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Re: Pond Trout
Bill Cody #519384 04/14/20 04:03 PM
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For sure!

Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519440 04/16/20 07:37 AM
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Anyone have luck with Smallmouth and perch in the same pond? I will stock crayfish and FHM as well. I plan to also stock a few bigger trout for some fun in fall too. Thoughts?

Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519441 04/16/20 08:18 AM
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SMB and YP in the same pond is a very good naturally occurring combination. Ideally there should be adequate cover and habitat to allow a native forage fish and diverse invertebrate community to all co-exist. LMB are not as compatible with YP as they are with bluegill(BG). LMB almost always decimate the YP after several years.

The main thing I've learned from frequent use of this combination is to not allow the SMB to over populate and over eat the perch population. Plus, note the perch in a weedy pond can easily become too abundant and need to be manually reduced accordingly. As with any reproducing fish community it is important to manage it and maintain a numbers balance of predators and prey to achieve ones goals of either skewed towards big perch or large bass or a balanced mixture of both sport fishes.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/16/20 08:21 AM.

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Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519442 04/16/20 08:39 AM
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As with any reproducing fish community it is important to manage it and maintain a numbers balance of predators and prey to achieve ones goals of either skewed towards big perch or large bass or a balanced mixture of both sport fishes.


I consider this to contain much wisdom.

There is an inverse relationship between predator and prey. When prey are abundant, prey are smaller and the predators grow larger. When predators are abundant, predators are smaller and prey are less abundant and grow larger. This is a much better representation of balance than perceiving balance to be both predator and prey to be relatively large. One should make a choice because trying to have both is a conundrum that can only occur early in a ponds life.

Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519447 04/16/20 09:31 AM
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I would add that maintaining balance is often difficult. Maintaining balance in a fishery is often referred to in Fisheries Science studies and literature as like balancing on a knife edge. The normal state is unbalanced one direction or the other.
















Re: Pond Trout
ewest #519456 04/16/20 12:07 PM
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This is an incredible conversation of great wisdom! I was considering making some shelter for the forage fish as well as the SMB for the deeper sections of the pond for over winter. Anyone have experience?

Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519457 04/16/20 12:10 PM
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Achieving a complete or theoretical fish numbers balance is rarely achievable for very long because of constant fish deaths, mortality, reproduction, and fry survival. However if no fish are removed then the out of balance condition often becomes skewed toward an over abundance of one species which are often small and slow growing. This most often is the case in smaller ponds what have limited habitat diversity. Often fish have shorter life spans when they are over crowded.

Based on ones goals for the fishery then this idea helps guide the manager to which fish to remove at what times to improve the quality of the fishery. Occasionally a good balance of fish numbers and sizes is achieved naturally especially in larger water bodies with diverse habitat that provides refuge and ample foods for diverse species. Removal of the proper numbers and sizes of fish is usually better than no harvest or management unless there are no goals for the fishery. Too much harvest can be as negative as no harvest. If having just any size of fish in the pond is okay then it is okay to let nature determine the "balance". Even natural lakes become out of balance such as some northern lakes that have lots of "hammer handle" northern pike or stunted yellow perch as two examples.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/16/20 07:20 PM.

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Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519468 04/16/20 07:35 PM
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I was considering making some shelter for the forage fish as well as the SMB for the deeper sections of the pond for over winter.

I have always believed that using structure in the bottom of a pond for shelter of the larger fish is not necessary. However the deep water structure will serve as fish attractors to congregate fish for anglers, but I doubt it serves as a type of shelter as is often used by land animals and humans.

Adding dense cover in shallow shoreline water for forage fish is beneficial during all seasons. Studies have proven that the most beneficial cover for forage fish is when 20%-30% the total shoreline contains the dense cover. Forage fish especially the smallest ones rarely use deep structure because this is where the predators usually frequent so small fish quickly learn from hatching that the safest place is the shallowest water where commonly dense cover occurs.
When I shovel snow from pond ice, I commonly see numerous minnows when disturbed quickly move from the shallowest water into deeper water. This taught me that minnows even in winter are usually inhabiting the shallowest water, commonly not deeper sections where the predators are frequently present.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/16/20 07:38 PM.

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Re: Pond Trout
ewest #519473 04/16/20 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ewest
I would add that maintaining balance is often difficult. Maintaining balance in a fishery is often referred to in Fisheries Science studies and literature as like balancing on a knife edge. The normal state is unbalanced one direction or the other.


There is more than one way to look at balance, I suppose. If Fisheries Science, I guess it means that growth of predator and prey are uninhibited. But I don't see balance this way and I can't think of any biologist other than a fisheries biologist that would. If we view it from an ecosystem perspective, then it becomes clear that there exists a natural balance between predator and prey that is most stable for the ecosystem and its environmental factors. It is about this balance that the pendulum swings so to speak. We can view this as semi-circle that looks like a smile. The opposing effects of predator and prey move in trends about the balance but imbalance is generally reversed by events that turn the system towards natural balance again. Eventually, after successive generations, community members adapt and the swings become more muted and the balance more stable. To achieve stability, the ecosystem generally must support predator reproduction.

If it doesn't support predator reproduction, then the semicircle is upside down and eventually there is nothing but prey and no balance is achieved.

Fisheries Management is, at least regarding small impoundments, trying to work out way to avoid the natural balance achieved when predators become more numerous. This is indeed a powerful trend in small impoundments that takes a great deal of effort to overcome.

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/16/20 09:34 PM.
Re: Pond Trout
jpsdad #519486 04/17/20 06:50 AM
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Would it make sense then to make an effort to better the successful reproduction of forage fish, as well as successful holdover and growth into adult size, while harvesting/removing smaller predators? This would allow the smaller number of predators to grow larger even I assume.

Re: Pond Trout
FlyFishingTrout #519487 04/17/20 07:50 AM
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Yes, but not entirely. The brooding prey fish generally don't have a predator in systems balanced on only one predator. This ensures that they can breed to perpetuate their kind. These too large for the predators to eat prey fish are essential but if they comprise too much of the standing weight of prey fish the production of vulnerable prey is limited by the numbers of adult prey fish. The limit arises from a number of factors. One is competition with parents, another is predation by parents, still another is the impact of a large standing weight of prey fish on the production of their prey organisms. Fewer parents and efficient cropping of their young by the predator allows the numbers of these organisms to be greater and their reproduction to be greater. In other words, removing some but not too many large prey brooders has effects that cascade through the food chain and these effects benefit every organism whether it be predator, remaining prey fish, or the organisms the prey eat.

So what this means is that a balanced harvest includes the removal of both prey fish and predator fish. So what is the ideal number for each? It depends on ones goals I suppose. IMHO the best balance is best achieved when there is a good representation of year class in both predator and prey populations. This requires consistent annual harvest. The bigger one wants to grow them, the more years it takes and so efficiency declines. The most efficient harvest is one that equals the production limit of the BOW. So a Bow in spring with 250 lbs of fish that could produce a net production of prey and predator weight of 80 lbs could be harvested at a rate of 80 lbs/acre. A good number to work with is 25 percent of the weight in predators and 75 percent of the weight in too big for predators to eat prey fish. In the example above this equates to 60 lbs/acre for prey and 20 lbs/acre for predators. Essentially such a scenario turns most of the population every 4 years or so. Generally, the predators won't be really big over such a short span of time. For LMB probably in the 15" range in the 4th year IF they are harvested and not allowed to accumulate.

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