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I am in the planning stage of building a 2.5 acre pond in southern Kansas. The pond has a stream that flows year-round for a water source. However, I want to avoid wild fish from the stream entering the pond and ruining any pond management plans.

I would appreciate any help or advice from the usual "free-thinkers" on the forum.

Background:
The pond will be constructed by expanding a long, narrow oxbow that is currently cut-off from the existing stream except for flood situations. The stream is full of sand bars and sand riffles, but it appears to be perched on a good solid bed of clay. [I will dig a lot of test trenches in the pond site after I refine the plan.]

If I can construct an effective core trench, then my lake level will be 2.77 feet above the stream level at the most downstream portion of the lake. This drop will allow me to pass a significant amount of clean, aerated water through the pond every day.

My initial design is an 18" inflow pipe trenched over to the stream at the closest point of approach. The pipe will be set with the bottom just above the base of the stream. (The bottom of the pipe will set the surface water level of my pond.) I intend to put a 15" drop-pipe into a 12" pipe through the dam. This would pass 3118 GPM for a 2.50' drop.

The source stream gets most of its water from ground flow through sand, rather than direct surface run-off. Most streams and rivers in Kansas turn a mocha color after a big rain. I am amazed at how clear this stream runs after most rain events.

The main objective for my pond is clear water for kid recreation and keeping the boss lady happy. The secondary objective is good fishing, because they all love to catch and eat fish.

This pond will be quite expensive to construct because most of the pond area will have to be excavated, and I will have a very long core trench to keep water above the stream level at the downstream end of the pond.

The pond will be long and narrow so I will not have to move the excavated dirt very far. I intend to spoil the dirt as a large berm just beyond the boundary of the pond.

The stream-plain is very wide on my property compared to the land both upstream and downstream. I believe it will be possible to get my berm above floodstage for everything except a 100 year flood. I think I can exclude wild fish entering by coming in over the top of the berm.

Questions for the experts:

Do you like my "high-bypass" system for developing an attractive pond with clear water? Any recommended improvements?

I would like to avoid BG and GSF nipping at swimmers. Would any type of screen on the inflow pipe stop undesirable fish from entering the pond? Would I be constantly fighting a clogged screen? (The pond is 45 minutes from my house.)

Instead of a screen, I have considered a gravel bar across the entire width of the pond at the point where the inlet pipe enters the pond. This would be more expensive, but it would screen large fish, fish fry, silt, and whatever other crap the stream is trying to bring in. However, it would dramatically cut the rate of water flow through my pond. To keep water flowing into the pond, I would probably have to lower the level of the outlet pipe. As more water "drained" from the pond, more water would be drawn through the gravel. However, I have very little drop to work with, and precious little to "give away".

How would the "gravel bar" screen (with less water flow-through compared to an unobstructed 18" inflow pipe) affect the water quality in terms of clarity? Can the Pond Boss experts even predict water quality in an unusual situation like this? The pond will fill with the very first rainfall (assuming I don't have a design failure). Should I build the pond and observe it for a while, and then tweak the design as needed? I can only drain the top 2.5' of the pond's water, and then only when the stream is at low stage. I will have to pump out all of the deep spots to clear any accumulated undesirables.

Even if we achieved perfect fish exclusion on the inlet end of the pond, could fish enter at the outlet end? When the stream got low, would small fish swim upstream through 100' of 12" outlet pipe to enter? Would the bar guard on the 15" drop-pipe keep out any fish large enough to make this trek?

Finally, would it even be possible to keep an unnatural (for southern KS) pond population of YP-SMB-WE even with perfect protection from water-borne fish contamination? Many PB threads talk about wild fish almost always getting into a managed BOW. Will wild fish manage to enter through "magical means" - eggs on heron legs, frog regurgitation, Kansas tornadoes, or biblical plagues?

I would appreciate any advice or recommendations from the PB experts. I would consider any "trade-offs" that would be a net benefit. (These are much less painful during the "planning" stage.)

