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Hi guys. My name is Thomas. I'm in here trying to learn as much as I can about building a pretty good bass pond.

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Welcome to Pond Boss!

SC should be a pretty good environment for an excellent bass pond.

Do you have your property yet, or are you looking for a property with a pond or a good pond building site?

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Welcome to Pond Boss!!!


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Welcome to Pond Boss!

SC should be a pretty good environment for an excellent bass pond.

Do you have your property yet, or are you looking for a property with a pond or a good pond building site?

The property that I am thinking of is 80 acres and has two hollows that come together. It would seem that I could dam up the bottom of where those two hollows intersect and fill up about 8 acres of water back up into both hollows. This is all yet to be determined though.

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Welcome to PB


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by 22LB6OZ
The property that I am thinking of is 80 acres and has two hollows that come together. It would seem that I could dam up the bottom of where those two hollows intersect and fill up about 8 acres of water back up into both hollows. This is all yet to be determined though.

Excellent.

An embankment dam to create an 8-acre pond is typically very expensive. Can you calculate the watershed above your potential dam site?

Having the "correct" amount of watershed will reduce your dam requirements (and costs) somewhat. If you have too much water, then you need some extra dam and extra emergency spillway construction.

Having TWO hollows is a big benefit, since you have the option of down-sizing if needed. Or of building two 4-acre ponds.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by 22LB6OZ
The property that I am thinking of is 80 acres and has two hollows that come together. It would seem that I could dam up the bottom of where those two hollows intersect and fill up about 8 acres of water back up into both hollows. This is all yet to be determined though.

Excellent.

An embankment dam to create an 8-acre pond is typically very expensive. Can you calculate the watershed above your potential dam site?

Having the "correct" amount of watershed will reduce your dam requirements (and costs) somewhat. If you have too much water, then you need some extra dam and extra emergency spillway construction.

Having TWO hollows is a big benefit, since you have the option of down-sizing if needed. Or of building two 4-acre ponds.

Two ponds isn't on the agenda for me. It will be one or on to the next property LOL.

I don't know anything about dam construction. I figured that I would just leave that to the experts and cry once when I wrote the check. LOL.

Would an emergency spillway not be a good thing to add anyway?

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In almost all circumstances for an 8-acre pond, I think the proper design would include an emergency spillway.

My point, was if you have 300 acres of drainage above your dam site, your are going to need a lot of extra freeboard on the dam and a very large emergency spillway to handle a large rain event or the remnants of a hurricane.

If you have only 45 acres, then your design requirements are much reduced.

Your watershed drainage estimate should also include the land off of the property. Water flows do NOT respect boundaries unless there are ditches directing the water elsewhere.

Where are you roughly in SC? I believe all of the state usually gets over 40" of rain per year. The coast and the NW corner may get over 60". That is great for filling ponds, but also bad for trying to overtop dams.

The reason I mentioned two ponds, is that I put up a thread a long time ago asking members if they would prefer one large pond, or multiple ponds? And if multiple ponds, what sizes?

Many members recommended for multiple ponds. Lots of reasons, including: easier fish management, ability to have multiple fish food chain types on the same property, not all of your eggs in one basket, etc. I think 8 acres would be clearly better for recreation like water or jet skiing. Or if you are going to spend a ton of money and go for a truly trophy-level bass pond.

Finally, you need to start checking the applicable regulations. For example, in Kansas I can build a pond with a capacity of not more than 15 acre-feet and be exempt from most of the state regulations. Your pond would be MUCH larger at 64 acre-feet (if you had an average depth of 8')! If that dam was breached during a storm it might create a hazard for people downslope of your hollows, or even along the creek that is present at some point. Stuff like that moves your dam engineering requirements up several levels!

Now might be a good time to meet with the NRCS agent for your county. The agent should be able to give you an overview of the important regulations for your area. If you can get a meeting, bring the legal description of the property. The agent might even be able to look at the satellite view and give you the LIDAR topographic map which is accurate to inches. The agent will also have an understanding of the soil types you may encounter and if rocky ledges are going to be a problem. They used to even have cost-sharing programs for building ponds. However, most of those programs have ended.

