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Originally Posted By: SetterGuy
Love the grain bin gazebo! We have some friends in Chilli that have one by their pond. They have a few other friends that all have them. I think theyve formed a grain bin gazebo society. Or something like that. Were all in our 60s so it could just be us old folks involved. Ha!
Also, my SMB have reproduced, and my SMB beds are not nearly as nicely made as yours are.
My county isnt listed as dry as Livingston, but my place was that dry. But the drought is now, way more than over. More rain coming through tonight.
Love to see the kids swimming early. We did the same. Looks great.


SetterGuy that's good news about your SMB. Now I need you to get out there and catch a few of your original stock and post some pictures. I would love to see how they have grown. Have they been in there 3 years yet?

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Originally Posted By: s252101
Originally Posted By: SetterGuy
Love the grain bin gazebo! We have some friends in Chilli that have one by their pond. They have a few other friends that all have them. I think theyve formed a grain bin gazebo society. Or something like that. Were all in our 60s so it could just be us old folks involved. Ha!
Also, my SMB have reproduced, and my SMB beds are not nearly as nicely made as yours are.
My county isnt listed as dry as Livingston, but my place was that dry. But the drought is now, way more than over. More rain coming through tonight.
Love to see the kids swimming early. We did the same. Looks great.


SetterGuy that's good news about your SMB. Now I need you to get out there and catch a few of your original stock and post some pictures. I would love to see how they have grown. Have they been in there 3 years yet?


This was last year. Havent caught one this year, but see them moving in the shallow water. They were stocked 10/10/15, 4-8. (60 of them) Hopefully they are 17-18 by now. Stocked along with 25 HSB that have never been seen again. whistle

Last edited by SetterGuy; 05/23/19 10:30 AM.

7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted By: SetterGuy

This was last year. Havent caught one this year, but see them moving in the shallow water. They were stocked 10/10/15, 4-8. (60 of them) Hopefully they are 17-18 by now. Stocked along with 25 HSB that have never been seen again. whistle


Man that's a beautiful, healthy looking fish. So he went from 4-8" to 16" or so in shy of 3 years? I'd say you are doing well. If this chart is accurate, looks like that fish was on the high side of the medium growth rate. I'd be happy with similar results for sure. Looks like that fish should be pushing two pounds. Get out there and catch one so we can see this years class!

Last edited by s252101; 05/23/19 11:00 AM.
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As winter progressed, we received a fair amount of snow, and a few rain showers on frozen ground which led to decent runoff. I was setting at about 2-3 feet from being at full pool in January '19. It hadn't been ridiculously cold as of yet, but as February rolled in, it got that way fast. I didn't think much of it, but the current water level and the building ice were about to become a problem.

Before sharing about that, know that where we are located is hit and miss for thick ice from year to year. There are some years we can not safely ice fish a single day, and there are others that we can fish, everyday, for 3 months straight. Up to this point, the ice hadn't been thick enough to get on, but it was about to get really thick for our area. February was cold for us. Several days with lows of -5 to -10 and highs barely reaching zero. The ice grew and grew, engulfing whatever was at the surface at that current level; this included nearly all of my Smallmouth logs, and of course, all of my dock posts.

This was really all fine, except for the scenario that happened next; we got quite a bit of snow, and then an inch of rain on a couple warmer days. The ice had made it to 8"+ thick by this point and the ground was still entirely frozen which meant 100% runoff of all the rain and melting snow. Water was rushing in. This set of circumstances is really unheard of around here, like I'm talking almost NEVER happens. For the most part, pond levels maintain during the winter, but rarely rise drastically until early spring. Also, we typically don't get ice that thick, and if we do, the air is very dry. We certainly don't usually have an inch of rain with 8" of ice on the bodies of water and snow on the ground. All the stars aligned for max runoff and that's what we got.

I came home from work that evening and was afraid to look. Exactly what I was worried about had happened; some of the runoff ended up on top of the ice (about 6" deep) and the rest had made its way under the ice and forced the whole mass upward. Since ice is strong and it was so thick, whatever it was attached to, it just brought with it. So, all my Smallmouth bed logs that were anchored with 200-300 lbs. of rock were ripped upward as the #9 wire had broken from the force. All that work would have to be re-done. Sigh.

