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I finished digging my ponds last summer, and they still have about 2ft of water level to rise as I had them pumped out pretty much empty last fall while working on the clay lining.

I'd like to start adding fish, minnows now, and then the rest of the fish in spring 2010.

You can see my pond construction thread here: ETD66SS Ponds

Unfortunately a lot of the picture links in the beginning part of that thread are dead, but for the latest pictures just look on the last page.

Here is a layout of the ponds: Ponds Layout

Right now the small pond is 10ft deep, and the large is 9ft deep. They should both reach 12ft deep after the winter/spring months. I still have not decided if I want to connect the ponds together with a culvert, or put in two separate overflow swales. Would different fish in each pond be a good thing?

Even though the ponds are not totally full, I'm thinking I can add minnows now?

I found this online, it's about Ohio ponds, but I figured my ponds being in Western New York, the species plan should be quite similar: Species Recommendations

Here is the hatchery I'd be buying the fish from: Smith Creek Fish Farm

Any expert advice?

I would love to have a few northern pike in my large pond, but I doubt the water is deep/cold enough? I'd really also like a few novelty walleye, but again, I could not dig the ponds to the 20ft depth I wanted... It seems my choices are very limited.

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I would stock different fish in each pond. What type of fish do you like to fish for?

If it were me I'd do one pond as a LMB/Sunfish pond and maybe the other pond as a SMB/Yellow Perch pond.

That way you can have different fishing experiences at each pond.

But wait for an expert opinion, I'm just an idiot with a fast keyboard.


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With two ponds, you have a lot of options... But before I can give you good advice, what do you want out of your ponds? Trophy bass, trophy sunfish, a good balance, lots of fish easy to catch but not necessarily large, moderately sized fish for eating, etc...

Do you like to fish for catfish? Do you like to eat catfish?

Do you plan to aerate your pond or feed your fish?

Are you heart set on using Smith Creek or would you consider another source for at least some of your fish?

Other possible options:
http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/
http://www.buybass.com/

Those hatcheries have a larger selection in species available, which would widen your options. If you stick with just the species available from Smith Creek, you're fairly limited...

Let me know what you think and I'll put together some possible options for you.

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I don't think SMB would survive?

The large pond, I'm thinking LMB, Redear, Minnows & Channel Cat. I do not want BG. And maybe a few walleye & northern pike if the experts think they may survive.

The small pond, I'm not really sure.

No, Smith Creek was just the hatchery that the local DEC fellow gave me, I'll go anywhere...

I guess I want large fish to catch, LMB & Catfish. Sunfish and maybe perch for kids, etc

I'm hoping for a more "stock & forget" type of management as opposed to having to micro-manage the ponds...

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I am not confident redear(RES) would do well in western NY... SMB, they would do just fine in your 1 acre pond. They may have a hard time reproducing, but check out some of the information on SMB in ponds on the forum and you'll see how successful they can be. Failure of SMB in ponds is most often due to competition with LMB. If you keep LMB out, SMB do quite well...

Northern pike aren't suitable for a 1 acre ponds. A hand full of walleye could work.

If I had your ponds, I would go this route for your ponds.

For your larger pond:

ASAP, stock 10 pounds of fathead minnows(FHM) and 10 pounds of golden shiners(GSH).

Next spring stock 50 SMB and 50 yellow perch(YP).

Next fall, stock 10 to 20 walleye(WE).

The following spring stock 50 more SMB, and 300 pumpkinseed sunfish(PS).

You have a northern pond, you want to give your SMB some size to them before you stock the PS. This will give them a chance to properly control your PS. PS are not RES, but are similar in many ways, but PS do reproduce much faster than RES do. I feel if you give your SMB a head start, they will control the PS allow with the handfull of WE you stock.

Your WE will not reproduce in your pond. I would restock them every other or every third year to maintain the novelty fishery... If you have no confidence in SMB, but I think if you read about them on here, your confidence will go up, you can switch out LMB for them. Or, later stock LMB into your bass without much detriment. Just know, they LMB will quickly outcompete the SMB and they will be extirpated.

For your smaller pond:

ASAP, stock 3 pounds of fathead minnows(FHM) and 3 pounds of golden shiners(GSH).

Next spring stock between 50 and 150 channel catfish(CC). The number depends on just how many CC you plan on harvesting for the table each year and if you will be feeding your fish... The CC will not naturally reproduce, so you will simply restock the number you took out plus the small number of natural mortality each year. The CC will hammer the FHM and GSH, but will not eat them all(particularly if you feed your catfish)... You can net this pond and collect excess FHM and GSH to add to supplement your larger pond's forage base.

Just my thoughts...

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I can stock minnows now in the middle of the summer?

Oh, and those 2 green sunfish that made it through the trash pump last year, are alive and well in the small pond. They are already ~8" long.

I read that they are not good fish to have in a pond, I tried to fish them out with ho luck. Then I tried a .22 rifle, no luck. Luckily they both appear to be males, they both made nests and are guarding them. Do I need to get rid of them before putting in minnows? Sounds like $$$ down the drain if I let them gobble up the minnows...


I'm fearful of a SMB setup in my shallow ponds, but I'll read up on them here.

Last edited by ETD66SS; 07/08/09 11:07 AM.
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Yes, you certainly can stock minnows in the middle of summer. Don't overcrowd them on the trip from the fish farm and keep them as cool as possible, they'll be fine...

I would try to get rid of them... Green sunfish are usually pretty aggressive. Try a small piece of worm on a small hook on light line... If they are both male and only two of them, they'll eat some of your FHM, but plenty will survive. Depending on the size you get, but if you get a mix, many of your GSH should be too large for a GSF to eat... If they are both males, I almost would be tempted to leave them in there and grow a couple of monsters. They will get giant!

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 Quote:
If they are both males, I almost would be tempted to leave them in there and grow a couple of monsters. They will get giant!


I guess until some females find their way in there \:\( Those two buggers found my pond very quickly, it didn't have water in it for more than a few months and boom, they were in there.