Good luck on your pond adventure.

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Check the soil to see if it has enough clay to make a strong dam. Probably does, but make sure. You don't want a leaky dam!

Also check that your pond builder knows how to build a dam, not just a guy with a bulldozer who will do it "cheap." Ask to see their work on other dams, including talking with the pond owners.


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS RBT -234, 2023 BG TP TFS NLMB, -160




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Originally Posted by FishinRod
In almost all circumstances for an 8-acre pond, I think the proper design would include an emergency spillway.

My point, was if you have 300 acres of drainage above your dam site, your are going to need a lot of extra freeboard on the dam and a very large emergency spillway to handle a large rain event or the remnants of a hurricane.

If you have only 45 acres, then your design requirements are much reduced.

Your watershed drainage estimate should also include the land off of the property. Water flows do NOT respect boundaries unless there are ditches directing the water elsewhere.

Where are you roughly in SC? I believe all of the state usually gets over 40" of rain per year. The coast and the NW corner may get over 60". That is great for filling ponds, but also bad for trying to overtop dams.

The reason I mentioned two ponds, is that I put up a thread a long time ago asking members if they would prefer one large pond, or multiple ponds? And if multiple ponds, what sizes?

Many members recommended for multiple ponds. Lots of reasons, including: easier fish management, ability to have multiple fish food chain types on the same property, not all of your eggs in one basket, etc. I think 8 acres would be clearly better for recreation like water or jet skiing. Or if you are going to spend a ton of money and go for a truly trophy-level bass pond.

Finally, you need to start checking the applicable regulations. For example, in Kansas I can build a pond with a capacity of not more than 15 acre-feet and be exempt from most of the state regulations. Your pond would be MUCH larger at 64 acre-feet (if you had an average depth of 8')! If that dam was breached during a storm it might create a hazard for people downslope of your hollows, or even along the creek that is present at some point. Stuff like that moves your dam engineering requirements up several levels!

Now might be a good time to meet with the NRCS agent for your county. The agent should be able to give you an overview of the important regulations for your area. If you can get a meeting, bring the legal description of the property. The agent might even be able to look at the satellite view and give you the LIDAR topographic map which is accurate to inches. The agent will also have an understanding of the soil types you may encounter and if rocky ledges are going to be a problem. They used to even have cost-sharing programs for building ponds. However, most of those programs have ended.

Good luck on your pond adventure.

This is all good information to have.

I'm not into jet skis or anything like that LOL. I just want to fish. I just thought that for growing bigger bass that one bigger pond would be better. I had planned on building some forage ponds as well so that I could constantly be dumping forage into the main pond, but we're talking about smaller ponds less than an acre in size. I just want to make sure that the bass have plenty to eat. I don't want to go to all of this trouble and have a pound full of bass looking like Heathcliff just pulled a fish carcass out of the garbage can (some of the younger readers may not get that one LOL).

I don't think that not having enough water is going to be a problem. We get about 50 inches of rain here every year in Spartanburg County. I don't have a problem investing in the emergency spill ways. Heck I would probably even go overboard in that department to make sure that we didn't have a dam breach. That is probably the biggest disaster that I could imagine. I am hours and hours from the coast, so it would have to be one heck of a hurricane to come get me here.

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50 inches of rain per year. I haven’t had that in the last 3 or more years. We are in different worlds.

And yet, some things are the same.

Set realistic goals. Pay attention to water quality.

Re fish; it’s all about the forage base and that generally means bluegills. But forage of the proper size is the key. A predator of any size needs prey that is 1/4 to 1/3 it’s size. It’s energy expended vs calories obtained. A bass or catfish needs Bluegills of the right size. It would starve on minnows.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
50 inches of rain per year. I haven’t had that in the last 3 or more years. We are in different worlds.

And yet, some things are the same.

Set realistic goals. Pay attention to water quality.

Re fish; it’s all about the forage base and that generally means bluegills. But forage of the proper size is the key. A predator of any size needs prey that is 1/4 to 1/3 it’s size. It’s energy expended vs calories obtained. A bass or catfish needs Bluegills of the right size. It would starve on minnows.

