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#535261 05/17/21 06:03 AM
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Hi Folks,

I have a 1 acre pond ( old pond, new to me ). I'm watching it this first year prior to stocking. I thought it would be wise to move slowly for the long term project. I believe there to be very little cover in the pond with the exception of some cattails at the shallow end and perhaps a sungen log or two.

I also believe it to be fishless or nearly fishless. I've made several fishing attempts this spring with worms and have never had a nibble. I've also never seen one on the surface or swimming around.

Anyway, a month or so back I put in 5 lbs of FHM as a starter. I have some pallets ( 4 ) to stack in there and was wondering if there is any other advise for kick starting the forage base.

Do I need to feed them or will they find enough on their own?

Thanks

LarryBud #535262 05/17/21 06:14 AM
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In an old 1 acre pond with no fish, the Fatheads have plenty to eat.

In an old 1 acre pond with fish you haven't found about about yet, the Fatheads are lunch.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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LarryBud #535265 05/17/21 06:59 AM
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I suggest adding more pallets. I can't say how many would be ideal, but I put 7 stacks (of 3 or 4 each) in my 1/4 acre pond and that was certainly enough for the first year with only FHM's in the pond. Source some more pallets or at least spread the 4 you have out as single pallets held up off the bottom with cinder blocks. A tip to stacking the pallets is to put some bricks in between each pallet in the stack to create an additional layer of wood to utilize.

I'm going to guess that an egg laying FHM would like to have at least 20 square inches to "do their thing", so I doubt you can have too many structures, but you can have too little.


Fish on!,
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Originally Posted by Theo Gallus
In an old 1 acre pond with no fish, the Fatheads have plenty to eat.

In an old 1 acre pond with fish you haven't found about about yet, the Fatheads are lunch.

I'd sure think I'd get a nibble on nice angle worm with all my attempts but who knows. I have no experience here.

Let's hope they aren't all lunch. I haven't spent much time looking for FHMs. It's been really rainy this month. Either way I'm only in it for the cost of 5 lbs of FHM and some time.

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Originally Posted by Quarter Acre
I suggest adding more pallets. I can't say how many would be ideal, but I put 7 stacks (of 3 or 4 each) in my 1/4 acre pond and that was certainly enough for the first year with only FHM's in the pond. Source some more pallets or at least spread the 4 you have out as single pallets held up off the bottom with cinder blocks. A tip to stacking the pallets is to put some bricks in between each pallet in the stack to create an additional layer of wood to utilize.

I'm going to guess that an egg laying FHM would like to have at least 20 square inches to "do their thing", so I doubt you can have too many structures, but you can have too little.

I know more is better. I just need to find the time to get the job done as procurement of pallets, stone and then placement is not an easy task. It's me as one old man and the watchful eye and helpful comments from the Mrs. ( eyes rolling ).

I need some labor!! Dang kids moved off.

LarryBud #535273 05/17/21 10:32 AM
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This is how I use pallets for fhm breeding and protection. The pallets float, so there's always options at any depth. Some members have had good luck with 12'X12' wooden squares for spawning habitat, and if you go that way, those squares would be easy to add to the pallet stack. The pallets slide up and down the pipe, and I screw them together at 45's, so there's always cover of some type.

The water level has been dropped for seining in this pic, so it clearly shows the stack on the right. Hope this helps.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

Last edited by FireIsHot; 05/17/21 10:33 AM.

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Originally Posted by FireIsHot
This is how I use pallets for fhm breeding and protection. The pallets float, so there's always options at any depth. Some members have had good luck with 12'X12' wooden squares for spawning habitat, and if you go that way, those squares would be easy to add to the pallet stack. The pallets slide up and down the pipe, and I screw them together at 45's, so there's always cover of some type.

The water level has been dropped for seining in this pic, so it clearly shows the stack on the right. Hope this helps.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

I do expect a fluctuation in water levels. So if I hammer in a fencepost, Loop a pallet over the top and let it float, the FHMs would find this acceptable? I like this idea vs submerging a stationary fortress.

LarryBud #535278 05/17/21 12:13 PM
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You'll get 10X production in a new pond by stapling cedar boards to #9 wire and place across corners of open water.
Check lower right corner of pic.. didn't see it when I took pic.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Snipe; 05/17/21 12:14 PM.
Snipe #535280 05/17/21 12:20 PM
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The water in your pods is looking good Snipe. Is the plan set for this year?


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


LarryBud #535281 05/17/21 12:25 PM
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It changes daily..:-))
FHM, BNM are in this pond. Farthest has YP and BCP. To the right out of pic is roaming spawning BG and RES and my pens for feed training.
Plan "A" is SMB pens in FHM pond when the time comes.

LarryBud #535283 05/17/21 12:59 PM
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Thanks for another option.

Is that a rattler going in for swim? Yikes.

LarryBud #535286 05/17/21 01:30 PM
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Just a big ole bullsnake.

