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#15602 07/31/04 11:15 PM
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I think all pond owners know the feeling when the contractor pulls up to the site and starts to unload the tools of the trade. After almost a three year wait, Monday was the day for me. Contractor scheduling and weather was the cause of the delay but the wait is now history.

This new pond will be a compare and contrast of sorts. My first pond was constructed, pre-Pond Boss, and the mistakes are too numerous to mention. Hopefully this pond will showcase all the great advice and guidance that has been given here on this board. Many, many thanks go out to all you fish squeezers.

My new puddle is 80' in diameter by 8' deep. The size of the pond was limited by three factors; the site is sandwiched between two neighboring parcels, the location of my barn and the location of the stream. The pond was excavated from an intermittent stream that is located about 20' from my barn.

Soils on this site are classed as silt loam. The first sentence of the soil classification (Soil Survey of Ulster County NY) reads as follows, "This deep, nearly level, poorly drained and very poorly drained soil formed in lacustrine deposits of silt, very fine sand and clay." Further reading states that about the only thing this soil is good for is PONDS. I do not know the entire acreage of the watershed that feeds the site but water is the least of my concerns. Jed Clampett may have hit oil but I'll match him in water.

Now let me move on to some construction specifics. The equipment used for this project was a Cat 320 excavator and a tri-axle dump. Contractor arrived about 7:30 a.m. and we were hauling dirt by 8:00 a.m. Except for a 15 minute coffee break, they worked non-stop and finished the day about 5:30 p.m.. The excavator had a 1 yard bucket but each scoop was heaped, holding about 1.5 yards. Each load was around 15 yards (9-10 buckets). All spoils were dumped 300-400 feet from the pond. Average trip time 6-8 minutes. At the end of the day, I counted 65 piles in the field and 2 loads went to a neighbor. If my math is correct thats 67 loads @ 15 yds/load for a total of roughly 1000 yds. Using the figure of 7.5 gallons of water/cu ft, thats roughly a 200,000 gallon hole. Cost was $1,500.00 and on top of that, the contractor, a good friend, has offered the use of his dozer for FREE.

After the contractor left, I spent a couple of hours hauling structure in place, which consisted of rock piles (for crayfish), logs/brush and artificial christmas trees (I wanted to experiment). Time was of the essence due to the fact that rain was predicted for the next two days. One set back, and a needless one on my part, was that I did not get the diffuser in place because I procrastinated and didn't get all the equipment ready beforehand. I paid the price by the end of the following day. By Tuesday night, the rain had filled the pond over half full and by wednesday, the water level was 8" below the outlet. Predictions had been for about 1/2" of rain Tuesday and isolated thundershowers on Wednesday. Like previously stated, water is not a concern.

My gameplan now is to let the pond sit for a few weeks. The water is cloudy but beginning to clear. I need to come up with a plan to get the diffuser in place, all suggestions welcomed. I'd like to be ready to stock by September. My GOAL for this pond is little kids with BIG smiles holding Big Bluegill!

For this I will stock with bluegill and attempt to control numbers with a combination of channel cats (for occasional table fare), fishing and seining. I realize that I may be heading for pitfalls but its an experiment that I approach with high hopes. Given the size of the pond, if this experiment should fail, I'm prepared to accept fate and try a new approach. I will update this thread periodically with my progress.

Russ

#15603 08/01/04 08:11 PM
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I think it is best to place your diffuser after the pond is full.

Mount your diffuser on a disk shaped snow saucer or used, well worn, car tire. Both when tied to a rope, can be pulled into the pond from shore. They are like a sled and slide easily across the bottom. I can send you pictures if necessary.

Why are you not stocking LM bass in the pond?. Bass will do a better job than cats at controlling the bgill. cats will eat bgill, but I don't think they are as efficient at eating bgill as bass. I could be wrong. Want big bgill and no overcrowding problem?; stock only male bgill.

Fishing will be more exciting with bass than w/ cats. Northern bass will grow faster than the cats since cats do better in warmer waters. I tend to be biased for bass vs cats. Most all "nothern hatchery cats for sale" are raised in AK and south. Cats with no bass present might spawn and you could be overrun with little catfish. I would rather have the problem of too many bass rather than too many catfish. Abundant catfish will tend to make the water cloudy esp when they are spawning size.


