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What is the ideal mutt pond look like
#525488 09/03/20 05:26 PM
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If you had a small 1/4-1/2 acre pond and you wanted to be surprised at the catch every time you dropped a hook in, what would you use to have a
"Sustainable/balanced" population?

Using those terms loosely


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525498 09/03/20 08:57 PM
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Good topic. For me, I'm going with BC, BCP and HSB, and here is my thinking... Catfish are generally bottom feeders, HSB are generally open water feeders, and BCP are generally tight to structure, but you can find them anywhere. You could replace BCP with pretty much any panfish (BG, RES, etc). In my scenario, I could toss out a crappie jig and have it get hammered by a Blue Cat or I can use a chunk of cut bait on a bottom rig and hook into a HSB. As far as catfish go, you need to add spawning structure or else their chance of spawning is slim, but I've seen people recommend "put and take" fisheries for small ponds, where you pretty much only stock species that don't spawn, and then restock annually or bi-annually. I know people generally don't recommend LMB in small ponds, which is why I'm choosing HSB instead, but if you love LMB, then I'd say go for it.

Of course, this could all backfire but I won't know until I try!

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525502 09/03/20 09:52 PM
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I like the idea of having a good variety myself. It adds a little more fun to fishing if you don't already know it is either a BG or LMB. That is one thing I always like about fishing in rivers and big lakes, you never know for sure what you might catch or how big. I don't think I'll ever have it that good in my small pond but I can try to get as close as I can. I think most of the pros say you don't want to many types of fish in a small pond and certain ones don't do well together, but I figure the worst I could do is screw it completely up. lol! So far I have FHM, GSH, BG, RES,LMB and YP. I still hope to add some HSB.I would probably add some hybrid crappie if I could get them. I haven't completely ruled out CC, I go back and forth with them. I would probably consider something else if I was to come across something else. lol!
If you're not real worried about the outcome then I say through in anything you think you might want,with in reason.
What are some of the fish you think you want?


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Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
Bobbss #525503 09/03/20 09:58 PM
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That's the spirit! And with a small pond, it's easier to fix things via angling than having a bigger pond where you might have to take more drastic measures to correct your fish populations.

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525527 09/04/20 12:18 PM
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My catch-all pond, or mutt pond, would start with BG, RES, & GSF...after the installment of FHM's of course. Then, after a season or two of forage building, I'd add medium sized CC & LMB, and a few FH cats. I think my real goal would be to grow some pole buster FH's, but in the mean time anything could go in OR come out.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525542 09/04/20 09:06 PM
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I had always planned on stocking CC until I started reading the cons on here. When I was a kid, most of the time we fished for catfish of any kind and liked fishing at night for them, so I still kind of want some. I always like the fight a good size catfish gave. But now I fish more for LMB so I kind of lean things that way.
Depending on what you want your main fish to be, if you make sure it has the edge over the other fish you stock, then I would think things won't turn out to bad. At least that is what I'm hoping. lol!
I'm not going for trophy fish, just a fun place to fish and I'm ok with only having a few each of what I call bonus fish. As Long as there is a small chance of catching them I'll be happy.
If your hoping for any kind of trophy fish, then your probably better off with a tried and true plan.


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Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525548 09/04/20 10:01 PM
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Just remember that if you aren't stocking feed trained fish and won't be feeding that the predators will need to eat a LOT of smaller fish to grow. In a small pond you will run into carrying capacity issues.

Don't think that CC won't feed all over the pond, from top to bottom. Last week in my pond I caught a 12" SMB, a 17" 3# LMB and a 31", 16# CC all on a Whopper Plopper (surface bait).


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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).
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525571 09/05/20 10:35 AM
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Esshup, that sounds like like a fun week of fishing. Looks like you have a nice mix. Do you feel your CC cause you problems?


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Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525582 09/05/20 12:39 PM
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whopper plopper, checked it out and a pretty cool lure. What color do you find works well and what size did you go with esshup?

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525590 09/05/20 04:10 PM
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Essup my dude that sounds kinda perfect!

Yea i know enough forage will always be a problem, was probably gonna give most of a year to FHM and maybe even goldfish (the godlies would be the first to go when the predators get stocked and then the FHM get more time to do their thing and the goldies will look pretty in the meantime), and will spend my spare time building lots of habitat to throw in.

I have this idea for a floating dock with a bunch of habitat built into the bottom going down 3-4 feet making it easy to fish off the side.


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525622 09/07/20 02:06 PM
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Yes, the CC cause problems. Eating the forage fish that could go to feeding the bass, not being able to catch them and them eating food that could go towards other fish, etc. Every one that I catch is removed, same with the Largemouth. I am transitioning the pond over to SMB/HSB. I know with Bluegills in there it might be difficult, but we will see since I have never had an abundance of BG, even with stocking 1,000's of them.

