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I'm interested in primarily a Trophy large mouth population with bluegill.

This is a farm pond with another farm pond that buts right up next to it from upstream.

The bass population is low currently and the ones found during electro fishing were 11-16 inches in length and relatively thin.
A decent population of crappie were captured electro fishing some smaller than 2 inches but 3-4", 11" and some 14" were found.
A low population of bluegill existed 2-4" and some in the 8" range.
Golden Shiners were very common and while a lot are under 2" some were found between 8-11" in size.

I'm focusing on clearing up a vegetation issue in the pond by using a weed killer and stocking grass carp. I've installed two texas feeders and later this summer will be fertilizing the pond once I have the vegation under better control. With all of the work done repairing the pond having this evaluation done among other things stocking this pond at the rate suggested simply isn't feasible as I don't have any gold bricks laying around to scratch some dust off of.

My question is would stocking bluegill 4-6" in size by adding say a 1,000 to the pond at the time I stock the carp be of any benefit or is that a waste and I should save up? Should I look to another species due to the black crappie such as the georgia giant or a shell cracker? I'm slowly trying to build this back up to where it was when I grew up fishing in it and pulling out consistent 6+ pound bass with some large bass in the 9-12 pound range.

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Hbound,

This is going to sound very unusual and some may disagree. But if it was me with your goal, I would do one of two things.

1. Drawdown, complete kill, restock.

2. Drawdown to 8 acres. Keep every thing I could catch and recruit help catching as many of the rest I could. I'd try to keep the water at 8 acres if could for until Fall and sow sorgum or maize in the bottom. Just broadcasting it. In the fall, allow it to flood. Might take 4 to 5 years to max out the LMB but they should reach good proportions of the former pond you remember.

Me? I would probably do 2 thinking I could always do 1 if it didn't work to my expectations. 2 would save some green but 1 would probably work best. Keep in mind. You have water above that could mess everything up by seeding too many small bass.


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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I considered it but the cost is a major issue with it coupled with the pond up stream having the same problems and them releasing water into mine.

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Its going to be difficult to shift populations in 35 acres. The cheapest way, since cost is an issue, is a severe drawdown with intense harvest/kill followed by re-flooding. Lots of waters have done this due to drought and subsequent wet years. Many are rejuvenated by it.


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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Do you have any say in the upstream pond?

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Originally Posted by Snipe
Do you have any say in the upstream pond?

It isn't one I own but there is one yes. They regularly will open their spillway up to flow into mine to drop their water table, I'm not entirely sure why. This has led to a fish population issue in my pond to deal with.

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35 acres is a big body of water to impact when you are tying to change things for sure.

The feed is going to help, but aggressive culling is necessary if you are not going to resort to draw-downs or large supplemental stocking. Targeting crappie and removing all crappie caught should be a part of the plan; you'll never get rid of all of them, but will reduce their random impact on the fishery.

Removing all 'stunted' bass will also be a good step.

The number of fish to be removed will be in the thousands.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
35 acres is a big body of water to impact when you are tying to change things for sure.

The feed is going to help, but aggressive culling is necessary if you are not going to resort to draw-downs or large supplemental stocking. Targeting crappie and removing all crappie caught should be a part of the plan; you'll never get rid of all of them, but will reduce their random impact on the fishery.

Removing all 'stunted' bass will also be a good step.

The number of fish to be removed will be in the thousands.

Luckily I have some family more than willing to help. We pulled 72 crappie out last weekend and several were very large. I expect this to take some time for sure as it won't be an easy turn around.

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Well, it's a labor of love.

It's recommended to keep a pond (lake in your case) journal, so you can better track progress.

As the process will be ongoing, it may be beneficial to invest in some fish traps, nets, and seine nets. These tools can go a long way towards achieving your goals.

If you ever electrofish again, that is a great way to cull large amounts of fish.

You mentioned that the 'upstream' pond is frequently intentionally drained into your pond? I would try and stop that process if possible.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Well, it's a labor of love.

It's recommended to keep a pond (lake in your case) journal, so you can better track progress.

As the process will be ongoing, it may be beneficial to invest in some fish traps, nets, and seine nets. These tools can go a long way towards achieving your goals.

If you ever electrofish again, that is a great way to cull large amounts of fish.

You mentioned that the 'upstream' pond is frequently intentionally drained into your pond? I would try and stop that process if possible.

