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After asking a round of questions and getting some fantastic help I'm on my way for my new 1/2 acre pond project. (Thank you Bill Cody, Omaha, Sunil, Ewest, and Eshhup for your help!)

Here is where I'm headed: (YP, RES, HSB, SMB?, BCP or Hybrid Crappie?)

-Pond is 1/2 acre and deepest point is around 14'. It is dug out fairly deep and averages 8-10' I would imagine. I've got some structure in the pond including (sand, several rock piles under water, some tile, a small rock pier, and a few home made pvc type structures). I plan on adding a pile of cedar limbs as well here soon in a very shallow area for spawning purposes. I will be feeding the fish pellets as well as much as I can reasonably afford.

-I have 2" conduit preparing to be laid in a trench that is being dug for my new home construction. They are running the natural drain from my basement to the pond. I'll pull wire out here hopefully late summer and get prepared to install a bottom aeration system that helps turn the water over.

-In early March my hope is to do the following stocking
5lbs of FHM
50 4-6" RES (to help identify them and not get any GSF or BG)
20 8-10" YP (Hoping to pull off a spawn in year one)
60 3-4" YP

-I'm likely not to install aeration until 2023 as I can imagine I would only have power ready to go out there towards early fall of 2022 so I doubt there would be much benefit at that point and from some conversations I've had in Ohio I may be ok without aeration for a bit given the biomass I have at this point)

-Fall of 2022 or Spring of 2023 I'd like to introduce some predators to the mix depending on how everything is doing?
25 3-4" HSB
more FHM if needed for the HSB?


From there I'm not sure! I have SMB as a maybe because I know I'd like to but some GSH in the mix as well. Mainly for forage, but if they get too large I will pull them out and use as catfish bait. I've seen a few posts here about success with YP RES SMB or HSB so I'm hoping I can mimic that! The other large goal I have is to add hybrid or black crappie into the mix successfully. I don't need them in large numbers, but I would like to grow some larger ones! I know that can get tricky with overpopulation. But I plan on pulling out YP and Crappie when necessary for the frying pan.

Let me know what you all think! Please advise if my stocking numbers sound off or odd, I do struggle with that. The goal is to grow fat and healthy fish! I'll keep posting here and updating my results and hopefully will learn alot!

Photos below!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


https://imgur.com/a/Ksm1QMd

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It will be a great journey.

From your pics, how much of the hard structure is showing? If what we can see represents a large part of it, you may want to add much more in the areas yet to fill.

For example, where we can see that black thing with the tentacles, if that's the only one, I'd try to add 5-10 more in just that area alone.


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Thanks Sunil!

Under water I have 2 rock piles, a large ring of 1' tall concrete pilings, and a fake PVC tree type structure. I also plan on adding a bundle of cedar limbs in a shallow corner, with a few larger brush/log pieces around it.

I do think you're right though, I have enough concrete to make 5 more of those tentacle type items and it would probably do some good putting them all together there. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Good start for documenting the pond progress. To add to Sunil's comment I would create a line of those spider structures AT LEAST all the way back towards the string of rocks descending toward deeper water. An even longer line of them would be even better for providing cover/habitat for the small fish community. Think 20% of the shoreline length. You need to focus to long term prop-up the forage fish for the planned combination of larger fish. IMO for your planned fishery, you need a lot more shallow habitat that parallels the shoreline. Think of it as an artificial weed bed. If at some point, which I doubt, you see too many forage fish, then you can always pull out some of the artificial weed bed. Remove and add as necessary based on existing density of minnows.

Your plan of hybrid crappie has merit buy I very much doubt that you will ever find any of hybrid BCP in OHIO especially close to where you live. Those fish in OH are always rare or non-existent as teeth on a chicken.

Adding your fish as late as March 24 in OH will get you a YP spawn. Others will spawn later in spring.