Thanks,
FishinRod

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My pond is mostly filled by an adjacent stream.

If you try to put a screen across in the inlet pipe, in the stream itself, you will constantly have to clear the screen of debris. It's not such a big deal, and more a labor of love.

Regarding rough fish getting in from the stream, I think that will be very, very difficult. You'd have to filter against the smallest of fry getting into your pond, and to do so, you'd have to have a fine filter which would get clogged very easily.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but you might spend a lot of effort trying to keep a 'pure' fishery and still get rough fish.

Personally, I just accept the nature of my pond for what it is, and enjoy the diversity.


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Sunil - presence of LMB probably go a long way to helping keep invasive or undesirable species [BH, Carp, etc.] population managed - do you think?

My thought is:

Any BOW with access to another fishery [your stream fishery, in this case] whether it's through the inflow or outflow will have eventually have those foreign species "invade" your fishery. Some species can cause some undesirable results. BH, Carp, BG, CC, White Perch, Crappie could all negatively impact a WE, YP, SMB fishery. Not saying the fishery will be a total loss, but WE, YP and SMB can't keep up with a reproducing population of BG, BH, etc. and you may eventually be facing management issues with the invasive species.

If you have to plan on unwanted diversity for your fishery you should consider having some non discriminatory apex predators present to help manage the fishery. LMB can keep invasive species population managed, but would impact your SMB, WE and YP populations too through competition and predation. YP and WE fusiform nature would lend them to be very easily targeted by LMB, and SMB do not compete well with LMB. If you are willing to supplementally stock your desirable/intended species [WE, YP, SMB] at advanced sizes to escape LMB predation - this can work. You'd still have diversity, but chances improve the LMB will manage the invasive species.

If the BOW will receive irrigation in the form of stream water or if there's a risk of flooding you might be better off going with a LMB, BG, RES pond from the beginning. Sunil has success with multiple species but believe he must supplementally stock to achieve those results? If you aren't into that kind of investment, and want to stock once and let it flourish, you're probably better off going with the LMB/BG/RES fishery.


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Yes, I think all predators that are stocked will have an impact, and LMB should have the most effect (leaving out Pike, Musky, or Blue/Flathead cats).


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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Do we know what kinds of fish are in the stream now?


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Sunil, TJ57 - thanks for the help.

I have been surprised repeatedly on the PB forum how many times people have recommended gizzard shad (GSH) for a forage fish. Of course when I finally double-checked the acronym page, they were talking about golden shiners (Doh!).

However, I did check first this time - but I could not find "BH". TJ, what kind of undesireable is a BH?

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Bullhead. It's a common rough fish like a catfish.


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I see that TJ added more thoughts.

I do stockings every year (mostly) to keep things in the direction I want. If I didn't do yearly stockings, nature would take it's course and I'd eventually end up with LMB, Bullheads, Black Crappie, Bluegill, and Suckers.


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Originally Posted By: FishinRod
I have been surprised repeatedly on the PB forum how many times people have recommended gizzard shad (GSH) for a forage fish. Of course when I finally double-checked the acronym page, they were talking about golden shiners (Doh!).


I made this same mistake when I first started posting. grin

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I love to catch LMB, but my kids can eat about 1/2 of their body-weight in fish. They like bass, but in Kansas the crappie and walleye taste better to me. I wanted to try for tastier fare in my pond (like YP and WE) if possible. I don't think I could manage good eating size crappie in a 2.5 acre pond.

I have seen BG, GSF, LMB, CC, and common (German) carp in the stream. The good 'ol boys in the area say they have seen giant flatheads pulled out of the pools in the stream. I do not have any good pools on my stretch of the stream, so I have not fished or seined it to determine a complete fish inventory.


Background

The stream drains a 35,000 acre watershed above my land. However, much of the drainage basin is sand hills. This is very good for the stream. A big rain does not enter the stream as surface run-off and cause a quick flood crest in the stream. Instead, it percolates into the sand hills and feeds the stream over a period of days or even weeks and months.

