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#317183 01/11/13 12:07 AM
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We plan on building a 1-2 acre self-sufficient, spring fed pond. What are the basic food items to add to our pond and maybe some possible bonus fish? Smallies are our target fish.

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1) Make sure you have the correct amount and type of cover for the forage fish. Make rockpiles for crayfish to hide in. Have the cover ready to place in the pond basin before the pond is completed.

2) Get the forage base established before stocking predators.

3) Make sure you have SMB spawning areas.

4) FHM to get the predators off to a good start. Get PaperShells introduced at the start. Grass Shrimp need vegetation for cover.

5) This is not a "set in stone" list, nor is it all inclusive:

RES
GSH
any other native minnow species
Grass Shrimp
Papershell Crayfish
YP
SMB
HSB
Seasonal stocking of Trout
Seasonal stocking of Tilapia


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Will YP help with the SMB? Should GSH be stocked with the FHM or with the SMB (or in between)? Will stocking HSB potentially risk establishment of SMB?

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How long do you wait to stock smb after stocking fhm or gsh?

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I have a lot of patience. I'd stock SMB fingerlings the next year. That'd give the forage fish a year to reproduce, and get ahead size wise of the SMB.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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If you want GSH (know the pros&cons) stock them early with the FHM. This allows them to get to a larger size so the original GSH broodstock tends to often be too big for the larger SMB to eat. Adding HSB to a pond with GSH will put extra predation pressure on the GSH population. Too many predators will probably eliminate the GSH recruitment??? Cover and habitat become more important for maintaing GSH when the predaor population is "strong", numerous, with some large SMB &/or HSB. IMO GSH should be 4"-5" long when fingerling SMB are initially stocked. It takes several years for GSH to grow to 7",8",9",and even 10". GSH can live to be 7-9 yrs old. Female GSH tend to be slightly larger than the males. Spawning occurs at temps near 20-21C (67F), often in central, northern US - May-Aug depending on location.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/14/13 08:59 AM.

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Bill - While I have added some SMB breeding areas, there will not be much rock cover compared to the pond size (way too muck hauling of rocks). I will be adding lots of emergent plants and water lilies which I hope will provide cover. I do not yet know how many submerged plants will grow. I plan to definitely add FHM this spring, but am still unsure of GSH because I am concerned that they will interfere with SMB recruitment, but I am leaning toward it since I will not be feeding. Based on your recommendations, would there be any advantage in adding the FHM this spring, the GSH next spring, and the SMB the following spring, or is it just as good to add both FHM and GSH this spring.

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GSH reportedly eat bass fry and no doubt fry of a lot of other fish species, but a lot of other fish species also eat fish fry. However There is a 0.3 ac pond (25-30yrs old) 1 mi north of me that has SMB, GSH, RES, and now for several years some pellet eating YP. SMB do recruit in this pond. GSH are not real common and RES spawn annually. YP do not seem to get a lot of recruitment so far. The pond has minimal vegetation (some Chara) and some turbidity (vis abt 16"-2ft) due to 1 grass carp -GC. The turbidity may aid recruitment of some of the fish, by reducing the sight feeding ability of some of the adult fish when fish fry are common. The pondowner cannot get the GC out so he can plant lilies.

If you add FHM this spring you could add SMB fingerlings this fall. FHM over the summer could produce lots of young FHM for the fingerling SMB. SMB are often very hard to locate in Spring due to short supply and the demand for them in fall. I would focus on getting some crayfish (40-100) in the pond ASAP this spring to take advantage of the crayfish spawn so you get a crayfish hatch this year. Crayfish are easily shipped during cool tempeatures using less expensive 2 day delivery.

IF you want GSH I think it is good to get some adults established well before adding SMB.

YP & SMB do very well together if they are both fed a high protein pellet such as Aquamax 500 & 600. By doing very well I mean fast growing fish and numerous fish. Without pellet feeding the production is a lot less and growth rates are noticably slower. Traditionally with pellet feeding we saw significiant amounts of filamentous algae FA, but when blue tilapia are used with pellet feeding FA in minimized. Numerous baby tilapia also help boost the food chain.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/12/13 10:01 AM.

