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+1 on small numbers of GC as weed preemption.


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I second Theo's vote for +1 on small numbers of GS as weed preemption. (ML's comment: "I would stock one or two grass carp per acre next spring as pre-emptive preventive maintenance".) Keeping underwater vegetation in tight reign will optimize the ability of SMB to control small fish. Try that Bski (2.5 to 3 GC per ac 12-15total) and please try to keep us advised as the types and amounts of rooted vegetation that develop. Thanks.
Postscript - Cody reviewed his Dec 21s post and corrected & edited several comments.


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I would put the rocks in regardless of what fish you choose to stock. I think it's great structure all around.

Also, weed growth is greatly reduced in the areas that I have rock beds. That alone provides great vertical edges (going from weed to no weed).

I wonder if Brettski is really changing course here. I don't think he has selected a course yet, and anything he's done to the pond, structure wise, fits under the "generally good for any fish" category in my book.


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I would second the use of rocks especially the ones you already have available. Where and how to use them depends on the fish types chosen.
















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My course is still uncharted, Sunil. I truly appreciate the collection of information and ideas from everyone. I have not discounted anything yet. Quite frankly, I'm not qualified to discount anything yet.
I have been thinking about the rock thing. I may have a bulk option and idea that I might be able to play when the ground gets good and frozen. It would have to be frozen solid so I could get a fully loaded tri-axle all the way around the perimeter road, across the dam, and nearly to the beach.
Just short of the smaller pier that we framed in at the sand beach is an area of embankment that is somewhat less steep; maybe 4:1 or 5:1. It is between the expanse of the dam and the beach zone. I don't have any super good shots of the area, but see if these might help:
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It is the barren area just the other side of this pier. The weeds are a barren area with a more gradual slope that I could possibly back a tri-axle right up to the edge and dump it down the slope.
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This angle is within the basin back a few months ago. It will demonstrate the slope of the area. It is BEFORE the pier framing. You can see the beach zone at right of frame. The pier wound up at the upper left corner of this rectangular shaped beach. The tracks in the soil go right above the area just past the beach that I am considering. That grade looks more like a 4:1, maybe 4.5:1.

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I could bring in the Tri-axle; he would want to haul about 22-24 tons of the following stuff. I could get him to back up and split the load, side-by-side. I would (try to) have him dump it just below the normal pool water line so some of it would slide down hill a little, yet it would stay in a flat mound. It would be this same oversize that I used on the driveway.

It's oversize river rock. It goes from 2" to softball sized with a few basketballs. It has clay mixed in.
I can probably get this delivered for about $9 per ton. I'm heading out to work on the saucers tomorrow. I'm gonna spend some quality time sizing up some potential options, this being one of them.

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That type of rock is great for SMB. Having spawning areas near your pier is a great idea. It allows you to sit or stand on the pier and watch the spawning miracle and do some bed fishing as well. \:D

Still working on the prior question.
















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What ewest said. You know, I love pulling out the boat and tooling around my pond, but there's almost nothing better than just sitting at the pier and catching crazy fish.

So far, I think you've preserved all of your options and the rocks continue along that same line of thought.


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I also vote to do the rock thing. If feasable, consider splitting the 20-24 ton load into three or four parts each a truck width or more apart. The more segreated your rock piles the more likely it will be that a successful bass nest will occur in each pile or cluster of rocks.


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Brettski sent me a p.m. and asking me to comment on the thread. Here’s what I think – he should add the rock! \:\) I’m not saying he has to, just that he should. A few thoughts follow.

First, back to those KS ponds and the feed tubs with rock/gravel. I guess that I honestly wasn’t there long enough (only about 6 years) to really know if they were needed to get smallmouth bass reproduction. The biologist who told me about that “trick” is one of the best biologists I know, even to this day. He clearly said and clearly meant that the smallies would not reproduce successfully without some rock habitat and that he had to add the tubs.

Now, having said that, all of my smallmouth ponds in South Dakota have PLENTY of reproduction – in fact, nearly all of them require management to reduce smallmouth bass numbers, or they overpopulate and stunt. That includes sand and gravel pits where you would expect them to reproduce, and “hill ponds” that have very little rock. So, I honestly don’t know why those KS guys were convinced they had to add the rock baskets. Smallmouth bass must like them, as that is how our state hatchery guys get the smallies to spawn in raceways. However, do you need the rock to get them to reproduce? I don’t know for certain, and based on observations by some other folks up your direction, maybe not.