The stream went dry (except for a few deep pools) last summer due to the extended drought. My neighbors said it was the first time they had seen it stop flowing since the 80's. Usually it flows 2" to 12" deep at a nice steady rate. The stream feeds into a medium-size river (Ninnescah) about 15 miles away. During a good rainy season, the stream could be 1-3' deep all of the way to the river for an extended period of time.

I therefore assume every possible kind of trash fish that lives in southern Kansas has the potential to enter my pond.

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Sunil - thanks on the BH (people usually think I contribute BS). The little bell in my brain never went to bullheads.

Yes, bullheads are common trash fish in the farm ponds around here. I assume they are also in the stream.

Could someone please PM the moderator that does the fish acronyms so we can add BH to the list?


I learned how many bullheads can live in a Kansas BOW when I was about six-years old. A very nice farmer used to give us access to his 30 acre watershed lake. My little brother and I probably caught 20 good-sized LMB on a morning excursion with my father and maternal grandfather. When the LMB strikes slowed down, my bass-purist father was ready to go home.

My grandfather, said to wait a second because he wanted to try something. He dug up two shovel-fulls of earthworms and took us to a mud flat at the corner of the dam. He put about a 1/4" of worm on a small hook with a small weight and told us to cast it out "in the middle". My father started to protest once he fully realized the plan, but managed to hold his tongue. Needless to say, a small BH hit as soon as the first worm hit the water.

In my memory, my brother and I each caught at least 100 bullheads. I know for certain that is the most fish I ever caught in a single day. We only quit because my grandfather got tired of baiting my little brother's hook and removing small wiggling bullheads. I don't think the supply of bullheads ever diminished. Who knows how much of the biomass of the lake was made up of bullheads?

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Originally Posted By: FishinRod
Could someone please PM the moderator that does the fish acronyms so we can add BH to the list?


Good catch. I added it to the list.

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Sunil - I recollect seeing many pictures of you or guests holding up beautiful catches from your pond.

My budget is still a little tight at this time. At my house, it always seems that "momma needs a new pair of shoes" (plus three daughters). If you don't mind me asking, how big is your BOW? How many stock fish do you put in each year? How much are you able to "harvest" each year?

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If you really want a YP, WE SMB fishery then consider splitting your total investment and build a second small pond for these fish and the swimming. Consider down sizing the existing pond size to accomodate the two pond plan.


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I'll get a more detailed reply tomorrow. Hitting the hay!


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The "two pond option" was kind of part B of my fish contamination question.

If I did manage to establish a viable YP-WE-SMB fishery, and some BG or LMB made it into that pond, would a few invaders eventually take over?

For my conditions and climate, I think BG would easily be the most successful forage fish and LMB would be the most successful top predator. Once they entered, would a few large adult BG or LMB be able to establish a breeding population against the existing "inferior" fish that already occupy that niche? In the alternative, could a breach of several thousand fry establish a breeding population, or would they experience close to 100% mortality due to predation?

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Originally Posted By: FishinRod
The "two pond option" was kind of part B of my fish contamination question.

If I did manage to establish a viable YP-WE-SMB fishery, and some BG or LMB made it into that pond, would a few invaders eventually take over?

For my conditions and climate, I think BG would easily be the most successful forage fish and LMB would be the most successful top predator. Once they entered, would a few large adult BG or LMB be able to establish a breeding population against the existing "inferior" fish that already occupy that niche? In the alternative, could a breach of several thousand fry establish a breeding population, or would they experience close to 100% mortality due to predation?


1. My take: Yes, the LMB and BG would impact your WE/YP/SMB fishery. The LMB would hammer your YP and Shiners hard, but would also target your BG. Due to WE/YP/SMB limited gape as compared to LMB, their forage options are likewise limited. Removing large numbers of YP and GSH leaves a lot less for the WE and SMB to prey upon. My thought is without supplemental stockings of advanced fish [expensive] and supplemental pellet feeding for your SMB and YP you'd eventually have a pond full of a few large SMB, WE, and YP and the rest dominated by BG and LMB.

