Hi all! Great site with a lot of great information. Need a little help with stocking a new pond. We just had a pond dug on our property in Western PA. It is small, about 125' by 25' and 9' deep. There are absolutely no fish in it yet and was wondering numbers/types to stock. We'd like to stick with BG and LMB.
We have a friend that has a small farm pond that has not been managed for years. It is loaded with stunted BG. Would they come around (grow) if I transplanted 50 or so into our pond? Or, would I be asking for trouble and should look for another source. We also plan on stocking FHM around the same time and maybe a few LMB next year. Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the PB forum. Congrats on your new pond.
Your pond is just under 1/12 of an acre and I would recommend that you do not stock LMB. It would be tough row to hoe. An option would be channel catfish or possibly a male only BG pond. Of course there are other options. But considering you have a nearby source for BG I would consider the male BG option. You will need to be perfect at identifying males in order to be successful at this approach. It isn't tough to do if the BG are mature when you sex them.
I had success in a public pond where two ponds were side by side. I would catch male BG off the dam and throw them into pond above. Worked really great until someone very fond of BG harvested them out. Then LMB and other BG showed up and the fun was over. Even so, a 6" fish grew to > 9" in 1 year which is outstanding growth. Below is a SS showing a 3 year grow out of male only BG with a target harvest size > 10" and a maximum standing weight of a little over 400 lbs/acre. You would just stock 10 males a year and harvest fish > 10" in length. Shouldn't be too time consuming to manage that.
Right now you should get FHM going as these will increase the growth of your BG. It may turn out that the BG grow much faster than the SS suggests. If so you could adapt by increasing the stock rate and harvesting the BG sooner (as a opposed to 3 years later maybe 1 or 2 instead).
Last edited by jpsdad; 10/28/2001:06 PM. Reason: standing weight of 400 lbs is in LBS/ACRE
Fantastic info jpsdad, Thank you. My wife has wanted a pond since we've been married. We already have deer visiting it, but fishing is the main attraction. I'm lucky. If I offer her a meal at a restaurant or going fishing, she'll go fishing everytime!
To maximize your game fish's growth their first and second year upon stocking you'll want to put the FHM's in next spring and let them have the pond to themselves to multiply. They will make thousands more and have the pond ready for predators. Then put the game fish in the following year. If you put the game fish in at the same time, there is still benefit just not as much. The YOY BG will consume the FHM young right out of the egg. There's the benefit, but it won't leave much for the second year. With a massive population of breeding FHM going into the gamefish stocking year, the benefit will last for a few years. It seems like it would be forever to wait for the FHM to do their thing, but you WILL find it enjoyable watching them explode and fill the pond with bagillions of little lives. Don't forget to add some pallets to the pond for their egg laying needs...huge difference compared to without them (the pallets, that is).
Of course, this really depends on your goals for the pond. If you plan on feeding the fish, the FHM plan is not as important. Keep in mind LMB do not pellet train easily and are, as JPsDad states, are difficult to manage in a small pond. The overpopulate in a hurry. There are benefits from having an overpopulation of stunted LMB and it lends itself to growing larger BG/HBG. reed up on it here...
Side note: Look into HBG and HSB. Both feed train well and HBG reproduce less than the prolific BG. HSB do not reproduce at all in 99.9% of the ponds their stocked in, but must be ladder stocked most yearly.
As far as getting BG from a stunted pond...get the YOY not the larger fish. The larger fish will likely grow better in your new pond, but will be older and never grow to their original potential. They won't get near trophy size if they have suffered a lack of food.
I really like the idea of the single sex pond the JPs talks about, but it's not for everyone as it does take someone that really gets into the hobby to spend the time managing it. The easiest would be CC and pellet feed (catch and ladder stock)...the higher level would be single sex due to the efforts put into catching and sorting fish to put in your pond. This is much less of an effort with a 1/12 acre pond. It just depends on how much effort you can sustain throughout the up coming years.