Oh, I plan on having plenty of bluegills and plenty of other forage as well. I am probably going to overthink it 1000 times by the time its over with. I had thought about stocking JUST forage for the first year...a variety of minnows, shiners, chubs, shrimp etc, and then stocking predator fish the following year.

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Oh, I plan on having plenty of bluegills and plenty of other forage as well. I am probably going to overthink it 1000 times by the time its over with. I had thought about stocking JUST forage for the first year...a variety of minnows, shiners, chubs, shrimp etc, and then stocking predator fish the following year.[/quote]

That's actually a really great idea, pretty much recommended by most, giving your forage base plenty of time to get a head start.


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Originally Posted by gehajake
Oh, I plan on having plenty of bluegills and plenty of other forage as well. I am probably going to overthink it 1000 times by the time its over with. I had thought about stocking JUST forage for the first year...a variety of minnows, shiners, chubs, shrimp etc, and then stocking predator fish the following year.

"That's actually a really great idea, pretty much recommended by most, giving your forage base plenty of time to get a head start.[/quote]"


Agree strongly on this.. get a good head-start on forage, this will eliminate some growth issues the first year or 2 that can trash your trophy potential.
If you don't think about this at LEAST a 1,000 times, you aren't serious enough to attack it. To this, I will add think about it daily but have a measured amount of patients and keep communicating with the right folks here, you'll get where you want to be.

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Is there a definitive list of forage species that are okay to stock into a pond before predators? I know some species will get out of control fast. I'm still in the research stages.

I figured that:

Fathead Minnows
Bluntnose Minnows
Banded Killifish
Eastern Mudminnows
Spotfin Shiners
Spottail Shiners
Red Shiners
Satinfin Shiners
Lake Chubsuckers
Mississippi Grass Shrimp

...would all be okay to add and let them go for a year unchecked.

I wondered about Threadfin Shad and Golden Shiners? I think that the shad population could get out of control quickly and I don't know why I am down on adding Golden Shiners ahead of predators, but I might have read something on it?

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For sure, I would stock FHM along with BG and RES. Within the list, I would consider Satinfin, Bluntnose, the grass shrimp, and perhaps a local killifish. With the exception of grass shrimp, I would expect that bass predation could ultimately extirpate them in a pond. Get your initial stocking right. So maybe it was another thread where someone posted a couple of Greg Grimes videos. The first was the stocking rate and the second one was about supplementing forage. The second one is telling. A pond cannot over time, keep 50 LMB/Acre thriving and growing when they are large.

There is a lot of variability of individual growth. This is because the forage consumed is not shared equally among the LMB. Those that eat more ... will grow to be the largest. They grow faster at the expense of the growth of others because the pond is closed system with a limited forage production. Just like our economy, the ones go-getting have bigger savings. For the LMB, the savings are energy stored in their bodies. Size increases survival and opportunity to pass on their genes. The hungriest are just trying to be wealthiest in body weight.

You are going to love the initial phase but by the 2nd or 3rd year you should be proactive in thinning the initial stockers focusing on the slowest growers. To have a sustainable fishery that will be supported by the pond's production of forage ... and ... that supports growth of recruits to trophy size. You would need to thin considerably to a number per acre less than 30 but where only around 6 or so exceed 20". If a pond can support 50 lbs/acre of LMB, this is doable. If it can support 100 lbs/acre then you could double the number. So a pond containing 50 bass/acre averaging 6 lbs cannot happen without supplementing forage (OR feeding the LMB directly with a high quality feed)

I would like to tell you that all the additional forage species (FHM excepted because I know they will in the first year) are going to improve matters for the bass. But I just don't know. Its beyond my pay grade ... LOL. But this much I can tell you. There is a balance where BG,RES, and LMB can coexist and produce trophy fish over time. To manage it you need to manage the numbers of LMB and to some extent the BG too. Too many BG ... guess what? They don't reproduce well. Was reading the other day that for surveyed midwest ponds, ponds carrying 100 to 150 lbs of BG > 6" produced the most BG YOY in fall surveys. In ponds with less or more, there was substantially lower YOY in the fall survey. It would seem one needs to work with a double of edged sword to keep a pond in a condition where LMB grow well throughout life.

