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Hello all,
After much reading and learning from the very informative posts on this forum I have a few questions. I have a newly dug 3/4 acre pond in upstate NY. Average depth of 8-10' with a 15' center. There is a boulder propped up in the 15' section around 4-6' below the surface. Placed about a dozen or so pvc trees and 6 additional structures at various depths (mostly between 4-10'). I will be adding plastic pallets stacked with a 1 1/2 - 2 " gap between for minnow spawning as well as making a minnow sanctuary under the 14' dock. I will be adding more structure, a small rock pile/jetty and a floating island at some point this year as well.

I have been advised to stock as follows:
1000-2000 fhm (may2016)
10-20 Chanel cats (may2016)
40 LMB (mid summer 2016)
50-75 crappie
50-75 yellow perch
0 (yes zero) blue gill

These are my questions... From everything I have read on this forum, bluegill seem to be the backbone of a successful large mouth pond. Why would this be any different in the north east? I will be purchasing my fish from Hicklings fish farm in NY. Their website advises against stocking bluegills because of there frequent breeding compared to LMB in this environment. Can this be true or is it a way to get me to restock fhm as often as possible? They also say that the cats will not overpopulated or out compete for food. Does this information sound accurate?

http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/bass.htm

http://www.hicklingsfishfarm.com/catfish.htm


Any and all help on this matter and any other advice in general would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.



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seems a little fishy , But what do I know?
you could add some other sunfish that does not breed as often as BG, say PS,RBS or LESF or even HBG?

Last edited by BobbyRice; 03/02/16 03:27 PM.

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IMO fish farms are usually good at raising & selling small fish and not so good at managing adult fish. Using the BG will depend a lot IMO on what type of LMB fishery that you desire and how WELL you want the adult fish to grow.

Without BG, it will take 10 lbs of forage for all your predators together to gain one pound per year - an ounce or tiny weight gain each, thus slow growth. As soon as your bass are big enough the eat the adult FHM they are gone in a hurry. Food shortage. You will be relying on young YP, sometimes tiny crappie when they spawn (erratic spawners), and fingerling LMB to feed your predatory fish (LMB, adult YP&BCP) after year 2. This is likely not be enough small fish poundage (spawn) for weight gain of all of them predators, LMB,BCP,YP,CC. As you surmise you will need lots of FHM annually get much growth of all those the predators, at least 2-4 lbs FHM for each predator/yr to see much if any growth. For just 40 bass this is at least 40-80 lbs FHM or sm fish and this is just to sustain them with basically no growth!

When CC get larger they will also eat fish, the amount depends if you use pellets. Even when not feeding pellets during cold periods, CC will eat a few fish each year. I've caught CC ice fishing, thus they are eating during ice cover. If you are not eating CC leave them out. Hickling promotes CC as food fish for the pond. Without pellets at 16" CC start eating small fish in pretty good numbers. CC catch their food fish at night when other fish are resting near bottom esp YP. No chasing involved.

IMO if you feed high protein(40%) pellets the fishery will better thrive especially if BG are stocked. If you have excess BG, then their eating fish pellets will keep them growing despite their having a higher density. Then you can do some annual BG harvest to keep their and all fish numbers in a 'balance'. If in your management, you encourage numerous small bass they will keep BG-BCP numbers controlled, result in larger BCP. However few YP will survive due to bass preying on them aggressively or even primarily targeting small perch to the point you will likely need to supplementally stock larger YP (6"-8") to maintain their presence after 4-7yrs.

When YP are with LMB, the YP will be the first panfish to disappear as the pond ages due to the bass somewhat preferring small perch. Larger CC 15"-18" also eat a lot of small YP (2"-5"). Crappie eat a lot of newly hatched YP since YP spawn early (Apr in NY) and YP fry are available early when not many small fishes are available (fall winter predation), plus YP fry inhabit where BCP hang out - midpond open areas. Thus all this predation of all stages of YP, the YP will eventually disappear first after FHM from your planned fishery.



Consider stocking YP-SMB-FHM with YP as pellet trained. This is a good fishery balance that will last a long time and later it can easily be converted to LMB-BG pond by adding both of them. YP will survive longer in a SMB pond than in a LMB pond.

I see hicklings don't have any type of sunfish or BG. If you want them you will not need many breeders (10-20) stocked initially so they can spawn and then small BG will be available in year 2 when the FHM disappear.

My advice - stock FHM in spring 2016 with fingerling or 4"-6" pellet trained perch or a combo of both sizes. Feed YP small pellets from Hicklings pellet stock. They should sell you small amounts of less than 50 lbs. YP will grow well and spawn in spring of 2017. Small YP will then be available for 2017 fall SMB introduction and predation. SMB will also eventually eliminate the FHM soon after the SMB spawn. Contrary to what Hickling says - research shows SMB do not need cool water to do well in a pond. SMB grow real well in 80-86F water. Try them and you will see for yourself.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/02/16 08:11 PM. Reason: several additions

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I edited my above post to include several additional points.