BG and CC, or BG and HSB I think would both be good options, but like jpsdad said, LMB aren't suited for smaller bodies of water, unless you just want a bunch of them that probably won't ever reach 1 pound.
Nice info. Thank you all. She has her heart set on LMB but we can fish for them elsewhere. Looks like the single sex BG are the way to go.
Do the hybrids get quite a bit larger than regular BGs?
If you really want to do LMB, you can, as long as you're aware of the downsides. From the experts on here, LMB will stunt in a small pond due to there being too much competition for food. If you want to produce bigger ones, you'll need to constantly cull the smaller bass to allow the bigger ones room to grow, but even then, a 1/12 acre pond might only hold a couple "bigger" bass. If she would be happy catching smaller LMB, then I'd say go for it.
If you intend to swim in the pond you do not want BG/HBG. They are swimmer-nipping little savages.
Go with redear sunfish (RES) instead. They won't bother swimmers, and they will keep the snails in check.
They aren't as easy to get started on pellets as BG, but it can be done if you so desire.
That brings back memories! When I was a young boy in upstate NY we had a lake we would swim in. Just off the shore was a large round boulder that we would go out to and stand on. Water was still chest deep, but there was an ornery BG that owned that rock. He would peck at our toes constantly.
Thanks for all the input everyone. Much appreciated!
There may be one way to have some LMB if you don't mind having runts. They could serve as an insurance policy against accidental stocking of female BG. They wont get big and will survive primarily on the same foods as the BG. If you stocked 30 they would probably stall at lengths in the 6 to 8 in range and grow slowly from there as members of the population die. They would offer a bit of diversity in angling and if you accidently stocked a female BG, they would prevent your trophy male only BG pond from being swiftly ruined by reproduction. If the BG are reproducing, it may become more of a catch and release proposition or where the harvested fish are mostly female BG or fish in the 6 to 8 in lengths.
If you are able to maintain the pond "male BG only" the growth rates and numbers of large fish will be little short of amazing on a per acre basis. Given the size of the pond, I think you can manage the stocking piece. QA makes a really good point about young fish but you do not want to err by stocking females so a 1 or 2 year old that is sexually mature is worth the price of admission (~$15 lb). The BG in your neighbors pond may be 3 to 5 years old when you stock them. This gives them less time to live and grow in your pond. The stocking rates and harvest rates should be higher in response to stocking older fish. When stocking younger fish you can let them grow longer and ladder them in smaller numbers.
There are ways of add fishing diversity through other put and take species like TP and catfish that would not adversely affect the trophy BG fishery.
Not sure how RES would do in Pennsylvania. I think they're more of a southern fish. Maybe Pumpkinseed?
Good point. I didn't check Booner's location before commenting. Pumpkinseed might be a better choice than RES. The RES do well here in Missouri at 38.9° latitude, but we typically don't see extended periods of ice during the winter.
Would probably be worth making a couple phone calls to the commercial fisheries in his neck of the woods to see what they recommend for that area.
You could also get the excavator back out and go bigger
Oh man, how I wish! We have about 50' between a stream and the adjoining property. Had to build up a retaining wall so lost space. Had to stay away from the stream so it's long and narrow. There is a spring behind the pond that the property owners allowed us to tap. But filling ever so slow. I'm guessing about 1 gallon per minute but the spring has never gone dry since my wife's family owned the property in 1957. It'll get there. Want to thank everyone for the help.
I live in the Sandhills of NC, Pond size 150ft by 90ft by 6ft deep lined with gumbo clay, compacted with a vibratory roller/compactor, clay depth 8 to 12inches thick, using well to pump water in, tool 4 days to fill, left pump on for a week and shut it off, lost about 6 inches in the 1st 24hrs. How long for the pond to seal with only losing water to evaporation? Do I need to leave the pump running for a few months? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Glen, on a new impoundment, water will be wicking back into the banks for awhile. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have a leak but that it’s too early to tell. Mike Otto days that, to some extent, all ponds leak.
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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Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP