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I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
#529738 01/17/21 05:28 PM
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

We close in March but it's a done deal. I'm actually just waiting to close on my *house* first since this is going to be owner financed. I've posted some pictures and stuff before. In my profile is a link to all my current pictures I took today.

It DEFINITELY has a population of hungry bass. Lots of em jumpin around today. Almost caught one (had it right next to the bank) that was definitely north of 2Lbs maybe up to 3.

Questions (because of course I have questions).

Is there a "poor mans" way of checking the fish population aside from calling a pond specialist to come in with an electrofishing boat? Or are yall gonna just tell me to go drop some more lines?

I'm contemplating throwing in (40 lbs) of Shiners and Gambusia Minnows next month to feed these guys, and maybe they'll start a breeding population. (fatheads are not available commercially, only from bait shops). Thoughts on that?

In April I'll start building some fish cities and then get some more forage to populate em. Then I'll put some feeders around the cities. Tons of natural places for forage to hide for now.

What types of structure are best for Shiners and Gams? Do they need flat surfaces like FHM do?

Ok so forage I want to add more of:
Shiners and Gams, since that's the ONLY supply I can find right now.

Bluegill, Crawfish (what type of craw would you go for?)
Tilapia
Sterile grass carp.



Am I missing anything obvious to help this pond get some big bass? Can someone link me a test kit so I can measure DO and see if I need an aerator (I dont think so, but a fountain could be cute anyway)


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529739 01/17/21 05:57 PM
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I know from having a bass pond that forage fish can play a big part in having big (in my case small) bass. You might want to fish with worms and a small hook to see if there are any smaller species of fish. That's the cheapest way to do it. I'm sure others will have more scientific ways of analysing the pond. Good luck with the project.


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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529740 01/17/21 08:26 PM
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After catching the 1st fish - a LMB, you can for now assume there is a population of LMB established with reproduction and recruitment. Now IMO you should start exploring what comprises the forage fish community. From your picture it appears there is lots of shallow shoreline cover and habitat. Now find out what is utilizing that habitat.

Two ways I would start.
1. Get a couple Gee Minnow traps new or used. Stay away from rubber coated black traps as videos on Youtube show those traps are not the best at catching minnows; my experience also is the same. If trap is new and shiny, spray paint them brown or black or a mixture of brown, black and dark green to blend in with shoreline cover. Bait traps with various items such as stale bread, bakery items, dried pet food or when you start feeding fish, you can use fish food as trap bait. Set traps in shallow water 8"-16" deep parallel to shore and near cover as these are areas where all small fish "hang-out". Depending on your time schedule,,, fish or run traps for various time periods. I often start with overnight or full day sets. Once the bait is consumed the fish start looking for pathways out of the trap. Short time sets such as 1-3 hours can be productive. Let your catch results be your guide which time sets work best.

2. Good numbers of what you catch in traps will be suggestive of the adult panfish - minnow community. Now do some extensive angling for panfish or maybe for large shiners or other larger (4"-8") minnow - shiner species. Use small hooks such as #10 or #12 aberdeen hook/s on light line 4lb-6lb test. Get a small slender bobber/float or similar tiny small slip bobber. Use a broken tooth pick to plug the hole in the tiny slip bobber. You want a small bobber to detect light bites. Set the bobber 2ft -3ft deep and fish along shoreline near cover. Try to keep a low profile, I like to sit down. Using a high standing profile makes you very visible to shy bite fish and causes larger fish to be cautious and move offshore. With a good panfish community using this method you should be able to catch 15 to 35 panfish per hour. Your goal is to catch at least 100-200 panfish any size 3"+. Some of these fish should be good sized adult breeder panfish if they are present in decent numbers. You should record on paper what specie and length (measure them) of what you catch. These data will tell managers very good info about your panfish community. Using this method, expect to catch some predatory fish such as your smaller bass (6"-15"). In a balanced fish community expect to catch one bass (small predator) any size for every 20-30 pan/forage fish. Remember record document your catch specie and length. With tilapia in the pond you might not catch a lot of tilapia since they are predominately vegetarians. This bait small worm angling will tell the "rest of the story".

3. Come back with the above results and we can provide a good beginners evaluation of your fishery and its balance. They we/you will know the best way or options to proceed.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/17/21 08:37 PM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529744 01/17/21 11:11 PM
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Congratulations CityDad. If only March would come sooner? Glad to see this is happening for you.


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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529745 01/18/21 01:32 AM
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Congratulations CityDad!! I second to what Bill C said above but the first thing I would do is go get some sort of notebook or at the very least a legal pad. If you want to get fancy, they make "write in the rain" paper and pens. Even if the paper gets wet you can still write on it.

