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#2455 01/17/07 02:47 PM
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Or should I say "In". \:\)

I wanted to use my first post to thank everybody for being so knowledgable (opinionated?) about anything having to do with ponds that they've made me read threads through to their entirety. I studied Meadowlark's 9 page thread on crappie ponds for six hours! Thanks guys..... I think. I'm especially excited to find so many fellow "Texans" doing exactly what I plan to be doing.

Anyhow, to the point: I'm planning for retirement and am in the early stages but one of my goals is to have our very own crappie pond. I'll be enlisting Todd's help with this as we're possibly thinking about moving from our current location in Plano to the Centerville or Lufkin areas. I believe Lufkin might win for the mere fact that it has a MALL and I have a WIFE.

I took the time to make an initial drawing of the pond design I had in my head and incorporated some things I saw that Brettski and others of you did. I need help from some folks here please to let me know if what I'm doing will work.

I'm soliciting ideas on the trench, mounds, shelves and placement/type of structure. I certainly want to do a couple of Brettski trees cuz they look like fun! Do I need cribs? Should I put cinder block structures in because I'm dealing with crappies? Should I add footings and put a shoreline fishing pier in? I especially need thoughts on depth!!!! Any and all ideas are welcome.

My thoughts on the stock would be FHM first, establish a sustaining population, then black crappies (when?), then a dozen same sex HSB. I believe gambusia will establish their own population. I'm not a LMB nor a BG fan.

The dark blue is the main body of the pond and probably 2-3 acres. The gradual transition to the shallow end was hard to achieve with MS Paint so I just tried to explain it with depths. It's purpose is to be surrounded by oak trees, wader shallow and 3-5 acres of duck habitat cuz I'm also a part time duck hunter.

Again, I welcome any and all ideas! And if ewest chimes in, which I would certainly encourage, please limit your famous (or infamous) "links to other discussions" because I think I've read them all!!!! haha I also get so lost following links within links that I sometimes never make it back to the original thread. :p

If our plan comes to fruition like many of the members here have achieved, I plan on posting all updates to the design, selection of the 40 acre property, selection of the pond site, and then the pic's of all phases, if this is acceptable to the owners of this board.

Thanks a ton guys, Gunny



#2456 01/17/07 03:42 PM
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Great first post! Welcome, Gunny.

First and probably most important. Are you more interested in quantity of fish, as in "eating" size, or quality of fish, as in "trophy" size?


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#2457 01/17/07 04:26 PM
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Welcome Gunny, and thank you for your service!

Crappie will be a challenge, but your pond size and habitat diversity should help a lot. I recommend you try to find some ghost shrimp, AKA "grass shrimp" and "glass shrimp. They make great crappie forage. Gambusia will usually find their way into a new pond, but it can take months. So catch a few and chunk them in first thing. They can tolerate very muddy water that you usually have in a new pond. Stock the other forage species after the water level rises and settles out a bit.

I will be watching your progress with interest, because I'm a crappie lover myself.

#2458 01/17/07 06:33 PM
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Thanks Bruce and Bobad! Appreciate the welcome, I really do. \:\)

Bruce, I believe catching 10-12" crappies is very fun and that's what I consider eating size. It doesn't take many crappie to feed a couple people so we'd probably only take out a half dozen at any one time and would probably not eat them more than once a week and only in the spring and fall. I prefer to heat up my crappie in a pan, not take them out of a pond in 110 degree weather. The rest of the time would be C&R and catching a 2 pound crappie once a year would be a blast but not a necessity. Largest I ever caught was 1.5 pounds when I was stationed in Virginia 20 years ago and I remember it to this day. I'd like my wife to catch one just once in her lifetime and catching it out of her own pond instead of Sam Rayburn would be nice.

I don't want the HSB to spawn, just control the pond from stunting. I don't know the amount of FHM, crappie or HSB to put in but I figured Mr. Overton can earn his pay that way! LOL Of course, any suggestion from folks here would all be taken into account because I've gleaned most of my limited knowledge from the amazing posters here and from a couple outside sources.

