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JamieE Offline OP
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Rah any news from clear creek on smallies for this fall?

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I sent an email, but have had no reply yet.

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Got few updates on the progress of the pond. Remlingers delivered 6-8" perch to replace the 4-6" fish I had bought and hauled home earlier in the year. The fish looked great and they were delivered at no charge. That shows they really stand behind their fish and I'd recommend them to everyone.

I also made a trip to clear creek to pickup 100SMB to add to the 50 original fish stocked a year ago. I got lucky and got some really nice fish from them. All the fish were this years fish and they hand picked the largest for me. Of course I paid a premium price, but I felt like I paid a fair price for the fish I received. All the fish were 6" plus and a couple of them were real toads. They were extra thick and looked to be 8" fish. I'll post a pic of them, but it's not very good as I was by myself and wanted to get them in the water ASAP after hauling them 2 hrs home. The fish made the trip in excellent shape in sealed bags.

I'm going to also post a few pics of the SMB from last fall and HSB stocked in the spring. These pics are about 6 weeks old and the fish were 10-12". Over all I'm extremely happy with progress of the pond and the growth of the fish. Also I'll post a pic of a really nice SMB we lost around August 17. He was already 11"!

We planted a semi load of trees around the pond in early spring to help it look more natural so I'll post a couple pics of that as well. Thanks for reading!

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/137d06a14b0192343934e9299411d82d.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/3c6c7206a6f16cc100deb02bcf874f90.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/45cfd2a79eed681940040b241f0ac5b9.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/221e4966eaa4b79b4dc1f7f4228550ce.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/b6e372b8aca071e7a0bf6723c6250508.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/f0ca6e2410e1c2e74460995599027701.jpg

http://i1065.photobucket.com/albums/u392/JamieE38/392c081626e553b8bbac3d28303051da.jpg

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Man Jamie, you certainly made some great progress in just ove 20 months. I figured you would do fine from the knowledge you showed in your earlier posts. Research is key and good ?s help reduce mistakes. I hope anyone wanting a similar scenario will find this thread and follow your example.
Congratulations and keep up the fine job. I have to laugh that you wanted to come check out my pond in the beginning as now I'de like to come check out yours. Cecil was very impressed when he delivered the YP. Bet your son is having a ball and learning tons.


Do nature a favor, spay/neuter your pets and any weird friends or relatives.
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I'd like to post an update for the guys who were so gracious to give me so much advice and help me build my dream pond. Allso for those who have followed along and stocked their ponds in similar fashion. It really is taking shape and I don't think I couldn't expect it to be doing any better than it is at this point.

As of today the pond clarity is around 36" and has been steadily clearing as the summer goes along. I feel like this is just about perfect, but not sure if Im correct on that assumption...

The SMB are right at a pound and measure in the 12-13" range, HSB are 1 1/2# and are 14", perch are fat and feeding well and the larger ones are 11" 3/4#. The GSH are numerous in all lengths and up to 8" in size. The schools are quite impressive and Im really happy that I decided to stock them. Many of the bass we've caught look to be feeding well on them and are often regurgitating them as we fight them to shore. As of now the fathead minnows are still very much present and some of the schools are massive especially near the beach area as they seem to prefer the cover of the small pontoon boat that we tie there.

The perch and HSB are on the feed well and seem to be benefitting from it. It took about a year for the HSB to finally figure out where the feed was but now they are there feeding aggressively on a nightly basis. We really enjoy the HSB even though there are only 16 stocked at this point... Would it be a mistake to stock another 16 next spring?

I've been able to confirm that the SMB and the Perch have both had their first successful spawn which is exciting for me to see! The 0 year old SMB range in size from 2-4"and the perch look to be 2" or so. These lengths are only estimates as Im going off of sightings only. The visibility of the water has really improved and made it possible to easily identify the fish species. Also I realize this is when the management really begins...

Wish I had an update on the RES as we haven't seen a single fish dead or alive since we stocked 900 of them nearly 2 years ago... Im really baffled on this one! Should I be seeing young ones near bank as I walk around if they have successfully reproduced? Is there any chance they have all died and we didn't see a single dead fish?