Take your phone with you too for pictures to show us to help you identify any fish that you have questions about. You might want to source a clear plastic container that has straight sides (square or rectangular) that will be large enough to hold a fish or two so we can get a good look at it from the side. Get a pair of pliers and bend the barb down on the hook, it will make it a lot easier to get out. If you don't have a small/medium of gently curved hemostats, see about getting a cheap pair or 3. I use those to get the hook out if it's further inside the fish's mouth than I can grab with my fingers. The hemostats will lock closed, so you can "clip" them to your pants or shirt so they are close by.

I've found it's easiest to get one of those fish measuring boards like they use for crappie tournaments or bass tournaments. Something that you can bump the fish's nose against and quickly get a reading at the tip of their tail.

Once you start fishing for bigger fish, get a rubber landing net. Dragging the fish up on the bank disrupts their slime coat and stresses the fish more. Get all your stuff together, net the fish, take quick measurements and get it back into the water.

You can also get a inexpensive baby scale to weigh fish instead of trying to poke a bigger hole in them and hang them on a hook or possibly damage a gill by hanging it by the gills. Not needed for the smaller fish, but for larger bluegills (6.5"+, or bass/catfish 12"+, the weight will also tell you things about your pond).

As of right now, resist the urge to put bait fish in there, until you know the population and set your goals for the pond there is no need to spend the money.


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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529747 01/18/21 05:52 AM
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I suggest not wasting money on forage fish unless they are too large for your predator fish to eat. They will likely become expensive fish food, especially FHM. If you have extensive cover, like submerged plant beds, you might be able to start some other forage species but you could just as easily cause adverse effects on the populations currently in the pond. Be patient and see what you catch and what condition those fish are in. The best plan may be to start removing fish rather than adding anything. It depends on what the current fish population structure is and what your goals are. Best of luck!

Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529749 01/18/21 07:27 AM
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3 days after the next full moon walk the shoreline looking for lmb on their spawning nest. Take the time to walk it slowly and look carefully. It works better if the sun is out, Cloudy day makes it harder to see them. This can give you an idea on what are the largest lmb in the pond. The largest will be the first to move to the nest. Here in E. Texas the lmb will move up when water temps are in the 52 to 55 degree range. It comes sooner than most people think. And then check it again the next full moon for the next batch to move up.

Last edited by TGW1; 01/18/21 07:33 AM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529752 01/18/21 08:43 AM
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More pictures here, including a skinny 8" guy I did manage to catch, also pictures of various algae and duckweed. Looks like healthy amounts at the moment.
https://imgur.com/gallery/QrWDowb

If I build "fish cities" before adding the forage would that be better? There are definitely spots I can carry or wheelbarrow bags of fish into natural structure.I can't see much harm (except to my wallet)?

Since this is my first personal pond my only "goal" is to get some Big Ones growing out here, and make sure it has lots of fish that like to bite.

I had considered netting off the area from that small island to the shore in a 1/4 pizza shape that would be ~1/4 acre for growing out the forage. That would take up a lot of my easiest access fishing but would be worth it mid/long term maybe (I'm gonna clear more spaces to fish from anywhere)? Next trip i'm going to investigate other areas I could do that.

*Could I get recomendations on the type of netting for something like that? Link?*

Shiner Sam seemed to think the shiners might establish but the minnows would get eaten off quick (my intention was to "distract" the bass with minnows so the shiners could establish.

I thought if I went *big* with the forage purchase enough would survive for a few spawns. Water temps in the 60s so they should be happy enough to do that.


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529754 01/18/21 09:29 AM
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If you are catching skinny predators, don't throw them back in. In my 1 acre pond, I ask my neighbor to remove 50-60 BG per year and at least 10 8-12" LMB. Last year another friend removed a 6.4 lb and a 4.5 lb LMB. A common error in managing a pond for nice sized fish, is to release too many. The big LMB were caught at high water temps which made them prime candidates to die anyway. I do not have GSH in this pond. I have plenty of BG, so I count on them as forage for the LMB. Still, I think removing 50-60 BG per year is needed so that I have some big ones, plus enough small ones to keep kids having fun.

Last edited by RAH; 01/18/21 09:31 AM.
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
RAH #529757 01/18/21 11:11 AM
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@rah Agreed! I'm going to hold off on that type of culling until I have some pigs or chickens to eat em though smile


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529758 01/18/21 11:33 AM
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[quote][/quote]You are putting the cart before the horse. You don't even know what kinds of and numbers of forage fish that are present. You might have adequate forage producing adults; just too many bass eating too many forage fish. From the pictures the pond has plenty of cover, probably just too many bass which is a common problem. Throwing more food to too many wolves does not solve anything.

