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#16146 12/19/06 09:36 AM
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Well, it's Christmas '06, the pond excavation is completed and the slow process of filling is underway. I definitely have the water quantity to establish a forage base. The plan, after much good discussion on the Alright; talk Fathead to me thread, is to enter a forage stocking strategy as soon as practical this coming spring. But, before I can zero in on the food chain plan, it might be a good idea to plan on the dinner guests. This thread will be my platform for pond resident selection.
We already started to skirt this fish selection stuff on the FH thread noted above. I don't want to lose that good start, so I am gonna cut/paste the pertinent posting below.
Bski says:
 Quote:
OK, now that the court room has settled, the truth is I don't know what I want from this puddle. That's why I'm here (did I just say that out loud?). Here is what I do know. I am creating a potential diamond. I have the raw hunk of carbon between my fingers. I will have one good chance to hone the facets. I am going into this as a non-fisher with the desire to be a fair-weather fisher. I will not be a full timer there for many years. I need a product that is relatively low maintenance. There is no electricity, and I don't anticipate juice for a couple of years. It is low and sheltered by tall timber; wind is fairly restricted, but not non-existant by any means. I have about 6 feet of water over about an acre, then another 3 acres with 3 ft or less. We continue to get good precip thru the midwest. It is realistic to think that I might pick up another 1 or 2 feet before the snow flies. I imagine a prolonged, hard freeze will penetrate about 12"? (tune-up by midwesterners, please). I keep going back to the classic BG, LMB, CC mix. Donna-ski and I are not really not fish-eaters, but we do enjoy fried catfish and perch...the "low fishiness", bland-ish fish meats. She and I both fished alot when we were kids. I would like to see this come back, full circle at mid-life.
Ewest says
 Quote:
Do you like YP ? With low maintenance as a goal I would think about skipping BG and LMB. They require maintenance more than most.

SMB ,HSB, CC, YP , HBG , RES and FH might work for low maintenance and variety.

Bski says:
 Quote:
I will admit that waaay back when, as the pond idea was hatching in my little brain, YP was the plan. This thought, tho, was based solely on the fact that we both enjoy the taste and it was the predominant catch as kids. Kinda funny, lake perch is one of the top priced fish dishes in restaurants around here. As I read more about YP on these forums, it starts to come off as potentially problematic for the low-maint. pond.
Bill Cody says:
 Quote:
My experiences with YP in smaller ponds are that when YP are stocked with LMB the LMB eventually over control the YP in ponds 1 ac or less. That is not always the case when other fish are used as the primary predators. There can be lots of variation of the long term (10+yrs) success of YP & LMB due to individual pond variables. Usually the amount of success of YP with LMB is dependant to on how extensive the weed beds are in the pond, how diverse the forage base is and how the LMB are managed. More weeds and a higher forage base will result in more YP that survive to cleanable size 8"+ for the long term picture. I consider YP thriving when you can catch numerous 10"-14" YP. The size of the pond and diversity or complexity of the ecosystem also probably make a difference in how long the YP are able to maintain their status as a common occurrence in the harvestable panfish fishery. YP may survive better and longer in larger ponds (greater than 2 ac).

Britskii can do an original stocking of YP, BG and minnows (&or Shiners) with LMB. However, I would not add LMB until the YP have spawned for the first time. YP will then do good for a fair amount of time - usually until the original stock and first year class is removed or dies of old age (6-10 yrs). When the LMB have produced several strong year classes of 10"+ individuals, then the population of YP is often marginal. This is when the initial stocking of BG orRES is helpful because they will then be the backbone of the forage fish community to support the LMB.

Theo asks:
 Quote:
How about YP with SMB and perhaps RES, Mr. Cody?
Bill responds:
 Quote:
Theo, I have not sampled or managed a pond with a combinaion of RES, YP and SMB. I see no reason why it would not work. The only reason that I would be hesitant with that combination is RES are sort of difficult to easily catch. RES also do not bite very well in cold temps, where as BG and especially YP are fairly easy to catch in cool and cold water.
Bski asks:
 Quote:
Aren't there temperature issues with YP? I thought that they were sensitive to warmer waters. ie; midwestern ponds.
Ewest responds:
 Quote:
Not to much. YP upper temps. 30 degrees Celsius = 86 degrees Fahrenheit +-.
This is about where the constructive stuff ended and the highly anticipated goofin' began. Ain't it always the way. If I missed some good constructive stuff from that thread, please help me out and bring it on over here and post it.
-
-
Now, may I request that we pick it up from here and continue? I have a few more thoughts on my goals, so I will restate my desires.
I like: BG, YP, CC, and maybe Smallies? I am more focused on good eating; not so much on prize winning trophies like LMB. I want low maintenance. I am going to be promoting waterfowl propagation, so there will be periods of tiny ducklings in the water. I think I gotta preclude LMB since they see tiny ducklings as a snack. Would SMB pose a similar threat? Can a somewhat self sustaining pond of 5 acres be composed of, oh say, BG, YP, and SMB?

