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Hello All,

I have an old pond which I've been watching for the past two years since I've owned the property. It has trees on the dam and is silted in a fair amount.

It's 1 acre and 11' deep when full and has overflowed each of the past two years with the spring rains but it's now about 2.5 - 3' low. I had 8' of max depth when I did a good depth check a few weeks back.

I know this is not an ideal pond. My plan is to do the best with what I have vs trying to rehab an old livestock pond. Perhaps I start fresh if I have the funds and motivation?

Anyway. I had the MO DNR Fisheries guy come out this week. He thought the pond was just fine for stocking and suggested 1-3" BG this fall followed by 2-4" LMB and 4" CC next spring. I believe the proper number of BG would be 500. Anything wrong with me starting with 250 to see how it goes and limit my expenses?

FYI.. I did stock FHM in 18 months ago. I don't see any now but they were prevalent in the shallows last spring. Also, I'm pretty sure there are no fish in the pond. ( can't catch any and have never seen any ). I do have a ton of crayfish, frogs, turtles etc.

Thanks

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How many LMB and CC did they recommend to stock?


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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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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LarryBud, I was writing a long post for you about just getting some fish in there. But it disappeared and one of our experts is here now.
All I can say is if you want BG/LMB then go ahead and stock some BG. Put in what you think you can afford. Get them going.

Personally, I'd stock those fingerlings and also some adult fish, too that would spawn next summer. I chose to ad 25 7" to 8" BG three summers ago to our 1/4 acre pond already packed with other species. There are BGs everywhere from fingerling size to 11". I have GSF those sizes; YP too. Several trout patrol the feeding area, splashing us and our cell phones when we feed them. There are monster grass carp (to 40"), plenty of pesty LMB up to 4 pounds, a couple of SMB.

Kids come by who have never fished in their lives, giggle at all the fishies swimming around the dock, then catch 30 fish on their first day of fishing. They get to ID two, three, four, five different species.

How can you beat that?

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Originally Posted by esshup
How many LMB and CC did they recommend to stock?

The 1 acre formula from the state calls for 500 1-2" BG, 100 2-4" LMBand an optional 100 4" CC. My plan is for 250 at this time. They have them listed as 2-3".

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Don't forget that 4Corners is from CO and has different climate and water quality that your pond in MO.

No current established fish in your pond suggests the pond has periodic fish kills due to severe sags in dissolved oxygen(DO). High amounts of dead bottom muck and autumn leaf litter causes a large DO loss at various times during the winter and summer. Be prepared for those events to happen. It is saddening to work and create a nice fishery and then have a DO loss ruin all your efforts. This is why a pond rebuilding and maybe a down sizing to 0.3 to 0.5 ac at lower cost is worthwhile for old ponds with periodic poor water quality events.

I would do as 4Corners suggests and stock the smaller BG (200-300) this fall and try and locate a nearby fish farm to get at least 4-12 larger BG (4"-7") that will reproduce for you next May-June. If you can't find a local fish farm, I am sure if you stop at any local farm pond and just ask the owner if you can fish, collect and buy about 6-10 of his adult bluegill - almost every pond owner will be very glad to help you for your project. The hardest part of all this IMO will be mustering up the nerve to just stop and ask. Pond owners like to help other pond owners! As homework, make sure that you know how to correctly identify types of BG, hybrid BG (HBG) , green sunfish,, warmouth so you get pure stain BG from a local pond, if your goal is having pure strain standard BG.


Once you see BG on the nest then ASAP buy some fingerling or small bass at least 30-60 or even 100. IMO I would omit CC unless you really like catching, cleaning and eating CC. Every CC basically takes the place in biomass and predatory ability of one bass. Please return and keep us updated about your pond project. We love hearing pond stories.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/05/22 11:43 AM.

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LarryBud,

A 1-acre pond that is 11' deep in Missouri sounds pretty good to me!

However, I am worried about you spending money on stocking plans on the ASSUMPTION that there are zero fish in the pond. Not catching any fish, does not prove a lack of fish.

When the spring rains overflowed your pond, is all of that water coming from fields, or is some coming from a creek or waterway that could contain fish? (For example, a neighbors upstream pond also overflowed into your water supply.)

I am very skeptical that there are zero fish in your pond. I personally would feel much better if you pumped/drained your pond as low as possible and then added rotenone to make sure you are starting your pond with a clean slate! Even just a few undesirable fish have the capacity to prosper when you add forage, and make your future pond management much more difficult.

I am NOT an expert on this topic, so hopefully some of the experts will drop into your thread and address this concern. (You already do have experts in your thread addressing your other issues!)

Good luck on your pond rehab project!

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If LBud's pond has ""I do have a ton of crayfish, frogs, turtles etc." It is a very good hint that there are no predators in the pond. Even lots of green sunfish will reduce crayfish populations to where there are not lots of them present. If the water is fairly turbid then good chances are there are real high numbers of crayfish, however if the water is clear with 5'-7ft of clarity then chances are crayfish are not abundant. Lots of frogs with minimal cover also indicate predatory fish are not real abundant. Although Frogs will thrive with predator fish in ponds with ample cover.