On average it takes around 500 BG every year to support and grow a single LMB. Small bass consume more while the larger bass consume fewer. How many they consume will determine their rate of growth. 50 LMB require 25000 or more BG. Obviously, the BG are all small. But the weight of consumed forage is remarkably high. 50 lbs of LMB probably require between 250 and 300 lbs of LMB forage. That can easily be as much as the total standing weight of fish So how does that happen? It can only happen with multiple broods of BG and growth of YOY. The key will always be to keep BG spawning in waves throughout the growing season. Having the right number of them in good condition will be paramount to producing forage in pond. 50 LMB need survival of 25000 BG to a length greater than 1". Below 1", BG are prey for Adult BG and LMB YOY alike. So the key the is right balance in both numbers and population structure.

As an insurance policy, it is good to have a forage pond where you can produce 1"-3" BG for supplementation. In the forage pond, predation is limited as they grow to the 1-3" window. This can make a big difference. Every 500 BG you supplement can support 1 bass. BG between 1-3" BG are primarily food for LMB from 8" to 15". 2.5-5" BG are food for >15" LMB. For the latter, many of these BG are in their second summer of life. There must be sufficient 3" BG surviving winter to support large LMB. During winter, LMB still keep eating but the BG stop reproducing and growth is very slow. At middle latitude, LMB consume as much as their body weight during the coolest 6 months. Fall is an exceptionally good time to do two things. Thin LMB to lower consumption of BG over winter and supplement forage that can survive winter in sufficient quantity to support the big bass. In the fall, if the standing weight of 2.5"-3.5" BG is in the neighborhood of 1.4 times the standing weight of LMB>15", the big LMB will have enough food to eat the next year.

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I am personally adding GSH ahead of predators as I want some of the forage borderline out of reach on eating ahead of the LMB being stocked. Threadfin aren't available in my area. As the LMB grow my hope is that those initial GSH become the big bite the LMB are looking for to push growth to the next level.

That being said, I am also pursuing an all female LMB option and the LMB I stock will be in the 16" range in 2025. That probably lines them up with being able to eat 5-7" GSH as soon as they hit the pond.

If you are stocking fingerling LMB perhaps stock the GSH at the same time or a year later so when the LMB are ready to take on a bigger bite they are readily available.

Seems as though the goals with growing large LMB involves making sure food of the right size is always available to them. Not many calories provided to a 20" LMB eating a FHM or a 1" BG. It's not they wouldn't eat it but more that they spent more in the way of calories chasing it down than they gained from the meal itself.


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In southern states in place of bluegill as the LMB main meal, Tilapia can really help fill the bellies of those large LMB

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
In southern states in place of bluegill as the LMB main meal, Tilapia can really help fill the bellies of those large LMB

Chowing down on filamentous algae is a very nice bonus from adding tilapia!

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
In southern states in place of bluegill as the LMB main meal, Tilapia can really help fill the bellies of those large LMB

They will add to the forage base, but they can't be the sole forage base because of them dying off in the late Fall.


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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
In southern states in place of bluegill as the LMB main meal, Tilapia can really help fill the bellies of those large LMB

I planned on trying my hand at breeding my own Tilapia indoors and then stocking the resulting offspring in the pond. That may be a far fetched goal, but at 20 pounds per acre, in an eight acre pond, I would need 160 pounds of Tilapia to stock every spring. That doesn't seem impossible to me. The good news is that if I end up with too many, I would imagine that selling them wouldn't be that much of an issue LOL.

I also planned on building several smaller forage ponds where I could keep dumping forage into the lake. Again, having an abundance of things like Lake Chubsuckers or Bluegill doesn't sound like a terrible problem to have LOL. A small trophy bluegill pond is a goal with the "culled" little bluegills going into the main pond with clipped fins.


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