Last edited by Snipe; 05/17/21 01:30 PM.
Snipe #535301 05/17/21 07:33 PM
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So I went with a combo approach. I used my pallets ( I need some more ) and strung them on a poly rope between two fencepost.

I think this will be a good option which will adjust with the water level.

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LarryBud #535302 05/17/21 08:26 PM
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Larry, that is a good start, but the pallets in my pond ended up waterlogging after a few weeks and sinking. If you don't mind that whole string on the bottom then it should be good, but it won't go up and down with the water level anymore. Unless there is enough tension and power on those posts and rope to hold them up in the air then you should be all set.

Since my banks are pretty gradual on the down slope, I have the nearest to shore side of the pallet on the ground and the furthest from shore edge up on an old tire. I drilled holes in the tire to keep it on the bottom and used wire to wire the tire to the edge of the pallet. One pallet has a whole tire supporting the far end (got sick of the the work of cutting the tires by hand), the others I cut tires in half and used a half a tire with most of the tire out in front of the pallet and the two cut edges under the pallet to hold it.

My thought with the tire was that these tires had a little tread left on them and was hoping the spotfins would use the crevices on the tire treads to put their eggs in. Looking for other ways to encourage Spotfin spawn. I have adults left but very few smaller shiners as I think my adult perch population is really putting a hurt on them.

I can't keep FHM alive long enough to reproduce with so many predators so the pallets are more for protection and shade for other critters than for spawning habitat for FHM

Larry if your system stays on top of the water then that indeed is a good way to go

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
Larry, that is a good start, but the pallets in my pond ended up waterlogging after a few weeks and sinking. If you don't mind that whole string on the bottom then it should be good, but it won't go up and down with the water level anymore. Unless there is enough tension and power on those posts and rope to hold them up in the air then you should be all set.

Since my banks are pretty gradual on the down slope, I have the nearest to shore side of the pallet on the ground and the furthest from shore edge up on an old tire. I drilled holes in the tire to keep it on the bottom and used wire to wire the tire to the edge of the pallet. One pallet has a whole tire supporting the far end (got sick of the the work of cutting the tires by hand), the others I cut tires in half and used a half a tire with most of the tire out in front of the pallet and the two cut edges under the pallet to hold it.

My thought with the tire was that these tires had a little tread left on them and was hoping the spotfins would use the crevices on the tire treads to put their eggs in. Looking for other ways to encourage Spotfin spawn. I have adults left but very few smaller shiners as I think my adult perch population is really putting a hurt on them.

I can't keep FHM alive long enough to reproduce with so many predators so the pallets are more for protection and shade for other critters than for spawning habitat for FHM

Larry if your system stays on top of the water then that indeed is a good way to go


Great Feedback and Ideas. I'm a beginner here. I don't mind if the pallets sink but I don't like the idea or too much junk in the pond. I should be able to drag them out with the rope as needed. I need to find a good balance of cover for baitfish and target fish.

LarryBud #535465 05/21/21 09:56 AM
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Here ya go Larry. I wish I knew how to turn them.
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The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Here ya go Larry. I wish I knew how to turn them.

I finally figured out that, at least with my Galaxy S9, that the best way to deal with sideways pics is to turn them while they're still on the phone,
and then upload them to my image hosting site. If I do that they come out right every time. When I would use the photo editing tools in Windows
to flip them on the computer, they would still come out sideways on the board even though they were right in Windows. It's possible to flip them after
uploading to PhotoBucket, but the editing tool there is a pita to use.

LarryBud #535493 05/21/21 09:33 PM
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If you feed the FHM ground or crushed pellets there will be less stunting and better body condition of YOY fish at the end of spawning season.
Feeding I think results in more minnows at the end of the year. I think feeding FHM prespawn results in larger spawns. If feeding sport fish produces more and better panfish and predators why would this not also apply to growing minnows. Fertilizing the water or having adequate alkalinity and fertile water creates blooms that are a form of feeding which also increases minnow production which is probably how the minnow farms grow their crops.

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LarryBud #535496 05/22/21 06:56 AM
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Are the sinking pallets a problem if used in shallow water? Will the minnows still use them? I recently stocked some fatheads. I tossed some large dead limbs in shallow water. Some floated and some sunk.


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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Augie #535498 05/22/21 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RStringer
Here ya go Larry. I wish I knew how to turn them.
I was going to say "Pull them out of the pond, flip them over, and put them back in." laugh


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
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LarryBud #535516 05/23/21 06:47 AM
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I like the stacked pallet idea. Thinking ill do this in a pyramid shape so part can be above water & safe haven for some ducks. I *need* ducks for tick control.

The FHM population will naturally help with skeeter control too..


1.25 Acre Pond 8 Feet Deep

Some Koi & Large Mouth Bass
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I have just put some stacked pallets in 2-3 foot of water and I am planning to put some in 4-5 foot of water in the event that water level drops or the fish have somewhere to go in the winter.

LarryBud #538310 07/31/21 03:33 PM
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Update - I have a pretty good supply of minnows / bait fish swimming in schools along all of the banks.

