Before stocking I think you have a lot more homework and stuff to learn, if you want to do this right for a non-BG-LMbass pond AND have a HIGH QUALITY fishery. There are lots and lots of good education, owner’s experiences, and very good discussions on this forum for your topics of no BG nor LMbass. More knowledge is good. Become familiar with the threads in our Common Q&A archives section. https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=22&page=1
Structures. There is a lot to learn for this topic. Structure and refuge areas as habitats for small fish are best not placed in deep and deepest water. Small fish in the sport fish community do not hang out and feed in deep and deepest areas. Deep areas are where a lot of the hungry lions hang out, being there if you are small is bad news. You want most of the habitat placed in the littoral zones where about all small fish NATURALLY hang out for food, protection & cover. You should imitate those zones for creating high quality fisheries. Good habitat that amounts of 15% to 25% of shoreline distance increases pond productivity and more & larger fish. Learn more about this in the links below.
Why are you opposed to plastic types of structures????? There are lots of benefits to plastic based materials. Plastics can create important and valuable dense structures. Wood rots with time. After a few to several years most all tree limbs except 1.5”+ size stems of a tree are fairly quickly decayed. This then makes dense cover into fluffy cover and not as of an important refuge habitat. More time decays the larger limbs until mostly just trunk remains. The long term life span for tree structures is relatively short unless you enjoy annually adding more materials. Learn the difference between fish attractors and refuge areas. Fish attractors are more for the anglers and not for significantly improving productivity, enlarging the forage base and the improving the fishery. Know the concept and purpose of both types; then build or create and place it in proper locations. https://www.buzzsprout.com/976324/3322504-episode-001-fish-habitats?t=0https://www.buzzsprout.com/976324/1...and-fish-habitat-for-lakes-and-ponds?t=0Crayfish
- There are lots to know before dumping river crayfish into your pond. Some river crayfish are good some not so good and are some bad,,,, all similar to randomly adding all the species of river fish to your pond including carp, bullheads, CC, all sunfishes, bass, gar, goldfish, shad, crappie, suckers, etc. Do you know how many crayfish species there are in Ohio? At least 20. Not all crayfish species are equal – know the species and its life style habits before adding it. Some crays build chimneys and tunnels some don’t. Some grow too large as optimum forage. Some are more aggressive than others. The river fish are easy to identify but not so easy for the various crayfish species of rivers, creeks, & ditches. Knowledge is good. Papershell crayfish (Orconectes immunis) has proven to be the best species for pond stocking as an overall forage benefit. . Use the habitat big rock peninsula idea of PB member RAH or a few lengthy, course rock (8”-14”) - bolder, shoreline areas to benefit and nurture crayfish and small fish and increase pond productivity. A few scattered rock piles are not adequate habitat for long term survival of crayfish. FISH COMBINATIONS
- Learn what sport fish and forage fish NATURALLY WORK WELL TOGETHER. Then decide which ones you prefer. then manage them in that direction. Putting fish together that are not BEST compatible combinations decreases the overall quality and potential of the whole fish community. Fishes working against each other are counter-productive and do not enhance the entire community. Think long term fishery even if it involves periodic restocking of some of the put and take species for making the best tool box. All the species should be useful tools in the pond management tool box.
The very best stocking procedure to grow the best sport fishery is to first stock forage species,,,,,, allow them to breed reproduce for 6 to 12 months then stock the predators who then grow like GANG BUSTERS. Then it is your job as manager to keep them growing the best they can be. Usually what happens in most ponds is these fast growing predators hit the "growth rate wall" and the grow dramatically slows down as the forage base is decimated by too many reproducing predators eating too much food, and not enough new small predators are harvested, and serious forage fish reductions happen and then limit the growth of all rapidly growing too many predators. Too many predators and lack of PROPER harvest is often the main problem. Too many HOGS feeding at the trough.
A good and proper slot limit harvest is required for producing long term high quality fisheries. Do not let the predators over eat the forage base. Fish density monitoring is key to long term fishery success.
Yes it is very rare that normal or regular pond conditions will allow walleye(WE) and hybrid striped bass(HSB) eggs to even hatch and the fry to survive to make 10” WE. This is why the DNR is always restocking WE. Natural recruitment can be done but it takes using special conditions. Use the WE & HSB as a put and take fish as more tools in the pond mgmt tool box. Learn the benefits pros and cons of hybrid striped bass. IMO - they are a great tool as a sport pond fish.
