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#527453 11/09/20 08:09 PM
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I have a 5 acre pond that has been established for 10+ years. I've owned it for 1 1/2 years and have been slowing trying to improve it. The pond currently has LMB, BG, shiner, and speckled catfish according to the report. My goal is to have a pond that I can take the grandkids fishing and enjoy catching some decent sized bass. The fishery guy referred to the pond as a "wild" pond because of the natural shallows that were formed when the pond was built. Basically it was a flowing creek that someone build a dam across to establish the pond. I had it electrofished about a month ago and am looking for a second opinion on the recommendations that were made. My first question is to find out if their is some formula that is used to determine the number of fish that are needed per acre for an established pond. The fishery guy recommended that I add 5,000 Coppernose Bluegill 4" to 5" in the spring. I have the results from the evaluation but the report and the conversation we had on the day of the electrofishing don't support each other. I have a few more questions about the evaluation/recommendations but will save those for later in the thread.

Thanks for any and all advice,

Dean

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Sounds like he is saying that you need more of a forage base due to the conditions of the predators(bass)


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.

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Dean,

Given your goal, read this thread front to back. You will get the results you are looking for .... guaranteed.

JMHO. I wouldn't stock 5000 4"-5" CNBG in your pond this spring. Did he tell you why so many of that size? What did say attempting to gain your confidence in that approach? What else was recommended to support this action? Some people are smooth talkers and are experts at gaining confidence and making sales. I would tread carefully because something tells me you will be disappointed in the return of this investment ... even while he's totally satisfied. When it doesn't work, and it probably won't, there will be plenty more recs, probably as costly as this one.

You mention that you just want to take your grandkids fishing and catch some decent sized bass. Take them fishing, I guarantee you that they will enjoy the fish that are there. Grow the bigger bass for yourself and they will enjoy them too, but they don't need bigger bass to have a great time right now. So take them fishing, harvest the LMB appropriately and have some shore lunches. What great memories you will make for your grandkids and yourself. Whatever, you would have spent on CNBG, I would spend that money on making a nice area for relaxing at and cooking your shore lunches. If you have money left over, think about fertilization and/or feeding but only if you think you don't have enough fish in that 5 acre pond. I mean, 5 acres will probably produce more fish than you want to harvest just as it is. Why compound the problem of too many fish with way too many fish?

Bocomo's thread is a text book example of how to transform and old pond like yours through fishing and harvest. I can understand if you are willing to fork out the bucks to start over and have a much better pond for a few years in just a couple years. After all, it's just money. But your post seems to be asking do you really need to spend $7500 right now to have bigger bass. The answer is no, you don't. In fact this rec will not help you unless you spend a lot more money fertilizing and enhancing carrying capacity. It's just money and if it gives you what you want then it's money well spent. It's just that some tells me that this isn't the best path for you and the return of this expense won't be satisfying.


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It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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Please post the entire EF results and let us review. If a pond is LMB heavy (crowded) and you are trying to fix that problem by adding advanced size BG then a standard suggestion is 500 BG per acre @ 4-5 inches. There are other approaches as well but lets see the facts first.
















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Here are the results that I received.


This report shall contain my findings and recommendations for the 5-acre lake that was electro-shocked on Monday, October 5, 2020.

The sampling began with checking the hardness and alkalinity, along with a visual inspection of the water clarity. The visibility is medium; the hardness is 8 ppm; the alkalinity is 8 ppm; an inadequate amount of structure; no signs of nuisance; aquatic vegetation consists of some algae, some southern naiad, variable leaf water milfoil and water shield. The adult fish population, which was sampled, consisted of bass, speckled catfish, small and adult shiners and bluegills. The greatest relative weight on the largemouth bass is 104%; the lowest relative weight on the largemouth bass is 69%; but the twenty largemouth bass averaged 87%. The fish need to be at least 95% relative weight for the fishing to be satisfactory. The balance of the lake is understocked.

Fish removed today consisted of eleven largemouth bass ranging 12”-15.5”; and four largemouth bass less than 10”.

