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I have been "lurking" here since subscribing several weeks ago and this is my first post.
I have a new pond ~1 year old, 3 acres, 45' deep, 25' average depth, however it is only half full and will not be completely full for another year.
Other than continually moving/creating habitat in shallow water, is it alright to start raising forage fish (fatheads) while the pond is still filling with water?

Thanks in Advance,
Art

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Hello arond and welcome to Pond Boss. Thanks for joining in and posting.

Wow that is gonna be one deep pond! Hang on for some expert input.


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I'd go with gambusia vs. fhm if I was filling. Those fhm are going to be struggling, trying to breed and nest while water is continually rising. Males may stay and guard eggs if there are any until dead. Plus they will be reloacting looking for new cover continually. Gambusia are surface living live bearers. They could live in rising water forever. Still living on surface reproducing. I'd go with a baitfish that can grow and multiply while I was filling.

Not to be critical, but what is the point of having that deep of water? I have one pond made in a natuarally occuring valley with real steep sides. I graph it and almost nothing is below 10 feet.

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Thanks for the reply, but Gambusia are considered an invasive species in Wisconsin and would not be permitted.

I had the pond dug for nothing because the DOT wanted my red clay soil. They needed about 100,000 cubic yards and I only had room for about 3 acres so they had to go deep.

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Boy, that is unique. Sorry about Gambusia being invasive. What about Shiners? TFS? What do you intend to stock after the forage? I think Splake would be perfect, not many of my ponds have deep water fish, none to be exact. Except in the 100F plus Summer, most of my fish are hanging in the shallows, 8 feet and less. I used to hang out around Menomonie. Land of the displaced Norwegian. Chickens feet would freeze in the Winter and turn in club feet. Neat country, but those Winters, yikes. You could end up with an interesting and fun pond. Good luck!

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Welcome, Arond. Wow! Deep pond - that's awesome! Sink a school bus in that sucker and do some SCUBA diving! I think you should consider an aeration system for the pond to avoid having a lot of potentially dead water there. Plenty of experts on that subject here, but you may want to start a new thread in the aeration category.

Again, welcome! Stick around don't be a stranger to posting!


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Arond, I'd toss in some forage fish now while it's filling. Just enough for the amount that the pond is full, not the 3 acres.

My thoughts are that if any spawn at all successfully, then basically those are free fish. Yes, you'll lose some to Kingfishers and Herons, but I think you'll still be $$ ahead.

Threadfin Shad won't work - too far North (cold). Your standard minnows will do, Fatheads and Golden Shiners. CJ should be weighing in later tonight, he'll recommend different types of native minnows. He's correct, but since I don't know the species like he does, I'll leave those up to him.

What are your goals for the pond? What species of fish do you want to stock once the pond is full? That'll be a really nice pond once it's full!


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Hey Art, Welcome!

Sounds like you are going to have quite a pond there with many possibilities.

I know your DNR manages a number of deep ponds in your State. Maybe you could give them a call and get some ideas.

We have quite a few in MI in the 40 to 60 foot range, mostly converted sand and gravel pits.

One gravel pit I use to fish before it was turned into a camp ground, was a SMB Heaven, that was fantastic!

Another one that was slightly connected to the Grand River in the days before the gestapo took over was just teeming with WE, a real great place to fish.

In a sand pit I was looking at about 8 years ago. MSU researchers were raising Coho in net pens. When they shut down the sand pit operation it was dredged to 60 feet deep. Then they put in about 3 acres of shallow area, the BG nests were abundant. Unfortunately the seven figure asking price was a bit too steep for me. He did get 990,000.00 for the place from a developer, then the housing crash. Now there are a lot of developed empty lots surrounding it.

The recommendations I received locally for my pond is to average 12-15 feet with no less than 25% at 25 feet deep.

Deep ponds are a good thing because you can avoid summer kills and winter kills due to DO depletion. Plus you wont have such a nasty weed problem.

Up North, at least around here, we are not in LMB country. I can honestly say that I have never personally met anyone that intentionally rigged up for LMB.

Sounds like it will really be awesome Art.

Last edited by JKB; 05/20/10 01:31 PM. Reason: Thanks TJ
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JKB...are you being mean spirited? Tsk tsk - I personally love the school bus idea - in fact, I'd like to be the one at the helm for it's one last crazy ride! laugh

At any rate - welcome aboard Art - we've been waitin' for ya!

Establishing forage now puts you light years ahead on your pond management strategy and attaining your goals, so you are on the right track. The goals for your fishery might make a difference in the type of forage you stock, but you can safely stock FHM and GSH at this point with no worries IMO.

Remember FHM like to spawn beneath things - rocks and timber if they can find them, otherwise spawning shingles, tires, or pallets will suffice. Considering the fact your water level is rising, I'd opt for pallets tied to the shoreline. As your water level fluctuates, so will your pallets. They will become waterlogged after some time and you need to pull them out to dry for a few days, but then they're ready again for duty. I imagine one could fashion some floatation device to keep them from sinking - Esshup mentioned that tying off detergent bottle on the corners might work well. I think I'm going to try that method myself.