Re: Whopper Plopper, I have one in Perch color, it is a River2Sea brand it says 90F on it for the size.

Tried last night in the pond, a buddy's kid was fishing with a chatterbait, a scum frog and a buzz bait - he caught 0. I caught 2 LMB and 1 SMB all 12"-16" long in half the time he was fishing.


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).
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525913 09/15/20 11:22 AM
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Question- If one of the goals of your pond is large panfish, would SMB be better than LMB since they can't eat the big ones?


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525942 09/15/20 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by CityDad
Question- If one of the goals of your pond is large panfish, would SMB be better than LMB since they can't eat the big ones?

I would think so, yes. Same with HSB.

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525943 09/15/20 10:23 PM
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It seems logical but that is actually incorrect. BG spawn and reproduce at a very high rate. If you don't have a large predator base the BG will overpopulate and stunt resulting in small fish not big fish. The most natural predator of BG are LMB. A really good BG/panfish pond should actually have too many LMB. The BG that survive will be the best of the lot and pass on their genes.

I enjoy BG fishing and prefer it for the grandkids since LMB fishing can be a lot of work and finesse at times. We are not harvesting any bass but are harvesting BG except for the biggest males. It seems counter intuitive but it was proved to me just this last Sunday. A friend of mine was over at the house after recently returning from his family's farm in Georgia. They have 10 acre pond on that farm that is full of fish but not managed in any way. He was showing me pics of all the bass they caught - they caught at lot but they were all similar in length and although they didn't measure or check weights it was obvious the LMB were thin. My buddy commented how they catch a ton of fish but catching a fish bigger than the average is a rare occurrence. Then he flipped to pictures of BG they caught - those were big BG - a large number appeared to be over 10". I can't imagine how many bass it takes to overpopulate a 10 acre pond but he told me they always catch a ton of fish anytime they are there. It is family land and no one lives out there. The family meets there two or three times a year and that is the only time it is fished.

It was a really interesting proof of what the experts say and gave me confidence that if I keep doing what I am doing I will get some big BG. The biggest we are catching now is just over 8" but we are feeding and I am hopeful to get some hogs by next summer.

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525952 09/16/20 09:00 AM
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Cool.

What else can thrive in a BG/LMB pond if I want to mutt it up?

Im thinking something like 1 channel cat and then every other type of panfish I can get my hands on (bucket stocking a bunch)


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525957 09/16/20 10:12 AM
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To my understanding most panfish will be fine if they are suited to your area. I have seen a lot of talk about HSB also. The LMB were here when I bought the place although not in great quantities. I also had some BG but have also stocked BG twice. I may not have stocked twice if I had known what I was doing at the time - probably not the best plan for trying to grow large BG. I have thought about HSB but my pond is lacking a lot of cover for forage fish and I don't know how an open water fish will do. I don't think panfish are the best forage for HSB and I know the pond can support BG. We are stocking RES in October for variety and to keep the snail population in check - apparently snails can release bacteria and cause issues so while the RES will be fun to have they are being stocked for a specific purpose. CC take a bit of a beating on this forum but I stocked 100 in late May and plan on stocking another 100 next spring. They have grown fast and responded to feeding really well. They can become a problem but we plan to harvest everything we catch over 15" starting next spring and in fact have already harvested a few. There is no CC spawning habitat in my pond so that with harvesting should enable us to keep the population in check - time will tell.

Ultimately, I want my grandkids and grand nieces/nephews to catch fish when they wet a line and then be able to eat what they catch that day. They are all city kids so catching and eating is an exciting experience for them. Based on everything I have read here and researched this is the best plan I can come up with so the kids aren't just fishing but actually catching.

Long answer to a short question but I know it sometimes helps me to get a view into other folk's thought process. I am certainly not an expert but my strategy is informed by much of what I have learned on this forum.

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525963 09/16/20 10:42 AM
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Not an expert? Ive been doing this for a LONG time and consider myself a student. Sometimes I flunk out for awhile. I’ve found that the best medicine for my screw ups is cash


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: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525970 09/16/20 02:38 PM
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New question-

How do you guys feel about brown trout or rainbow trout in a pond that is otherwise BG/Bass? They are a 'bucket stocking' option, one of the ponds I may purchase is 100' away from a great river for that.

How horrible would it be to put a small handful of male (if I guess right ) trout in a spring fed pond? Trout would theoretically be wild but like 80% chance it came from government stocking th rivers


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525972 09/16/20 03:09 PM
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I'm not sure if mixing trout and bass is optimal, if you want to grow big ones of either species. If you only want diversity, then I think it would be ok. Since I know you said you watch the Wooded Beardsman on Youtube, when they were doing that long hike to find that unexplored lake, they kept mentioning that if they started catching bass, they knew there wouldn't be any trout in the lake. I'm not sure the reasoning behind it, but its just something I remember.