Recommendations
There seems to be a good population of small size bluegill and a fair to low population of intermediate and adult size bluegill. Therefore, I am recommending adding bluegill and some baitfish, in order to re-populate the lake. Golden shiners are important as prey of larger, predatory fish in the ecosystems in which they live and help take the pressure off the bream. Golden Shiners also eat largemouth bass fry, which helps reduce the largemouth bass population from overcrowding. Any combination of forage addition mixed with bass culling should really help. Remove all largemouth bass less than 14” and all speckled catfish. Don’t remove any bream or shiners.
The water quality is below minimal and matched. Good water quality is needed for rapid fish growth and fish survival. Lime will help with this, as it provides a calcium resource for the small fish, and also helps form a cuticle around the egg cell to prevent multiple fertilization of a single egg. I offer a concentrated lime product which is effective and becomes active in a few days. This product will be applied into the water column by boat and sprayer.
The structure is inadequate and needs to be enhanced as material becomes available. Fish habitat (structure) is very important in a pond. Structure provides places for fish to hide from predators, shade from the hot sun, nesting and spawning habitat and place for food organisms to live and grow. Christmas trees, felled trees, wooden or plastic pallets, store bought structure, etc. are also good examples of fish structure.
Managing a lake for quality trophy bass is a matter of management of the bluegill. Feeding increases the potential of the forage fish and automatic fish feeders will do an adequate job of keeping the bluegill in good shape. I highly recommend feeding Fish Smack Fish Feed because it is targeted for smaller bluegill and forage fish. It contains a 42% protein, 10% lipid diet, is formulated for fast growing fish and is packaged in 40# bags.
The aquatic vegetation consists of some algae, some southern naiad, variable leaf water milfoil and water shield, but the recent introduction of sterile grass carp should help maintain the current and future aquatic growth; we did not see any signs of nuisance.

Now/Fall
Recommendations Price
• Fish Smack Fish Feed 40# $55.00 or $48/bag for a pallet (plus tax unless you have a GATE CARD)
• Add structure.
• Lime (25 tons equivalency; materials and labor) $1,250.00
• Remove all largemouth bass less than 14” and all speckled catfish.
• Don’t remove any bream or shiners.
• Texas Hunter Pro Series LM 335 Feeder (175#) w/Solar Panel $1,446.40 installed and initial feed
• 3' x 6', Pressure Treated Feeder Dock $250.00
• Texas Hunter Pro Series LM 335 Feeder (175#) w/Solar Panel $1,446.40 installed and initial feed
• 3' x 6', Pressure Treated Feeder Dock $250.00


Spring 2021
Recommendations Price
• 5,000 Coppernose Bluegill, 4”-5” $4,320.00

Consulting Guidelines (What I am looking for)
When I am electro-shocking, normally only 15 to 25 % of the total fish population will become visible for collection. Because of this, I am looking for certain ratios from the fish population to establish a form of balance, or lack thereof. The bluegill population should always be at least 5 to 1 in relations to the shell-crackers or any other pan fish (redbreast, warmouth or hybrid bream) for a lake to have adequate forage for a good bass population. The adults as well as the young of the year should follow this same ratio. As bass grow, they need an adequate supply of forage available in order for them to grow as well. The maximum growth of bass from fingerling to trophy status is dependent on the bass having perfectly sized prey all through the growth cycle. As I am electro-shocking, this is something that I always look for. When the forage fish are less than 2 inches, there should be a 50 to 1 ratio of bream to bass. With the 3 – 6-inch forage fish there should be 25 to 1 ratio of bream to bass. The adult ratio should be 10 to 1 for the pond to be in good shape. Warm-water fish have a normal life expectancy of only 5 to 7 years so it is very important that the nutrition provided by the lake be in the proper form to maximize their growth during the first three years. The recruitment of young to adults has to be successful, and harvest rates have to follow guidelines or the lake will not remain in good shape. Bass have to eat 8 pounds of bream to grow a pound of flesh. In lakes with too many bass (bass-crowded lakes), the bass will have low relative weights with bass between 10 and 14 inches typically being very thin. In bass- crowded lakes, there is simply not enough small- to medium-sized bream to feed all those hungry bass. Adult bluegill in these bass-crowded ponds will usually be in excellent shape with high relative weight. Since few bluegills survive the intense predation by bass to become large adults, there is little competition for food among bluegills.
Lack of food, poor water quality, poor water temperatures (too hot or too cold), or disease can cause stress that results in poor growth. Low relative weight due to lack of food can be caused by poor fertility, excess weeds, or too many bass or bream in a pond. I use relative weight to help determine the overall condition of the fish in a lake. Relative weight is the ratio of a fish to what a rapidly growing healthy fish of the same length should weigh. Fish with high relative weights are fat where ones with low rates are skinny. Properly managed lakes should have relative weights over 95 % to ensure satisfactory fishing.

