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Joined: May 2004
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Tell me if I have this right. We fertilize in order to establish a bloom. We aerate to add O2 to the water and control the bloom. Then we fertilize again to keep the bloom going. I understand (from reading here) that the jury is still out as to whether aerating will reduce the amount of sludge in my pond. Some say yes, others are undecided. My .72 acre pond is 30 plus years old, 10' at the deepest and 3-5' almost everywhere else and shaped like a triangle, 250' across the dam and 280' along the other 2 sides. I get runoff from around 10 acres. To my knowledge it has never been aerated other than what Mother Nature gives it. The bass that I have caught to date are all 16 inches or less, with many in the 10" range. They don't seem overly thin but I haven't weighed any of them. I also have white crappie but they only get caught once. I have caught crappie from 4 to 10 inches long. Either me or my dog eat them, depending on their size. My dog eats every fish I toss her from nose to tail, scales, guts head and all and it hasn't killed her yet.
I don't feed the bluegill but there seems to be a lot of small ones. I don't believe the previous owner had much interest in fishing. She was a fan of dying the water to kill the weeds. How can I tell if I have too many of one kind of fish. I suspect too many predators, but how can I be sure.


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Man it sounds like a vicious circle!!?? or is it cycle??? same difference, isn't it?? (favorite saying of an old buddy) Yea, we fertilize to create plankton, and we aeriate to save our fish from algae overbloom (filamentous algae that is) The main thing to remember is that its all a matter of timing-timing-timing. You can either hire an experience manager or become one yourself through trial and error!! If you know someone at your local wildlife and fisheries office they may be talked into doing an electroshock survey, or you can sein a portion and have a biologist identify each fish by species and age to get a sampling of your pond diversity. None of this stuff comes easy. I'm sure you will get more helpful advice!

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What kind of dog?


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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Randy,

Great note. I also once had a dog that would eat every fish I would allow him to get close to. That's a good memory. Now, about your pond.

What are your goals, expectations for the pond? The answer to that question will provide some "steerage" for folks response. Trophy bass pond, fishing for kids with lots of action, fish for food, or?

One thing I have learned regardless of your goals is that it helps tremendously to feed your fish regularly during the growing season. Toward that end, buy a quality feeder up front, such as the Stren. They cost more, but believe me they are worth it in the long run.

As to fertilization, with somewhat less certainty than feeding, I'm in favor of it. I've done it both with and without fertilization and with fertilization I've experienced much better reproduction of the lower end of the food chain, i.e fathead minnows, threadfin shad, and baby bluegill. The downside can be unwanted, undesirable plant growth. Some say that proper fertilization discourages plant growth by reducing the amount of available sunlight to the plants. Unfortunately, I've seen the opposite happen at my pond.

Finally, aeration. I just recently installed an aeration system in my 3 acre pond, mainly convinced by the experts on this Board that doing so would improve water quality, reduce algae growth, and eliminate the danger of fish kills due to pond turnover in the summer months. Too early to tell if this all holds true, but early indications are that aeration is really a good thing.

Tell us your goals and you'll get more help.

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Goals for the pond:

I would rather have more bass in the 3-6 lb range rather than trophy bass. Bigger bluegill for the kids to catch. Right now the BG I have seen/caught have been 3-5 inches, not much fun even for a 6 year old.

The Dog:

She is a 4 or 5 year old blue heeler who adopted me 3 years ago. She just showed up and never left. I like to fish,,, my dog LOVES for me to fish!!


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James,
I am going to sink or swim on my own and with what I can glean from all the hundreds of years of knowledge floating around in the heads of the members of this forum. I just got a written report from a aquatic biologist from a local hatchery who (because of my lack of patience) sold me on reward for my curly leaf pond weed. I am here to tell you that stuff works! I killed weeds that I didn't even think I sprayed! Then I added 8 grass carp to the 6 already there and my weed problem is almost gone. I have a pretty steady greenish tint to the water so I don't think I need to fertilize any time soon. Just worked the pond with a worm and caught 2 small bass about 10 inches long. Saw quite a few BG around the edges of the pond and a few (very few) fatheads from a 30lb stocking about 2 months ago.
They were babies and I haven't seen any adults is some time. I have put 2 cedars in the pond in 2 different places and am seeing minnows and sm bg (I think they are BG) hovering pretty close to it. Man, I never knew there was so much work in managing a pond. When I was 10 I used to routinely catch 6 pounders out of a local farm pond by my house. Ok,, so that was 34 years ago, but I KNOW that farmer didn't "manage" his 3 acre pond! But I want the good fishing so I will have to educate myself with you good folks assistance.


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Meadowlark,

I appreciate the input. What are you retired from? I retired from the Navy after 20 years and THAT retirement sure isn't enough to quit working! So I help people with their computer problems. Anyway, I am already leaning towards an aeration system, but the more I read about them the more confused I get. Taking them at face value, they are all the best thing since sliced bread. I have seen quite a few posts regarding feeding the fish and will look at them again, paying attention this time! As I stated earlier, my primary goal is some nice sized bass and Bluegill. If I can do that AND have some nice crappie, great. If not I will break out the Dynamite to get rid of the Crappie! (just kidding about the dynamite, C4 works better as it doesn't get waterlogged!)
I really appreciate all the posts/replies to the questions of the ignorant.


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Randy,
If desired & needed you can fertilize to get a bloom. Some folks don't need to fertilize. If max production of fish from the pond is your goal then you should try to aquire & maintain 18" to 24" vis. in your pond.
Again I say as shallow as your pond is I don't think you need to aeration. I don't think you will get stagnet low oxygen water in that shallow a pond.
The bloom makes oxygen, & will produce more than is needed as long as there is sunlight. The only time one has to worry is when vis. in the pond drops too much, say below 12" & there are several days of cloud cover. In such a case the dieing algae will consume more oxygen than the remaining algae can produce causing oxygen depletion & fish kill. The same can be true if vis drops below 12" .... the algae will consume more oxygen at night than it produces during the day again causing oxygen depletion.
Unless you have nutrient rich runoff entering the pond causing too much bloom I don't think you will benefit from an aerator. You don't need it to add oxygen which will alow bacteria to eat sludge because it's very unlikely you have any oxygen depleted water. However it won't hurt to have one, if you prefer.
With a shallow pond I would expect to have a weed problem. Sounds like you have it under control, but the minnows & small b/g will benifit from some weeds.


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Randy,

Retired NASA, but still doing some consulting work.

There are numerous posts on this Board regarding the pros and cons of crappie. My opinion is that for your size pond and your objectives of a strong bass population and big Bluegill, the crappie are counter productive. They tend to overpopulate and reduce available forage for the bass. A healthy sizable bass population goes good with big bluegill, i.e. bass pick off the small bluegill leaving you with the larger ones for reproduction and continuing to supply the food chain.

As pointed out in an earlier post, aeration is probably of marginal benefit for your depth pond, but it certainly doesn't hurt. The one thing you can do that will provide real benefits relatively quickly is to start a feeding program and continue it through the growing season.


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