To make matters worse, I noticed that the dock was sitting very awkwardly. As I walked out onto it, it was obvious that it had been lifted by the ice as well. I was a bit panicked because as it was still raining at a pretty good clip and all the tributaries were doing their part to add water to the pond. I rushed and grabbed the chainsaw and, while standing in 6" of water, began cutting around each of the dock posts. As I finished each cut, the dock would literally slam down almost a foot! To make matters worse, the Miss Behavin' was frozen in the slip making it all but impossible to get to a few of the posts. By the time I was done sawing and busting ice with a long pry bar, it was completely dark, still raining, and I was soaked from head to toe. I was beginning to think that if I didn't have bad luck with this project, I'd have no luck at all.

The dock was still structurally sound, but there was some permanent shifting that I will have to live with. The portions that were anchored to the large limestone rocks had lifted a little because the anchor rocks were not 100% straight below those points, so they rose in a bit of an arc if that makes sense. It was a great time, let me tell you.

For the remainder of the winter I made sure to keep the ice broken away from the posts when the forecast called for any precipitation. Eventually, the ice thawed and, by that time, the pond was within 6" of being full. I didn't get many pictures of the near disaster with the dock, as I was scrambling to salvage it rather than document the event. Thank goodness for spring.

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That last pic looks great. Youve got to be proud of that. I didnt realize the dock would take you to the island as well.
Weve had 3 in the last few days. Luckily just warnings for tornadoes and no sightings. I feel sorry for the folks in Jeff City.


7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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The last few weeks have been really wet for us. The first week of May was the first time water ever went down the overflow. I think it has been running most days since that time. The emergency spillway has even been used twice now. I set the grade on the emergency spillway to be about 8 inches higher than the lowest point of my overflow pipe. Since the dock is fixed, and at full pool the water is just an inch or two below the dock, I didn't ever want water to get too high on it. You will see in some of the pictures that the water is about half way up on the 2x12's on the dock. I'm not sure it would get much higher with an 8" pipe running full bore, and a 14' wide emergency spillway running a couple inches deep with only about 12-14 acres of runoff. My emergency spillway doesn't have any vegetation on it yet as I just got it to final grade after adding on to my overflow pipe and before putting my screen up this spring. The spillway is long, wide, flat, and dug into virgin ground so there was very minimal washing. I will probably seed it with a grass clover mix this fall. I had a few kamikaze Shiners that died up against the screen, but I saw several scurrying back to deeper water.

Now, onto the fun part; managing the body of water to produce fast growing, healthy Smallmouth, Walleye, and Yellow Perch. Here's where I am at thus far:

October 2018 - 20lbs. of FHM and 1000 Northern Crayfish
March 2019 - 100 Redears and 20lbs. of Golden Shiners
May 2019 - 30lbs. of FHM

Future Stocking Plan:
Fall 2019 - approx. 80 SMB and 200 YP
Spring 2020 - approx. 60 Walleye

My goal is to have fewer numbers and better quality. I'm hoping to have a massive forage base by this fall. I'm planning to build a .2 acre body of water to raise Shiners (and maybe another species) and supplement in the coming years. I'm really excited to get this off the ground and open to suggestions. I plan to aerate the pond with 4 diffusers once my budget allows later this year. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance. I plan to periodically post and keep this all updated with successes/failures. I also plan to get my drone up and get some good footage to share when the weather calms down a bit (another 4-5" predicted for the next week).

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Thanks for sharing your journey. The place looks 1st class all around.

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Looks great! Also looks like your water is reasonably clear with all the rain weve had. Just curious, where are you sourcing walleye?
My pond is gushing out the overflow pipe also. Trying to get some mowing done before the next storm system comes in. Went down to the pond last night and a huge ash tree from behind the dam toppled over, just barely into the water. It was history anyway due to ash bore. Im losing 5 more around the house. frown


7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted By: SetterGuy
Looks great! Also looks like your water is reasonably clear with all the rain weve had. Just curious, where are you sourcing walleye?
My pond is gushing out the overflow pipe also. Trying to get some mowing done before the next storm system comes in. Went down to the pond last night and a huge ash tree from behind the dam toppled over, just barely into the water. It was history anyway due to ash bore. Im losing 5 more around the house. frown


Sorry it has taken me a few days to get back with you SetterGuy, busy weekend. The pond certainly has more color than I would like, but the amount of water coming in for the last month has been enough to fill this pond twice! Even with grass all the way around, there is a fair amount of turbidity.