The only real negative I have to report is the presence of GSF. Not sure how they got in the pond, but they are most definitely there. We are aggressively removing them and I am staying positive about it. We are actually making a game out of removing them from the pond at night with a net are really getting the hang of it. The numbers seem to be staying very low as we haven't notice them feeding on pellets at all and haven't caught them fishing yet unless we are targeting them. We spend a lot of time at the pond observing and just relaxing. We have been doing some fishing, but try not to over do it and have done well at not over pressuring the fish thus far..

When will it be time to begin removing SMB or YP? I feel like now that I've confirmed reproduction its probably not too far off!

Thanks for making this pond what it is shaping up to be! All the credit goes to the many pond meisters on this forum who have been so forth coming with advice!

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Nice when a plan comes together Jamie!

If you will put some minnow traps in about a foot of water and bait it with some fish or dog food you might be able to get some of the GSF out that way. GSF seem to have a real attraction to fish food in a trap.

With lots of FHM and shiners you likely will get lots of them in the trap too, but you can return them to the water and it will give you a good chance to look at some of your YOY fish. I regularly keep a half dozen traps around the bank of various ponds of mine and will throw them in periodically just to see what goes in. Also use them to transfer fish from one pond to another when I am trying to expand a certain population.

Good luck on seeing RES. I have only seen a few from the bank. Check out Shorty's thread on catching them, but the problem I find is that some other fish wants to bite my hook before the RES gets to it. But I do catch a few RES and am thrilled when I do.

Last edited by snrub; 07/23/16 10:56 AM.

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It is still early in your fishery. Be patient. Adding more HSB at this point will likely put a big decrease in your minnow forage base. Add HSB only as you harvest them or have mortality. I would wait until the panfish populations become noticably abundant before adding any more HSB. Reproduction from the SMB when they grow to 8" will heavily impact the minnow forage esp the FHM unles you regularly remove predators. Juvenile YP will also prey heavily on the FHM. It is always much better to have ample minnows as forage instead of having to play "catch up" and regularly be adding forage fish. Always seeing and trapping good numbers of minnows indicates a proper balance of predator - prey numbers.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/23/16 08:22 PM.

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Snrub, your right I do need to get several minnow traps going. I have set one from time to time and catch mostly FHM,shiners and crayfish. Only caught a few GSF, but I think I need to get the trap out a little bit deeper. I baited one with an 8" shiner Id found dead just for the heck of it and when I pulled it up the next day he was completely stripped to bones by crayfish! I couldn't figure out how they did it right through the cage, but when I pulled up the trap there were several clamped to it. No problems with my crayfish numbers as they seem to be really thriving.

On the RES I think other fish biting so quickly is a big part of it, but I can't believe we haven't caught or seen at least one. I guess time will tell.

Bill I don't mind waiting on HSB. I thought my initial stocking was a little low at 16 in 3 1/2 ac. My total stocking for SMB was 50 initially in fall of 2014 and 100 in 2015. Id rather be conservative going forward and keep plenty of food in the pond so I'll take your advice and wait until I see the need for more predators.

How soon should I be looking to harvest SMB in order to keep my numbers under control? I was thinking of taking some of the 2015 batch or some of the newly spawned 2016 out this fall? I really want to stay ahead of them if I can...

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Your stocker SMB are at 42/ac. Based on the numbers of YOY bass that should be 3-5" by October, I think you should try to maintain close to the 50 SMB number per acre. Or if you begin to see fewer FHM and forage catches in your traps it is time to remove some more predators. Let the numbers of forage fish present be your guide. It is easy to get too many bass since it happens frequently in ponds.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/24/16 05:23 PM.

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I am a few years ahead of you with SMB, RES, YP, and GSH, my biggest worry are the GSH getting out of control and limiting reproduction on everything else. In the last two years I have seen very limited SMB and YP recruitment. I did have have a very big GSH and RES sunfish hatch last year but YOY SMB and YP have been sparse.

Like you I did not see my RES for the first few years, they were there, it just took a while to figure out how to catch them.



