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I am a new first time pond owner, I subscribed to PB magazine this week and I just registered on this forum.

My pond is brand new, just completed about 3 weeks ago in SE Ohio (Gallia County). The pond was created in a wooded valley in front of a location we cleared to build a house in 2 years. The pond is ~6/10 of an acre(~150' wide at the dam x ~170 feet long) and 18' deep at the dam backing up into shallower fingers on the far end. It has some nice character to it. The pond is very well built and in a heavy clay area with a very high clay content used to line the pond and to build the dam. I am confident with this aspect of the project so far.

We have not had much rain but it is fed by a couple of springs and there was about 3' of water in it last weekend when I was there. I have started to add structure and plan to go back Memorial weekend to complete that work from information I found on this forum. I have read that heavy clay content can cause muddy/ cloudy water, I hope the springs will help clear the water.

My starting questions are:

How much water should be in the pond before I stock it with fish? Do I need to wait until it is full of water or wait for it to "settle out" before adding fish?

Marlows Fish Hatchery is about an hour from my land, if anyone has any feedback on this hatchery and using them as my source of fish I would appreciate it.

Their recommendation (from the web site) for first stocking of a 1/2 acre pond in SE Ohio is:

1/2 acre pond
50 LM Bass
250 Bluegill
50 Channel Catfish
50 Red ear
10 lb. Minnows

From what I have read on this forum, this seems to be a reasonable starting point, comments on this recommendation or modifications to it would be appreciated also.

I will have more questions once I get advice on this first set of questions for my new pond.

Thanks, Chris




Last edited by Chris SE Ohio; 05/08/10 06:29 PM.

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First off Chris... Welcome to the forum!

Stocking numbers are all about your goals. What do you want from this pond? Most people with ponds in that size range tend to focus on growing larger sunfish(bluegills, redears) as opposed to bass. Growing large bass in a 0.6 acre pond generally means there aren't many bass, they're hard as heck to catch which leads to a lot of hours of not catching fish. However, focusing on growing large sunfish means lots of 8"-12" hungry bass and many nice sized sunfish. A very reasonable goal for a pond your size... As far as channel cats go, research them on here but I think you will find, most guys wish they didn't stock them to begin with or wished they had stocked a lot less of them. I would only stock them if you really want them and then only the number you will eat annually...

Oh yeah, stocking some fatheads now can't hurt... I'd wait til the pond is at least half full before stocking anything else. As far as when to stock different fish, let's see what your goals are first...

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First and foremost I want a pond for general enjoyment, visually attractive and to provide an enhanced environment for all wildlife in the area. I would like very much to be able to fish the pond and catch a variety of healthy fish. I am not looking for trophy class fish, just fish that are healthy, fun to catch and allow us to have a meal of fish from time to time over the years. I would like to have bass and sunfish but I am not dead set on having catfish, I thought they were a normal part of a healthy pond, appears from your comments that they are not "required" for a healthy pond.

We built the pond now to allow it to fill and for us to start to get fish established ahead of building our house on the property in 2012. We have 77 hilly acres that are 100% woods and had to clear a site for the driveway, house site and for this pond. All that excavation work just completed, now I am focusing on the proper steps to a healthy pond.


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To me it sounds like you'd like a nice balance... Do you have electricity near the pond? Are you willing the aerate and feed the fish? These are big factors in what and how much to stock as well.

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For the next 2 years, we will not have electricity. We also live 4 hours away. After we build and live there in 2 years, I am willing to aerate and feed the fish.


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I agree with the route that CJ is taking. Just waiting for the next installment!

I just fished a 7 ac pond that had LMB, CNBG and CC. It seems that the CNBG are sorely absent in the pond now as to compared to a year ago. Dunno if that's caused by finny predators, feathered predators or if they were bedding and not eating. BUT, the CC in this pond are absolute bullys. Once the feeder goes off, they start heading for the pellets. The few CNBG that get a couple pellets are shoved out of the way by the CC. I had one CC on the line for about 5 minutes, and in doing so, all the rest of the CC disappeared. The hook pulled out, and it took a good 20 minutes for the CC to show back up, but they were a good 150' from shore, and if I cast in their direction just the bait hitting the water spooked them and they were gone.

I have CC in my pond and will be fishing them out this year. Unless you really want them to eat, I wouldn't put them in the pond.