Bobad, I read about the shrimp in some of the other threads, as well as the zooplankton "balls" in the black crappie. So I guess I need to figure out what plants create a large zooplankton pop. and what plants grass shrimp like to hang on to. Does Louisiana have a good source for grass shrimp? Most importantly, are Acadian Grass Shrimp better than Texas Grass Shrimp? \:D My Aunt, Uncle and several cousins have lived in New Iberia for 25 plus years and maybe I can have one of them capture me a couple. ;\) Do they taste good in a crawfish boil? If so, maybe I won't give them to the crappie, they can go find their own!

Thanks clarifying (pun intended) the turbid water problem. I wasn't exactly sure about that process. I read somewhere that gypsum controls the clay particulate? Or is it best to just let it settle and wait for plants to start growing? I see that people "fertilize" to initiate plant growth?????

I have a buddy with a 3 acre bass pond and it's crystal clear 8 feet down, I'm assuming because it's loaded with plants? The summertime moss is crazy though!!! I wanted to throw some of that chemical in spots all around so there wasn't so many hiding places for the fry because the bass are all extremely stunted. Fun to catch 100 bass in 2 hours but they're all a half pound or less. The 8 pounder lurks around the end of the pier and watches the little idiots get caught! haha!

Where would I find gambusia and what do I need for and where can I find grass shrimp?

Thanks again for the welcome and the info guys, Gunny

#2459 01/17/07 06:35 PM
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Gunny...good job with prep. and great first post. I think every pond needs a Sunil mound or two. Great choice! I think you exhibit great forethought with the generous wetland allocation. I love the layout, but as we all know, this often changes with the site selected. It's a great starting point for the fish-nutz here to look over your shoulder and tweak the design and depths, preparing for when the real McCoy is on the drawing board. As I continue to maintain, I am still the student here...but....would it not be wise to target more depth, if available, as a long term investment?
If I can assist at any level, ask me on the forum or PM.
Kick it out and keep the digipix comin'.

#2460 01/17/07 07:03 PM
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Don't worry about HSB reproduction. They are effectively sterile. There are rare cases of extremely limited reproduction, but never in ponds.

Remember that your depth will decrease over time. I agree with Brettski that maybe an investment in some additional depth would be a consideration.

People probably get sick of me mentioning this, but if you learn to identify male vs. female characteristics in the spring you can put some heavy pressure on some of your smaller males. Maybe even enough for a big fish fry or two, to keep the overall adult population suppressed so you can keep fish in the 10+ inch range. If you protect your females to a certain extent you could have an occasional 1-2 pound fish available.

Mr. Overton is a great resource.


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#2461 01/17/07 08:05 PM
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Thanks Brettski, I've enjoyed reading your posts myself and believe you're probably the most thorough individual I've ever witnessed. I really think your documentation on this site of your progress is an inspiration not only to you but to anybody traveling down the same path.

I am long winded at times but most folks who know me just humor me and deal with it :rolleyes: so I must apologize up front to those of you who get exhausted reading long posts. I was a moderator over on Southern Duck Hunter for two and a half years and had over 10,000 posts, many of them LONG but I swear to you guys I won't do that to you! I'm not in love with my keyboard any more. haha

Back to meaningful banter, I figured 8 feet was shallow but I was worried about a drastic slope from the edge. I guess with crappies a semi-harsh slope isn't that big of a deal? The dark blue is ever sloping downward to the trench. The gravel plateaus are for spawning and are level (shelves). Is 3 feet deep good? Should they be 4 or 5 feet? Cinder blocks interspersed on them? Should some gravel shelves be 3, some 4 and some 5 feet? Pea gravel?????? Limestone gravel??????

If ponds fill in over time like ahvatsa's, then I can see adding a couple feet of depth to the pond no problem. Side note, was the picture of those huge 1200lb bales of hay floating against his overflow spillway disheartening or what? How devastating. I would've never guessed something so heavy would do that. Guess thats why I'm gonna use a 60 pound bag of cement for everything! And how will he keep his fish from surfing over the spillway on their way to mesquite country?

Bruce, do the males guard the nests like LMB? If so, is there a size (maturity level?) I would want to cull? Besides the females having a big belly, what would a male's characteristics be? Vibrant spawning colors like in Salmon?