I think Brett should add the rock just for diversity of habitat. He’s obviously having fun, and diversity in habitat is good. Small, black, fingerling smallmouth bass (still less than an inch long) can be found in rocky, nearshore habitat after the male is no longer guarding the brood. They get very shallow as they try to escape predators, they are stark black and very visible, and they are easy and fun to observe in the pond. Do they need the rock? Maybe not. Do they use it if it is present? Yes! The same thing is true for adult smallmouth bass. They may not need rock, but if it is available you can bet they will be there. The rock can make great fishing attractors. I’m just brainstorming here, but why not run some rock from the shoreline down to about 6 feet depth in a few locations. Also, for an attractor for adult fish, why not make some small underwater islands or at least “humps.” I’m with Bill on making several separated patches of rock. Stack the rock deep enough (thick enough layer) so that it doesn’t disappear into soft substrate. Plus, get some height (3-d is always good for fish habitat).

I really liked the picture of the rock you showed. The more of it that reaches basketball size, they better. I wouldn’t fool with just gravel – get some bigger rock. I like the rock in the picture because the smaller rocks and gravel may fill in nicely between the bigger rocks when you make a pile or a strip.

I am not a big fan of grass carp in many situations. However, I have stocked them into smallmouth ponds just because the vegetation is not necessary for the smallies. So, the advice on low density grass carp stockings seems good to me.

As I said, we can’t get our smallmouths to quit reproducing, with or without rock. However, I have heard other southern pond folks say that reproduction is NOT a sure thing down in the southeast. So, we may have a latitudinal or temperature thing happening here. Regardless, if Brettski is having fun with his aquascaping, and cost is not a huge concern, I’d say go for it!


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Dr Dave, Thank you for taking time to provide some additional thoughts regarding your experiences of rocks and bass spawning. Multiple opinions that are similar and backed by experience provide more trustworthiness to the advice.

Dr.Dave brings up a very good point about the benefits of rocks and gravel, in that "....add the rock just for diversity of habitat". "The rock can make great fishing attractors." Cody's experiences with rock habitats are similar to those of Dr.Dave. Numerous invertebrate species that serve as fish food live among the rocks that contain growths of periphyton (food for invertebrates). Rock piles enhance the food chain.


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Bill did you get the info ?

Ewest - YES "FRIENDS & FAM ARRIVED us MAIL. WAS THAT YOUR REFERENCE? Bill
















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Points from the studies below which come from the AFS symposium on Black Bass 2000.

Habitat Features Affecting Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu Nesting Success in Four Northern Wisconsin Lakes

and

Habitat Selection of Nesting Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu in Two North Temperate Lakes

Much of the info is from the same set of data collection but the first study involves more lakes. These are small Lakes – a few hundred acres. My interpretation or paraphrasing unless quotes. I will start with a few points and will add more and I hope Bill will also as he can use the edit the post function.

Rock (gravel to boulders) matters wrt nesting.

Near by wood matters also.

“Variables associated with nest protection increased the probability of predicting nest presence. Previous studies had documented and described smallmouth bass nesting in gravel and cobble substrates, and near boulders , fish cribs and other types of cover…. Wood cover, which bass use for nest protection, can increase survival of swim-up fry.”

Stay away from silt areas as they are the least likely area for selection – silt which = silt washing in on eggs does not work.

“The placement of fish cribs and large logs near coarse substrates … offered additional cover for nesting male smallmouth bass ,whereas those placed in silt and sand areas were not used”

Nests in water depths from .1m to 3m. Depth not a significant selection variable but important and may be significant in fry survival. Water clarity is important. Deeper depths are used but did not have the necessary rock cover in these lakes. ERIC, DO THE ARTICLES MENTION A VISIBILITY RANGE AS OPTIMUM? CODY NOTE - SINCE CLEAR WATER APPEARS TO BE BENEFICIAL TO FRY SURVIVAL, THE STOCKING OF CATFISH OR ANOTHER SEDIMENT ORIENTED ORGANISM (CRAYFISH OVERPOPULATION) COULD BE DETRIMENTAL BY PRODUCING MORE TURBID CONDITIONS. A FEW CATFISH STOCKED INITIALLY MAY NOT BE A PROBLEM UNLESS THEY REPRODUCE AND CAUSE CC DENSITIES TO INCREASE HIGHER THAN THOSE STOCKED. I SUSPECT OR CURENTLY THINK THAT IN MANY UNFERTILIZED PONDS WITH TRANSPARIENCIES OF 16"-28", THE CLOUDINESS IS PRIMARILY (GREATEST %) DUE TO SUSPENDED SEDIMENT AND DETRITUS AND NOT A PHYTOPLANKTON BLOOM. MORE ON THIS TOPIC LATER, HOPEFULLY IN 2007.

