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#536872 06/23/21 01:34 PM
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I have a 1.5 acre pond in South Central Minnesota, stocked with LMB and BG. It's ten years old and doing fine - many thanks to advice I got from the Pond Boss forums, although I need to do some corrective harvesting to bring my populations back in check. The LMB are 12-14 inches and somewhat underweight. There is riprap around half of this pond and some block structure on the bottom (I do need to add to this).
There is a new 1/8 acre pond next to it (not connected) that was dug last fall. My grand scheme is to use that for new forage with FHM. 25 lbs of minnows were added last week. I'm thinking I'd like to also add Virile Crayfish to that small pond for more forage (and the occasional crawfish boil). The plant life in the new pond isn't well-established yet, but in the short term I was thinking that the fish I remove from the big pond can be gutted and thrown in the new pond for the crayfish. I was also thinking that the crayfish that get antsy and walk the 20 feet over to the big pond would be easy pickins for the LMB.

I've picked through the threads I could find about crayfish, and they make me fairly confident that my little scheme "should" work. BUT!
Can anybody poke holes in my plans? Will I have problems with crayfish reproduction rates? Will they tear up my shoreline? Are my LMB big enough to eat them and keep their population in check?

Thanks a bunch to all!


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CZ, a 12-14 inch bass can eat any crayfish you are likely to grow. I wouldn't worry about that.

If you want to maximize LMB benefit from forage pond, you might consider adding BG. True, they'll eat the FHM, but LMB gain far more from eating BG than FHM anyway. And I don't believe too many crayfish would be eaten by the BG.

But it ultimately depends on your priorities & goals. Boiled crawfish sounds mighty good to this Louisiana boy!

Last edited by anthropic; 06/23/21 05:08 PM.

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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That sounds like a good plan. I would suggest adding rip‐rap to the forage pond to keep the craws feeling at home. You don't need to gut the culled fish... the craws don't care, they eat anything.


Fish on!,
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QA gifted me with 97 Virile crays two summers ago. I stocked them in my main pond.
Now there are thousands of them. I trapped a couple hundred of them last summer
and moved those to my bait pond.

Haven't noticed them tunneling in the banks at either pond.

I toss the carcasses of fish that I butcher into the bait pond for the crays to clean up.
They also get any varmints that happen to meet their doom while raiding Mrs. Augie's
flower gardens and bird feeders.

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Originally Posted by Quarter Acre
That sounds like a good plan. I would suggest adding rip‐rap to the forage pond to keep the craws feeling at home. You don't need to gut the culled fish... the craws don't care, they eat anything.

What percentage of your pond is rip-rapped? I'm thinking about adding Crayfish to my Catfish-HSB pond to add variety to the forage base


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I have about 440 foot of bank and 110 foot of it is rocked with 3 to 18" rock...mostly 6" rocks. The rest of the pond is steep banked. I'd say I have plenty of rock, maybe too much. I am taking the craws out to help with water clarity.


Fish on!,
Noel
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Steve_ 50% of the main pond is riprapped. I have rocks piled up to expand that in the next year or so. The new pond that the crayfish are going in has nothing riprapped. There aren't any predators in there, and I hope to keep it that way. I'll probably add some structure for habitat for them, but I'm undecided about riprap.


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Thanks Augie. I'm hoping for the same kind of solution you have. They got a chicken nugget from my son today to whet their appetite.


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I picked up 25 lbs of papershell crayfish today. Only lost about 8 of them out of the batch, so I'm chalking it up as a success so far. We missed the hatch because of my bad timing but we'll see what the survival rate is for this winter. I'm going to cull some of the excess fish from the main pond tomorrow and throw them in to get them started.

Thanks again!


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czimmerm good choice for adding the crayfish. If you have good enough habitat they will certainly survive for reproducing next spring. Where did you find that large quantity of papershell crayfish in MN?


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I want to stock crawfish but have 0 rock for them.....

Doomed or?


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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City I don’t have any rock and still have some after 7 years

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If one stocks the larger adult forms of crayfish such as red swamp there is a better chance the largest ones will be able to defend themselves from predation and survive to reproduce next year.


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Originally Posted by CityDad
I want to stock crawfish but have 0 rock for them.....

Doomed or?

It's likely that you have crayfish but that the numbers aren't very high. Increasing cover should help increase the population. crayfish are easy to culture. So a forage pond like czimmerman is planning would be a great place to culture crayfish adults that have completed the mating phase. With knowledge of the time they will exude eggs, you can time their release into the pond when or just before this is happening and this will increase your chances of getting off good spawn of baby crays. The life cycles and behaviors vary a lot. Some species burrow during exudation of eggs. But if you identify the species, you can study up and make plans with timing that will increase the potential production.

