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New Iowa Pond
#505766 05/12/19 12:49 PM
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This summer I hope to build a new pond that will be approximately one acre in size. It will have a watershed that is about 20 acres of mostly CRP with a maximum depth of about 14 feet. I already have one pond that is stocked with LMB, BG, CC, RES and a few BCP. The fishing is great. I am trying to decide between stocking the new pond with the standard LMB, BG plan or doing something different. I am thinking about doing a pond with HBG, HSB, and YP. I would also add a few RES to control snails. I plan on using a fish feeder to feed with Aquamax pellets. To start the food chain I will probably stock FHM, scuds, and grass shrimp the first year. The following year I would start stocking the other fish. Some questions I have are, is this a bad idea? If not, how many and what size of the HBG, YP, and HSB should I stock? Are there some fish that should be stocked before the others? Should I add other forage species? Do I need another predator species? I know the HBG and HSB will need to be restocked periodically as fish are caught and removed. The property has a lot of cedar trees and osage orange trees that can be cut and used as fish structure. How many trees should I add as structure? Any advice would be very appreciated.

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #505775 05/12/19 07:15 PM
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If you want a different style of fishery then go with the YP,HBG,HSB plan. Forage of FHM, scuds, and grass shrimp are good options but scuds and grass shrimp need beds of submerged vegetation with finely divided leaves to thrive to abundance along the edges. Make sides steep as practical to restrict all vegetation 1-4ft deep. You could add a 3-5ft wetland area at the inlet for a nursery area. Consider adding golden shiners as large size forage fish.

I like to start with the forage minnows in spring and add the other fish in fall or the next spring. In Iowa you can add a few walleye per acre (8-12) as bonus fish. Numbers of forage to add depends on if they will spawn all summer before adding other fish. Three to 5 pounds of FHM/ac with minnow spawn habitat in spring will produce lots of minnows by fall. Quadruple the minnows if adding them with the other sport fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/12/19 07:19 PM.

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Re: New Iowa Pond
Bill Cody #505812 05/13/19 07:38 PM
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Thank you for the information. How many of the other species would you recommend stocking. I did some research and found the following stocking numbers. HBG-500 per acre, YP-200 per acre, HSB-100 per acre. I was thinking about adding 50 RES per acre. How do these numbers sound? Would you make any changes?

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #505815 05/13/19 08:29 PM
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IMO those are very good numbers to be stocking in a new pond although you might want to make some slight numbers adjustments. I would increase the RES numbers to 70-80 because they struggle to maintain good population numbers in mixed fish communities. HBG might be a strong competitor to RES. If you are buying pellet trained YP and feeding them,,, and if you prefer YP fillets to HBG fillets you can increase YP numbers to 300 with plans to harvest some when they reach 8"-10", while reducing the HBG to 350-400/ac. Or stock equal numbers of HBG-YP.

For starting I would decrease the HSB to 60-70/ac. These numbers provide more than enough predation for the panfish you are stocking. Then when you see how HSB respond to your program, increase or decrease their numbers based on plans for harvesting a few for eating and on how many new young HBG & YP are surviving and growing. HSB are best eating quality when they are 13"-16". For best eating, always remove red meat along the outside of the fillets.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 05/13/19 08:37 PM.

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Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #515760 01/15/20 08:12 PM
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Hawkeyes - what stocking option did you go with and how do you like your decision? I'm also in Iowa and am in the very beginning phase of building a pond.

I'm currently torn with the 'standard stocking' of LMB, BG, RES option verses the HBG, YP, WE, HSB, FHM option and curious how yours is doing? Thanks!

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #515794 01/17/20 09:19 AM
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Will SMB do well in your area? If so, they may work with RES and YP. I also have GSH, FHM, and LCS in my pond with the SMB.

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #515795 01/17/20 09:42 AM
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The biggest benefit of starting with the fishery combination of HBG, YP, WE, HSB, FHM option is if you decide it is not working. When unhappy with WE-HSB predators, you can very easily switch to the LMB, BG, RES or other combo with LMB. This is because the LMB will always dominate the fishery, and once in the pond, LMB are basically the main controlling fish present due to their high reproductive capacity and behavior. Once in you cannot get them out unless there is a complete pond fish renovation. This compares to the WE, HSB, YP fishery. The WE-HSB essentially do not reproduce thus when you quit ladder stocking them they eventually die out. Very not true with LMB. When YP are used with LMB usually the YP gradually are eliminated by the LMB dominance whereas BG usually tolerate well the predation behavior of LMB. It is all about a reproduction - behavior characteristic of the species.

Consider using RES instead of or combined with HBG. Although HBG have good benefits, they being a reproducing hybrid sunfish, can when improperly managed, degrade into a less than the high quality that you started with. RES very rarely ever are known to cause any problems in a combination fish community. Most often RES display too little new fish recruitment.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/17/20 09:50 AM.

