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Over the next two years, I will only reliably be there about every 6-8 weeks or so. It looks like I will just have FHM for the next year, do I need to feed them or just let them forage on their own? When I add the LMB/ RES next spring should I periodically feed them or not feed at all since I can't ensure it would be a regular feeding?


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Should GSH be stocked at the same time as FHM or should you give the FHM a head start since GSH are egg eaters?



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I would not feed them if you cannot regularly feed them. FHM do not need to be fed. New pond tend to be more fertile and will get your fish off to a great start. I think if you go with that stocking plan and the patience involved, you'll be happy with the outcome...

As far as stocking GSH with FHM. I have often mulled over the same question. FHM nest in an unusual way compared to many fish in that they lay their eggs on the flat side of an object, usually close to the bottom with the male guarding the nest. I believe this type of nesting style greatly eliminates the predation of FHM eggs by GSH. In my current pond in which I am building a forage fish cocktail, I have species of forage fish such as banded killifish and spotfin shiners which do not guard their eggs after laying them. Therefore I left the GSH out until I have solidly established these species first. This spring I am finally stocking GSH into the pond.

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To add to what CJ said, I don't think it would be a problem. Typically, the GSH occupy a different niche in the pond than the FHM, therefore I don't think the FHM eggs would be targeted as they would if they were in deeper water.


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Just so I can have a full plan laid out, if I stock 3lbs of FHM now and wait until next spring to add LMB and RES, how many and what size LMB and how many and what size RES should I plan to stock next spring? As a reminder the pond is 6/10 acre.

Then should I do BG next fall or wait an entire additional year and add the BG that following spring (2 years from now)? How many and what size BG should I add next fall/ the following spring?


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CJ - I was hoping you would provide your perspective on the above questions for me so I had a complete plan. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks, Chris


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Stocking opinions vary greatly... I am not saying this stocking plan is the only way to go. It's just what I'd do to reach your goals.

If you stock 3 pounds of FHM this spring, you could stock the LMB and RES this upcoming fall or the following spring. Either would work IMO.

I'd stock 40 2"-4" LMB and 60 2"-4" RES when you do that stocking in the spring or fall. At this time, you can also consider stocking 3-5 pounds of GSH(golden shiners). GSH will to some extent compete with your sunfish, particularly the BG for food. If this concerns you, leave them out. However, in a pond of your size I doubt they will ever get out of hand as the LMB will generally crop them heavily and after the first stocked fish die out, few others will reach a size where LMB cannot feed on them.

From my research and experience, I'd want the LMB to be in the 8" range before the BG are stocked. In all likelihood, your 2"-4" LMB will be reaching that 8" size by the following spring. It is at that point I would stock 200 2"-4" BG. If for some reason your LMB are not nearing 8" by the following spring, an additional stocking of FHM(5 pounds or so) may be needed, particularly if you did not stock the GSH. This is to ensure your growing bass have enough to eat until they are big enough to properly control the BG when stock.

When you stock your BG, you can also consider stocking YP(yellow perch). If you do stock them as a bonus fish stock around 100. I would not expect them to maintain a reproducing population under LMB predation, but they are fine eating. If you do not observe natural reproduction producing harvestable fish which is likely. Stock them every or every other year in advanced sizes, you can expect to keep a harvestable population in your pond. Another fish to consider once you begin a feeding a program after you move to the property would be HSB. Small numbers, say 10-20 every year or every other year can be stocked. They will feed heavily on your fish food and can add a bonus to the fishery. I would also strongly consider aeration once you move to the property and have electricity available. Between the aeration and feeding program, you'll increase the biomass your pond can hold. At 0.6 acres, that can really mean a lot.

Southern ponds are VERY different... Do not follow this stocking plan for southern ponds or ponds where the goal is to grow trophy bass.

Again, this is just my opinion.

Good luck with your pond and please keep us updated as it progresses.

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CJ I appreciate your opinion and welcome opinions of others, thats what the forum is all about. I will be putting in the 3lb of FHM Memorial weekend. I talked to the closest hatchery and FHM are the only forage fish they stock. They don't have any GSH so I will have to check other hatcherys if I go that route. I will likely wait one year to stock the LMB and RES but I will see how the FHM are doing this fall and decide then. I'll keep everyone posted on how this goes. I appreciate the dialoque and welcome any other opinions and comments for me to ponder.


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Look here for ideas on spawning cover for the FHM. They'll love you for building little love shacks!


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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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Chris, Anderson Minnow Farm can ship you golden shiners through the mail... So if you cannot find them local, that may be an option.

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The links for FHM spawning ideas are great. I have created some of the ideas and will build a few more of the ideas before Memorial weekend. I will stock Memorial weekend and put the spawning materials in place. Most will have to be floating/ movable for now since the pond is still filling up and a long way from full.