They are 1 year old, and are already 8" or so, I guess they're supposed to max out at 9" and have a 6 year life span. They have feasted on tadpoles for sure!

Oh, at this point I have ZERO structure in the ponds, I never had the time to make anything. What should I put in there for the FHM, and how deep? I'm not fond of unsightly stacked pallets, I can see 5-6ft into the depth of the water in these ponds.

Last edited by ETD66SS; 07/08/09 11:30 AM.
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flat pieces of concrete, rocks, bricks, etc... FHM will utilize those to spawn on. They should be in water 6" to 18" in depth. Christmas trees laid on their side make great cover for them to hide in. 1' to 3' in depth would work well for that purpose.

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I have just read that FHM lay their eggs upside down (normally on the underside of lillypads), hence the stacked pallets.

I do have plenty of pallets, I guess I will do that.

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Do a forum search on FHM or anything else that may be of interest to you... You'll be amazed at all the info on this site!

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Pallets will do well for FH. Just space the pallets out around the pond in shallow water. If needed tie on a piece of rope and tie it to a stake onshore so it does not float off.
















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Will an aquifer fed pond have lower water temps in deeper water than a fully clay lined pond that just holds the same water all the time?

I really want to try a SMB, WE & YP pond. But it sounds like a waste of money in a 10-12ft deep pond.

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I would say an aquifer fed pond would have temperatures closer to the ground water temp than a sealed pond. This would normally mean cooler in the Summer, warmer in the Winter.


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 Originally Posted By: Theo Gallus
I would say an aquifer fed pond would have temperatures closer to the ground water temp than a sealed pond. This would normally mean cooler in the Summer, warmer in the Winter.


That is my hope.

I need to buy a thermometer and do some data acquisition \:\)

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Even a clay lined pond in western NY will stay cool enough for SMB, YP and WE... We have a forum member raising SMB in in a smaller pond in the heat of Arizona!

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Well, the green sunfish have vacated the premesis:

Got 'em

He grew a lot in 1 year:

Last May

Last Sunday they would not go after the worms, so I had a .22 rifle and tried to shoot them when guarding their nests. I took many shots but it seemed like I missed them. When I went today to fish them out, I saw a dead green sunfish floating. I saw no bullet wound, so not sure if the bullet slowed down and just klobbered him on the head or what... The fish I caught today I took to my fathers very small cattial choked pond, very shallow. Not sure if he'll make it, but...

Anyways, the other pictures there show some of the plantlife I have, as well as a few of the very many frogs.

Foliage

Time for FHM's!

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That GSF looks like it's thinking, "You better get me in some water or I'm sending some bluegill to break your kneecaps."

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That is a gorgeous GSF! JHAP and DIED would be proud... You eat them?

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 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
That is a gorgeous GSF! JHAP and DIED would be proud... You eat them?


I have never eaten sunfish, I'm a perch/walleye man myself...

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Depending on what part of the country you are in, that IS a perch! ;\)


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Or a puhch.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I'm no expert, but I've been working on the balancing of species in my pond since building it three years ago. Based on the small size of the 1/3 acre pond, I doubt you will ever sustain allot of larger/ preditor fish in there. I would recommend using it as in incubator for minnows and smaller fish you want to protect. That way you can use the bigger pond for the lunkers and keep them from eating everything, which has been a problem for me.
As far as the connector pipe, that may be good for the water flow/quality depending on where the source(s) and discharges are.
I have about 1/2 acre pond in western PA w/ spring feed. I'm trying to balance golden shiners, perch, and LM bass.

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Don't know how I missed the first portion of this thread previously, as in the portion with your question...

I have a little different take on what you should/can do. First of all, Northern Pike would be absolutely fine where you are, and a one-acre pond is plenty big enough. Years ago I stocked twenty - yes, twenty - 12" Northerns into a two-acre pond that was badly overpopulated with tiny GSF and not much else; I also stocked twenty or so yearling LMB I caught from nearby ponds. A year later I stocked 75 6" walleye. Three or four years later the pond owner told me someone had caught a three-foot Northern from the pond. LMB of four to six pounds began to be caught with great regularity, including one well over seven that a good friend of mine caught. A six-pound walleye was caught about that time as well. I had begun feeding when I stocked the pike and bass, and within two years of stocking the pike the bluegill were averaging 8" and had righted themselves such that the GSF were no longer the dominant sunfish species in the pond. There were HUGE bluegill and sunfish both that we saw feeding at the feeders, but I only fished the pond a couple times and never caught any of the largest ones.

So my point is, if pike and walleye can do well in a 2-acre pond in TN, they certainly can do well in NY. I read recently of a pond owner who has two 1.5 acre ponds in Ohio or Illinois that he stocked with tiger muskie because his bass were overcrowded, and now not only his bass but also his bluegill are larger because the ponds are more balanced.

You mention you'd like to have a pond that requires minimal management. If you are serious in that desire, you're going to have to have some species of forage that spawns heavily enough to not be denuded by predation by the LMB, and the pike if you stock them. If your pond were ten acres or larger, you could stock threadfin shad, but with the size of your pond, bluegill would be your best bet. PS might also be a good option; I haven't seen a pond around here that had many of them, but I'll take CJ's word for it that they do well in ponds up that way as I know I've seen a lot of photos of them from that area.

So I would say, don't hesitate to stock pike; they'll do more in the way of giving you a pond that stays balanced year in and year out, with minimal time on-site by you, than anything else you could do. You could stock 2-5 per acre. They would not only help keep the bluegill from overpopulating, which from what I've read is an even bigger problem up north than in the South (and it's a huge problem here, trust me), they would also keep your bass from overpopulating so that the bass that live get much, much larger than they would in a pond in which they have overcrowded.