I would take your 40-60 3"-4" YP an blend into that total some 4"-6" YP; any percentage. Impt note - YP in central midwest esp OH are going to be exceeding rare in spring of 2022 due to numerous farms had very bad YP spawning success in spring of 2021. Big shortage of stocker YP for spring 2022. Many of the larger fish farms in OH have gone to western states this fall for 2022 perch. Those that do not have their YP now will likely not have much in regards to YP for 2022.

HSB could be added in fall of 2022 if you can find them which may be difficult. HSB are most commonly available in spring early summer then they get sold out and farms do not repurchase until the next spring. Based on your small fish densities I would consider cutting back on the 25 HSB and initially stock 15 at 6"-8" size. Then the next year if needed and forage is abundant stock 10 more. 15 12"-14" HSB will eat a lot of fish because they are constantly hungry and growing fast. Ladder stocking concept. The smaller the stocker size of HSB the more they struggle to survive the transplant. Another option is buy the 25 3"-4"ers in spring put them in a cage, feed them and stock what ever survive in fall of 2022. From my experience expect large losses of transplant HSB from fish farms. This spring I add what appeared to be 30 3"-4" HSB to a cage and 2 survived!. HSB are touchy and quite sensitive as stocker fish. My many experiences. YOU will verify this by putting some what look healthy into a cage. Healthy HSB will thrive in a cage IF they are handled properly BEFORE you get HSB and IF you properly temper them prior the caging them or pond stocking them. Larger size HSB stockers have proven many times to be much more hardy for survival after stocking. Numerous times those smallest ones are stocked and never seen again.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/06/22 11:44 AM.

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Thanks as always Bill,

As far as structure, do you think I should be using something different than the spider type structures? I like the idea of artificial over a lot of trees in my pond. Just want to make sure these would be okay to start throwing a lot into the pond like you suggested.



I've updated my stocking numbers based on your recommendations, hopefully I don't run into too many issues. Have you heard much on the quality of perch from Urbana FF? As of now I plan on making a call up to Shelby Fish Farms for most of these to see what I can get ordered.



Spring of 2022

50 Redear 4-6"
20 YP 8-10"
20 YP 4-6"
40 YP 3-4"
5# FHM

Fall 2022 or Spring 2023
15 HSB 6-8"
5# FHM
5# GSH

Spring 2023
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.

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Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.

Hoosier Pond Pros (esshup on Pond Boss) has had Hybrid Crappie in the past. I think(???) he was not able to get any last year. If that is your source, then I highly recommend that you get in touch directly with esshup to determine availability and timing for 2023!

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Hybrid Crappie, I believe I've sourced some in Indiana. If not, I may try my hand at Black Crappie.

Hoosier Pond Pros (esshup on Pond Boss) has had Hybrid Crappie in the past. I think(???) he was not able to get any last year. If that is your source, then I highly recommend that you get in touch directly with esshup to determine availability and timing for 2023!

We had them last year. I had some that I kept all summer and was able to feed train about 60% of them. Nobody ordered them in the Fall so I stocked them into my pond. They grew from 2 1/2" in late May to 5"-6" by late October feeding them Optimal Starter #4 and then transitioning to a mix of Optimal Starter #4 and Optimal Bluegill Jr. I fed them once or twice a day when I remembered. You will need a good self-sustaining minnow population if you really want them to take off growth wise, or put them in a cage and feed train them, THEN release them into the pond.

I don't know how close you are to Anna, Ohio. Steve at Shelby Fish Farm packages small quantities of fish for people to pick up in plastic bags and cardboard boxes when the order isn't enough to deliver. With the price of diesel fuel and all the related price increases of everything else that is associated with it, we are going to have to rethink our minimum order size and/or what we have to charge for delivery. At 12 mpg, making a delivery 200 miles away is starting to cost some serious $$ when you have to figure in all the expenses related to hauling fish and than add labor on top if it. For a 400 mile round trip just the cost of the diesel fuel alone is $127.....


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esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.