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#15604 08/02/04 05:27 AM
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Hi Bill,

Due to my stocking plan, I thought this might get your attention so I'm glad you responded.

First, let me update the progress of the pond. With a good shower saturday night, the pond is now full which puts the waterline about 6" below grade. Since this is an excavated pond, the outlet being the original stream bed, my initial thoughts were to build a 4-6" dam (raise the stream bed) thus bringing the water level up to ground level. Because of the amount of runoff we receive from snow melt, I've decided to wait until next spring and let mother nature dictate whether or not to the raise the level. The 6" "reserve" may just be insurance against any flooding.

Bill, someone on the board posted pictures of your idea about using an old saucer or tire for a diffuser base. These are certainly options I will give thought to.

The question about using cats with BG was one I pondered for a while. With my goal being BIG BG, I know one option is to go bass heavy, something I learned here. However, the various conversations of cats, as potential predators, has piqued my interest.

Here were my "positive" thoughts.
1. Given the small size of this pond, its offers a good opportunity to experiment. If the experiment fails it would be easy to correct, drain and start from scratch if necessary.
2. Cats would make a nice addition to the table, on occasion.

Now for the concerns.
1. Will cats "only" be able to control BG numbers? My license includes seining so that option is also available.
2. Given the soil types here, I'm concerned about turbidity and what effect it would have. From past experience, I had a couple of snapping turtles in the stream and just their moving about the bottom would result in some cloudiness to the water. This is one point you mentioned.
3. We talked awhile back about male BG only but I'm not confident of my ability to sex out male only. In one of your posts on the subject, you mentioned that if one female gets in, it will have a major impact. I did plan on talking to the hatchery about male only BG though.

Another thought I had was to go bass heavy with a few cats (to satisfy my palate). The cat, BG scenario is not, cast in stone, so I'm open to any and all responses.

Russ

#15605 08/02/04 09:13 AM
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Russ, have you considered feeding the bluegill? A friend of mine has a very small pond (50' X 150'). He has LMB, white bass, yellow perch, rock bass, crappie, bluegill and green sunfish. He has access to all the fathead minnows he wants and feeds them heavily. A fish feeder would do the same thing. He has a good spawn but no successful reproduction because of the heavy predation. This is very much a put, grow and take operation. You might consider something like this.


Norm Kopecky
#15606 08/02/04 06:53 PM
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There are no ponds near me that have just cats and bgill. There is one (0.2 ac) that is "cat heavy" (larger cats) although a few bass are present. This pond seems to remain fairly balanced but the large bgill and all sizes of bass are scarse; probably cat predation. Cats do not spawn there.

I am not sure how many others here have experience with just cats and bgill.

I think his would work best if the cats did not spawn. This way you have direct control of their numbers. If your rock pile structures are farily tight and openings are smallish where cats could not get into a cavity to spawn your idea has a better chance of succeeding. A nearby pond with large cement rock "condos" promoted cat spawning here. Weeds improved survival of young cats. Overabundant cats will be a turbidity problem. Your underwater structures may inhibit proper seining of the pond. .

Your pond is small, 80 ft circle (0.12acre). As you mention the big benefit here is being able to quickly drain and start over.

Here is another idea. At first try the male only bgill, feed them for growth. Maybe add a few cats for table use. When you see that you have mistakenly added a female bgill (presence of young bgill) then it is time to add the cats OR more cats for population control. This method will give you experience sorting male and female bgill. Sorting/separating is easier than you may think. The bigger the adult bgill is and the closer to spawning season, the easier it is to separate them .

As I said earlier, my main concern with numerous cats in your small pond is potential for turbidity problems if you get too many adult breeder cats. Last week we saw in a pond where a large catfish had "dug" out a cavity the size of a bushel basket in the side of a clay lined pond. The even more impressive thing about this was the cavity was dug out into and through a 8"-10" thick layer of 1"-2" limestones that were placed as a stone ledge along the upper bank wall to a depth of 3'. Saw the fish in the cavity. A very determined fish!.


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#15607 08/03/04 10:59 PM
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Norm,

First let me congratulate you and your family on the success of your aquatic achievements. I'm sure it was(is) alot of work but the "payback" no doubt makes it all worthwhile. Lots of smiling faces in the Pond Boss article.