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from what i've gleaned here, i would speculate that yer proposed BG, YP, and SMB will not effectively control the BG population growth over time. you might consider HBG, but of coarse this brings its own mgmt worries if their offspring cant be controlled by the YP and SMB.

I wonder if HSB would be a potential predator choice for brettski and goals of good eating and limited mgmt?

I would think SMB could pose the same duckling dinner threat but for a shorter period of time as their mouths arent as big and the ducklings grow pretty fast....and your large shallow wetland area will help that issue alot.

edited post....i also dont recall if you added any rocky habitat?.....critical for good SMB spawning


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Thanks, Dave...
We have about 8 more vertical feet of water elevation to go to normal pool. As with all ponds, this will be the least return of depth per rainfall as it fills a pond that grows wider with each addition. Point: I have some time to still add some stuff at 8 ft deep and less. I have a pile of about 12 tons of oversize river rock mixed with clay (stock from our driveway base). No, I'm not crazy about having to dig in cuz I don't have the equipment...but...I might be able to borrow a tractor with a bucket from a neighbor (hmmmm...I was tryin' to not be beholdin' to anybody, but this is far too important). Actually, I have another option that is a little more attractive to me. I maintain an option of using my 16' utility trailer, go to the local nursery and pick up about 3000# of 1" river rock, and fill the saucers. The leftover 2850#...???

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Brettski:
As with all ponds, this will be the least return of depth per rainfall as it fills a pond that grows wider with each addition.
Obviously you've never seen Lake Erlenmeyer.


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I believe ewest already proposed this on another of today's Brettski threads, but if you can add HSB as needed, I think you could make BG, YP, and SMB work with the additional predator.

As a fallback, introducing LMB should get any runaway species (unfortunately, including SMB ) under control given time.

What did you decide on for forage species to start out with? Just FHM? Any GSH or Gambusia?


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i'd vote for gams....they cant hurt anything as far as i reckon, and only do good things among them being forage.

lets throw in a little philosophy for folks to argue about........an after thought from my earlier post....brettski, you know already (with yer personality) you'll never be able to completely avoid fish mgmt, you are too hands on, that said.....my take on an essentially non-managed pond is that whatever you stock will evolve, you'll have a growth period with not much action, then a renaissance where everything is awesome, and then a decline into mediocrity. this process may span 5, 6, 7, maybe 8 years, longer in a larger pond.

as such, one approach may be to just stock whatever suits yer fancy. i doubt seriously one could stock the perfect way to almost completely eliminate the need for management and maintain a long term top of the line fishery.

at some point, say 9 or 10 years down the road, i'll bet you a dime corrective management will be a necessity to bring the pond back in balance no matter what was initially stocked. you WILL also have GSF at this time, and we can argue then whether or not the birds brought them \:\)

the above is (perhaps) an argument for putting BG in yer pond......personally, i just cant imagine a pond without BG \:D if they begin to overpopulate some, so what?.....if yer not concerned with condello sized trophys and would be happy, as many of us would, having abundant and consistent fishing action and pan ready fish in the 7 to 8-inch range....just imagine the fun. a 5 acre pond will grow some nice lepomis.

if your not too far north for RES, make sure you pepper in a lot of those too.

shoot me down \:D


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 Quote:
Originally posted by dave in el dorado ca:
...whatever you stock will evolve, you'll have a growth period with not much action, then a renaissance where everything is awesome, and then a decline into mediocrity. this process may span 5, 6, 7, maybe 8 years, longer in a larger pond.


at some point, say 9 or 10 years down the road, i'll bet you a dime corrective management will be a necessity to bring the pond back in balance no matter what was initially stocked
This matches well with the model I've observed in watching dozens of ponds that were allowed to evolve without management.

