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Alright folks get out your back issues of pond boss and read page 52 of the may/june issue of 2009. About 3/4 the way through this read there is a http web link that i googled and googled without success. The basic jest of the story is "Population, Size, Survival, and Growth of Largemouth Bass One Year After Stocking in Four Ponds". This is based on data for southern ponds only... I had more questions than answers after reading the entire story for the third time. The private fisheries scientist presenters at last years pb conference recomended stocking small bluegill at 2,000 per acre in new southern largemouth ponds to achieve good growth rates, set the stage for adequate forage populations and defer inevitible slot limit bass harvest. This seems as a balancing act for managing population densities and food supply. I never felt while reading this story that this was more than an opinion of the few than rather than an agreement of the masses. Nowhere did it state, do this at your own risk or this is a great idea for everyone. I ask these questions due to the fact that i have a new pond that was just stocked this jan with 2500 FHM, 500 BG, and 160 RES. I do not currently plan to add LMB for 12-15 months and then i will only be adding 40 to 50 max. I have an areator, depths of 6,12, and 18 ft. and what i feel is plenty of structure and cover in the pond. Now would be the time for me to add BG if this stocking rate is the "new way to go". Since this story obviously looks like the opinions of the few, i would like forum readers to tell me what they think of this. Expert opinions would be greatly appreciated...

Last edited by rcn11thacr; 02/18/10 08:52 AM.

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Glad the article sparked some interest. That is one reason they are written - and to provide new science (new ideas and old ones tested). That is why it is titled "The Cutting Edge".

The Cutting Edge is designed as a summary of one or more studies of recent vintage that should interest pond owners/managers. The studies are not the work of the author or Pond Boss. This one came from the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies a highly respected group. Click here http://seafwa.org/proceedings.php?article=1442&key=2005&page=4#details and then click pdf for the study. The mag cite is correct.

We can try to answer your questions about the material. A few things to keep in mind as we do. The study is not an opinion. It is a report of the facts observed under the conditions stated unless the author states it is his opinion. This one is a snap-shot in time (one year after stocking). Here are some critical parts of the PB article or the study to set the stage. The color text is for info or emphasis.

“Although pond management has traditionally focused on maximizing fish production , in recent years a paradigm shift has occurred where many pond owners desire to maximize trophy largemouth bass productionIts about the goals.

“This study plus current recommendations of 2000 stock size bluegill per acre appear to be a remedy for the tendency of southern ponds to quickly (2 to 3 years) get bass crowded.”

“It is interesting that its conclusions are similar to those expressed in the studies discussed in the last Cutting Edge column - While there is a lot to consider about the process of successfully stocking largemouth bass (or other species) … studies emphasize two absolutely critical basic biologic requirements - density (number of fish in competition) and forage base ( their food supply). This principle applies as well to the other fish species Pondmiesters like to grow including bluegill , smallmouth bass or hybrid striped bass . Keep the densities manageable and be sure they have lots of food to eat if you want good growth and resulting large sizes.

How can we help ? Fire away with questions.
















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ewest:

Am I correct in thinking that the high BG stocking density is two fold?
1) Provides a lot of forage
2) Helps minimize LMB recruitment by thinning out eggs in the LMB nests?

Or is #2 completely outta line?


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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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Thank you Mr.West for an intersting Science & the cutting edge article as well as your quick responce. I should not have said it was an opinion due to the fact it was based on observations, sorry bout that. I felt that since there was no room in the magazine for discussion i would like to do it in the forums. I am one of "those" pond guys that wants to have a great time learning about ponds as well as having my share of big largemouth bass. I am sure my questions would be like many other pond owners...should I try this in my pond? You only get one chance to have a new pond and I am there and would hate to miss the oportunity. How would i know if this was right for me? What steps would I need to take to find out if its right for me? If it is in fact right for me what do I do after i have stocked them at 2000 per ac.? Should I look for certain things other than what I already do, or just sit back and watch them frolic for 12-15 months b4 I put the bass in with them?


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rcn11thacr first thanks for subscribing to PB mag and second for reading and then posting about what you read. Also I get called a lot of things but the only ones who call me Mr. are kids under 6.

I think the key for you is start with your goals. Do you want trophy LMB or just a healthy balanced pond ? How big is the pond ? How many fish do you plan to harvest ?

As to whether to stock more BG now keep in mind the BG already there (assuming they were 2 + inches when you stocked them) are about to (this summer) do that for you. So are the FH and RES. Time can be a substitute for larger stockings. I would suggest some supplemental feeding as the water warms.

esshup - yes on No. 2. But you have to watch that. If you get to many BG they may cause the LMB to stop spawning.
