Distance from shore did not matter wrt selection but may well be important for fry survival. Avoid wavy near shore areas as it stirs up silt and washes eggs about.

Most likely sites selected were near shore , non silt , in water .5 to 3m, near wood ( cribs where available) and larger rocks where nest substrate consisted of gravel/rock where 40% of the particles were 6.4 to 149 mm in diameter ( .27 to 5.9 inches). In a 1m squared area . Coarse rock helped survival of eggs probably because of better O2 and less fungus.

Survival of eggs/fry was effected by habitat features. Distance to cover from nest , diameter of nearest log cover and rock size and nest position were all factors.

Will mine some more data later.


Brettski add some of that mixed rock and a few logs/boards to that crib area. \:\)
















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Comments or questions ?
















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OK, here's where I am at today...
First, I need to thank Meadowlark for stickin' out his neck, by my request, and kinda buckin' the status quo. He's my friend and I respect his experience and opinion.
I have to admit, tho, that I am strongly leaning toward the SMB/YP/RES opening act. I like the idea that some other options may be available down the road; like BG and HSB and/or LMB. I think that the opening act noted gets me started where I think I want my goals to be. The subsequent options are a bonus, should they ever be required or acted upon. This includes introduction of robo-fish-LMB.
The spec's Ewest posted above, along with Dr Dave's and Bill Cody's valuable experience and opinion, give me some comfort that I have sincere hope in spurring a SMB spawn. It sounds like the cribs and the saucers I installed are right at the correct depths, ranging from 2' to 7'. I am still banking on the saucers, so there will be some additional landscaping around each unit. Their spacing seems to go along with Bill's experience that SMB like a little separation. I am going to add the snow-fence curtains around each, and at least one double-basketball sized rock at each one. I am scheming to come up with some kinda slip-shod treated lumber or PVC structure thing, too. This would be designed to meet the "log" zoning requirement that Ewest notes. I appreciate the simplicity of a log, but I want structure longevity. Ya know, I still have a bunch of that 6" PVC pipe from my E-bay purchase for the pond drain. Maybe I cut that stuff up into 3 ft sections and bury 1 ft into the bank like a pipe organ...? Hmmmm....maybe 2 of 'em, side-by-side?
OK, now the rock. I have gotten preliminary approval from the boss to spend the bux on a tri-axle load of rock (I keep pushin' her red cow-girl boots further down the priority list...I'm runnin' outta paper). I think I see this 24 ton load over at the other end of the pond, between the dam and the beach pier. I see this because the slope is a little flatter and I don't have squat for structure on that end of the pond. I know the driver that they are going to send. He's a young kid, heart of gold and hard worker, but not real good at splitting loads. I will be lucky to get him to drop it in 3 separate piles. I'm thinkin' that if somehow we have a really good day and the load is sliding right, maybe I can conserve a couple of tons and have him drop it over the edge at the cribs on the way out. I think I want to concentrate of the dam-beach zone first, tho.
Oh yeah, the saucers. I'm gonna put in 1-1/2" river rock. No sand or soil...just the rock. It will provide the aeration and circulation you guys say is necessary for egg survival. Right?

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No thanks necessary, Brettski. I knew I could safely "stick my neck out" with you if it represented my thoughts and because you are a friend, I knew you wouldn't cut it off. I'm looking forward to the day I get to visit...and maybe catch one of those YP's. That would be a first for me and certainly an honor.

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Ewest encourages:
 Quote:
Brettski add some of that mixed rock and a few logs/boards to that crib area.

B-ski contemplates a sensible, long term application:
 Quote:
I appreciate the simplicity of a log, but I want structure longevity. Ya know, I still have a bunch of that 6" PVC pipe from my E-bay purchase for the pond drain. Maybe I cut that stuff up into 3 ft sections and bury 1 ft into the bank like a pipe organ...? Hmmmm....maybe 2 of 'em, side-by-side?
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-

So...what if I took that 6" PVC pipe and cut it into say, oh, 3 or 4 ft sections, layed 'em down (like a log), and drilled 1" holes thru 'em. Then, take a couple of 3/4" rebar with a short 90 degree hook at the top end (like the anchors on the polyvinylphibian saucers) and pound 'em thru the PVC log to anchor it permanently. Whaddayathink?

