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Howdy, all. Missus & I retired late last year & moved to a lovely property in rural MO. I'm retired Army & a displaced KS farm boy who likes to shoot/hunt/reload, ride my motor sickle & laugh at the antics of our small pack of wiener dogs.

So anywho, there's a 1/4-1/3 acre wet spot/marshy area in our SW pasture. Neighbor (& seller) said it was just run off from the pasture above. When it didn't dry out at all after several weeks without rain, I began to wonder if there wasn't a spring in there. Neighbor owns a dirt/rock/excavation company, so he brought his mini excavator over & dug an 8' deep test hole in the center & it was full to the top of crystal clear water less than 12 hours later. Bonus is that from about 4' down to as far as we've dug is great clay. He quoted me a great price to build the pond, so we are off & running. He's doing it in his free time between bigger jobs, so it'll take a little while, but I'm patient.

Majority of pond will be 8'-10' deep, with a gentle slope on one side & a couple smaller ledges around the perimeter. Wouldn't call the spring "strong", but with ~ 1/3 of the excavation done thus far, the water's risen a solid 8"-10" in 4 days with no rain. It gets a solid 5 acres of runoff (pasture- mown for hay, no livestock), so I'm thinking water level won't be a problem.

I'm picturing a fun family hangout spot (it's only 50 yds from the house, so a Tiki bar/gazebo & fire pit are also in the works), fun fishing for the fam & food, with big, eatin' size BG the primary goal. I like the idea of a bit more variety than the standard BG/RES/LMB combo, say maybe replacing the predator with SMB & adding some YP, but from all the reading I've doing here, I'm not sure I'll be able to pull it off in this small of a pond. I will aerate & add some structure, along with feeding the first couple years to kickstart things.

My goal is for the pond to become self sustaining & not be completely dependent on constant re-stocking, though I'm thinking of stocking some HBG, preferably Specklebellies, initially to get some eating size fish hitting hooks quickly. Past that, I'm not sure. Regardless, I'll put a few lbs of FHM in there this spring & let things marinate till fall. There's another spring that produces a small year round creek ~100 yds from the pond, so I figure the crawfish & frogs will show up on their own.

So what are y'all's thoughts? Any way to have YP as a bonus fish in a pond managed for eating sized BG? Could HSB help SMB keep the panfish populations in check? I really don't want CC, but wouldn't mind & can get BC. Not sure that any predator species short of LMB would spawn in my little pond, so I'd likely have to re-stock anything else periodically anyway. Or should I just take the KISS approach & stick with the tried & true BG/RES/LMB approach?

Thanks for havin' me. Looking forward to continuing to learn from y'all & getting my little pond producing laughter & yummy fillets.

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Welcome to the forum from a fellow Missourian.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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YP especially those trained to eat pellets and SMB will do well in that 1/4 - 1/3ac pond. As he digs that pond try to get some 12ft -14 ft deep bottom area. Without pellets the pond won't raise much more than 1 mess of fish per year. Adding pellets will boost the harvest to 3-4 meals of fish per year. If you decide to add HBG I think you will also need to add 5-6 HSB to help reduce numbers of the HBG offspring. Consider the redear sunfish instead of HBG / BG. Add plenty of structure as in 25% of the shoreline with habitat most of it dense for good survival of YP. If too many small YP or HBG become abundant in later years remove some of the structure and add several more HSB. You might want to delay adding HBG until year 4-6 to first see how well the YP-SMB perform to your goals. As far as BG I would not add them because without LMB BG numbers are hard for SMB-HSB to keep their numbers low so as to not stunt. HBG would be a better substitute to BG. As I mention,, first try the YP as panfish and then later add some redear sunfish or HBG in you think the pond needs a bluegill type fish. You will be surprised how well 9"-12" YP will perform and taste compared to HBG. If you feed pellets and manage numbers well you should see more 12"-14" YP.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/02/21 06:46 PM.

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Welcome to PB. It's always good to have another Miserian on the board.