The other concern about the condition of this pond is status of the FHM that were stocked in spring ""I did stock FHM in 18 months ago. I don't see any now but they were prevalent in the shallows last spring.""
If FHM were common in the shallows last spring -- where are they now? Either they were eaten, died in a fish kill, or are staying in deep water due to no predatory pressure. Two ways I would check on presence of fish. 1. crumble dried white bread and toss it in on the up wind part of the pond. Sit patiently and watch for any fish activity. Wet bread crumbs when put in the pond will sink and also attract small fish. Small fish often attract larger fish. 2. Buy a Gee brand minnow trap add some old bread or pet food as bait and set the trap parallel to shore in shallow water . Most all fish species will enter the baited trap. Gee traps are proven to be the best at catching small minnow type fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/05/22 11:41 AM.

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Hello,

Thank you to all who have replied. A few answers / comments.

1) Only field runoff as a water source. I've only owned the place two years but in year 1, it overflowed twice 6 weeks apart and in year 2 it overflowed once.

2) I'm not sure it is void of fish but I've spent quite a bit of time observing the pond and probably 6-8 attempts with worms. Never a taker. The pond was dry and reworked in 2012. The previous owner ( 2015 -2020 ) did not stock it or want fish in it. He claimed it was sans fish.

3) Yes, it's lousy with crawdads. They cruise around like they own the place. No fear of water based predators.

4) I can't explain why I don't see the fatheads. I did see lot's of them this spring.... 1 year after stocking. Plus, I saw them spawning on leaves and misc surface clutter this spring. I did not provide them with great spawning habitat but will be working on my habitat this winter.

5) I should say the goal of the fishery is to amuse my Grandsons. Currently 34 & 18 months of age. Time to get going.

6) I did put in 250 BG and another 5lbs of FHM today. I'll look for a chance to catch some adult BG.

Finally, I recognize this is not an ideal pond but if I can do OK with it for a while and have some fun with the Kidos, may invest in an upgrade. I think it's too early to go all in with the expense as I have many other projects to bring this run down place up to speed.

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Originally Posted by LarryBud
1) Only field runoff as a water source. I've only owned the place two years but in year 1, it overflowed twice 6 weeks apart and in year 2 it overflowed once.

2) I'm not sure it is void of fish but I've spent quite a bit of time observing the pond and probably 6-8 attempts with worms. Never a taker. The pond was dry and reworked in 2012. The previous owner ( 2015 -2020 ) did not stock it or want fish in it. He claimed it was sans fish.

1 & 2 combined certainly make me more confident that the current pond is truly without fish. Still might be good to try some of Dr. Cody's advice to confirm.

I still believe a 1-acre pond that is 11' deep is not too far off from "ideal". It is easier to more rapidly create a fun fishery for grandkids in a small pond than it is in a large pond.

Now my concern is water overflowing two years in a row. Is it overflowing the top of the dam, or is it overflowing into an emergency spillway designed to handle those flows?

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Fishing Rod has good questions about overflow topics. Answers provide insight as to possibility of invader fish being present. Even if the pond is flushed heavily most of the FHM should still be present. There is a significant reason the FHM are not obviously abundant in a fishless pond after 18 months. Detective work should answer this question.

The pond being dry and reworked in 2012 indicates the likelihood of fish kills are minimized compared to a tree lined, overgrown pond that is 40+ years old. A 11ft deep MO pond will thermally stratify with depths of 7-11 ft being devoid of DO and then a summer turnover brings most of that anoxic water up into the top 6ft. This situation is deadly for fish.

How big were the 250 BG just added? 2"-3"? With ample food some of those fastest growing early maturing BG could spawn in August of 2023. Do your best to visit the neighbors that have ponds for a fishing opportunity to buy a few adult BG for a May 2023 spawning.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/05/22 06:58 PM.

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Again,

I really appreciate members taking time to provide feedback and advice.

The 2012 work was done by the owner / an amature. However, the overflow feature worked as designed skirting the dam and routing the water around and below. It's just a lower grass exit edge but it provides relief.

My BG were 1.5-3" in length. While I paid for 250, I'm skeptical on the count as I relive the day. Probably more like 150 but they all swam away so any mortality was delayed.

I do have a source for adult BG. I'll need to catch them but I can grab a Grandson and enjoy the day. If I put in 10, do I need 5, males 5 females or a few males get the job done?

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Originally Posted by LarryBud
The 2012 work was done by the owner / an amature. However, the overflow feature worked as designed skirting the dam and routing the water around and below. It's just a lower grass exit edge but it provides relief.

Excellent. That is the proper design. If it does begin eroding during a major flood, it will NOT cut out your dam.

