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Hi Everyone,
My parents have a farm in Hume, Virginia about an hour west of Washington, DC. In order to get my wife and I to bring the granddaughter over to the farm more on weekends they are having a pond constructed (I am an avid bass fisherman who spends most Saturdays out on his bass boat), the farm is short of activities that draw people down there (it gets boring to put it bluntly) and a trophy fishery will definitely help!

The pond is almost finished and will be approximately .75 to 1 acre with depths as deep as 18'. The pond is fed by a creek and a spring. Construction should be finished this week. The pictures below were taken yesterday and when finished the dam will be 4 feet higher and the bottom will be dug out more. We will be adding several large stumps, rock piles, a "fish house" made of cinderblocks and concrete slabs, a few large logs, and 4 of the porupine fish structures (1 large one for the far shore bluff wall and three small ones for the sloping shallow shore) and a wooden dock which is being constructed as I type this. The area around the dock will not have any stucture as a swimming area will be set up around the dock.

Here is the pond as of yesterday:







Sloping shore:






My hope is to grow trophy bass (around these parts anything over 6lbs is a trophy) but I have not decided on largemouth or smallmouth yet. I know I need to get the forage base going, my intent was to wait until the pond was 4-5 feet deep (should be mid-March if not sooner) and stock 40-50lbs of fathead minnows, 20-30lbs of shiners, along with crayfish/snails/tadpoles/daphnia. Then wait until fall before stocking 500 bluegill, 200 RES and 50 bass of either largemouth or smallmouth variety.

Would threadfin shad be a better forage fish than shiners? I have seen people suggest that a few goldfish will be helpful for alge removal, is this true? Should I stock catfish (I don't plan on eating the catfish but I hear they do well at cleaning up the pond but hurt the bass)? We will be adding a feeder if we can get sufficient power to the area but that is not a certainty, can a feeder be run off of solar panels? I know the stocking numbers I proposed are on the high side but I know the FHM will get annihilated by the bass and bluegill and I figured too many pieces of bass candy would not be a problem and would get the bluegill and bass off to a good start. Am I right?

I have a bass boat and fish tournaments on the Potomac River regularly, I hope to catch big bass but I don't see myself ever throwing worms under a bobber for bluegill once the kid is old enough to graduate to a spinning reel. If the bluegill get big and provide bigger bass then great but I am not looking for a trophy bluegill pond at the expense of the bass. I am sure my daughter will catch bluegill but I will get her into bass fishing so she can join me out on the river; hopefully she will be casting for bass in the next three years just in time for these pond bass to be in the 3-4 pound range.

Any help or advice is appreciated! I know I wrote this post in a hyper manner but thinking about this pond gets me psyched!!!


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Hey Rock,

Welcome to the PBF! I also have a 1 acre pond. And if I had to do it again I would have stocked BG and HSB. As many have stated on this site trying to get a trophy LMB pond out of a 3/4 to 1 acre pond is almost impossible. Don't mean to burst your bubble! And if you try it and get it to work let me know what you did cause I love to bass fish too!


Good Luck, The pond looks good by the way!


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Thanks for the response! There are a lot of ponds in the area of this farm that produce big numbers of bass with the occasional 5lb+ fish. I know that most of these ponds were stocked by the standard "pond mix" that is dumped in the water by a truck and then never thought of again. I also know that most of these ponds have no structure in them at all. I had hoped that with a more patient stocking program I could end up with a good population of bass ranging from 3-6lbs with more small bass that we could regularly harvest. Is my hope an actual possibility? If I just wanted to get the biggest bass I could out of this pond (not trophies but not 100,000 identical 8" fish) what would the best approach be?


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Welcome to the forum Rockville, gonna be a nice pond. As far a feeders go most will operate fairly well on just battery power but you can get solar chargers for most of them, and since your feeding go with the aquamax Largemouth pellet, it's big and 45% protein.
Also if you want big bass don't overdo the amount of structure so they will be able to get at your forage.
Hang on and you should get info from the bass experts, good luck.



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Keep holding; I'm no expert.

Dynamics to consider. These are POND Bass101

1. The AVERAGE BALANCED pond can carry about 100 pounds of predators per acre. A predator is an animal that eats smaller animals.

2. It takes 10 pounds of forage(smaller fish, frogs, etc.) for a bass to gain one pound.

3. A bass needs to consume prey that is 1/4 to 1/3 its body size. This means that it has to have more calorie intake than energy expended. From this we see that a 3 pound bass could starve to death on minnows.

4. Bass are spawning machines and have to be managed(culled). And it's a lot of work. After the 2nd year you need to cull every bass 14 inches and under. If you don't the pond becomes what we call "bass heavy". The smaller bass eat the normal forage before it becomes large enough to feed the larger bass. The bigger bass suffer and lose health. And, those smaller bass get conditioned to the top of the line predators presence. They get lockjaw and refuse everything with a string attached.

These are the reasons why RC51 is saying that bass are really hard work in a 1 acre water hole. That's why a lot of us are thinking more about HSB and pellets.


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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HSB aren't an option in VA as they are illegal to stock. Just FYI on going that route...

If you can source pellet trained SMB I'd say they may be as good of an option as I can think of for what you are trying to accomplish. Good luck finding them in the mid Atlantic area though, we aren't exactly blessed with a large number of fish hatcheries to choose from. You can stock non pellet trained SMB, however I would attempt to keep them from having much success in spawning. This should prevent them from becoming too abundant and over eating their forage.

Speaking of forage, you have a new pond which means you have the golden window to establish a well rounded mix of forage species. Be patient in stocking them and you'll reap the rewards. Stocking SMB over LMB will mean you have a better chance of having at least a few species of forage naturally reproducing in your pond, particularly if you keep their numbers in check and provide good habitat for your forage fish.

Forage species I would highly recommend for a SMB pond in northern VA would be:

fathead minnows
bluntnose minnows
banded killifish
spotfin shiners
satinfin shiners
golden shiners
tessellated darter

If you decide to go the LMB route and not the SMB route, then your sunfish(BG/RES) will be the backbone of your forage as the LMB will almost certainly remove all the other non spiny forage fish. If you go the SMB route, I would skip the BG and only stock RES with possibly some redbreast sunfish. SMB struggle at best to properly control BG reproduction, even LMB struggle to control BG reproduction here in northern VA.

Skip the threadfin shad, they will not over winter in northern VA. Do not stock goldfish. They will make a muddy mess of your water and don't eat aquatic vegetation. If you can source a safe crayfish species, they would be fine to stock. Just understand that some crayfish dig holes and can damage your dam. If you don't plan on eating catfish and don't have much interest in fishing for them, skip them. They'll just compete with your bass for limited forage a 3/4 acre pond can produce.

In northern VA, it probably will be 3 and more like 4 years before your bass hit 14". Even with good forage. We don't have nearly as long a growing season as the south does... That is why a 6 lb bass is big around here! Research the forum... Understand how to measure and weight fish and keep track of relative weights. Do forum searches on SMB to decide if you want to go that route. The one nice thing about SMB is if you do decide on them and later don't like them, stock a few LMB and within a few years they'll be gone and you'll have a LMB pond.

Hume is a beautiful area, you can see that in your photos. Best of luck! Read up... There's lots to learn here in the archives and by doing searches with key words of interest to you.

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Thanks for all the help guys! Harvesting fish will not be a problem if I go LMB or SMB but I am leaning towards SMB since I think they fight better and make better table fare. Will SMB survive on FHM, GSH, RES and crayfish or will I need to add something else to the mix? If a 3lb bass will starve on minnows then what forage would be ideal for larger SMB and should I stock that forage now or wait until fall when I stock the bass? Would stocking a smaller number of bass potentially be a good thing so that they can crow quicker and take longer to annihilate the FHM population?

I have been looking at finding a hatchery that sells bluntnose minnows/banded killifish/spotfin shiners/satinfin shiners/tesselated darters but I have had no luck, anyone know where I can get them in this area?

I was planning on using this hatchery for my FHM, crayfish, GSH, RES and eventually Bass: http://zettsfishhatchery.com/ Does anyone have any experience with them good/bad?


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Catmandoo as well as a few others here have experience with Zetts WVA and there are not many complaints. Dave's comment about "3 lb bas starving on minnows" was ment for primarily for LMB not less regarding SMB, although larger smallies do much better on larger forage than primarily 3". IMO 4 lb SMB is equivalent to abt 6 lb LMB. The only way you will get the "bluntnose minnows/banded killifish/spotfin shiners/satinfin shiners/tesselated darters" is to contact CJBS in private messages or collect these fish from the local waters. If you go with these smaller minnows IMO and experience you will need some submerged vegetation cover for them to maintain long term survival. Hardy hybrid water lilies 'small varieties' work well for this. The only ones that Zetts sells in this category are 'Bronze Commanche", Indiana, and Yellow Chromestella. Also see Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, MD. There is quite a bit of old topics discussion here about water lilies for farm ponds.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/22/12 10:53 AM.

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Thanks Bill!

Is stocking Yellow Perch a good idea and if so when should I add them? My experience with YP comes primarily from fishing for them in very deep water during the late winter on the Potomac River, they are delicious and fun to catch but I was under the impression they are predacious on fingerling bass and can raid spawning nests. Then again bluegill do the same thing... I am pretty sure I will stock SMB at this point and I want to be sure that I add something for the big ones to prey on and I hope YP could be the answer.