Thanks again, Gunny

#2462 01/17/07 08:30 PM
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During spawning the males turn almost jet black and will expel milt if you squeeze them lightly. I think you could cull any size you felt was big enough to eat. I meant it mostly in the sense that if you protect one sex then some of the fish may have a chance to hit your golden 2 lb. plateau.

...and yes, the females will have a bigger belly. ;\)


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#2463 01/17/07 08:57 PM
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Welcome Gunny. It is refreshing to see somebody dig like that. I gotta agree with those that talk about more depth. However, I want to talk about a whole bunch more depth. Theres nothing quite like digging a hole, letting it fill with water and then stocking it with fish. Then start looking to the skies for rain. My main pond is 6 ft. low and rain is seldom a sure thing. I lost all of my fish last year in a one acre, 8 ft. deep pond. It didn't go dry but there wasn't enough good water left to support fish. Of course, I do hear that it rains more in Lufkin than Bowie but the last couple of years have shrunk ponds nationwide. I think I would rather start out deep enough. Texas durn sure isn't the Northwest.

BTW, how large is the impoundment going to be?


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
#2464 01/17/07 09:55 PM
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Gunny :

Great start and welcome to the PB Forum. You have ask a lot of questions and that is good.

I understand your fondness for crappie. They are one of my favorite fish and we catch them from our oxbow lakes. I have done a fair amount of research on the issue of crappie in ponds as have others here. You have seen some of that discussion in the thread by Meadowlark (ML). There are more. I will give you one link to the thread "Crappie Pond" http://www.pondboss.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=000461;p=1#000002 which has lots of links to discussions of crappie in ponds here. Crappie are much studied and you can see a little of that on page 7 of the ML thread where I posted a summary on the 3 AFS symposiums (40 years of study) on them. The short answer to your question based on the combined search by many here and scientists elsewhere (see the AFS info) is that in a pond they are very hard to manage to get a consistent decent sized population. That is why most State Game and Fish Agencies and all the private fisheries managers I know don't recommend crappie in ponds. No one has an acceptable answer to date. We keep looking but crappie are an enigma within a conundrum. So my advice is learn all you can about them as well as pond mgt. in general as this will give you the best chance of making it work. I encourage you to go for your goals , keep good records of everything that happens and we will help as best we can , but sometimes there is no sound "how to" answer.

BTW what is your connection with Salt Water Disposal Wells (SWD wells)?
















#2465 01/17/07 10:00 PM
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One more before bedtime.....

That's what I kind of thought Bruce. It's been awhile since I've actually had time to fish but I seem to remember catching some VERY dark crappies in the springtime. I'll do just that and take out the "pretty" ones and leave the little girls alone. \:\)

Dave, plans for the main body are only for a 2-3 acre pond with another 3-5 as wetlands area for my duckies. So the word "impoundment" really doesn't fit here; it's more like an "impingement". :p Plus we really like black crappie and are staying away from the open water whites so I don't wanna dig it too deep. How deep do you think is deep enough but not too deep in the non-trenched area?

As far as losing water, ain't gonna happen. If it looks like it's gonna pull that crap then I'll fill it with a freshwater well. One of my other hobbies is I'm in cahoots with a very good buddy who drills wells for a living so I'd be taking care of that aspect. His pond doesn't budge and he's off of 380 between Decatur and Denton. Pretty dry there. Actually, salt water wells are the key to me moving and doing this pond up right! If everything falls into place I'll be posting pictures in no time but that's a HUGE if.

Thanks again fellas, 'night, Gunny

#2466 01/17/07 10:05 PM
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ewest, I PM'd you.