I'm trying to think of a way to do that. The owners of that 20 acre pond aren't very cooperative and generally asking them will get the opposite reaction. The spillway was damaged in my pond and I was trying to repair it I asked if they would be able to not block theirs for 1-2 days as the company repairs mine. Instead they opened it up.

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With limited control of upstream infiltration, and a large body of water, I would focus on a top predator that could benefit from lots of prey. Maybe northern pike? Control what you can.

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HBound,

I'm not sure I would fully trust the survey's determination that BG and LMB populations were low. They may be normal but if they are really low the weed problem may have something to do with that. I feel like there is a lot of information we are missing. But if you are to succeed, you are going to have recreate a young pond. This means space for fish to grow into. The BOW needs to be under capacity in order to put weight on existing fish. Controlling the weeds, if it stimulates bloom should help but harvest in your situation of 35 acres doesn't seem tenable to turn the tide. There is probably a ton of LMB in there and several times that weight of BG. It's going to feel like plugging a leak to only find a new one pops out. Now I speak strictly with regard to your goal of regularly catching 6lb + up to 12 lb LMB. If your are serious about this goal, you should consider other remedies.

The benefit of draining is that it concentrates the fish where you can cull easier, predator fish can find prey easier, and natural forces accelerate the mortality of the older fish. While the water is down .... the rooted aquatic vegetation on the now exposed bottom will die. Upon flooding, there is a lot of free space for the fish that remain to grow into. They will grow rapidly and a lot forage will be created. There are many examples of such strategies working very well to grow large LMB. A lake as large as yours can benefit from this strategy even though it makes very little sense for a 1 acre pond. If I had a lake that size I would want to be able to control the lake's level and I would design a system for doing that. With big LMB the goal, I would probably use this technique in lieu of stocking, feeding, and such simply from a cost/benefit standpoint. The level control system can greatly extend the life of your spillway and reduce its use. Something it seems the neighbors upstream are doing.

As for the dumping by the neighbor. If the they increased the flow without cause when you requested help then that wasn't very neighborly. But they may have been following a protocol in management or possibly just receiving more water. Being able to control your water level is something you need too, its a powerful management tool that every large BOW should have. Any BOW that is full has to shed water. In that sense, the neighbor isn't dumping fish nor are they dumping water. They can't hold it all and neither can you. The fishing in their BOW might be more like you remember the fishing in yours. When you think about from that perspective ... it is clear that their BOW isn't the reason yours is a shadow of its former self. That said, when controlling numbers of LMB to ensure fast grow to trophy sizes, it wouldn't take many recruits to make this goal more difficult and most certainly, beyond some threshold fish larger than 6 lbs might become improbable. I mentioned the influx of LMB recruits from above as a risk and it most certainly is when the goal for LMB ultimate weight is as high as you have set the bar.

With all that said. I do wish you luck with this. I will give you this fair warning. Small adjustments either through harvest or stockings will not probably work in BOW that size. It will be a lot fun catching and eating the fish but it will be like steer and a heifer. You will get no calf. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on herbicides, feed, feeders, fish, and .... and still have a pond full of fish that are less than the size you desire. Enjoy this and as Dave in Texas says don't try to hide what your are spending on the lake from your wife!


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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I bet that the "decent" population of crappie are hammering the YOY LMB and BG during the first 6 months of their lives. I would concentrate on removing a LOT of the crappie and see if that helps the LMB and BG population.


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That is a large body of water to try to get control of, I don't have much confidence in electrofishing as a means of adjusting populations, at least as Ive watched it being done once by the local conservation dept, their rattling, clanging, generator powered, aluminum boat they were in had all the fish clearing out of any area way before they got to them, they didn't float enough fish to make any educated guess as to the actual population in the lake, actually Ive landed more on a good day fishing in that lake then they did with their equipment, and never floated one crappie when I have caught a bunch in that particular lake, I think its because they stay out in open, deeper water that they never got any. that being said, I would guess you need to remove a ton of crappie out of your BOW to get some sort of balance, I agree if you could drain it down to a smaller area you will be able to catch and remove a lot easier.
As somebody that has just bought fish to stock a 15 acre lake, I know, killing and starting over in a lake that size is extremely expensive, my wife doesn't know how much I have invested in stocking fish in only a 15 acre lake.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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You are going to be spending a significant amount of money on your restoration project, just by virtue of its large size.

Is there any chance of constructing a sediment/retention pond between the two existing large ponds?