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Welcome to the forum. I'm just west of Winchester, and know the Hume area well.

I don't think you will have any success with bass without having bluegill. It would be very tough. Before you start stocking, I'd suggest you order two of Bob Lusk's books -- "Raising Trophy Bass", and "Perfect Pond -- Want One?" (Pond Boss Book Store) Both are excellent primers on what you want to do. I'd also suggest a lot of reading here on the forum. There is a lot of info about what you want to do. We'll also be very glad to answer questions.

Zetts does a good job. It is best to call first to find out what they have available. Plus, they like to have you call in your order. They stay pretty busy, but they will have your order boxed and ready to go when you arrive. Zetts doesn't always have SMB, but they always have LMB.

The "Fish Wagon" (Fish Wagon) out of Arkansas will be coming through to the Southern States stores in about two weeks, but I doubt you'll have enough water in the pond by then. They do a good job, and come through about four times a year. I know they will be stopping at the Winchester store this time, and I believe they do the Middleburg store. It is possible they do the TSC in either Marshall or Warrenton. If you have enough water, they can provide fathead minnows, and their prices are much better than Zetts. The Fish Wagon charges about $1/lb. for them, with a 10 lb., minimum.

Ken


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I've got lots of experience with YP and SMB in NW OH. The combination works well in my experience. I've never seen where the YP raid SMB nests unless YP are over abundant and too crowded and there is a lack of smaller minnnow forage, thus the minnow diversity suggested by CJ which is an especially good plan if you go with YP and SMB. Quite a bit of info here also on the YP and SMB combination. Minnows of spotfin, satinfin shiners and bluntnose minnows and crayfish are very important for this combination to be really successful. I've found that YP eat lots of YOY crayfish if they are available.

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Thanks Ken I will give them a call.

The dam and excavation will be completed by Friday and the posts for the dock will be done Friday as well, I am going to the farm on Saturday to meet with the builder and use his heavy lifting equipment to place some structure and create a gravel bed. After that he will be doing some tests to ensure the dam is good to go and then the valve will be closed. The builder expects the pond to fill in 10 days, the creek that fills it runs pretty fast and has an 8 foot waterfall that flows hard even in dry weather. Adding fish in 14 days won't be a problem at all.


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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
I've got lots of experience with YP and SMB in NW OH. The combination works well in my experience. I've never seen where the YP raid SMB nests unless YP are over abundant and too crowded and there is a lack of smaller minnnow forage, thus the minnow diversity suggested by CJ which is an especially good plan if you go with YP and SMB. Quite a bit of info here also on the YP and SMB combination. Minnows of spotfin, satinfin shiners and bluntnose minnows and crayfish are very important for this combination to be really successful. I've found that YP eat lots of YOY crayfish if they are available.


Are Yellow Perch essential to grow larger SMB or can I expect to grow some 3+lb smallies with just FHM/GSH/RES/Crayfish/frogs?

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YP are not essential for growing 3 LB+ smallies but it helps esp if the smallies are also feeding on pellets (smb pellet trained can be very hard to find). SMB at 3 lbs are very nice smallies at 17.2"-18" long (std wt). If you can get YP that are pellet trained they will easily grow to 12"-13" long and some to 14"-15" with a regular diet of high protein pellets. YP at 3"-5" make good forage for adult SMB, but so do GSH and RES primarily because RES are minimal spawners and rarely over populate. Read more info here on spawning habitat for smallies. I'll see if I can locate some links. If you plan on having enough frogs to feed some smallies plan on having a significant amount of cover esp emergent shallow water vegetation for the frogs and tadpoles. Smallies seem to like tadpoles. YP do not eat bullfrog tadpoles in my experience.

I see that Lilypons Water Gardens has moved to Adamstown MD. http://www.lilypons.com/
The 'Changeable' lilies are always smaller varieties with small spread, slower growing, and staying in shallower water of mostly 2-4ft.

SMB Spawning and Biology:
http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/smallmouth-spawning.html

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=181122

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/growing-smallmouth.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/smallmouth.html

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/smallmouth_bass_stocking.html

SMB Stocking - Management
http://www.sdstate.edu/nrm/outreach/pond...ul-Aug-2004.pdf



Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/22/12 09:03 PM. Reason: small fixes

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Originally Posted By: RockvilleMDAngler

The builder expects the pond to fill in 10 days, the creek that fills it runs pretty fast and has an 8 foot waterfall that flows hard even in dry weather. Adding fish in 14 days won't be a problem at all.


Your location is in one of the best places anywhere for a pond. The soil is perfect -- perc sites for sanitary drainfields are difficult to find. You've got lots of excellent watershed, and springs, that provide ideal pond water. And, even during dry periods, adequate moisture gets ripped out of the clouds as they pass over the Blueridge.

However, before the builder leaves, here are a couple of things to think about, if they weren't already addressed.

You mentioned a spring as one of the water sources. If it is in the pond, hopefully it is one that runs even during serious droughts. If not, it will act as a drain during the dry times.

The stream is the second concern. We normally don't recommend damming streams because of the volume of water they can produce during a big rain storm. In the photos I don't see an emergency spillway. With the thought that the pond could fill in as little as 10 days, I do hope your builder put in a very large standpipe that can handle at least double the average stream flow this time of year. And hopefully, they put in a very substantial spillway for our heavy rains.

I regularly travel Route 50, Route 55, Route 17, and I-66 through your pond area. I'm not sure how many times I've seen new ponds washed out in that area due to inadequate spillways. There are some very good pond builders in the area -- and there are the guys with excavating equipment who will give you a good dirt moving quote. Hopefully, you got the first.

Good luck,
Ken


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Originally Posted By: catmandoo

You mentioned a spring as one of the water sources. If it is in the pond, hopefully it is one that runs even during serious droughts. If not, it will act as a drain during the dry times.


The stream is the second concern. We normally don't recommend damming streams because of the volume of water they can produce during a big rain storm. In the photos I don't see an emergency spillway. With the thought that the pond could fill in as little as 10 days, I do hope your builder put in a very large standpipe that can handle at least double the average stream flow this time of year. And hopefully, they put in a very substantial spillway for our heavy rains.


I am glad to hear that our soil is perfect! Having read through a few dozen threads on this board written by guys losing their mind dealing with soil issues and dam issues I realize we are very fortunate!

I spoke with my Father about the creek and apparently I was slightly off when I said the pond is both spring and creek fed. While there is a spring in the bottom of the pond and a creek that feeds the pond apparently the creek itself is spring fed and flows no matter the weather (although obviously at times of heavy rain it flows harder than times of drought). The stream starts about 300 yards above the pond and has a waterfall with an 8-foot drop so the water should be well oxygenated when it reaches the pond. The spring-fed stream runs directly into a larger flowing creek known as thumb run which eventually empties into the rappahanock.

No emergency spillway was built because the pond is totally reliant upon this spring, the overflow pipe is 18" pvc and should be sufficient from what we are told.

Here is the aerial view of the pond before construction (pond outlined in blue), the stream runs through the woods under the pond and the creek above the pond is thumb run:


I don't have a good picture of the waterfall but I will get one on Saturday. Here are some of the spring-fed creek when we first began construction:



Here is the overflow and the drain pipes on the outside of the dam:




The only bad thing about our layout is that we would have to take GREAT caution if we ever empty the pond for maintenance to avoid having our fish populate Thumb Run.

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Originally Posted By: catmandoo

Your location is in one of the best places anywhere for a pond. The soil is perfect -- perc sites for sanitary drainfields are difficult to find. You've got lots of excellent watershed, and springs, that provide ideal pond water. And, even during dry periods, adequate moisture gets ripped out of the clouds as they pass over the Blueridge.


Ken I know all ponds are different and there is no easy answer to this question without more data that I do not have at this point, but would it be fair to say that most soil and spring water in this area is fertile and does not require fertilization and/or aeration? I keep reading that many people put a few tons of lime down on the bottom of their pond before filling it and our builder never suggested this and none of the ponds nearby did this before filling up as far as I know. I just want to know if this is something I should be worried about. Your post essentially said that this area is ideal for a pond, I just want to know if ideal means good ph/alkalinity etc.


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2 things I see about the overflow/drain pipe on the back side of the dam.
1) I believe it's too small (diameter for the drain pipe). If you get a lot of rain, the 18" pipe won't be able to get rid of the water fast enough, and without an properly constructed emergency spillway, the dam could wash out if water flows over it for a length of time.

2) There isn't enough protection around the 18" pipe to keep water from starting to eat away at the backside of the dam. I'd see if you could run the end of the pipe further away from the dam, and place a lot of large sized rocks for the water to fall on to help prevent the outflow from digging a large hole.

Has the contractor dug other ponds that hold water? Have you or your parents looked at them? I'm saying this because there are a LOT of people that can move dirt very well, but don't know squat about properly constructing a pond.

How much watershed flows into the pond? If the pond builder doesn't know, then there's no way that he can properly figure out the size of the drain pipe. The pond has to be constructed so it will withstand a "100 year rain event" without the dam failing.

If it fails, and there are houses downhill, then there's the possibility of your parents being liable for some if not all of the damage.........