I think there ought to be a lot of ditches along the county roads near your pond that carry water from time to time. Invariably ditches, particularly when they do not support fish populations long term, are full of the 'dads. Use a minnow trap like Snipe and QA do. I think they increased the size of their traps holes in order to allow the larger crayfish to enter. They use Optimal fish feed I think as bait. As a kid we would take a pole and line and tie on a piece of bacon. Crawfish will come to feed and you can just lift them out of the water while they hold on to the bait. So maybe you could set a couple of traps and fish will a pole while they soak to get a start of them. Take some kids with you, they will work tirelessly on a quest like this.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

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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Sorry for the late response Bill Cody. I emailed the MN DNR for a list of businesses licensed to sell crayfish. I found exactly one who actually sells them. The rest of them all checked the box on the application to protect themselves in case they had some crayfish in the boat. Here's the contact info for the ones that had crayfish:
BOSEK FISHERIES & WHOLESALE LIVE
BAIT
(320) 808-9909
14249 CO RD 8 NW
GARFIELD, MN 56332


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An interesting statement from the fellow who sold me the crayfish:
He said that crayfish don't actually have gills. They grab bubbles from the water and inhale them. I had never heard of that but haven't verified the info yet either. I was previously concerned that my new pond didn't have enough dissolved O2. Now I'm also concerned that I need to buy a bubbler for it.

Last edited by czimmerm; 07/16/21 04:07 PM.

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I dissected one in zoology. They have gills. As to what they might grab? Maybe if a bubble went by they would. Lots of fun to watch in the aquarium.

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Thanks jim100. I thought it sounded fishy. (or not).


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Not to hijack the thread but, does anyone know of where I can purchase crawfish in Ga for my pond? Also, is there some formula to determine how many should be added?


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Dean,

It really depends on when you stock them (if the females are berrried (have eggs)), how large the pond is, the amount of good habitat the pond has for them, and numbers and sizes of predators. The formula for that makes my head spin a bit...lol. Here' my example...1/4 acre pond with 100 foot of rip-rap rock along the shore and 2 foot into the water (total shoreline is about 500 feet). This scenario would do well if it was stocked with 6 to 12 full sized berried females in the spring (the only time the local craws, here, are carrying eggs). Each female will be carrying up to 200 eggs which will seed the pond well. I would look for a local place to trap the egg carrying craws and transplant them into your pond. If berried craws cannot be sourced, I would assume (key word - assume) that a 100 or 200 could be stocked anytime. That should allow for enough survival to carry it until next spring's hatch.

Habitat is key! And, I do not advise stocking them until the predator fish are large enough to eat the full grown adults. I learned the above after I overstocked my pond with the craws prior to adding the gamefish. My abundant stocked population of craws grew to be full grown and those few hundred mated and made many more that out grew the gape of the stocked fingerlings. At this point, my small fish had plenty of young craws to eat in spring/early summer, but it would still be a couple of years before the adult craws would become forage for my gamefish. I had too many craws that I believe had contributed to the lack of vegetation and muddier waters.

Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed trapping them, eating them, and giving them away. My pond produces good numbers and sizes of craws. If creating a crawdad pond was my initial goal...I probably would have failed...lol.


Fish on!,
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Thanks for the reply QA.

My pond is 5 acres give or take. It has been referred to as a "natural pond" because the majority of the shoreline and shallows are just flooded trees and such. It is creek fed and has a constant flow of water through it. I do not have any rip-rap rock along any of the shorelines but feel that the shallows and fallen trees would provide adequate cover and habitat. The pond has been there many years and had the dam rebuilt, syphon system installed, and concrete overflow built. There are plenty of LMB large enough to control the population of the crawfish. My goal is use the crawfish as supplemental feeding for the LMB.

So any crawfish that I can trap from surrounding areas would be okay to stock into the pond?

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Dean,

If your pond is creek fed, and there are crawfish in the creek, then your pond should already have some crawfish.

You may be better off building/enhancing some habitat for the craws. I think there were some good old threads on that topic.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Deancutler
Thanks for the reply QA.

. . . My goal is use the crawfish as supplemental feeding for the LMB.

So any crawfish that I can trap from surrounding areas would be okay to stock into the pond?

Dean

Sure but to be safe I would say crawfish that share your drainage. If interconnected by water, then they are probably already in your pond as FishinRod suggested. You will have to work very hard to trap enough. Adding habitat could be more effective. You may have more than you think you currently have. Try trapping some in your own bow before you begin trapping outside.

Crawfish are very good food for bass. The energy density is nearly 50% greater than BG. If you could construct a forage pond ... you could produce large quantities of juveniles that could grow in the main pond producing notable quantities of forage ... or limited quantities of inseminated females that could spawn large quantities of fry. I'm not very familiar with any Georgia species other than the White River Crayfish. If you are in its range it might be a very good choice for culture. They tend to spawn in mid to late winter in the south. If you find you are in their range(their range isn't statewide), collect some, and have the means to culture them in a fish free forage pond ... reach out by PM and I will share my thoughts on culture that I think could help you maximize the forage production effects you seem to be seeking. Every crayfish species have life patterns that can be exploited, the WRC is native here and so I am very familiar with it.

If you aren't in the WRC range, don't sweat it, there will be other crayfish that can provide great supplemental forage. IMHO, you want to work with crayfish that have the greatest growth potential in your particular drainage.

Last edited by jpsdad; 07/18/21 04:25 PM.

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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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