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I tried to follow the advice of folks here when my pond was newly dug. I did a year of forage only (highly recommended!!) which gives you a chance to do scuds, shrimp, crays, several types of minnows, perhaps shiners, GSH and then let them reproduce. Without a HUGE headstart your 1000 FHM will be gone in one NY summer.

Then the next year either continue to be patient and let the forage have another few spawns the next summer or sometime in the second season start adding your YP (if that is the route you are going) You could easily add 100-200 4-6" YP pellet trained and feed them and they could also put a big dent in your FHM. Then by the next year you would need to either remove all the egg ribbons to control growth or add your predator probably SMB as Bill recommends.

Read the many posts about people wising they didn't have CC or used them in very small numbers as part of achieving balance when there are several competing panfish.

Crappie are a very special management problem so again I would read the threads on that and for now it is far easier to keep them out until you have a well thought out strategy rather than dump them all in the first year and try to sort it out later.

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Thanks for the great info!
I like the idea of giving the forage a head start. Thanks Canyon

Bill, Thanks for clarifying all this information for me. I was second guessing what I had learned here, being advised differently when I spoke to Hickling's. Something in my gut told me that my pond did not defy the laws of nature that everyone else here experiences. I like the idea of YP-SMB-FHM. Is there any other species I can add to this combination?

I also added a few pictures of the structure that was added...

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You said it in your second paragraph first sentence. BG are the backbone of the food chain for LMB. This IMO is 100 percent a must! LMB can eat, eat, eat...

Bob Lusk the founder of PondBoss and one of the most knowledgeable men I know when it comes to ponds says it all the time! It's all about the BG for forage!

If he says it you know it's Golden when it comes to ponds or he would not say it if he didn't know for sure!!

Bill Cody and Esshup, and David, and Rainman and TJ, and many others here have dedicated their lives to pond management... I would never listen to some hatchery over any of these guys period!!

I have a LMB, HSB, BG pond with a few RES, and its now becoming something I never thought possible because of the advise I have gotten on this site!! Always ask here first like you did you just saved yourself a lot of problems on down the road by doing so!!

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If you could target single sex LMB or get them from other pond boss members you could still have a LMB predator pond and not have to rely so heavily on a huge BG forage base to keep them going. But once LMB reproduce it gets tough to balance predator and forage unless you can fish out the smaller LMB.

I love your raised rock in the middle!!

Are HSB allowed in NY? A perch, HSB combo with a few RES (if they can survive that far north) or pumpkinseed for panfish fishing might be interesting to try.

Bill can also suggest what else would mix well with YP in your area and with your goals.

Some PB members in Ohio (and perhaps indiana and illinois?) have access to pond-spawning spotfin shiners (and others) which I would like to try but commercial fish outfits in Michigan don't sell them that I'm aware of.

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I'm curious, what is the rough length and width of the pond if measured at the presumed location of the full water mark line?

It looks a lot like my pond.

The close up shots of the bottom look like a gravel mix bottom? Is there clay there naturally or was it brought in? Was it compacted somehow? Is it a ground water pond with sources of ground water coming in that caused that water in one of those pictures?

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joeambro- welcome for another NY pond owner to this Forum. Good start on your pond. The only thing that I would have done differently for you pond structure is to gather all your fish structures together. Separated they primarily act as a fish attractors where larger fish wait to ambush small fish are they approach the sparse structure. Grouped together they perform as fish attractors and as a weed bed - dense fish refuge area for small fish. Your pond will need good dense refuge areas to protect small fish from heavy predation unless you severely limit numbers of fish eating predators. Small ponds with predators need refuge areas not so much fish attractors.

You ask "Is there any other species I can add to this combination?" There are some other fish species that will function well with the FHM-YP-SMB combo, however I think you will find that this fishery will meet all your initial goals. Try just the 3 species first and see how it performs for 3-5 yrs. Then if there is a management need or personal desire of another species then add it. From my experience you will find that it will be extremely hard to maintain FHM with the bass present at a balanced density. To keep numerous forage fish you will have to purposefully harvest bass to very low predatory numbers or have a somewhat weedy pond as dense refuge for small fish as food items for numerous predators in a small area (0.7ac). After 4-6yrs with the pond and fishery established then and only then if the pond has high numbers of small fish, the other fish such as CC, Crappie, walleye, pickerel can be added. Crappie are a very risky management fish to add to a small pond. You will find that a good productive YP population will provide all your needs of easy to catch, good eating, larger sizes (10-13"), fun to catch, grow to nice cleanable sizes, & provides adequate forage for limited or reasonable number of predators.