I think you might be better with the SMB than the LMB. You don't need BG unless stocking LMB, they will overpopulate with SMB.


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I need to talk with my Dad and the builder to see what the situation is with the spillway. I am pretty sure that the back of the dam is not yet complete since the pictures were taken when they needed to add 4 more feet to the dam. We got a permit to build the pond and it is very close to a flood plain so I think the emergency spillway is going to be a short trench to the flood plain. There are no houses behind the pond, just hundreds of acres of grass fields that our neighbor does absolutely nothing with (he won't even let cows graze on it).

The builder lives 1/2 mile from my parents farm and does tons of work for them especially when my parents are in DC during the work week. He feeds cows, repairs fence lines, renovates barns, helps cows deliver their babies (which is really tough work), helps us sell cows etc.

He has built numerous ponds in the area. Here is the google earth image of the one on his property that was built 20+ years ago and which he emptied out last summer and renovated. This image was taken shortly after the pond was drained and before the dam was rebuilt, the dam on this one is HUGE:



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I just confirmed that the emergency spillway has been constructed and that the 18" overflow pipe is being extended another 30 feet away from the dam. This stuff was all planned and my pictures were taken while work was still underway.


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That is very good news. I believe you are heading towards success. Now we just have to pick a good day for you and your parents to schedule a Pond Boss fish fry! grin

Hopefully we didn't stress you too much, but the old timers here have seen a lot of pond disasters that didn't need to be.

Good Luck,
Ken

P.S. If you are thinking about getting fish from the Fish Wagon on March 9 in Winchester, maybe we can hook up for coffee at McDonalds.


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Sounds great!


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Originally Posted By: RockvilleMDAngler
Originally Posted By: catmandoo

Your location is in one of the best places anywhere for a pond. The soil is perfect -- perc sites for sanitary drainfields are difficult to find. You've got lots of excellent watershed, and springs, that provide ideal pond water. And, even during dry periods, adequate moisture gets ripped out of the clouds as they pass over the Blueridge.


Ken I know all ponds are different and there is no easy answer to this question without more data that I do not have at this point, but would it be fair to say that most soil and spring water in this area is fertile and does not require fertilization and/or aeration? I keep reading that many people put a few tons of lime down on the bottom of their pond before filling it and our builder never suggested this and none of the ponds nearby did this before filling up as far as I know. I just want to know if this is something I should be worried about. Your post essentially said that this area is ideal for a pond, I just want to know if ideal means good ph/alkalinity etc.


I somehow missed answering this.

We are pretty fortunate in this area for multiple reasons. You certainly could put lime down, but it would have to depend on the pH of the water coming in. I would not base it on the pH of the pond soil.

Although we receive a lot of acid rain, we also have a lot of limestone in our soil. Additionally, our watersheds flow over and through a lot of different materials, which tend to neutralize our water. My rain gauge may show a pH of 5.4, but the water flowing into my pond is always very close to 7.0 as it passes through everything. My pond stays at a consistent 7.0.

It may take as long as two or three years for your pond to stabilize due to the disturbance of the soils below it. Just keep track of it. You mentioned cattle in one of your posts or messages. The cattle are probably going to fertilize your pond with manure, but they could also overwhelm it, depending on how many of them there are, and if the pastures are fertilized. There are a lot of mitigation techniques if they overwhelm it, and you can always add fertilizer if they aren't doing their job.

Until you have the pond for at least one full season, I don't think I'd do any chemical enhancements.

Ken


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CJ, a question for you regarding the forage base for this type of pond. You've mentioned in other threads that you've sourced Orange Spotted Sunfish (OSS) from Zimmerman Fish. How have they worked out?

I realize they aren't for everyone, as you have to pay aquarium prices and breed them, but that aside, how do you see them fitting into the forage base of this sort of Mid-Atlantic SMB/YP/RES pond, if you could grow out a decent number of them and get them established prior to stocking SMB and YP? How prolific are they -- one spawn per year, or multiple, BG style?

Thanks.

David


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I am still in the learning stage with OSS. I know Dr. Willis did studies on OSS as SMB forage in South Dakota. If you do an internet search it is available on-line if I recall. From what I have seen so far myself, OSS only spawn once per year. Their ideal habitat is turbid backwaters. However, they seem to be very adaptable to other habitat types as well. I am also starting to think RBS(redbreast sunfish) make a good choice as SMB forage as well. They are more fusiform than BG, making it easier for the smaller mouthed SMB to prey on them and they only spawn once a year, making them far less prolific than BG. They also seem to prefer similar habitat as SMB. Unlike OSS though, they will reach sizes in excess of 8" and can themselves produce quality angling. There are a number of hatcheries in the southeast that sell them to include their mutant color form.

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Rockville, there has been some discussion on the site that one issue with SMB is that they can be tricky to source, especially at times other than the fall, and that our neck of the woods, the Mid-Atlantic, isn't exactly SMB Central in the best of times. Zetts, for example, doesn't list SMB in their catalog.

I keep a google doc in which I cut and paste every post I can find from this site relevant to the kind of SMB/YP/RES/diversified minnow pond I plan to have (and which I couldn't have imagined before I discovered this site). As I was putting in CJ's helpful remarks about RBS, I happened to see an older post from Ken in which he mentioned that he had purchased trout from Steve Haines of Flowing Springs Farm in Rio, WV and that he has a SMB pond that's fed by the outflow from his trout raceways. Might be a source to consider.

There's a pretty good group of NoVa/WVa folks (not many Marylanders other than you, for whatever reason) on the site, including, as you've seen already, some of the most active and knowledgeable posters. I hope you'll join the gang and especially keep those photos coming.


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Get plenty of shallow cover in for all that forage to thrive in. Habitat substrates, provide surfaces for bio film to grow and ultimately feed your fish as well as provide cover to grow to the desired size for your bass.

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Thanks for the kind words dlyle! I double-checked Zetts' catalog and they do list smallmouth although they say "very limited quantity" http://zettsfishhatchery.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/CompleteCatalog.pdf I put a call into Zetts and left a message. I have no problem stocking forage in early spring then introducing smallmouth in the fall. I know it would be ideal to let the pond sit for a full year before adding predators but if smallies are only available in fall then I will just have to stock more forage fish this spring to account for the shortened breeding time.

Well I went up to the farm Saturday morning expecting to start making smallmouth beds and placing various cover only to learn that we have to postpone that a week as the rains on Friday slowed us down just a bit. There is still a bit of dirt that needs to be moved and the emergency spillway needs to be completed. Now I will be going down next Saturday to lay out the structure. On the good side this means that the porcupine attractors I ordered should be in by then and I won't have to dump them in to an already-filling pond. The construction guys are moving the rest of the dirt today and the posts for the dock are being added tomorrow. We have a ton of rocks left over from the excavation and we have a truckful of gravel being delivered Wednesday. The guys will be making a 15' wide, 20' deep, 4" thick gravel bed on the right shoreline (as you face the dam) on Thursday. Here are some updated pictures:

Here is one of the springs, taken from where the emergency spillway will be:


Here is the spring from the top of the dam:


The dock is going to be installed on the shoreline on the right:


Here is where the emergency spillway will be, we are getting short on dirt so we are digging into a hill away from the pond and bringing more dirt in to build the walls for the spillway which will channell that water into the creek:


Closer view of where the mouth of the spillway will be:


The right shoreline (the light brown part) is going to contain the gravel bed:


This is our shallowest area, at the opposite end of the dam. The creek comes through here, I will be making some smallmouth beds here:


This area already has a nice brush pile:


Here is the waterfall, unfortunately the leaves have covered a lot of the water flow so you cannot see how much water is coming through:


Here is the spring-fed creek above the waterfall:



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Top of the waterfall looking down (darn leaves ruining the picture):


Views of the pond from the top of the waterfall:




Last edited by RockvilleMDAngler; 02/27/12 01:59 PM.

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Very pretty! Lots of rocky structure would be great.

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I would recommend smallmouth bass as well. In a pond that small it would be very easy for the bluegill necessary for largemouth bass production to get out of control.

I have never seen a pond with too many fathead minnows or golden shiners in it.

My number one focus would be on constructing great habitat for forage. You will want those fatheads, shiners, and crayfish breeding like mad. If your water will support them I would recommend lake chubsuckers as well. They get larger and they make fine forage for smallies. Also, don't forget the grass shrimp! They can add a lot of meat to your food chain.

I don't have any experience with yellow perch and smallies, but I can tell you that yellow perch are a great fish on their own. I can see how they could be useful forage for smallies.

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Construction on the pond is 95% complete, the only thing preventing it from being finished is heavy groundwater coming up from the springs and soaking clay before it can be applied to the slope of the dam. They dug out a lot of clay and spread it out to dry, when it has dried it will be applied to the inside area of the dam to give it some slope and prevent erosion. On Saturday I went up with my Daughter to lay out the fish structure, I arrived with 5 porcupine fish attractors, 4 wood pallets, and 25 cinder blocks. Since the remaining work is focused in one area we felt that adding the fish structure now would allow the cap to be put on the dam as soon as the final work was finished this week, some of the structure might be moved out of the way to allow for rollers but they will be moved right back. Per my father's request we did not put any structure in a 30 foot radius of the dock so that nobody dives off the dock and gets hurt, personally I don't think anyone will be doing much swimming here but I could be wrong.