My suggestion for the one-acre pond:
350 bluegill or PS
150 redear
50 LMB
50 walleye
5 Northern pike

For the 1/3 acre pond:
100 bluegill
50 perch
30 LMB

The perch will help keep the bluegill in check in the smaller pond, and will in turn be kept in check by the bass; as the bass get larger they'll eat some of the smaller perch and have a larger top-end potential than they might with just bluegill. I would keep this pond simple due to the size, and feeding supplementally would increase significantly the overall potential/capacity of the pond both in numbers and size of fish.

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SMB, perch and walleye will do fine in a 10-12 ft deep pond in western PA. The biggest problem for them would be too much snow cover on the ice for extended periods and winter kill not the summer temperatures. Deep water needed for walleye and perch at our latitude is a myth. I raised all those above in a 7-8 ft deep pond in western OH for over 10 years. IMO the pike when larger (28"-36") will annually eat more large perch and 7"-11" bass than BG. Also included in pike diet are 10"-12" walleye (if present) since walleye are slender bodied. Larger stocker walleye (6"-10") are pretty expensive food for pike unless your wallet is fat.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/15/09 08:50 PM.

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I may be way off because i have no experience with this species, but would chain pickerel work instead of bass? don't get as big and may just help pick off the little guys? idk i may be way off.


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We've talked about the chain pickerel idea before. Personally, if I was picking an Esox species to control fish in my pond, particularly a smaller one, I'd pick chain pickerel over northern pike. In smaller ponds, most times when you stock pike you end up with 5 36" pike and not much else... Chain pickerel don't get that big and won't be quite the issue. As Bill Cody said, northern pike will suck up a lot of nice sized yellow perch and walleye...

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I'm seriously considering adding a small number of advanced size CP to my pond.


12 ac pond in NW Missouri. 28' max depth at full pool. Fish Present: LMB, BG, RES, YP, CC, WB, HSB, WE, BCP, WCP, GSH.
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You might check out grass pickerel instead of chain pickerel. They'll do better in the warmer more turbid ponds of Missouri and attain a maximum length of 14" and about a pound.

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Grass pickerel would be eaten out of a pond. I have never seen grass or redfin pickerel in a body of water containing anything but small sunfish. They just don't compete with other species well.

The challenge with stocking chain pickerel is finding a source... I believe other posters on here have tried to source them with little luck.

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I picked up 2000 fathead/rosey minnow mix and 500 shiners today.

The owner of the fishery suggested that I do a Crappie, YP & BG pond to start with, and don't go for any LMB. He said I can always add LMB at any point if I want, it's much harder to get rid of them.

I guess I agree with that.

If I go with the above, I'm wondering if I can add a few WE just for the sake of having a few.

There are so many LMB ponds up here, I really don't want one of those to start off with. I was advised, that a SMB pond is simply very difficult in my area, coupled with the fact the bottom of my ponds are silty clay/sand, no rocks or gravel at all. He said I'd actually have better luck with trout as opposed to SMB.

I have a year to think about this, so there is definitely time.

I could seriously get into a Crappie + YP pond as I love to eat both...

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Skip the crappie, or be ready to fyke net the heck out of your pond to catch as many of them as you can... Honestly, SMB are not as hard to work with as many make them out to be. Here are some threads on getting then to spawn in ponds:

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92626#Post92626

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthread...true#Post154666

You've got the RRFHM/FHM and GSH in your pond now. You're off to a good start! I am telling you, you'll regret the stocking of crappie in your pond... If you do stock crappie, just hope they don't spawn. I have had small ponds, under an acre that crappies just couldn't pull off a successful spawn in.

Stock:

Next spring 50 SMB and 50 yellow perch(YP).

Next fall, 10 to 20 walleye(WE).

The following spring stock 50 more SMB, and 300 pumpkinseed sunfish(PS).(I'd recommend redear sunfish, but you are too far north for them to survive)

I really think you'll be happy with that stocking. You can also consider adding BG to the mix, but I think PS will do better in your pond.

If you don't want to take any of my advice and not stock any bass and stock crappie, consider stocking more WE. Add at least 30 and no more than 50. They may help keep your crappie under control. Also, hold off on stocking the crappie for a year after you stock your WE. That way the WE have some size to them so that when your crappie first spawn, they'll be big enough to effectively feed on the crappie YOY...


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Don't I need rocky areas for the SMB to spawn in?

It's a bit late for me to try to add that structure to the pond, the banks are all finished, grass planted. Not sure I want to tear it all up again... Are we talking rip rap along entire banks here, or rock piles?

OK, NVM, found this: Nests

I'm definitely considering your advice. Problem is, I'm getting conflicting advice from many sources, so my head is spinning.

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At least 75% of the structure in our ponds are put in after the pond is full. Not a problem. We do it from a boat or wade in and place the structure. Also can use an A frame ladder in deeper water. There are lots of methods. SMB beds are easy even in a full pond. Here are a couple links. The archive on SMB beds http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92626#Post92626
















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Ok, so I have a 1 acre pond with 50 SMB.

How many beds do I need to build?

2, 5, 10?

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Remember this, my advice to you gives me no loss or benefit... The guy selling you the fish gets a large benefit. Take a poll about crappies in a small pond, I think you quickly find they are a poor decision in most people's eyes. In the end it is your pond and you can manage it the way you see fit. After all, we are all our own Pond Boss.

I am currently working on a 0.4 acre pond. I too am stocking SMB. However, I have NO rocks in the pond at all. I like this, because I can control the SMB population. I expect zero natural reproduction. This is what I want, I can manage the numbers of SMB in the pond. Just like people do with hybrid striped bass or walleye... Every year I will stock 25 advanced fingerling SMB, it may cost a little more than natural reproduction, but in the end it gives me full control of the fish numbers. Exactly what I want.

If at some point down the road, you change your mind you can always add LMB or crappies. However, once you do you're stuck with them. Why not give the recommendation I am making a shot and see where it takes you, I honestly think you'll be very happy with it...