That pond appears to be overgrown and too much shallow water. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Personally I would call that pond in its present condition a 'glorified' wetland.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/18/21 12:06 PM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529759 01/18/21 11:38 AM
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The wildlife will clean up culled fish, or maybe you have a trustworthy neighbor that can catch and eat them? Probably will take some time to figure out who's who in the area though.

Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
Bill Cody #529761 01/18/21 12:37 PM
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Bill, It's Dry season in Florida. I'm probably fishing from area that is full after the first real storm comes through. Otherwise yea definitely lots of swamp smile I'm going to try to Dam off a lot of the areas that are currently "Muck/Swamp" and let them dry out. Hopefully get more pasture area out of it plus a "private" 1/4 acre pond.

Those will all be long term projects. Getting back to those spots with machinery is problematic


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529771 01/18/21 10:38 PM
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Citydad, get to know the pond before you start trying to improve it.

Catch fish, analyze and measure the fish for size and body condition. Record everything. Give it some time while learning what it has and has not. Somewhere along the trip, figure out what needs to be done to achieve an ever elusive balance of predator and prey.

When you finally get it in balance, congratulate yourself. That generally ends pretty quickly.


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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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529775 01/19/21 01:55 AM
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I agree with what's said above, find out what's there first. Don't stock any forage fish, it'll be $$ down the drain and maybe feeding fish that you will cull out.

You will NEVER be able to stock or even grow enough bait fish to stop the bass from stunting. The pond's carrying capacity most likely won't be able to handle it. You will most likely have to remove 30# of bass/acre of all sizes for the first 2, maybe 3 years while you work on habitat before you start to see it turn around. Too much cover in there will hurt you the same as too little cover. Get to know the pond first. i.e. crawl before you walk and walk before you run. Different fish species and different sized fish need different habitat.

Harvest is an essential and integral part of pond management.

Last edited by esshup; 01/19/21 01:56 AM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529781 01/19/21 10:05 AM
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Mmm Yall are right. Thanks for talking me down. I'm just excited smile.
That doesn't mean I'm not gonna go grab $50 worth of shiners and toss em in to see if a feeding frenzy starts up (bet it does).

I was planning on inviting some local fishing clubs to come down for a fish fry and help me cull a bunch. Maybe do that first thing after we get our vaccines spring/summer. Still want to wait until I get my pigs, since itll save me on feed.

@Esshup there are a million threads about fish structure. I definitely know "where to start" and im starting to collect stuff to re use.

Are there good articles about specific structure for each fish? I.e. build these specifically for BG, Minnow, Shiner?

Last edited by CityDad; 01/19/21 10:07 AM.

Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529782 01/19/21 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CityDad
@rah Agreed! I'm going to hold off on that type of culling until I have some pigs or chickens to eat em though smile

Small LMB like that taste very good, in my opinion, at least from my water. I don't know if the "swamp" like water will make them taste different, but I would give it a try. I ate lots of 10" bass this summer. You'd think they are too small but you can get some decent fillets off of them.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/19/21 11:06 AM. Reason: spell correct

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529786 01/19/21 11:11 AM
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If the fishing club members come and fish request or maybe demand for the free privilege of fishing, that they record on paper every fish caught and its length. See if you can't convince some of them them to fish mainly for panfish with the live worm/bait bobber method. IMO weight of every fish at this point in time is not as important as data for specie and length considering your current goals. Basically IMO you just need to know who or what is there and how long it is. Your personal angling data with length and maybe weight can be adequate at this point in time. If you want weights of the fish then have someone or you not fishing, weigh/measure all individual fish that are culled.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/19/21 11:14 AM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529791 01/19/21 11:39 AM
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I am sure that you know, but be sure to keep the pigs and their waste from getting into the pond.

Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529801 01/19/21 05:07 PM
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Dont worry, pigs will be away from the bass! Closest their pasture will get is about 300'. And err kinda hard to explain but during the wettest season the water will be 'connected' via swampland, but theres like several hundreds yards of maze/canal things before it gets to the "real pond" that will filter it out.

@billcody that's my plan! Do some kind of giveaway for most fish caught which means we gotta tally it up at the end and measure em all.
Fingers crossed we get our damn vaccines on time so I can do this sooner rather than later.
$50 in bass pro gift cards to save hundreds on electrofishing yes please!


As for the panfish. This weekend Ill set up 2 or 3 rods to do that while I've got the nicer rods looking for bass, and Ill do a minnow trap too.
I'll need to make a rack. Mmmm sounds like a good afternoon project for tomorrow.