I am getting my fish from NEMO fisheries out of Perry, MO. That can't be more than a couple hours from you I wouldn't think. They have been wonderful to work with and seem like doing a good job is top priority. They haven't tried to sell me fish, in fact, they have talked me out of certain things. Cody and Vince are the father/son that run the place.

It stinks losing an investment like a tree for sure. The only trees between my house and the pond are elm because that is all there was, and I am sure they will die in the next few years.

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We lost a huge elm last year. On the trail to our pond, it was the biggest elm Ive seen in a long time.
I like those guys at NEMO. They are 10 minutes from my pond. I did not know he had walleye. Ill have to stop in. I knew he had YP. I think I have a pretty good population of YP. I really overstocked at the beginning.


7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted By: SetterGuy
We lost a huge elm last year. On the trail to our pond, it was the biggest elm Ive seen in a long time.
I like those guys at NEMO. They are 10 minutes from my pond. I did not know he had walleye. Ill have to stop in. I knew he had YP. I think I have a pretty good population of YP. I really overstocked at the beginning.


You ever stop in and check out their walleye stock? Any Smallies caught recently? Hope all is well.

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My next phase of the process is aeration. Again, I'm on a budget. I know most are probably saying "Oh Lord, he's cutting corners again". I'm looking forward to the challenge of a decent system with costs that aren't outrageous. I have read a fair amount on aeration and had a system drawn up from a company. The quote was way too much for me to even think about spending. Here's what I'm thinking:

-Compressor will sit at my shed (200 feet to waters edge)
-I plant to run the equivalent of 2" of airline to a manifold at the waters edge (it may be 2 - 1" lines together).
-I'm hoping to use 5 - 12" diffusers (the unique shape of the pond will require something like this)
-I plan to use pipe that is a little larger than 5/8" to feed each diffuser.
-Diffuser #1 = 200' @ 15' deep
-Diffuser #2 = 100' @ 17' deep
-Diffuser #3 = 250' @ 9' deep
-Diffuser #4 = 200' @ 10' deep
-Diffuser #5 = 140' @ 8' deep

My biggest question is whether the two pumps I am looking at will work.

Here they are:

Lifeline LL-RP80P

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BN563QY/?co...lv_ov_lig_dp_it

OxyMan OM800

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NR6UJO6/?co...lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Would either of these handle 5 diffusers with the length/diameter of pipe, depth/number of diffusers? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I will document the process and report back as it progresses.

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Originally Posted By: s252101

You ever stop in and check out their walleye stock? Any Smallies caught recently? Hope all is well.


I was there on Saturday. They dont have either right now. Said they will have YP in when it cools off in the fall. Not sure about WE, I asked, and they arent sure.

Ive posted the pic of my daughter holding up a 17 SMB in two other threads. Im afraid Ill get booted out of the forum if I post it again. Ha! 17 is our biggest one to date though. Daughter had a blast catching it.

Edit, I cant answer you aeration questions. My pond is 900 feet from the barn. Not running electrical or air lines that far. Plus a big ravine to go through. If they ever get solar aeration affordable, Ill go that way.

Last edited by SetterGuy; 06/21/19 04:22 PM.

7 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (way too many), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Originally Posted By: SetterGuy
Originally Posted By: s252101

You ever stop in and check out their walleye stock? Any Smallies caught recently? Hope all is well.


I was there on Saturday. They dont have either right now. Said they will have YP in when it cools off in the fall. Not sure about WE, I asked, and they arent sure.

Ive posted the pic of my daughter holding up a 17 SMB in two other threads. Im afraid Ill get booted out of the forum if I post it again. Ha! 17 is our biggest one to date though. Daughter had a blast catching it.

Edit, I cant answer you aeration questions. My pond is 900 feet from the barn. Not running electrical or air lines that far. Plus a big ravine to go through. If they ever get solar aeration affordable, Ill go that way.