I've got a kinda sorta similar pond to what you're thinking of a few miles east of Columbia.

Think about SMB, HSB, RES, and YP. That's what I've got, with the addition of some accidental BG. I spend a LOT of time getting rid of BG.
The bass have only been in for a year now, so I can't really say if they're going to be able to control the BG long-term, but I'm thinking probably not.

Check out this thread to see what RES can do if you give them a little help:
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=508098&page=1

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Originally Posted by Augie
Welcome to PB. It's always good to have another Miserian on the board.

I've got a kinda sorta similar pond to what you're thinking of a few miles east of Columbia.

Think about SMB, HSB, RES, and YP. That's what I've got, with the addition of some accidental BG. I spend a LOT of time getting rid of BG.
The bass have only been in for a year now, so I can't really say if they're going to be able to control the BG long-term, but I'm thinking probably not.

Check out this thread to see what RES can do if you give them a little help:
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=508098&page=1

Thanks. I've been reading most of your & Quarter Acre's & other MO folks' posts as much as possible.

We're kinda set on the BG/HBG thing due to them being the missus' favorite eating fish, my favorite catching fish & the little savages will hit about anything my grand nieces & nephew throw in the water. Nothing against RES at all- I'll stock 'em for snail control & will eat them jokers as quickly as I will their cousins, but don't think they'd be as fun for the kiddos. I'd just like to have something a bit different in there for an occasional change of pace.

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I hear you on the kiddos catching BG. They are easier to catch than RES for sure, and it's zero work to get them going on pellets.

You will be the 4th MO pond owner on the board who's trying YP/SMB. I think you're going to like it, but if you don't, you can chuck
in some LMB and let them take charge of the situation.

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A Hardy Welcome from a bit south of Marshall Junction.

My little pond started as a HBG/HSB/RES pond and, for what ever reason, the HBG did not take off too well and the HSB are next to impossible to catch. I have since added CC and regular BG. I love the HSB when you get one on the hook. The CC just make catching larger fish more frequent. My low numbers of HBG may have been due to the majority of the original stocker going down the drain pipe (IDK for sure), so I added the regular BG's to boost the forage numbers back up for the ladder stocked HSB and CC.

Small ponds are pretty cool in that they are less difficult to turn in a different direction, but they can be more temperamental too. It sounds like you are doing some good research and all the suggested fish type thus far will produce a fun experience so long as you don't expect to stock and walk away. You may win an easy one, but who really knows. For the life of me, I don't see how all the small ponds I fished as a younger person did so well left completely unattended. Not that my pond is much work, but more of a challenge to determine the current fish numbers and directions to try to go as it ages. If you are picky at all with how you pond turns out, expect to stock fish every couple years just to keep it improving especially if you use the HSB. This would not be a large stocking, but more of a supplemental stocking of larger fish.

If we keep growing the Missouri members here...we'll have to invite ourselves to Augie's place some Saturday and see how he does it so well!


Fish on!,
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PB members are always welcome at my house. I might even be able to find an ice cold STAG beer to share.

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I'd use the HBG and not the regular BG.


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Thanks, guys. Much appreciated.

Mr. Cody, I'll work on him to get a deeper hole or 2. Biggest issue is the area's too wet for a dozer & he doesn't want to get his D7 stuck in there, so we're limited to a track hoe's reach & he's concerned about possibly busting through the clay. Had to start in the center of the wet spot & work outward & with about a 1/3 of the hole dug, there's already 4'-6' of water in the deep end.