Lake construction and water quality are the most important factors to consider when determining potential for good fishing. A good drain and an emergency spillway are essential. These key items prevent loss of your fish as well as the prevention of wild species from entering the lake from watershed below the lake. Proper shoreline depth deters weed and algae growth. Water quality and chemistry are measured by the hardness and alkalinity, and are the determining factors on how productive the water can be.
When productivity is lacking, you can improve it by feeding. Feeding is the easiest and can triple the productivity of the lake and bring the fish back into good shape. The feeder will provide food directly to the larger fish, which allows them to reproduce more efficiently, which eventually provides more food for the bass. Feeding rates should not exceed 10 pounds of feed per week (usually twice a day is better) for optimum growth in a one-acre lake during the growing season. Sterile Grass carp should be added if weeds are an issue.
The hardness needs to be over 20 ppm (parts per million) for the lake to reach its potential in productivity. The hardness can be increased by adding lime to the lake at rates of 2 to 4 tons per acre. The green color associated with a lake is nothing more than a rich phytoplankton bloom, which lasts about 20 to 30 days before dissipating that feed the small fish in your lake. This bloom of phytoplankton is the base of the food chain for aquatic animals. The bloom can be responsible for tripling the productivity of a body of water.


5 Acres DATE Customer:
10/5/2020 Dean Cutler
Length Lbs. Ounces % Tag # Overall Average Length Average
12 13 90 87 83
12 11 76
13 1 1 97 87
13 14 80
13 15 85
13.5 1 0 77 77
14.5 1 8 94 90
14.5 1 6 86
15 1 7 80 85
15 1 10 90
15.5 1 12 88 84
15.5 1 10 81 PB
16 1 11 77 PB 84
16 2 0 91 PB
16.5 2 3 88 PB 88
17 2 4 83 PB 83
18 3 1 93 PB 93
21.5 3 15 69 PB 69
22.5 6 14 104 PB 104
23.5 7 13 103 PB 103

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Dean,

No matter what path you take .... you may not neglect management of the population of LMB. This means limiting the number of them. This act on its own will have the effect of recruiting more 4" to 5" BG. It is by far the most powerful method at your disposal to grow larger LMB. Without it, anything else you do will fail. So keep that in mind.

Feeding and stocking BG sub-adults will jump start YOY production. Your LMB will respond to it favorably. But this isn't a solution by any stretch of the imagination. A solution solves the problem and this won't solve the problem of too much LMB competition. If the LMB double in weight, then they need twice as much for maintenance, and they can get just as skinny and be just as low in RW at that length as could at the lengths they presently are. The only advice you received which is a solution is the advice about harvesting LMB.

The other advice deals with increasing productivity. Fish health and growth has nothing to do with productivity. Reasons for increasing productivity are to increase the total weight and number of fish the pond can support to improve the fishing experience through more catches per unit effort (fishing man-hours). IMHO its not bad advice but it needs context that melds with your goals and very particularly your commitment to the management of fish numbers. Some folks really don't want to keep fish and eat them. They want to release everything they catch. One can grow big LMB in a catch and release management scenario. but it depends on preventing LMB reproduction almost entirely. The only way increasing productivity is going to help grow large bass as a long term solution is if it accompanied with population management. You can grow big bass by managing the population and doing nothing to increase nutrients. You cannot grow big bass by increasing nutrients and neglecting the population management. Eric mentioned in another thread that he doesn't think there is any way other than population management to meet goals. Your advisor would say the same. 5 years from now, if adding BG and feeding gives larger but skinny bass, your advisor will tell you that you have too many bass and it isn't his fault.

I think before you do anything, you need to consider what you want in terms of the commitment of managing the numbers of LMB. Is it hard to catch an LMB or is it very easy? If its really easy and there are large numbers of them ... then you may already have a productive pond that would meet your expectations under harvest management. On the other hand, if its really tough to catch LMB and you feel like there should be more, its a really good candidate for stimulating productivity.

Do you intend to manage LMB numbers through harvest? Will this be a good a experience that you enjoy or one you dread doing? See where I am going? Its not about what the advisor wants ... its all about you ... what fits your needs and what will fit your constraints on population management (both time and behavioral). The key to long term success (growing larger LMB) hinges on your population management ... nothing else even matters ... just make sure what you are doing fits what you want do in this area.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/12/20 11:10 AM.

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My plan is to begin removing all LMB below 14". Is there a target number of pounds of fish that I should be removing? How do I know when I have removed enough in any given time span? In other words, whats my goal and how do I know that I am on target?

I have began feeding everyday. My plan is to purchase a feeder in the very near future so that I can feed twice a day. Currently, when I feed it appears that the LMB are lying in wait and slaughter the smaller fish that come to eat. It is a sight to see.