I also found this little snippet on the internet:

Can bass and trout live in the same pond?

Small trout can be added to bass ponds in fall while the water is still warm enough for the bass to be active and cold enough for the trout to live. They then serve as an outstanding food source for pond owners looking to grow big bass.

Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #525976 09/16/20 06:18 PM
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So it sounds like theyd be there for a few months, depending on the size of the trout and the bass haha


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #526062 09/18/20 09:42 PM
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Trout won't survive for long in a pond once the water temperature gets above 70°F. For large panfish, remove any bass that surpasses 14" in length. For large panfish, I strongly suggest feeding Optimal Jr. then switching to Optimal Bluegill or even Optimal Bass food. The panfish (i.e. bluegills) will grow a LOT faster and thicker than with no food.


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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).
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #526082 09/19/20 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by CityDad
If you had a small 1/4-1/2 acre pond and you wanted to be surprised at the catch every time you dropped a hook in, what would you use to have a
"Sustainable/balanced" population?

Using those terms loosely

It is hard to beat hooking on to a SMB. Seeing one doing a "Michael Jackson moon walk" with its tail the only thing in the water and jump out of the water repeatedly is pretty exciting. That is usually right before they throw the hook out of their mouth.


John

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Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #526102 09/19/20 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CityDad
If you had a small 1/4-1/2 acre pond and you wanted to be surprised at the catch every time you dropped a hook in, what would you use to have a
"Sustainable/balanced" population?

Using those terms loosely

Just to emphasize my two favorite replies.

Steve_ mentioned that put and take is a good option. It's just difficult to have the predators spread across the different size classes to have a really good balance of predator and prey.

Snrub mentions SMB as an option. For a pond this small, a single reproducing predator might also be an acceptable route depending on your goals. SMB are the better of these choices because they would attain a greater standing weight than LMB. You have to be willing to harvest a specified weight of them each year to keep a new crops of pan sized SMB coming. You don't have to have any other fish in the pond to achieve a balance, they achieve their own balance each year ... then you crop them so they can do it again the next year. You could harvest annually as much weight/acre of SMB as you could weight/acre of LMB and BG in a properly balanced larger pond. So it is a productive scenario that is easier to manage than a predator prey combination.

I will add some additional thoughts.

For a small pond to provide a lot of fishing catches, you need the weight of the fish concentrated in catchable sizes. When a large proportion of the weight of fish are sub-catchable or are too small to be memorable its a stretch to call the fishing good. When the approach is put and take, it is useful to have fish that grow to a harvestable size in one season. When they are carried from year to year, this will reduce the number of catchable fish you can have and they can become difficult to catch. Along the lines of completely put and take you can plan for fishing seasons in the temperate weather of Fall and Spring. Fish that you don't catch in the fall that can overwinter can be outsized bonuses the following year. There are a lot of options but the number and weight of fish you could grow annually in a 1/4 acre pond might surprise you.

Last edited by jpsdad; 09/19/20 10:43 PM.
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
jpsdad #526116 09/20/20 09:02 AM
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So you are saying SMB and nothing else, they can eat their YoY and scrounge for forage? Interesting idea, I'd prefer several kinds of fish but you may be on to something.

Has anyone had any experiance with the Moultrie deer feeders? If I can find an affordable feeder I'd be way more inclined to supplement feed constantly.

For a pond the size I"m going for grabbing a few of the Moultrie directional deer feeders.

Seems perfect for small ponds tbh. Grab one of their solar panels to power em and let it go.

https://www.moultriefeeders.com/6-5-gallon-directional-hanging-feeder-1

https://www.moultriefeeders.com/moultrie-15-gallon-directional-deer-feeder


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: What is the ideal mutt pond look like
CityDad #526117 09/20/20 12:07 PM
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There has been discussion in the past about SMB only ponds. Might have been Bill Cody. As I recall they did not work out too bad.

I have a SMB/RES pond but it is only about three years in so hard for me to give any long term advice. You could have that combo but the RES are NOT particularly easy to catch. Addition of the RES would take care of snail and associated parasite but they would also become some of the standing weight of total fish the pond would hold. So from your desires they might just be something limiting the standing weight of SMB (which are pretty aggressive to hook and line and easier to catch). Need more of an expert than me to weigh in on that aspect.

One thing I have noticed with the catch-ability of SMB. For me they seem to be easier to catch in a pond where they have to compete harder for food. In my opinion they are harder to catch (though still not that hard) in my SMB/RES pond than either my main pond or old refurbished pond, both ov which have limited numbers of SMB. Seems like when they have to line up against the BG and LMB to compete for food, they are more aggressive towards being caught by angling. Just my observation in the three main ponds I have.

Last edited by snrub; 09/20/20 12:09 PM.

John

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