Fish such as RES, SMB and HSB are extremely unlikely to become management headaches. RES and SMB because of low fecundity and HSB because of virtual sterility.

I think if you like these fish you should stock them. If you add LMB later you can quickly subdue numbers of these fish if necessary.

Your pond will thrive, as most new ponds do, and at that point you will be so comfortable with management issues that it should be a matter of routine to reset the pond with harvest strategies.

YP are the fish that I would completely defer to Mr. Cody. I love them, and think they would survive in your pond, but they are probably a wild card of sorts.

BG will probably overpopulate in the absence of LMB. They almost certainly won't overpopulate however if you have a LMB community that sees limited harvest. I think maybe stock both or neither. If you're not sure, then stock neither because they are easy to acquire later and can be added in.

My rule of thumb says: It's easier to stock fish than to unstock them. Don't add fish that you are unsure of.


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A few thoughts and questions:
LMB are average taste for consumption, right? Thumbs down. They will suck down ducklings fairly readily; thumbs down. They are great sport fish; don't really care. They are excellent for controlling more than just BG population, right? Thumbs up.
SMB are above average taste for consumption, right? Thumbs up. They have smaller mouths so they are less of a duckling threat, right? Thumbs up. They are another great sport fish, right? Don't really care, (but cool advantage if they are are the chosen ones). The big question: How are they for controlling other populations?
HSB....taste? Their desire for Dunkin' Ducklings? Their ability to control other populations?
OK, here's the deal. I was all OK with LMB. They seem to be the ideal neighborhood robo-cops. I've got issues now with the Dunkin' Ducklings franchise going into the wetland zone. Past that, I'm still good with robo-cops. Talk to me.

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HSB taste....OK, if you do the right things.

HSB desire for Dunklings....Zero.

HSB ability to control other populations....Not nearly as good as you'd think. Depends on what they're controlling. If your pond has a big weed-free area and you're talkin' shad, then the HSB will hit 'em pretty hard. If it's any other fish that's utilizing aquatic vegetation for cover, then the HSB is only a minor player. Studies have shown that you can squash YOY crappie numbers if you stock oodles of YOY HSB, but big HSB will only thrive in a pond with significant aquatic vegetation if they are stocked in low density or have high amounts of artificial feed.


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I do believe you can have a good bit of diversity in a 5.5 acre pond. However, I would start by establishing some kind of ecosystem, and then if, down the line, you want to add some bonus fish here or there, it's an option.

If it was my pond, I would go with Fatheads, Golden Shiners, Yellow Perch, SMB, and HSB.

I would not introduce them all at one time; instead, I would phase them in over different time spans.

For instance, you can easily get larger HSB (8" up to 16" plus) for stocking whenever you want, so I would let YP and SMB get to 10" plus sizes before I put in HSB.

I would put fatheads and YP in this spring (I would have already put fatheads in....sorry, had to say it for burger).

Then depending on the availability of SMB, I might put them in Fall '07. The smallies don't grow as fast as LMB (or HSB), so exisiting forage fish have time to get bigger even with 5-6" SMB around.

Once the smallies were 8", maybe 9-10", I would start to load up on Golden Shiners in the 5" plus range. Again, these are easily available.

I would give the Golden Shiners about 6 months to grow, and then I'd put in some larger HSB stockers. Or bump up the HSB stocking, but go with smaller stockers like 6-8".

Anywhere down the line, you could add a few channel cats just for a surprise fish, or even a few walleye.

Keep in mind, I've added 30-40 Channel cats to my pond over the last few years, and I've never seen a single one since. The last three I stocked where 26" long each, and albino to boot. Never saw them again.


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sunil, one of these days you'll hook up, it will surprise you so much it will pull you over the side down in the drink, you'll swim to shore all the time hanging on to yer rod, and you'll fight another 10 minutes and pull up a 30 lb catfish \:D

brettski, i wouldnt necessarily agree that LMB dont taste as good as SMB. i've had both, and loved both. what i have noticed though is a difference in taste between any black bass species taken from cold water versus warm water though.....and prefer those taken from colder waters, of which yer pond will likely qualify.

as i ponder the duckling dinner aspects, i know for a fact (and many others here have said the same) that LMB take ducklings......however, if sufficient forage exists in the pond (i.e. lotsa BG) i am skeptical that the LMB would have a really significant impact on waterfowl reproduction given your large shallow wetland area....not trying to sway you fish wise at all, just curious (and drawing attention to ) if any thorough studies have ever been conducted on this issue.

in our case, they (the LMB) take some every spring down at the ranch pond but it doesnt seem to hurt the overall presence or population of ducks in our area. the larger factor appears to me to be coyotes and fox, perhaps coon.