2. A BG/LMB fishery can absorb invasive species much better than the WE/SMB/YP fishery which I didn't do a good job of conveying in my orignal post.

If it were my pond, and I knew there was a strong risk of invasive species entering my fishery either through flooding or flow through, I would design my fishery accordingly and go with LMB/BG/RES/HSB/GSH.

If you have the pockets to buy advanced fish to stock periodically to supplement WE/YP/SMB populations or have the patience to cage and grow out those fish to stock later, then you still have that fishery option available.

I think the idea of two ponds with different fisheries is great, if it's fiscally feasible. Just be sure your SMB/WE/YP fishery has no chance of being flooded or it's a wasted effort. Can you ensure it's "purity"? How will you irrigate the pond or is the watershed sufficient?


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TJ - My impression was that the BG/LMB fishery would certainly be more stable at my location in regards to climate, invasive species, etc. I was just hoping to try something different if it wasn't a complete budget buster.

Do you think I have a chance of getting a WE/YP/SMB fishery established, or once you accidentally get five BG into a 2.5 acre pond they will find each other for the spawn and by the end of the spring your pond now has 2,000 BG?

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I have a YP/WE/SMB/RES/GSH fishery in a BOW about that size. At this stage of my education I know that's where I should have stopped for my ideal results. Didn't happen that way, though - through a series of mistakes/errors. Here's my story on unwanted/unintentional/uneducated species stocking that might help shed some light on your situation.

- BG were originally stocked before I realized what impact they'd have on my fishery devoid of LMB [meaning, the first few months the pond was holding water I was too eager and too green to know any better]. This was early in my stages of development and now I have an overpopulation of stunted BG with a rare fish exceeding 8-9". Although not favored by my specific predators - I do have a predator heavy and prey heavy fishery, which is fairly uncommon. If I quit feeding the YP, SMB, and HSB - they'd certainly come to lean on the BG population more. Still, the BG outcompete YP and that population has suffered. Typically BG are not favored in a pond featuring predators I listed. I'm still not sure how this will play out, though - as my angling research is demonstrating a HSB at 18" [still fairly small HSB] can take a BG up to 4.5". That's an encouraging sign, so the jury is still out on the BG "problem".

- HBC [hybrid black crappie] were accidentally introduced because I wasn't careful enough with flow through on one of my experimental ponds. I have witnessed reproduction, but the single fish I trapped was stunted and low WR. Adult fish at age 4 are up to 13", and they may be helping to hammer the BG population. Only time will tell if they will end up becoming an issue or not. For now, they're a nice bonus fish that I pretend are helping to manage my BG population.

- BH were accidentally introduced in an original FHM stocking years ago. I hand sorted, but apparently missed a few. I now have a reproducing population as evidenced by a few 7" fish and a 1.5# lunker sampled this Spring while WE fishing. In a predator heavy fishery, I'm hopeful BH won't ever become a major issue. However, they certainly could.

I'm taking the time to walk through this for a reason...traditional wisdom dictates NO BG in a SMB/YP/WE fishery. Gape limitations of those predators renders them less capable of effectively managing the BG population - leading to BG stunting, etc. While I'm seeing BG overpopulation in my fishery in this situation, I'm also seeing a virtually inexhaustible supply of forage for my predators, too - should the artificial feed cease and they are pressed to other options. I try hard to find the bright side here - I'm not a dead man walking, necessarily. Again, what I ended up with is a pretty unique fishery: Predator heavy and forage heavy. Will the HBC or BH explode and take over? Could the whole balance come crashing down due to high biomass and heavy feeding? Yes on both counts. For now, however, things are going well and I'm learning to approach the BG role in a new lens.

Will BG introduction destroy your fishery? Depends on your goals...personally I'd go with a YP/WE/SMB/RES/GSH fishery and eliminate the known variable that could cause problems down the road. However, BG introduction would not prevent me from trying to establish the fishery...


