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#564178 02/06/24 08:36 PM
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Hey everyone, new to the site and trying to process all of the information. We are building on some land that we own and looking to create a 3/4-1 acre pond for the purpose of looks (Mrs. Tigerfanatic1 aka The Boss) and fishing with the kids and family members. We have a lot of various projects ongoing such as clearing off some of the property and building, with future projects of having a pond build and possibly filling in a pond on adjoining pasture land.

Several people in our area have ponds dug out by local contractors and I'm not aware of any that don't hold water, so I'm thinking of doing the same in 2 phases. I'm debating digging out a smaller but deep area at a steep grade, then coming back in a year or so to make the grade more gradual while increasing the surface area to the 3/4-1 acre size. This would allow me to use the dirt now to finish around the home and build up low spots in the yard. When I come back in a year or so, I'd use the remaining dirt to have a 1/4 mile driveway from the highway.

My sole purpose for fishing is to enjoy with family and have been debating on bluegill, red ears, or crappie. My favorite fish is crappie, but everything I read says not to stock with them. Is there a concern with not being able to remove enough of them or crappie eating other species?

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Most of the info I have seen is that crappie in the black or white version can have erratic spawns. This year it will be great and next year almost nothing followed by OMG that was a really great spawn. I hear black crappie are better than white in ponds but don't really see anybody that has recommended crappie for a waterbody of less than 10 acres.

There are several ponds in my area with crappie in them. Most are filled with 3-6" versions.

Likely require lots of active management of them to produce fish of size to eat.


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Congrats on the new property and welcome to Pond Boss!

Any test holes on your property, or soil samples from excavating a basement, etc.?

Hopefully, you have some good topsoil to finish your lawn areas around the house and the areas where water will run into the pond. (Those areas need good topsoil so you can quickly establish your erosion control plants.) You will also need some good clay for sealing your pond. If you have that, it is just a question of putting in the work and doing it correctly.

I am not sure of the advantage of doing your dirt work in two phases? Building a steep grade first might be more work on your equipment? For example, coming out of the hole with a dozer, instead of front-to-back slot dozing.

Are you doing an excavator and dozer combo for the pond, or some other equipment package?

You should be able to stockpile your material around the pond as needed and then do your finish grade with some smaller equipment if you can't get it all done due to time constraints.

I see two problems with doing it in two phases. If you start a hole in a place that is going to make a good pond, it will almost certainly have some water in it when you try to go back to work for the second phase. (Wet clay is not fun to work with, or to maneuver equipment over.) The second problem is that your steep grade area with no cover plants is going to get little erosion channels and start washing your material back down into the bottom of your hole.

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Agree with Boondoggle on the crappie. One of the problems is that they spawn earlier than the other species in your pond. They will then eat the fry of your other fish. You end up with few of your bass, etc. and lots of small stunted crappie. (If you need more info, perhaps some of our actual experts will drop in.)

A largemouth bass/blue gill pond should perform really well in NE LA.

How much do you think people will swim in the pond? BG are awesome fish because they are forage for bass AND fun to catch for kids AND good to eat if you manage them to a good size. Unfortunately, they do like to nip swimmers! If you expect lots of swimming, then maybe you can ask for some alternate fish options.

Good luck on your new pond venture!

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I did not complete any core samples and not sure where/what I should send for that.

My thoughts on 2 phases is realizing that the additional quarter mile driveway may be out of my budget as we had some unexpected costs arise. This is a secondary driveway since my home access will be down a gravel road and I'm hesitant to build it up with dirt because I don't want to have to degrass it later. However, depending on how things go, I may just build up higher than I need, so that I can degrass later without going below desired grade. Current plan is to utilize a large ~180 HP tractor and large belly scraper (not sure of proper name). I may have access to a 5 yard scraper that my 95HP can handle well at about half capacity, but to be determined.

I don't believe my family will ever get in the pond to swim, definitely less that 3-4 times per year and possibly zero. I don't intend on stocking with bass, unless I'm instructed that it is a must. I'd be fine with just crappie if that is possible, but we like to catch bluegill also. I'd like to have fish large enough to filet a few which is why I'd prefer crappie, but it isn't a must have.