So here's my tentative game plan-
1) stock a couple pounds (5?) of FHM in the spring. Let that marinate till fall, while I figure out structure, aeration, water quality & what aquatic vegetation I may need to plant. Maybe fertilize to jump start the food chain?
2) stock 50 SSS, 50 RES & 25 YP in the fall & hand feed. I want to take a page from Augie's book & see if I can get the RES pellet trained.
3) stock 10 or so SMB that fall, along with 5? HSB as well?
4) from that point forward, I'm thinking harvest all the eating size SSS & treat the RES like I've read here for growing big BG- harvest the big females & 9"-10" males, leaving the bulls to procreate. Same with the YP, harvest at 9"-12", leaving the bruisers to spread their DNA. Not sure what size to start harvesting SMB or HSB, though. At what size will I need to start harvesting the SMB & HSB?
5) shift fire/adjust/restart based on the results of 1 through 4.

Not sure the SMB would spawn & I know as long as I have SSS or HBG, I'll have to stock fairly regularly. YP is the wild card. SSS & RES shouldn't overcrowd the pond & with the YP, I think the bass would have plenty of groceries, especially with the FHM & pellet feeding. Question is will the YP spawn & recruit & if so, which direction will they go? My focus is big bream for the table & fun for the kids, with a little bonus action for variety. Don't care about trophy fish at all & the bass are just a delicious means to an end.

Fortunately, as mentioned above, if it doesn't work out, I can always stock the appropriate number of LMB & BG & transition to that model.

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Originally Posted by CrazyCarl
50 RES & 25 YP in the fall & hand feed. I want to take a page from Augie's book & see if I can get the RES pellet trained.
3) stock 10 or so SMB that fall, along with 5? HSB as well?

Don't wait until fall to stock the RES if you're going to attempt pellet training. Buy them as fingerlings June/July timeframe. You'll want a small
pellet for this - Optimal Starter #3 is good - call them and see if you can get a 10lb bucket. A 40lb bag will go rancid before you can use it up.
If you get the pond done before spring go ahead and start the RES next summer. If your minnow population is good by the end of summer put
the YP in Oct/Nov. If you can source some advanced (8"-12") YP they should pull off a spawn spring of '23. Then you could add your SMB/HSB
fall of '23, but would be better to hold off until fall of '24. If you can't find advanced stocker YP I would definitely hold off adding the bass until '24.

If you feed a quality pellet, the original stocker sunfish should be hitting 8"+ by the time they're a year old. The YP will also take to pellets, so
you ought to see very nice growth out of them as well.

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If the pond is being dug with a track hoe with water in the hole then10ft is plenty of depth. The digging with water in the basin is risky business. You don't want to compromise the bottom clay structure. If truly spring fed year round the pond should stay full.

You are adding SSS. What fish are you calling SSS, that is a new acronym to me?

If you provide an area of some coarse gravel mixed with pea gravel on the "gentle slope" the SMB will definitely spawn. You will not be able to keep the YP from commonly laying eggs as first fish to spawn (water temp 48-50F) in the spring. Survival of all fry will depend on cover and number or density of fish as fry predators. RES will be the most likely fish to not recruit well.

FHM - stock 2-3 lbs if 1/4ac and 3-4lbs if 1/3ac. If pellet trained YP are available to you, I commonly add 4"-6" YP with the FHM. Although the YP with FHM need to be 4"-6" not 2"-3". YP will focus on eating pellets and not many small minnows that results in still lots of FHM by fall providing suggested rock habitat is used. You do not need to add 8"-12" YP in fall and could use cheaper 6"-8"s instead. Both will spawn the next spring. Plus, plus if you add at least some 4"-6 YP in spring you won't need to add any larger YP in fall to get a spawn in spring of 2023. In fact if you add some 4"-6" and a several 6"-8" YP with 3 lbs FHM in spring while water is pre 50F you will get a YP and big FHM spawn spring 2022. If the water it very turbid with visibility of 12" or less do not expect YP eggs to hatch well. Too much silt suffocates their egg ribbons. Spring 2022 would also be a good time to add RES because RES always struggle to be a common panfish in a strong mixed fishery.

A mix of 15-16 SMB-HSB are plenty of initial predators. The biggest common problem of stocking fish is getting green sunfish mixed with the other stocker panfish or some added from helpful naïve "friends".

