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Yes those fish are the infamous green sunfish. Your stocking plans are not ruined, however your fishery management will be significantly more challenging and the over all quality will be less successful. From now going forward most of your management should be focused on removing GSF. They are prolific bastards and are pretty darn good at being secretive and somewhat difficult for predators to easily locate and catch them in the near shore habitats. They are not an inhabitant of deeper water cover and habitats. They prefer near shore habitats away from most of the predators. As you now know that size of GSF will readily eat small minnows using their large mouth size and aggressive behavior.

Without strong predation pressure of lots of smaller bass and lots of annual trapping,,,,, the GSF can become abundant enough to significantly suppress minnow and YP recruitment. YP do not frequent the living areas preferred by GSF thus IMO YP eat few if any GSF. If GSF are common in the pond they will no doubt limit SMB reproduction to almost zero. If that happens of now new small YOY bass then you will need to ladder stock SMB every year or two to keep several year classes all putting pressure on and eating GSF. Numerous SMB will also significantly limit recruitment of YP. Abundant small 1 yr old GSF will gather around the spotfin spawning devices and eat all the fry swimming off the device. I have seen YOY perch also do this.

Moving forward I would get your SMB as soon as possible. Try to get stockers of this year's fingerlings and some of last year's hatch - 2023 and or 2022 year class/s. It will be best to stock some smallies that will eating eat this year's hatches of GSF. Nests are said to contain 15,000 - 50,000 eggs. This years GSF hatch could easily amount to 5000 - 15,000 fry from several GSF nests.

Start collecting minnow and fish traps. The Gee minnow traps even unbaited are best for catching small GSF. GSF like to enter secluded niche areas thus the Gee traps catch lots of small GSF. You can enlarge the funnel opening on some of the traps. Build yourself some larger traps using 1/4" and 1/2" hardware cloth mesh. I like cylinder traps especially for using traps on sloped banks. The Z Trap ( search YouTube for Z fish trap) is another good design to get and or build to try it for how well it catches GSF. I have a Z trap and it works well for catching sunfishes in shallow flat bottom areas . Cylinder traps are best to use on sloped banks. A very good cylinder trap to buy is from K Traps.
https://ktraps.com/

I have a couple of the K Traps and I built some versions and sizes of them. They work very good for trapping GSF baited or unbaited with fish food or stale bread. I have often caught 15 to 30 GSF in one trap set. IMO you should have one or two traps working in the pond continuously all summer long.

Your work will be an up hill battle dealing with GSF in your YP - SMB pond. Keep us updated on the pond's progress and successes while dealing with GSF.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/17/24 07:57 PM.

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was the 3rd pic a GSF too?


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Steve, #3 has something else present, I agree-maybe some PSS but some of these places that carry other species get 1 in the wrong brood pond. I think we have few of the sunfish species left that would test completely "clean" if actually researched via DNA.

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Boondogie - Good catch on the fish in the 3rd pic. I did not even look at the 3rd pic. I saw GSF and knew BIG trouble was in Angler's MI pond. As Snipe says It is a pumpkinseed sunfish. Angler should be so lucky to have all PSS in the pond instead of the problematic GSF.

This is what Angler8689 should be doing with a lot of the GSF that he is catching in his traps - hand feeding the GSF minus their fins to the SMB when he gets his SMB. A good pair of scissors works well for removing fins. I do this for several SMB in one of my ponds. You have to first start using live fish to train the bass. It usually does not take very long to train the bass to eating easy catch live food. IMO this also conditions the SMB to focus on eating GSF.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=567888#Post567888

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Since I’d rather not deal with GSF indefinitely, I don’t want to kill all my forage, I’ve thought about a forage pond already, and I just happen to be renting a D5 dozer the last week of June:

What if I make a small forage pond with a liner next to my main pond, move as many minnows/shiners to the forage pond as I can trap, then rotenone the main pond? This adds more questions for me unfortunately…

Is there someone anyone knows in MI who can rotenone the pond for me? Is it pretty expensive?

Does the forage pond need to be a minimum size to supplement my YP/SMB 0.8 acre pond (in subsequent years)? I’ve read about the paint tray design, but I’d rather have it use some type of slopes and not be too deep so kids don’t fall in water that’s over their heads.

I’ll stop the questions here for now in case this is a bad plan.

I really appreciate everyone’s help on this. Trying my best to do things right the first time.

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Driving the D5, gonna have some fun at your property!

Personally, I really like the forage pond idea. However, if moving over your own stock, you will need to be very careful NOT to include any GSF fry with your minnows/shiners. Unless carefully hand sorting, many of the little "fishes" look roughly the same at a glance. It might be safer to buy new forage stock if you have a trusted supplier. You wouldn't need to buy a lot if you just start broodstock in your forage pond and let them spawn to give you big numbers later.

