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I decided I'd start a new thread since my original one was getting quite long and with the discovery of a large population of GSF and BH my pond is going to change from my original plan.

I started out with a vision of a SMB/YP fishery because I have other ponds that have the traditional LMB/BG mix and wanted something different.

Heading to my SMB/YP goal, here's what I've stocked to date;

Fall 2013

Golden Shiners - 4 Pounds
Fathead Minnows - 10 Pounds
Papershell Crayfish - 200
2-3" Redear Sunfish - 75

May 2014

4-6" YP - 150

October 2014

4-6" Small Mouth Bass - 40

We have also caught GSF, BH and some hybrids as well. We have caught small GSF in minnow traps pretty regular for the past couple months and am willing to keep the practice up. I am also feeding three times a day for 20 seconds and have been since planting the first fish in the pond.

Here's some photos of where the fish are at today;







We've caught GSF up to 7", but the majority have been 3-5" and we have kept over 200 of them out of the pond.










Only caught three of these so far, but I'm sure there are many more.



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Now moving forward, I don't want to nuke the pond, but I do want to have decent catch rates as I have three young kids that are getting addicted to fishing. I would like to keep the SMB and YP with ample numbers and edible size. I'm open to just about any ideas

I am assuming I need to step up the feed to help offset the additional mouths, which isn't a problem as I don't have any water issues. (Other than suspended clay. Could that be coming from my BH's?) I've been feeding morning, noon and night. Is it better to feed longer at these times or add additional feedings?

Will the SMB/YP/GSH be able to reproduce with the GSF in the pond?

Will the SMB be an ample predator in the pond once they get to size?

Any other thoughts on how to move forward?


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congrats huntmaster. Your fish look great! Of course the unwanted/unexpected fish might monkey wrench things a bit but you can work through that too.

I'm on the west side of the state and you have about a 1 year jump on me when stocking.

Do you trap crayfish or get a sense of how many of them survived?
My GSH look like yours, yours look fat/wellfed. Have they spawned for you if you can tell?
Perch show great growth and look good!

I suspect I may have one or more unwanted bullhead, how did you catch yours? I also have a stirred up pond that I didn't have before. I need to check if my aerator 'silted' in and is stirring up the bottom or if I have some bottom feeding activity.

I have a few crayfish but was considering a order of 100-200 papershells. I don't have any SMB to eat crayfish but if there ever are babies I imagine my perch will go after them smile

Our pond isn't very big for fishing, and I'm trying to get a handle on the balance of weeds/algae. So far the algae is minimum on the edges, maybe my tilapia are nibbling at it and doing some good, not sure. I see a little algae maybe in the background of your pictures but it looks like yours is 10% or less of pond surface which is good for the pond forage base.

So good to see other Michigan ponds with successful forage base and good fish growth!

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Thanks Canyon!

Do you trap crayfish or get a sense of how many of them survived?

I've seen a couple and actually caught a small one in a GSF trap, but really haven't tried trapping any so I'm not sure how many made it. I'd suspect most made it as they looked very good when released.

My GSH look like yours, yours look fat/wellfed. Have they spawned for you if you can tell?

I'd say they have because I get the occasional one in my GSF traps and see them from shore regularly.

I suspect I may have one or more unwanted bullhead, how did you catch yours?

Hook and worm with a bobber right off shore.

I see a little algae maybe in the background of your pictures but it looks like yours is 10% or less of pond surface which is good for the pond forage base.

Yeah, I have a little around the perimeter, but the majority of the pond is pretty clean.


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Couple of those fish just below the obvious GSF look like hybrids. The first one GSF/RES possibly. That is actually a hybrid I have been wanting to come up with in my pond. Since you have no BG in the pond the one following it likely is also (its features just do not seem quite as obvious). Their body height in relation to their mouth size is too great to be a pure GSF (in my non-expert opinion - I have been wrong many times on fish ID so maybe the experts will chime in).

To me personally, that would be a very desirable fish to have in a pond and I would return them to the water. But you may have other goals.

Last edited by snrub; 07/28/15 02:56 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Huntmaster



I'm thinking this one might be a RES X GSF hybrid.



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Originally Posted By: snrub
Couple of those fish just below the obvious GSF look like hybrids. The first one GSF/RES possibly. That is actually a hybrid I have been wanting to come up with in my pond.


That was my thinking as well. I've thrown a few of the 3-5" hybrid looking ones back in the pond along with a couple that look like straight RES.


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I do not think you will be sorry. The hybrids in my pond are some of the most fun to catch.......... but then I like catching pan fish on light tackle most anyway.

Last edited by snrub; 07/28/15 03:03 PM.

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One thing about having RES as the only other sunfish (that you know of grin ) besides the GSF stocked in the pond, it pretty well limits what the GSF can be crossing with. As they grow, I hope you give us a lot more pictures of the hybrids for future reference ID purposes.

Last edited by snrub; 07/28/15 03:06 PM.

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So true about knowing what is in the pond. Before we started fishing it this summer, I didn't think I'd have much to catch yet. Wrong big time on that account...it's been fun even with the surprises. Still waiting to find one of my SMB for a size check.

I'm not that up on the hybrids, but aren't most of them sterile?

I most definitely will keep the pics flowing, that's half the fun...

Last edited by Huntmaster; 07/28/15 03:12 PM.