I have my fingers crossed for SMB and WE for this fall/next spring.

I found your post with the SMB your daughter caught. Beautiful fish and family!

I'm hoping that some guys who know a bit will chime in. I know I could post in the aeration topics, but would like to keep everything on this one thread. We'll see...

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Pond Boss Forums,

It's hard to believe that is has been nearly 3 years since I last shared about my pond project. It's unbelievable how fast time has gone! I will have a little time over the next couple weeks to catch up on all that has happened with my body of water. It's certainly been a fun couple years to watch my pond and continue to progress it the best that time and resources have allowed. It looks like my last posts pertained to my aeration project in July of 2019 so that's where I plan to pick back up. One of my main goals from this thread is to provide as much of a comprehensive log of my journey as possible all in one location so that others can pull ideas of what to do (and certainly what not to do) when they have a question about their pond build and management. I know I have spent hours and hours reading through threads on this forum and have benefitted greatly from the experience of its users.

Here is a link to the thread that was started on aerating my body of water. Pond Aeration

I ended up making my own "weighted" line using landscape irrigation pipe and 4" corrugated pipe. I cut the 4" corrugated pipe into 2.5" sections and drilled a hole through each one so it could be threaded on to the irrigation pipe and filled with concrete to sink it. I spaced the corrugated pipe sections about 6' apart and that seemed to work just about right. The line wasn't too heavy to handle on the bank and yet it sunk fine. I didn't get pictures of this on my pond, but put in another system for a friend and got pictures of it. We measured how long our runs needed to be and cut and stretched the air lines out on the dam. We then threaded all the "pucks" onto the line and mixed and poured the concrete in each puck. We let them sit over night and moved them the next morning. Overall, it took 100' of corrugated pipe, a few hours to cut it into sections and drill the holes, and a couple hours to thread them onto the lines and pour the concrete. I then used 5 gallon buckets to mount my diffusers on. We poured about 15 pounds of concrete in the bottom of each bucket and the diffusers I bought fit snugly onto the top of the bucket with the bucket handle lifted straight up. On my buddies system we did everything from start to finish in a day and a half and he has 6 diffusers, over 1000' of pipe, 250 pucks, and 15 bags of Quickcrete. We just had to make sure that we ran the pipes out on the dam in the correct order so that when we swung them out into the water we didn't have to drag lines over one another and risk them becoming entangled. I would set the bucket with diffuser on it on the deck of my boat and use my trolling motor to pull them out into position. Another person stayed on the bank and fed the line into the water. You do have to be careful not to kink the line as you swing it in. We did that a time or two but were easily able to straighten it back out; that irrigation line is tough. Once in position, I would tie a small string to the bucket handle and drop it down to the bottom and then tie a 4" section of pool noodle to the string as a float right above the aerator. I did this thinking that it would make it easy for me to grab and just pull the whole system up for maintenance or cleaning, but I have never once had to do that on my BOY in the almost 3 years that system has been running and I don't notice any decrease in air flow. We used irrigation valve control boxes for our valves and I made a homemade box for my pump to set outside my shed that was about 200' away. The box is pretty redneck looking, but it keeps the system pretty quiet and out of sight. The entire system cost less than $1,500 for all materials and works great. There are a couple pictures attached that show what it looks like set up on the dam and ready to go into the water.

I have had no problems with the system and I'm on season 3 with it. I've never even touched the ball valves since they were adjusted on the first day. One picture shows the impact that the aerators have on turned the water over. When it rains lightly, the areas that each diffuses impacts show up really well; it's pretty cool to see.

I typically run my system from Aprilish to Novemberish and remove my pump at the end of each season. Overall, I'm really happy with my system and know that it has been a great addition to my pond.

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Here are the stocking rates that I used for my pond. Again, it is just under 2 acres and about 19 feet deep.