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IMO lots of regular fish farms have not yet learned the benefits of hybrid black crappie(HBCP) thus they do not use/have them. Also demand is very low because few pond owners know very little about the benefits of HBCP. To them a crappie is a crappie; who cares if it is a hybrid. So demand is very low. This would be another fish tank space needed for their current hatchery facility and lots of fish farms are already full with current species being handled. No doubt they see no real dollar benefit unless thousands are sold for dealing with another species when they already handle black crappie(BCP) that they think are very adequate if a customer wants a FEW crappie. IMO most fish farms are much more concerned for their benefit rather than the customer's desires and needs which is financially understandable. These are reasons HBCP are as rare as teeth on chickens. One has to go way out of their comfort zone to get hands on them.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/07/22 11:34 AM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
IMO lots of regular fish farms have not yet learned the benefits of hybrid black crappie(HBCP) thus they do not use/have them. Also demand is very low because few pond owners know very little about the benefits of HBCP. To them a crappie is a crappie; who cares if it is a hybrid. So demand is very low. This would be another fish tank space needed for their current hatchery facility and lots of fish farms are already full with current species being handled. No doubt they see no real dollar benefit unless thousands are sold for dealing with another species when they already handle black crappie(BCP) that they think are very adequate if a customer wants a FEW crappie. IMO most fish farms are much more concerned for their benefit rather than the customer's desires and needs which is financially understandable. These are reasons HBCP are as rare as teeth on chickens. One has to go way out of their comfort zone to get hands on them.


Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possiblity if the BCP have a prolific spawn.

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I truly like to have diversity whenever possible.

The feeling of not knowing what's on your line is a thrill of it's own every time.

I feel any negative aspects of Black Crappie will be somewhat reduced once you have larger predator fish in the pond. In that regard though, I'm not sure how much Hybrid Striped Bass will keep Crappie in check. Smallmouth would have a better chance, leaving largemouth out of the picture.

Now, another factor for the early years of Crappie would be the stocking numbers; if you're introducing them when the pond already has other mature predators, I think the lower numbers of crappie you stock, the less chance of overpopulation in the following years.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
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Originally Posted by Sunil
I truly like to have diversity whenever possible.

The feeling of not knowing what's on your line is a thrill of it's own every time.

I feel any negative aspects of Black Crappie will be somewhat reduced once you have larger predator fish in the pond. In that regard though, I'm not sure how much Hybrid Striped Bass will keep Crappie in check. Smallmouth would have a better chance, leaving largemouth out of the picture.

Now, another factor for the early years of Crappie would be the stocking numbers; if you're introducing them when the pond already has other mature predators, I think the lower numbers of crappie you stock, the less chance of overpopulation in the following years.

Since BCP migrate to open water after hatching I would think that hybrid stripers would decimate them since this is their home and feeding area. LMB follow the BCP in my 6 acre pond and have almost wiped out my BCP. That’s why I don’t have any stripers….. would love them but having a hard time getting any recruitment from BCP

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Pat, back when I first got my main pond over 20 years ago, it was already a mature pond, 4.5 acres, and we had BCP. I never felt bad about having them, but never had to make a decision to actually willingly stock them. But I enjoyed them.

I'd have no reservations about putting them in tyler's case.


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Forgot to talk about HSB.

I've had some HSB in my ponds to maybe 5-7 lbs. I've always felt their mouths are not that big, but I was thinking about them eating 4" plus BCP.

I've seen them clean up on schooling fish so I see your point about them getting the YOY BCP.


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tylerd1994 - Not a lot of research has been published on HSB for controlling BCP but there has been a few articles about this. Basically young new born crappie move to open water for several months to live and feed away from shoreline. This open water is where HSB spend most of their life. Thus the two species intermingle a lot when crappie are small. Research studies concluded that HSB when adequately abundant can eat a lot of small young of year(YOY) crappie and reduce or control recruitment of crappie.