#2467 01/17/07 11:01 PM
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In spite of the fact that there will be challenges, my favorite pond in the world is about 3 acres and has fabulous black crappie fishing. You never, ever fish it without catching a 14-incher, and if you put your mind to it you can catch 12-20 fish every time, with lots of variation in size. I am the manager of this pond and would like to take credit, but in reality it's probably a case of serendipity. It's been consistently good for ten years now. I'm going on Saturday. \:\)


Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.
#2468 01/18/07 06:23 AM
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Gunny, I don't know much about crappie. However, I have learned a lot about shrinking water holes and dead fish. There have been lots of posts about the size and type of well it takes to impress a water hole. 43,560 sq. ft. per acre. It costs $$$ to pump enough water to make a dent. It also takes a heckuva well with a lot of gpm just to keep up with evaporation. Check with local well drillers and neighbors on water supplies.

I have 2 considerations.

First, how deep do crappie like to go in periods of extreme heat and/or cold? I would dig about 4 ft. deeper than that. Maybe more. Don't bet on rain.

Second, when the water shrinks, fish stack up and and you can have a density problem. Remember that they are living in their own toilet. Given crappies tendency, maybe certainty, to over spawn, you have a real good chance of buying into a DO crash. Now, lets throw in the ducks. They have been called flying toilets. I think you just might be buying into a serious nutrient overload WITH YOUR PRESENT PLAN.

A DO crash has been called the dreaded 15 minutes. That's really all it takes and the bigger fish go first. The ducks might not be much of a problem. Sounds like you will do a pretty good job of keeping them run off.

If I had to manage a 2-3 acre duck and crappie pond, I would figure on a lot of aeration, a whopper of a well, more HSB to cut down on overspawning crappie and Church every Sunday morning.


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
#2469 01/18/07 07:04 AM
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Gunny, welcome to the PB forum from a fellow Planoite.

You have received a lot of good information from some highly qualified PB folks, and I would like to make a few comments from a less than highly qualified PBer.

I would like to interject a thought about your search for a property that would be optimum for realizing your dream of pond building and raising mojo crappie and HSB, but before you start worrying about ponds and fish, I would like to introduce geology as a major factor in your search for property.

Before I do, you need to tell me about your SWD experience you may know more that I do.

First of all, I would ask Lusk and Overton what geographical area their best ponds are located Blackland Prairie, Post Oak Savannah, or Piney Woods?

Having grown up in Nacogdoches and very familiar with the Lufkin area, I am very familiar with the Piney Woods of East Texas, and as you know have excellent soils for pond building, but in some cases may have water quality problems.

Centerville is the Post Oak Savannah, my favorite for both optimum soil and water quality.

I included only these areas because of your stated interest in Centerville/Lufkin areas.
The Piney Woods of East Texas have their unique soil and water conditions as well as the post Oak Savannah geographic zone has its unique characteristics.

Since you are a SWD guy and obviously well informed, let me illustrate for others a simple example of geology vs. geography.

Use the attached geology map of Texas and draw a line from Waco to Centerville to Lufkin.

Waco is in Blackland Prairie, Cretaceous in age with predominately limestone outcrops and black gumbo clay - transitioning to Centerville into the Post Oak Savannah of Tertiary age with sand and clays across the Trinity River into Eocene sand and clay soils of the Piney Woods.

My favorite of all is the transition zone where surface Cretaceous gumbo clays outcrop into the Tertiary sand and clays.

Our ponds in Delta County in N.E. Texas are predominate sand and clay soils of the Tertiary Wilcox. I can walk five hundred yards up-dip to the black gumbo clay of the Cretaceous.

The post oak trees, water quality and rock conditions are exactly the same as in Freestone and Leon (Centerville) counties

If I was starting from scratch, before worrying about fish and diggin ponds, I would begin my land search for optimum soil and water quality areas before beginning the exciting journey of ponds and fish dont know about shopping malls tho.

Since you are local, I will be happy to assist you in any way I can.
I am very familiar with the area you are interested.

My apologies for the long-winded post.
George Glazener

ps: check out mineral rights on all property investigated. \:D





Post-Oak Savannah
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/post_oak/regulatory/


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George makes a valid point in this post. Water quality tends to be better in the centerville area than in the lufkin area, due to differences in alkalinity and hardness. These parameters can be adjusted in east Texas, but it may be a constant struggle. Based on prospective water quality alone I would choose the Centerville area. FYI, some ponds in the local area need lime/gypsum just like east Texas ponds.