I'll assume they are my FHM stocked this past spring. I found this one floating which looks like a female close to spawning.

Can anyone confirm my ID?

Thanks

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LarryBud #538312 07/31/21 05:21 PM
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Each look like FHM females to me.


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


LarryBud #539047 08/22/21 09:03 AM
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How many of you actually keep a stable FHM population or do you still restock frequently? Would structure like this help gams at all? Any specific type of structure better for gams?


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


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
LarryBud #539050 08/22/21 10:06 AM
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CityDad, in ponds with predators, typically the FHM don't make it past year 2. Even with spawning habitat, at lease up here. In the winter, there is no shallow water safety net, so they get hammered when they move away from the shallows.


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LarryBud #539064 08/22/21 05:22 PM
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esshup,

I am missing the last link in your reasoning why we can't sustain our FHM populations?

How do they lose their shallow water safety net during winter?

Is it your X inches of ice freezes solid their thickest shallow plant cover? Is it snow cover on the ice stops photosynthesis and they lose ALL of their plant cover?

I am asking to determine if there is any way to make "refuges" where at least a portion of the FHM population can survive past the first few years.

I have to clear cedar trees on our land almost every year. I was thinking about some small cribs where I stuff in two small cedar trees every few years. If a few FHMs can survive over the winter, could they get at least one significant breeding event in the spring when the maximum plant cover again provides them some safety net?

LarryBud #539098 08/23/21 02:14 PM
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Rod, the 2 year mark is a reality because fish grow and reproduce at a rate the FHM can't keep up with because they are somewhat slow compared to other species. Their reproduction rates make them ideal to jump-start a fishery-but seldom do they make it past yr 3 at most for many reasons. As your sunfish populations begin to explode, a large majority of your FHM fry fall victim to those very young sunfish and never even make it to 1/2". At some time in the 2nd yr there has to be a shift in desired forage for growing predators to make the transition and continue growing.
Lets say on any given day, a LMB has to have all it can shove in it's mouth in close proximity every day as a 6" fish.. Let's say that fish will eat 40 1-1/2"-2" FHM a day. Fast fwd to next year, that same fish has to have ample sunfish of say 2-3" in close proximity every day to maintain and grow.. those many numbers of small sunfish supporting that bass may eat literally thousands of FHM fry to support that 1 bass-for that day. Diets change as conditions change and FHM just will not provide a sustained population in those conditions even at their largest size. The more cover you have, the more recruitment you have of "everything" some of which need to be accessible for proper growth and also population control.
If you provided the habitat needed for FHM to survive I think your growth rates of everything else would suffer.

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Originally Posted by Snipe
..... As your sunfish populations begin to explode, a large majority of your FHM fry fall victim to those very young sunfish and never even make it to 1/2". .....

.... those many numbers of small sunfish supporting that bass may eat literally thousands of FHM fry to support that 1 bass-for that day...

Snipe, I agree with this. But it makes me think about wbuffetjr's 3 to 4 lb trout (some maybe larger now). He has very good populations of minnows and also scuds ... all of which are small. Over one winter ... the trout actually doubled in length (which is an octuple of weight) ... UNDER ICE. Its just remarkable. He doesn't have thousands of BG intercepting his food chain and these small creatures are feeding his trout to respectable sizes. The growing season for the FHM is only about 4 months. You have to be impressed. His trout are not reproducing so even their own kind is unable to break the chain. I imagine those big trout are most interested in the largest of the FHM ... which could mean that the 1/2 inches are allowed to grow up most of the time. So it makes you wonder what is possible when there is a limited number of put and take predators ...


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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Snipe, thanks for the additional info. I thought that was the case - you can't have a "refuge" if small, efficient predators can also occupy the same space.

However, that leads to additional questions for a possible "Plan B".

Basically, is it economically feasible to have a FHM only forage pond at a higher elevation than your main pond and periodically open a 6" pipe to drain in FHM?

Or, is the nutritional value of the commercial fish foods such a better deal to feed a BG/LMB pond, that you should just optimize that option and not waste the effort managing forage?

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jpsdad,

That is an interesting observation. I have seen threads where people have considered a female-only LMB population for their small pond, so they would only have "trophy" bass at the top of their limited carrying capacity.

Your idea might work if you took out the BG and had a LMB/FHM pond. The young minnows might survive long enough to keep a large reproducing population of FHMs in the pond.

However, I think trout have different eating target sizes than LMB. I also think they are "lazier" than LMB and like to conserve energy hiding in the slack water behind boulders, etc. (I am sure there is a proper biologic term, rather than lazy.)

Record 40#+ brown trout are sometimes caught on tiny flies. I think wbj's trout might like to graze on slow-swimming minnows as they go past. However, large LMB seem to prefer larger meals. (Maybe the small bass and BG in a typical pond rapidly clean out the small forage, and the large LMB don't have much choice BUT to eat large meals?)