Do you think that I need to add any CNBG in the spring or just keep feeding?

I am also in the process of adding lots of structure to the pond to aid in safe areas for the smaller fish.

Lastly, he advised me in person not to lime. I had the water tested at the county extension office and they recommended 1.5 tons per acre. He said, don't waste your money.

Dean

Last edited by Deancutler; 11/12/20 05:00 PM.
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Originally Posted by Deancutler
My plan is to begin removing all LMB below 14". Is there a target number of pounds of fish that I should be removing? How do I know when I have removed enough in any given time span? In other words, whats my goal and how do I know that I am on target?

Just work with that length and try to remove 20 lbs/acre this year (including what you may have already taken since August). Take measurements and weights and keep a record so you can track the progress. If you read Bocomo's experience you will notice that his RW improved from the first fall harvest to his spring creel sample. Even though no new production of BG took place, fewer mouths to feed made a difference over winter.

Quote
Do you think that I need to add any CNBG in the spring or just keep feeding?


IMHO, you will make more 2" fry next year if don't add them. They are reproduction machines as they are and need space to grow into more than more eggs and nests. If you can grow 10,000 2" or greater per acre next year, you will have an abundance of forage. You don't need 10s of millions of fry to swim up from the nests, what you need is 10,000 fry to make it a size that they are feeding your 14" and larger LMB which begins at about 3". Eliminating a good weight of small bass is going to help with that. Feed and lime will do the rest.

Quote
I am also in the process of adding lots of structure to the pond to aid in safe areas for the smaller fish.

good plan it will help you produce more YOY.

Quote
Lastly, he advised me in person not to lime. I had the water tested at the county extension office and they recommended 1.5 tons per acre. He said, don't waste your money.

It could be a windfall of productivity if there is very much in the way of nutrients that are not finding their way into the food chain due to low PH. But the mileage one gets can vary. Still if PH is limiting your production, the effect could be worth a whole lot of feed and which effect could be felt for an extended period. Something to think about. It might also work so well as to grow more weeds and algae than you care for. Personally I would rather have a leaner pond with clearer water. The more water one has the more he can allow this leaner condition and still have plenty of fish. 5 acres can be a lot of water especially if its running at a pretty good clip so these are things to consider. If you need it, by all means do it, but if you can delay eutrophication and all the headaches that come with it ... well there's a positive there too. If you can wait a bit, the response of the fish to your harvest and the ponds response to the feed inputs could give you more information from which to make that decision from.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/12/20 09:29 PM.

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Thanks for all of the great advise. I read Bocomo's thread as you suggested and that gave me confidence that I can do this without spending a lot of money which is great. I will work on the 20lb per acre and record my results.

I do like the idea of growing my own BG and not buying them if I don't need to. And removing the LMB as you suggested should increase the BG survival rate.

I need a little more clarification on your last paragraph. Are you saying that liming might not be the right thing to do? As far as water clarity, when I checked it in September it was over 40". I currently have way more vegetation in the pond than I want, which may be contributing to the clarity. Many areas are difficult to fish and it is not very appealing to look at. I have added grass carp but may use a herbicide to help out next spring. I am adding all of the structure to offset the vegetation that I plan on removing. I will still have plenty of vegetation in the upper end of the pond where the creek fills the pond.

From what I've read, doesn't the ph have to be correct for everything to work in harmony?

Thanks,

Dean

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I'm no expert by any means, but frankly if my place had alkalinity and hardness of 8, liming would be my number one move. Happy water above all else.


8ac, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17,L, 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,L,180# RBT 12/20, 206, 7k TFS,100#TP 5/21, 225



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Originally Posted by Deancutler
I need a little more clarification on your last paragraph. Are you saying that liming might not be the right thing to do? As far as water clarity, when I checked it in September it was over 40". I currently have way more vegetation in the pond than I want, which may be contributing to the clarity. Many areas are difficult to fish and it is not very appealing to look at. I have added grass carp but may use a herbicide to help out next spring. I am adding all of the structure to offset the vegetation that I plan on removing. I will still have plenty of vegetation in the upper end of the pond where the creek fills the pond.

The are two quotes I'd give you which are among my favorites. One is one my dad didn't coin but said 'all the time'.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Now my dad would be first to demand that the oil be changed at the due dates, he would follow the recommendations for fertilizing a crop, but when he did something he did it because it was necessary and the only or best prudent option.

Another quote I like the prayer of St Francis.

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference".