Thanks Gunsmoke and the rest of you for a good thread.


It's ALL about the fish!
#2471 01/18/07 02:36 PM
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George, we may need to have lunch together! Always interested in talking to geologists. I've been all over the U.S. scouring rivers, gravel pits and mountains for geodes, agates, quartz crystals, herkimer diamonds, apache tears, sapphires, you name it! My grandparents were Rock Hounds and I was the tagalong my entire childhood.

Centerville is of high interest to me but it's SO SMALL!!!!!!! My wife is worried about the low population density. I'm a country boy living in a big city so it suits me fine. I like waking up, opening the door and smelling cows. I'm a Cheesehead. Sad but true. \:\(

I love those maps George. They're hanging up in the office for decoration! haha I'll take a closer look at the aquifers in the two areas of interest and ask some of the drillers how deep they go before they reach decent flow. I was worried about the piney woods and acidity levels but, again, that's why I've asked Todd and the rest of you brainiacs to give me some pointers.

Dave, you also touched on aeration and that was another option I'd taken into account but will again rely on Todd's judgment once the spot is picked. I have a buddy who lives on E-TX 7 almost directly between Centerville and Crockett and his pond is crystal clear and he never messes with it.

Keep the ideas comin' guys! George, I'll pm you my cell phone number and maybe we can do lunch. I'm always all over DFW fixin' PC's and I see you're retired so it's a distinct possibility.

This is all starting to become clearer for me, thanks a bunch to everybody. Need crappie structure ideas, spawning area ideas if mine are out of line, plantlife ideas and anything else I shouldn't forget. Todd's still gonna be my main man but 1,000 heads are better than two and this is a 5 yr plan so I've got time to absorb.

Now, time to study the Mississippi Flyway pattern of mallards and check with drillers.....

#2472 01/18/07 04:32 PM
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gunsmoke,

I'd like to join the welcome wagon and wish you the best on your crappie adventure....and throw in some free Lufkin area cudos.

After many years of playing weekend rancher, I recently retired to become full time rancher in the Lufkin area. Have Daughter, Son-in-law, and grandchildren living in Lufkin. The Lufkin area is a great place to live, raise family, and especially to retire, IMO. Land prices are still reasonable, although rising, and cost of living is very low relatively speaking. Lufkin is one of the best kept secrets in Texas...has just about every convenience you could ever want plus a great small town atmosphere.

As far as ponds, the basic ingredients in any pond are water and dirt. The Lufkin area, particularly along the H59 corridor south, has abundant rainfall rates to support ponds and generally excellent soils for pond construction. With the addition of lime every few years, the acidic nature of the soils can easily be neutralized. Lake Fork isn't far and Big Sam even closer and if those lakes have water quality problems, then all lakes should be so fortunate.

Best wishes on what ever choice you make and especially so in your journey with a crappie pond.

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Meadowlark, thanks for the post, I was hoping you'd chime in sooner or later! You're makin' me feel better about Lufkin, that's for sure. George and I are gonna talk about West of Centerville and I'm interested to hear the benefits but, again, my wife has a huge say so in this choice and I think being close to bigger cities is gonna win. I've fished Lake Fork but the geology of Fork is different than Lufkin if you check out that map George posted. hmmmmmmm

I enjoyed what I've read off of your website and the experiments you did with tilapia has all but convinced my buddy and I that his moss problem can be overcome by tilapia. He has a 2 acre pond and all he needs to know is how many tilapia he'll need to clean it out and when to stock them. Any thoughts?

Great site! I still haven't read everything but I'll get there. I see you even experimented with the ever popular "Cooper Nose BG". :p How'd that work for you?

Looking forward to reading more about your pond exploits. Thanks for responding to my thread and welcoming me, Gunny

ps for George, I want mineral rights! No gas wells in my front yard.

ps for Brettski, now that the 'boys lost and Brett Favre couldn't save the Packers, GO BEARS!

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If you can't get the mineral rights, make sure you get the surface rights, so you can prevent wells from being put on your land.


--Kevin Mc
It's not about the stomach. It's about the fish. Take care of the fish and the stomach will be fine.

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