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Bill thank you again. No YP then since I will not be feeding. I'll catch and release as many crayfish as I can this spring (we have a lot around). I am pretty patient so maybe add FHM in spring, GSH in fall, and SMB the following fall. This should allow the FHB population to build to feed the GSH, and let some GSH grow before adding the SMB. I may start with few SMB because they are expensive. Lots of fun! Maybe if we really are able to schedule an Indiana get together, you will be able to make the trip to central Indiana. I'd love to pick your brain on a lot of topics. I know much of the info is available on past posts, but I seem to learn best from discussion.

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Why not add a few GSH (40-100) in spring with the FHM and some crayfish? Start trapping crayfish in late March through May to get the gravid females. Eggs will be already fertilized on females carrying eggs. By fall you could have lots of all three species as forage.

If you allow these 3 species to reproduce all summer you might not get that much more actual forage production or biomass the next (2nd) summer due to these species reaching or achieving pond carrying capacity fairly quickly (one spawn season). Thus the second summer would mostly be wasted time as far as increasing the amount of minnow, shiner crayfish forage.

Fingerling SMB (2"-3") are cheaper and more available compared to larger sizes of SMB. Stocking the fingerlings does not put a lot of predation pressure on the adult spawning FHM, GSH or Crayfish until the SMB get to 9"-11" after they have been in the pond for 1-2yrs. Stocking fingerling SMB in the 1st fall allows the larger adult FHM and GS to produce spawns the 2nd year before the predation pressure gets intense. If you dobn't have a lot of SMB per acre this allows the forage base to maintain high density for a longer period.

The bigger the stocker SMB the more rare they are to locate and the price quickly increases for larger individuals.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/12/13 11:20 AM.

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Now I understand. I was not considering the stocking of fingerling SMB. At this size (2-3"), how many should be stocked per acre? Also, when and at what size should the RES be stocked?

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From my limited experience with RES and SMB, I would stock fingerling RES (1"-3") with the FHM or in fall with fingerling SMB. RES fingerling stocked in spring would then produce a limited spawn the next summer as 4"-6" fish, and limited spawn due to the RES not big individuals. Plus RES are not prolific anyway even as big spawners. RERS stocked in fall would only produce offspring the next spring if the stockers were mature at 5"-7".

How many SMB per acre to stock? Well that is a good question. I think the lower densities of 30-60/ac will result in faster growing smallies and it will allow the forage fish to continue building a strong forage base until the 1st SMB stockers produce their offspring that grows to 6"-8". I have seen SMB fingerlings stocked in fall as 3"-4" fingerlings grow to 8" to 10" long after one full year in a small pond with optimum conditions, i.e. lots of food including crayfish. The first juvenile set of SMB offspring will likely "hammer" the FHM really hard and then focus on crayfish and GSH as the juveniles grow to 10"-12".

If you stock SMB fingerlings at the higher density of 70-100/ac the whole process of reduced forage noted above happens faster and results in slower overall growth and smaller top end size of the first stocking of SMB. In other words the original SMB will not get to be as big, but overall they will usually be more numerous. Growing bigger predators is all about keeping forage abundant, having it to be various sizes of small to larger suitable items, and managing the predator numbers, usually selective harvest, so they do not over eat the food source.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/12/13 11:58 AM.

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Thank you once again. I am trying to spread the cost out to get free shipping from Jones hatchery, so I will need to see how it works out. Having flexibility with the RES will help with that. I would not have guessed at stocking rates as low as 30 per acre for fingerling SMB, so that is an eye opener.

P.S.

From Jones Hatchery:
Fingerling SMB are $5 each, so I will order 40 in fall for $200 (expensive!).
For this spring, I am thinking 10 lbs of FHM ($95) + ?? RES at $0.92/fish + ?? GSH at $13/lbs. I sent an email to Jones hatchery to see how many GSH there are per pound so that I can order less tha 100 fish. I can then see how to split things up to reach the $200 minimum for free shipping. Is 10 lbs/acre a good number for the FHM? If need be, I could try a paddlefish to reach the $200.