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Welcome to the forum!

Originally Posted by TigerFanatic1
My sole purpose for fishing is to enjoy with family and have been debating on bluegill, red ears, or crappie. My favorite fish is crappie, but everything I read says not to stock with them. Is there a concern with not being able to remove enough of them or crappie eating other species?

To answer your question, yes and yes. You will need a predator in there to eat the smaller fish to allow the fish that avoid predation to grow to a size that you can eat. You will have to have a self-sustaining minnow population in the pond to even have a snowballs chance in hades to sustain any crappie.

As for digging the pond in two stages, don't. Plain and simple. Digging the pond small and steep, then going back in to make it bigger and more gradual the following year will cost you probably 2x the dollars than doing it all at once. You will have to deal with wet soupy dirt, you will have to dewater the pond to get the dirt out and to contour it, and a tractor with a pan scraper won't be able to get the dirt once the ground is saturated with water. You'd have to get an excavator and a dump truck or an excavator and that tractor/pan scraper. Plus any fish in there are toast because you have to dewater the pond to dig the 2nd part. You should put Fatheads or Gambusia in the pond for the first year to help control mosquitoes; any game fish put in there the first year will most likely die when you go to dig the 2nd half.


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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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Would I want bass if I went primarily BG or redear? If it's determined that it's cost twice as much to phase the pond, then I'd likely move forward with moving dirt now and add the extra to allow for de-grassing later. I'd like to better understand the expected annual harvest rate of crappie with and without predators. With a 3/4-1 acre pond, what would be the normal required harvest of fish to sustain a health balance? There are probably some threads already that I just haven't discovered yet.

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Welcome to PB.

I would not try crappie in a 1 acre pond. To many issues.
















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There are numerous highly probable risks of using crappie in smaller ponds. It has been successfully accomplished a few times by pondmiesters here and they have reported their results in past forum threads. However these success stories have not been recently updated. The long term success may not hold true. Be financially and emotionally prepared to completely renovate the entire fishery if the crappie become a problem as the pond ages past 8-12 yrs. . If you decide to stock some crappie and to lessen the risk of failure by all means use Hybrid Crappie (see link). Read carefully through the posts from our crappie topic from the Common Q&A Archives. Using hybrid crappie significantly lessen the chances of getting too many stunted slow growth crappie. Note when crappie stunt most of the other fish in the pond under-perform. Also in the discussions from the link pay very close attention to type and number of predators that were used with crappie.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92447#Post92447

Basic Info on Hybrid Crappie
Rex Rains the fish hauler has access to hybrid crappie. The only research we've sourced states they will reproduce, but the F2's do not grow fast and are "inferior" and highly susceptible to predation from BG, YP - and in my case, SMB and HSB. I'm pretty leary of introducing mixed sex crappie into my watersheds regardless of whether they're hybrids or not...can anyone confirm or dismiss my fears of overpopulation in regards to hybrid crappie?

https://malonelake.com/hybrid-crappie-ponds

https://malonelake.com/new-ponds

HYBRID CRAPPIE. Hybrid crappie are the first generation cross between a black crappie and a white crappie. The resulting hybrid displays limited reproduction and increased growth.

Early research indicates that hybrid crappie populations are 50% male and 50% female and are capable of producing large numbers of offspring. However, the offspring of hybrid crappie are inferior in terms of growth and are readily controlled (eaten) by bass and bluegill. Therefore, when stocking hybrid crappie in ponds with bass and bluegill very few baby crappie will survive, preventing overpopulation. In a ten year study conducted in Illinois, ponds stocked with hybrid crappie, bass and bluegill, the hybrid crappie were unable to maintain their population (take over the pond).



The same research indicates and F1 Hybrid Crappie grow faster and weigh more than both black crappie and white crappie.

The Hybrid Crappie is new to pond stocking and there is still a great deal to learn about them. Stock 300 Hybrid Crappie per acre and be sure to stock bass and bluegill with them to control reproduction. Due to their limited reproduction Hybrid Crappie will need to be restocked periodically.