Wood pallets with rocks, cinderblocks, and gravel. The tops of the pallets will be in 5-6 feet of water:







Here are some big rocks surrounding some huge stumps and logs. This will be in water over 10 feet deep and I expect to catch a lot of fish off of this:





A big rock pile next to the logs and stumps, good crayfish habitat:



Our dock which is currently under construction. The main posts are drying in concrete and the diagonal supports will be removed once the concrete is set. I put two of the small porcupine fish attractors under the dock to ensure that it holds fish:





The three big porcupine fish attractors each weighted down by a cinderblock, these will be put in the creek bed once the last work is finished:





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Here is my version of a smallmouth bed. It has 6" of big gravel inside it, the rocks and blocks will act as a shield keeping silt from covering all the gravel. I would have liked to use smaller gravel but this is what we had to work with, perhaps I will buy 20 bags of pond gravel and pour it on top next saturday. I will be putting one of the porcupine attractors in the creek channel in front of it:





Here is another big gravel bed that we surrounded with two big logs and some big rocks to act as a shield from the silt. This is 20 feet from the other smallmouth bed. I expect this to be home to a lot of crawfish and a place where smallmouth get it on:







From the dock looking at the gravel bed/smallmouth bed:



Here is the dam with the clay drying on top:



From the dock looking towards the dam, we put some huge logs and two rock piles in to attract fish, one of the fish attractors will go here when the dam work is done:









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From the dam looking back to the dock:



From the dam looking to the shoreline accross from the dock, notice how much water is coming out of the spring. We already have a lot of noisy frogs calling that puddle home:





Back of the dam, was seeded (along with the a lot of the pond interior) on Friday with rye grass:





I have blisters all over my hands, my car has cinberblock fragments throughout, I ruined a good pair of boots, and my back aches but when there are fish in here it will definitely be worth it! Should be ready to stock our first minnows in two weeks!


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Are you weighting down the logs? Can't tell from the pics.


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
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The stumps in the middle have some rocks on them but otherwise they are not really weighed down.


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Yeah, I bet your back hurts! All that structure looks great! But those logs and stumps will want to float. Before my pond filled, I bought some cheap metal fence posts and sledgehammered one next to each stump, then drove nails through them to anchor the stump. At one stump, I could only get the post down about a foot and hit rock. when we got water it floated. I had to anchor it so it wouldn't float around and sink somewhere I didn't want it. Took a couple months before it finally soaked up enough water and sank.

Your pond's gonna look great when it fills!

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That looks great! Very impressive! Love your thought process on choosing the SMB/YP option. Looks like you're going to have some happy fish.

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Thanks for the kind words! I guess I am going to have to go up next Sunday and hammer those logs down! I have no idea how I will keep the biggest one down....


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crossed TPosts over each end or some concrete blocks with cables.


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
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Would drilling a 2x4 into a tree and sticking the other end in a bucket of cement work?


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I expect it would.


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
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Search for duckbill earth anchors. There was an article about them in PB magazine a year or two ago. I got mine at a local feed store for 2-3 bucks each.



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Those look like just the ticket! If I can find some locally I will buy them, if not I will fill a few buckets with concrete, take a long wire and a small piece of wood to each end, wrap the wire around the tree and stick both pieces of wood into the concrete bucket.


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OK time for some pics! Here is the pond as of 4/15/12, it is about 4' from full pool thanks to the recent drought:












Here is the creek feeding the pond, this will be covered by 2-3' of water when everything is full:







Last edited by RockvilleMDAngler; 04/24/12 10:57 AM.

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So yesterday I took the family to Zett's fish hatchery in WV and we bought 1000 FHM (unfortunately 20% were rosy red minnows since they raise them together), 200 3" golden shiners, and 100 crayfish. It was pouring rain and the pond had risen 2' from the previous week but the water also seemed to be pretty cold and the air temps were barely in the 50's. I forgot to take pictures of the stocking until I got to the last bag of minnows. Here are the FHM/RRM after sitting in the pond for 20 minutes with several cups of pond water added in 5 minute intervals, they took off as soon as I lowered on side of the bag:







I should have taken more pictures of the pond itself but it was cold, I was soaked, and my daughter was quickly losing patience with the whole situation. Now I am working on sourcing some satinfin shiners, spotfin shiners, tesselated darters, and bluntnose minnows to be added. If the weather cooperates I will hopefully get a chance to meet up with Travis and go seigning for them on the Potomac River, if not I have found some promising leads on the internet. I will also be adding grass shrimp (as soon as the pond reaches full pool and I plant some lillies and spiral eelgrass), banded killifish (as soon as Zett's has them available which should be in May), and some RES (Zett's says they will have them when I get the banded killifish). Then the pond will sit until I add 30 SMB and 100 YP either in the late fall of 2012 or spring of 2013.

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Sounds like you are well on your way! I just hope there were no hitch hikers in the FHM you bought. Those rosey reds sure do stick out don't they!

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On Friday I went up to the farm as I had a delivery of spiral eelgrass, hybrid lillies, and grass shrimp arriving. The pond was 15" from full pool and hopefully will be filled to the brim by this upcoming weekend. I planted the eelgrass in 2-3" of water along the shoreline and planted the lillies in a flat that will be 2.5' deep at full pool. The shrimp arrived from Fattigs fish without a single floater and they swam off quickly after being acclimated. Here are some pics:
The shrimp:









The plants:



The Pond:





Some shallow pallets that are halfway covered:



This upcoming Friday I have a shipment of spotfin shiners, greenfin shiners, bluntnose minnows, and johnny darters arriving from Jonah's Aquarium. Since some of these only spawn in crevices I took CJBS2003's advice and made a 24" tall stack of cd's and spacers and hung it from the dock where it sits 4" off the ground in shallow water. The picture does not really show the 5" of cd's that are already underwater. At full pool it will be totally submerged and should allow these fish to multiply rapidly. I have enough blank CD's leftover to make another one and hang on the other end of the dock (I ran out of spacers this time). Here is what it looks like:





The week after next I will be adding banded killifish and RES and then I will be done stocking until the late fall or early spring when the SMB and YP get a chance to wreak havoc on all this bait!

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Oh and the fathead minnows and rosy reds have already starting multiplying, they were everywhere! I also saw many golden shiners in what appeared to be a pre-spawn mating ritual. I would see a shiner chasing another shiner through the shallows only about a half inch behind the lead shiner, I saw this happen 5 or 6 times throughout the pond. Hopefully they spawn like crazy! Oh and millions of baby tadpoles have lined the shoreline, there will be frogs aplenty in a few weeks!


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Looking great!

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Really cool. How many each of the "exotic" forage species did you stock?


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I will be stocking 50 bluntnose minnows, 50 spotfin shiners, 50 greenfin shiners, and 30 johnny darters. I will also be stocking a couple hundred banded killifish and some lake chubsuckers this summer. The numbers of stockers are low but with no predators and plenty of spawning areas they should get established by the time I add the YP and SMB.


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On Friday I had some new fish arrive from http://www.jonahsaquarium.com/ so I headed down to the farm to stock them. I had 50 Greenfin Shiners, 50 spotfin shiners, 50 bluntnose minnows, and 30 johnny darters; all arrived alive and well packed. If you are in need of forage fish that are not readily available definitely call Mark at Jonah's Aquarium and see what he can do for you!

I got all the fish acclimated and released them, they all looked to take to the pond well except for some of the greenfin shiners. I saw 4-5 swimming in rapid circles then sinking down before spinning again. I guess they needed to be acclimated longer. An hour after release I saw 3 dead bluntnose minnows but hopefully the rest are good.

The pond is now 4" from full pool and is full of spawning fish. I saw millions of 1/3" fry swimming around the dock which I assume are fhm or gsh. There are schools of shiners swimming all over the place and the shallow areas are chock full of fatheads. I even saw a large crayfish eating what appeared to be a dead fathead. No sign of the grass shrimp and the spiral eelgrass I planted a few weeks ago appears to have disappeared with the exception of four or five plants that do not appear to have grown or spread. The hybrid lillies are still where I left them but have not grown much or spread, hopefully this summer they will take off.

I built a second CD structure for the new minnows to spawn in. On Sunday I saw several fish swimming in and around them so hopefully it is working.

Fish acclimating to the pond temperature:


Johnny Darters:






bluntnose minnows:




Shiners (not sure if these were the greenfins or the spotfins:










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Second CD spawning structure:


Lillies in the shallows with billions of tadpoles and minnows:




My pallets totally submerged:


Overall pond pictures:








Now i just need to add some banded killifish and red ear sunfish and the forage base will be good. I am hopeful that a feeder will be ordered and ready to go within another 2 weeks (that is a whole different discussion with my Dad).


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Looks awesome... Glad the fish came in from Jonah's. Those smallies are gonna love their new home next year!

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Will darters survive after SMB are added?

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With the right habitat, yes.

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I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to Travis for meeting with me on the Potomac yesterday and helping me collect some banded killifish and tesselated darters, who would have thought that running a seign through snake infested waters could be so much fun!! We ended up with about 50 killifish and 20 darters for my pond to go along with 20 easter silvery minnows that he put in his forage pond.

