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Hello Everyone,

First I would like to say thanks to all of you, you may not know me but I scoured this site for over 2 years getting our pond setup rules and regs - you'all know how to do it.

My experience:

The pond was dug out 2yrs ago and it's the story of 2 sides, the east averages 4-5ft while the west 8-10ft. Clay bottom and very steep entry all around except for a boat ramp style area needed to exit the equipment. There are pallet structures, rock piles and bundles of branches for cover. When roughly half full I took the advice of Mr. Cody and put in FHM, RES and (my decision) GSH. Probably went a little crazy with forage fish (10lbs of each) but only 15 RES then just left it alone the entire first summer. This was easy, lots of property work needed done. That fall it became very apparent the minnows (both types) had been making sweet love so I added 35 4-6in YP and let it be. This spring there was no slow down with the minnows and what few perch came to eat all looked good so I added 12 6-8in HSB, 20 HBG 4-6in and 4 6-8in SMB, nothing too crazy.

Now sitting in October both hybrid varieties are doing very well, the HBG are fat and happy while the dozen HSB have become the dirty dozen - when feeding more than a couple of these fellas are clearly almost 13-14in. The SMB stay on the 5ft deep water and just cruise, they too seem to be doing fine. We have yet to "fish" the pond, maybe a couple casts right before feeding but the goal is a good start.

My thought was this year in a month or so adding 20 RBT for winter fishing, I find hard to believe they would upset the current balance, and then next year in spring another 4-6 SMB early spring followed by 20 Tilapia for FA control when available in June. More or less the RBT die off replaced by the Tilapia. Seems like it would work and spring 2022 should contain both SMB and YP spawn if the current bunch somehow cleans up the minnow population.

Thoughts appreciated.

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Nicely done!


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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Thanks CityDad, I'm trying the slow approach. We were lucky and the Lilly's (2) poked up and got going in late summer plus just random (possibly pain in the rear) water plants just "arrived". No ill will to those who go with the hatchery packages - I certainly was tempted - luckily having land to clear and putting in new plumbing plus work stopped me in my tracks.

If anyone has a reason not to toss in 20 or so RBT, beef them up and fish them out for the table please let me know. I think they could survive off water beetles alone at this point until the freeze. Or if you have any ideas at all I'm all ears.

I appreciate all the wisdom, as Ben Franklin said "Wise men don't need advice, fools don't take it".

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I don't think 20 RBT especially if they are fed some pellets will upset or damage the current fish community balance. Expect some of the other fish to also eat pellets which will better allow them to have plenty of fat for winter survival and be healthy for spring spawn.

Delaying fishing in a new pond will be a noticeable benefit because when you do start fishing anglers will very easily catch numerous big fish compared noticeably fewer hook smart bigger fish from overfishing a new small pond low fish stocked population.

Tilapia will work well for algae and delicate submerged weed control. If they do not appear to do much algae control then you did not stock enough of them. Tilapia stocked at 5"-8" will provide good, fun fishing in early fall as long as water temperature is still above 70F. Fish the beach where they have been spawning. The more water drops below 70F tilapia become harder and harder to catch. Tilapia fight harder than BG-HBG. A customer told me today he has been catching his tilapia on canned corn, softened pellets and homemade dough balls laced with ground fish pellet . Tilapia become hook shy quickly during each catching session so one has to keep changing styles of bait for each angler session. Chumming tilapia with pellets helps keep the bite active.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/09/21 09:10 PM.

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Again, thanks for all your help, Bill. I've been feeding Aquamax Sport mixed with Aquamax Bluegill so far, the HSB & HBG will eat anything - I think wood chips would work - but the perch took quite a while to realize what was happening. Only in the last couple months have they been coming up in larger numbers to eat. All of which look healthy although I will say the shiners are getting a little porky as well but hopefully that leads to more naturally and less out of pocket. The SMB (there's only 4 in there) seem to have figured out their own methods which is not surprising.

You have the plan exact with RBT & Tilapia, they serve a purpose (table fare and FA control is a bonus regarding the tilapia). You answered an email of mine a couple years ago prior to shovels in the ground and I have followed it as best I can.

Anyone interested in this slow grow say the word, I will update and take pictures when I get the chance to actually fish (more than likely bait hooks for grandkids but that's never a bad thing either).

Cheers & Beers!

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I should also add, I only feed every other week because I'm simply not here to do so otherwise. I'd like to say they miss me because they all come up to feed but in reality I'm fairly certain they're doing just fine without me. None of them will hit a lure, I haven't tried often and doubt they know my face but if it's not pellets out of a mason jar "no thanks, pal, we got plenty" seems to be the way of things.