There is much I do not know about your particular situation. I do not know how much water the creek carries. But this much I do know. The water properties you have are very largely influenced by the source of water. If there is a lot flushing your pond, then it may be possible that liming effects would be short lived and have less cost/benefit.

The first thing I would remind you is that the pond is already a functioning ecosystem. I would bet it had some massive LMB in its 5th year of age. It's biggest problem is a population structure that is not conducive for growing large LMB. Everything you can identify that falls short of being optimum for production is neither a cause nor a remedy. If on one hand you just want large bass, you are not forced to alter the chemistry of the water, if one the other hand only the maximum number of fish will do, then you must ensure that the chemistry is optimized and remains that way. The question that has yet to be answered is whether it is broken for your goals. IMHO, many advisors over encourage clients to push the limits. Many times the final result after much investment resembles Aesop's dog where all is lost trying to get it all.

This isn't a cash crop that your livelihood depends. The only incentive you have to max out production is to have more fish. It's the only positive. Every other factor is negative. Water quality under many important metrics declines when production is maximized. Things like nighttime DO drawdown, adverse conditions carrying capacity, plankton assemblage, etc are affected. Would your grandkids want to swim in pea soup? Just remember that the fish in your pond have evolved in water that is naturally limited. It's not only what millions of years of evolution has prepared them for it's what they thrive in within the limits of productivity.

Quote
From what I've read, doesn't the ph have to be correct for everything to work in harmony?

PH and Hardness need to be at optimum levels to maximize production and fully utilize available nutrients. I don't think that is necessarily harmony. Fish like humans need and appreciate space. For the same reasons you acquired this property, (to get away from competitors and chill), the fish in your pond need space. They will perform better and grow faster under conditions that do not maximize production. It's just that under these conditions there will be fewer fish.

I will finally offer this advice. Fix the root cause of your problem before you try to fix things that are not broken. Once you have the LMB population in a favorable structure you can increase production with less effort and better results. Increasing production prematurely can complicate your population adjustments and encourage a lot LMB reproduction in the early going. A population structure where the majority of your LMB biomass comprised of greater than 3 lbs individuals tends to reduce LMB reproduction significantly. Delaying stimulation of production can be a big help in your goal of modifying population structure. Plus there is the possibility that once you have it there ... its just what you want anyway.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/13/20 09:39 AM.

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I'll go with what Lusk says. After the first year, unless it is exceptional, never return a less than 13 inch bass to the pond.


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.

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Great advice so far. The 5 ac pond in its current condition grows quite a few fish, there are just not very many larger than 15". Maximizing production with liming is maybe not your best approach for your stated goals - "My goal is to have a pond that I can take the grandkids fishing and enjoy catching some decent sized bass." Even catching numerous BG can also be lots of constant active fun for kids and adults.

The pond in its current condition can achieve your goals as it has worked for Bocomo and many others. Maximizing production (liming) will make it more labor intensive to achieve your goals by later causing more recruited small bass that should be removed. Having more fish using increased fertility is not necessarily better as jpsdad already noted a couple times above. Your pellet feeding plan is a form or increased fertility without liming. Removing smaller predator bass allows for more BG to survive & reproduce feed remaining bass. I have calculated and estimated that EACH 10"-12" bass can eat around 250 small 2.5" to 3" BG per year. Follow closely the advice provided here so far and your pond will improve toward your goals; although it may take a few years as it did for Bocomo. Removing 20 LMB per acre for 5 acres (100annually from 5 ac) of water for several years takes quite a bit of time and effort. 10"-13" bass are basically one pounders so 100 smaller bass essentially weigh around 100lbs. Removing 100 smaller bass results in an extra 25000 more BG in your 5 acres. 25,000 added BG is 5 times more of extra BG than your pond management consultant recommended above that he suggested you buy and add. Please keep us advised as to your progress.

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Thank you all for the expert advice. As per your suggestions I will continue removing smaller LMB and continue my feeding program. I really like the idea of growing my own BG as apposed to buying and spending money unnecessarily. I'm okay with this taking a few years to get things in balance as far as BG to LMB ratios. I will also hold off on the liming of the pond for now and revisit this next year.

What are your recommendations concerning the water clarity and excessive vegetation in the pond? I would like to hit it early, herbicide, in the spring but also don't want to set myself back by being to aggressive and making a bad decision. As I stated earlier, I would like to remove the vegetation from around the main fishable banks and leave the vegetation in the upper 1/8 of the pond where the water averages 3 to 4 feet.