After returning home with my catch in an oxygenated cooler I brought the family down to the farm to release our newest forage fish. I had also ordered more eelgrass to stock as the last crop did not seem to catch on (I planted them in 1" of water as the pond was still 15" from full pool and I don't think they survived loing enough to be fully submerged). The wife and I planted all 50 corkscrew eelgrass plants, these were much larger than the last batch I stocked and I am very confident they will take hold. The killifish and darters were acclimated for almost an hour as we planted the eelgrass, when I tipped over the cooler they took off like bats outta hell!

The pond is now at full pool and there are fathead minnows EVERYWHERE!!! The tadpoles that dominated the shoreline a few weeks ago are much sparser now, in there place are thousands of fatheads of various sizes.

Some of the hybrid lillies I planted last month appear to have established a foothold, they are not spreading but they have pads on the surface and appear to be very much alive. Unfortunately a 6-8" copperhead was seen swimming near the pads.

My wife is an expert crayfish hunter and she noticed dozens of small crayfish along the shoreline and a few larger ones eating dead fatheads.

I did not see many of the golden shiners/spotfin shiners/bluntnose minnows/greenfin shiners/grass shrimp but when I went out to the end of the dock and threw out some AM600 into the middle of the pond the shiners appeared along with bluntnose minnows and larger fatheads. The shiners and bluntnose minnows would school under the feed just out of sight and individual fish would scream up from the school to hit pellets then swim back down with their quarry where other shiners/minnows would help them break it apart.

Before feeding the fish I decided to take a plunge off the dock and the water was nice and warm until you got below 6' where the thermocline kept the water 20-30 degrees cooler. This will be a heck of a swimmin hole! My Wife and Father were on the dock and saw millions of fish scream towards the dock when I dove in.

I saw 30+ fish holding to each of my CD structures. They were 1-1.5" long and appeared to have a blue streak on their side. I am hoping they are spotfin or greenfin offspring as all the spotfin/greenfins I stocked were larger than these.

Unfortunately my phone's battery died so I did not get any pictures but I am going up on Wednesday to meet with David Beasley of Solitude Lake Management to get 100 redears stocked and to get some water samples taken to ensure I have the right alkalinity/dissolved oxygen/hardness/conductivity etc. and I will get some photos then.


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Correction: Just heard from David Beasley and our appointment has been moved to June 20th.


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Glad to hear the killifish and darters made it.

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So I took the day off yesterday and met with David Beasley from SOLitude Lake Management at the pond. We stocked 100 RES, installed a new 125lb texas hunter feeder, and he took some water samples that he is sending to the lab. The feeder came with a bad timer but David returned first thing this morning to install a new one. The RES looked very healthy and took off into their new home. David commented that we had a very good zooplankton bloom and that the forage plan was especially good!

I planted 50 new corkscrew eel grass plants three weeks ago, my Dad had told me that he didn't notice them last weekend so I wanted to check to see if they were gone. I found most of the plants where I planted them but none had spread yet and many looked like they had a brown leaf or two. I was worried that maybe my crayfish had been eating them but that did not appear to be the case. David said they looked stressed but that I shouldn't panic. The water temps were in the mid-70s which is cooler than I expected and might have something to do with the reluctance of the eel grass to take off. If the eelgrass doesn't start to rally by the 30th I will make an order of Valisneria Spiralis and see if that works better than the Valisneria Americana I had planted.

Fathead minnows are everywhere. I did not see much shiner, killifish, bluntnose, or darter activity but I did see enough to let me know they are in there. I suspect my golden shiners never spawned as they were only 2.5-4" when stocked and I have not seen any fry other than the fatheads. I will wait until at least next summer to add the yellow perch and smallmouth as I want to be sure the other species get established and I am just not seeing enough from them at this point.

After David left I skinny dipped off the dock as there was nobody in sight and it was very hot out. I don't think there is a more refreshing activity on a hot day than diving into your own pond! My dog loved the pond as well and swam many a lap!

Here is David testing the water:



Here is my dog having a blast:








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Well thanks for not showing a picture of you skinny dipping.......
Awesome pond !

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:-) No pictures of skinny dipping


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Yes, thank you for leaving the skinny dipping photos out! HAHA

GSH often hang out away from shore and may be less visible. Did you see any of the killiefish you recently stocked? They are pretty easy to tell apart from the other species... Get that minnow trap I mentioned in the PM and let it soak next trip out and see what you come up with.

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I did not see Killifish but since there are literally millions of fhm and I stocked approximately 50 killifish I did not expect to see many.


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I am now just starting to see large numbers of YOY killifish in my pond. They are very distinct from the FHM young once you know what both look like.

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Looks great. I hope when my little slice is all finished it looks that good!



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Nice pond! I've always loved the rolling hills of VA. Very beautiful state.


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Thanks for the kind words guys!

Following CJBS2003's advice I went and bought a minnow trap but it did not arrive on Saturday so I could not try it out yesterday. According to the tracking number it will be here today and I will get a chance to try it out this upcoming Saturday and see if my various minnows are established.


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If the trap comes as shiney wire mesh it is beneficial to spary paint the trap drab colors. Minnows will often shy away from bright colored traps.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/25/12 09:58 AM.

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We are interested to hear how well this type of trap works. How big are the throat openings?


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Bill, I saw the specs:

Product Features
Crabfish Net Trap is made of nylon net with circle alloy frame design
Minnows enter the trap at both funnel shaped end holes size is 6.5cm in diameter approx
You are bidding on a Crabfish Crawdad Minnow Fishing Lure Trap Pot Cast Net
Size: 107cm length, 27.5cm width
Weight: 275g

I'm bad at converting metric to USA. wink


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Size: 42 inches long, 11 inches long. Weight: About .6 pounds. End holes 2.5 in. If I did my conversions right.

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I have had great luck with it. The biggest down side of it is since it is net material, the turtles will destroy it at times. It is also very light weight so it can be a trick to toss out from shore. Lowering from a dock is no problem though. However, because of a bigger opening it lets bigger fish in. It also has a built in bait holder.

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The zippered bait holder was a cool feature. I will be loading that up with some dog food and pellets on Saturday.

How long do I let it sit? I was planning on testing several different depths but if it takes 5 hours per spot then it will be tougher to get it all done in a weekend.


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The trap will usually contain or hold fish well until the bait is gone then they fish start looking for exits. Soak time and catch success often depends on bait type, depth, type of fish, time of day and weather conditions. I've found that shape, and size of trap also have influence on catch success.


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Here are the results of the water testing, it looks like I need aeration!



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WOW, No O2 below three feet that does not seem very deep.


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Be careful. That depth can move up with little warning in the heat of summer and when it gets much lower (0 or under 3 mark near the surface) you have too high a fish kill potential for me to be comfortable.

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I wonder once your ell grass beds get establiched at deeper depths will that help with O2 down below..


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Isn't that depth measurement in meters, not feet?


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
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Yes stratificaton is at about 6.5 feet between 2 and 3 meters.


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So getting an aeration system in is of utmost importance I take it... We are over 1100 feet from the house so trenching a power line is going to be a big undertaking, windmill aeration is also an option...


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Ohh, Meters.


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Originally Posted By: RockvilleMDAngler
So getting an aeration system in is of utmost importance I take it... We are over 1100 feet from the house so trenching a power line is going to be a big undertaking, windmill aeration is also an option...


I'd trench in a airline, and keep the compressor near the house. I know of a pond that has an airline running 900 feet with no problem, and no icing problems in the winter.


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Or at least get an emergency system (boat motor or paddle wheel) in place.

It is a little early for the thermocline to be at < 8 ft.
















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If we do not go with windmill aeration we will trench power to the pond so that we can put some lights in and be able to plug in a stereo. My concern with trenching an air line is that a cow steps over top of the trench and compresses the dirt enough to compress the line.


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Solar lights and battery powered radio. wink

The air line is pretty stiff, and even 6" underground would prevent it from getting compressed by any animal.

The longer the run, the larger the wire has to be.


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Good to know! I will see what we can come up with.


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Well the minnow trap did not yield any results as both zippers on the trap were broken upon arrival. I caught some fatheads in it but most of the fish swam out of the opening before I could bring it in. I will either sew up the zippered parts to close them permanently or replace the zippers but it will be a little while before it is usable.

On the positive side I am 100% sure that the spotfin shiners are still going as I saw numerous 3-4" fish around the CD structures and I even saw them chase off some fatheads/rosey reds that were trying to nose around the structures. My eelgrass has not spread yet but the lillies are doing quite well. I have eight lillies that have pads on the surface, two weeks ago only one of the lillies had anything on the surface so this is good progress. Hopefully the lillies cover the shallow end and the grass takes off...

I had some friends come down to the farm on Saturday, we had tickets to an Iron Maiden concert that was taking place 20 miles from the farm so we got to the farm early for some swimming and other hijinks before heading off the the show. After we left my Dad went down to the pond and found a black bear that had knocked down the feeder and was jumping up and down on it, trying to open it up. When my Dad drove up with the truck the bear slowly wandered off and my Dad was able to reset the feeder. We are going to have to come up with some type of enclosure for the feeder as bears have been very common this year and I don't want them ruining my $850 feeder!


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When does bear season open? wink


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Two things to think about with the bears. One is to build a floating raft, such as with blue barrels. Anchor it away from shore, and put the feeder on it.