Have your dirt man bring you some coarse rock-rubble mix adjacent or near the gentle slope with gravel. This if good permanent habitat that with some big stuff in the mix becomes good cover/habitat. Cut a step or ledge for a curb about 3-5 ft deep so the rubble as it is added does not roll or slide into the basin.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/03/21 02:47 PM.

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Mr. Cody-

SSS is the only acronym I could find for Specklebelly BG. Southern Specklebelly Sunfish, I think? Near as I can tell, they seem to be a BG/RES hybrid, vs. the typical HBG.

I'm with you on the excavation & rock & have already discussed it with the neighbor. Knew I'd need the gravel & rock, but wasn't 100% on where to place it. We knew the excavation was going to be more work with the water situation, but that spring's also in the only spot on our property suitable for a pond. He's done several pond builds & repairs on older ponds, so he's no expert, but knows what he's about & what pitfalls to beware of.

Not sure where water clarity's gonna end up. It's been 5 days since any digging & no rain & visibility is about a foot. All runoff is/will be pasture kept for hay, so I'm hoping I don't get a ton of silt.

I'm a little concerned about about attempting a YP spawn this spring, with it being a brand new, raw hole in the ground with no food chain established aside from the FHM being planted at the same time. I do plan to feed pellets by hand, but picture that being a pain with a bunch of hungry, hungry little hippos dependent on feeding. Am I overthinking that?

Regardless, it looks like the consensus is put in the RES along with the FHM in spring. I'm definitely willing to try YP at the same time, if Mr. Cody recommends it. What about the hybrid BG? Same time frame or wait till fall '22? If I'm feeding pellets, it'll take enough pressure off the FHM to let them get going well also? Just to hedge my bets, I'd like to put in at least a couple of the hybrids in with the RES to get the monkey see, monkey do dynamic going with pellet training.

Going that route, when should I look at stocking the SMB & HSB? Spring '23? Hypothetically speaking, best case scenario, say I stock 50 Specklebelly, 50 RES, 25 YP, along with the FHM in spring & successfully pull off a successful YP spawn, how out of control could the YP get with a season with no predators? I know the hybrids & RES shouldn't get out of control too quickly, but not sure just how prolific YP are. Say I stock the bass in spring '23, will the 15 SMB & HSB be able to get 'em back under control? What size bass? 4"-6"? 6"-8"?

Anyone point me to a source for fish cages & traps, or how to make 'em?

Thanks again, for y'all's knowledge & advice. It is hugely appreciated.

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I better put an acronym for Specklebelly sunfish on our acronym thread in the Common Pond Q&A archive. I will use SBS speckle belly sunfish. I decided to use SBS instead of SSS because these hybrids could be produced not just in the south.

Rain events on un-full raw pond sides will crate muddy silt laden water runoff in the basin. Plus muddy water with most clay from track hoe work will take months to settle enough to create water clarity of 2+feet. Expect fairly cloudy water until the pond is full. The more rock lined shoreline that you can create especially on prevailing down wind shores the clearer the water will stay in the pond. This is by having less shoreline wave erosion. Ponds like rock cobble lined shore in my area have 3 to 8ft of clarity. Good clarity allows more efficient predation of small fish. Plus clearer water of 2+ft allows or more natural productivity - planktonic and attached growth aka periphyton.

Newly filled ponds quickly develop a primary productive food chain. The exposed soil almost always has some nutrients in it to grow terrestrial weeds, thus phyto and zooplankton will also quickly flourish in this basin of water providing by spring the water clarity is 16"-24"+ to get optimum productivity. Invertebrates such as aquatic fly larvae have already been laying eggs in the basin since it first had water in it. Thus by spring the pond will have myriads of tiny foods available for small fish. Also some pellet feeding will somewhat enhance the pond fertility. All organics going into the pond contribute to nutrient increase.