I did not see a difinitive answer on the maximum depth to put FHM spawming materials. It appears you can have materials floating on the surface and I saw reference to 6' being too deep. From the surface down to what depth should I ensure these mataterials are placed for effective use?

I understand that Jones Fish Hatchery (near Cincinnati, Ohio) makes regular stops at different towns. The closest town to my land is Gallipolis, Ohio and they come to the "Feed Stop" on a monthly basis during the stocking months and people come and buy fish and/or I suspect you might be able to have them bring you a specific order. I checked their web site and they do have GSH listed. http://jonesfish.com/default.asp



Last edited by Chris SE Ohio; 05/17/10 02:23 PM.

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They (Jones) have free delivery to your pond if you order $200.00 worth of fish.

For FHM spawning, I'd target 6" to 1' depth, (near shore just to help keep fish predators at bay) but I believe they'll spawn up to 2' deep in the water column.


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I am back from Memorial weekend at our land. I did not have the best first experience stocking fish in my brand new pond. I went to Marlows Fish Hatchery on Friday morning and purchased 4lbs of FHM. Since it was a pretty warm day (upper 80's), they packed them in two seperate bags in seperate boxes. We made the 1.5 hour drive with the FHM sitting in the air conditioned extended cab area of my pick-up. When we pulled the bags out of the boxes pond side, 80% of the FHM were dead already. We went ahead and put the live ones in the pond and called the hatchery. They could not explain what happended other than we came to the conclusion the bags were not sealed tight enough and all the pure oxygen they filled the bags with had escaped during transport. They offered to replace them or give me my money back.

I went back on Sunday and they gave me 6lbs of FHM for free. This time they were all in a single larger bag filled with pure oxygen and sealed tight as a balloon. They also added some blue crystals that they said helped with the oxygen in the water and a cap full of some liquid to help with the "stress" of being handled and moved. When I took them out after the 1.5 hour drive on this 90 degree day, I would say that 25% of them were dead already. They sat in air conditioning the entire way again. So, I can't explain it. I think we did everything we could possibly do and still lost hundreds of FHM in the process. In two trips and a total of 10lbs of FHM, I may have ended up with my 4lbs.

On Monday morning I walked around the pond and could see schools of FHM in various places around the pond. Do they normally hang in schools, right at the surface and bite at the surface as if eating something on the surface or is this a bad thing and they are "gasping for air" at the surface? Again, this is my first pond and first time stocking fish. I have no idea what "normal" FHM behavior is and want to make sure this is normal and I won't have a bunch of dead FHM when I go back because they were gasping for air at the surface. If they made it 18 hours in the pond, what is their chance of survival after that? I have no other fish in the pond these 4lbs of FHM are the only fish in the pond at this point.

I also put out my FHM love hotels, pipes, boards, etc to give them places to lay their eggs. So assuming a large enough amount of them survived, they should be mutiplying over the next several months of summer and fall.

Last edited by Chris SE Ohio; 06/02/10 07:13 PM.

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Chris, sorry to hear about your bad experience. FH are pretty hardy, I can't imagine why they died during transportation.

When you put them in the pond, can you describe how you stocked them in the pond, taking us on a timeline from them leaving the truck, to them swimming away?

Usually, fish "piping" at the surface means low dissolved oxygen, but your pond should be O.K. for the fish. I'm puzzled.

Can you describe what your pond water looks like, color, temp, etc.?


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I asked the fish hatchery how to stock them. They said since it was a 90 degree day and their minnow tanks were outside in a similar temp (though under shade) to just open the bag and pour them in to the water. They said the sooner I get them in the water the better their chance of survival. From the time I took them out of the truck until I poured them in to the pond, it was less than 10 minutes.

My pond is brand new. It was completed about a month ago. It is 6/10 acre and 18 feet deep and now has about 13 feet of water in it. It is very heavy clay. The water visibility is about 6 inches to 1 foot at this point. We have had some pretty heavy rains so it filled pretty fast adding about 9 feet in the last 3 weeks.

I have no idea about the water temp. Should I get a thermometer and pay more attention to it when stocking fish?

Last edited by Chris SE Ohio; 06/02/10 08:12 PM.

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You don't "have" to monitor the temps, but allowing the bag to sit in the water for a while to help even out the temps is good. Also the pond pH might be a lot different than the hatchery water, so adding water to the bag in increasingly greater amounts to get the fish acclimated to the new water is always a good idea.

But, with that said, FH are pretty hardy, and doing what you did is what I do as long as the temps feel pretty close to the same. I've never used a thermometer to monitor temps, but Cecil did when we stocked trout in my pond. IIRC the temp difference was 3F.


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Chris, Did you only get Fhm's or did you also get gambusa's in the bag with the FHM? The surface action you mention indicate to me that you could have gambusa. I got a bunch along with my FHM i ordered. I hardly ever see the FHM at the surface but the gambusa are constantly there. Might be an idea to see if your minnows are gambusa.