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Chain Pickerel -- Crappie pond anyone. \:D ;\)



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 Quote:
Every year I will stock 25 advanced fingerling SMB


Ok, I don't want to spend money every year. \:\)

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 Originally Posted By: adirondack pond
Chain Pickerel -- Crappie pond anyone. \:D ;\)


Now that is an interesting combination! Everyone complains that crappie are so bad because they spawn before the bass. Well, pickerel spawn before the crappie! HAHA Oh, to have 50 ponds to do nothing but experiment with...


 Originally Posted By: ETD66SS
 Quote:
Every year I will stock 25 advanced fingerling SMB


Ok, I don't want to spend money every year. \:\)


No need, you can also construction several of THESE Place one every 10 to 15 feet around the perimeter of your pond in 2 to 4 feet of water. The SMB will readily utilize them to spawn.

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CJ hurry up and buy your property so we can learn from your experiments, I'm sure your fiance won't mind waiting, maybe she'll get another job to help you pay for it.



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It would take one big chunk of land to build all the ponds I'd like to construct. On a policeman's salary, that aint happening... I'd be happy with one larger pond and two or three small ones. I may use a small one that is easily drained to "experiment" with. I do like that chain pickerel/crappie idea though... Who knows, 6 pound pickerel and 4 pound crappie? HAHA Very unlikely though...

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I have schools of baby fatheads all over the place in both ponds already. I didn't even get a chance to make them any spawning structure. I guess they don't need it...

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Apparantly, ETD, your fatheads didn't get the memo on spawning structure. \:D


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Ok,

I have decided to go with:

YP
SMB
PS
Walleye

I was advised I can just spread pea gravel on the western ends of both ponds about 3-4 ft deep for the SMB spawning.

I will probably have to put down a bed of #2 crusher run first, then pea gravel. As the bottom of my ponds is silty clay & sand. The pea gravel would just disappear if I spread it on that...

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 Originally Posted By: ETD66SS
I will probably have to put down a bed of #2 crusher run first, then pea gravel. As the bottom of my ponds is silty clay & sand. The pea gravel would just disappear if I spread it on that...


And probably a berm around it to make sure it doesn't just disperse into the rest of the pond where it's not needed...

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The ponds are already full, so I'll have to see what I can do...

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EDT

Late to this party, but sounds like a very cool project!

If you are concerned about your rock sinking into the sediment [a concern of mine, too] you could approach this a couple ways:

1. Consider using plastic or rubber tubs as spawning beds - fill them with gravel/rock mix, surround with larger boulders or cinderblocks. I have applied this method on my ponds.

2. Apply layer of landscaping fabric beneath the rock to reduce vegetation and also help prevent sinking into the muck. Bob Lusk [the Pond Boss] did this at his place.


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Yes, I do have some fabric left, I could definitely use that and get gravel over a wider area. I'd just have to tie something to the end of the fabric to use as a ledge. so the gravel doesn't tumble into the depths.

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Here's an article about spawning structure for SMB similar to what TJ was saying.
http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/smallmouth-spawning.html



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That's even better.

Would be cheaper to make than spreading gravel over a wide area.

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I haven't found any hatcheries that sell chain pickerel cause I was also thinking about stocking them. Does anyone know of a place?

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I don't know of any places that sell chain pickerel. You'd have to catch them from the wild and transplant them into your pond if you wanted chain pickerel.

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Ok, so when exactly do I stock the fish this "spring"?

To update, the ponds are now both connected together, so there will not be two separate ponds.

1.3 acres total area, 12 ft deep, average depth I'd say would be 8 ft deep.

There are 1000's of Fatheads, not seeing many shiners...

This spring I stock:

50 SMB
50 Perch

Then wait until fall to stock the Walleye (20)

Correct?

Do I need to increase those numbers since the ponds are now connected via a culvert?

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It was just recommended to me to stock 100 SMB & 600 perch in my 1.3 acres.

Does that sound about right?

Is 600 too many perch?

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ETD66SS, 600 perch does sound like too much but someone should be along to give you good info, if nobody answers your question YELL LOUDER.



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What size are the perch?

What size are the SMB?

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EDT

Wow, what a chronicle this thread has been - neat watching it evolve. \:\)

You're at a special juncture in your pond project, and it's important to get these initial stocking numbers right.

IMO, 600 YP is FAR too many. YP serve as a predator in your pond, not unlike SMB or WE, and recommending that qty should be reserved for your panfish.

I stocked 400 YP in my four acre pond, and even that was heavy, but my pond management plan involved harvesting YP liberally through the ice, putting the qty into perspective.

My advice to you at this juncture is to add your PS if you haven't, and 600-800 sounds like a feasible qty. 50 - 75 SMB and 75-100 YP would be my recommendation.

Travis is right, stocking sizes are important - what sizes are available to you? Also important to remember is that your pond will be unique in that it lacks a predator with a gape capable of readily preying on your PS - like LMB. With that in mind, it's been discussed throughout the forum that PS may overpopulate and stunt as a result. Dave Willis has witnessed this happening, while Adirondack Pond doesn't have any issues with his PS population. Unfortunately this subject, the PS role in the pond, is still murky. I can't speak from experience with PS, but I know this is the case with BG who lack the presence of LMB. With that in mind you may need to consider an aggressive pond management strategy that entails periodically culling your PS, trapping, seining, etc. in order to keep populations manageable, and your PS growing. Keeping shoreline vegetation to a minimum and steep banks [2:1] also help keep YOY PS vulnerable and may help in your effort to curb their population.

I'd wait for some experts to chime in RE stocking numbers...there isn't an EXACT science to the qty - but I can say IMO 600 YP is far too many for your 1.3 acre pond.


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I guess I can get them in many different sizes:

Smith Creek Fish Farm

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So did you ever get your pond stocked?

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Not yet (was on vacation last week, fishing trip :)).

I'm supposed to pick up 200 YP and 10 Grass Carp this week. Have not heard back from the hatchery yet.

The Perch will be 1-2" and the Grass Carp 12".

I still don't know what size the 50 SMB will be, but I have been advised to wait until Aug to stock them.