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529802 01/19/21 05:24 PM
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This time of year, Florida weather is looking pretty good! BTW - Your place looks pretty good!!

Last edited by RAH; 01/20/21 07:40 AM. Reason: typo
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529830 01/20/21 08:32 AM
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Thanks! I'm picking up a hedge trimmer this week so I can clear out more spots to fish from.

Note- Can someone link me water test kits?

Last edited by CityDad; 01/20/21 11:21 AM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529957 01/23/21 04:04 PM
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Hey guys!

Had huge Algae bloom today, but the spring that feeds the lake had some big clear spots, Water temps ~61* and I expect climbing soon. 2.5' visibility, maybe more.

https://imgur.com/gallery/ZQeCFbC

The bass were hungry, but as an inferior angler I couldnt grab too many today. Had 2 that were about the same size as last week, but thicker (not fat, but not skinny). I picked up a scale on my way there but of course it was broken right out of the package so...
Had 2 that I think were bigger break off on me.

I did grab a minnow trap filled it with hotdog and buns. It was swarmed almost immediately but Idont think any went inside. it is very shiny. Maybe that's why. I didnt grab paint for it. I left it overnight since ill be back tomorrow.

Figured out a plan for the area I want to dam but can't get machinery to. Going to build a cinderblock retaining wall. I think it could work, on the backkside of it I'll add in fill dirt mixed with bentonite. Then on top I'll put a nice fishing platform. That's definitely a next year project since I've too much to do already with a new house and getting this lake rolling nicely.

There are lots of scraggly bushes and dead trees and plant some cover grass along many sections to help erosion. What is your favorite native cover grass to use?

Walked even more of the bankline than I had before. I never saw a spot that *didnt* have small fish there. I didn't see anything intermediate sized, I'm wondering if the bass eat everything that gets past the size of Fry and that's part of the problem?

I also did not notice any freshwater mussels or crayfish, which was shocking. I wont go out of my way to add mussels (unless oneof you big brains suggests it), but I will definitely be trying to bucket stock some crayz and putting them back in one of the muckier areas that the big fish can't access until the rains come. I did finally find a local company to get my fish from (only 3 hour round trip!) but they dont have craws.


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529961 01/23/21 09:39 PM
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Try fishing using some of the small fish that you catch in the minnow trap. As I said , You are going to find that you will catch more minnows in a dark colored pained trap. Hot dogs will catch crayfish but not minnows. Any mollusks that you have will likely be in deeper water. However IMO your pond will not have very many if any mussels because of the thick muck bottom. Freshwater mussels need firm bottom sediment materials. They do poorly if live at all in soft sloppy bottom muck.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/23/21 09:42 PM.

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Re: I finally got my small pond! It's just kinda big!!
CityDad #529963 01/23/21 10:14 PM
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All that needs to happen is some of the shine to wear off of the minnow trap. I have the Gee galvanized minnow traps and they work 10:1 vs. a black painted/dipped minnow trap that looks exactly the same.

Yes, I believe the bass are eating the intermediate sized fish, LMB like to eat fish 1/4-1/3 their body length. That's why harvest is important.


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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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Today's Birthdays
BuckeyeWilly, IA Daughter, Jeff_G, Sara Best
Recent Posts
finally, first aquatic plants to survive!!!
by esshup - 04/13/21 11:14 PM
Clay core sunk
by esshup - 04/13/21 11:09 PM
Yellow-perch larvae and fry.(video).
by azteca - 04/13/21 09:09 PM
On Mutt Pond
by Bill D. - 04/13/21 08:59 PM
New member with little tech savvy saying hello
by Pat Williamson - 04/13/21 08:11 PM
A Pond Log by QA
by esshup - 04/13/21 07:17 PM
Fixing a pond leak with bentonite while full
by Bobbi Lyles - 04/13/21 06:32 PM
Sick Trout and Fish ID
by Fyfer123 - 04/13/21 05:39 PM
New Venture!
by Quarter Acre - 04/13/21 03:10 PM
Night feeding for Trout & CNBG?
by anthropic - 04/13/21 12:00 PM
What did you do at your pond today?
by Augie - 04/13/21 11:14 AM
Just a little watermeal?
by esshup - 04/13/21 11:00 AM
Newly Uploaded Images
Establishing new Maine pond.
Establishing new Maine pond.
by Mainahs70, April 5
Mongo's New Pond
Mongo's New Pond
by Mongos Pond, February 27
Ice Ice Baby
Ice Ice Baby
by highflyer, February 21
ID?
ID?
by Quixotic, February 7
pond gone
pond gone
by Stressless, January 31

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