I appreciate the thoughts you passed along concerning my newest pond. One of my early thoughts was to introduce the BG and cats together and pellet feed both until the BG begin to spawn. At that point I was going to ween the cats off feed hoping they would start to prey on the baby BG. Whatever avenue I pursue, I would like to incorporate a feeding program.

Bill,

Referencing the structure in my pond, during construction, I had the contractor cut a shelf along the edge of the pond. The total length is about 40 feet.
It starts out about 1' below waterline, extends out into the pond 18" for a length of 20'. On this I piled rocks. The rocks are piled high enough so that they show above the waterline. My intent was to give the crayfish a place to call home. I never gave any thought to cats using this area for spawning.
The shelf then drops to about 4' below waterline, extends out into the pond about 3-6' for another 20 feet. This is where I placed the logs/brush. In summation, this gives me a contiguous 40' shelf comprised of rocks, logs, brush and some attempt at contouring. I also added 4 - 4' artifical christmas trees.

The bottom of the pond (roughly 50' diameter) is void of structure right now however, I'm thinking about adding another brush pile or two.

As was stated earlier, I did have initial thoughts about what effect the cats would have on turbidity. This was(is) my biggest concern.
After reading all the input so far, I'm starting to lean towards getting the BG stocked next month and start them on feed. I'm going to see if the hatchery owner will educate me on sexing out male only. Come spring we'll see where I stand. If BG offspring appear, I'll bring in some LMB from my other pond.

In the meantime, I took a pH reading today and its in the range of 7.6 - 7.8. Test kit was one you use for pools. Water looks a light lime green. I hope to have a secchi disc made by the weekend to measure turbidity.

Russ

#15608 08/04/04 06:52 PM
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Russ - Years ago when I did a partial draw down of my larger pond, I built a rock pile like you describe. Worked good until ice from several winters knocked a lot of the uppermost rocks off the pile. I takes real large rocks to withstand ice movement.

I suggest you not put any brush or items in the bottom of your pond. If you ever want to seine the pond this "trash" will be a source for lots of aggrevation. Seining would be easiest and most efficient if you partially removed at least 50% of teh water first and consolidate the fish into a smaller area. The "cover" should be confined in the upper layer of water.

During winter you will find that almost all the larger fish will be concentrated 85% to 95% of the time in the deepest, central, 50 diameter basin irrregardless of the presence or absence of cover.

PS: I you need advice on separating male and female bgill email me for help.


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#15609 08/06/04 04:52 AM
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Bill,

With the Hudson River only a couple of miles from my place, I've seen the power of ice in tidal situations. That river has produced some amazing ice "sculptures". I didn't think ice would be a big problem concerning the rocks I've added to my pond but I'll just have to wait till spring to see the results.

Russ

p.s. I've sent you an email.

#15610 08/06/04 09:55 AM
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Time usually produces more answers.


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#15611 08/21/04 01:17 PM
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Rain can be a wolf in sheeps clothing. The effects of that statement have hit hard here in the past week.

With this new pond, rain now seems to be my enemy turning the water coffee color, light no sugar. Yesterday, after some rain during the week, I was able to see the tips of the artifical christmas trees that were added for structure. The tips are about 8" below the surface. Last night and for the most of today, its been rain, heavy at times. Any gains in visibility have been washed away. The long range forecast is for good weather starting tomorrow and continuing all week. This will offer me an opportunity to take daily measurements, using the secchi disc, to see how fast the pond recovers.

One thing that really has me concerned \:\( is a house that is being built upstream from the pond. After some rain we received about a week ago, I noticed sediment being carried downstream from this lot. Silt fencing is in place but there is one drainage ditch that collects water from the property and deposits it in the stream that feeds the pond. I called the owner and asked him to make an effort to get a lawn started. Thursday they seeded half the yard. Hopefully they can finish the rest during the week. Todays rain is taking its toll on the still unfinished portion and the pond is on the receiving end.

Moving on, my current project involves getting the aeration system installed which hopefully I can complete this week. For northern pond owners, I've posted a question about my system under the topic, AERATION: SYSTEMS QUESTIONS. See the heading "Winterization and Algae."

In September, stocking should begin with "male only" bluegill. I plan to record lengths and weights for tracking purposes. I'll also need to establish some type of fencing to keep the fish in. Its amazing how busy this small pond can be.

Russ

#15612 08/28/04 07:10 PM
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Last weekend was a washout, which resulted in a very muddy pond but this weekend made amends. Actually, the weather all week has been sunny with seasonal temps. Great week to get some work done around the pond.