I'm concerned about the PS I planned to add next spring. If the SMB are not the proper predator for them due to gape, is there another fish species I should be looking at besides PS?


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I think pumpkinseeds will be fine. I would also stock them later than the SMB, then the SMB will be able to control the PS. How many do you plan to stock? I would think of them as a bonus fish. I really hope this works as I'm going to stock the same fish in my pond. Let us know how it does, and pictures please!

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I would definitely give the SMB a substantial head start on the PS. I would want the SMB to be in the 6"-8" range if stocking 3"-4" PS.

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The SMB will be stocked this AUG, the PS not until next spring.

I still don't have an answer from the fish farm how big the SMB will be when I get them, but surely big enough to feed on the FHM or even the 1-2" YP I'll be putting in this month. I hope...

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Since the Smith Creek Farm probably does not raise their own SMB (http://www.smithcreekfishfarm.com/) they probably buy them from another farm. Sometimes SMB are in short supply for fall fish sales. BE prepared for that. SMB in Aug-Sep are normally 2"-3" long - often 2"-2.5". Consider yourself very lucky if they are 3.5"-5" and were raised in uncrowded conditions with lots of food.

YP are prey and predators, and more so predators when they are 6"-8" long; eating numerous fish 1"-2" long (if available). For stocking numbers - 150-250/ac is an okay number if you do not buy pellet trained YP and do not plan to feed them. Fingerling YP stocked this month could possibly spawn in April 2011 if some of them get plenty of food and grow well. Although the larger spawn will occur in 2012. You may want to wait until the SMB have spawned the first time before adding PS. By then you should know what your FHM and YP population numbers are like and if you need an additional forage species. Then you will also know if you have a snail population that you may want to have PS help control their numbers. YP will also eat quite a few of the softer shelled, common, spiral shaped, pond snails.

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I added 12 grass cap, 6 to each pond on Thurs Jul 22nd. This morning Jul 25th I found one of them dead.

I did a surface water DO test, and it is still 8ppm. I guess I need to make a contraption to get water from the bottom, to see what it is down there.

I'm hoping this is an isolated incident, and no more of them die...

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Ok, now a total of 3 grass carp died.

Dead Carp

Now I'm starting to get angry.

What went wrong?

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OK, so...

My stocking did not go to plan.

Last spring I added 50 perch, and 50 PS, and no predators yet. I was going to do them in the fall. I was advised by the fish farm to let the perch spawn one cycle before I put any SMB in.

So this spring, I added 13 Walleye, and planned to add 50 SMB as well. The fish farm did not have any SMB, and is not going to get any.

I took a minnow trap with me to the ponds this weekend, to see if the YP & PS spawned. Did they ever. I can put the trap in for 1-2 minutes and get 50-60 baby YP & PS, the PS far outnumber the YP, maybe 4:1.

If I cannot locate any SMB this fall, do I just go with LMB? I really wanted to try the SMB fist. I set up spawning beds for them with pea gravel and everything frown

I'm going on a fishing trip next week, and I could bring back a few 15" or larger SMB, however, it is illegal for me to transport them frown So, I either have to break the law, or find someone who can get me some SMB. Is it too late already? With the 1000's of PS I have now?

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I have heard that Hickling's fish farm in NY has smallmouth. http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/

If you were to introduce some wild-caught smallies try to get the smallest you can. A 15" smallmouth will really put a hurting on your yellow perch and pumpkinseed. If you catch a few 5-7" they would be much better.


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I would also call Solitude Lake Management and see if they can get you some smallmouth. They are helping me source Red Eared Sunfish and next year will help me with yellow perch and smallmouth. http://www.solitudelakemanagement.com/


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Did you check with Hickling's Fish Farm in NY? don't hesitate to drive a distance to get SMB. It is really more important than your current fishing trip. Can you save a few smaller SMB instead of the 15" ones? Illegal is illegal regardless of the size. Chances of getting caught are slim. Make a trip to get stocker SMB a mini-vacation. Hicklings usually have SMB. Don't give up on your original plan yet. There are options. I would not use LMB until you see the density get out of control beyond trapping or seining, then add two or three sizes of LMB - 2-3", 4-6", 6-8" or some 8-10" all in 2014 or 2015. Others may disagree which is okay. Lets have opinions.
http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/pricelist.htm

Until the LMB are needed try to add more WE. Consider adding 60-100 6"-10" in 1.3 ac. This is overstocking but you need it with lots of YOY. WE are scarse to locate in spring. They will start eating small YP and PS. When the WE get 12"-14" thin every one you catch. When the WE are 10"-12" you can still add SMB and not loose lots to predation.

In the mean time do a lot of manual traping and removal of YOY fish. With a concerted effort and several (5-8) traps you should be able to make a big decrease in the YOY fish by at least 600 or 1500+. You won't take out too many. Continue trapping into spring until and after you add some WE or SMB. Maybe consider buying a large minnow seine 50'-100' X 4' 1/4" mesh, and then resell it later.
Contact the link for seines and custom built 100ft seines with extra weights / floats. Tell Kelly I sent you.
http://www.douglasnets.com/product.php?productid=56&cat=6&bestseller=Y

If you find some SMB this spring add more than planned and thin their numbers later by angling when they are 6"-10". Or continue manually thinning small fish with your planned SMB stocking until a balance is achieved.

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Quote:
In the mean time do a lot of manual traping and removal of YOY fish


Should I just remove PS, and leave the perch alone?

Quote:
Can you save a few smaller SMB instead of the 15" ones?


I could certainly catch a dozen or so SMB in the 8"-10" range, my trip is up near the 1000 islands, but I do not want to get caught doing that. 15" is the size limit where I'm going, and the NYS fishing handbook says it is illegal to transport bass. If Hicklings does have SMB, I can stop and get some on my way home, it would be a little bit of a detour, but not too bad.

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A detour would be well worth your efforts. Any size smallies they can provide would be good. If they don't have any put in an order with them for some in fall. Drive to get them. You can haul lot of smaller bass boxed in boxes, bags and oxygen.