October 2018 - 20lbs. of FHM and 1000 Northern Crayfish
March 2019 - 100 RES (2-3") and 20lbs. of Golden Shiners (3")
May 2019 - 30lbs. of FHM
October 2019 - 100 SMB (4-5"), 200 YP (3-4"), and 50 WE (4-5")

If I had it to do over again, I would wait another 6 months to a year to put in my predator fish and let my forage base absolutely explode and would bet that I'd be ahead by this point in the game as far as growth is concerned. My forage base grew incredibly, but man did those fish put a hurting on them. I stopped trapping FHM in about a year. To this day there is still a great population of GSH of all sizes as well as crawdads, but they have certainly been working on them as I will cover later. I certainly believe it is true that you can never have enough food in your pond for your predators!

Here are a few pictures of my fish and some of the giant crawdads the pond was producing. I've also included a link to the crawdads desperately trying to grab some of the floating fish food as the wind pushes it by. It's always entertaining to watch them.

Crawdads/Minnows Feeding

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Jeez!!!! Did any of those poor crawdaddy's ever snag a feed pellet???!!!


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
Jeez!!!! Did any of those poor crawdaddy's ever snag a feed pellet???!!!

Their success rate is pretty low, but they will manage to grab a piece every once in a while! When they do, you can tell they are excited. Is it possible to tell when a crawdad is excited??? : )

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Fast forward to the spring of 2020. My forage fish had been in for 12-16 months and my predators had been in the pond for about 6 months. Here are a couple pictures of samples we trapped or netted just playing around the pond. We have thoroughly enjoyed trapping fish and throwing the cast net around just to sample our critters!

It was also decided to add a small 0.2 acre forage pond that would be about 6' deep just above my actual BOY to continue to provide ample food for my fish. I had access to an excavator and spent a couple days carving it out. Any day that you spend on heavy equipment is a good day! Of course, I got to experience putting a track back on after running the left side off while packing part of the dam. Come to find out, the front idler wheel was almost completely worn out and needed to be replaced. Once full, the forage pond has an emergency spillway that empties into the larger BOY.

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Crawdad w/ eggs
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Just turned 1 year old RES
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Just turned 1 year old YP
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Forage pond construction
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Forage pond w/ large pond in background
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During the spring/summer of 2020, my predator fish seemed to be off to a great start. I still had a few FHM swimming about and had some GSH that were 7"+ already. I was really excited for my main forage to be large enough that they would reproduce freely without being eaten by any of my young predator species. I've heard and read that GSH are the most fertile at 3-4" and not so much when they reach 7-8" because their eggs contain a lot of fat, but they still have to be contributing a fair amount. We saw a few RES that were pushing the 8" mark already which we were pretty surpised by. The YP and SMB were growing rapidly from just a few months ago. I knew they had plenty to eat at this point in the game, but it was shocking how quickly they were growing. We also had quite a population of bullfrogs which we began to harvest that summer. I really didn't have a predator in the pond to keep their numbers down and they were chowing down on my crawdads so I unleashed my secret weapon them-----my 8 year old redhead!

Attached are some pictures of those species that summer and an estimate of my fish growth.

Summer 2020 fish sizes.....

SMB - 8"+ at just over a year old
YP - 6"+ at just over a year old
RES - 7-8" at two years old with plenty of evidence of recruitment
WE - 7-8" at just over a year old
GSH - 7" at two years old

Here is a link to a video of my SMB chasing GSH as they feed. We have really been entertained by our fish feeding. I wonder what it would be like to be a GSH in my pond. Out comes the feed and you just can't resist coming to the surface to grab a bite, but as soon as you do, you become lunch!

Also, the aerators really attract the baitfish as well. The SMB are constantly breaking the surface around them chasing food.

SMB chasing food

Attached Images
20200516_202252.jpg (33.97 KB, 17 downloads)
Healthy GSH
20200525_180319.jpg (59.73 KB, 16 downloads)
1 yr old YP
20200731_204914.jpg (40.26 KB, 13 downloads)
2 yr old RES
20200830_185024 (1).jpg (78.64 KB, 13 downloads)
2 yr old GSH
20200830_190004.jpg (57.32 KB, 18 downloads)
1 yr old SMB and YP
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Fall of 2020 was eventful for my BOY. We had a couple unwanted guests show up in the form of two adult otters. I am really fortunate to live less than 100 yards from my pond and can keep a close eye on it every day. Needless to say their stay was short (less than two days). grin It's amazing how far those things will travel to get from one body of water to another. I was surprised to see them show up and happy to see them gone.