BE aware during years with heavy crappie spawns a pond could get a reduced overpopulation of small crappie when HSB is not enough, and the owner would have to manually harvest 4"-6" crappie to put the crappie population back toward resembling some sort of acceptable balance. A pond with crappie would IMO require a closer fish monitoring of fish numbers compared to other common combinations of fishes. Bottom line - crappie are risky but doable in smaller ponds. Remember crappie are basically just smaller predators and to grow well they need lots of food that would have been eaten by other pond fish. Each crappie detracts from another fish in the pond - competition. The 'weakest' one usually suffers or both do not grow to the their potential.

The more fish species and numbers that are in a pond the more difficult it becomes to keep all species growing at their best rate because each species tends to feed in its own unique food niche that often can detract from the food feeding niche of another species - competition. Both species might suffer rather than both being enhanced.

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Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.

I go to Steve's on occasion. Let me know when you are going and how many you'd want, and if Steve will hold them then that is a possibility. If it's not, I have had people get fish from me and transport them in clean plastic garbage cans or large coolers with a battery powered aerator, or a spray bar that is plugged in to their cigarette lighter.

One guy in the far Southern part of the state met me part way down for all his fish for his new pond. He borrowed an O2 tank from work and a 2 stage regulator, and had a 300 gallon tote inside his enclosed trailer. He had cut the top just large enough to get a net in and out. He asked what air stone to buy and he had it already hooked up for the trip back. We fiddled with the valve on the O2 tank because he didn't get a flow meter. It worked.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by tylerd1994
Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by FishinRod
esshup,

Thanks for correcting my misinformation!

Thanks even more for posting the best way to source and sustain the fish for a situation like Tyler's. (In this case, Hybrid Crappie.)

Seeing the big picture certainly helps pond rookies like me.

I am not sure Steve will have Hybrid Crappie. Other than us I don't know who else has them up here. There is only one fish supplier that I know of in Arkansas that has them, that's why they are so hard to source. We constantly get requests to ship fish. It's a money looser for us actually. We have to drive 25 minutes one way to a UPS pick up point, and we have to get there late in the afternoon to not have the fish sit in the box for half the day. Then ship them next day air, and the cardboard box/plastic bags/O2/cold packs/insulated shipping cooler makes the shipping costs pretty high. We could figure out the price of all the overhead and shipping, but would a person pay $100-$200 for a few fish that cost at the most a couple bucks each?

We've had people order 1 rainbow trout and expect us to ship it to them in Florida in August. People can't read or won't read. Even though we put on the website that Trout are only available mid to late Oct thru mid November, it doesn't matter. We finally had to put a notice that we'd have to charge an administrative fee if they don't call or email before placing an order if they are not within "X" miles. It costs us a 3.5% credit card fee to take an order, and to refund the order it costs us another 3.5%. The online shipping program will not let us refund via credit card anything less than the full purchase price, so we'd have to write a check and mail it. When a person orders 1 Hybrid Crappie the overhead costs refunding the order is more than the purchase price of the fish.


Thanks for chiming in Eesshup!

I think I'm about a 3 hour drive from you, do you think that would be an issue just picking them up myself? I definitely am interested going this route and feed training them. But yes I am very close to Steve, he's right up the road so he will be my main source for these fish likely! I think my first order should meet his minimum this spring.

I go to Steve's on occasion. Let me know when you are going and how many you'd want, and if Steve will hold them then that is a possibility. If it's not, I have had people get fish from me and transport them in clean plastic garbage cans or large coolers with a battery powered aerator, or a spray bar that is plugged in to their cigarette lighter.

One guy in the far Southern part of the state met me part way down for all his fish for his new pond. He borrowed an O2 tank from work and a 2 stage regulator, and had a 300 gallon tote inside his enclosed trailer. He had cut the top just large enough to get a net in and out. He asked what air stone to buy and he had it already hooked up for the trip back. We fiddled with the valve on the O2 tank because he didn't get a flow meter. It worked.



I will let you know when I get my order in with Steve, thanks so much Esshup!