If you were able to build it with a large freeboard, then you might be able to effectively screen the outflow pipe to at least exclude sizeable "undesirable" fish from the neighbors. A healthy population in your lake could then hopefully deal with the fry that come through.

Hard to justify the expense for that alone, but any silt and muck caught in that sediment pond would be adding to the life of your large pond.

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Originally Posted by esshup
I bet that the "decent" population of crappie are hammering the YOY LMB and BG during the first 6 months of their lives. I would concentrate on removing a LOT of the crappie and see if that helps the LMB and BG population.

That is what was suggested as I was told the black crappie are not very suspeptable to electro fishing and they were the most common fish type pulled other than golden shiners. The pond has a lot of sticks, limbs and other things in it that make getting around and electro fishing difficult so I'm certain the shallower waters in these areas have more to tell.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
You are going to be spending a significant amount of money on your restoration project, just by virtue of its large size.

Is there any chance of constructing a sediment/retention pond between the two existing large ponds?

If you were able to build it with a large freeboard, then you might be able to effectively screen the outflow pipe to at least exclude sizeable "undesirable" fish from the neighbors. A healthy population in your lake could then hopefully deal with the fry that come through.

Hard to justify the expense for that alone, but any silt and muck caught in that sediment pond would be adding to the life of your large pond.

I'm open to ideas for sure. It is very shallow on that end of the pond where it drains into mine. I've considered a fish net of some sort to block them on that side as well but it would take time to put something like that in place as well.

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Originally Posted by jpsdad
HBound,

I'm not sure I would fully trust the survey's determination that BG and LMB populations were low. They may be normal but if they are really low the weed problem may have something to do with that. I feel like there is a lot of information we are missing. But if you are to succeed, you are going to have recreate a young pond. This means space for fish to grow into. The BOW needs to be under capacity in order to put weight on existing fish. Controlling the weeds, if it stimulates bloom should help but harvest in your situation of 35 acres doesn't seem tenable to turn the tide. There is probably a ton of LMB in there and several times that weight of BG. It's going to feel like plugging a leak to only find a new one pops out. Now I speak strictly with regard to your goal of regularly catching 6lb + up to 12 lb LMB. If your are serious about this goal, you should consider other remedies.

The benefit of draining is that it concentrates the fish where you can cull easier, predator fish can find prey easier, and natural forces accelerate the mortality of the older fish. While the water is down .... the rooted aquatic vegetation on the now exposed bottom will die. Upon flooding, there is a lot of free space for the fish that remain to grow into. They will grow rapidly and a lot forage will be created. There are many examples of such strategies working very well to grow large LMB. A lake as large as yours can benefit from this strategy even though it makes very little sense for a 1 acre pond. If I had a lake that size I would want to be able to control the lake's level and I would design a system for doing that. With big LMB the goal, I would probably use this technique in lieu of stocking, feeding, and such simply from a cost/benefit standpoint. The level control system can greatly extend the life of your spillway and reduce its use. Something it seems the neighbors upstream are doing.

As for the dumping by the neighbor. If the they increased the flow without cause when you requested help then that wasn't very neighborly. But they may have been following a protocol in management or possibly just receiving more water. Being able to control your water level is something you need too, its a powerful management tool that every large BOW should have. Any BOW that is full has to shed water. In that sense, the neighbor isn't dumping fish nor are they dumping water. They can't hold it all and neither can you. The fishing in their BOW might be more like you remember the fishing in yours. When you think about from that perspective ... it is clear that their BOW isn't the reason yours is a shadow of its former self. That said, when controlling numbers of LMB to ensure fast grow to trophy sizes, it wouldn't take many recruits to make this goal more difficult and most certainly, beyond some threshold fish larger than 6 lbs might become improbable. I mentioned the influx of LMB recruits from above as a risk and it most certainly is when the goal for LMB ultimate weight is as high as you have set the bar.

With all that said. I do wish you luck with this. I will give you this fair warning. Small adjustments either through harvest or stockings will not probably work in BOW that size. It will be a lot fun catching and eating the fish but it will be like steer and a heifer. You will get no calf. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on herbicides, feed, feeders, fish, and .... and still have a pond full of fish that are less than the size you desire. Enjoy this and as Dave in Texas says don't try to hide what your are spending on the lake from your wife!


Below is some information from the electro fishing and other observations.

Quote
On the day of sampling the lake was at full pool and the water had a visibility of approximately
46 inches. I measured total hardness and it was 19 ppm.