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Bski-
Here are a few thoughts about your stocking plan.
Firstly, I very seriously doubt the SMB in the presence of normal densities of underwater forage items, will ever eat a duckling. Possible but not very likely. If SMB are eating ducklings, you have some trophy class SMB worthy of Cecil's big pondfish contest. If you keep your SMB crowded, I doubt that the pond will ever produce trophy class SMB capable of eating even day old ducklings.

Secondly, see this thread from the "old days", http://www.pondboss.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000079

Lake Doctor, who we hear very little from recently, was very pro SMB-BG. As I recall, he was about the only one here who had some experience with this combo and felt strongly about the benefits of it. I and dave-in-eldorado and probably others, question how well SMB will control BG. I am not sure of the reasons why D.I.E.D says it is a poor choice, but I have doubts about it primarily because of the high variability among pond habitats and the common occurrence of poor SMB hatches and the ability of BG to quickly grow to a shape not condusive to being eaten by a smaller mouthed predator. If you do decide to go with SMB and BG, then reduce the problem of SMB recruitment by providing ample optimum spawning habitat for them. Be prepared to supplimentally stock some SMB when YOY recruitment is very poor. SMB-BG obviously can work in some situations or else Lakedoctor would not have been so positive about the combination. One very impt thing we never gleaned from him was the amount of weed growth present in his successful ponds with the risky SMB-BG senerio. I think the SMB when in crowded conditions (low harvest, with high densities) can very likely hold the BG to reasonable densities. There is a small pond near me that has SMB YP and a few HBG. Here in this moderately weedy, 0.3 ac, the SMB are overcrowded and they RULE where largest SMB here is around 16-17" and most are below std weight. Almost no recruitment occurs for YP or HBG in this pond. Grass carp may be a way to feasably manage weed growth for you and minimize the amount of natural refugia in your 5 ac pond. Minimizing weed growth will "open it up" and reduce the hiding spaces for small fish.

Now, if you go throwing in other forage species such as YP, shiners, crayfish, that manage to survive long term, then the SMB may resort to feeding on other spp rather than BG. It gets complicated. As others have suggested, when BG get out of control, the ability of adding LMB would allow you to get the BG back to normal densities. IMO if the SMB have BG under control, I doubt very much YP, at the same time, will ever be over populated. I think small YP (2"-4"), if commonly abundant, will be a preferred item by SMB.

There has been recent discussion here about the ability of larger YP to control or heavily prey on BG esp the ones smaller than 2". Ewest & Cecil (I think) emphasized in a recent post this ability of YP to prey on small BG esp during winter. I dug deeper into the published research about this topic. After examining it, I was still doubtful about how much impact YP will have on controling BG. I intreperted the situations where YP ate significant numbers of small BG were the exception rather than the rule. Also YP ate small BG more when other winter forage items were usually "slim pickens". However I do think YP when present at significant numbers at 8+" can consume significant numbers of small BG during cold water periods, but again it depends on several or even numerous interrelated variables as to how many small BG get eaten by YP. I repeat absensce of other forage items is important for this behavior to occur.

Bottom line from me for right now, is I would not be afraid to stock SMB-YP-BG along with appropriate forage fish. Initially go a little heavy on SMB numbers. You want to start out at least for the first several years with overcrowded SMB populations.

But first, decide why not to initially try SMB-RES-YP and forego BG. YP and RES should be able to provide a very adequate panfish fishery. Some HSB and or catfish can be added later or almost anytime in a 5 ac situation as the fishery becomes established. If the combination gets out of hand then make some adjustments with LMB and-or BG. It will not take very long for BG and LMB to become major players in an existing combination of SMB-YP-RES.

Maybe we can entice the LakeDoctor to revisit the forum for more of his insight on this topic after he has had time (3yrs) to gather more experience with SMB-BG in his client base. I am not sure that he is still in business?.

Postscript - Obviously there are other very acceptable combinations of fish for your new pond. Other members should lend their opinions to broaden your choices.


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I wonder if Brettski can get SMB without an overpopulation of SMB. It would just seem sad to me if he had smallies, but all were like 12" or so.