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Sounds like a winner to me!


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Brettski I have taken sections of pvc added some quickcrete an eye bolt and staked one laying down and one laying on top of it and put the rebar through the eye bolts and staked them down. You get a 12 in log effect.

Pvc will work. I would suggest you scrape it up a little so stuff will stick to it and grow better.
















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Ok, it's mid January and I gotta stay on top of this one. The crib zone is dang near complete. Whether or not this particular structure zone will have any apppreciable effect on a SMB spawn...well, I may never know...how would I know? Crib Thread
Knowing this, I am working on creating the truck-load rock bed we discussed a few posts above. If that doesn't do it, I give!
Assuming these final structure pieces come together, at what point do I start making supplier contacts. I presume that stocking forage base will somewhat coincide. I want to try to keep that PB categorically separate, yet parallel, on the Fathead and forage base thread .
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I'm feelin' pretty good about the volume of water that I'm working with. The issues will likely be more likely related to clarity and chemistry. To what extent, I don't know, nor understand. Anyway, as slow as things appear to go, time is flying. Don't blink; it'll be spring.

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Brettski:
The crib zone is dang near complete. Whether or not this particular structure zone will have any apppreciable effect on a SMB spawn...well, I may never know...how would I know?
Snow Saucers - $10
Rebar for anchoring structure - $20
Storm fence for skirting and skin - $40
PVC pipe, cleaner, and glue - $60
Then there's his time - that gotta be worth something :rolleyes: - $5

Fish ignoring Brettski's structure and spawning in all the footprints he made slogging through the mud installing it - priceless! \:D
_____________________________________________________________________

Actually, you probably could know by using one of those underwater video system.

I think between all your ingenious hard work, the persistence of Mother Nature, and the Innate Perversity of the Universe, your SMB will spawn OK.


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Put a few fist sized rocks in each snow saucer near the back edge and a big rock on the bottom near the shallow side of each one. If you don't want to mess with the big rocks then use cinder blocks with the solid side toward the nest. You can stack them or put rocks on top for more height.
















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Page 4 of this thread spends alot of quality time discussing the need for some areas of rock to enhance the SMB spawning experience. Well, I finally got about 18 tons dumped today.
We are about 30" from from full pool. The clock is ticking loudly for me to back a truck down to the shoreline without risking getting him stuck. We have had about a week of no rain. It's now or never for the last accessible area of reasonably shallow slope.
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Donna-ski sits on the beach pier framework as we wait for the first truckload to follow the perimeter road around the pond to where we are. The row of orange flags is the normal pool shoreline.

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I opted to pay a little bit more for freight and bring the rock in on a smaller single axle truck that carries 9 tons. We had better control on splitting the dump and sweat alot fewer bullets as he backed down the slope toward the soft shoreline.

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I took 2 loads, total about 18 tons. It was spread out over about 50 feet wide in piles. We were able to get the line to run from the shoreline, and angle it downward to about 2 feet deep at the other end of the 50' long rock reef.


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A couple of the piles are too tall and need a front-end loader push. Past that, tho, I think that's about it....or at least I hope so.
Special message to Burger, Sunil, and Ewest: I spoke again with my fish guy this past Monday....soon come, mahn.


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Brettski:

Based on info from ewest, I would add several large logs distributed throughout the rock field as further SMB spawning enhancements. Say the biggest you might have laying around that can be easily moved with the front end loader, especially wood that would last longer under water, staked/cabled down. I am earmarking some large hedgeapple (bois d'arc/osage orange) cut fence posts for my SMB later this year.

Sorry I didn't mention it here earlier.

Favorite Texan bois d'arc quote from the PB Conference (Lusk IIRC): "That wood lasts 75 years, then turns into a rock."


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Wowe' B'ski that is great looking SMB rock. I wish Bill and I were there to help you make a few beds. Near the 3 ft mark (or as deep as you can with out a swim) level out a spot about the size of a car tire. Then put some marble to fist size rocks in the bottom. Then arrange around the edge of the area about 3 of those big rocks in a semi-circle with the open side toward deep water. Find a piece of log and lay it near (w/in 4 ft) of the bed and put a few rocks on it to hold it down (or tie it down). Try this - Since you will need this info before Bill and I finish our article take a look at this.

http://www.helpourfisheries.com/how_to_build_a_nest.htm
















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Good stuff, Eric - I saved all that for use in a few months.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
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