IMO you are over-thinking the pellet hand feeding thing especially if you are only planning to feed around 125 panfish and minnows. Around ½ bag of pellets should last about all summer and fall. See if you can buy this limited amount of appropriate size of pellets where you get the panfish. Pellet hand feeding could be done 3-4 times a week, although fish growth would be a little less than optimum. Ideally hand feeding should be done 5-6 times a week to get close to best growth. But remember 125 small fish will not eat much more than 0.75 cup of pellets per day. Toward the end of late summer they may eat 1-1 1/4 cups per day. In my experience hand feeding 5-6 times a week for 4"-6" YP stocked in April-May post spawn will grow to 7"-11" long by late fall. I get that to happen regularly in new ponds when 4"-6" are stocked with FHM.

If this concerns you about not enough foods available then stock an extra pound or two of FHM. YP recruitment can be significantly suppressed by placing small 5ft- 7ft twiggy tree branches along the shoreline prior to the spawn. Then remove all egg ribbons observed. One YP egg ribbon from an 8"-9" YP will have 8,000 to 15,000 eggs - more than enough hatchlings to populate a small pond.

Primary predators of SMB-HSB could easily be stocked the first fall especially for the SMB. Waiting until spring IMO has little benefit (see below). Plus locating SMB in spring is very difficult because they are very often sold out in fall. SMB are not prolific often have sporadic hatch successes for fish hatcheries thus the spring shortages. I would stock whatever size SMB you can locate. Plus you are not needing very many so cost is not a big factor so you can stock larger 6"-8" SMB if desired and IF you can find them. Stocking the 6"-8" smallies becomes a little more important if you have a YP-RES spawn that spring so these larger smallies can thin the herd of panfish. If you have no perch spawn this spring then smaller fingerling SMB are good for a fall stocking. HSB as juveniles 4"-8" are most commonly available only spring in my locale.

"" What about the hybrid BG?"" Specklebelly as you are referring to. To my current knowledge it is not fully known which parent sunfishes are used to make this Specklebelly by Malone’s Fish Farm. The specklebelly was discussed back in 2017 on this forum.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=462692

Childers in his study of Hybridization of Four Species of Sunfishes (1967) found that a number of different kinds of hybrid sunfishes are not sterile and can produce sometimes “abundant” F2 and F3 generations and can be backcrossed to the parent species and some will outcross to nonparent species. It all depends. Thus if you stock them I suggest that you monitor their offspring abundance each fall or spring. Note that SMB and HSB might not be able to adequately crop abundant hybrid young of year (YOY). Adding more HSB to the pond if needed will help crop small sunfish hybrids. Then be prepared to crop their numbers via seining or fish trapping. One can easily remove numerous small sunfish and YP with wire mesh traps. I can easily catch 20-50 small young of year YOY YP from each trapping session in fall or spring pre-spawn by using just two homemade fish traps ¼” and ½ mesh.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
I better put an acronym for Specklebelly sunfish on our acronym thread in the Common Pond Q&A archive. I will SBS speckle belly sunfish. I decide to use SBS instead of SSS because these hybrids could be produced not just in the south.

Rain events on un-full raw pond sides will crate muddy silt laden water runoff in the basin. Plus muddy water with most clay from track hoe work will take months to settle enough to create water clarity of 2+feet. Expect fairly cloudy water until the pond is full. The more rock lined shoreline that you can create especially on prevailing down wind shores the clearer the water will stay in the pond. This is by having less shoreline wave erosion. Ponds like rock cobble lined shore in my area have 3 to 8ft of clarity. Good clarity allows more efficient predation of small fish. Plus clearer water of 2+ft allows or more natural productivity - planktonic and attached growth aka periphyton.

Newly filled ponds quickly develop a primary productive food chain. The exposed soil almost always has some nutrients in it to grow terrestrial weeds, thus phyto and zooplankton will also quickly flourish in this basin of water providing by spring the water clarity is 16"-24"+ to get optimum productivity. Invertebrates such as aquatic fly larvae have already been laying eggs in the basin since it first had water in it. Thus by spring the pond will have myriads of tiny foods available for small fish. Also some pellet feeding will somewhat enhance the pond fertility. All organics going into the pond contribute to nutrient increase.