It would certainly be a fun experiment to monitor a pond with only 3-4# bass and FHMs and observe the bass weight gains over time. With no "large" forage, would they learn to just target the largest FHMs?

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Snipe, thanks for the additional info. I thought that was the case - you can't have a "refuge" if small, efficient predators can also occupy the same space.

However, that leads to additional questions for a possible "Plan B".

Basically, is it economically feasible to have a FHM only forage pond at a higher elevation than your main pond and periodically open a 6" pipe to drain in FHM?

Or, is the nutritional value of the commercial fish foods such a better deal to feed a BG/LMB pond, that you should just optimize that option and not waste the effort managing forage?
Rod, let's look at this from the understanding that it takes 10lbs of FHM to convert to 1lb of fish flesh-not including maintenance requirements-might be 15lbs to get 1lb in some cases. OR... if we feed train effectively, we have proof we can convert at 1.5lbs to 1lb with fish feed. My point is it would take very high production in a FHM pond (plus added labor-time-cost) to do what is more efficient by feeding a high quality feed. Some will argue feed adds high nutrients but so does the equivalent in adding FHM to achieve the same growth.

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Originally Posted by FishingRod
(Maybe the small bass and BG in a typical pond rapidly clean out the small forage, and the large LMB don't have much choice BUT to eat large meals?)

Mostly, I think they eat what is available to them in a range of sizes that are typically between 10% and 25% the length of the LMB. So it kind of works like this ... predation of uniform prey sizes within this limit are function of the number of encounters. It is simple to understand that a 4 lb LMB can have no more encounters than 6" 2 oz LMB (Both of which can and will consume a 2" to 3". They both get the same amount of energy from it and I don't know of any evidence supporting that an encounter with a given prey size requires more energy from a 4lb LMB than it does a 2 oz one. Indeed, I think it more likely the difference, if any, may be ignored. So what makes the 4 lb LMB different? It has to have a lot more encounters than 2 oz LMB for its maintenance. But its just one fish and it's encounters will be limited to the number a 2 oz LMB can have. The only way 4 lb LMB can be maintained by 3" FHM is if it has sufficient encounters. Smaller prey may well limit the ultimate size of LMB. In other words it may only be 3 or 4 lbs but I do think this is achievable.

In a pond with BG as forage, the largest part of the standing population of BG is highly selected by natural selection to evade predators. Even though they can become meals when they get sick, they are relatively immune to predators. Their offspring share the burden of supporting the food chain and the parents have earned the right to live out their lives (which by the standards of swim up fry is a mighty long time). The same problem exist with BG forage as the uniform forage, the smaller LMB get as many encounters as do the big LMB, but if they thin out the YOY to the extent that there is not enough encounters for the big LMB to grow ... then the big LMB has reached the end of its growth.


Let's consider some things we know:

1. When LMB reproduce, they extirpate most minnow types. There is really no refuge, even in two inches of water, for a minnow against a 2" LMB. That's the refuge for 2" LMB ... it belongs to them and in that habitat they are apex predator despite their size. Brush provides little safety for minnows against 2" LMB. Again its a habitat that is refuge for little LMB and they are as adept at negotiating it as minnows are.

2. We know that small uniform prey can support fish and other life much larger than the prey. At one end of the spectrum, BG are mostly supported by insects like chironomids, advancing to the middle of the spectrum trout are mostly supported by insects and crustaceans, and at the upper limit blue whales are supported by krill. Its more about the quantity of food they ingest and their adaptions. I think it reasonable to argue that LMB may not benefit as much as trout, but if this is so I think it is less about trout being lazy and more about the maintenance due to temperature and stuff like that. I've spent a lot time fishing for trout and they never stop moving as far as I can tell. They either have to maintain a position moving water or are cruising in still waters foraging. Can't say they never rest but trout are as active as LMB IMHO.

3. We know that LMB attain similar standing weights whether they exist alone or in combination with BG. BG however, do allow LMB to get larger. Competition between BG and small LMB limit recruitment of LMB and slow the growth of YOY keeping them vulnerable longer to larger LMB. The effect is to provide a similar quantity of prey to a smaller number of fish. We also know that in most unmanaged (for population by harvest) waters that LMB don't get larger than 16". We also know that even under population management growing them to > 20" is less common than <20". So the point I am making here is that even though BG may have the potential to grow LMB larger than minnows ... The possibility of that ultimate weight is more often not achieved than it is.

4. We know the largest standing weights of LMB are achieved with minnows an not BG. To be sure, these experiments demonstrated that the prey couldn't withstand a reproducing population of LMB but all the same the standing weights achieved dwarf what is generally achieved with BG. So the question isn't whether minnows can support a predator fishery its a matter of under what conditions. LMB may not be the best choice but any predator depending on minnows for food needs to be put and take.