It would be very difficult to haul SMB this time of year especally larger ones. Even experts have trouble this time of year. IMO you are better off not trying moving them from the 1000Islands.

I think you don't have to settle for LMB. Work hard to get the SMB first. YOu can always add LMB later if you are not satisfied with them.

I would remove YP:PS at the same ratio that you are catching them. AS trapping-seining progresses you will see a size variation in YP that you are catching. Any that you return should be the larger ones that you catch. Keep records of sizes and numbers removed. Maybe even build your own trap or two. See info here about guys that have built fish traps. You will need a larger trap with larger throat as the fish get larger. Every serious pond manager should have fish traps for sampling and monitoring their fishery. I will look for links.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showgallery&Number=279223
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=227171
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21826&fpart=1
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=212663
https://plus.google.com/photos/101370842...193597142086353

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I have been unable to catch any perch angling, and it's also quite difficult to catch any PS angling, but not impossible.

The only fish I can regularily catch are golden shiners.

So right now, all the YOY PS and YP are 1"-1.5" long. But I'll keep track of everything.

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Let us know what Hickling says about smallies. Even some of their 1" YOY would be okay to start with until more are available in fall. Many of us want to know how the PS-SMB combination works out in your pond. The combination is often suggested but results are not well proven.

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As I recall, you're NE of Buffalo? Try the hatcheries listed here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/52348.html
I think Regions 9 & 8 would be closest to you. They might not list SMB but may still be able to source some for you. Also, Fingerlakes Aquaculture is about half the distance Hicklings is and does carry SMB according to their site. It isn't a detour you'd want to tack onto a trip to the 1000 islands though.

Just trying to put out some more options for ya.


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Ok, well, in 3 hours with 5 minnow traps, I was able to remove ~375 PS.

My big concern is I didn't see one YP. Just PS and shiners in the traps.

This past weekend I threw a trap in and looked quickly at the fish, the very small PS fooled me into thinking they were YP, because of the vertical stripes, upon closer inspection, I realized they were all PS.

This means the 50 YP I put in last May did not spawn this year? What would cause that? I have not really seen any of the YP since I put them in, but I never found any dead ones either...

Here are a couple pictures showing the size range of the PS.






EDIT: Hicklings say they have plenty of 4" SMB.

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ETD, I like the tape measure. I have one similar to that one too, but not many people know how to read it. Mine only has the upper portion of yours on it. wink


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I am striking out on places nearby with smallmouth.

I have a call into Finger Lakes Aquaculture, but his phone message says I can only pickup on Saturday's, which is not the day I'll be driving home from the 1000 islands.

I wish I knew a pond owner near me with smallmouth.

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Your experiences are educational to others. Keep us informed. Sometimes one has to make sacrifices to get the fish they want especially hard to locate SMB especially in spring. I keep preaching this fact. When one gets behind in the game and to succeed they have to make extra efforts.

Evidently PS can be prolific esp without predators. That is good information. For others it could be a real good idea to have some fingerling SMB present when the PS spawn for the first time!

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Actually, the fish farm I have been using informed me that they could get me SMB. But when it came time to get some, they decided not to I guess. So yeah, I'm now behind of where I was supposed to be.

So far Hickling's is the only one to respond to me with good news, 4" SMB, however $4 each! So I can only really afford 50 of them, and hope they don't die on the long journey home.

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50 smallmouth will get established pretty quickly. In two years they will be spawning, two years after that you will have no problem catching abundant smallmouth.


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Another advantage of buying from a hatchery: You will have a receipt to keep forever, just in case there is ever a question about where you got your fish. In Missouri, if you don't have receipts, it's pretty much assumed by the MDC that your fish belong to the state. Which means that an MDC enforcement officer can, if he or she chooses, enforce all of the state's fishing regulations on your property, including limits and licensing requirements.

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Which means that an MDC enforcement officer can, if he or she chooses, enforce all of the state's fishing regulations on your property, including limits and licensing requirements.


Well, here in NYS, even with hatchery fish, people still need fishing licenses to fish in my ponds, and obey size limits as well.

I, as the owner of the ponds, am the only person that does not have to obey the normal angling rules, as I have a pond permit, which gives me the right to manage the populations.

My state is waaaay ahead of yours... frown

Edit: Ok, of all those hatcheries on the DEC list, the one that is the furthest away is the only one with the SMB. I guess I'm going to have to take a major detour next week on the way home.

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Hickling's should prepare the fish well for the trip. That is their business if you tell them how far you have to go home. Try to travel them inside with air conditioning and in the shade. SMB can be as rare as hen's teeth esp in spring thus the high dollar. Smallies are a premium fish thus their quality status as a game fish. It takes a very good knowledgable fish farm to consistantly produce SMB fingerlings each year and many fail - again the reason for a higher price and lack of fish at various farms. . IMO it is MUCH better to box too few into more containers and have them arrive well compared to crowding all into one bag/box, with stress and losses.

IMO stock some now and some again this fall and again a few in 2013 to insure a good early size distribution especially since you need predators. You can always thin them out later. Remember you are 'playing catch-up'. Work at removing this year's hatch of PS. Take out everyone except for maybe 2% of the largest individuals. YOu will have plenty in next year's PS spawns.

Many here think YP are prone to overpopulation, but IMO YP are less prone to overpopulate compared to PS. Lack of seeing YP in your traps is another indication that this is true. Plus YP are a slender bodied fish (fusiform) and easy for many predators to eat as 4"-7" long individuals, not so true with PS. Plus YP will train to pellets easier than PS.

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Well, I told them I plan to use a cooler with a bait aerator, they told me that would work fine.

Only issue is, they will be in the back of my pickup truck, and it has a black tonneau cover over the bed.

It's a 221 mile trip from Hickling's to my ponds.