That summer/fall was also unique in from a precipitation standpoint. We received just enough rain to keep things green and growing, but we didn't receive a runoff producing rain for almost 4 months! My forage pond was only half full from that spring and my main BOY of water was down almost 20". So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I took the opportunity to spread shot rock all the way around my pond. Shot rock has fines all the way up to chunks that might weigh a couple hundred pounds. Since the water was low, I was able to use my skid loader and spread it down into the water and up the banks to slightly above the full pool level. It took about 250 tons of rock to get this done. Obviously, there are many benefits from an addition like this. I did it mainly for wave protection and added structure for crawdads and forage fish. I'm really hoping that crawdads will be a permanent fix in my pond with the amount of structure they have available. I probably should have put a heavy fabric under the rock before I spread it, but I was worried about the negative affects it would have on my crawdads. I can see the need for more rock coming, it breaks down itself as well as silts in a bit.

With the lower water I was also able to see several of my SMB beds that would normally have a couple more feet of water over them. They looked like they were still in good shape.

As for the fish, the rapid growth seemed to continue. Once every couple weeks we would throw the cast net out during feeding and pull in a pretty good haul. At this point, I had about every size of GSH imaginable for my fish to eat. It was about this time that I never saw another FHM again, which is hard to believe with their reproduction capacity and they amount I originally stocked.

Attached Images
20200912_124859 (1).jpg (96.45 KB, 19 downloads)
Otters
20201026_180952 (1).jpg (84.88 KB, 17 downloads)
Shot Rock
20201026_181014.jpg (63.94 KB, 18 downloads)
Shot Rock
20201120_170215.jpg (54.27 KB, 16 downloads)
Shot Rock
20201206_135534.jpg (13.09 KB, 18 downloads)
SMB spawning bed
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I almost forgot about another project that took place the summer of 2020. Since the entire planet was shut down due to COVID, we had plenty of time on our hands to build a treehouse on the east edge of the pond. We had enough old lumber to build the stairs and platform and were able to repurpose more of the black locust logs that we cut out to build the pond. Our options were limited for trees to put it in, but we made due. We really didn't have a true plan in place when we started, it just kept evolving as we went. It was a ton of fun to work on this project with my girls and not have a laundry list of other things that needed accomplished right at that minute. We ended up with a small, but pretty cool space to hang out when we finished. Another advantage of living right next to our pond was that we were able to easily run electricity to it ourselves and even have internet out there.

One feature that was a suprise to my kids was a zipline that we added. Growing up, I always thought they were really cool and, with a little research, we were able to create one that ran from the top deck of the treehouse to the pond dam. It starts about 20 feet high and runs a little over 400'. I was right, they are cool, because I enjoy a trip down it as well!

Attached Images
20200515_104609 (2).jpg (105.24 KB, 20 downloads)
Treehouse framing
20200515_120351 (1).jpg (127.38 KB, 20 downloads)
Treehouse framing
20200523_170206 (1).jpg (113.43 KB, 16 downloads)
Treehouse framing
20200518_184928.jpg (55.15 KB, 19 downloads)
Attaching deck boards
20200630_203137.jpg (35.9 KB, 18 downloads)
View of pond from inside treehouse
20200714_144304 (1).jpg (78.35 KB, 17 downloads)
Treehouse bottom deck
20200715_232251.jpg (45.78 KB, 15 downloads)
Treehouse inside
20200714_144148.jpg (55.75 KB, 13 downloads)
Treehouse loft
20200524_161706.jpg (59.1 KB, 16 downloads)
Treehouse zipline
20200803_200557.jpg (102.93 KB, 16 downloads)
Finished treehouse
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Winter 2020/Spring 2021 update.

Our fish continued to grow well. The pond was full, and all species seemed to be doing well. I forgot to mention early that, as of this point, we had not caught a WE yet. We had cast netted two, but never caught one with a rod and reel. I have attached a couple pictures of some YP and SMB. The YP are fat and healthy and the smallies are constantly after something it seems.