A less expensive alternative is an electric fence around the feeder area. Tractor Supply has a number of solar charged units which should work well. Here is what Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has to say about bears and electric fences.

Ken


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I will look into the electric fence idea. Yet another reason to bring power to the pond!


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Is there any way you can hang the feeder out over the water from a dock?


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Never mind the bear.....

Iron Maiden is still touring?? shocked

Is this some watered down replacement band? Am I really that old?


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Yeah, I read that comment on the Iron Maiden concert earlier today after coming in from some fieldwork and was just too bushed to give it much consideration. But now that I'm cooled off and thinking clearly I gotta know, how was the show?

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Originally Posted By: catmandoo
Two things to think about with the bears. One is to build a floating raft, such as with blue barrels. Anchor it away from shore, and put the feeder on it.


This is a great idea. We have big wild animals on our property sometimes, too, not bears but meth addicts. They stole the air conditioner off of the house when my parents were away, presumably to strip for scrap. I've been worried about the same thing happening to a feeder should I buy one. But I've never known a meth-head that could swim, might just be too much hassle for them.

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The show was fantastic! Definitely the same lineup from the 80's and they put on one hell of a show! Alice Cooper was the opnening act and he had a ton of energy for a 65-year old.


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Happy Birthday RMDA!!


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Thanks!


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Happy birthday Marc! You should invest in a dip net and see if you can catch a few of those fish hanging around the CD's. Sorry to hear the fish trap failed so badly... I have never had an issue like that with the ones I have bought. I guess at $10 they probably aren't the best made.

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My wife is going to replace the zipper and it should work fine going forward!


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I have a second stocking of bluntnose minnows and spotfin shiners being delivered tomorrow, 50 of each. I probably don't need to spend the money on them but I wanted to be 100% sure that they get established this summer.

I have not seen enough evidence that the bluntnose have spawned but a lot of that might be due to the massive spawning of the fhm. There are fhm all over the place, I have put on goggles while swimming with the hope of seeing deeper in to find the shiners but I did not have enough light penetration to see below 12". All I could see were fatheads. I have seen a few spotfins spawning near the CD structures but I figured another 50 could only help.

For anyone else attempting to have a varied minnow forage base in a SMB/YP pond I would recommend stocking the Bluntnose/spotfin/GSH/Banded killifish/darters first and waiting on the fhm. At this point I do not plan on stocking my YP and SMB until fall of 2013, I could have waited until spring of 2013 to stock the fhm and still had plenty of them in time for the predators. From what Travis has experienced the bluntnose will spawn rapidly in the absence of fhm and are a more hardy forage fish that will not be totally wiped out like the fatheads. I hope the bluntnose are already spawning like mad in my pond but I really want them to be established and am willing to shell out the $ to make sure it happens and I just cannot be sure with the fhm everywhere.

Mark at Jonah's Aquarium is also sending me 20 2" guillback carpsuckers to try out. If anyone does not think I should stock these please let me know ASAP! They appear to reproduce well but they also appear to get large so I am hesitant to stock them without LMB to prey on them. If nobody reples by tomorrow I will keep it safe and stock the quillbacks into my neighborhood LMB pond.

Last edited by RockvilleMDAngler; 07/12/12 11:57 AM.

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Put the quillbacks in the LMB pond. As the SMB and YP thin out the FHM which will not take long once the YP have spawned the first time and smallies are added the BNM & SFS will gradually become more abundant. As the smallie numbers increase all forage numbers will decline esp without good submerged vegetation cover. Don't let the smallies get too abundant. Maintain a balance or have YP-SMB eating pellets.

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The quillbacks will most likely be a snack if stocked with larger LMB. It is possible they may spawn in pond conditions, but I wouldn't be sure on it. They are generally found in larger rivers and reservoirs. They spawn in back water areas, so it is possible they could spawn in ponds. They reach about 5-6" by the end of their first year and mature at 3-4 years of age. I would make sure you had plenty of mouths big enough to feed on them so not too many made it through their first year. If you get the SMB in by next year, they would be 2-3 years of age when the quillbacks first spawned if they do successfully. That would mean they'd be 8"-12" in size. Whether they could eat enough to control them, I am unsure...

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Thanks guys!


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Hi guys, I went to the pond over the weekend as we are starting to dig the trench to bring power to the pond in order to aerate. The pond seems to have had more algae recently as the clarity was down and fish were way less visible (until the feeder went off). I think we might have had a small fish kill as I found two floaters, I am pretty sure the first is a golden shiner and the second is a spotfin, can anyone verify?:



I am bummed that some have died but on the other hand these are the first shiners I have seen in a long time, so at least some have survived! I pulled one of the CD structures out of the water and saw eggs all over three of the CDs so hopefully they are still multiplying! Aeration should be done in the next two weeks.


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Top one appears to be a GSH. The bottom one is a spotfin shiner and a huge male one at that! It is very likely he simply died of old age after pulling off several spawns.

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Excellent!


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So that shipment of BNM and Spotfins that was sent back in July arrived in pretty bad shape. The spotfin bag appeared to have sprung a leak and all the spotfins were DOA, the bluntnose did not fare much better and 2/3 of them were dead. Fortunately Jonah's Aquarium guarantees live delivery, we waited for temperatures to come down a bit and on Friday a new shipment (which was free BTW) arrived and all the fish were in great shape and swam off quickly! I cannot recommend Jonah's Aquarium enough for anyone looking to get some alternative forage fish established!!!

After I acclimated and released the fish I walked around the pond looking for signs that my corkscrew eelgrass had taken hold. I was able to find three spots where the eelgrass was established and spreading but all the rest of the grass had died. Fortunately two of the spots had mats that were 3'x4' and looked very green. All of my lillies were eaten by the pesky geese but hopefully the roots are still there and they will return next year.

I increased the feeder settings from three intervals of 1 second, to three intervals of two seconds. The feeder goes off at 7:00AM, 1:00PM, and 7:00PM. I was able to watch the 7:00PM feeding and the fish went ballistic! All the food was gone in 20 minutes.

We have run power to the pond but the electricians have a little more work to do before we can install the aerator. I hope to have it up and running in two weeks.

Here are some pictures

Established eelgrass:



The feeder 10 minutes after going off:



Here are the power lines brought to the dock:


Last edited by RockvilleMDAngler; 09/04/12 10:47 AM.

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Keep up the good work... Set any traps to see what forage is doing well?

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I did not have time to set any traps as I came down to release the fish then drove back home. I should be there again this upcoming weekend and I will definitely set some traps.


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Let me know what day and time and I may be able to come out for a couple hours and seine your pond if you want...

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Awesome! I will let you know!


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Marc, the pond looks great! It's amazing the number and kinds of creatures that will so quickly colonize or just make use of a new pond. Very cool! If you do seine it, I'd love to know how the bluntnose minnows are doing. I suspect they are in there, but difficult to distinguish from the fatheads. They have similar behavior. Bluntnose will likely school up and hang out in the shallows, especially if they are young. Check, especially, where the little creek flows into the pond. This is a likely place to find the BNM hanging out. In streams, young BNM can be found in water only an inch or two in depth, feeding on algae and whatever else is there. It's a refuge for them from predators. So the quillback didn't go in there? I'd think that they would be a good reservoir of forage as they spawn and the adults are too big to be picked off. It seems unlikely that they would overpopulate as their young should be pretty easy pickings for SMB or even YP. And they could be culled in the same way that the game fish would be culled. They will take a baited hook and can be seined. I understand that spotted suckers, Minytrema melanops, are better at reproducing in lakes and ponds. They can use vegetation as spawning medium similar to chubsuckers. I'm going to grow some spotted suckers next year for folks to try out. I also have a bead on some Lake Chubsucker brooders for next year too. If folks want those, let me know so I can plan for how many I might need to produce: jonah@jonahsaquarum.com


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I definitely want those lake chubsucker brooders!!!!


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I know I haven't been updating this in a while but the past year has been insane and I have not been able to get to the pond as often as I would like. The wife and I bought a fixer upper in Virginia and spent lots of time and money bringing the house to life so pond concerns were put on the backburner. So now that the new place is done and the move complete I can get back to worrying about this pond. Here are my main questions/issues:

In October I stocked 50 yellow perch and I am worried about the lack of grass for them to spawn on.

I have not been able to establish any grass on a permanent basis. In 2012 I finally got an area of corkscrew eelgrass to establish after 3 attempts but it was gone by the spring of 2013 (once it died off it never returned). I planted two rounds of new lillies and eelgrass in spring of 2013 and none of it established. I know that geese are eating some of it but I also worry about the soil not being able to support the grass and lillies. When the pond was in its first year I did get some lillies to establish but as soon as the geese came by they wiped it out.

The soil has lots of small rocks in it, some parts are like a sandy beach. The shallow area where the stream flows in has a mucky bottom (when it was dug this area had a good clay bottom) as leaves and sediment have been deposited there as anything that flows into the stream ends up in that shallow area. Throughout 2013 the muck covered the middle of the shallow area and the clay bottom I succesfully planted lillies on in 2013 has been inundated by muck. The pond is aerated and as I understand it the aeration should prevent the muck buildup; however, the diffusers are not located in that shallow area (one is near the dam in 3' of water and one is in the middle in 11' of water). I have a feeling that the lillies and eelgrass I planted in the shallow stream inflow area were blown away in a storm or covered in muck (if the geese did not get them).