IMO you are over-thinking the pellet hand feeding thing especially if you are only planning to feed around 125 panfish and minnows. Around ½ bag of pellets should last about all summer and fall. See if you can buy this limited amount of appropriate size of pellets where you get the panfish. Pellet hand feeding could be done 3-4 times a week, although fish growth would be a little less than optimum. Ideally hand feeding should be done 5-6 times a week to get close to best growth. But remember 125 small fish will not eat much more than 0.75 cup of pellets per day. Toward the end of late summer they may eat 1-1 1/4 cups per day. In my experience hand feeding 5-6 times a week for 4"-6" YP stocked in April-May post spawn will grow to 7"-11" long by late fall. I get that to happen regularly in new ponds when 4"-6" are stocked with FHM.

If this concerns you about not enough foods available then stock an extra pound or two of FHM. YP recruitment can be significantly suppressed by placing small 5ft- 7ft twiggy tree branches along the shoreline prior to the spawn. Then remove all egg ribbons observed. One YP egg ribbon from an 8"-9" YP will have 8,000 to 15,000 eggs - more than enough hatchlings to populate a small pond.

Primary predators of SMB-HSB could easily be stocked the first fall especially for the SMB. Waiting until spring IMO has little benefit (see below). Plus locating SMB in spring is very difficult because they are very often sold out in fall. SMB are not prolific often have sporadic hatch successes for fish hatcheries thus the spring shortages. I would stock whatever size SMB you can locate. Plus you are not needing very many so cost is not a big factor so you can stock larger 6"-8" SMB if desired and IF you can find them. Stocking the 6"-8" smallies becomes a little more important if you have a YP-RES spawn that spring so these larger smallies can thin the herd of panfish. If you have no perch spawn this spring then smaller fingerling SMB are good for a fall stocking. HSB as juveniles 4"-8" are most commonly available only spring in my locale.

"" What about the hybrid BG?"" Specklebelly as you are referring to. To my current knowledge it is not fully known which parent sunfishes are used to make this Specklebelly by Malone’s Fish Farm. The specklebelly was discussed back in 2017 on this forum.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=462692

Childers in his study of Hybridization of Four Species of Sunfishes (1967) found that a number of different kinds of hybrid sunfishes are not sterile and can produce sometimes “abundant” F2 and F3 generations and can be backcrossed to the parent species and some will outcross to nonparent species. It all depends. Thus if you stock them I suggest that you monitor their offspring abundance each fall or spring. Note that SMB and HSB might not be able to adequately crop abundant hybrid young of year (YOY). Adding more HSB to the pond if needed will help crop small sunfish hybrids. Then be prepared to crop their numbers via seining or fish trapping. One can easily remove numerous small sunfish and YP with wire mesh traps. I can easily catch 20-50 small young of year YOY YP from each trapping session in fall or spring pre-spawn by using just two homemade fish traps ¼” and ½ mesh.

Cool. Thank you. This is all making more sense now. I haven't fished since I was a kid & that just un-managed farm ponds for whatever would bite- usually stunted BG & BH, let alone owned/managed a pond. This is all new to me & despite a TON of reading on here, still theoretical at this point.

My attraction toward the SBS is mostly that I'm always attracted to the different/offbeat & that standard BG/GSF hybrid seems to get mixed reactions. To me, it seems the suspicion/guess as to their origins leans toward a BRES hybrid. CNBG/RES? Not married to SBS & could easily go with standard HBG, just seems like a fun way to get cruiser weight eaters happening.

Numbers wise, I'm really just guesstimating based on what I've read recommending 500 BG/acre. I know that aeration & feeding will increase my carrying capacity, but I've no idea to what extent & am just being conservative. I expected to hand feed once daily, so that doesn't sound too bad. My rationale on the hybrid/RES ratio was that if any hybrids managed to reproduce, it would more than likely be crossing with a fRES & that doesn't hurt my feelings at all. YP numbers are again a guess, based on my primary goal of putting big 'gills on the table, with some tasty YP on the side. Would you recommend different numbers or ratios of HBG/RES/YP than the 50/50/25 I'm guessing at?