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Re: New Iowa Pond
Bill Cody #515823 01/17/20 08:38 PM
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Bill thanks for all the great info. What's your opinion on the different stocking plans for your area and reference the various state consumption advisories? Most states in the mid-west have advisories about eating predatory fish (LMB, HSB & WE) because they eat smaller fish, the heavy metals build up in their flesh. But it appears that BG (panfish in general) have very few if any consumption advisories.

I'm in southern Iowa and it appears that I'm at or above the latitude of Columbus, Ohio so just asking your opinion. Thanks again!

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #515825 01/17/20 09:26 PM
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Stocking plans as in number and of what species? Are you pellet feeding, and aerating. 1st stocking forage then later predators? It can be done either way depending on goals, species raised and pellet feeding. I think the fish eating advisories are for fish that live in public waters where the chemcials proliferate in those waters and some bioaccumulate in the food chain.


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Re: New Iowa Pond
Bill Cody #515847 01/18/20 01:27 PM
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Bill I wasn't asking for specific stocking #'s, I was just asking your opinion and what your preference is in N/W Ohio (LMB/BG vs HSB/WE/HBG). I'm not sure if I will aerate or not as I need to learn more about the topic. I know a guy north of St. Louis who aerates 24/7/365. Is that a viable plan? Do you feel aeration is mandated in your opinion?

I will probably feed pellets.

As far as the advisories, I specifically asked one of the Asst. Directors with Iowa DNR-Dept. of Fisheries who told me all bodies of water are affected because the contamination is a result from global pollution that is deposited across the nation during rainfalls and runoff. All fish consume some levels of contaminants and as the panfish are eaten by small predators which are then eaten by mid-sized predictors, the contaminants keeps accumulating at higher levels in the larger LMB/HSB/WE. They test fish from the public impoundments due to access/control of the property but to my knowledge, there are no waters in the mid-west where unlimited consumption of LMB (for example) is recommended. Generally it's recommended to limit eating predatory fish to 1 meal per week and sometimes only one meal per month, while panfish are listed as unlimited for the normal population. For 'higher risk' populations (young children & women who may become pregnant, they often recommend no predatory consumption).

Re: New Iowa Pond
RSF #515855 01/19/20 05:16 AM
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RSF, you can also die from drinking too much water.

You can control runoff going into YOUR pond, and you can test the waters for contamination (and the runoff water entering your pond). There are a number of testing facilities around the nation that will do the water tests.

Personally? I'd not give it a second thought to eating large apex predatory fish from my pond more than once a week.

I'll make you a deal. Contact that Assistant Director and get a level of contamination that would be safe to eat. Get hard numbers. Get me all the information needed to ship a fish to them to be tested and PM me that information. I will donate and ship a large apex predator fish from my pond to be tested. You get the guy that said all bodies of water are contaminated the same to pay for the test, and have him send the test results of my fish to both you and I.

Once the test data is received, that should give us a hard and fast answer.

As for stocking, I'd prefer to stock HSB/YP/HBG/RES along with FHM and Golden Shiners. YP do much better in ponds than WE do.

As for aeration being mandatory for a pond, the answer is "it depends". If your pond doesn't see long periods of 2"+ ice and 2"+ snow and doesn't have a high BOD, then no it isn't mandatory.

Without aeration in the winter you run the risk of winterkill, and as a pond ages the BOD increases. During the summer with a pond that is deeper than 10-12 feet, aeration allows the fish to utilize the whole water column, and it also allows aerobic bacteria to break down organic matter in the deepest part of the pond.


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Re: New Iowa Pond
esshup #515926 01/20/20 03:31 PM
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esshup, thanks for your reply.

I feel I have a pretty good handle on the 'traditional' stocking of LMB, BG, RES but don't have the 'Hybrid' stocking (HBG, HSB, YP) totally understood. I would assume the FHM wouldn't stay established due to predation and that's why you also recommended Golden Shiners? Can the golden shiners reproduce and remain the primary forage for all the fish or would the hybrid stocking be dependent upon pellets? Would ladder stocking be required for a hybrid pond sustainability?

Also as I understand it HBG will reproduce but eventually revert to their parent strains. Will HSB do the same or not reproduce at all?

Thanks again for your expertise. You along with many others share your knowledge that is very appreciated by us.

Re: New Iowa Pond
RSF #515934 01/20/20 07:51 PM
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Correct, some of the Golden Shiners will be able to outrun the predators. They reproduce by broadcasting their eggs on grassy substrate in shallow water, FHM males guard a nest and they swim much slower than GSH.

Ladder stocking will be required for a Hybrid pond. Dependent on the number of fish removed. HBG will not revert back to GSF and BG. They will always be HBG, but the offspring will be 90% male and the offspring won't have the hybrid growth vigor that the parents do.

HSB do not usually reproduce in ponds, I only know of one that has some reproduction. Look up how White Bass and Striped Bass reproduce and you will see it takes a special set of circumstances for HSB to be able to reproduce successfully in a pond.


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Re: New Iowa Pond
esshup #515936 01/20/20 08:13 PM
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Great, thank you for the information.