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Consider splitting your order into to one of their preferred packaging methods (bag&oxygen) and put that inside the truck if possible. If they wont fit in the truck get another cooler and put the bagged fish in the 2nd cooler with a little ice on top but not in the water. BE very careful not to over cool the water and cause temperature shock putting them into the pond. Put a little ice on the bagged fish every 50-100 mi. Just enough ice to keep the air cool and thus the water in the bag from overheating. Have a thermometer in the cooler to monitor temps. Try to maintain water temps close those water temps in your pond or temp of the hatchery water where they are holding the smallies. They are premium fish don't kill them. Ask if the smallies you are getting are pellet trained.

IMO the smallies are worth the extra expense, effort and hassle which is why you are taking a trip to 1000 Islands. LMB are a dime-a-dozen type of fish - IMO.

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I do not have an extended cab truck, and I have bucket seats to boot.

I don't think I can fit them in the cab with me, with AC.

I'm also not sure I trust the bag + oxygen for that long of a trip.

I have a couple of days to plan something.

The bait aerator I have has two outputs, each with a diffuser stone.

I think I will split the order into 25 fish in each cooler, each with a diffuser stone. I'll get a second aerator of the same type as a backup. They are 110V and I use one of those car battery booster/power packs to run the aerators.

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There is a powder on the market that removes ammonia and nitrites from the water, or locks them up so the fish aren't affected. Cecil told me about it, but I can't remember what it is. IIRC he bought it from Aquatic Ecosystems. You might want to get some for the trip.

Bill is right about monitoring temps. I moved 125 LMB last summer, 6"-8" fish. I moved them in bags, and put ice in the bottom of each 5 gal bucket according to the hatchery. Inside an air conditioned car. 3 hr trip and when I got there, ALL the LMB were on the bottom of the bags, mouths open and stiff. 25 fish per bag. I was able to save 100 of them, but lesson learned. 1) less fish per bag. 2) monitor temps 3)monitor fish once an hour.


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Fish of 6"-8" will consume a lot more (at least twice) DO and produce more ammonia compared to 4" fish. It is a biomass - respiration thing. I would worry about coolers in back of the truck heating up too much in this June heat. I would prefer to not have ice on the bottom of the bags but on top. Cool air tends to sink. Ice on top will also cool the air inside the cooler and reduce heat build up. Ice on top is easy to see when it is melted and needs more ice. Too much ice can be as bad as too little ice. Hauling fish in heat is an art and science and dangerous/risky. If you have an air thermometer in the cooler on the bag or beside a bag it will indicate the water temp pretty close. Problem with adding ice to the water is too rapid of a temp change which is not good for the fish. I've hauled lots of fish in lower numbers in bags w/ pure oxygen. They freight ship them for 24 hr trips that way all the time. Problem now with that is the heat. Another option for conservative plan is fewer fish per bag 12-18 with ice on top. Be prepared that they have larger smallies 5"-6" which require fewer per container. Even if the hatchery guarantees live arrival - talk is cheap. The problem is not the cost of the fish but the time and travel involved to get them as you are now realizing.

Keep up the good efforts removing PS. As you trap more you may see some small YP. Each small bass can easily eat 250-400 small fish per yr depening on the size of the bass and prey. This will give you an idea of how many to remove for each bass or other predator that is missing.

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Ok, I have now removed 875 young PS.

Just when I think it's starting to slow down, I move the traps to new locations and it starts all over again. Seems like no end in sight...

So, while trapping 875 PS, and about 300 shiners, I have yet to trap a YP or a fathead. (I have even trapped about 20 very large Bullfrog Tadpoles with rear legs, they must have squeezed their way into the holes in the traps...)

There must be 10,000's if not 100k fatheads in there, they just are not finding their way into the traps...

I'm concerned that out of all these fish I have trapped, I have yet to see a YP. Should I add more YP soon???

BTW, I have placed these fish in my brothers pond as food for his LMB. At some point he is not going to want anymore. What should I do with them?

Take a blender out there and grind them up for fish food?

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IMO each smallie could eat 150-200 small PS/yr. Keep removing PS until you get about 150-200 out for each SMB added (50) or until trapping yields essentially no PS. Some PS will learn to avoid the traps. This totals 7500-10000 PS to remove. You are getting an idea how many fish a predator eats. Don't worry about taking out too many YOY PS.

If we calculate the above numbers it looks something like this.
PS 1"long =abt 0.6g. 1.5"long= 1.5g.
SMB 4" long = weighs abt 16g, 6" long smallie weights abt 55g. A weight gain of 39grams over a growing season.
To gain 39g, I figured 60% of 10:1 weight conversion was consumed fish thus 39gx6 = 234grams of fish consumed for each bass to gain 39g X 50 bass = 11,700 grams of fish eaten required to gain those 11,700grams of bass weight/growth.
11,700g of PS = 19,500 1" PS or 7,800 1.5" PS.


If you don't catch any YOY in your trapping this summer-fall. Then it would be okay to add some of this years crop from a hatchery so you have some of this year's year class of YP. I wouldn't put any more than 100/ac 2"-4" YP or 3"-5". I'm not sure why you had no successful YP recruitment this spring. The spring weather was an odd year for YP spawning, although hatches did occur in many ponds. Actually in my YP pond I would prefer not to have YP hatches because this allows for faster growth of YP and good control of numbers. YP are not that expensive to have to stock 100/ac each yr which would provide fast growth due to lower densities and lack of overcrowding.

In theory without a YP harvest and if one started with 200YP/ac and added 100YP per/ac/yr and assuming YP have a life span of 8-10 yrs. at the end of 8 yrs there would be around 800-900YP/ac. If one harvested 50/ac/yr that would still leave about 400/ac.

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Quote:
This totals 7500-10000 PS to remove


shocked

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Well I hit the road for my 1000 islands vacation tomorrow, and to pick up the SMB next week sometime. Tonight I made good progress on my setup for "cool aeration".

The center cooler will be packed with ice in an attempt to cool down the air the aerators push into the coolers containing the fish.

I bought some cheapo pool thermometers to keep an eye on the temperatures in the fish coolers.