The Hybrid Crappie produced by J.M. Malone and Son, Inc. is the original cross between an Arkansas Black Nosed Black Crappie* male and a white crappie female resulting in a hybrid crappie with a black stripe running down its nose. This black stripe is not an indication that a crappie is a hybrid crappie. Therefore, be advised when purchasing hybrid crappie, just because it has a black stripe on its nose does not make it a hybrid crappie.

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Originally Posted by TigerFanatic1
Would I want bass if I went primarily BG or redear? If it's determined that it's cost twice as much to phase the pond, then I'd likely move forward with moving dirt now and add the extra to allow for de-grassing later. I'd like to better understand the expected annual harvest rate of crappie with and without predators. With a 3/4-1 acre pond, what would be the normal required harvest of fish to sustain a health balance? There are probably some threads already that I just haven't discovered yet.

You have to have some sort of predator to eat the myriad of smaller fish. Let me back up a bit, I need a 2 part answer from you for the first question, and a 1 part answer for the 2nd question. What will the forage base be in the pond for the crappie, and how big would the forage base be (an answer in pounds would be OK for the 2nd part of the question)? How many crappie of what size would you ideally like to harvest per year? The forage base question has to be answered before your harvest question can be answered.

Do some research on carrying capacity, and have this in mind before you answer. Then look at feed conversion rates for fish feeding on natural food because you won't be able to buy feed trained crappie.


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esshup has very good information about needing predators. You will need I think two species of predator - largemouth and hybrid striped bass. Both together result in bigger crappie by using two modes of predator action by keeping crappie from becoming over abundant. When overabundant they do not grow thus you will have little or no harvest. As noted above your best success growing big crappie will be using hybrid crappie (HBCP).

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Bill, fingers crossed, but a customer has them in his 4 ac pond with SMB and HSB. I will be adding 40 Saugeye and more Northern strain SMB this Spring providing I can get some from Kenny. He aggressively fishes the pond and he also has a self-sustaining population of Golden Shiners. IIRC he has HBC now pushing 16"-17".


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Originally Posted by esshup
What will the forage base be in the pond for the crappie, and how big would the forage base be (an answer in pounds would be OK for the 2nd part of the question)?
I haven't determined this yet, as I'm still in the pond construction planning stage but am here to research and determine what is required. The little I've researched is planning on minnows for sure, but I'm sure it isn't as easy as just that.

Originally Posted by esshup
How many crappie of what size would you ideally like to harvest per year?
I'm not looking for a trophy pond at the time, as I'd rather catch in volume due to a large family with children. Most of my family enjoys eating fish on the bone, although I do prefer fillet size fish for the younger kids. I'm expecting the harvest requirements would be lower than family expectations of taking home coolers full of fish. I currently don't have a clue of expected harvest rates of any species for a pond that is 3/4-1 acre.

I know all that was a bit of rambling, but that's where I am with overall understanding of pond management. My overall plan is to learn what can be harvested in unfertilized ponds and fertilized ponds while maintain a population without annual restocking versus annual restocking, then determine what I can or can't live with versus how much money I want to put into it. The kids won't care what they catch and I enjoy eating most pond fish except bass, so I'm very flexible on desired species and will likely go with whatever gives me the best family experience.

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Two easy approaches to this Tiger.

LMB, BG, RES, Possible CC
- If you don't harvest the bass they will eventually overpopulate and stunt. This will leave you with lots of small bass and big BG/RES. CC don't typically recruit in pond so you may have to stock them over the years as you need more if used.


LMG, BG, RES, Possible CC
- If you actively manage the LMB they get bigger because there is more food for them to eat. Same rules apply to the CC as above.


One of the pros here could help you further. Both of the above are pretty tried and true when it comes to food from the pond. I'd bet there's also some stocking recommendations on your state wildlife website and from local hatcheries.


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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
I'd bet there's also some stocking recommendations on your state wildlife website and from local hatcheries.

Tiger,

Here is a link to an excellent pond resource from the Louisiana DWF.

Louisiana Pond Basics

Lots of OTHER good information for you in there besides fish stocking!


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