5. We know minnows are fairly easy for predators to capture, especially relative to BG. We also know that different organisms have different energy content per wet weight and that the conversion differs depending on the prey consumed. Esox are among the worst (having lower) for energy content and are only modestly bettered by Centrarchid fish. At the upper extreme are salmon which can be more than 2 times as energy dense as BG. Between these extremes are cyprinids which make better prey due to energy density and due to lacking the spiny fins. I don't think I could swallow the argument that a 4 lb bass converts worse on FHM than on larger sizes BG when the same wet weights are consumed. But specifically we should not be talking conversion at all. Conversion only happens once the metabolic requirement is met so the Gross FCR is always high for large fish. The question is how much wet weight of FHM forage is required to maintain a given wet weight of LMB (same for the BG). Only when we understand the maintenance can the true conversion be understood.

Let's consider what we don't know.

1. We don't know how large LMB can grow on FHM or GAMs or RSH. It's probably limited and imagining fish >20" is probably not realistic. All the same we know they easily grow to 13" on minnow If 20" is the limit, then it is some where in between. But to understand how a put and take system may work for LMB, or any other predator for that matter, we have do it first.


If we examine what we know, we have a sense that there is a balance that can be achieved and maintained by ladder stocking and harvest. We have enough knowledge to make a good first guess, and because we have only one predator in a tightly controlled experiment, we can quantify to what extent the guess is off and make appropriate adjustments learning what is appropriate for that given scenario. To be successful, the predators cannot reproduce, the number predators must be limited to such a degree that parental minnow populations can fill the carrying capacity with offspring each year, and finally the regimen must also include ladder stocking and harvest. If the guess is conservative then the predator will outperform while the opposite will occur if the guess over reaches. An optimum system can be perpetuated by maintaining the system and it should improve as nutrients accumulate and as the food web diversifies (eg crayfish, large insects, frogs, etc.)

Quote
Or, is the nutritional value of the commercial fish foods such a better deal to feed a BG/LMB pond, that you should just optimize that option and not waste the effort managing forage?

You didn't ask me this question but I will share my thoughts. There isn't any way a natural system can produce the gains achievable with feed. Think about growing 17000 lbs/acre of catfish in 6 months in a PAS system. Of course water quality is a major issue that has to be tightly controlled under such a circumstance. This is for the production of fish. They have to all be harvested at the end of the grow out. For a recreational pond, doesn't it make sense to have water that is fertile enough to carry an above average standing weight of fish but not so fertile to pose risks to the health of fish? I would encourage you to approach your new water from this perspective if you want easier to manage water for recreation. On the other hand, I would also encourage you to grow large weights of fish for personal consumption and other purposes with intensive techniques if you are of mind to do that. What I would encourage is that you might distinguish between them and manage some water for recreation and some water for production.

The reason is that intensive systems produce a lot of waste. Over time this will impact your recreational pond(s) in an adverse way. So I like the idea of producing forage, particularly forage that can grow and reproduce once transferred to your recreational pond. Infusions like this have a lot of potential because the hard part is getting enough YOY past the 1" to 2" mark. I say ... produce these fish intensively but with the idea that forage production pond is full of waste. So I much prefer a forage pond that does not flow into a recreational pond and when I get around to it mine will be below the rec pond and I will fill them filtered water by gravity feed from the rec pond. I will recognize these ponds are full of waste and instead of adding the manure to the rec pond I will grow hay, or veggies, or something else with it as enriched irrigation water. Think about how inefficient conversion is. You feed 10 lbs wet weight feed to get 1 lb wet weight gain. Only 10% of the molecular weight of the feed stays with the fish. That's all. By not letting the intensive water flow into your rec pond ... you are only putting 1/10th of the nutrients into your rec pond helping to hold back the eutrophication of your recreational water.


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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Snipe & jpsdad,

Thank you for taking the time to type out the knowledge in your heads into the forum for everyone to read!

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After reading this I'm starting to feel like I'm wasting my time. I've been using my sediment pond as a FHM forage pond. My hopes were that a lot of them would get washed in to the main pond when it rains. I'm not sure if they tend to swim up or down stream? But I've had had very little flow through this year anyway. I trapped and transferred some at the end of the year last year and I've started doing it again this year, mostly in the last few weeks. I've never stopped seeing them in the main pond but they were getting really thin. I'm seeing a lot more now and my sediment pond is still pretty full of them. I plan to keep transferring them but I hope it isn't a complete waste of my time.

Last edited by Bobbss; 08/25/21 01:09 PM.

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Bob,

Do not despair! I had a plan similar to yours and the experts clearly made the case that it is NOT optimal to raise FHMs to feed the predators.

However, "not optimal" does not mean you are wasting your time doing your project on the sediment pond. I expect there are many critters on your property that are appreciating your efforts on the sediment pond!

Just as long as you don't attract any "nuisance" critters, you can have some value due to the second ecosystem that you have created.

I come to Pond Boss to get educated, and the experts certainly give me yardsticks to measure the "value" of my efforts on any given project. You can now allocate your time and effort more efficiently to whichever goals you want to pursue!

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Originally Posted by Bobbss
After reading this I'm starting to feel like I'm wasting my time. .