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Couple of thoughts - I went through this a couple of years ago with my 1/2 acre pond in Northern MI:
- I started with a couple of gallons of FHM, 20 HBG (3-5"), and 50 YP (3-5") as an experiment to make sure that I had sufficient nutrients, DO, and water quality to make it through a winter. I went ahead and installed an aerator after I had the pond excavated to ensure that I had a way to effectively deal with potential DO issues. My short-term goals were to make sure that I could have forage fish for future fish stockings and be able to support some of HBG through a MI winter. It was tough to limit myself to this stocking plan the first year - I wanted immediate gratification of fish
- I ran the aerator typically 4-5 hours per day (after dusk) and then put it away in November and crossed my fingers that my fish would make it. During the summer months I had issues with FA, Chara, and American Pondweed - these were all in the "old" portion of the pond vs. the newly excavated portion of the pond that I had excavated. My max depth is 15 ft. Prior to my excavation project - the deepest portion of the pond was 9 ft. I had fish kill problems in previous years
- When Spring came, I could see the FHM but didn't see the HBG for a couple of weeks until the water started to warm up. The HBG doubled/tripled their body size in the last 2 years - they are amazing in both their overall weight and size. They look like linebackers and the kids have a ball fishing for them. I was happy to see that the depth of the new portion of the pond and I think the overall quality of the water was much improved from previous years
- I've since added more FHM to augment the original stocking and have also added additional (100) HBG and this year for the 1st time stock 25 LMB (3-5") to help keep everything in check and provide some more variety for the kids in their fishing
- Last year I stocked 10 RBT (12-15") to provide some excitement for the kids but knew that this was likely to be a short-term project. The trout are were fun to see in the pond but are much more sensitive to the swing in water temps and any chemicals you use in the pond to help control FA, Chara, and PA
- I used Hydrothol 191 this past spring with good success to battle the FA and American Pondweed. I, unfortunately, used the spoil of the excavated portion of the pond to create a new food plot near the pond and the combination of the fertilizer and lime provided some extra boost for the pond after the winter/spring runoff into the pond. I would strongly recommend taking a hard look at potential runoff issues prior to stocking fish due to having to deal with potential weed issues with chemicals and impact on your fish

Hope this helps!

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All I stocked were FHM. I have not been back since I stocked them but I will be going back down next weekend over the 4th of July holiday weekend. I'll report back to see how they appear to be doing.


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Good news, looks like the FHM that did survive the first stocking are doing well. There are "thousands" of little FHM all around the pond. They are from about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long and they are everywhere. Looks like the little "love hotels" I built and put in the pond along with the PVC pipe, tires, etc all in shallow water seemed to do the trick. I just put the FHM in Memorial Weekend and by the 4th of July they seem to be multiplying just fine. Looks like I am off to a good start and my stocking plan is on track.


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Small world, I'm from Gallia County as well. West of Gallipolis on rt. 554. I put in a new pond about a year before yours. DNR biologist (up in Athens) said wait about 3 years before stocking. I partially stocked this May (maybe 1/2 what Mike Marlowe recommends) I just couldn't stand looking at water with no fish.
Mike Marlowe as been great to work with and you can't beat the short drive. I plan on getting a areator from him this fall.
Unfortunately my pond has sprung a leak. Hard to believe with all this nasty red clay in this county. The dam and most of the banks are red clay but their was some shale rock on a bank as well. I thought we had it covered but obviously not well enough. My pond is about 2 acres and even though it leaks it has enough wildlife and fish activity to keep me happy.
Good luck Let me know how it goes.
Randy

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Welcome to the forum Randy... Start your own post in the new members section and tell us more about you!

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Welcome Randy!

I wonder if you misunderstood the biologist or if he mis-spoke. I can see him saying wait 3 years to FISH AFTER stocking....I can't imagine a single valid reason to wait 3 years TO stock...none.

You can can begin to stock within days of getting some water in a new pond. The amount of water and the desired stocking species will determine a lot too of course.



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I would never wait 3 years. The risk of getting an unwanted species during the wait and them having a head start is way to high. Stock as soon as you have enough water to support fish. With FH that is quick.
















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Yes I can vouch for what Ewest as this happened to me. We had a pond fixed about 4 years ago now and I just stocked mine in December. I never even thought fish would get in it since there is not an upstream source. The down stream was way down (or that is the only idea I can think of how the fish got in there.

Anyway I now have a Green Sunfish Problem, and trying to take care of that now, plus since I did not know I stocked small fingerlings and I am sure many were eaten my the adult GSF send their mouths are so large.

Anyway just wanted to put this out there so you can know it does happen and it happened to me, now I have to work backwards to fix something that never should have happened.

I did not find Pond Boss until May of this year so at least for you, the tools and advice are there if you just sit back for the ride and take it all in.

Thanks

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