Bill thanks again for your words of wisdom. The crappie endeavor will be a well thought out process and I do not mind actively managing the population. If I do get my hands on these Hybrid Crappie I think that could help their predation by HSB quite a lot I hope!

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Okay folks, I'll be going out to the pond site tomorrow. The plan is to make as many more shallow water structure items as I can as recommended earlier in the thread. I'm hoping to make that entire bank side littered with structure! Here is a picture of some of the structure before the pond filled. I had placed the PVC tree in a deeper section of water and you can see it peaking out. Does anyone think I need any more deep water structure than what is shown here? I do plan on aerating.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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I don't think you need any deep water structure. The shallow structure that you have now is basically nothing. The pond is only 1/2 ac. Deep water structure is mainly for fish attractors and in your small pond where are the fish going to go that you can't find them???? If you are not catching them in this small pond then something is remiss.

IMO put your money and efforts toward shallow fish habitat structures using various sizes of tubing. Litter the entire area from the black spider down the to the small rock pile depth clear towards the elongated stone pile if you want small fish habitat. The spider structures should be touching or close to toughing each other as performance of small fish habitat. It would be even better to extend the habitat clear back to the measly 2 cement drain tile in 3ft of water. You can always remove some of them if you have too much cover, but IMO rarely ever do ponds have too much artificial cover. Continual presence of FHM indicate there is an adequate amount of cover.

tylerd says " Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond WHEN YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possibility if the BCP have a prolific spawn."

There are a lot of fish balance issues for a fishery. Balance will be determined on your goals for the fishery. Just surviving is at the lower end and all species surviving at optimum growth is at the other end of the balance. The more species one adds to a fishery especially if they eat some sort of fish the more complex the balance becomes.

Here are some things to think about before stocking regular fertile crappie into your pond with adult YP, RES, HSB, GSH, FHM. Hybrid crappie have shown to not cause overpopulation problems in LMB ponds. However HBCP do eat fish and proven not to eat pellets. This is an important consideration. Relatively little IMO is known about their (HBCP) performance of with SMB, HSB, WE, RES and or YP. Yes - RES will consume some tiny fish during their adult life. Your pond can be one more learning example.

1. If the pond behaves normally to my experience do not expect the RES to thrive and annually provide numerous youngsters. This IMO will result in the GSH and YP carrying practically all the forage fish burden. This is why I emphasized adding more numbers of the spider tube brush like structure. Make them abundant with dense tubes. For best protection of breeder forage adults you need a numerous amount weed bed like cover – like 20% or more of the 2’-4ft deep water.

2. Thoughts - Depending on how many foxes(HSB) that you have in the chicken (minnow) coop, the availability of small sized forage fish may not be adequate to keep the HSB growing well. What are the fishery goals????. Can you sacrifice growth of adult HSB to have nice crappie? However,,,,, these generally small HSB’s could be a very good thing because smaller sized adult HSB (around 13"-16"max) could only eat around 1.7"-2.7" maybe 3.0" forage fish of YP and maximum length 4"-4.5" shiners. These max size HSB IMO would focus the predation pressure more onto small crappie and others. This plan would involve slot harvesting all HSB above 15”-16” and then replacing them with small stockers – aka ladder stocking as needed.

3. With heavy predation of all small fish, now what are the larger 5"-7" crappie going to eat when 1.5"-2" small fish are scarce??? BCP of any genetic strain do not take to pellets. If they did then one would not have to be concerned about density of small forage fish for growing crappie. IMO crappie larger than 6” are going to want easy to catch small fish 1”-2”. IMO you would be wiser to use a panfish predator that will readily eat pellets and small fish such as pellet raised YP or HBG.

Expect the HSB to heavily prey on 2"-4" YP and GSH because of the slender body shapes rather than the HSB eating wide body 3"+ BCP. Strong recruitment of YP due to lots of egg ribbons and adequate shoreline habitat may help keep enough prey size foods present to sustain several HSB in ½ ac. Maybe 10HSB?