I also think that when a smallie gets to 14 & 15" and greater, it eats a hell of a lot of fish in the 3-7" range.


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 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Cody:
........... I and dave-in-eldorado and probably others, question how well SMB will control BG. I am not sure of the reasons why D.I.E.D says it is a poor choice, but I have doubts about it primarily because of the high variability among pond habitats and the common occurrence of poor SMB hatches and the ability of BG to quickly grow to a shape not condusive to being eaten by a smaller mouthed predator. ...........
my thoughts were similar.....that given sufficient cover, BG can and will find the shelter and grow to sizes to where SMB are no longer able to down these spiny (ouch) mouthfuls, whereas LMB have the esophageal capability to eat a volkswagon. so what about if brettski makes alot of killer SMB spawning habitat, and initially understocks the lepomis, he could have YEARS of great fun \:\) before corrective measures (i.e. LMB) would be needed.

all this goofin around here, and i could have been making HSB catchability plots for George :rolleyes: \:D

i'll go away now, its been fun thinking about yer plan Brettski, thanks for letting me speculate....as usual you ask great questions, and bruce, bill, sunil, theo, and ewest have laid some awesome groundwork!


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Prof Cody offers:

 Quote:
Bottom line from me for right now, is I would not be afraid to stock SMB-YP-BG along with appropriate forage fish. Initially go a little heavy on SMB numbers. You want to start out at least for the first several years with overcrowded SMB populations.

But first, decide why not to initially try SMB-RES-YP and forego BG. YP and RES should be able to provide a very adequate panfish fishery. Some HSB and or catfish can be added later or almost anytime in a 5 ac situation as the fishery becomes established. If the combination gets out of hand then make some adjustments with LMB and-or BG. It will not take very long for BG and LMB to become major players in an existing combination of SMB-YP-RES.

The SMB-YP-RES stocking plan fits my desires just fine, me thinks. I did not have my heart set on BG. They get marquis billing because of Bruce's efforts, results, and reporting. It's kinda tuff to not get cranked on 'em. It sounds as if BG are so dang prolific that they can set imbalance way to quickly and readily. Why is this not also true of YP and RES?

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With the RES, they spawn MUCH less frequently than BG. In climes where BG spawn 3-4 times per Summer, RES spawn once or at most twice.


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RES have much lower reproductive rates than BG.

YP can stunt but not near as likely as BG to do so especially with predators. Easier for a predator to eat (swallow/gape size) a 4in YP than a 4in BG.

I have held off on my thoughts so others can go first. \:D

I like Bill's ideas !! I really like Bill's ideas !!! \:\) We have talked about this with smaller ponds on another thread and I think it will work fine on your larger lake. Think about adding some of those larger rocks you have access to in piles . YP are very good eating and bite better through the ice/ in the cold. YP should use those cribs to place egg strands. \:\) See you knew you were headed in the right direction.

View this like a tool box full of tools. Use the ones you like for the job knowing full well if the tool doesn't get the job done you can try another one or use them in another fashion.

For example we have not said much on stocking larger fish later as a management tool. Sunil mentioned it and it is a very effective tool. You could do so with large BG if the forage seems short or with any of the predators (including a few female LMB [watch out ducklings] to control the forage base.

Does anyone know the effect of GShiners consumption of YP egg strands ?

My best suggestion for now is to look at the 2 PB issues where Prof Cornwell discussed northern pond options (see Bill's archive of PB TOC - 2006 May/June # 10 and July/Aug # 8 -- thanks Bill).
















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Bski says ""It sounds as if BG are so dang prolific that they can set imbalance way to quickly and readily. Why is this not also true of YP and RES?""

Almost any fish, depending on the species and without proper predatory pressures, can relatively quickly overpopulate. As always numerous variables affect the balance and outcome.

Theo in his post above, explains why RES tend to be significantly less prolific compared to BG. It has been documented in literature that mean number of eggs for females (6.8"-7.8"long) of RES is 16,000 compared to BG 58,000; a 3.6 times fewer number for RES.

YP can be quite prolific and if you stock them you can expect to see their egg mass ribbons draped on your Condo Structures in late March to early April. One of the features of yellow perch is they remain an elongated fusiform shape their entire life. Elongated shapes are easy for predators to swallow and a 6" YP has only 1.3" body height vs a 6" BG or RES having an ave 2.5" body height. Thus YP are vulnerable to predation from predators with smaller mouth gapes for a much longer time period compared to BG. When planning a fisheries community, it is important to consider all aspects of ethology for each species. Ethology - study of the behavior of animals in their natural habitat often considering evolutionary explantations.