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Chris, Welcome to the forum. My pond is similar in many ways to yours except i dug mine about 2 years ago. I did not stock anything until this january. I am very happy with my pond...with one exception. If i had to do it over i would have bought and stocked fhm/gambusa minnows as soon as water started showing up. I have a so-so pretty good base of these but it could have been MUCH better had i known to stock them first thing. I have a small infestation of water bugs that most likely would have not been there if i had stocked earlier. But most of all, the more fhm/gambusa there is in the pond, well it is just better for the entire pond as a whole. I wish there had been a million minnows in there before i stocked my bg and res. I had plenty of time to have accomplished it , just didnt know i needed to do it. I highly recommend you do stock minnows now and wait till you can practially walk across the pond on their backs before you put anything else in. Your pond will be the better for it.

Last edited by rcn11thacr; 05/09/10 07:32 AM.

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Thanks everyone for the replies, this is what it is all about, sharing information. Looks like there is a trend in the replies, no CC and get FHM in the pond now!

Next question on the FHM's, how many? Marlows fish hatchery in Little Hocking, OH sells FHM for $9.25 per pound, how many pounds should I buy and put in for the first stocking? I will be going down Memorial weekend and can do it then.

Let's assume there will be 4' of water in the pond at the "deep" end near the dam, meaning the surface area of that 4' will only likely be an irregular 40-50' circle.

Since it is a brand new pond and at this depth (14'-18' under final water level) it is a smooth clay bottom with no structure, will they be fine? Do I need to add any type of food or structure for egg laying?

All my structure, fish attractors and sub-straight for egg laying is up around the 3'-8' finsished water level depth, high and dry at this point.


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Chris, This is one of those "it depends" moments, when will you plan to stock the other fish? How long will it take to fill up the pond with water? I'd say go buy 2-3 pounds for now and hold off for as long as you can wait to stock your pan fish, then wait even longer to stock your bass. Bring lots of scrap pvc pipe, scrap boards, drywall screws and cordless screwgun. Look for the baitfish and forage section, find the thread "pvc pipe" and read to see what structure should look like. Add any rock/rubble, stick piles, and larger logs and stumps. IMHO you should not put more than 30-40% of this. I have half of my pond with and the other side has no structure of any kind in it. Thats designated as swimming area. Make sure you put piles at different depts, keep it simple and dont spend big bucks. Fish cant tell if it was free or full price.


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FHM like to spawn on the underside of things, and in fluctuating water levels like yours I'd recommend some type of floating cover that will rise with the water. Basically anything that has a flat or semi-flat underside and that will stay in the top 18" (or less) of the water column near shore would work.


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Chris, a rule of thumb I go by is about 5-10 pounds of FHM per acre. For your pond, that'd be about 3-6 pounds. I tend to be a the type that goes with less rather than more, so I'd say 3 pounds.

Northern ponds and southern ponds are very different in how the sunfish and bass interact with each other. Being in OH, you have a northern pond. I would strong urge you to not stock your panfish(BG) before the bass. In fact, I would urge you to stock your bass first and give them a year before stocking the panfish. This is particularly true if you stock bass and panfish that are around the same size. Most stocker fish are in the 2"-4" range. In a northern pond, if you stock your panfish and bass in this size range at the same time or give the sunfish a head start you'll end up with badly stunted sunfish and bass that will struggle to reproduce. You can get around this by stocking advanced sized bass, say 8"+ at the same time you stock your sunfish. Or, just stock the bass first, give them a year and then stock your sunfish. This mostly holds true for the BG. RES are a different player and can be stocked at the same time as your bass...

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Esshup makes a good point. I helped a new local pondmeister make a "ladder" out of pvc and wire about 10 ft long. It looks like a ladder but can lay at the bottom of the pond. As the water level rises just drag out the ladder to keep up with the water level. Best of all you can keep it, move it to a better spot later on, take it out easily, etc...


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If I am interpreting what has been said so far, I will add 2-3 lbs of FHM in a couple of weeks. Give them some floating structure to lay eggs on (I have some 1" blue foam board, if I cut them into 1' or 2' squares and let them float on the water, would that work?). Then wait until the pond is at least half full and give time for the FMH to get established and start propogating before adding BG/RES. To me this seems to be a 4-5 month peroid since I have also read not to stock on the hot days of summer which are June/July/August here in Ohio. So, this would have me adding BG/RES in say September/October unless the opinion is that I should wait until spring?


