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800bman Offline OP
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Been a lurker here for a while, and Im not sure if this is the correct place to post this, but here we go.
I manage a few lakes on some family property and we are considering the option of digging our own stocking or feeder ponds. What I have in mind is maybe a half dozen ponds measuring maybe 20x40 feet and having a deep section maybe 12-14 feet and a shallower shelf for spawning 3-6 feet. The goal would be to be able to have a selection of forage and fish to add to our other lakes and ponds whenever need be, letting them reproduce naturally. Assuming the water quality is good and the pond bottoms are ideal for spawning beds are there any issues I may run into or any design ideas you all may have? This would be northern Illinois area, and the species Im considering raising are YP, HBG, BG, and PSeeds, maybe some FHM too.

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Welcome to PBF 800bman!

Sounds like a great project.

FWIW If I ever construct a forage pond, I will follow a suggestion I read here on the forum. It was to design a forage pond in a paint roller pan shape; shallow on one end and gradually getting deeper across the length of the pond. This would facilitate seining a lot IMO, especially if you can partially drain the pond when harvesting to concentrate the fish in a small area.

Looking forward to hearing about your project as you move forward.

Bill D.

P.S. What part of Northern Illinois? I'm near Rockford.


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800bman Offline OP
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Thanks for the speedy replies.
Bill Im about 45 Mina south of you. ELGIN Hoffman estates area.

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800bman Offline OP
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Snrub, lots of good info in your forage pond link! I think I want to go smaller on size for the ponds and do a few close together so I can move fish easily and monitor their progress easily.

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The one thing I would caution you about tiny ponds is watch your flow through rate. If you have too much watershed and a big rain comes it can cause multiple water exchanges in a short period of time and stress the fish.

Ideally having control over the water exchange amount would be best. Like a well where you could control water exchange much like you might an aquarium. But if you rely on rainfall like I have to, just do not include so much runoff area it can inundate the ponds.

What you are talking about reminds me of Highflyer's Topias ponds. There should be a link to his Topia thread in that list somewhere.

Last edited by snrub; 12/13/17 08:08 AM.

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800bman, welcome to the forum.

How many surface acres of lakes and ponds would you guess that you're wanting to stock, and what predators are you wanting to grow forage for?

If I was to build new hatchery ponds, the first thing I would do is start window shopping for a commercial net. Several very good companies out there, and my experience has been that the ability to get fish out of a hatchery pond as easily as possible may be priority number one. Determine what size net you want or need, then build all the hatchery ponds to match the net. I've repeatedly kicked myself for not doing that here.


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I'm in the process of doing something similar right now, except growing out HSB and BGxRES in my two grow out ponds. One issue I'm having is having the ponds seal. Largely because they were so small and so steep I couldn't get equipment in to pack them. Next spring I plan to try Soil Floc and if that doesn't work install liners. That may be one thing you need to concern yourself with.

Also, I built mine in a circular shape so that I could use the pressure of my well to circulate water and aerate with 'horizontal' aeration instead of traditional vertical aeration. Essentially I'll be creating a lazy river effect.

One thing TJ told me to is to dig one side with a slope you can drive a skid steer to the bottom of to re-excavate after 2-3 years. This may not be a problem since you are going so deep, but it may be something you want to consider. He thought my ponds may lose 3-6" per year due to fish waste from heavy feeding.

Good luck and share your experience.


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800bman Offline OP
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The predators Ill be thinking about will be smallmouth bass, lmb, potentially northern pike or walleye.

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Just throwning some ideas out....could you dig ponds smaller and maybe 6' deep and use water from main pond to keep the water fresh? Also build burm to prevent too much watershed flow, and control water with pump....

I had thought of using a 12' above ground tank, cirulating water from main pond, and have it where I could drain into main pond thru a 6-8" pipe.


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Just throwning some ideas out....could you dig ponds smaller and maybe 6' deep and use water from main pond to keep the water fresh? Also build burm to prevent too much watershed flow, and control water with pump....

I had thought of using a 12' above ground tank(buried in ground), cirulating water from main pond, and have it where I could drain into main pond thru a 6-8" pipe.


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Originally Posted By: BrianL
Just throwning some ideas out....could you dig ponds smaller and maybe 6' deep and use water from main pond to keep the water fresh? Also build burm to prevent too much watershed flow, and control water with pump....

I had thought of using a 12' above ground tank, cirulating water from main pond, and have it where I could drain into main pond thru a 6-8" pipe.


Brian I had thought about doing that very thing with my 1/20th acre forage pond. It is slightly above and only 30 feet or so from my main pond. I think it would work slick. All I would have to do is pump water from the main pond to the forage pond and let gravity and the existing overflow pipe take care of the return. I just was not sure I wanted to commit to maintaining the pump and screen/filter most of the year. But I think it would solve the potential water quality issues a small pond with heavy feeding can experience.

Last edited by snrub; 12/13/17 12:23 PM.

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