The more that I think about it we have not had any success getting plants established since we installed the aerator. The water went from being visible to 3' to now being visible to .5-1.5'. Is it possible we are doing something wrong with the aerator and causing the water clarity to suffer? Could this be a result of excessive feeding?

My Dad is quite particular with how he wants this pond to look and has not been thrilled with the shallow pallets I laid down since he can see them if he looks in that area. I was thinking I could weigh down a large portion of a pine tree or a bush and put it in the shallow area to give the YP a spawning area for 2014 but it won't be able to stay there long as my Dad won't be thrilled.

To date I have only seen one Golden Shiner and it was dead (August 2012) and that was 5.5 months after stocking. I know they are tough to trap and I did see bigger splashes in the summer when the feeder went off so I think they are still there; however, the total lack of vegetation makes me worry about their spawning success. Dead Shiner:

So I guess what I want to know is:
1) Are there plants that will survive in a sandy/rocky substrate in Northern Virginia?
2) Can I plant anything in the muck and if not what is the best way to prevent the muck from building up?
3) Is it normal for aerators to reduce water clarity and if so how do I get my water clarity back to where it used to be?
4) If I cannot get plants established what should I do to ensure that my YP have a succesful spawn next month (they tend to spawn in late February in this area, at least on the tidal Potomac)?
5) What can I do to ensure my GS have a succesful spawn in 2014 (reminder my Dad would probably insist that a sunken xmas tree or bush be removed as soon as it's warm enough to walk in and grab it)?

Thanks for any and all help!!


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Any ideas?


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Lilies wont thrive in flowing water, so it may be why you had trouble near the stream.

You are going to have to protect the plants with cages, and they must be large enough to keep geese necks from getting at them. Also will need to protect lilies from turtles.

Eel grass should love your conditions, so protection is important. Also water clarity is important so you can plant deeper to keep out of reach of the geese.

Lastly lift the diffuser off of the bottom, you dont want to circulate bottom material, just O2. This will help clear water.

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Thanks!! I will try to plant my next batch of lillies elsewhere and put some chickenwire around them (I assume putting larger holes on the underwater part of the cage will be necessary to allow the larger GS and YP to access them). I am really frustrated with the eel grass and at this point I am looking for another alternative. I think my pond water is too cold as it has a spring in the bottom and the stream that feeds it is entirely spring fed. Maybe I am just planting them too early or my crayfish are wiping them out. Any ideas for alternative plants?


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I have had good success with protecting my eel grass with plant cages.

once it is good and esablished you should be able to remove the cages, If not then you will just have pockets like I do.

algea quickly covers the orange so it will not sick out so bad under water andfter a short period.



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With a second little one due in April for me my time will be limited. This summer, I'll try to make it out to your pond and do a seine survey and general look over.

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Here are a few other I have made for eel grass, the low profile ones might work to protect roots of lillies too. I spryed these black.



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Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
With a second little one due in April for me my time will be limited. This summer, I'll try to make it out to your pond and do a seine survey and general look over.


My second little one is due in March so I am with ya!! Congrats!


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Great idea Bobby! I will try to put a few of those together. My sides are sloped pretty steep so I will need to build these in such a way that pipe comes through the bottom side so I can anchor them.


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So any advice on what I might be able to do to give my GS and YP somewhere to spawn before it warms up enough for grass and lillies to establish?


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You can get black "snow fence" rather than orange, and that will save some effort. Also plastic-coated fence will work, but a bit more pricey.

Also when planting lilies, they are big nutrition lovers. Rather than hoping there is enough natural stuff on the bottom, initially plant them in a biodegradable peat container with fertilizer, stones on the bottom of the container, and rich water-saturated soil so it doesn't float. You can also purchase specialized fertilizer that you need to make sure is trapped in the soil of your container.

Then try to excavate a bit (by hand) to set the plant into the hole, then spike the whole works down. Put fence over the top to protect it from animals. Eventually the bucket will rot out, and the roots and rhizomes will find their way across the bottom.

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I think you can just loosely bundle some brush and sink it in strategic locations. From what I have ready here, the perch just need something to drape their eggs over.

I am going to use our Christmas tree thinned out a bit to try and accomplish this. Maybe a little brush also.

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So something like these filled with soaked potting soil? http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/jiffy-peat-pots/biodegradable-pots

What kind of fertilizer should I use?


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Your GSH will spawn, I wouldn't stress over them. I'm not sure you really want a giant perch spawn in your pond anyways... A very limited one would probably meet your goals.

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It's been a while so here is an update:
I have stocked a total of 14 smallmouth bass in the pond. After trying since July 2013 to find a source that would sell me a small number I gave up and went fishing. Kept 14 6-11" smallmouth that were fat and had good WR and stocked them in the pond in late October. One of the 11" fish has grown like mad as last weekend I caught a 18" smallmouth that had to weigh 3 lbs with a swollen gut (no scale or camera with me) it was the first fish of any kind that I had caught out of the pond (although I have not had much time to fish with a 5 month old and a 3.5 year old to take care of). Bites are not easy or frequent but that is what I expected with only 14 fish stocked. Never saw any beds or evidence of spawning in the spring, I think the weather really messed them up (which is what all the hatcheries were saying as well).

There is a guy who works on the farm during the week and he has caught a few good smallies, a nice RES, and two yellow perch. He fishes with live worms in the evening. So I am pretty confident things are going well.

This past weekend my daughter and I went to the farm to plant new spiral eelgrass as none of the other eelgrass has taken hold. Planted 50 new plants and I am really hoping they take hold. If not I am going to start looking for alternatives. I don't even care if it is eurasian milfoil, I just want some vegetation!

The shallow area of the pond has silted in pretty bad in the last year. My father has decided to dig out the accumulated muck in the shallows and have a smaller pond built 150 yards up stream to collect the sediment. The new pond has a dam and overflow and is going to be 60'x30' when full. Construction will be finished this week. Obviously I am going to use this pond as a forage pond. I am hoping to stock spotfins and bluntnose when the pond is finished. This pond needs to be easily dredged so I cannot put vegetation or lots of rocks in it. I will make more CD spawning structures and I will put some easily moved bluntnose spawning structure in there as well. Anything I should be aware of in making a spotfin/bluntnose forage pond? If I can ever get them I will also be putting lake chubsuckers in this forage pond.


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Sounds like a good start. Spiral eelgrass can be a little difficult to get established since it grows somewhat slowly. I like to first grow it in a small tub and when it gets thick with plants, transplant them. If you want additional plants start with dwarf or small varieties of hardy hybrid water lilies.
As far as the minnow pond, keep the weeds to a minimum so harvest is easy and production should be good. If you feed them ground or softened pellets production numbers will be a lot better. Adding papershell to the minnow pond will enhance the poly culture experience and abundant crays will help a lot with algae and weed control plus their surplus will be good forage for smallies.

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I will definitely be adding some papershells. I will order 1000 from Smith Creek and split them in half between the big pond and the forage pond. If I can catch some of my banded killish I will also put them in the forage pond.


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Have you seen evidence of your alternative forage fish spawning and doing well in the pond?

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FYI the bulk of a crayfish's diet is vegetable material. So establishing plants and stocking crayfish may be crossing purposes.


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I have not seen much beyond shiners hanging out at the cd structures. I have not been able to get down to the farm as often as I would like so I do not think my lack of evidence means that they did not establish. I know my golden shiners established and there is still a ton of activity when the feeder goes off so something is doing well. Having a forage pond without fathead minnows or golden shiners will allow me to track their progress better. If (and hopefully when) they get some good spawns in I can transfer some to the bigger pond.

I suspect that the crayfish have been one of the reasons that my eel grass has not established but nothing I can do about it but keep trying. The pond being spring fed means that the water temperatures are cooler than many neighboring ponds and I think that has cut into the growing season for the eel grass. I will keep trying until I get it to work.


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I think I'd look around at the ponds in your area that have good submerged vegetation, see what species that is, or just pull some out of those ponds. Should be good for your area and probably free. Some folks may even thank you for doing it. Caution: certain species in certain areas are considered invasives, so that may or may not be an issue. If you just want plants, invasives may be the way to go since they will grow well!


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Well none of the vegetation I planted took hold but the smallmouth are doing well. I caught a nice 14-15" smallmouth (didn't have a tape measure or scale) that fought like hell! Caught him on a dropshot in deep water and he repeatedly pulled line to the bottom then would scream up and jump. He appeared to be quite healthy. I had another one smack a spinnerbait but he came off after a couple of cranks. Tried to catch a YP with a small 3" jerkbait but no takers. I might need to add some more yellow perch.

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Very nice! How big were they when you stocked them and how long ago?

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One was a baby at 4", the rest were between 7-11". I stocked 7 of them last October. In June I added an additional 7.

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If you add more YP use 6"-8" sizes and survival will be better with that size SMB in the pond.


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Any idea where I can source perch that size?


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When I had trouble finding larger sized YP, I raised my own in a cage starting with fingerlings. Good quality YP of 3"-4" will grow to 6"-8" in one full summer season.

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Just read the thread start to finish. What a lovely pond! And man have you ever put some work into it!

Give us an update when you have time. With two younguns, I suspect time is at a premium.