Since you plan on eating some fish from your pond, RES will be good a helping minimize common nuisance fish parsites that can make fish fillets unappealing. Be aware that RES will not readily co-operate for anglers as BG do. But the YP in normal compared to very rare densities will always be willing to bite baited hooks.

Sunil says- 1. "" I wonder if Brettski can get SMB without an overpopulation of SMB. It would just seem sad to me if he had smallies, but all were like 12" or so"". 2. "" I also think that when a smallie gets to 14 & 15" and greater, it eats a hell of a lot of fish in the 3-7" range.""

1a. It will me much easier to prevent and manage an overpopulation of SMB compared to LMB. Bski's problem will more likely NOT be overpopulation but too few SMB due to common nest failure of SMB. As mentioned previously Bski needs to closely monitor YOY and juvenile populations of SMB and YP; his two likely biggest variables. Management duties, as in every fishery, may include thinning or or supplimental stocking.

2a. A much too general statement without some proof or several references. I am not so sure that once a SMB gets to Sunil's target length of 14"+ that it "eats a hell of a lot of fish in the 3-7" range". Compared to what? As always, it all depends. Numerous studies have contraicted Sunil's statement; however one can always find exceptions. The general opinion from food habit studies for SMB, is they eat lots of crayfish and invertebreates and smaller sized fish. Several food habit studies of larger (13"+) SMB found larger fish had the highest percentage of empty stomachs compared to SMB smaller than 13", which causes one to question them eating "a hell of a lot of fish". Several studies found insects remained an important portion (20%-78%) of the diet of SMB as large as 20" in lentic habitats (still water). Commonly, studies have shown that fish play about a 47%-50% part of the SMB diet across a wide size range of individuals. Several studies, including some from the very diverse food base present in Lake Erie, have shown crayfish to be the most important food item. Due to the behavior of SMB, and IMO, when crayfish have at least a common occurrence, the crayfish and not fish will predictably be the dominant food item of larger SMB. However as in many feeding habit studies, numerous species of fish are opportunists and will consume whatever is most readily available, at any particular time, be it fish, bugs, or crayfish. In many cases fish diet often changes dramatically with season due to food availability. Some of my reference information came from The 1st International SMB Symposium. 1991 D.C. Jackson editor.

It is all about GOALS. Bski said he is not about trophy predators, so crowded, smaller sized predators will work fine for him. Always consider the specific pondowner's Goals.

Ewest, I had no problem with YP recruitment in the presence of an abundant Gshiner population. YP recruitment did not significantly decline until green sunfish became established.


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Of course, I would always defer to Cody's knowledge.

However, I wonder about the self sustaining ability of crawfish in a 5.5 acre pond unless Brettsker continually introduces them. At the very minimum, I wonder if they can be as substantial a portion of SMB's diet vs. larger lakes.

That is why I feel that SMB will do a good job of controlling YP, and even Golden Shiners.

In my pond, I've watched larger SMB gorge on Golden Shiners with extreme predjudice! I have not been able to watch my LMB do the same thing, although this may just be a timing issue.

My pond is also a little bit on the colder side.

At any rate, no scientific data to back my comments here!!

Also, I've observed the most YOY of various species when I've had extensive weed problems. So as others have said, it plays a major role.


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I can testify that LMB will hit GSH hard as well.


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Me too, Theo. What I was meant was watching what I'm pretty certain was the same smallie eating numerous 4-6" shiners.

Obviously, LMB do the same, but it seems that Brettskus is being mostly being advised away from LMB.


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If you have good craw habitat ( rocks ,weeds and woody cover) and start them in time to reproduce before the predators get big enough to eat them then you can establish a population even in a 5-6 acre lake. It can not alone be the base , or even a major part, of the forage plan. In this case you would not want craws to fill that roll as that would reduce SMB predation on YP yoy and FHs. I would bet that as in most crowded situations a few SMB will get through the clog size (12in) and grow big.

Read those Cornwell articles. Either LMB or BG alone ( with out the other and even in combo) require more management effort than many other stocking plans. They are both great fish but you have to manage them. BSki is not inclined that direction at first and I concur with this judgment. I would also consider adding GShiners to the mix and be ready with some larger HSB and supp. SMB, if after a couple years it looks like the SMB need some help controling the forage.
