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #515941 01/20/20 09:19 PM
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Previous information by esshup is essentially correct. GSH limitations IMO - GSH survivability in with HSB is strongly dependent on how many HSB are present, how big HSB are, and how much cover is available for GSH. HSB & YP can be abundant enough they keep all the young GSH consumed and when old adults die you loose GSH broodstock.

HSB essentially will not reproduce in your pond. If they do, make sure you report it here. To keep some smaller HSB in the community which is important for predator balance, some of the adult HSB can be harvested and an appropriate number of young ones be restocked.

The YP and GSH can be the primary forage fish for HSB providing you don't have too many HSB in that they devour all the young forage species. You should always have good abundant numbers of young forage species moving into the community each year.

Feeding pellets. Start with good pellet raised stock of YP and pellets can help take predation pressure off young GSH and YP. Numerous of the recruiting YP often learn to eat pellets. If this does not happen,, target harvest younger YP and periodically add 6"-8" pellet trained YP to maintain good pellet eating brood stock. Too many young forage species? - decrease or slow pellet feeding for a month or two to allow predators to reduce forage numbers esp small YP.

HBG (hybrid BG) start back-crossing and intermixing among all the cohorts that eventually, a large percentage of the population is male and female and hybrid vigor gradually declines. The dominant green sunfish behavior and gene pool becomes a stronger and stronger influence on the offspring 10+years later.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/21/20 09:54 AM.

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Re: New Iowa Pond
Bill Cody #515956 01/21/20 01:18 AM
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Just to add to Bill's great post is that GSF are more fusiform than BG or HBG, so when the GSF genetics start to predominately show, they are easier to swallow due to their more fusiform shape.

The downside to more predominate GSF genes is the big mouth gape of them, even from 2" these fish more imitate a LMB than a BG, so more YOY fish are eaten by GSF compared to BG or RES.

Like I posted earlier, in a pond were GSH< FHM< RES and YP were unknowingly stocked on top of GSF(green sunfish), 2 years later there was absolutely no recruitment by the GSH(shiners), YP, & RES, and the GHM population was nonexistent. Green sunfish are a real problem in ponds without largemouth bass.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/21/20 09:50 AM. Reason: added ( ) added LMB info

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Re: New Iowa Pond
esshup #515990 01/21/20 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted By: esshup
... 2 years later there was absolutely no recruitment by the GSH(shiners), YP, & RES,...


Were the GSH commercially purchased - they often have a disease that makes reproduction non-existent? Was there no YP recruitment ? Strange that there was no RES recruitment - they successfully spawn even where dense BG/LMB populations exist.

Interesting - see next PB issue on spawning suppression as a survival mechanism.
















Re: New Iowa Pond
ewest #515993 01/21/20 11:07 PM
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GSH were from Jones Fish in Ohio. No recruitment from YP GSH or RES, most likely from the GSF eating all the YOY in the pond that spawned. No spawning habitat for the YP, but there were 1/2 dzn areas of pea gravel about 10' wide x 12' long (going from shallow to deep) and that had beds dished out in them. No FHM left in the pond either.


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Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #516039 01/23/20 05:18 PM
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Just about everyone, except now esshup, underestimates the aggressiveness and predatory habit by green sunfish upon fish fry upto to 1" long.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/23/20 07:26 PM. Reason: edit wording

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Re: New Iowa Pond
Bill Cody #516087 01/25/20 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Just about everyone, except now esshup, underestimates the aggressiveness and predatory habit by green sunfish upon fish fry upto to 1" long.


Bill, I learned that about 8-9 years ago when this happened. The biggest problem for this pond (I believe) is that the pond owner didn't stock any predators for at least 2 years after digging the pond. AND when he had the pond dug it was a wet hole in the woods that they didn't sterilize before starting to dig.

I believe that if he'd have stocked the correct number of forage fish in the first place (he stocked a little less than half the recommended fish numbers), then followed that up that Fall with the predators, a considerable number of GSF would have been eaten OR some of the desired fish YOY would have survived. The majority of the GSF were 3", maybe 4" and at that size they were reproducing like rabbits. Even GSF down to 2" had eggs. They were doing what Mother Nature does - filling a void in the pond. Only a handful of GSF were 6"+ and I imagine those were the ones that were in the wet spot in the woods when they started digging the pond.


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Re: New Iowa Pond
RSF #516506 02/07/20 10:30 PM
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RSF - I was not able to build the pond last year. The pond will be built as part of a cost share program with the English River Watershed Management Authority. There were some environmental/wetland issues that caused it to be delayed. I think everything is worked out now so it can be built this summer. I am still leaning towards stocking YP, HBG, and HSB. I already have one pond that has BG, LMB, RES, BC and CC. The fishing in it is great. If I only had one pond and I had to choose I would definitely go with the standard LMB, BG stocking plan.

Re: New Iowa Pond
hawkeyes #516753 02/12/20 09:03 PM
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Thanks Hawkeyes I appreciate your recommendation.


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