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Also from and old, old research paper where ponds were stocked with RES/GSF hybrids it was found that a GSF female X RES male was a very easy and reliable in-pond cross that could be made. They were unsuccessful at producing GSF male X RES female in a natural environment. It could be done in the lab artificially, but not in pond natural conditions.

So if this old research holds true, your hybrids are likely from a GSF female and RES male.

As I recall, this natural cross produces about as many females hybrids as male hybrids (unlike GSF female X BG male which produces a high number of males and few females)

Just an FYI. Experts correct me if my memory fails on this subject.

Last edited by snrub; 07/28/15 03:12 PM.

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No, my understanding is that the hybrids in general are not sterile. It is just that the most commonly sold hybrid is a GSF female X BG male and that particular cross is usually in the high 90% range of males. Both the males and female hybrids are fertile, but there are just few females produced therefore few potential eggs produced.

I have read a research paper where when some unusual hybrid crosses were done in the lab that normally do not happen in natural environment, the researchers came up with some unusual fish behavior that prevented the F1's to be able to successfully raise young. In one case as I recall, the males made nests but were so aggressive at protecting the nests and fighting amongst themselves, they continually scared the females away and were never able to get natural reproduction. But these were in odd crosses that normally do not happen naturally.

The GSF female X RES male is supposed to be an easy cross to occur naturally, likely more so if mates of their own species are not readily available to mate with. In other words where the researchers put only male RES and female GSF in the pond and there were no other options for spawning, the hybrids were readily created without fail.

Last edited by snrub; 07/28/15 03:24 PM.

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It looks like my perch pulled off a successful spawn in spite of the GSF. Caught this guy in one of the small fish traps.





Here's my large fish trap sitting on the edge before I moved it out to deeper water. Hoping to catch the larger GSF, BH and maybe even get a sampling of a SMB since I haven't caught one on a line yet.





I didn't realize that I would have an influx of these monster frogs! I think they are Green Frogs, but there has been a bunch of them in the pond from day one.



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Green frogs do not get that big. It is almost 100% chance a bullfrog. Nice YOY perch at about the normal size (3"-4") for early Aug.


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X2 on Mr Cody's response - that's a bullfrog. Great to have in a pond IMHO...add forage and very little negatives as far as I know.


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Then I must have Green Frogs as well because I Googled the pics on how to ID them last year and the one I was looking at was definitely a green. I didn't really look all that close at this one other than to get it out of the cage and then my boy grabbed him from me to release, so I just assumed it was a green. Cool!

I have several shallow wetlands that are within 100-150 yards of my pond, so they should have a pretty good breeding ground for a continued crop.


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Hunt, I'm fighting the same battle you are with the BH/GSF down in Texas. I'm working on carp as well. It's a fun battle to fight, but like yours, my pond is suffering badly from suspended clay. It worries me that it will hurt my sight feeders (LMB/BG). I'll be following your post with interest. Good luck!

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Shietown, good luck with the carp. If you find an efficient way to reduce their numbers let me know. I've had them ruin my 20 acre pond and they were in the process of ruining my .6 acre pond. I even loaded the .6 acre pond with predators like HSB, SMB and LMB and I still couldn't get any improvement. I nuked it and started over. My 20 acre pond I've kind of given up the battle and have moved on to trying to use the carp to my advantage. The plan is that they are going to be food for my blue catfish. I'll see how that works over the next decade.


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Well it looks like BG's have made it into the pond some how as well. This is the only one we have caught in the pond so far and it didn't make it back in.




Unreal how many different species are in the pond already!


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If the RES you stocked were small (1" or so) it is very hard (for me at least) to distinguish a RES from a BG. It might be that a few BG contaminated your RES order from your supplier.

Just one possibility.


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Another observation I made today concerning other species entering our ponds.

I've been trapping small BG & RES to transfer from my sediment pond to the main pond. I scoop a half five gallon bucket of water to put these caught fish in to take over to the main pond. Noticed today when I scooped the bucket of water, a couple of tiny minnows were in the water. Between an eighth and quarter inch long. Not that I care about a minnow transfer between my ponds, but fish are delivered in water.

Not that a reputable dealer would use contaminated water to deliver fish. But think how easy it would be for a yolk sac size fish, or tiny snail, or mussel or FA, or anything else that grows in water, to get into our ponds. If the most stringent controls were fudged or the high school kid working part time texting and not paying attention or whatever, hitch hikers could find a ride.

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This weekend we spent several hours fishing the pond and caught a good variety of fish.

I've been wondering when we were going to catch one of the original stocked RES, but this guy obliged.

8.5" long and weighed 0.48 lbs






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I also caught a really nice YP that was around 12". While taking it over to the barn to measure and weigh, I stopped to let him breath in the water a bit and he squirmed out of my hands... So no weight or actual length on him, but he was by far the biggest one we have caught to date. Most of the others are hovering around the 10" mark right now.

One good thing about getting surprise fish in the pond, we fileted and fried up ~10 BH's that we caught. I've never had them before, but they were pretty darn good.


Still haven't had a SMB hit one of our lures, but I did catch two of these bass in my big trap. Are these LMB?




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Yeah, that's a LMB. frown

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Originally Posted By: Omaha
Yeah, that's a LMB. frown


That is what I thought it was after thinking about it some more and looking back at the pics today. At the time, I just thought SMB because other than stocking them, I've never really seen SMB.

Well...All I can say is what a ride in a short period of time! So now we can add LMB to my contaminated little watering hole...


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