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Any updates on this? I will be doing something similar.
Thanks!
Heppy

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So after 7+ years of stocking my pond Id like to start giving some updates. Ive meant to do this long ago, but better late then never I guess. The largest SMB to date was caught this spring and was 21" long. Unfortunately I wasn't prepared to weigh him, but he was really fat and healthy! I guess him in the 4-4.5 pound range. SMB in the 16"-19" range are very common. I haven't fished for YP for at least a year, but they were between 13-14" back then so possibly have broken the 14" mark by now.

The forage base appears to be staying very strong as I see many large clouds of golden shiners around the edges of the pond, which Im very happy about. Ive continued to feed, but not as dedicated as Ive planned to. When we are feeding its pretty much every evening, but when we run out I can't always get away to drive the hour plus trip to get feed. So It goes a little while with out feeding. YP are still hitting it really well as expected, but what I didn't really expect was the large number of SMB that agressively hit the feed also. Its really something to see these huge fish explosively hitting the pellets just like a top water bait!

Over the last few years we've eaten some perch, but haven't removed them very aggressively. Ive noticed a good mix of sizes while feeding so I feel good about them reproducing in the pond thus far, but wouldn't say abundantly.

The smallmouth are also reproducing as we continue to catch young of the year fish every summer. We have removed almost all smb that are under 12" to this point and plan to continue to do so.

Over all I couldn't be happier with the pond. Its turned out to be everything I hoped it would to this point. But I keep pushing the goals up and up. Time will tell if Ill ever catch a 6# smallie out of this place or not, but it sure seems like 5# is becoming realistic.

Keeping the larger sized SMB growing well will be the biggest challenge going forward... Ive got a small forage pond that Ive been growing golden shiners in for the last several years. So its full of larger brood stock that are ready to be mover over as soon as I take the time to learn how to use a cast net.

Ive been feeding Zeigler silver pellets for years. Ive been told that they are perfect for the perch, but maybe a little low on protein for the bass. So I've been mixing in some Plantimum, but Im a little concerned about it being a little tough on the perch so I'm still feeding 75% silver. Any recommendations for that scenario? Id like to keep the bass growing well.

Just want to say thanks again to everyone on this site that shared so much great information! Without that help Im sure my pond wouldn't be where it is today.

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Optimal Bass... 44% P, 8% lipid I believe, best case for both-I think this formula is really hard to top for both species.
And, it's delivered right to your door when you need it.

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Thanks Snipe. Ill have to check it out.

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Yes -- because since you have to drive an hour to get the Zeigler and for not feeding the fish until you get more feed consider economically using Optimal for your fish. Driving 50 miles is expensive when gas is above $4. I feed Optimal bass pellets (3/8") to the adult perch and bass. Smaller fish would eat and grow to adults using the Optimal bluegill feed.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/23/22 09:15 PM.

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This site is great. So after 7 years what was the verdict on the RES? Maybe they just do better here in Tennessee. I have 2 ponds that I fish regularly. One pond is nearly 50/50 with native BG. They are swimming around and you see them with the regular BG, They hit artifical lures/jigs ( love a roadrunner). Another pond I fish, you can catch them really good in april and may when the are bedding. The rest of the time you might catch 5 shellcracker to every 50 BG.

The pond I just stocked here, has 400 RES and 300 CNBG. I see them everyday when I feed. Some eat pellets but most of my redear move in after the CNBG have feed and the FHM move in. My Redear pound on them till dark. The CNBG do not seem as interested in the minnows but devour the pellets.

One thing that I did different was I stocked the FHM and RES first. Then CNBG 6 weeks later, so maybe that helped them feed on pellets since they were the only fish in there, I do not know. But once you put CBNG in get your wallet out they feed like piranha's

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Great report, Jamie, and congratulations!

SMB will hit feed very readily in my experience, and they absolutely go after Aquamax Largemouth or Optimal Hand Throw like crazy. Both of these feeds are about 1" in diameter.

For the 12" or less smallies that your are culling, what are you doing with those fish?


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