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Put and take crappie
#517568 03/04/20 11:04 AM
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I have a quarter acre pond that has been reset and is ready for stocking. Sadly I won’t have the pond in the next 1-4 years so i figured I could experiment and if it goes wrong it won’t be my problem. My thoughts are a put and take style crappie pond. I’m already aware of the problems associated with crappie in smaller ponds but im not sure they will be as big of a problem with the way I plan to manage it for as long as I have it. The desired result from this experiment would be crappie big enough to eat or around 9-10”, obviously bigger is better but once I can get two fillets they are coming out. The plan is to stock crappie as big as I can buy them and large amounts of forage. I also plan to feed pellets. So given that I’ll be buying fish with a little size on them right off the bat and heavy feeding, I feel I can get keeper sized fish in a rather short amount of time comparatively. I’ll also probably stock a few hybrid striped bass purely to reduce spawns if they happen at all. However I’m wagering the success of the experiment on if I can grow them big enough to eat in one season so I can fish them all out before spring thus eliminating spawning and making room for the next stocking. I don’t think I will have much of an issue fishing all of the crappie out given the relatively small number of fish I can fit in a quarter acre 30-50 or maybe a little more. If I don’t get all of them out and they do spawn I can employ a slot limit for anything smaller than the most recent stocking class to assist the hybrids. If I can’t get the desired size on them in one season I’ll let it go to the next season and by then I’ll harvest them regardless. How would you manage a put and take crappie pond? Anything major I’m missing here?

Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517570 03/04/20 11:36 AM
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One main problem IMO at this point with your plan is the crappie will not eat pellets. So you will have to rely on their growth using natural foods - zooplankton and small fish. I am not sure how many small fish will be needed to get optimum growth from the BCP. A basis is 10 lbs of forage per one lb gain. you do the math. Find yourself a standard weight table for crappie and then figure out how much body weight will be needed to get your crappie into the next size or inch length class. Then multiply that body weight by 10 for amount of needed forage consumed weight.

Crappie are good at filtering zooplankton for food so if you can keep a good bloom going BCP & WCP should grow well. Balancing plentiful minnows with HSB will be tricky and challenging but it might be possible with the 'right' habitat. Feeding pellets will help reduce the HSB predation on allowing more minnows to survive. Lots of cover will help minnow survival.

Your experiment would be informative to follow the progress. Keep us updated. I look forward to the education. We will help advise if needed.


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Re: Put and take crappie
Bill Cody #517573 03/04/20 02:39 PM
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I will add my father just informed me of a source of hybrid crappie which I thought previously unavailable to me. These would far better suit my needs compared to black crappie. Im thinking 65 hybrid crappie and8-10lbs of minnows to start with and more minnows later. As far as predators it makes more sense to wait until the next spring because really this first growing season they won’t be serving any purpose other than eating food that could be going to a crappie. Then if I see any signs of reproduction I can introduce them to curb what little there is. I am very interested to see how it shakes out.

Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517576 03/04/20 04:01 PM
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Mark are you planning any self sustaining forage for the crappie other than 8-10# of minnows? Remember the rule of 10#s of forage to add 1# to the fish (1fish)

Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517578 03/04/20 04:35 PM
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Hybrid crappie should work better but may still be an issue (see threads on hybrid crappie). What size HC can you get? That will impact your results and the amount and type of forage.
















Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517579 03/04/20 04:36 PM
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You know, for a pond that it smaller than recommended ... I'm of a mind that the smaller ... the better. So I think 1/4 acre would be easier to manage than a 2 or 3 acre pond.

I will add that I very much like Bill's idea of a non reproducing predator like HSB in combination with WCP or BCP. Its just a 1/4 acre and what would probably work well is a standing weight of predators of around 50 to 70 lbs/acre or about 12 to 15 lbs of predators in your BOW. Just my two cents ... but I think for best results the predators should be too large to be interested in eating the minnows that you want the crappie to be eating. Probably 4 lbs or larger would provide the best benefit where they would crop the 3" to 5" crappie primarily. So maybe only 8 or so HSB stocked every 4 years? There may be some other possibilities for predator in a 1/4 acre BOW. Say a single FH catfish stocked at 5 to 10 lbs and removed at > 16 lbs for example ... or maybe 6 1 lb female LMB stocked every 4 or 5 years? I don't know but if the predators are the right size and their biomass/acre is sufficient you should be able to grow some nice crappie.

I agree that 8-9 inches is the ideal size to begin your harvest. Beyond this length they will not grow without fish forage. Harvesting them will help your minnows reproduce and make forage. You could reserve some for trophies and reproduction by selecting say eight 8" fish/year for grow out and spawning. Just clip say the rear dorsal in odd years and the anal fin in even years. Going ahead and harvesting them 2 years from clipping might be good strategy or at a minimum length perhaps.

In addition to FHM be sure to introduce Gambusia which is native to your state. Provided there is no bass reproduction they will proliferate. Two things could ruin this set up. Reproducing LMB and/or reproducing lepomis.


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Re: Put and take crappie
Pat Williamson #517581 03/04/20 04:39 PM
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No I am not expecting any forage to sustain itself in the pond. I plan to stock the pond with forage multiple times throughout the growing season. The 8-10lb figure was simply what I would put in on the first stocking here in a few weeks.

Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517586 03/04/20 07:01 PM
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How about fencing off an area for FHM spawning? Use something small enough to keep the crappie out but the FHM can come and go. Put lots of pallets in to encourage spawning. Might only work until the crappie spawn.


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Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517589 03/04/20 08:44 PM
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Hybrid crappie will greatly enhance the chances of your plan succeeding. Depending on the shape of the pond fencing off an area for FHM spawning is IMO not very practical because the FHM will likely not readily use this area for several reasons. One shoreline completely lined with tree branches down to 3-4ft deep with a few intermixed sunken pallets or other FHM spawn structure would be a better minnow refuge for your experiment than a fenced off area. Extensive branches refuge should allow adequate minnow survival to feed 65 HC. If this does not work well you can always add tree branches to a second shoreline to increase the refuge amount. After two years you will likely have to add more branches to account for small twig decay.

The suggestion for planning on 12-15 lbs of predator (HSB) is IMO slightly too many predators for 0.25 ac and hybrid crappie (HC) . I would not add HSB until you notice crappie have spawned and sunfish-like fry appear. Then I would add at most two or maybe three HSB 4"-7" or 8"-10" long. Have your HSB source homework done when you stock crappie so you are well prepared to quickly stock HC as soon as you see crappie spawn. 2-3 small HSB could easily eat 700-1100 small 1" fish per year (HC&FHM); enough to control HC spawn.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/04/20 08:47 PM.

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Re: Put and take crappie
Marky Mark #517684 03/06/20 05:56 PM
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I agree with Bill, don't stock any HSB until you have a reproduction problem. I'd stock as many FHM as you could - even going with 30+ pounds in the pond.

A client has a 3+ acre pond that we overstocked with Golden Shiners and Fathead Minnows at first (100# of each) in the Fall. Nest Spring we stocked Yellow Perch, Redear Sunfish and Hybrid Bluegills. Next Spring we stocked Smallmouth Bass. 2 years after that we stocked 200 Hybrid Crappie, 2.5"-4" in early May. He is feeding the fish Optimal Bluegill food and Optimal Bass food at a rate of 50/50 mix. He still has both Fatheads and Golden Shiners in his pond.

7 months after the Hybrid Crappie were stocked he was catching then at 7"-8" in length.


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