Initial stocked species could be a few pumpkinseed sunfish (PS) to substitute for the BG. Dr.Willis in his research found PS work well with YP-SMB. You are too far north for southern hatched redear sunfish (RES) to survive NY winters unless there are some thriving in your area lakes. Southern MI with similar climate to NY does has breeding populations of RES. A few breeder PS would likely have to be sourced from local water since few if any fish farms in NY raise them. In new water One or a few pair would provide lots of fingerlings. PS are not quite as prolific as BG and will provide a additional small forage fish to reduce predation pressure on the FHM and YP. This could allow more bonus predators to be present such as walleye, HSB, CC or BCP which would be a very risky addition. BCP could easily upset the whole balance of a YP-SMB based fishery.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/03/16 11:59 AM.

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joeambro25, if you go to a local bait store, what are the types of minnows that they sell?

Do your research here on how crappie affect a small pond.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92447#Post92447

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/03/16 11:58 AM. Reason: added link

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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Some bait stores buy all their bait from wholesalers (FHM-GSH) whereas some stores collect native species as their bait source. Ask questions and do your homework. We can help with native minnow - shiner identifications.


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Thanks RC, It seems like there are many knowledgeable trustworthy individuals here with great advice. I am definitely intrigued by the HSB. How big is your pond?

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Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
If you could target single sex LMB or get them from other pond boss members you could still have a LMB predator pond and not have to rely so heavily on a huge BG forage base to keep them going. But once LMB reproduce it gets tough to balance predator and forage unless you can fish out the smaller LMB.

I love your raised rock in the middle!!

Are HSB allowed in NY? A perch, HSB combo with a few RES (if they can survive that far north) or pumpkinseed for panfish fishing might be interesting to try.

Bill can also suggest what else would mix well with YP in your area and with your goals.

Some PB members in Ohio (and perhaps indiana and illinois?) have access to pond-spawning spotfin shiners (and others) which I would like to try but commercial fish outfits in Michigan don't sell them that I'm aware of.


Thanks I like the rock also, we found it digging and opted to leave it for structure. Hopefully it will stay elevated like that. I believe HSB are allowed in NY and I am definitely interested in learning more about them. I like the idea of a variety of fish, but have read that some HSB do not do well in the warmer months. As for forage, I would welcome all shiners minnows and whatever I can get to flourish in the pond. I know it isn't the biggest body of water but I'd like to think I should be able to maintain some balance.

I don't remember the measurements of the pond off hand. I think it was around 160' x 90ish'. there was no additives brought in for the pond construction, it is all natural. The only compaction done was from the machine driving around digging. As for the water, there seems to be a little ground water in there but we had a trench dug from a natural spring about 50 yards up hill in the woods. The pond took no time at all to fill up between the spring and runoff.

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I read the two links from Hickling's. They are mostly correct. I would not follow the advice given though.

For most here please note and put in your memory that stocking in northern climates is different than traditional southern stocking. BG are much more apt to stunt and become a serious problem in northern waters. Traditional southern stocking of BG and lots more forage many months/years before adding LMB is not a good recipe for northern ponds.

I would not use LMB in most small NY waters but it can be done (see Bob's work at Savannah Dhu). SMB are a better choice (see Bill's suggestions). An interesting choice after time when using YP , SMB , FH would be PS in small numbers. There are also a few northern forage species of minnows that might be sourced.

Single sex concepts are sound but very hard to do correctly. Most studies show that when trained fishery scientists try to id sex on many common pond species they are incorrect a good bit. It only takes one mistake to goof up the plan. That risk must be accounted for in planning or workarounds.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
joeambro- welcome for another NY pond owner to this Forum. Good start on your pond. The only thing that I would have done differently for you pond structure is to gather all your fish structures together. Separated they primarily act as a fish attractors where larger fish wait to ambush small fish are they approach the sparse structure. Grouped together they perform as fish attractors and as a weed bed - dense fish refuge area for small fish. Your pond will need good dense refuge areas to protect small fish from heavy predation unless you severely limit numbers of fish eating predators. Small ponds with predators need refuge areas not so much fish attractors.