I also added a fish feeder on the end of the diving board we mounted on our dock. It's about 10 feet deep off the end and a simple deer feeder has worked great. If we want to swim, we just slide the whole thing off the end of the diving board and replace it when we are finished. The 5 gallon bucket holds enough feed for almost two weeks. I've set it to operate once in the morning and once in the evening for one second each time. It throws quite a bit of food in that amount of time. Most of my food is gobbled up by spastic GSH heading to the surface and back down as quickly as they can, but over the last year or so, several YP feed regularly. I've never seen another species eating any pellet food.

Attached Images
20201209_162821 (1).jpg (118.68 KB, 15 downloads)
YP early winter 2020
20210220_161629 (1).jpg (68.29 KB, 9 downloads)
YP ice fishing 2020
20210220_162908 (1).jpg (73.51 KB, 11 downloads)
YP ice fishing 2020
20210322_174220 (1).jpg (54 KB, 10 downloads)
SMB early spring 2021
20210327_111433 (1).jpg (105.25 KB, 11 downloads)
YP early spring 2021
20210327_111414 (1).jpg (108.11 KB, 12 downloads)
YP early spring 2021
20210327_113513 (1).jpg (54.89 KB, 16 downloads)
Fish feeder
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Spring/Summer 2021 Update.

I was really excited to have my pond in a position that it felt like it was just about completely set up. My forage base still seemed to be very strong and my fish were growing well. My water quality seemed pretty decent and my water clarity was somewhere in the 14"-18" range.

My forage pond was completely full and its runoff was no contributing to keeping my large BOY of topped off. In one of the pictures you'll see that I need to adjust my spillway on my forage pond a few inches as there is almost NO freeboard when the emergency spillway is running a couple inches deep. Still some adjustments to be made there. This pond has really frustrated me though. I put in 20 lbs. of FHM in the fall of 2020 with a plan to trap several pounds a month in the future to add to my large pond just to supplement with. The pond is about 6 feet deep with fairly steep sides to avoid a ton of vegetation growing. I cut 4" corrugated pipe into 1' lengths, drilled a hole through it and strung it accross the pond in three different places to give them spawning habitat. I spaced each section out about 3' on the rope and anchored them from just under the surface to a couple feet deep. I had read that FHM are territorial when they spawn and wear themselves out competiting for areas so I thought this would allow them plenty of space to space without too much competition. I was never able to pull any minnows out worth throwing in my pond. The 20 lbs. that I put in were large, healthy minnows and all I could ever catch were tiny, 1" little things. I'm not sure if it was a spawning habitat issue or a lack of food or another issue. I really thought you couldn't screw up FHM, but somehow here I am. I do feed them with ground up food once a week or so, but forget quite often. This spring I added a whole bunch of hedge tops that reach all the way to the surface in hopes that it helps, but we will see. I'm planning to add GSH to the pond just to keep their population going strong in my large BOY. I hope this is a good idea and I'm not really sure how much I can expect to take out of there in a season. Any ideas on my issues with this 0.2 acre BOY? There are no predators in there. The water is pretty cloudy.

One of the most exciting things we introduced in 2021 was the purchase of a fish tagging system. I taught science for 14 years, so data collection and interpretation are always fascinating to me. We purchased 100 tags and created a document that tracks the following: species, date caught, time of day caught, tag number, location in the pond caught, means of catching, length, weight, length/weight ratio, and a column for additional notes. We started tagging and documenting about 80% of the fish that we caught and have had an absolute blast doing it! On top of the valuable information we are starting to compile, it is always fun to reel in a fish that has been previously caught and check to see how much or how little they have grown. I always laughed at people who said, shortly after a catching two fish within a few minutes of each other, "that's the same fish!" We have actually had that happen a time or two because the tags certainly don't lie! I will attach some images of the document in a later post.

In the southeast corner of the pond near the treehouse, we get almost half our runoff. I was able to build a simple catch basin and pipe it into the pond. This has provided a couple benefits. One, it has kept silt and clay out during heavy rainfall. Secondly, whenever whatever is blowing through the pipe and into the pond, you better grab a rod and a go, because just about everything in the pond will be congretating in front of it. This was the case on June 26th, 2021 when my favorite little fishing buddy and I headed out to see if that held true once again. After catching a couple SMB on just a few casts, my daughter hooked what she thought was another smallie. It certainly fought like one. When she got it to the bank, it turned out to be an 11.25", 1 lb. 2 oz. RES! I know they grow really big down south, but that qualified for a Master Angler award from the Missouri Department of Conservation. I thought we might get a few to this size eventually, but this fish was just barely 3 years old at the time. I don't know who was more excited, my daughter or me!

