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Most all the lakes I have fished were at their best in the 4th or 5yr. Not saying there were not other good years that come and go. But, the fourth and 5th year would usually produce large catch rates of good fish. Toledo Bend and lake Fork come to mind. So, not ever having a pond I don't have much experience there. But it seems to me the pond just might be in one of it's best years right now. And that was or is a concern when looking at it. How many pounds is too many? I really feel like it's time to thin the herd. Based on what I see at the feeders. Lots of Bg along with some schools of TFS that move through. And the HSB that just BLOW UP when hand feed. Along with a few feed trained lmb.


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Originally Posted by TGW1
Most all the lakes I have fished were at their best in the 4th or 5yr. Not saying there were not other good years that come and go. But, the fourth and 5th year would usually produce large catch rates of good fish. Toledo Bend and lake Fork come to mind. So, not ever having a pond I don't have much experience there. But it seems to me the pond just might be in one of it's best years right now. And that was or is a concern when looking at it. How many pounds is too many? I really feel like it's time to thin the herd. Based on what I see at the feeders. Lots of Bg along with some schools of TFS that move through. And the HSB that just BLOW UP when hand feed. Along with a few feed trained lmb.


Tracy, it's hard to tell. One way is to keep good catch records. Record the weight/length of the fish. As the pond ages you can track the growth rates of the fish. Once the growth rates start slowing down, then I'd say you have reached carrying capacity.

Carrying capacity all depends on how heavily managed the pond is. Feeding/aerating, etc. all have something to do with carrying capacity. I know of some Amish that grow LMB for the restaurant industry. At harvest size of 1 1/4# LMB, they will have a crop that is between 4,000# and 5,000# per surface acre. BUT they are checking water quality parameters on a daily basis, using test kits, O2 meters, etc., not just looking and guessing at what the water quality is.

Last year my pond went from approximately 1 1/8 surface acre to .49 surface acre. I removed over 100# of fish from it before the pond iced over as I was worried about water quality levels and O2 levels with ice on the pond. I kept more than 10% of the pond open last winter and didn't have any fish kills. The pond is at the same low level or even lower this year and I took out a bunch of fish again this fall. Due to the low water levels, all the spawning areas were above water this year, so I didn't have the reproduction that I would normally have. I believe with the SWAG method of how many fish are in the pond I am on the ragged edge, and if we don't get a BUNCH of rain this coming Spring I will be forking out the $$$ to put a well in just to keep the pond full.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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The amount of cover in the large reservoirs has to degrade at Year 5 and beyond, doesn't it?

The amount of cover and structure that people put in their ponds as a % of surface area is MUCH higher than the amount in the larger reservoirs.

In the early years, the reservoirs have flooded weeds and shrubs and timber that all degrade substantially over the time period from the initial explosion of forage through Year 5 when the predator mass has finally exploded.

Even the rock and stumps in the shallow water lose some of their structure aspect as eroded sediments settle down around them.

As brush piles decay in managed ponds, it is possible for the manager to return the amount of cover to its initial state. I don't think that would be possible in the large reservoirs.

I would expect the decreasing cover would mostly impact the amount of available forage. In a pond, this could be mitigated by supplemental feedings. That would not be feasible for the large reservoirs.

(Just my two cents - as a definite NON-expert.)

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
The amount of cover in the large reservoirs has to degrade at Year 5 and beyond, doesn't it?

The amount of cover and structure that people put in their ponds as a % of surface area is MUCH higher than the amount in the larger reservoirs.


In the early years, the reservoirs have flooded weeds and shrubs and timber that all degrade substantially over the time period from the initial explosion of forage through Year 5 when the predator mass has finally exploded.

Even the rock and stumps in the shallow water lose some of their structure aspect as eroded sediments settle down around them.

As brush piles decay in managed ponds, it is possible for the manager to return the amount of cover to its initial state. I don't think that would be possible in the large reservoirs.

I would expect the decreasing cover would mostly impact the amount of available forage. In a pond, this could be mitigated by supplemental feedings. That would not be feasible for the large reservoirs.

(Just my two cents - as a definite NON-expert.)

That's not true all the time. In my experience, it is less than what is in the larger reservoirs. A customer put 2 root balls in a 1 acre pond and thought it was plenty. There are a lot of people out there like that.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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esshup is correct.

I should have written more clearly. In my estimation - the amount of cover and structure that active planners on Pond Boss put into their ponds is higher than the large reservoirs.

I was thinking of the great threads I have read on PB and how much more structure the posters added to their already impressive initial plans - after getting additional feedback from the forum.

esshup actually works with pond owners of all shapes and sizes, so his view is MUCH broader than mine!

However, that wasn't my main point. I would imagine that active pond managers continually adding items over the life of the pond should provide benefits relative to a large reservoir, that probably only has a few additions over the course of its life.

I would think(?) the carrying capacity of the large reservoirs should not change over time - in theory. However, in practice - the carrying capacity does change as the natural cover (that supports forage species) diminishes over time.

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The commonality - time !

In newly built and stocked ponds it takes 18 mths to 24 mths to reach carrying capacity. The first fish stocked reach max results in 4-7 years (as a whole not individually) absent extensive management. This includes structure management.

Same for new reservoirs - carrying capacity longer as fewer fish per acre are stocked and up to year 7 fast growth then absent strong management, depletion, out of balance populations, slow growth and declining productivity.

While there are exceptions and unusual locations - it is basic biology.

The management is what makes the difference - not only carrying capacity or structure, which as concepts do matter. It is the application of management to all fishery concepts designed for the individual fishery that counts. As Bob often says its part science and part art.

Last edited by ewest; 11/29/22 02:38 PM.















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