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Sorry, I missed a couple of updates (newby mistake). Looks like CJ recommends the bass come first and maybe RES. Would I then just do the LMB and RES this fall in say September if I have enough water, then wait until next fall (1 year) and add BG?


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I did just what you are thinking about, but I ran a 2' long string thru the foam, tying one end to a brick to keep the foam from dancing all over the pond. Even so, I'm noticing some of them are flipped over. I don't know what's doing it, either the wind or some critter. I haven't noticed any spawning activity, but then again, I haven't noticed many FHM either....

CJ, not that I disagree with you about not stocking BG/RES first in Northern Ponds due to stunting, but can you (or anyone for that matter - ewest in particular) point me to any recent (say from year 2000 until present) studies that targeted that issue? The reason for the time frame, is that pond management seems to be going thru a rapid growth stage, and management techniques that were thought to be taboo 15-20 years ago are being turned topsy-turvy.


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Eric is the man for digging that stuff up fast but I will see if I can find one. I have had first hand experience with it though. Even in northern VA I have seen ponds have bad sunfish stunting when stocked with BG first or with bass.

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Chris, While the experts figure out the particulars of the larger fish, feel free to go ahead and put in as many pounds of fhm and gambusa as you can afford. The more the better. I get most of mine from local bows since the price is $16 per pound down here at my local bait shop. I dont feel that im getting anywhere near a pound from them, way to expensive for what i do get.

Last edited by rcn11thacr; 05/09/10 11:29 AM.

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My local hatchery sells FHM for $9.25 per pound. I'll get 3 pounds for this first stock and ensure I put in some adjustable flat structure for them to lay their eggs. I will do both something of the "ladder" idea mentioned so I can move it up the bank as the water level increases and some floating boards with weight. I have plenty of time for the experts to help me sort out the BG/RES/LMB timing, order and quantity.


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Originally Posted By: rcn11thacr
I highly recommend you do stock minnows now and wait till you can practially walk across the pond on their backs before you put anything else in. Your pond will be the better for it.


I agree with this!

If I had it to do over, I would have stocked as many types of minnows and other small forage species as I could right away. I would then wait a year or more, allowing the water to clear up, grow some cover, and stabilize before adding BG and RES. I would wait yet another 6-9 months before stocking the LMB. That would give the BG and RES a chance to spawn. My thinking is, you would get larger, healthier base of BG and RES. A side benefit is, you don't have to stock as many fish, they'll be wall-to-wall in a year. The LMB will thin them out quickly and get large, even in such a small pond.

I guess I'm more patient than most, so take this with a grain of salt!

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I agree with the stocking of soft rayed minnow type species. Fathead minnows, golden shiners, bluntnose minnows, banded killifish etc... I am doing that in my pond right now. I am giving them 2 years alone. Just added 12 adult male BG because I was having an issue with predatory water insects eating a lot of my fish fry. But other than that, it's just lots of forage fish. The problem with northern ponds is the bass just don't grow fast enough. They get behind the BG and never catch up. I would strongly recommend holding off on stocking the BG. Let your newly stocked bass feed on the FHM and if you decide to stock some other soft rayed species them as well for the first year. Then add your BG.

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I will check with my local fish hatchery tomorrow but their web site only lists FHM. If that is all they have I can start there and find another source of other types of soft rayed minnows to stock and maybe add them in the fall.

Last edited by Chris SE Ohio; 05/09/10 01:20 PM.

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Yeah, most of the fish suppliers only carry FHM and GSH as forage minnows.


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CJ - You asked me if I had electricty and was willing to feed a couple of threads back. I won't have electricity for two years but I am willing to feed and will be willing to aerate two years out. Can you proceed to give me your thoughts since you asked these questions?


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You'll most likely need to take the kids (if you have any) and go get a net if you want other types of forage. Head to the local bows and get some out of a source of water you can trust to be as clean as possible. Remember to look them over to ensure you are stocking only what you want. Buy what you can local, but spend time getting used to what these fish look like as yoy so you can be sure of what you are putting in your pond. Its a good way to screw up if your not careful, but its also great fun for the kids. Mine are loading up to go this afternoon when i get off work.


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Chris, I realize you won't be living at the pond for the first couple of years but about how often would you be visiting? If once every couple of weeks, you should still be able to feed. Feeders run on solar power, so the only thing holding you back is the size of the feed hopper and the ability to get their and put more feed in every couple of weeks or so, probably less than that...

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