Quote
Fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorants)
was the dominant emergent. Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) was also common while the
shoreline was vegetated with soft-stem bullrush (Scirpus validus). Coontail (Ceratophyllum
demersum) was the dominant submergent species.


Quote
During my sampling the overall abundance of fish was quite low. I collected 7 species, black
crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, warmouth sunfish, lake chubsucker, golden shiner and chain
pickerel.

Quote
Largemouth bass were widespread in the lake although not abundant. Young of the year bass, spawned in 2021 were not detected in my
judgement. I suspect that they failed to survive their first year of life because of high predation
and intense competition for food resources.

Quote
Based on this
distribution about 94% of the lake has vegetation growing in it. The density of vegetation was
low to moderate, probably because it is early in the growing season.

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Hbound, just a side note. Don't get down about your lake. I'd love to have a 35 acre BOW, warts and all.


g-jake, I understand your comments about electrofishing as a culling method. In my 4.5 acre main pond, it worked very, very well and we focused on removing rough fish like carp and suckers; I think we had bullheads in there too, but can't exactly recall. There were LMB, SMB, and YP, as well as BG and BC that came up, but I only netted a few select ones from those species to relocate to my neighborhood pond. Your comment about the 'rough' approach to areas (ramming into brush with those chandeliers bumping stuff) is spot on, yet we still brought up a ton of fish.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Hbound, just a side note. Don't get down about your lake. I'd love to have a 35 acre BOW, warts and all.

I'll second this. +1

I spent the last half hour trying to find posts from a member of an HOA(or mutually owned lake). It's been a while and searching the archive is soooooo hard. So I didn't find it but Hbound feel free to search my posts until located. To give you some background he was dealing with same problem you have. The lake was once a trophy lake but wasn't any longer. To make a longer story shorter we found lake was something like 40 to 45 acres, had lots of weeds, had a large watershed, and its spillway was recently renovated to proactively prevent dam failure. So I asked him by chance was the prior boom period preceded by a dam failure or extended low water levels. Low and behold ... YES!. No stocking, no management, whatever was there plus whatever flowed in boomed when they were able to reflood the lake. To make the story even more interesting, he also spoke of an earlier dam break that also was followed by a 10 lb+ LMB boom period. These cycles occurred not by planning but strictly from response to dam failure drawdowns and subsequent re-flooding. The OP didn't consider draining an option given the other members of the HOA (IIRC 8 to 10 members). He was going to get feeders I think but it would be interesting to see what his path as been and what kind of improvements he is experiencing. IIRC his lake was in Georgia.

Also check out this thread and particularly this post by Bob Lusk.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=41241&Number=536276#Post536276

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/20/22 05:12 PM.

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Oh and something I'd like to know more about. Gehajake, please share how to keep the bride oblivious to pond expenses!


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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Originally Posted by jpsdad
Oh and something I'd like to know more about. Gehajake, please share how to keep the bride oblivious to pond expenses!

Lol that ain’t happening

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Hbound, just a side note. Don't get down about your lake. I'd love to have a 35 acre BOW, warts and all.


g-jake, I understand your comments about electrofishing as a culling method. In my 4.5 acre main pond, it worked very, very well and we focused on removing rough fish like carp and suckers; I think we had bullheads in there too, but can't exactly recall. There were LMB, SMB, and YP, as well as BG and BC that came up, but I only netted a few select ones from those species to relocate to my neighborhood pond. Your comment about the 'rough' approach to areas (ramming into brush with those chandeliers bumping stuff) is spot on, yet we still brought up a ton of fish.

Thanks. I'm not giving up on it. I realize it will take some time to turn around as the quick turn around I simply can't afford at this time. That said it will get there and either way the kids will enjoy it as well as myself. Right now they're on the younger side of things to enjoy LMB fishing but that gives me time to correct things.

The electro fishing doesn't kill the fish correct? So as long as I leave them in the water they'll be fine for the most part and simply remove the crappie to kill them correct?

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"The electro fishing doesn't kill the fish correct? So as long as I leave them in the water they'll be fine for the most part and simply remove the crappie to kill them correct?"

For the vast majority of fish, no, it does not kill them. It just stuns them and they revive. I have heard that maybe trout don't do well with it though.

Regarding the crappie, eat them or toss them on the bank, IMO.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I’m trying to get crappie going in my pond but the bass keep eating all of them. That and the BG eating all the eggs from both BCP and LMB soon will only be BG …… not liking that at all….

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