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Bill:

To the best of my knowledge the SBS is a cross between a RES and a BG. Next time I'm there I'll ask Bobby.


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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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Numbers to stock are related to if the pond ends at 0.2 or 0.33 ac. Also affecting stocking density is how many, what size, and what species of predator are used. Matching up the numbers helps with the initial fishery balance. Also entering the equation is how many you are planning to harvest and when. Also included if bottom aeration and natural or pellet feeding are used. Amount of cover - habitat affects recruitment of fish. And we should not forget about ones goals for the pond. As you are seeing numerous factors contribute to fishery numbers.

Based on what you have told us so far the total panfish stocking density of around 125 is IMO okay especially since HBG and RES are not prolific spawners. Subtract several if pond is 0.2 ac and you can add 25-30 if the pond is a big 0.3 ac. I try not to overstock unless a decent harvest and pellet feeding are planned the first year. IMO I would start with the SBS hybrid instead of the regular hybrid sunfish. I say this because the SBS after several generations will not revert back toward the green sunfish. Also the SBS may also have a stronger tendency to eat some snails which are a favorite food of RES and half the cross of the SBS hybrid. At this point I do not see any big disadvantage of the SBS backcrossing the RES. Plus you can periodically return to this thread and tell us the progress of your fishery to help educate all of us more about growing pond fish. We all need to learn more about how the SBS performs in ponds.


Get a couple or build wire mesh fish traps to monitor the small fish recruitment. I prefer the Gee minnow traps and spray paint them a drab color. Avoid rubber coated wire mesh traps, as cautious fish tend to avoid these traps. You can build larger versions of these traps to catch larger fish. All your panfish species will readily enter fish traps. The traps will also allow you to monitor the relative numbers of FHminnow population. Make good notes about the catches in traps so you can compare trap catch results as the years pass. You will see a noticeable difference of trap catch results between years 1-2 and 5-7 and beyond as the fishery matures.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/04/21 11:06 AM.

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Thank you very much.

My plan is for a single bottom diffuser aerator & hand feeding the best chow I can. Not sure where I'll land with structure. Any recommendations? I've got plenty of brush to clear & could toss in a couple smaller cedars, but not sure if that's a good idea, or even advisable. Looks like some of the DIY type stuff with buckets, pvc pipe & pex tubing would be less likely to eat all my hooks & lures?

No idea of how much to harvest the first year. Never thought about it, assuming they'd need at least one season to grow out. How quickly can a hybrid 'gill hit the 8" range & YP ~10"? I'll be stocking the largest fish I can get my hands on. It would be nice to harvest a couple of eaters the first year, just to whet the family's whistles & as a proof of concept. Once established, I'd like to be able to harvest enough for semi regular meals & the odd fish fry, so say 75-100 fish per year, if my little pond will support it. More, if possible.

Having a hard time wrapping my head around how many actual fish are represented by "x pounds of biomass/acre", so I'm really just taking semi-educated guesses based on my reading here & don't know what I'm missing or misunderstanding.

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Carl,

One of the great resources on Pond Boss are the Relative Weight Charts.

Below is the link to the archives. (Be sure to scroll down in the thread, most of the oldest links are busted.)

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=160456

When the experts start talking about your BG being X inches in year 3 and your LMB being Y inches in their year 2, you need a means to relate their growth information to YOUR pond. If you can estimate your number of fish in each category in your pond, you can then use the charts and easily calculate your biomass of each species. Further, you can sum your species to calculate the ratio of predator biomass to forage biomass.


P.S.

The charts are also very helpful to measure the "health" of your pond. If all of your species of predator fish have low relative weight percentages, then your pond has a problem that you need to evaluate and then address.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


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