IMO what you are doing is a positive in many respects. I have never seen a sediment /forage pond that was not a good idea and helpful. There are a number of articles in PB and otherwise that agree.

Don't ever let information get between you and a goal/dream.

What do I mean ?

Those guys were giving you helpful information to help guide you in your goal attempts. I don't view that is a negative but as a positive. The more info you have the better chance you can make things work.

I would keep at it and with information adjust as needed to improve your situation to meet your goal. Fisheries are dynamic and what sometimes seems futile turn out to be game changing improvements. A few pounds of FH or minnows or small BG can pyramid with collateral improvements to the existing population and their survival.
















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I'll +1 ewest's comment. The pond is contributing in important ways, even forage. I like your idea of trapping and moving some. cropping the forage pond will allow you grow more forage in it. It is important to take crops out to maximize the production.

I'd offer more if I knew more about your situation and ponds. Its unclear if you drain into the Mississippi or to the Ozark plateau for example. I don't know your goals or in what ways the situation is falling short, other than fewer FHM in main pond than what you would like to see.


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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Thanks guys! It was just sounding like forage ponds don't help that much.

I figured I already had the sediment pond, why not put some FHM in and help keep them in the main pond. I figured they would help the yoy other fish in the pond.

I do hand feed some pellets as well.

Jpsdad, my goals are just to have a fun place to fish, not worried about trophies. I know having more types of fish makes it harder but I like variety. I have LMB, BG, RES, YP, FHM, GSH in it now and want to maybe add a few HSB, maybe some CC and maybe some Hybrid Crappie.
I think everything is doing good right now. The few LMB I see look healthy and if I have any skinny ones it is on them,I see plenty for them to eat.

My area drains to the. Mississippi.


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Bobbss,

Minnows are good for your plans. They will certainly do no harm. Do you have weeds? Check out the photos below:
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

These photos were taken today in a local pond. This pond has CC, GSF, BG, and natural HBG. The BG especially are overpopulated. Unbelievable quantity of BG in the 4" to 5.5" range. The largest of the HBG we catch are around 7". The minnow are important for them particularly I think. HBG stomachs look full and distended when we catch them. There are way too many panfish in this pond. Every year I wonder if it will be last I see of the minnows. I'll see only a few in late April and somehow like a phoenix rising .. this ... unbelievable numbers. The panfish are not ignoring these minnows. All the time there are sprays of minnows trying to escape predators. I see them off the dam near the surface in 10 feet of water ... as far as I can tell they are everywhere ... as far as I can see from the shore. The pictures only clearly show the big minnows. Hidden from view are many times that number of smaller ones that did not resolve in the photographs. Also unseen are the ones too deep to observe. They come up from the depths, however, when a bait hits the water above them. They truly love hotdogs ... LOL.

Last edited by jpsdad; 08/25/21 09:31 PM.

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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Thanks Jpsdad, I have some weeds but I think they are all just normal weeds that grows on land and not necessarily in water. Unfortunately my pond still doesn't hold water the greatest and goes up and down a lot and still isn't full so I can't really plant anything yet either.


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Not sure what I did that deserves thanks but you're welcome all the same. I was hoping you would ask more questions. You have a such a great advantage with a forage pond to grow a diverse assemblage of minnow species that can meaningfully contribute to your ponds forage.

Every pond is different, habitat, fertility, feed rates, species complex, and population structures. The absence of LMB in the pond referenced above probably is why the minnows in it can attain such large numbers each year from a paltry overwintering population. But that they can do it in a pond that is full of BG ... is remarkable to me.

FHM have a big disadvantage in reproduction. The males must guard a nest and this makes them very vulnerable to predators. The females of course need a nest guarding male to successfully reproduce. I don't think FHM could make as good a living the CC-BG pond above described. The fish you see above is Gambusia Affinis, a native of your Mississipi bound watershed location in Jefferson County. Most of fish you see in the pics are pregnant females. Of the population of fish >1" length ... most of them are pregnant females. They carry the sperm of an earlier mating that can be used to spawn multiple clutches of eggs on a monthly basis. Inside each are 100 to 300 developing embryos that are protected by predators and fungus by their moms. There is a sufficient number of Moms in each photo to produce more than 20,000 fry. So the weeds make a difference I think but this reproductive strategy make the GAM a viable producer of forage.

Consider GSH which is also a native in your watershed. In addition to this members have had success with members of the satinfin shiner family. Your particular location favors Red Shiner and it is also a native to your watershed. Had your water drained into the Ozark Plateau, the appropriate satinfin would have been the Spotfin Shiner ... a native there. It maybe possible to diversify your minnows to include some that do not have nest guarding behaviors. These will be most resistant to extirpation because they will successfully reproduce while the predators are eating them.

Last edited by jpsdad; 08/26/21 07:44 AM.

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


LarryBud #539210 08/26/21 08:05 AM
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Why not put craws in your forage pond as well?