The last of the grading has been completed. The shoreline was spruced up a bit by adding more rocks to the existing pile. I did some "shopping" at the local landfill and walked away with a snow coaster for the diffuser, an extension cord for the compressor and some hardware cloth.

Spent part of today installing the diffuser, which is working fine, I think. This is my first aeration system. While floating over top of the diffuser, I could feel cool water so it seems that mixing is taking place. I took a couple of dives to checkout the diffuser but visibility hindered my quest. Like others have posted, the compressor does get hot so a fan has been added to the "shopping" list. I also installed a couple of floodlights for those times when we want to do some night skating.

All week long I took measurements to see how much the pond would recover from last weeks rains and by Friday afternoon, visibility was 39".

Next project is to construct some "border crossings" out of the hardware cloth. I hope to start stocking in a couple of weeks.

Russ

#15613 09/12/04 04:30 PM
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Couple of updates.

The contractor, who is building a house upstream from the pond, has seeded his yard and the results are quite noticable. Our area received a good drenching the other day but I did not see the runoff problem that I experienced a few weeks back.

Picked up a small 5" square fan to help cool the compressor. After running the unit for 5 hours the other day (room temps were about 80-82 degrees) the compressor was only warm to the touch. Installed a timer for the compressor and fan.

I hope to hear from the hatchery soon. The frogs and tadpoles have seen the inside of the kids' nets so often that I'm sure they are looking for some relief.

Russ

#15614 08/14/05 08:30 PM
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After seeing the results of this little pond last year, I knew one of my projects for 2005 was to expand it. The project was completed this past week and again I'm very pleased with the results. We removed 38 - 10 wheeler loads of material adding (guessing) another 100,000 gallons.

The weather here has been dry and hot with no significant rain storms on the horizon. In the next few days I hope to add some more structure and put the diffuser in place.

Russ

#15615 08/14/05 08:38 PM
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Russ:

How about an update on the fish? Last entry I noted from 2004 said you were planning on Male-only BG. What did you stock/what did they do?

P.S. I love long-term updates like this. It always takes me a while before I realize WHY I don't remember seing all those posts. It's like getting a whole new thread again.


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#15616 08/17/05 11:12 PM
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Hey Theo, glad to see you are keeping tabs on me. Sorry to disappoint you but I'm fishless. I'll explain.

After the initial construction last year, I exchanged a couple of e-mails with Bill C and decided to try a male only BG pond. Bill sent me info on gender identification but I was not entirely confident of my sexing capabilities. I contacted a local fish farmer about getting male BG, which he said would not be a problem, but never delivered. \:\( With the winter season just over the horizon, I decided to try Bill C's ID notes and fish a small pond that a neighboring farmer owns. ALL the fish I caught were covered with black spots. Coverage ranged from 10% to over 75%!! Needless to say, I was not stocking anything from that pond. Knowing that I wanted to expand the pond this year, I decided to delay the stocking.

Now with all the pictures posted on the board, over the last few months, showing the difference in male/female BG AND using Bill's guide, I'm much more confident that I can sex the fish I want. Once the pond refills, I plan to make another attempt at stocking. We have had a few thunderstorms lately but nothing significant. Right now, water level is a couple of feet.
I will post my progress.

Russ

#15617 08/18/05 07:23 AM
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Russ,

I'm jumping in the middle or end of this thread and apologize for that, but I noticed you still have stocking options. Here is one for you to consider.

Stock your BG, best strain you can find and all sexes, but use all female only LMB as your predators. If you can 100% positive limit the LMB to females, then this could be better than cats as predator. LMB help grow the largest BG's I have ever seen. Plus, on occasion, your kids would get a real treat with a lunker pulling on that string. The key is to get 100% female LMB, complete assurance that no LMB are in the pond now, and protection from the introduction of any unwanted male LMB.

It won't be easy, but I'm intrigued by it and will also try this approach in a very small pond that I have. The reward is smiles on kid's faces.