Thanks again,

Dean

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Rereading the evaluation report it noted the vegetation was "The aquatic vegetation consists of some algae, some southern naiad, variable leaf water milfoil and water shield, but the recent introduction of sterile grass carp should help maintain the current and future aquatic growth; we did not see any signs of nuisance."

1. The report did not provide percentages of plant coverage.

2. How many grass carp were added recently? It takes 2 to 3 years for the proper number of GC to get plants reduced but not eliminated. Submerged plants help minimize filamentous algae. The fewer the submerged plants there are,,, the more FA that grows esp in older shallow nutrient rich ponds.

3. You mention water clarity concern. I see nothing in the report that provides a water clarity measurement. Normally when a pond has numerous or lots of underwater plants the water is clearer. Cause of cloudy water should be determined. Does the water shed contribute muddy water during rain events? Persistent cloudy water should shade the bottom thus reducing plant growth. There is a confusion or contradiction here.

4. I see nothing about pond maximum depth nor average pond depth other than shallow 3-4ft in the upper 1/8 of the pond.


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1. I did question him about why he stated that there was no signs of nuisance. I really got no rational for his statement. I have removed a significant amount of the vegetation manually on the house side of the pond and along the dam. On the opposite side and the shallows that I mentioned the vegetation is out of control and extends 30'+ into the pond. Before I removed any, the entire shoreline was this way.

2. Grass carp. When I purchased the pond in March 2019 I added 40 10 to 12 inch carp. This was a lower number than recommended by the same fishery that just did the evaluation. With the excessive amount of rain that I received at the beginning of the year I had 12 to 14 inches of water flowing in the overflow for weeks. Once spring came, the vegetation came back with a vengeance. As days and weeks went by I saw no sign of the GC and the vegetation was taking over. After doing a little research. on GC I learned that they were notorious for leaving ponds if measures weren't put in place at overflows. I had a fence system built and I installed it to stop this from happening again. In. April of this year I added 50 CG to combat the vegetation.

3. I measured the clarity by lowering a white coffee mug in different locations around the pond. In most areas, the cup would disappear around 40". I have just. about stopped all issues with rain water causing muddy water. I received. more than an inch of rain earlier this week and had a very small amount of muddy water in one small area.

4. The maximum depth of the pond is 9' where the original creek bed is. The average depth is probably 4 to 5 in my opinion. The only areas with steep drop off are on the dam side. The other sides are just gradually sloping down.

Lastly, when I questioned him about why he told me in person not to lime and then the report recommended liming he mentioned that the report shouldn't have said that and basically the report was like a form letter. I guess they tell everyone the same thing. This is one of the reasons that I am questioning his findings.

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1&2. Often one has to help the new small GC the first few years. IMO it is good to have 1/3 weeds manually removed. 1/3 eaten by the GC and 1/3 left in place to compete against filamentous algae. At 10 GC per acre and if all survive they might denude the pond of vegetation when the GC are 28"-30". Time will tell the rest of the story. GC are ALWAYS much easier to add than remove.

3. Clarity of 40" with a white cup will allow enough surface light to penetrate to around 8-10ft and allow vegetation & FA to grow at these depths. Be prepared and aware of this. Ideally for southern shallow ponds to minimize weed production water clarity should be in the 12"-18" range where the submerged weeds would grow down to around 3-4.5ft deep.

4. Lots of shallow water will allow lots of plants to grow. Maybe 10 GC per acre will work okay for your situation. You can always add more GC if more plants need to be consumed. Remember you always want some submerged plants to persist for fish habitat, insect production as fish food, and competition to FA.

In later years return to this thread to let us know how the pond is progressing.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/14/20 09:16 PM.

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I put the GC in before I stumbled across this awesome forum therefore I am questioning my decision to put so many in. As you stated, time will tell. I have noticed seeing them come around and eat while I am feeding the BG. I'm assuming that I shouldn't worry to much unless they wipe out everything. Again, I haven't seen where they have made much, if any, impact on the milfoil.

What can I do about the water clarity? I really don't want to constantly fight the vegetation. When I purchased the pond the vegetation was nothing like it is now. What happened or changed to cause this? I have not fertilized the pond at all. When I purchased the property it had been neglected for years and you could not even get to the water's edge to fish. Now you can get to the water's edge but can't cast a line in without dragging out pond weeds. Areas that I was able to fish last summer, 2019, are unfishable this year.


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The current GC numbers may be enough to keep the submerged weeds trimmed back so bank fishing is practical. GC will likely work on the milfoil last. Give it time and reassess the results after 3 summers with the GC. During this time you may have to trim out weed areas so bank anglers have access. Another option is to regularly fish from some sort of small boat or raft. When weeds are dense bass usually patrol the outside weed edges.