Make sure you inspect the emergency spillway every year and after every overflow event. One of the keys to its design function is to have the crest of the emergency spillway be perfectly level. If it develops a low or cut spot, that area will channel a fast flow of water during the next flood event.

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When I built my pond a few yrs ago and I stocked it with 2 to 3" BG that May, my fish supplier told me that those will be spawning and reproducing in a couple months, I thought he was feeding me a line but he was absolutely correct, with no predators in the pond at that time, by the 4th of July, I had lowered the water in the pond to remove and pile up some brush around the perimeter that I failed to get done because the pond got too full to fast, I had a gazillion BG nests all over the shallow areas, they stayed on their beds till I stopped draining the water to keep from disturbing their nests. but I was amazed at those little things procreating! Good Luck!


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Originally Posted by gehajake
When I built my pond a few yrs ago and I stocked it with 2 to 3" BG that May, my fish supplier told me that those will be spawning and reproducing in a couple months, I thought he was feeding me a line but he was absolutely correct, with no predators in the pond at that time, by the 4th of July, I had lowered the water in the pond to remove and pile up some brush around the perimeter that I failed to get done because the pond got too full to fast, I had a gazillion BG nests all over the shallow areas, they stayed on their beds till I stopped draining the water to keep from disturbing their nests. but I was amazed at those little things procreating! Good Luck!
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An Update:

Turns out that our neighborhood retention pond is overrun with Bluegill. I caught and transferred about 15 adults ( 4-6" ) yesterday.

Question: Is there any reason not to keep adding the 4-6" fish all winter? I only put 250 1-3" BG in my 1 acre pond last month which is 1/2 the recommended stocking rate.

My source pond has them literally biting on a bare hook. I'm guessing no predators and way overpopulated, Took me 10 min to bucket the 15 fish. I could do so regularly if it would help my pond. Thoughts?

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The benefit of adding more adult bluegill over the winter may be tilted towards relieving the source pond of 'overcrowded' fish which may help general over-wintering survival in the source pond.

The advantage one mostly tries to gain in the new pond is having bluegill in there before their spawning season. They'll pretty much be close to dormant over the winter, before the spring of next year.

Also, you have to be sure that what you are stocking are the actual bluegill that you want, and not some variant or cross.

Those bluegill from the source pond may be stunted, but I don't think that's really too much of a big deal.


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Originally Posted by Sunil
Also, you have to be sure that what you are stocking are the actual bluegill that you want, and not some variant or cross.

Yep.

If you get a large load of BG from a fish supplier there is a chance a few GSF or other undesirable fish could be hidden in there.

However, you are essentially hand-sorting every BG you stock by your fishing method. Just be sure you are correctly identifying pure strain BG before you drop them into your "keeper" bucket.

Also, if your description of the source pond is correct, then I agree with Sunil that those BG are probably stunted. However, that may actually be a good thing. Those BG will reproduce in your pond, but they will be growing slow enough that they will be "eating size" for your growing bass at an earlier date due to their stunting.

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Don't expect your retention pond BG to grow nearly as big as normal unstunted BG. Stunted fish will grow but they will never get as big as a BG that was never stunted. For the total loss of growth during its life, that growth is lost forever, although with new abundant food the fish will again grow but may not live very much longer depending on how old it was when transferred to a new pond. If your goal is not big BG for these retention pond BG then transferring is acceptable.

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Thanks for the feedback.

My goal is to jump start my pond. The source pond has been overrun for years but I do have an unlimited supply and I actually enjoy the catch and release process.

I'll do my best to properly identify pure BG. What are the ramifications of a misstep? There is not much variance in those hybrids to an untrained eye.

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When stocking just a few larger fish, are you really stocking there offspring? Will there offspring grow just like any other fish?


61 acre water shed lake. bass, channel cat, black crappie, wiper, walleye, redear sunfish, blue catfish and bluegill. To many bullhead and common carp
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Originally Posted by nehunter
When stocking just a few larger fish, are you really stocking there offspring? Will there offspring grow just like any other fish?


For the most part, this is why I thought this is not that big a deal. The 'stunted' fish will spawn, and their progeny should be somewhat normal if they have good growing conditions.


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A good way to verify pure strain BG is to closely and carefully look at the gill flap. Pure BG will have an ALL black margin on the rear portion of the gill flap. The commonly occurring hybrids will have a lighter colored non-pure black rear narrow gill flap margin. When in doubt it helps to with a thin blade to lift the gill flap.


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Originally Posted by Sunil
For the most part, this is why I thought this is not that big a deal. The 'stunted' fish will spawn, and their progeny should be somewhat normal if they have good growing conditions.

Relatively new science discoveries on fish indicate that adaptive genetic change in fish can be much faster than previously thought. BG adapting to small size due to crowding and low food availability can change to that being the norm much faster than we previously understood.

On Iding BG see this with pics

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=157117&page=1

[Linked Image from i26.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i26.photobucket.com]




[Linked Image from i74.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i26.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from i26.photobucket.com]

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