunt Nose Minnows and Spotfin Shiners (somewhat difficult to source) Put the forage fish in around mid Sept. Waited till May of the next yr for YP and Hybrid Striped Bass and Papershell crawdads. They flurished well with established forage and hand feeding almost every eve. When I put the FHM in I did'nt know enough to sort and inspect them so got some hitch hikin Channal Catfish, been battling them every since. They tipped the scale of predators x forage.
My pond is 1/4 acre and thus limits the size of the SMB and later added Walleye. CC and HSB do get pretty large.
If you get the right numbers and proper sequence, which I can't advise you about, your pond should grow nice HSB, YP and SMB. I would adamantly recomend aerating. Good luck, Bob-O
PS, don't know about the Pumkinseeds, may tend to overpopulate. Hope someone else will wiegh in about them.






Last edited by Bob-O; 08/21/18 11:02 AM.

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Too early to claim success, but my pond is just under an acre. Stocked FHM, RES, GSH, and LCS. Then added YP and papershell crayfish, followed by 10 SMB in each of two consecutive years (20 total). Lots of FHM, LCS, and YP reproduction and pulled a single SMB last year that had grown larger than I thought was possible after one growing season. I have not fished the pond since then, but my neighbor harvested a keeper YP through the ice last winter. Still have plenty of small fish swimming near the edges. Just too much to do adding more wildlife habitat to our place to stop and fish. Deer hunting is another story! Everything goes on hold October 1st!

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BOB-O, thanks. Will start researching forage base more. Surprised to hear about the YP success, I often hear people say (and read in the magazine once or twice) that you really need several acres with varying depth for YP to do well - and maybe that is generally true without careful management.

And yes, I will absolutely be aerating.

I guess this all brings me to a more refined question, though -- do I have to make a decision between LMB and YP??
In other words, will LMB trample on my chances of successfully raising YP by overfeeding and preventing any spawning YP from reaching maturity?

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Originally Posted By: JWD1
BOB-O, thanks. Will start researching forage base more. Surprised to hear about the YP success, I often hear people say (and read in the magazine once or twice) that you really need several acres with varying depth for YP to do well - and maybe that is generally true without careful management.

And yes, I will absolutely be aerating.

I guess this all brings me to a more refined question, though -- do I have to make a decision between LMB and YP??
In other words, will LMB trample on my chances of successfully raising YP by overfeeding and preventing any spawning YP from reaching maturity?



In my experience LMB will eliminate YP in most ponds unless heavily managed.

Last edited by Acoursey; 08/21/18 12:40 PM.
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The LMB will definately put the hurt on them. You can easly start with YP and SMB if not getting desired results ya can switch to LMB. I know everyone with a new pond wants immediate results but you will be amazed how fast 5 yrs will click by. It's fairly easy to catch and transport good sized LMB and BG to get fast recruitment.
Someone once said stocking a pond is similar to landscaping. The bigger ya start with, the more the expense.


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Thanks guys... Sounds like good advice--
I'll plan to try the SMB / YP route, fully knowing it's easy to switch courses and introduce some good sized LMB if the results aren't panning out like I'd hoped in a few years.

On the subject of forage, I'm placing a lot of articifial structure and have lots of rock piles, etc., but I haven't considered much on the forage side yet... mostly because I've read in PB a time or two that a new pond really won't *need* help with that and that native species will find their own way in over time. Unsure whether I should rest on my laurels there, or if it would behoove me to introduce some grasses or lilies, etc., to up my result sin these first few years...?

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For a "non-standard" stocking plan, your fish source must be immaculate. A few fish of the wrong species can really ruin the whole thing.

Consider hand-sorting your fingerling fish to make sure no unwanted species make their way in. If a few LMB or BG sneak through you'll have to nuke and start over or re-adjust your goals.

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Can you clarify what you mean by "non-standard" vs standard?

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A standard stocking plan for my neck of the woods would consist of LMB, BG, and CC. SO...a few GSF get in...not too big of a deal. Whereas, some GSF get in with my HBG and HSB and I'm ticked.


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JWD1 did you ever put any fish in your pond? I am entering my 11th year of my single species Yellow Perch pond and have had pretty good luck keeping it going IMHO. I excavated in 2008, pond was filling in August, heck it rained the entire time we worked and we ran pumps the whole time to be able to work in mud not water. I added FHM late August a few days after I shut the pumps off, the water was still murky. I added 300 perch fingerlings the next spring late April with the intent to not have a spawn the first year. I began hand feeding them and they soon conditioned as well as Pavlov's dog and started to grow. The next year we were catching 9-10 inchers, the following year 12-14's were showing up, as well as lots of 5-6 inch fish so I knew I had reproduction taking place. I too learned a great deal from this site, and it's members, Bill "Dr. Perch" Cody helped me out a lot. The layout of my pond allows for ample natural vegetation and weedy areas and I am proud to claim that I still have Fatheads in my pond after 10 years of perch domination. As per common reasoning, this is only because of the vegetation and feeding program, I am sure. My pond ended up 11 foot deep at it's deepest area when full pool, it is .85 acres calculated surface area.

It can be done, it will not fit the mold of many other ponds, I think I had some accidental success as the sides of my pond are finished different than most folks typically would want and it provides some bait fish habitat. I have some cattails, coon tail, rip rap, some gentle slopes, some underwater benches, pallets, fish structures, and I also have muskrats. I also have a sustainable bull frog population since there are no bass here.

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JoeG = Thanks for the pond update about your YP pond. Glad to hear it is doing well. About how many perch do you harvest each year? Do you use a slot limit size or take anything cleanable?

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/26/19 08:43 PM.

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Still using the slot harvest for the most part, we are probably eating between 150-200 fish a year, more since my kids are growing and fishing themselves too. I remove a lot of egg ribbons, we remove every small fish we catch, and one year we removed close to 500 small fish thru the ice. I check a lot of fish stomachs and the larger perch are preying on smaller fish a great deal from what I can tell. I just ordered 600 lbs of feed for the summer.

I've still got plans for RES at some point, maybe a few walleye for novelty fish maybe. I'm just really happy with what we have now and it seems to be working well, no 16 inchers yet but several 15+ fish have been caught and released.

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JoeB - thanks for management info for the perch. I think 10-15 walleye would help a lot in removing smaller perch especially since you now have a good established population of adult perch to keep the system moving toward a great perch pond. Plan on each walleye eating around 300 small fish per year; some of those will be your larger FHM. Put and take the walleye as required by the numbers and sizes of YP that you are catching.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/27/19 12:45 PM.

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