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


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jpsdad #539212 08/26/21 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Not sure what I did that deserves thanks but you're welcome all the same. I was hoping you would ask more questions. You have a such a great advantage with a forage pond to grow a diverse assemblage of minnow species that can meaningfully contribute to your ponds forage.

Every pond is different, habitat, fertility, feed rates, species complex, and population structures. The absence of LMB in the pond referenced above probably is why the minnows in it can attain such large numbers each year from a paltry overwintering population. But that they can do it in a pond that is full of BG ... is remarkable to me.

FHM have a big disadvantage in reproduction. The males must guard a nest and this makes them very vulnerable to predators. The females of course need a nest guarding male to successfully reproduce. I don't think FHM could make as good a living the CC-BG pond above described. The fish you see above is Gambusia Affinis, a native of your Mississipi bound watershed location in Jefferson County. Most of fish you see in the pics are pregnant females. Of the population of fish >1" length ... most of them are pregnant females. They carry the sperm of an earlier mating that can be used to spawn multiple clutches of eggs on a monthly basis. Inside each are 100 to 300 developing embryos that are protected by predators and fungus by their moms. There is a sufficient number of Moms in each photo to produce more than 20,000 fry. So the weeds make a difference I think but this reproductive strategy make the GAM a viable producer of forage.

Consider GSH which is also a native in your watershed. In addition to this members have had success with members of the satinfin shiner family. Your particular location favors Red Shiner and it is also a native to your watershed. Had your water drained into the Ozark Plateau, the appropriate satinfin would have been the Spotfin Shiner ... a native there. It maybe possible to diversify your minnows to include some that do not have nest guarding behaviors. These will be most resistant to extirpation because they will successfully reproduce while the predators are eating them.
Thanks Jpsdad for all the information. I do have GSH in my main pond. I'm not sure how well they are doing, I mostly see large ones coming up to feed. I've heard good and bad things about them and not real sure how much I want to encourage them before I know my predators have a good foothold. I don't think I've seen any of the others offered by any of the fish suppliers around here but I will search more. I'm guessing I might have to find a place to trap some.
I went with FHM because it was easy to just trap a few dozen from the main pond and put them in and let them do their thing. I also figured that they wouldn't get out of control and hurt anything.
My sediment pond is pretty small, about 50'x60' when full and running over. It was about 5' deep in the middle but I can tell it has already silted in a lot, especially after I had some clearing done to open things up and increase my run off. Also it isn't near full most of the time so is even smaller most of the time. I'm hoping soon to dig it out some and make it a little bigger and deeper. But I also want to do some more clearing above and I know even more sediment will wash in so that should probably be done first.


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Originally Posted by CityDad
Why not put craws in your forage pond as well?
At this time I don't think I want craws yet or maybe ever after hearing that they can muddy the water and keep plants from growing. I know I at least want to get some plants going in the pond first.


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Originally Posted by Bobbss
I went with FHM because it was easy to just trap a few dozen from the main pond and put them in and let them do their thing. I also figured that they wouldn't get out of control and hurt anything.
.

A great idea and starting point. They do well with no predators and can live in low DO and poor water quality (like some forage ponds). Be sure to put in , or have , some spawning structure ( pallet , floating board , some submerged weeds , etc.).
















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Originally Posted by Bobbss
Thanks Jpsdad for all the information. I do have GSH in my main pond. I'm not sure how well they are doing, I mostly see large ones coming up to feed. I've heard good and bad things about them and not real sure how much I want to encourage them before I know my predators have a good foothold. I don't think I've seen any of the others offered by any of the fish suppliers around here but I will search more. I'm guessing I might have to find a place to trap some.

I went with FHM because it was easy to just trap a few dozen from the main pond and put them in and let them do their thing. I also figured that they wouldn't get out of control and hurt anything.
My sediment pond is pretty small, about 50'x60' when full and running over. It was about 5' deep in the middle but I can tell it has already silted in a lot, especially after I had some clearing done to open things up and increase my run off. Also it isn't near full most of the time so is even smaller most of the time. I'm hoping soon to dig it out some and make it a little bigger and deeper. But I also want to do some more clearing above and I know even more sediment will wash in so that should probably be done first.

Right. Just offering some ideas to combine with what you are already doing. Don't know how big the main pond is but you can do a lot with a forage pond that size.


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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Originally Posted by ewest
Originally Posted by Bobbss
I went with FHM because it was easy to just trap a few dozen from the main pond and put them in and let them do their thing. I also figured that they wouldn't get out of control and hurt anything.
.

A great idea and starting point. They do well with no predators and can live in low DO and poor water quality (like some forage ponds). Be sure to put in , or have , some spawning structure ( pallet , floating board , some submerged weeds , etc.).
Thanks Ewest,
I could probably use more structure and I know pallets and such are best but I have a hangup with unnatural looking things in the pond. I have some small logs in the water that extend out onto the bank in a way that keeps them well off the bottom. I need to take my chainsaw over and cut a few more for it.