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Ewest, The sir is just good manners and I teach it to my children by example, no harm intended just respect. I do look forward to each magazine and work hard just to have quiet time to read it, its a great read. The pond is 3/4 ac. and the reality is that i would be happy with a "good" pond. That being said i would not mind knowing what would be required of me if i went this route. I'd rather make an informed decision. Considering that I can go almost anywhere and find 5, 8, and 12 lb bass in my state of florida I would like to have a great LMB pond. Its interesting that you mention time being a substitute for large stockings. You are the first one that has brought it up after I have mentioned it here. I do currently have the FRM brand of fish food crumbles already in the barn. as far as harvesting, that depends on how many I should take out to get great LMB. I know when I do start taking them out I will have plenty of help. You would think im handing out suckers at my gate here due to how many local kids want to "help" fish the pond. Its fun to see their interest, it reminds me of my younger days when fishing was all I had to think about.


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That is what ponds are about - fun shared times.

In a pond like yours I would try for a balanced population. The idea is to have good quality (not trophy) BG and LMB and RES. That would allow a good catch rate of healthy fish. Typically trophy ponds have lower catch rates but bigger fish.

I would watch carefully the BG spawn this summer. I would stock only 25 LMB in the 6 inch size late this fall. Hand feed the BG for added growth.

Keep in mind that the first stocker fish are not the ones that require extensive management. It is their offspring that require management. The initial 25 LMB will grow well without to much effort but their 50,000 +- babies the first year (more each year) will require effort. Of course they will have many times more BG offspring to eat. At 660 BG/RES to 25 LMB [26 to 1] you are at a ratio similar to those in the PB conference suggestion ( 2000 to 75 = 26 to 1) and more than in the study [ 15 to 1] . You should be in good shape to start.
















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Interesting, thanks Ewest. Questions:
When you say to carefully watch the BG spawn this summer...Should I be looking for anything particular such as how many times they spawn and estimate how many are in each spawn. Or should I be looking for something else? When you say hand feed, do you mean that literally? I already have been feeding them by hand once a week (since its winter time and not alot will be eaten) but I do plan to put a feeder box with a timer on it. Should I wait till later to install the feeder? Or am I misunderstanding? Is there any particular reason why I should not wait till next year to put in the bass and why do 6' inchers?


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On the BG spawn watch for - does it happen and how many times , do you see lots of fry/yoy and how many size groups , do they start growing and to what size over the summer and fall.

Any feeding is ok - did not know if you had a feeder. Don't wait on feeding - as soon as warm and they will eat go for it.

This year’s spring/summer LMB hatch should produce 6 inch yoy LMB by late fall. That is the size to use. Not last year’s holdovers and not late hatch 2 inch fish. Last year’s will have a wasted year at 6 inches and 2 inch will have to much potential to incur winter problems. At the rate of BG/RES you have and the long growing season waiting too long to stock predators can lead to BG stunting problems and LMB spawning suppression. With a low stocking rate for LMB (at 25) I would not wait until spring 2011.
















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Ewest, I'm pretty sure you understand that I currently DONT have LMB in the pond right now. You are saying that i need LMB in the pond and thats fine. When are you suggesting that I add the 25 LMB to the pond, right now? Whats your opinion on what strain of LMB i should go for?


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Yes I understand. The 25 LMB should be put in during late fall 2010 at around 6 inches in size.

What part of Fla is the pond?
















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Understood. Lake City,Fl. which is 45 minutes from Ga.


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You are in a location where both Fla and Northern strains will do well as will F-1s (the natural integrate zone). I would use some of each and feed trained if possible.
















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What would I gain by stocking all three types of bass, anything particular?


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Here is the best generalization I can give:

Northern or native LMB, are considered more aggressive and easier to catch. However, they max out at around 10-12 pounds with a big fish being 6 pounds and therefore don't reach immense trophy sizes.

Florida LMB, are more hook shy and less aggressive but reach world record sizes.

F1 LMB are the first generation cross of a northern and Florida LMB. The idea is that they will be able to reach the trophy sizes but also retain the more aggressive nature of the northern LMB.

Some ichthyologists actually consider northern LMB and Florida LMB to be distinct species, while most consider them to simply be subspecies. There is some evidence that After the initial F1 generation, subsequent generations Fx... Are not as good... So two F1 fish spawning producing F2 fish don't produce as good a progeny as the original F1 northern x Florida LMB. I am not sure if I am completely sold on this idea. Perhaps Eric can find the thread from a few months ago where this idea was thrown around. This idea is why you read that many guys have pure Florida grow out ponds. That way they can constantly add pure Florida bass and pure northern bass to keep new F1 fish in the pond instead of the eventual Fx crosses as subsequent generations of fish spawn are born and grow up in a pond.

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CJ the idea that Fx LMB are worse than F1s or either subspecies is IMO not true at least as to LMB in the integrade zone. I have seen no evidence (studies or reports)so stating . In all likely hood , given its location and size , the world record (Perry LMB) was an Fx. I will try to find that thread and link it here as it has my thoughts and study results.