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You know, there's always the strong possiblity that Brettska will be "hooked" on fishing after it becomes his own fishery.


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To all - A crayfish is not all crayfish and an alga is not all algae. This means that different species have different habits and niche requirements similar to fishes which many of you can readily relate to. Again I refer back to ethology. Sunil states - " However, I wonder about the self sustaining ability of crawfish in a 5.5 acre pond unless Brettsker continually introduces them."

As always, it all depends. The ability of crayfish to self-perpuate in the presence of a predator in any pond depends a lot on the specie of crayfish and the specie of predator and the habitat available and etc. Let's relate this concept back to forage fish and bass. Fatheads may not last long in the presence of LMB but BG will usually establish themselves with LMB. Why? It is basically because the two forage species have very a different ethology or traits. The same is true for any species. One specie of crayfish may not survive well or long term in a pond with bass, but that does not mean that another specie or two or three species in combination will not thrive in that same pond. A crayfish is not all crayfish. Always allow a "lot of room" for variation among different species. I think a lot of what I perceive as the problem that non-biologists have with this concept is that they do not have a good grasp on the number of species present in various typical aquatic habitats and the amount of variation those species possess. It is overwhelming.

Personal note to Sunil. Despite what it may superficially appear, I am not picking on you. Your comments are very good in that they sometimes allow me to expound on a topic and provide a little extra insight to the wonderful world of pond life. Consider yourself a valuable forum contributor.


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Thanks to all for kickin' this next major step around for me. I don't mind being subject for an experiment...but...I would like to go into it knowing that the variables are well known and reasonably controlled to render the most likely conclusion anticipated. I feel good so far.
So, as this stocking plan gets boiled down, allow me to summarize where I (we) are right now.
-
It appears that YP and SMB are the fish combo of choice. Do I understand that RES should also be included?
-
Let's preclude BG (for now)
-
How about CC? Would they provide any pros or cons? No, I don't have a need or specific desire for them. The subject just never got much attention.
-
If I expect to see any appreciable SMB reproduction, I need to prop up my severe lack of rock. I need specific instruction as to what type, size, shape, and depth location of rock to apply. I am pretty limited on what I can do at this point. Here's the picture. There is only one area left that I can access that hasn't seen water arrival. It is a fairly large area, maybe an acre or so. It is the zone that is part and parcel of my wetland area. Now, a little more on the wetland area. Donna-ski and I spent another quality day yeterday, drilling holes, mixing sakrete, and setting 4 x 4 green treated poles for nesting structures/bat houses/whatever in this wetland zone. More cold, more rain, more 20# clay-laden boots. Yep, this is what Christmas vacation time is all about! Miserable, but done. Part of this project was to shoot elevations. Some good news, some potentially bad from a "wetland" point of view. The good news is that I will, indeed, get water to back up into the timber we left in this area. It will be about 2' deep at the timber edge and run back about 30' - 40' over a shoreline of about 300'. The potentially bad: We took quite a number of passes with the scraper thru this entire area. Basically, he ran the scraper parallel to the timberline and continued parallel as he moved out further into the basin. So, what we have is 2' deep right at the timberline, then a quick drop to 3' deep 10' out, then 4' deep 25'out, 5' deep about 40' out, and so on until it reaches the tire/PVC reef at 7' - 8' deep. The following pic is taken from atop the building site pad. The "zone" is pretty well framed within the pic as we look down upon it. The sand beach can be seen just outside frame to left.
There is a narrow draw that feeds runoff water, just about dead center, going straight back into the woods. Normal pool will back up into it about 100'. The tire/PVC tree reef is the furthest structure array.
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Another perspective shot, taken from very near the timberline about 75' from the sand beach and looking back to the area where the first pic was taken from.

-
OK, the water has backed up to very close to the reef line. There is about another 8 vertical feet of water depth to add to normal pool. This area is the only non-wet zone left that I can access, albeit not very conveniently. Definitely not PU truck accessible, but I could probably get a garden tractor and small cart in there. Yep, that's the only equipment that I have readily available. My thoughts are this: I wait until it's all frozen to eliminate the 12" of sloppy moosh. I get the G tractor and cart down there with a load of 3000# of river rock (or whatever would be the best ROI for SMB repro. structure), use a shovel and tote 800# loads for placement. I can handle this. Now, take these facts, equipment availability, my work-capable back and desire, and formulate a plan for me.

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