4. For a general idea of what the HSB will be eating each year plan on each one eating at least 1.5 fish per day from Apr1 to Nov1 and some small fish if available each week during winter. All this equates to around each HSB eating 350-500 fish each year. Even if you feed the HSB pellets I still think they will eat at least 1.5 fish per day. 10 HSB = around 5000 small 1.5”-3” fish per year. Remember all the larger YP and BCP will also “like” to eat small 1”-2” fish so they can continue growing to the 9”-13” sizes. Using mostly all pellet eating stockers will allow more small fish to survive. Hopefully you can add enough cover so some adult FHM can continue producing some easy catch small minnows of FHM&GSH.

5.. Maintaining the right balance and right sizes of all predators including YP & BCP in the pond will be your pond management challenge. Not having the HBCP or BCP will make fish balance easier. I suggest that you remove 3-4 pellet eating perch which equate to every BCP that you add. When you are noticing no breeder FHM and few small shiners compared to years 1&2 reduce the number of fish eating fish.

6. Keep us advised of your pond progress by returning to this thread with updates.

PS --- expect during summer drought periods that the water level will drop and be at the bottom of the stone ledge. For your sake I hope not, but I find that 80% of the pond construction methods in Ohio leads to this. We will see just how good during drought years that your pond builder was.

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[quote=Bill Cody]I don't think you need any deep water structure. The shallow structure that you have now is basically nothing. The pond is only 1/2 ac. Deep water structure is mainly for fish attractors and in your small pond where are the fish going to go that you can't find them???? If you are not catching them in this small pond then something is remiss.

IMO put your money and efforts toward shallow fish habitat structures using various sizes of tubing. Litter the entire area from the black spider down the to the small rock pile depth clear towards the elongated stone pile if you want small fish habitat. It would be even better to extend the habitat clear back to the measly 2 cement drain tile in 3ft of water.

tylerd says " Anyone have any thoughts about putting some BCP in this pond YP, RES, HSB have gotten large enough. Clearly there is fear of the over reproduction of the crappie... but boy do I want to try! I just don't think I want to transition this pond into a LMB pond and I know that could be a possibility if the BCP have a prolific spawn."

There are a lot of fish balance issues for a fishery. Balance will be determined on your goals for the fishery. Just surviving is at the lower end and all species surviving at optimum growth is at the other end of the balance. The more species one adds to a fishery especially if they eat some sort of fish the more complex the balance becomes.

Here are some things to think about before stocking regular fertile crappie into your pond with adult YP, RES, HSB, GSH, FHM. Hybrid crappie have shown to not cause overpopulation problems in LMB ponds. Relatively little IMO is known about their (HBCP) performance of with SMB, HSB, WE, RES and or YP. Yes - RES will consume some tiny fish during their adult life. Your pond can be one more learning example.

1. If the pond behaves normally to my experience do not expect the RES to thrive and annually provide numerous youngsters. This IMO will result in the GSH and YP carrying practically all the forage fish burden. This is why I emphasized adding more numbers of the spider tube brush like structure. Make them abundant with dense tubes. For best protection of breeder forage adults you need a numerous amount weed bed like cover – like 20% or more of the 2’-4ft deep water.

2. Thoughts - Depending on how many foxes(HSB) that you have in the chicken (minnow) coop, the availability small sized forage fish may not be adequate to keep the HSB growing well. What are the fishery goals????. Can you sacrifice growth of adult HSB to have nice crappie? However,,,,, these generally small HSB’s could be a very good thing because smaller sized adult HSB (around 13"-16"max) could only eat around 1.7"-2.7" maybe 3.0" forage fish of YP and maximum length 4"-4.5" shiners. These max size HSB IMO would focus the predation pressure more onto small crappie and others. This plan would involve slot harvesting all HSB above 15”-16” and then replacing them with small stockers – aka ladder stocking as needed.