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You do pay for free shipping. Nice fingerling SMB can be 'had' for $1.5 to $2.60 ea. But one has to be willing to travel in my case 3 hrs one way to get them so shipping cost vs time & $ spent traveling may be similar. Did you check with this place in Indiana for fish? Of course if they don't have or can't get the fish then they are not reliable. Often a fish farm will take your order for SMB but provide only an excuse when it comes time to deliver the fish. Reliability and dependability is sometimes worth a little extra money. http://clearcreekfisheries.net/

GSH per pound will depend on size of fish. At 3.5"-3.75" equals 100/lb; at 4" about 50-55/lb; at 5" about 35-38/lb. You can order more than 100 GSH breeders if you desire to by fall have more GSH. Depending on delivery time and stress one can loose a high numberr of GSH due to handling and hauling stress. YOu want to insure the minnow shiner delivery is pre spawn timing.

10 lbs of breeder FHM is about 250/lb at 2.25" long = around 2500 fish. Recomended number of stocker brood stock for breeding adult FHM is 500-600/acre to produce without any predators 200,000 minnows/ac (about 328 lbs/ac) (Kentucky) by fall. Adult shiners will eat some newly hatched FHM fry to reduce the final FHM production. So adding 1000 FHM/ac is not unreasonable.

When stocking minnows allow for some mortality depending on the provider and time or air temperatures for delivery.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/12/13 09:09 PM.

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I purchased 200 SMB fingerlings(3-4") in Nov. of last year for $2 each. I had to drive 3 hours to get them. They were actually finishing seining when I got there. 4 hours in a bag and they were in wonderful shape (50 to a bag). It was a wonderful excuse for a road trip.

So at $3 each savings.....$600. I feel as if I more than paid for my trip.

I even got a few pellet trained WE thrown in for my aquarium!


Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer.
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I have been to Clear Creek and they seem like a fine operation. They do seem to stock everything that I need except golden shiners. Maybe I should just see if I can get them somewhere else. Any recomendations on someone that can ship 100 GSH to central Indiana for a reasonable cost? I am leary about purchasing them at a bait shop.

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I may hold off on the crayfish until I get water lilies established so they won't wipe them out.

RAH #317535 01/13/13 10:47 AM
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RAH,

http://www.andersonminnows.com/

I'll bet the ones from Jones are 3"-4" max.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I saw the site above when I did a google search, but the web site was pretty bad about giving particulars concerning price and delivery. I am always leery of businesses that post pages full of glitz and low on the info you need to make a purchase, but I guess a lot of good businesses just have poor web designers. If I left this page frustrated, I am sure so have many others. Just give price, description, and how they will be shipped.

RAH #317573 01/13/13 05:31 PM
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I've used them and so has another pondmeister near me. Good service good product and they seemed as concerned about the fish as I was.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Jones Fish Hatchery has a branch in Ft.Wayne. IF they would have some GSH you could drive up there and get them or meet the fish truck when it arrives. Sometimes you can meet the fish truck when it is in your area for fewer fish than $200. Call or contact them for options. Does Aquatic Control in Seymore IN still have fish???


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I'll check into these options, and maybe see if a local bait shop uses any of these suppliers.

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Often bait shops that sell GSH get them from Andersons Minnow Farm or an another large minnow farm. Bait shops will often tell you their supplier for GSH.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/13/13 06:43 PM.

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That is what I am hoping. So my new plan is 5 lbs of FHM, 100 GSH, and 50 fingerling RES this spring, and then 50 fingerling SMB in fall. I will try and pile some bricks in the water and add crayfish after the water lilies establish, although I expect them to show up on their own before that since we have the type that digs holes on the shore to breed, and they move everywhere. I have had poor luck establishing water lilies once the crayfish get going.

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Will threadfin shad survive in central Indiana ponds? It appears that this might be too far north.

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