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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Originally Posted by Bobbss
Thanks Jpsdad for all the information. I do have GSH in my main pond. I'm not sure how well they are doing, I mostly see large ones coming up to feed. I've heard good and bad things about them and not real sure how much I want to encourage them before I know my predators have a good foothold. I don't think I've seen any of the others offered by any of the fish suppliers around here but I will search more. I'm guessing I might have to find a place to trap some.

I went with FHM because it was easy to just trap a few dozen from the main pond and put them in and let them do their thing. I also figured that they wouldn't get out of control and hurt anything.
My sediment pond is pretty small, about 50'x60' when full and running over. It was about 5' deep in the middle but I can tell it has already silted in a lot, especially after I had some clearing done to open things up and increase my run off. Also it isn't near full most of the time so is even smaller most of the time. I'm hoping soon to dig it out some and make it a little bigger and deeper. But I also want to do some more clearing above and I know even more sediment will wash in so that should probably be done first.

Right. Just offering some ideas to combine with what you are already doing. Don't know how big the main pond is but you can do a lot with a forage pond that size.
Thanks Jpsdad,
I always appreciate ideas. Do you know where to source in my area any of the minnows you recommend?
My main pond will probably only be 1/2-2/3 acre if I can ever get it to fill up.


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Originally Posted by Bobbss
Thanks Jpsdad,
I always appreciate ideas. Do you know where to source in my area any of the minnows you recommend?
My main pond will probably only be 1/2-2/3 acre if I can ever get it to fill up.

It's awesome to have a forage pond that is a high proportion of the surface area of the pond it services. Yours is close is between 12 and 15% and that is can be and probably has been very meaningful for your fish in the main pond.

I'll start with Gambusia:

OK. So Gambusia are very easy to find if you have a little time to find them. The best situation is to look for them locally where nature has selected them for your locale. Just look for small public waters that are weedy around the edges. Google maps is a good way to find that water. Specifically, look for parks with natural edges to their ponds (not concrete). You can collect gams very effectively with a $1.00 insect net from a dollar store or one of the mesh type with .25" holes. The latter will only retain the larger pregnant females (smaller minnows will slip through the mesh). You just need 10 or 20 to populate your forage pond. By next July, you will be removing thousands of Gams to put in your main pond. Many of them will be birthing fry in your main pond. There are Ebay sellers that sell small quantities of GAMs for $27 including but I can't say they are G. affinis. If you can't locate them in your neighborhood, feel free to reach out to me by PM. I won't sell them to you but would be glad to mail you a start cost free to you. I only would ask that you pay it forward by helping others near you obtain stock while paying attention to the destination they are going.

Snipe is growing RSH and I think with a mind to do that commercially. Reach out to him and keep the business within the family if he will supply you in Misery (as Augie calls it). Otherwise, both RSH and SFS are native in streams in your area. Bill's recommendations for egg collection will work for either species. RSH is more of a generalist in terms of spawning substrate, however, even using BG and LMB nests to spawn. They can be caught in minnow traps too. I find them in good numbers in shady pools about 2 feet deep in streams that are about 5 feet wide. I usually see them in good numbers of breeding adults from April through July.


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Thanks again Jpsdad
Depending on how things go for me, I might try to drain and dig it out this fall or winter. So I probably won't do much until I figure out what I'm doing.
In the meantime I will learn more about the minnows, and mostly how to identify them. Then I'll start looking at some of my local creeks and ponds to see if I can spot any.


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FH like to get under stuff.

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LarryBud #539292 08/28/21 07:50 AM
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I have been experimenting with feed trials on fathead minnows and other minnow species. Fish mature at about 2 months after fry hatch. The first clutch of eggs is small less than 50. The next spawn is usually 80-100 eggs. Male will guard the nest and protect the fry for about 2 days before abandoning the fry.




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FishinRod:

Up here, when the ponds get covered with ice the dense shallow water cover for the Fatheads is either frozen or the water is too cold for them. So they get evicted out of their safe haven and have to swim in more open water where the predators can more easily catch them. We can have 5 months of the year where the shallow water is too cold for the fish.


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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).
esshup #539453 09/01/21 02:07 PM
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Thanks, esshup!

I assumed that was the case, but appreciate the clarification.

(I have "assumed" things incorrectly in the past - much to my detriment!)

esshup #539459 09/01/21 03:38 PM
Joined: Jul 2020
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I have that problem but during the dry season :P


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


5-20 Acres in Florida. Bass/Tilapia/Bowfin/Gator
LarryBud #539461 09/01/21 05:02 PM
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While transferring some today I got to watch some LMB fingerlings hitting the newly stocked and dazed FHM. Now I'll want to keep transferring them just so I can watch.


Bob


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1 member likes this: RStringer
LarryBud #539480 09/02/21 01:49 PM
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A FHM has way more endurance than I ever thought. I just put my traps in again and one of them is a old time jug type. When I went to bait it I found a little FHM wiggling around in what couldn't of been more than a table spoon of water. It had been in there since I pulled the traps out yesterday. I would call that one tuff little minnow.


Bob


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