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Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 2
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I am thinking about getting a pond built in the next year. My main goal of it will be recreational fishing for the family.
With the property I could only have a 1/4 acre to 3/4 acre pond.
The fish species I want the most is LMB.
How many would you get and what fish would you add with them.
I am open to other ideas as I read LMB and smaller ponds are difficult to manage.
I just want to go out with some lures and soft plastics, have a good time with friends and family without have to pack up the kayaks every time I want to fish.
I might add I live in the Gulf coast area of Texas, I'm not sure if that adds any other challenges.

Joined: Oct 2019
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You are correct about managing LMB in a smaller pond, but... if its your favorite fish, then I'd say go for it. If you want other options, catfish and HSB (hybrid striped bass) do well in smaller bodies of water, readily take to feed and don't easily reproduce unless you add spawning structure. It's what people on here refer to as a "put and take" fishery. You stock the fish, and replenish them as you harvest them.

Once you've hooked into a HSB, you may never care about LMB again.


"In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." - Donny Miller
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Go as big as your budget/property allows. The bigger the pond the less troubles so long as you have the watershed to keep it full (or well). Make sure you look in to how much watershed (or well water capacity) you have before getting to far along with the build.

My first attempt (about 4 years ago) at making my 1/4 acre pond a pleasant fishery utilized the HBG and the HSB (with the token RES population for snail/parasite control started off very well. The fingerling HBG grew to 1/2 pound in two seasons and the HSB tended to gain a pound a year. My problem (hindsight and all) was that I have too much watershed and I believe my HBG washed out for the most part in the first season. This left me with very few easy-to-catch fish whereas the HSB were next to impossible to get on a hook. When I did...it was amazing. I should have been more regimented with ladder stocking my fish. I have since added CC and straight BG. The CC are easy to catch and grow fast (with feed) and the BG should help them with forage. I expect the BG to get overpopulated and stunt, but the BG will always be fun for the kids. I plan to add HSB yearly to keep them in the pond. I believe mine got to be 4 to 5 pounds but are mostly hidden or have died off.

If I had it to do over again...I would add FHM's (with spawning structure) and give them a full season to grossly populate the pond. I did this in my first attempt and it was spectacular in how many they made in one season and how well the fish grew on them as forage. The second year, I would add HBG (X 300), BG (X 200), CC (X 20), and HSB (X20) as fingerlings (for my 1/4 acre pond). This allows the new game fish to feed mostly on the YOY FHM's and gives the pond a second season of adult FHM's before their inevitable decline. I would hope that the BG would somewhat take the place of the declining FHM population. The following years all depend on how many fish you take for the table and how many you think are left. The latter part is were I struggled. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to drain the pond and count the remainders. Obviously, this is not practical, but I just didn't know what I had. It's a guessing game on ladder stocking for me, but adding 10 of the CC and 10 HSB for each of the following years seems about right for my pond (I guess!). These ladder stocked fish will need to be much larger so that they are not eaten by the existing grown CC & HSB.

I will not put the LMB in my pond, but never say never. Too many stocked ponds that I have fished have overpopulated with them and, even though it's fun catching one-after-another...it gets boring without the hopes of a lunker.

Your area may/will require some consideration with regards to using the HSB (they don't care much for being caught when the water is warm, like 80+ degrees F) and BG (copernose may be a better choice as I think they are more of a southern breed). If HSB don't fit your desires, I'd replace their numbers with CC.


Fish on!,
Noel
Joined: Jul 2021
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Thank yall for the advice. I got the answers I was looking for. If I did decide to go with LMB how many would you start with?

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Originally Posted by tidwellchad15
I am thinking about getting a pond built in the next year. My main goal of it will be recreational fishing for the family.
With the property I could only have a 1/4 acre to 3/4 acre pond.
The fish species I want the most is LMB.
How many would you get and what fish would you add with them.
I am open to other ideas as I read LMB and smaller ponds are difficult to manage.
I just want to go out with some lures and soft plastics, have a good time with friends and family without have to pack up the kayaks every time I want to fish.
I might add I live in the Gulf coast area of Texas, I'm not sure if that adds any other challenges.

tidwellchad15,

Welcome to the forum. Usually, LMB are stocked at 50 to 100 per acre. LMB are great fish for ponds but to meet your goals you may need to think outside the box. The small size of your planned pond will present challenges. Usually when combined with BG they attain standing weights between 40 and 80 lbs per acre. It may interest you to know, a pond can usually support a similar weight of LMB even if they are the only fish there. To find more about standing weight potential of LMB check out page 60 of this link.

http://www.fao.org/3/ap918e/ap918e.pdf

So you will notice that minnows are very effective at lifting standing weights. I will mention that LMB will tend to extirpate minnow species in ponds so combination of management efforts might be required to make a minnow combination viable long term. I will list them below.

1. Beginning the 2nd fall. Harvest 1/3 the estimated weight of LMB annually.

2. Provide cover in the form of brush to cover 10% to 20% of the area.

3. Use minnow species that reproduce without parental care (GSH - Gambusia - RSH).

4. Have a small sediment pond for forage supplementation. Don't stock LMB in this pond. It should be around 1/20 the size of main bow for forage (for a 1/4 acre main pond about 500 sq ft). Remove all the forage you can by trapping or dip netting during their reproductive season and release in the main pond. You can't trap them out. Removing especially juvenile sizes will increase the effect which would require a finer mesh.

5. Accept that the situation provides a high standing weight of LMB that should be harvested at weights well below their potential. It would be like trading 3 or 4 very large LMB for dozens of a 8" to 14" LMB in 1/4 acre pond. Minnow forage has been shown to grow 115 to 350 lbs/acre of LMB in 1.5 years. So I think a goal of maximum standing weight of 120 with annual fall harvest of 40 lbs/acre would probably be sustainable with the forage supplementation I mentioned. It may possibly do better with the brush. If your harvest is unable to keep the LMB in good condition ... it should be increased.

I like a pond like this for fast action with small lures. Especially as a fly fishing pond using bugs, streamers, leaches, wooly buggers, etc. If something like this would work with your goals (size of the fish wasn't clear to me).

I think PK Shrimp would also be a good forage addition. Get all your habitat and forage established before you add the LMB. If you were to do the scenario above ... I would go with 100 LMB/acre

Last edited by jpsdad; 07/28/21 08:43 AM.

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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Great post as always from jpsdad. One thing you mentioned that the OP didn't mention are his expectations of the sizes of LMB he can expect to see. If double-digits are a goal, I would say don't stock them and pick something else. If you're happy with 1-2 pounders for fast action, with an occasional 3-4 pounder, then I'd say that's reasonable and feasible.


"In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." - Donny Miller

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