I still might go to Home Depot and get soem plumbing insulation for the hoses going from the icebox to the coolers.

Cool Aeration

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It appears you have some decent aeration and hauling conditions planned. Keep in mind that you want to maintain water temps close to what the fish were living in and not cool them down a lot and then warm them back up to put them in your pond. Too stressful IMO. Hauling temp should be maintained similar and within 4F of your pond temp. The aeration system you have designed should keep them in good condition for the trip home if they are not too crowded in each cooler. It is much better to arrive with fewer lively fish than lots of dead fish.

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I'm hoping 25 4" SMB per cooler is not too crowded.

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Ok, I made the drive to Hicklin's after I left the 1000 Islands.

All went well today except the 60 MPH in a 45 MPH workzone speeding ticket, that will probably make these 50 SMB cost about $500 and 4 pts on my license more than the $200 I paid for them frown

The guy at the fish farm seemed to think my setup was overkill, said I did not need the ice box, nor 2 aerators per cooler...

The temperature of the coolers started and stayed at 64 F the whole trip. My pond temp was 78 F, so I had to slowly warm up the water in the cooler for about 1.5 hrs to about 76 F before I let them go. That's way more than a 4 F swing, hope they'll make it ok.

SMB-Stocked

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Good job except for the speeding ticket. Overkill in fish hauling is IMO much, much better than stressed and dead fish. Those smallies should grow about a fast as possible with shiners and PS as food. Report back in October as to how big they are. You might get a SMB spawn in 2013.


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Those smallies should grow about a fast as possible with shiners and PS as food


Kinda funny, as when I was adding them to the ponds, a bunch of PS and shiners came over to see what was going on, and greeted the SMB. Little do they know...

A spawn in 2013 would be quite amazing.

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This is likely the 2nd year for those fish. The SMB you stocked looked a little bigger than 4" - more like 5". Did you measure any of them? 2013 should be starting their third year. Smallie will often spawn when 3 yrs old. They should be 8"-10" long in May of 2013 with all the forage fish in your pond.

In re-reading this thread I am wondering why you stocked PS before the SMB since the original plan was to put PS in after SMB. Now currently PS are tending to be overabundant. If anyone else uses this combination I would not stock PS until the SMB have spawned and numerous fingerling SMB are available to eat newly hatched PS and YP. As EDT found out SMB stockers can be hard to locate when you want or need them irregardless of what a fish farm tells or promises you.

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Originally Posted By: ETD66SS
Kinda funny, as when I was adding them to the ponds, a bunch of PS and shiners came over to see what was going on, and greeted the SMB. Little do they know...


That's good stuff.

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Quote:
In re-reading this thread I am wondering why you stocked PS before the SMB since the original plan was to put PS in after SMB.


Yeah, it was the plan, but I kept being let down by fish farms not having the SMB.

Also, my usual fish farm told me to let the YP & PS spawn before adding predators, kind of opposite of what this forum recommends.

I just have a lot of trapping of PS for the rest of this year...

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It is interesting to note that the information here turned out to be better than that you got from the Fish Farm - a common occurrance. IMO fish farms specialize in growing fish from egg to fingerling or stocker size and they are often not experts at management of those fishes once they are stocked.

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Quote:
This is likely the 2nd year for those fish. The SMB you stocked looked a little bigger than 4" - more like 5". Did you measure any of them?


I did not measure, but indeed, most of them seemed to be 5-6", only about 10 of the 50 looked to be 4", and the smaller ones were a darker color, came from a different pond/tank or something...

I doubt they sell all the previous years stock in SMB, so I may have lucked out here.

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I am at 1265 young PS removed so far, it seems like the traps are harder to fill up with PS, mostly trapping shiners now.

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Keep moving traps or give them a week break from trapping.


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wish i had some pumpkin seeds!!


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Another thing that you should consider doing in putting wings or leads in front of your traps.
Wings and leads can be various lengths depending on need.
http://www.pcsoutdoors.com/tomahawkmodel406wextensionwingsformodel406.aspx
http://www.fish.state.pa.us/images/people/exec_dir/on_target/2012_0102_janfeb.pdf

General Trapping Information 101.
http://limnology.wisc.edu/courses/zoo511/media/week12/Fisheries_Techniques.pdf

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I discovered if I leave the minnow traps in overnight, I get like 100 shiners in each one smile

I am finally starting to see fathead minnows in the traps now, still no YP.

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I've found that location is key. You can catch nothing or something by just moving the trap just a few feet.

Even species will change by trap location.


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I trapped yesterday, gave them almost a week break.

Even with all new trapping locations, it seems like the pickens are getting slim for YOY PS.

I'm up to 1488 removed so far.

Still no sign of any YOY YP...

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Ok, I have not had time to trap all summer, nor have I had time to fish. I have seen the SMB swiming in schools of 10-15 while mowing the grass a few times, they look like they are 8" or so already...

My Dad caught a perch this past week, first one ever caught. Now when I stocked them in June 2011, they were 3-4 in long. The perch my dad caught was 9 in. I assume that is a decent growth rate?

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Yes it is a good growth rate.

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So I went fishing for SMB today. I stocked them in late june and they were about 5" long.

I caught 2 today, both were 9" long.

It seems like they have almost doubled their size in 4 months...

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So, today is April 23rd. I trapped my first YOY YP. It was 1.5" long. Does that make sense for a fish that hatched this year? I thought now was the time perch spawned? How old is this fish?

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From last year. Every hatch will have fast and slow growing fish. No way to tell what that one was from a sample of one.


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Originally Posted By: esshup
From last year. Every hatch will have fast and slow growing fish. No way to tell what that one was from a sample of one.


Well, at least I know they are spawning. I tried all last year to trap a YOY YP without success, I was thinking there was something wrong.

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First Walleye was caught tonight, 15"

The Walleye were stocked May 2012, at 5" long.

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Snake Identification
Snake Identification
by Rangersedge, July 12

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