I have also attached a picture of an image from my side imaging sonar that shows the two concrete boats that my science class had built that we sunk on the bottom of the pond. You can easily made out a large cedar tree seperating them. Side imaging is a pretty cool technology!

Attached Images
20210625_073742.jpg (60.33 KB, 13 downloads)
Forage pond - FULL
20210329_201041 (1).jpg (63.25 KB, 8 downloads)
Fish tagging system
20210703_203643 (1).jpg (88.18 KB, 11 downloads)
Dad w/ nice SMB
20210625_190823.jpg (69.14 KB, 8 downloads)
Lots of rain!
20210802_204212_2.jpg (52.89 KB, 5 downloads)
Healthy GSH
IMG_6318(2).jpg (44.55 KB, 12 downloads)
Quin's RES
20210801_200430 (1).jpg (78.27 KB, 11 downloads)
Sunken boats
20210516_155001.jpg (36.38 KB, 10 downloads)
SMB - orange eyes
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Fall/Winter 2021 update.

We still had no luck catching a WE in the 2 years they had been in the pond. I contacted our local conservation department and they were excited to come out and shock the pond to see what we could find. Nearly every body of water they handle is standard largemouth, crappie, bluegill, and catfish in this area. They came out in late October and we spent about an hour working around the pond. We were able to sample several YP, SMB, GSH, and RES but still had no luck finding a WE. I had hoped with the cooler water temperatures we would find one shallow enough to bring to the surface. At this point in the game, I was growing a little concerned about the status of my WE and whether or not they were still surviving in my BOY. I thought that maybe the otters had focussed on them that short period they were in the pond or that maybe other conditions were unfavorable for them and they had not surrvided. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying to catch them; we had used about every method that has been successful for us on other bodies of water with no luck. This includes nightcrawlers, FHM, GSH under a bobber, and artificial lures of about every kind. We did find that the SMB and YP sure love most of the above. No joke, we caught several 9-10" YP on 4+ inch GSH. I couldn't believe it. I have also attached a picture of a crawdad dangling from a chunk of nightcrawler that I tipped a plastic grub with. I have caught three crawdads just slow dragging lures on the bottom searching for a WE. Hard to believe we can literally catch mud bugs with a rod and reel and not WE. I would gladly take any advice on catching WE in small impoundments like mine!

Results of shocking produced several 13-15" SMB and 9-10" YP. I was happy with that growth considering these fish were only 2.7 years old at that time. It was so much fun to be a part of this whole process! Again, the science nerd in me was fascinated by the process and the critters involved.

I've also attached a few pictures from our ice fishing endeavors last winter. The last two years we have caught several GSH while ice fishing. They are BIG, but I wish they would just be a meal instead of trying to make a meal of our lures.

From the summer of 2021 throughout the winter, the pond water has been very cloudy. Visibility has been below a foot for a long time now and is something that I need to address and will look for some guidance on. It's one of the variables that I can see being frustrating to control that can have a pretty negative affect on the growth of my sight predators. I will address it in a later post once I'm all caught up to the current date.

Attached Images
20211026_142337 (1).jpg (102.15 KB, 12 downloads)
Pond shocking samples
20211027_173624.jpg (25.62 KB, 9 downloads)
Crawdad hanging on
20211230_122014 (1).jpg (134.48 KB, 7 downloads)
YP winter 2021
20220120_153056 (1).jpg (60.33 KB, 8 downloads)
YP ice fishing 2021
20220109_163917.jpg (48.44 KB, 7 downloads)
Quin's SMB ice fishing
20220122_140441.jpg (49.51 KB, 7 downloads)
Guard dog
20220130_123700.jpg (59.77 KB, 10 downloads)
GSH and YP
Last edited by s252101; 05/27/22 02:01 PM.
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