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Just put in 22 gorgeous RBT along with another 10 YP in the 8in range plus 1000 fatheads from Fenders. Great people there, sort of a snake of a drive to find but they know their stuff. Only one day in but the trout might be the happiest fish ever, water beetles - not so much. I hope you are all well.

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How big were the trout from Fenders? It will be interesting to see their growth without daily pellet feeding until July.


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Right at 1/2-3/4lb, absolutely gorgeous fish Bill. She mentioned they were 5th generation out of PA where "they always get the best trout". Having not bought them before I cannot attest to that claim but they are beauties.

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I sent you a picture, Bill, couldn't really figure out attaching - maybe it worked, maybe.

$5.50 a per fish which is the best I could find in the area.

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Those are nice looking trout. Fenders usually has very nice trout in the fall. With good pellet feeding and some open water from close to shore aeration all winter some could be 24" long by June. Fun fishing for sure.


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I'll keep you updated, with every-other week feeding and the abundance of minnows they shouldn't be lacking a meal (24" would be fantastic). Thanks to all for the wealth of knowledge.

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For hatchery raised trout who could be lazy predators, they may not grow as fast as trout that are regularly fed pellets. Keep us informed about how they are doing this spring and early summer. If they grow to 20", I would consider that a success. Your experiences with them will be educational for all of us.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/26/21 07:18 PM.

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I certainly will. I got back out today and everything was taking pellets like crazy (minus the smallmouth - they seem to have their own plan). Nothing floating so it all seems positive.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween.

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Those rainbows should take pellets clear up to ice cover. If you could keep some open water with aeration near shore the trout would feed in the open water on pellets all winter.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/30/21 07:51 PM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Those rainbows should take pellets clear up to ice cover. If you could keep some open water with aeration near shore the trout would feed in the open water on pellets all winter.

I have my winter diffuser for the aeration system in front of the Texas Hunter feeder.....


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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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That's the plan, feed until ice and keep it clear. I have a 18in lip above the overflow so the real harsh winds never got to the water last year, maybe 3 weeks of ice (none of which I would walk on and I'm not a large person). This whole week the trout have been by far the most active feeders along with the HSF & Wipers. Very happy with Fenders, really pretty fish.

Thanks to everyone, I'll update and add pics when we get a chance to fish!

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Curious question, the water has been very clear to about 6ft these past couple days and while walking around I noticed smallmouth guarding nests (they made some decent sized potholes, got the gravel picked out and everything). Is that normal behavior? They certainly have a few months to think about mating season. There's more than enough baitfish in the area but when I walked up they'd spook off the nests but always returned.

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Not normal - wrong time of the year.....


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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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Alright, summer is upon us so an update is in order:

All of the trout survived and are currently still active and between 17-19in, fat & happy for now but we need to fish them out for the table before the tails stop propelling them as the water temps are rising.

Something, and I do not know what yet due to heavy rains and poor visibility, spawned. They're maybe the length of my thumbnail but there are crazy amounts (won't be buying additional minnows or fatheads this year).

The Hybrid Stripers went from 8in to real beef eaters (see attachment) in less than a year. Hit like a hammer and so far zero complaints.

Earlier in late march a lot of beds were visible and a couple cruising SM Bass were hunkered in the shallower water (around 3.5ft) so maybe the ladies and gents had a date or two.

The Hybrid BG are pigs, only slightly larger than 8in but are not missing meals (and angry).

I have yet to see or catch a perch while fishing or feeding but it's been raining a lot so you really don't "see" what is hitting the pellets.

Getting some cattails and a little algae, the lilies Bill recommended are making a comeback. A little uncertain if Tilapia would eat the lilies and put me in the dog house (she loves those lilies).

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I do have one question prior to putting in Tilapia, it seems mixed opinions on whether they will eat lilies. The lilies weren't cheap and just got going so I'd hate to lose them but would like a few pounds to keep the algae in check, has anyone had issues?

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Tilapia are algae eaters, and won't harm lilies.


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Originally Posted by FireIsHot
Tilapia are algae eaters, and won't harm lilies.
Beavers sure will though! They have wiped out mine

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Beavers pruned my water lilies back a good bit as well, before my neighbor trapped them out. Took down a nice oak and a few bald cypress as well, Wish that they had stuck with the cottonwoods! Worst part was cleaning out the drain pipe every day. They dug under my pig-panel trash rack to get to it.

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There are thriving hardy hybrid water lilies in a local pond that gets annual stockings of tilapia. The main fish as grass carp that is the problem for water lilies and this usually happens when all the other underwater plant are gone.


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