3. With heavy predation of all small fish, now what are the larger 5"-7" crappie going to eat when 1.5"-2" small fish are scarce??? BCP of any genetic strain do not take to pellets. If they did then one would not have to be concerned about density of small forage fish for growing crappie. IMO crappie larger than 6” are going to want easy to catch small fish 1”-2”. IMO you would be wiser to use a panfish predator that will readily eat pellets and small fish such as pellet raised YP or HBG.
3. Expect the HSB to heavily prey on 2"-4" YP and GSH because of the slender body shapes rather than the HSB eating wide body 3"+ BCP. Strong recruitment of YP due to lots of egg ribbons and adequate shoreline habitat may help keep enough prey size foods present to sustain several HSB n ½ ac.

4. For a general idea of what the HSB will be eating each year plan on each one eating at least 1.5 fish per day from Apr1 to Nov1 and some small fish if available each week during winter. All this equates to around each HSB eating 350-500 fish each year. Even if you feed the HSB pellets I still think they will eat at least 1.5 fish per day. 10 HSB = around 5000 small 1.5”-3” fish per year. Remember all the larger YP and BCP will also “like” to eat small 1”-2” fish so they can continue growing to the 9”-13” sizes. Using mostly all pellet eating stockers will allow more small fish to survive. Hopefully you can add enough cover so some adult FHM can continue producing some easy catch small minnows of FHM&GSH.

5.. Maintaining the right balance and right sizes of all predators including YP & BCP in the pond will be your pond management challenge. Not having the HBCP or BCP will make fish balance easier. I suggest that you remove 3-4 pellet eating perch which equate to every BCP that you add. When you are noticing no breeder FHM and few small shiners compared to years 1&2 reduce the number of fish eating fish.

6. Keep us advised of your pond progress by returning to this thread with updates.



Thanks again Bill, lots of valuable info here....I will focus on the Hybrid Crappie when the time is do, but I do have quite some time to be patient and observe my forage sustainability.

I hear you, and I would gladly sacrifice the growth rate of the HSB to cater to larger panfish such as the YP, RES, and Hybrid Crappie. The only reason I wanted to add them would be to be a larger predator in this equation as I was thinking it would be necessary.


I'll be posting shortly with additional structure placed in the pond. I have about 500' of 1/2" and 500' of 1/4" irrigation tubing to go into buckets to litter that bankside with. I also have some plastic skids and cedar limbs to use as well. I'm hoping to accomplish what has been suggested here and really get some denser cover in the area.

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Your structure area when you are done should look like a damn weed bed. Dense if you want it to function as year round habitat even during winter when natural weed beds die back. When you use tree branches as structure plan on them lasting only 3-4 years then the only things that are left are the 1 plus inch diameters that serve as fluffy very coarse cover not dense cover.

See those larger rocks as your rock structure?? If it was my pond I would have 1/3 to 1/2 the pond shoreline lined with this size and larger rocks.

PS --- expect during summer drought periods that the water level will drop and be at the bottom of the stone ledge. For your sake I hope not, but I find that 80% of the pond construction methods in Ohio leads to this. We will see just how good during drought years that your pond builder was.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/08/22 10:29 PM.

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Speaking of Hybrid Crappie, I wonder if it would be worthwhile to stock them in forage pond & feed them until they are large enough to withstand most of my pond predators? Maybe I'd need to first get FM going in forage pond, along with feeding.

Just a crazy thought. Would be fun if we could have large crappie without them taking over the lake. I already have some decent 18 plus inch LMB and even bigger HSB.

Last edited by anthropic; 01/09/22 12:09 AM.

7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB & 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS -116




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I have a customer who's pond is 4 ac. SMB, HSB, HBG, YP, RES, initially FHM and GSH, now all that is left of the minnows is GSH. We stocked 100# of each when the pond was 1/2 full of water, the FHM lasted a year with the HBG and YP in there. Tremendous amount of cover in the pond.

HBC were stocked at year 4, Jury is still out on them, but some were pushing 13" at year 2. The owner feeds 1/2 pallet of Optimal a year.


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