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Joined: Nov 2022
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I have an approx 3/4 acre pond at full pool that I’d like to use as a forage/bait pond. At full pool the pond is about 5’ deep with a few pot holes deeper maybe 6’ or a little deeper. The pond has lots of shore vegetation out to about 10’ into the water. Various grasses and such. No bottom vegetation. This is an established pond. Not sure how old but at least 30 years. The bottom is a brown sand ...not much silt at all. Presently in the pond are LMB, Bluegills, Tilapia, mosquito minnows, eels, Hopalo catfish, walking catfish not sure if there are bullheads or not. Occasionally a gator slips in but I remove them. A few weeks ago I put in 4 lbs of 1”-1.5” fathead minnows and 4 lbs of 3” golden shiners.
I have removed some of the LMB and relocated them to a larger pond that I have.
This pond does draw down pretty good during spring to a couple feet or less sometimes but I have not had a fish kill.
My questions are:
How much of the LMB and catfish should I remove?
I would like to establish good populations of fathead minnows, Golden shiners and potentially crawfish if they would be a good idea and survive. I do have lots of cinder block to put into the pond if needed.
Would minnow spawning habitats be good additions? Pallets, tubes etc? Will fathead minnows survive and spawn in Southwest Florida?
I put the minnows in before I found this forum.
Would appreciate input.

Last edited by LuckyDuck; 11/28/22 10:57 AM.
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If you want to use it as a forage pond, you need to remove all the predators. That means killing the pond off and starting off with just the forage fish. Rotenone applied by a licensed applicator, or drain down the water, apply hydrated lime until the pH reaches 10+ wait a few weeks and refill with water. Test water to ensure pH is correct, then add the forage fish.

While the water is low you can add spawning habitat and make it easier to seine out the forage fish by removing shoreline brush and things in the water that will catch on the seine.


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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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Originally Posted by esshup
If you want to use it as a forage pond, you need to remove all the predators. That means killing the pond off and starting off with just the forage fish. Rotenone applied by a licensed applicator, or drain down the water, apply hydrated lime until the pH reaches 10+ wait a few weeks and refill with water. Test water to ensure pH is correct, then add the forage fish.

While the water is low you can add spawning habitat and make it easier to seine out the forage fish by removing shoreline brush and things in the water that will catch on the seine.

If I remove most of the predator fish could I expect reasonable success building up the minnow populations or is that expectation a waste of time and effort ?
I’m not interested in completely starting over.
When the pond is low I can throw a large bait net and clean the pond up pretty good.

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Originally Posted by LuckyDuck
Originally Posted by esshup
If you want to use it as a forage pond, you need to remove all the predators. That means killing the pond off and starting off with just the forage fish. Rotenone applied by a licensed applicator, or drain down the water, apply hydrated lime until the pH reaches 10+ wait a few weeks and refill with water. Test water to ensure pH is correct, then add the forage fish.

While the water is low you can add spawning habitat and make it easier to seine out the forage fish by removing shoreline brush and things in the water that will catch on the seine.

If I remove most of the predator fish could I expect reasonable success building up the minnow populations or is that expectation a waste of time and effort ?
I’m not interested in completely starting over.
When the pond is low I can throw a large bait net and clean the pond up pretty good.


You would build up the minnow population for a short amount of time but the bait fish would provide great forage for the predators that are left, they will rapidly multiply to fill the void.

If you aren't willing to press the reset button, then the only thing you can do is try it your way and report back with the results. You can always push the reset button later!

But please report on your results, that's the only way people here will learn what works and what doesn't work. Theory is great, actually doing is even better.


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Yes!! "But please report on your results, that's the only way people here will learn what works and what doesn't work. Theory is great, actually doing is even better."


Any predators remaining in the pond and almost always there are 2 that will reproduce and the offspring will soon do lots of damage to the minnow population.
Try it and see what happens. With some luck you will get some decent success. Return and report your results so we can learn more useful information.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/03/22 08:57 PM.

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It would be my guess that if there are any LMB left-even 5-6 fish-in the 6-12" size, the 8lbs of minnows 2 weeks ago more than likely are down to a scattered few. Fresh release minnows attract a lot of attention.

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Snipe is very correct. Bass 6"-12" ers eat slow swimming fathead minnows like teenagers eating small snacks - lots at one time and they do it daily. Minnows will be continually hanging out the mouth and butt at the same time for each bass until the minnows are rare or absent.


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Originally Posted by esshup
If you want to use it as a forage pond, you need to remove all the predators. That means killing the pond off and starting off with just the forage fish. Rotenone applied by a licensed applicator, or drain down the water, apply hydrated lime until the pH reaches 10+ wait a few weeks and refill with water. Test water to ensure pH is correct, then add the forage fish...

Unfortunately, esshup's correct. A few missed predators can decimate an entire class of forage. Foot prints, puddles just above the pond, or any water adjacent to the forage pond needs to be treated.


AL


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