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If You Could Start All Over...
#525669 09/08/20 06:04 PM
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My pond is about a week away from being complete (I hope), and I thought it might be interesting to hear what current pond owners might do differently, if they could start all over with the knowledge they have now. It might be a good resource for those of us just starting out, or even still in the planning process.

I have compiled all of the responses so far to give a running total. I'll try to monitor this thread and update it when I can:

Better and/or more habitat and structure: 8
Different stocking rates/species: 8
Bigger or deeper pond: 5
Built own pond vs buying one: 2
Planned for erosion control: 2
Planned for a boat ramp: 2
Planned for a dock: 2
Hired a more experienced pond builder: 2
Planned for a forage pond: 1
Better vegetation plan: 1

Last edited by Steve_; 09/18/20 01:46 PM.
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525676 09/08/20 07:46 PM
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Can we use your pond as the template?

What's the size of your new pond?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525677 09/08/20 08:01 PM
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Over-all I like my pond. The pond was built 2-4 years before we purchased the property. In several areas the incline from the shore is not steep enough...it should drop off sooner. These shallow shoreline "shelf areas" go out several feet into the pond and they tend to get the most algae every year. A few "shallow shelfs" would be ok for spawns and fry...but I have too many of these. Also the guy that owned the property did not place hardly any structure in the pond as it was being built. I'd probably add some kind of "boulder walkway" out into the water if I was having a pond built....to me it looks neat, you can cast from it, and it's kind of unique structure...sort of like images below. Much easier to get big boulders placed before a pond fills.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


Fishing has never been about the fish....

[Linked Image from vgy.me] [Linked Image from vgy.me]
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Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Sunil #525678 09/08/20 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunil
Can we use your pond as the template?

What's the size of your new pond?

Absolutely. I told the contractor I wanted a minimum of 0.5 acres, but here's the example I gave him, which is 0.6 acres. The wooded area is almost completely cleared as I write this post. It's also in a natural valley. The letter "c" in "acres" is roughly in the middle of the valley, and the sides go up from that point, to the left and right. My total property size is 3.3 acres, which is outlined in white.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Steve_; 09/08/20 08:32 PM.
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525682 09/08/20 10:55 PM
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Things I would have done:

Add tons of varied habitat as well as dense cover before it fills. Rock piles, boulders, brush piles, plastic fish attractors, pallet stacks, and plenty of them.

Add pilings for a dock.

Divert the run-off from neighbor's pond upstream to keep the LMB out.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525683 09/08/20 11:49 PM
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I went with 4 tons of ag lime per acre, should have been twice as much in acid east Texas soil. Also, the lime should have been disked into the bottom.

More humps and other structure placed in pond.

Build spawning homes for fathead minnows. Also, don't stock adult tilapia in pond until there was algae for them to eat - they ended up eating my fathead minnows, which meant my original stocked Fla bass went hungry & stunted.

Last edited by anthropic; 09/09/20 09:17 AM.

8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20, 206




Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525685 09/09/20 04:41 AM
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If I was starting over, I would have built ponds 10-15 years sooner.

And stocked no Golden Shiners and fewer Channel Cats in the first pond.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
[Linked Image from i582.photobucket.com]
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525686 09/09/20 04:46 AM
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I would have selected a builder that had a lot more experience building ponds


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525690 09/09/20 06:51 AM
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I would have renovated the pond and tripled the size of it before beginning construction on the house.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525696 09/09/20 08:12 AM
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I would have done what you did - buy a place without a pond and build my own. When we bought this place we were in the "oh cool, and it has a pond" stage of knowledge. If I had known how cool it really is to have a pond I would have bought a place where I could build my own. There is a crap load of work, assumptions and compromising trying to make an old neglected pond what you want.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525697 09/09/20 08:51 AM
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A lot more cedars in the bottom for sure. I have built some cover but no where near enuff. Most certainly would put in some kind of post for a dock. More rock beds on bottom and more skids for spawning. Also would have made it bigger. I have redug mine 3 times now. Twice before I found this forum. Go as big as you can = less mowing. I made one side alil to steep to mow safety so I would have fixed that. I hope some of these will help ya.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525702 09/09/20 02:07 PM
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Given the budget I was on and the amount of physical work that was was doing...I couldn't of changed much.

Although, I should have added a finer grate over the outflow pipe. My pond gets allot of water throughput and I'm 94.7% sure that most of the 600 panfish (HBG & RES) that I stocked washed out and left my pond with very few forage producers. It has taken most of 3 seasons for the panfish population to start to show some enthusiasm at feeding time. I remember standing on the overflow pipe and thinking about it and decided that the hassle of keeping a 1/2" wire mesh clean was not worth the risk of most of the panfish moving to the creek...I was wrong. Most of the HSB stayed in the pond (I think...they were 10 larger in size), but my goal of growing larger HBG and making easy and abundant catching washed to the creek too.

Come to think of it, I should add the mesh now before wet weather comes again and try to keep the recruitment that I am currently witnessing at feeding time. They are about as big as the original stockers.

Thanks for asking the question and making me think of this!

Take the budget constraints away, then the physical work problem goes away too, and I would have had someone else build a FHM forage/sediment pond followed by a HBG/RES pond followed by a HSB pond...1/8 acre, 1/2 acre, 1 acre respectively. The upper two would have valved drain systems that would allow the FHM and HBG ponds to be mostly or partially drained to the next as a feeding operation....but now I'm dreaming!


Fish on!,
Noel
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Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525711 09/09/20 07:08 PM
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Hindsight is 20/20.