As the GC eat a lot of the weeds they will create a lot of manure that usually feeds plankton blooms and this may help reduce water clarity. If the alkalinity (lime) is too low plankton blooms may not thrive real well in the pond. Since the pond has relatively ample flow through after rains this murky water inflow may help lower the clarity after rain events. Pond dye is not a good option since the frequent flushing events washes out dye. Frequent flushing may also wash out alkalinity from lime additions; other members with water flow through pond may know more about this topic. I know soil farmers need to add lime every 3 to 4 years determined by soil tests. There are pros and cons to pond flushing events.

Long term capital appropriation plan would be to deepen and or rebuild the pond; maybe smaller to save $$, but with deeper edges, especially the upper reaches or fill in the upper portion with dirt dug from the main basin. Bigger ponds are always a bigger expense no matter what one does to them. Example - a 5 acre pond is best served by 2 or 3 feeders. It is suggested to not feed more than 10lbs per day. Amount of feed dispensed does influence the carrying capacity of fish. 5 acres can grow a lot of fish for one or two anglers without any feeding. Fish numbers management has a big influence on fish sizes.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/15/20 05:31 PM.

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Thanks for the advice Bill.

So from what I'm hearing is:

1. Remove 100 lbs of LMB under 14" a year and keep records.

2. Feed the BG that I currently have and grow my own forage for the LMB.

3. Give the GC time to do what they do.

4. Don't lime yet from jpsdad and Bill Cody made reference to the alkalinity. Do I need to find out what the alkalinity is and then make a decision or just wait until the spring and reevaluate?

Should I plan on NOT using any herbicide on the vegetation in the spring? I'm concerned that if the alkalinity is off the herbicide won't be as effective. (Think that I read that somewhere.)

I plan on purchasing a feeder which should help with the consistency of the feeding. Currently with the time change, I may get home late and not be able to feed everyday.

What am I missing guys?


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Originally Posted by Deancutler
Thanks for the advice Bill.

So from what I'm hearing is:

1. Remove 100 lbs of LMB under 14" a year and keep records.

2. Feed the BG that I currently have and grow my own forage for the LMB.

3. Give the GC time to do what they do.

4. Don't lime yet from jpsdad and Bill Cody made reference to the alkalinity. Do I need to find out what the alkalinity is and then make a decision or just wait until the spring and reevaluate?

Should I plan on NOT using any herbicide on the vegetation in the spring? I'm concerned that if the alkalinity is off the herbicide won't be as effective. (Think that I read that somewhere.)

I plan on purchasing a feeder which should help with the consistency of the feeding. Currently with the time change, I may get home late and not be able to feed everyday.

What am I missing guys?


Dean

Dean:

Here, we recommend removing 30# of LMB per surface acre in a LMB crowded pond for the first year and monitor the RW's of the fish that are caught. 2nd year depending on the RW's, remove another 30# per acre or drop back to the maintenance level of 20#/surface acre.

Your alkalinity is 8 per your previous post.

The feeder is a great idea. When placing the feeder on the pond, feed so the food is thrown the same direction that the prevailing winds are blowing, and throw the feed over and area that is 2'-4'/5' deep max and near cover for the Bluegills.

Look at Optimal Fish Food, it might be the same food, but I've never heard of the type of food that they recommend.


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Dean,

I have a couple of other ideas I think would help.

If adding the BG and liming were investments you might have made, I would consider a couple of improvements that I think will help you with your goals. Take that budget and provide yourself a good floating dock. If you are handy, the cost would be well under that budget. Were I doing it I might hand feed from until you get the feeder. Get a used boat to fish from. Bill mentioned this as solution to the problem of weeds and I like this idea very much. If bought used at the right price it is an asset that depreciates little. The one you want will show up one day in the want ads for fraction of the new price. Between these two things you will get year after year of enjoyment and it will be easier to reach your harvest goals and improve the fishing experience. I would also invest in a good boat cover to prevent it sinking in rains if you leave it at the dock.

