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Joined: Apr 2024
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Here's the situation: I manage a secluded 5 acre HOA pond in Northern VA. The dam failed 2 years ago and the whole thing drained so myself and a local engineer redid the dam and added plenty of structure all around the pond. The pond is shaped like a pair of glasses, sorta like this: O=O. One "lens" is averages around 2-3ft deep throughout, providing excellent habitat for bedding/spawning. Now the other "lens" averages about 45-50ft deep, and is fed from the shallow side by a spring, and the channel connecting the two sections is about 40 yds across with an average depth ranging from 5-10ft.

2 years ago after it refilled I restocked the pond with F1 Tiger LMB, yellow perch, channel cats, blue/redgill, as well as a multitude of forage species(silver shiners, fatheads, rose reads, gambusia)/crayfish. After only 2 years we've started to catch dozens of 3lb bass, and one weighing about 4.5lbs.

The Issue: only about 4 people total fish this pond regularly. I will be moving to a different part of the state for work this year and want to give these bass the best chance of continuing this growth trend with only intermittent management efforts. I'd hate to see them stunt later on down the road, so I'm curious if additional stocking of walleye or perhaps an Esox species such as Muskie or Pike may benefit as a natural cull species in small numbers. Given the great depths of this pond, (the deeper "lens" has a larger surface area than the other, maybe 3 of the total 5 acres), I figured there are opportunities for certain species that most farm ponds don't have. Any thoughts on how I can make the most of this unique body of water and the trending size patterns of LMB therein?

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Sounds like an awesome pond!

How much reproduction of your LMB have you seen in the pond? Are people catching small bass from the subsequent spawn(s)?

How many LMB did you stock originally?

When you say the "whole thing drained", was it bone dry, or did some of the pre-dam-break fish population survive?

With 50 foot deep water, it might be fun to add some HSB since they range a little more through the water column. They might easy eat some of the small LMB to help reduce overpopulation and stunting.

Lots of potential in your pond. I expect the experts will come along and add some good/interesting advice!

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I believe the initial stocking was at a rate of 500 per acre, but yes I've been able to identify at least 2 or 3 spawning classes already.

Also yes, bone dry, down to a small puddle at the base of the dam where the break occurred and thousands of fish (including the reproducing population of DIPLOID grass carp that had initially been stocked in 1972) were packed in and ultimately died when that too evaporated. It was incredibly tragic, I grew up fishing that pond since I was 2 years old, learned to fish there, caught my first fish there etc. and some of the carp were upwards of 70lbs. Although with the tragedy we could see how stunted the remaining bass were and how overpopulated it was with BG and GS and why we never caught anything big out of there.

HSB were an option, although they are quite expensive in my area compared to Walleye and the Esox. It is an option though. It's an HOA pond and while the landowners are all for a trophy fishery, no one wants to put up any money for it. I've been financing a lot of it myself along with one other neighbor. As much as I'd love HSB I don't think I could afford to stock them myself, especially given that 5-7 years from now they will need to be restocked. Hence my curiosity with the other fish.

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If HSB in your area are expensive, then HSB large enough to avoid being eaten by the existing LMB will be REALLY expensive, so that is a bad suggestion.

One of the best "predators" for LMB is humans doing the culling. Does anyone on the "approved" list have a bunch of grandkids? If you gave them culling rules, then they might be able to make a dent coming out a few times a year.

Also, do you know any good Boy Scout leaders? If you ran a fishing day with them, then 20 scouts would really make a dent. However, you do need to know the people well that you invite to a special pond like yours, or a "one time" invite may turn into a whenever they want to trespass deal.

Walleye would be nice to have in your pond, but I don't think they would eat many bass. They would probably primarily eat your yellow perch and shiners?

Esox get discussed on the forum, but I do not recall any threads where one of the "regulars" discusses using Esox to control their LMB population.

I am NOT an expert on this topic, so hopefully you can get some experts to drop in.

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Channel cats are directly competing with largemouth bass for food resources.

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My suggestion is call Bob Lusk.
















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STG, so, are you saying that when the dam failed, the side of the pond averaging 45-50' depth drained down to a small puddle near the dam?


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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I should clarify, by dam failure I mean the shell of the old drain pipe from the 40s, which had been plugged when they expanded the pond in the 70s, rusted through completely essentially creating a tunnel through the foot of the dam. As the pond leaked out the bottom, it carved out a bigger and bigger hole through the dam. That old pip was maybe 2 ft from the bottom, so yes essentially a small puddle was left under that pipe, and by small puddle I mean maybe the size/width of a pickup truck bed with maybe a foot of depth. I think it was just a collection area from the rainfall we'd had, and it was stacked with dead fish. But to answer your question yes, the deepest side of the pond was reduced down to that small puddle just under the broken outflow pipe.

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FishinRod - As it turns out, the primary land owner on the pond was the leader of our local boy scout troop. We had the same idea. Unfortunately there are no longer any kids living in the neighborhood, I was the last of that generation to flee the nest for college etc. He and I, try as we might, could not get HOA approval for a non-resident day of fishing, nor could we allow any kind of special access to the Scouts for ecological purposes. If you couldn't tell, my HOA is a huge pain in the butt. When I initially proposed the stocking program, they were worried about the bass getting so big they would attack horses/dogs that people frequently take down there to swim 😑. So thats my dilemma and why I'm seeking a species that could partially automate the cull process, given that only about 3 or 4 people fish the pond regularly. I will research the viability of Walleye some more, anyone have contact info for this Bob Lusk? Thanks!

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Sounds like the HOA is your biggest problem!

However, I would like you to grow some bass that can eat horses! grin

BG are your only forage species that is likely to get overpopulated. With the size of bass you are catching and the numbers of bass you stocked, then hopefully that won't be a problem.

LMB are the sportfish in your pond that are likely to get overpopulated (unless there is lots of good spawning habitat for the channel catfish). The LMB are the typical top of the pond food chain, so it will be difficult to find something to cull them other than humans. I definitely do NOT believe walleye could ever do that.

I wish the HOA understood that managing a pond is a constant balancing act. For many ponds, humans catching fish is an important part of the balance.

To contact Bob Lusk, just click on Bob Lusk's Blog at the top of the forums. If you click on his name in a post, it will give you his profile and a hot link to his email.

Your pond still sounds awesome to me. It does have a chance of staying that way for several more years mostly on its own. If the HOA will spend money, but abhors fishing by outsiders, you could have an electroshock crew survey they lake if it appears to be going way out of balance. They can evaluate which fish should stay, and which should be culled - and they can shock up a lot of the fish when they are in the shallow water.

Not sure how often Mr. Lusk checks his emails, so be patient, but he might find your lake to be an interesting project.

Good luck!

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Call the Pond Boss office and ask for Bob and email.
















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info@pondboss.com is the email for the office.


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