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One male and one female BG will find each other and spawn even in 30 acres. Most often the number that survive depends on how many other BG are in the pond. The type of predation will also affect survial of hatchlings. The fewer existing BG there are, the more that tend to survive from each hatching. To a certain extent they are self-limiting in terms of pounds per acre once they become abundant. Dense numbers of BG eat lots of BG eggs and fry.


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Bill - That is a very enlightening response. How the heck do they find each other, pheromones?

Follow up question - If a single breeding pair of BG did manage to spawn in a pond with a mature, balanced population of forage fish and top predators (and the adult BG were then eaten after guarding the nest), would the BG progeny suffer 100% mortality through predation or would some of the BG survive to spawning age?

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TJ - Thanks for taking all of the time to write up your experience and "walk me through" your learning curve. What year was your initial stocking?

You don't mention your WE. I would think they would thrive on a population of stunted BG, since they have trouble swallowing the bigger ones.

Did the introduction of BG end the recruitment of YP? Do you have small numbers of good eating-size YP?

Finally, how are the RES doing? Did they get started in your pond before the BG got started? Do you now have a few large RES?

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Nature has ways of species getting together. If paired adults were removed from a nest that produced fry, it would be extremely rare to not have 0.5%-10% survive to maturity. 0.5% of 5000 is 25 fish. Survival is an instinct for even fish. BG can become mature at 1 yr old. Numerous things will affect survival rate.

In my experience the biggest negative to TJ's YP are the LMB. YP have to survive a long time before a 16" LMB cannot eat them at 8"-9" long.

Despite research that says YP eat YOY 1" BG in winter, IMO it is not near enough predation pressure for controlling BG overpopulation.

WE will not grow well on a diet of BG due to optimum forage theory is not in the WE's favor. They have to eat too many to stay fat and growing.

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My WE experience was not so great. I stocked about 10-15 of them at about 12" in length. Over the next two or three years, I caught a few of them, but they never got over, say, 15".

Smallies are my preferred game fish, and I stock adults whenever I can get them.

When we first bought our pond, we thought it was about 10 acres. Then, we revised down to the 6-7 acre range. I now think I'm at about 5 acres using some of the mapping softwares.

So, we have:
1) SMB
2) LMB
3) HSB
4) BG
5) BC
6) CC
7) WE (maybe some left)
8) YP
9) BH
10) GC
11) NP (at least one; don't know how he got in there)
12) Suckers
13) Rock Bass
14) Various Trout species (haven't caught one this year, yet)


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Sunil - I am getting a little worried about your pond, the more fish you catch - the smaller your pond gets. In a few more years of good fishing you may be down to just a mud hole. wink

Do you have any recruitment of SMB in your pond, or is it put and take only for the SMB?

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by Snipe - 05/23/22 12:21 AM
Game fish shortage in Michigan?
by Snipe - 05/23/22 12:16 AM
Difficulties with removing suspended clay
by Qetjustin - 05/23/22 12:07 AM
Fish Feed Questions
by Snipe - 05/23/22 12:06 AM
Controlling weeds around pond
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:54 PM
Bladderwort Control
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:52 PM
What pond grass is this?
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:43 PM
Feed with the flies.
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:41 PM
New CNBG pond
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:38 PM
At a loss - pond won’t hold water.
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:28 PM
toad tadpoles
by esshup - 05/22/22 11:20 PM
Cypress questions
by Auprospector - 05/22/22 04:27 PM
Newly Uploaded Images
pond 6
pond 6
by Stressless, May 10
Molly Ann surveys her new Puppydom
Molly Ann surveys her new Puppydom
by Mongos Pond, January 28
Fry
Fry
by CityDad, January 20
Baldcypress
Baldcypress
by Stressless, January 11
Still active
Still active
by Shorty, December 15
Using FishMap
Using FishMap
by Stressless, December 9

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