The other idea is to fast track a small number of LMB of exceptional genetics. To work, you would need to supplement their food with feed. So it would work like this. Buy 6 to 8 F1 feed trained LMB/acre. Talk to the supplier as to when they will first be available and importance of obtaining a minimum of 50% females. These may be concentrated in a certain size range you could selectively buy. You want to buy in spring when they are making space for the new crop and when females will be easier to identify. Learn how to sex them and you could avoid feeding the males simply by not putting them in. This all you need of them ... about 3 to 4 LMB/acre laddered every 4 to 5 years or 1 to 2 LMB/acre laddered every 2 years. Being spring LMB, they could range from 8 oz to over a pound depending on the density they grow them. Get the biggest 1 year fish they have available and try to get them in 11" to 13" lengths if they are available. Feed trained LMB in small adult sizes generally cost $15/lb. So 40 1 lb fish cost ~$600. If half of them were disposed of (due to being male) the cost is $30 each for females of superior growth traits that can be supplement fed. The value, I think, is there and they are well worth this cost.

So you can't do this instead of Bill's and esshup's harvesting regimen. Do not waiver on this task of harvest.

But now when you feed the BG these LMB will show up for that extra boost of food that the rest of your bass are not getting. For 20 LMB starting at 1lb. 80 lbs feed will grow them to about 1.5 lbs if they are getting nothing from the pond. But they should be getting food from the pond as well especially with the harvest you are conducting. When they are large enough to take the 1" lumps, feed them these and you can begin to mix BG (and speckled catfish) chunks with them. Don't feed too fast and try to make sure they are eating everything you throw at them. Try to implement a cue that that lets them know you are feeding (clanking a pipe for example). There is potential they could eat >5% of the their body weight daily. It's just math, if they eat enough, they will get very large and grow fast. Using BG chunks will improve their health and well being and so simply by keeping a trap at the dock you would have a supply of them whenever needed. You could have some 5 lb LMB in two or three years and much improved RW on the natives by implementing this dual approach.

One last thing, if you feed some LMB, make sure they are fin clipped. This way you know who they are. You can also devise individual clips (e.g. in combinations of dorsal spines to give them an number). Also, whatever weight of feed the LMB are getting (the 1" lumps) ... deduct that from BG feed budget. Putting weight on the LMB is much more than 10 times as efficient when feeding the LMB directly. Much of the feed is lost to the LMB if the BG are eating it. The secondary effect of manuring the pond by feeding is the same either way.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/16/20 02:05 PM.

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These are all good ideas. You just need to decide which ones to implement. Based on your angler pond goals of: take the grandkids fishing and enjoy catching some decent sized bass. IMO decent sized bass range in size of 3 to 5 lbs would excite most anglers. I am not sure that jpsdad's idea of "fast track a small number of LMB of exceptional genetics" is the best plan for your situation; although it is a sound plan for some goals. IMO your current LMB genetics and population could easily grow easily 1 lb (1+inch) or more per year without added expense IF you insure some of the current bass get enough or ample food daily. The fish growing season is longer in GA so you could get 2"+ of growth on some of your bass in one year. Here is how.

jpsdad's suggestion is sound for "..... you can begin to mix BG (and speckled catfish) meat chunks to them" or just use injured small BG. LMB will eat a larger than normal BG if the BG is a very easy catch meal. The common practice previously described on our forum is to accumulate small BG in a cage or in a holding box. Then when you feed the BG dip out or catch some small BG, cut off their tails or injure them and toss them out with the BG pellets. It is surprising how fast the LMB will learn to get conditioned to this feeding pattern that if it is done regularly, it quickly grows bigger bass. Often the larger female bass will dominate this injured fish feeding frenzy, thus you end up growing several or numerous usually female bass to big sizes quicker. Expect to grow some bass easily to 6 to 8 pounds when this is done regularly for several years. This type of feeding activity is usually lots of fun for adults and kids, plus the kids will be more willing to help catch small fish. Small BG and "speckled catfish" can also be easily collected with baited traps for feeding the "pet bass".

I'm not sure what speckled catfish are but I assume they are small channel catfish that often have small spots.
https://www.hookedoncatfish.com/what-is-a-speckled-catfish/

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/16/20 07:52 PM.

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Thanks again for the great advice guys.

I plan on removing the LMB as discussed/recommended.

I plan on keep feeding the BG by hand until I get the feeder. The feed that I am using has the following analysis:

Crude Protein 42%
Crude Fat. 10%
Crude Fiber. 4%
Phosphorus. 1%
Ash. 8%

I'm unsure what all that means and don't know what the reaming 35% is made up from. Fairy dust maybe.

I will hold off on liming right now. (I think that's what you are are saying.)

Considering building a trap to start catching catfish to feed with.

Does that sound about right?

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Dean, are the bluegill pellets round or oblong/tubular in shape? I'm assuming that there are different sizes of pellets in the bag? If they are tubular, then the diameter will be the same, just the length varies.


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