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Russ :

With a small pond like yours I would strongly consider exactly what ML suggested. In fact if it were my pond , which it is not , I would take Bill's advice to use bass as the predator and ML's to use only female bass and add the best local strain of BG you can find. It should only take a few female bass for your pond. Feeding the BG would be good not only for the fish but for kids and kids at heart to watch. I might even try to pick up a few male only RE for snail control if they will live in NY waters { ? cold }. It sure sounds like fun !!! ewest
















#15619 08/18/05 10:33 PM
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ML,

Your timing is perfect. Middle of the thread but the beginning of the project. Initially, I thought about stocking CC for two reasons; (1) I like catfish and (2) it would be an attempt (experiment) to find out whether or not CC would be an effective predator, keeping the BG in check. That thought process has changed. The biggest reason is turbidity, which Bill C mentioned early on. In the year since the pond was first excavated I've noticed that ANY movement/disturbance of the bottom results in a cloud of sediment. In addition to giving the neighborhood kids a fishing hole, I'd also like to provide them with a chance to observe the fish. If a frog kicks up a cloud of dust as it hauls the mail across the bottom of the pond, I can only imagine the outcome from a bunch of CC.

With my goal set on having a panfish pond, I'd like to have a range of fish sizes for the kids to enjoy. Knowing that BG will overpopulate and stunt quickly, I gave serious thought to Bill's recommendation of using only male BG. It would offer me better population control and I could stock different sizes. That was the plan but, as stated in my previous post, I never received the fish.

Now to present day. Along with observing the pond for a year, I've had the pleasure of reading all the great information here on PB related to panfish. More fuel for the fire. Most recently was a post by Cecil stating his experiment with male only BG has suffered a setback due to the presence of BG fry. Another post of interest is the one titled, "How did these fish arrive?". This pond is the result of excavating out an intermittent stream that runs through my property so I suspect I will end up with some surprises down the road. From all this information, I've come away with the following thoughts. I still want to try a male BG only pond but I suspect that a female or two is going to slip in due to my inexperience of sexing fish. If that occurs, Plan "B" would kick in where I add a predator, most likely LMB, and now with ML and Ewest's advice I could experiment with female only.

I'm excited about the project and if everything goes Murphy on me, its small enough to drain and start over. In the meantime I'm in a holding pattern, waiting for rain. I do appreciate any and all comments.

Russ

#15620 08/19/05 07:37 AM
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Russ, what's the worst that could happen? You could get a male LMB and have lots of LMB and large BG for the kids to catch. Read Jayman's post on his kid's pond where the small LMB literally jump out of the water to hit his 5 year old's Rapalla.

Talk about exciting a kid...nothing will excite like a hungry predator LMB (in fresh water at least).

#15621 08/19/05 10:33 AM
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ML,

If I could get this puddle to the point of producing jumping fish, no doubt that would make for some memorable moments.

Russ

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Russ, I am disappointed that you would let someone's prejudices against CC dissuade you.
They will only stir up the bottom if very hungry. I'm sure the annointed LMB or even the HSB would scavenge rather than face the ultimate.
The CC eats FLOATING pellets, forages BG, shiners, etc. Just go for it! What's the worst that can happen; you have to fish them out and have a fish fry? :rolleyes:


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Russ, there is only one thing my Grandchildren enjoy more than seeing 5+ pound cats eat pellets. When they catch one they really go nuts.

#15624 08/19/05 03:55 PM
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I stocked 300 5-7 inch CC 14 months ago in my pond. There are some CC up to 18 inches long now. Not only the kids but everyone that comes out to my pond loves to see them feed. No problems with stirring up the bottom yet. My only complaint is when I fish for bg I catch more CC than bg. These fish seem to eat anything and everything.

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Keep in mind, folks, Russ is talking about a small pond, 1/4 acre I think.

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ML,

You're being generous. The pond is smaller than 0.25 acres.

BM, DD and DC,

I certainly appreciate the comments. At the time of my choice, I had learned two things from reading PB, (1) BG will reproduce and stunt and (2) better get a predator to address #1. In addition, I had zero experience with CC but decided to try them for the two reasons I stated in a previous post.

Since my initial post didn't generate too much interest, I was glad to read Bill's thoughts on how to achieve my goal. Guessing I would need a fair number of CC as predators, the comment about turbidity piqued my concern. I really didn't want to chance a cloudy pond. In all fairness, he did mention in a subsequent post about adding a few CC for table fare.

Within the past few days, I have received some real good information on other approaches that may achieve my goals, along with gaining an education on others experiences with CC. Its all good and I will take the time to digest it all. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Russ

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