GSH require submerged vegetation as spawning habitat. If you have some areas of vegetation, you may pull off a spawn - it's certainly worth stocking them at any rate so when the habitat is present they'll be ready to do their thing.

What are your fishery goals? Depending on the species, it might make sense to consider stocking some fingerlings now along with your forage to get them established and a suitable size so they aren't hammered too hard when you stock your predator fish later on. Different schools of thought on whether to stock BG before or at the same time as your predators in Northern BOWS - it all depends on the goals you set for your fishery.

Hope this helps - tons of great guys here with decades worth of experience - and one of them even has a bus to donate as structure. Can't beat it - welcome again!




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Hey TJ, not trying to be a pain, But our friend in WI could easily start some FHM, Bluntnose and Blackchins, followed by some spotfins and for the deeper water establish some spottails. They are all legal

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Thanks again for all of the responses.

I just put an aeration two weeks ago and and dissolved oxygen levels are well above 7ppm and the water is very clear, about 6-8' visability. At about the same time I did add 20lbs of GSH to keep mosquitos from making it their own. Can it be too clear for forage fish?

My ultimate stocking goal is to have Yellow Perch and/or Blue Gill and then Walleye. (standard Wisconsin table fare)

I like the idea of using pallets as I have an unlimited supply of them. Is there anything wrong with leaving the old ones in and just adding new as the water level rises?

The schoolbus idea has already been thought of, but I am working on getting an old lake Michigan fishing trawler to clean up and sink. I am an ex-navy diver and an avid sport diver, I thought having a "wreck" in it might be fun.

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Originally Posted By: JKB
Hey TJ, not trying to be a pain, But our friend in WI could easily start some FHM, Bluntnose and Blackchins, followed by some spotfins and for the deeper water establish some spottails. They are all legal


I was just playin with ya, JKB. My general recommendation of FHM and GSH might not fit the bill for him, so I'm glad you suggested species better adapted to your deep freeze winter conditions up there. Also, you're right - most of us on the forum forget that states bordering the Great Lakes may have very strict stocking regulations.

Important thing is everyone is TRYING to help, and that we have someone more knowledgable with WI here that can nudge our recommendations in the right direction. Thanks JKB.


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While the optimum water clarity is around 18"-24", I doubt that the fish will be hurt by water that is greater in clarity. The smaller fish might not grow as fast, but that's about the extent of it. It will give the predators an easier time seeing their prey, so the forage fish might disappear quicker.

Theres nothing wrong with stacking pallets, but the FHM tend to stick close to shore in shallow water. Once the water got to over 4' or so deep where the pallets are, I don't know if the FHM would continue to use them as spawning substrate. GSH tend to be a more open water fish, so they'll start hangging out around the pallets in the deeper water.


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Originally Posted By: esshup
Theres nothing wrong with stacking pallets, but the FHM tend to stick close to shore in shallow water. Once the water got to over 4' or so deep where the pallets are, I don't know if the FHM would continue to use them as spawning substrate. GSH tend to be a more open water fish, so they'll start hangging out around the pallets in the deeper water.


Good thinking esshup. The pallets left in the deeper water will decompose over time so leaving them in as the water rises is not a bad thing. They will provide structure for a number of years.

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If you don;t mind saying, where in WI, Art. I am in Green County. I am working around the same 'invasive' species issues.


13 acres,
5 ponds 1 still working
FHM, Shiners, CC, SMB, WE, Yellow Perch
living the dream




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Originally Posted By: arond
The schoolbus idea has already been thought of, but I am working on getting an old lake Michigan fishing trawler to clean up and sink. I am an ex-navy diver and an avid sport diver, I thought having a "wreck" in it might be fun.

Art


SWEET!!! Be sure to let us know when it's done - several of us will no doubt be ready to make the trek to your place and enjoy the diving and fishing! How awesome would that be to have an old trawler down there?! Definitely post pics of the progress at your place, especially if your sink something in it!


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I am on the eastern side of Fond du Lac county.

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On Friday I stocked 100lbs of Fatheads and 20lbs of Golden Shiners. This weekend as I was walking around the waterline minnow watching I noticed some larger striped fish, 3-5" long. After a couple of hours trying to catch one I finally succeeded and found out I also have Perch in my pond!

Given that I have not stocked Perch, I assume they got there via waterfowl. How drastically will this affect building a forage base?

How old would a 3-5" Perch be?

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Fish Gods be praised! Congratulations on the YP! I hope your management plan allows for them, I sure enjoy them in my ponds. They are very versatile, and should fit into nearly any management strategy you have in store for your fishery. Speaking of which, what are you considering species wise? YP, SMB, WE could be a strong fishery for you. IMO the GSH stand a good chance of keeping ahead of those predators and establish themselves as a permanent forage base. Yipee! Consider feeding your YP and SMB, though. Pellet trained SMB are available, and I've also heard some talk about feed training WE too.

IMO your YP are 1 year old at that size. They had to come from somewhere, my guess is you have larger fish present. A minnow on a slip float or crawler on the bottom should help you sample the adult population. You just may have some 8-12"+ YP present. And if THEY'RE in there, who knows what else might be?


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