I wish I would have found a "now" friend earlier. We were both digging ponds at the same time. He has pure clay, I have almost pure sand. He needed sand, I needed clay.... The dump trucks could have gone both directions loaded. We ran into each other a year later.

Build cover BEFORE the pond started filling.

I would also have taken out the island - would have gotten more water volume and could have gone deeper.

I wish we would have finished a day or two earlier and that would have given myself time to put erosion mats all around the pond. I left for a 10 day hunt in Wyoming and the day that I left Hurricane Ike rolled through the area, dropping 12" rain in 24 hours and washing 3' of sand back into the pond.


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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Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525713 09/09/20 07:39 PM
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Great replies. 5 people have already mentioned structure/habitat so that seems to be the common denominator so far.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525718 09/09/20 08:09 PM
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I think we can dredge up some stocking woes too.....


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525722 09/09/20 11:19 PM
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I would have tried to establish erosion control on the shores-better- before filling. Definitely more diverse habitat. I wish I would have better thought out spawning areas, had a better plan for desired aquatic vegetation and most of all I wish I would have waited a full year for the forage base to max out. I would also have waited until year 2 to stock crayfish.


I Subscribe!
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525726 09/10/20 04:38 AM
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Sunil always has to put more drama in the plot. I would have skipped the catfish. About got all of mine out now. They help create a murky pond. I like feeding them but like seeing what's in there also.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525730 09/10/20 07:01 AM
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a Couple of yall have mentioned building your own is better than buying one....

Damnit now Im back into wanting to build one vs buy one


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525737 09/10/20 08:48 AM
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CityDad, it's just two sides of a coin. There's tremendous joy in both sides.

My main 4.5 acre pond was existing for some 30-40+ years when we acquired it, so no do-overs there.

Now, my 1/4 acre neighborhood retention pond is one that I started from scratch. In this case, there was no option to make it any larger or smaller, or put in dirt humps/islands.

For the 1/4 acre pond, I could only have stocked it differently. The original stocking was bucket stocking from my 4.5 acre pond with LMB, Bluegill, and Yellow Perch, after having put in golden shiners and fatheads. Then I added some , SMB, HSB and CC.

In hindsight, I would have gone straight SMB, with Yellow Perch and Redear Sunfish. And a few CC.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525740 09/10/20 09:47 AM
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My thoughts for whatever value they have - if your primary purpose for owning land is to have a pond then I would recommend build. I am sure there are downsides to building but my pond was here so I can only speak to buying an existing pond. If you are going to buy a place with a pond determine what was the primary purpose of the pond for the prior owner. Maybe it was a fishery and has been managed well but maybe, and probably, not.

The upside for me in buying a place with a pond is that I know it is tight as a drum and holds water, it never went dry during the drought of 2011, and it has a great watershed. The downsides are it was a 1-1/4 acre stock tank that also provided a place for the owner to also occasionally wet a hook but its purpose was not a fishery. That great watershed coming from north, south, and east.....well, it literally brought pasture loads of manure with it for a long time (at least 20 years probably more like 30). I wish it was bigger and the land and watershed can support it but given the cost, complexities and patience required, as long as I own this place I am going to have a 1-1/4 acre pond. It took a couple of years of fishing and keeping records to work out a stocking plan that hopefully will work with what was already living in the pond. I can't just say I want this fish and that fish and go to it. I have to be mindful of what the pond already is. Don't get me wrong, I love my pond and am getting a lot of satisfaction in turning it around and seeing it improve both aesthetically and as a fishery. But, the bottom line is, this pond was not built to be a fishery and so I have had to adjust my goals and be flexible.

So to me, if your primary purpose of having land is to have a pond - build the pond. If you get a place with a pond then understand the history of the pond and be ready to compromise.

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Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525743 09/10/20 12:09 PM
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Mister A - that's a whole lot of sense and wisdom.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
[Linked Image from i582.photobucket.com]
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525748 09/10/20 01:25 PM
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Makes a lot of sense


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525752 09/10/20 01:45 PM
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If I had it to do over, knowing what I now know, I would not have renovated the old pond in 2015. I would have had it filled in, and not built the other two ponds in 2016. They have been money pits. The first one leaks, and I spent a lot of time and effort pumping into it. Finally got a good catfish population, then the otters and herons devastated everything in both the 1/4 acre ponds. All the wasted food...I could have bought all the ready to cook american catfish I could eat for the rest of my life. Herons ate 80% of the small CC that I was raising in the forage pond this summer.

Sorry for the negativity, but as the cliche says: It is what it is.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
John Fitzgerald #525755 09/10/20 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by John Fitzgerald
If I had it to do over, knowing what I now know, I would not have renovated the old pond in 2015. I would have had it filled in, and not built the other two ponds in 2016. They have been money pits. The first one leaks, and I spent a lot of time and effort pumping into it. Finally got a good catfish population, then the otters and herons devastated everything in both the 1/4 acre ponds. All the wasted food...I could have bought all the ready to cook american catfish I could eat for the rest of my life. Herons ate 80% of the small CC that I was raising in the forage pond this summer.

Sorry for the negativity, but as the cliche says: It is what it is.
Owning a pond isn't all sunshine and rainbows, so your "negative" stories are appreciated. We learn more from our mistakes than our triumphs it seems. I hope I don't get Herons at my new pond, but I got a special surprise for them if they do wink And I don't think we have otters where I'm at, at least I've never seen any or heard about them.

Re: If You Could Start All Over...
Steve_ #525758 09/10/20 04:59 PM
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I would have gone from 12 acres to 6, and made it deeper. I would have also added a drought capable boat ramp.


AL
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