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Time is definitely at a premium! I went to the pond last Saturday, put on my waders and sunk my christmas tree in about 4' of water. Also added 15 terra cotta bricks I salvaged from a construction job I am invested in, they were 8-12" long, 5" tall, and 5" deep and they had 5-8 (depending on the length) rectangular holes that went all the way through or were blocked at one end by mortar. I arranged them in the shallows to be additional spawning structure for my spotfins. I also put 5 in the forage pond for the spotfins up there. The only bad thing is that my aerator compressor died so I need to get that taken care of ASAP.


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I think we got the compressor part handled! wink


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We certainly did! Thanks!!


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OK so I spent the 3-day weekend at the farm and noticed that a lot has changed at my pond. The fatheads are much sparser now but the pond is jumping with activity! I saw a MONSTER smallmouth on Saturday slowly cruising along near my gravel bed and I realized it was probably guarding fry. There were small black fish that were pretty quick all over the shallows and along the shoreline in deeper water, it took me till Monday to finally catch one in a small aquarium net and I am 99% sure it is was a smallmouth fry. This is the first fry we have ever seen as last years spawn must have been a bust.

After fishing a bit on Friday and Saturday with only a few bites and no landed fish (I was using a texas rigged craw with a 2/0 hook) I decided to change my approach on Monday morning, I rigged up a keitech sexy impact in silver flash (a 4" minnow imitating lure) on a Gamakatsu #4 drop shot hook rigged as a drop shot. The smaller hook was vital. I lost two 2lb+ smallmouth who spit the little hook out on jumps. I caught over 25 other fish around the christmas tree I sunk, numerous RES, at least a dozen yellow perch, and what I really hope is not a monster bluegill. I caught two other fish I thought were bluegill because they did not have red ears, they went in the frying pan, I know I should have eaten the monster one but I really wanted to believe it was a momma RES so I released it. It is clear that my Yellow Perch pulled off a spawn because I was catching 9-11" perch and 5-7" perch. I am pretty sure my RES also pulled off a spawn last year. I did not bring a ruler with me (a mistake I will not make again) and I was having too much fun catching fish to start taking pictures until the end but I took a few (I wear a size 11 shoe):

Please tell me this is a RES and not a bluegill, it was a monster! Fat as a pig!:



Pretty sure this is a stocker Yellow Perch:



Smaller Yellow Perch that I assume was from last year's spawn:



Typical smaller RES, pretty sure this was spawned last year:




My wife and daughter caught numerous crayfish which were under every patch of shallow leaves they turned over. Some were 5-6" long! Lots of evidence that they had molted recently, saw some enormous empty shells in 2-3' of water. They also caught a lot of grass shrimp with their aquarium net.

So please tell me if that big fish is a RES or a Bluegill. If bluegill are in the pond then I will keep trying to remove them and hope my larger smallmouth can keep them in check.

Should I start removing yellow perch? I want the smaller ones to be forage for my smallies but I don't want them to eat too much of the other forage fish.

There was not much activity when the feeder went off. I know the decline of the fatheads is probably the main reason for this but I still expected the GSH and Perch to feed. Maybe it was still too cold (the top 3-4' felt like low 70s and below that was much colder, only had the shallow aerator running and will turn on the deep one in early June). None of the fish I stocked were "feed trained" but I thought the GSH and YP would adapt, am I wrong? Am I wasting time and money feeding without feed trained fish?


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Or is my sudden success in catching fish along with the decline in feeder activity a sign that my Golden Shiners are being thinned out?


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I don't believe you have to worry. It looks like a female RES -- one that has about a gazillion eggs insider of her.

The bottom RES appears to be a male.

The back of ear flap on a female is usually lined with white that is dotted with an orange spot at the tip. The males have a red spot.

The pond and fish look fantastic.


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Rest easy....female RES.


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If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
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Whew that is great news!! Any ideas on feeding, golden shiner stocking, and yellow perch culling?


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Pond looks like it is coming along great... Set any minnow traps to survey your forage? If you want, I'll try to meet you at your farm this summer with my big seine and we'll see what comes in...

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Congrats on the nice Smallmouth's, and u nailed it with the nice RES

Keep up the good work

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Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Pond looks like it is coming along great... Set any minnow traps to survey your forage? If you want, I'll try to meet you at your farm this summer with my big seine and we'll see what comes in...


That would be awesome! Thanks!


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Made it out to the pond this weekend and did some fishing. My fatheads have disappeared but the smallmouth are biting. I caught a few on a drop shot 4" senko, they were all from the same area and appeared to be the same 14" size. Is it possible these were spawned this year?





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Those are either 2 or 3 yr old fish. They are definitely large enough to have spawned this year. Next year you may have to remove some of the offspring based on your goals and amount of forage that is present to keep the bass growing well. Didn't you also stock some additional forage species with the advice/help of CJBS?


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I stocked the following:
grass shrimp
fathead minnows
crayfish
banded killifish
tesselated darters
johnny darters
golden shiners
bluntnose minnows
spotfin shiners
greenfin shiners
red eared sunfish
yellow perch

In my forage pond I stocked 50 lake chubsuckers along with 50 spotfin last fall. I have not seen any sign of them since. Hopefully the chubsuckers will start to appear in the next year or so and i can put some of the larger ones in the big pond.

I was never able to find a source for SMB so I wild caught them and stocked 7 from 6-11" in Fall of 2013 and an additional 7 of the same size in the spring of 2014. I saw no evidence of a spawn last year but this year there were black fry everywhere by early May and now my fatheads are gone :-)

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I haven't posted on here in a while because I have been so busy this past year that I haven't been able to get out to the pond much. In the times I have I have been doing quite well. In the spring I caught several nice 2lb+ smallmouth and plenty of 10-14" yellow perch. My SMB must have had a nice spawn this year as I started to catch numbers of 4-8" SMB in late August, after catching 8 of them in an hour I proceeded to catch another 15 and cull them but ever since then I am not catching huge numbers in the same way I was. Every trip yields 2 or 3 dinks and usually one or two over 14" per hour of fishing so I am pretty happy.

Well this weekend I took my wife and kids to the farm for the weekend to do some shooting, fishing, and to get my kids to burn some energy. Mission definitely accomplished! On Saturday all of us spent about an hour fishing and my son reeled in his first bass, a healthy looking 8" smallmouth:


As I am taking that picture my wife lets out a yell "COME HERE! I GOT A GIANT!" and I see a big fish jump out of the water and her rod bent in half. She proceeds to bring in the biggest smallmouth ever caught out of the pond. I didn't have a scale or measuring tape but this fish was definitely over 3 pounds:



So now I am incredibly happy that the pond we dedicated so much money and hard work into is producing big fish just like we planned! I am also incredibly jealous that my wife caught it and not me but thems the breaks.

So we call it a day and go to show the rest of the family the pictures of the new pond record. The next morning the kids can't wait to get out and catch more fish as soon as they are done breakfast. So we all head down there and on her first cast my wife proceeds to catch this monster which was definitely longer and bigger than the previous days record-setter and I would estimate it to be a hair under 4lbs:





In a jealous frenzy I proceed catch a 2 pounder and hook several between 10 and 14" for my kids to reel in. Then my daughter hooks the biggest YP ever caught out of the pond (she was afraid to touch it) and that was the best fish of the trip as far as I am concerned:



So it was a wonderful weekend and the pond has turned out better than I could have ever expected! Thanks to everyone here for all the guidance!!

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Awesome! that is what it's all about....I am just starting a 1/2-3/4 acre pond and will be stocking SMB, HSB, YP , HBG... Looks like you have some great growth on those species. Will be reading through this thread for sure.


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Originally Posted By: beastman
Awesome! that is what it's all about....I am just starting a 1/2-3/4 acre pond and will be stocking SMB, HSB, YP , HBG... Looks like you have some great growth on those species. Will be reading through this thread for sure.


If you can get spotfin or satinfin shiners I would highly recommend them for a pond like yours. Obviously also golden shiners as they were really easy to establish and are self sustaining. If you plan on feeding buy feed trained fish, my YP and SMB totally ignore the pellets, in fact the pellets don't get eaten until they float to the shallows where the smaller golden shiners go to town....


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Yes, I hope to have all feed trained fish. GS and brooder GS, FHM, but not sure I will have the patience to let them sit for a season and establish, might just up the initial stock rate and given the predators will hopefully be pellet trained give them a fighting chance to establish some...

Reading through looks like you stocked the SMB naturally as you couldn't get a supplier for the qty you needed? What about the yellow perch were they not feed trained?


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The yellow perch were not feed trained. When I was looking for predators I checked EVERYWHERE and nobody had anything but LMB in stock. Finally in October a fish truck had yellow perch and I bought 50. I should have been more patient but honestly everything worked out well and I couldn't be happier. Patience is a virtue but when it comes to ponds it is a necessity. If you stock FHM and GS this spring and wait until the fall to stock predators you will be much happier in the long run. Keeping SMB feed trained is far from a sure thing so building the forage base is a much safer way to go.

FHM will reproduce VERY fast without predators. I stocked 10lbs in the spring and by June I had schools of them everywhere.

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didn't you stock some LCS? an sign of them reproducing? or surviving?


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LCS were stocked into our forage pond a few years ago. I have seen a few spawning in the spring but I have yet to try to seine them up and stock into the main pond.


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