Here it is - look at the study info.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=185000&fpart=1

This one has more data.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=141224&fpart=1








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Yes, I agree that Fx bass are just as good as F1 bass, but some don't that is what I was implying in my previous post. Since you are simply crossing the different subspecies, it only makes sense there would be no difference. There isn't that much genetic difference between the two subspecies. It's not like HBG or saugeye. You really don't get hybrid vigor like you would with crossing two different species. With F1 bass, you simply are hoping to get the best genetics from both subspecies... The aggressive northern genes and the trophy growth potential of the FL genes. Fl and northern bass naturally hybridize in the northern FL/southern GA area. As you said, the world record LMB caught by Perry was in fact caught in that area. It's just like any other intergrade zone for any other subspecies of fish. Where CNBG intergrade with the other two subspecies of BG.

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A hybrid (crossing of two inbred but distinct lines) is not the same genetically as crosses among these same hybrids. Try saving seed from your hybrid corn or vegetables and see what you get. Hybrids display heterosis (hybrid vigor) which is lost in subsiquent populations. There may be no evidence for this in LMB, but it is likely if the perental strains are distinct. This is the typical situation, but perhaps LMB is an exception.

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What I don't know about genetics would fill a whole library.

That said, what keeps F1 species from inheriting weaker genes? In other words, what keeps the F1 LMB from being both hook shy and smaller?


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.

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One theory is that different alleles at the same locust are more rubust than the identical allele in the homozygous state (which is common in inbred lines). A simple way to think about this is that if a gene needs to be in the homozygous state to express as a weakness, this is less likely in a hybrid between two lines that do not contain the same alleles at this locust. A simplistic example is if a random mutation in one allele causes a phenotypic deficiency only in the homozygous state, then it can be passed from generation to generation within the inbred line, being maintained in the heterozygous state. These types of mutations can occur randomly among the many thousands of genes. When one population is crossed with a second distant population, they are less likely to be carrying the same defects, but rather an accumulation of different defects; so when they are crossed, one good copy is available to express in the hybrid. Genes produce proteins (mostly), so one good version of the protein is produced. This is way over-simplified, but irregardless of the mechanism, the observations from both crops and livestock illustrate the pattern of vigor. Even if two good, but different, proteins are produced from two different alleles, each may be adapted to deal with a different environment, allowing the hybrid to cope with a more diverse habitat. I hope that this helps, and sorry to the genetists out there for leaving out the greater complexity. This explaination suggests that genes and proteins do not interact, which they commonly do.

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Good lord my head is starting to hurt after all that reading...remind me to not ask those types of questions. Thanks Ewest for the info and links.

By the way my daughter and I spent what seemed like half the night last night floating in the boat with flashlights watching the fish. We both had a ball, best time i've had in forever...


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 Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
By the way my daughter and I spent what seemed like half the night last night floating in the boat with flashlights watching the fish. We both had a ball, best time i've had in forever...


That sounds much better than discussing genetic theory.

CJ I understood that you were reporting what others think/suspect and they may yet be right. I have not seen the info to support that however.
















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 Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
Good lord my head is starting to hurt after all that reading...remind me to not ask those types of questions. Thanks Ewest for the info and links.


I realize that you're kidding but never stop asking questions. You have to remember that we have the best of the best pond managers and owners on this site. Many of them have spend decades perfecting management strategies. I guess in short, they know their stuff.

If you don't understand something then do what I do and re-ask the question in plain english. Then you will usually get an answer that is understandable.


 Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
By the way my daughter and I spent what seemed like half the night last night floating in the boat with flashlights watching the fish. We both had a ball, best time i've had in forever...


I love hearing stuff like this. We sometimes forget that when we create a pond environment we are not only creating an ecosystem for plants and animals to thrive but we are creating an environment for memories to be made.


Damn that was deep.


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Sorry - That's why I referred to saving seeds from hybrid crops. Some folks are aware that this does not work very well and does not produce plants like the hybrid. By the way, my kids got a kick out of the response to my attempt to explain this in more detail (Nerd is the term they used). Glad to provide entertainment whenever I can. By the way my daughter just got her SAT scores and is following in my footsteps.

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RAH I was not referring to your post but to the material from studies in the links as genetic theory. You did a good job with your comment IMO.

My understanding based on the genetic studies is that Fla and Northern LMB genetics are close enough that you don't get hybrid vigor followed by outbreeding depression. Not different species (although some say they are) but subspecies.Either way separate species or not the genetics are very close and not like crossing true different species. In the F-1s you don't see hybrid vigor (better than either parental). Instead you see (using Fla females and Northern males) fish larger than Northern's but smaller than Fla's and more aggressive than Fla's but less than Northern's. I also think but am not sure you see life spans in-between the 2 sub-species also - longer than Northern's but shorter than Fla's. The F-1's are intermediate to both parental in most traits. You see ,across much of the deep south outside of peninsular Fla. , natural integrades of all Fx % between the 2 subspecies. In that area there are not to my knowledge reports of outbreeding depression in LMB nor hybrid vigor.

There is a lot left to learn and either side could be right or wrong. Time will tell. In order to avoid the problem I stock some of all and may the best fish win.
















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