These fish species can work well together: smallmouth (SMB), HSB, WE, yellow perch(YP), redear sunfish(RES), and maybe specklebelly(SBS). Usually hybrid bluegills are usually not suggested for 1ac+ ponds. All fish are tools and know what each is best used or good for. Know each species needs and behaviors including proper available forage foods for each species and then do what it takes to provide that as abundant continual forage items for better chances of success. Nurture the foods so the crop grows to be the best it can be. Now is the time to be building some SMB spawning nest structures if SMB are stocked. https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92626#Post92626https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=133203
If you decide to use black crappie(BCP),,, you first should establish HSB to 12”-14” then add only HYBRID crappie and IMO never add regular reproducing BCP or be prepared to have fishery balance troubles with lots of stunted 6” BCP. It is also best to use LMB to best control numbers of BCP. And don’t ask me then for help but go to the uninformed person that sold the BCP. For just a few or several bonus BCP you could stock just males or just female BCP, but not both types! I wrote a PB article about this topic. I also have written PBoss magazine articles on growing YP, SMB, and WE. https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92447#Post92447
Remember you and your pond are growing an animal crop. Animal crops need to be fed, managed and harvested for producing the best quality crop.
Shelby Fish Farm and Brehm’s Perch farm have some of the best stocker fish in western Ohio.
Read and learn about over fishing, shy bite, and producing hook smart fish and how it all relates to fish harvest. What is said below about LMbass also applies well to other species. CC have been said to be the ‘smartest’ pond fish. However what actually is probably happening is the CC have the best chemo-receptors all over their body to detect chemical alarm signals from hooked fish. Largemouth Catchability - Hook Smart - Hook Shy
Fish behavior patterns do exist and IMO their behavior is fairly complex. They respond to external stimuli. But can they learn from past experience or from watching other bass/fish? Many think this is true.
Bass and other fish IMO and experience do have the ability to learn from their experiences and a percentage of every year class are what I will call dumb and smart. Some people will call this conditioning not learning. Some can be caught numerous times. Some can only be caught one time or a few times during their life span. Some people have claimed that a few bass from every spawn will never bite a hook. It was speculated in the study that these elusive bass "leared" or were conditioned by watching other fish get caught.
The "dumb" ones could be classed or called overly aggressive, fast growers and willing to bite most any lure put in front of them. Studies have shown that willingness of bass to bite lures is an inherited trait. Some may not be fast growers but they are still vulnerable to recapture and they are just slow to learn about lures and the negative experience of "jaw jerking" from anglers. Some bass/fish in heavily fish water are very hard to catch no matter what lure is used. When one repetedly uses the same lure in the same small pond it becomes hard and harder catch fish. Put on a new lure and something the fish have not seen the catch rate often increases. What does this say about those fish in the pond?
Hook Shy Topics:http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=89680&page=1
Overfishing And Hook Shy Bass with Angling Hints from Bassloverhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=465502#Post465502
Over fishing vs over harvesthttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21209#Post21209
Too Much Fishing Pressure?http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21676#Post21676
Improving LMB catachabilityhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=22189#Post22189
Catchability of F1 bass and other basshttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=58233&page=2
Northern Bass Inferior? Maybe not and Catchability of Both Strains.http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=487836&#Post487836
LMB Catchability article in PBoss Mag - Willis & Codyhttp://www.sdstate.edu/nrm/outreach/pond...ar-Apr-2006.pdf
Several scientific studies have examined this topic. Below are links for more reading about this topic.http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=306520#Post306520
Hook Shy Fish in Fee Fishing Operationshttps://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/getFactSheet/whichfactsheet/129/
Prey Selection - Learning vs Conditioning by LMBhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=279559&page=1
Are Bass Smart? PBoss article by Ralph Manns and Bob Luskhttps://www.pondboss.com/news/free-articles/how-smart-are-bass---by-ralph-manns
Feeding Pellets, Angling & Catchabilityhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=291973&page=1
Pellet Fed and Hook Shyhttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=150311
Reducing hook shy bass - Optionshttp://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=395378#Post395378
Basslover tells how he catches hook shy bass:
PBMember - Basslover says: In very clear water I'm landing bass on night crawlers and shiners the overwhelming majority of the time. I have some success with artificial lures, including; worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and poppers/plugs/jitterbugs. Hard to beat the real thing though.
Basslover goes on to say - I vary the speed and technique of my retrieval as well. I'm not the type that repeats the same cast to the same spot with same retrieval and technique. Slow, super slow, medium, fast. Steady, stop-n-go, jerk, pull. Etc. I haven't a problem yet with hook shy. My bass in my pond that is very clear water are hesitant at times. They can see the hook, sometimes they nudge the worm around and if they identify the hook no dice. If they see you,, it becomes much more difficult to induce a strike. So you become excellent at long casts, hiding, and patience. I also sometimes chum the water - I toss in worms or shiners and since they eat without consequence I then can entice a strike by tossing one in with a hook. I also chum the water at times for the bluegills. I find the feeding frenzy of the bluegills gets the bass active and they want in. So in the middle of this I will then target a bass and usually land one.
I'll throw in mealworms and small red wigglers to stir up the panfish. All that feeding gets my bass aggressive. Then I'll toss in a large nightcrawler on a hook and often land a bass. But I also throw in many non-hooked nightcrawlers (or shiners when fishing with them) so the bass eat without being hooked. And I also spend time in and around the pond without doing any fishing.
Cody Note - Basslover is being creative and being smarter than the bass. That concept and type of creative thinking is often needed for success when dealing with hook smart fish and 'over fished' ponds.