You ask "Is there any other species I can add to this combination?" There are some other fish species that will function well with the FHM-YP-SMB combo, however I think you will find that this fishery will meet all your initial goals. Try just the 3 species first and see how it performs for 3-5 yrs. Then if there is a management need or personal desire of another species then add it. From my experience you will find that it will be extremely hard to maintain FHM with the bass present at a balanced density. To keep numerous forage fish you will have to purposefully harvest bass to very low predatory numbers or have a somewhat weedy pond as dense refuge for small fish as food items for numerous predators in a small area (0.7ac). After 4-6yrs with the pond and fishery established then and only then if the pond has high numbers of small fish, the other fish such as CC, Crappie, walleye, pickerel can be added. Crappie are a very risky management fish to add to a small pond. You will find that a good productive YP population will provide all your needs of easy to catch, good eating, larger sizes (10-13"), fun to catch, grow to nice cleanable sizes, & provides adequate forage for limited or reasonable number of predators.

Initial stocked species could be a few pumpkinseed sunfish (PS) to substitute for the BG. Dr.Willis in his research found PS work well with YP-SMB. You are too far north for southern hatched redear sunfish (RES) to survive NY winters unless there are some thriving in your area lakes. Southern MI with similar climate to NY does has breeding populations of RES. A few breeder PS would likely have to be sourced from local water since few if any fish farms in NY raise them. In new water One or a few pair would provide lots of fingerlings. PS are not quite as prolific as BG and will provide a additional small forage fish to reduce predation pressure on the FHM and YP. This could allow more bonus predators to be present such as walleye, HSB, CC or BCP which would be a very risky addition. BCP could easily upset the whole balance of a YP-SMB based fishery.

Thanks Bill! I was hoping there would be more pond owners from NY or at least the North East. I agree, I should have placed my structure together. I chose to not move everything after I placed it, I decided to just build more and use those points to continually add more to make better denser "weed beds".
Thanks for the stocking advice. Since doing more research on crappie, I am steering clear for now. If anything, maybe in the future as you suggest, I would consider another species such as HSB,CC, or even walleye. I was unaware that walleye would survive in such a small body of water.
So as of right now I am leaning with the SMB-YP-FHM and maybe PS (if I can find them) fishery to start.

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Originally Posted By: esshup
joeambro25, if you go to a local bait store, what are the types of minnows that they sell?

Do your research here on how crappie affect a small pond.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92447#Post92447


Thanks esshup, I will definitely find out what kind of minnows are local. After researching BCP more, I think I will steer clear of that option.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Some bait stores buy all their bait from wholesalers (FHM-GSH) whereas some stores collect native species as their bait source. Ask questions and do your homework. We can help with native minnow - shiner identifications.


Bill, once I get my hands on some locals I will be sure to post pictures for help.

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Originally Posted By: ewest
I read the two links from Hickling's. They are mostly correct. I would not follow the advice given though.

For most here please note and put in your memory that stocking in northern climates is different than traditional southern stocking. BG are much more apt to stunt and become a serious problem in northern waters. Traditional southern stocking of BG and lots more forage many months/years before adding LMB is not a good recipe for northern ponds.

I would not use LMB in most small NY waters but it can be done (see Bob's work at Savannah Dhu). SMB are a better choice (see Bill's suggestions). An interesting choice after time when using YP , SMB , FH would be PS in small numbers. There are also a few northern forage species of minnows that might be sourced.

Single sex concepts are sound but very hard to do correctly. Most studies show that when trained fishery scientists try to id sex on many common pond species they are incorrect a good bit. It only takes one mistake to goof up the plan. That risk must be accounted for in planning or workarounds.


thanks ewest,
I figured that being north may change some things for me. After the advice I have received so far, I think I am leaning with a YP-SMB-FH and possibly PS combo as you reinforced for here.

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a smaller variety of shiner might go well too.


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I found this in an old thread that may be of interest....

Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
...

... there are just a handful of shiner species that will do well in ponds.

Golden shiner
spotfin shiner
satinfin shiner
red shiner
spottail shiner

Other than those 5, there are some species than can live in ponds but will not flourish and if they ain't flourishing they ain't making good forage so there is no point in stocking them.

......


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black tail shiner too....


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All of which will do well up north?

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I would google native shiners of New York. I suspect some of those on the list are native to New York. Another option might be Bluntnose minnows (BNM). With all of these, your challenge may be to find a source for them unless you have access to catch them yourself from the wild or a local bait dealer that has them.


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Golden shiner are often suggested for NY ponds and should be available and work okay with YP-SMB. Get the shiners in with the FHM asap to get a spawn before adding SMB.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/baitfishofny.pdf
http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/cek7/nyfish/Cyprinidae/cyprinidae.html
Bait Shops in NY
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zcrgvPKbkhdM.kNocREHXpZ_U&hl=en_US
Aquaculture Fish Growers in NY likely to have pellet raised YP'
Smith Creek has pumpkinseed sunfish
http://smithcreekfishfarm.com/live-pond-fish.cfm
http://nysaquaculture.weebly.com/fish-for-sale.html



Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/04/16 07:58 PM.

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Nice BGxRES
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