The "paint tray design" is specifically to make it easier to walk and seine. If the kids did fall into the paint tray pond, they should easily be able to walk back up slope and get out. However, in Michigan you may need a "deep end" that is too deep for non-swimmers. A smaller pond will freeze much faster than a larger pond. If any fish are going to over-winter in your forage pond, then I don't know how deep it needs to be in Michigan to do that. I might want six feet?

Your forage pond could also serve as a "grow out" pond. For example, if you put in some adult YP and get egg production, you could remove the adults and raise a bunch of fingerlings with no predation. That might be great to stock into your main pond the next spring, but you would need the capability to overwinter.

Another option would be to push up your dirt high enough to build your forage pond such that it could directly drain into your main pond. That way you could just open a big gate valve and send fish over. However, that is going to be an ugly berm if your main pond is a visual jewel from your house or cabin. However, that would have to be a sealed pond (rather than groundwater). I can't remember, do you have clay?

As to the proper size, I think any supplemental forage would be a benefit to your main pond. If you have space and good material to work with, I would definitely err towards making it too large. Adding 50% more volume to a tiny pond is not that much more work with a D5. If it truly was too large, you could later divide it with either a net or a dirt berm.

I don't know anything about the proper technique to rotenone a pond. However, I believe in the threads that I have read, they usually do pull down the water level as much as possible?

I think esshup has managed or consulted on multiple fish kills. Hopefully he can give you some good advice.

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BC - No worries. I saw the first (2) pics and was completely on board with the GSF identification. The 3rd pic just looked different...I didn't know if this was a cross/hybrid of the GSF or not. Was just trying to soak up as much knowledge from you giants in the industry as I could. Going back to reading and following along. Much appreciated on all you do to help everybody here.


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Bill - I didn't see your post til now about training the SMB to go after the GSF, that's a pretty cool idea. This might be what ends up happening...

FishinRod - I think we are on the same page as far as gravity-draining the forage pond into the main pond when the time comes. I'd plan on leaving it dry over the winter since I want to keep the depth safe for the non-swimmers. Also I read on here that it can be beneficial to have forage pond bottom have a chance to dry up each off season.
Understood about the hand sorting when transferring them. I might just have to get good at it I guess. My SFS trip was 4 hours one way, so sorting the minnows might be a gamble I'd take.

I've always wondered, since the forage pond would be a shallow, vegetation magne - would it be possible for the forage pond to become an accidental grow out pond for algae or other vegetation that would then get transferred to the big pond, or shouldn't that be a concern?

As far as drawing down the pond to rotenone it, can anyone speak to if this would be a requirement? Our pond is a groundwater pond, so it would need to be pumped out. And there is a healthy flow of water into it from down below, so pumping it that low would be no small feat. We struggled with pumping the water down back when we dug it out this winter.

The problem with this whole forage pond plan is I have to figure it out by the time the dozer is here next weekend

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I think it is a good idea for you to build a forage pond maybe around 0.1 ac or 60X70 or similar size. One can grow quite a few fish in 0.1 acre if feeding appropriate fish food. Paint roller pan shape forces all fish into the basin as the pond is drained. Draining each year is very,, very beneficial to minimize rooted weed and FA growth problems that always occur in and plague shallow ponds. A Fresh start with a clean basin each year. A lot of fish farms do this sort of management each year to minimize weed problems.
A Forage pond could be a good place to grow some YOY perch if GSF do not allow good YP or SMB recruitment in the larger pond.
Some adult SFS and BNM 20-50 of each,,, each spring along with one ribbon of YP eggs would make this a very useful forage pond.

Maximum depth of 5ft - 6ft IMO is good especially if you do the annual draining and fish transfer. This avoids the common problem of winter fish kill due to deep snow cover and DO loss very common to MI ponds. Annual draining maximizes the amount of fish for transfer at the end of each growing season.

Drawing down the pond for fish kill: A. reduces the amount and cost of chemical that has recently doubled in price. B lowering the water level forces all fish in to a smaller basin that helps reduce the changes of small fish hiding in shallow tight cover where the rotenone concentration may not be high enough nor penetrate long enough to kill them. GSF are tolerant fish of low DO and require higher concentration of rotenone to effectively kill them. GSF are tough fish. I hauled an 8" GSF home out of water for 8 miles, put it in a bucket of water,,, it swam and survived. 1ppm rotenone kills BG & LMB. I use 3ppm to kill GSF.

IMO rotenone is not very practical for a strong ground water nor spring fed pond.

Until you get some 10" to 12" SMB going, feed all the trapped GSF to the racoons and opossums. .

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/17/24 07:59 PM.

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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
GSF are tough fish. I hauled an 8" one home out of water for 8 miles, put it in a bucket of water,,, it swam and survived.

Great, Bill Cody is now putting GSF through "reverse" Navy Seal training. No wonder, those little suckers are so tough! grin

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I like the dreaded, infamous, green sunfish. In a properly stocked pond, I don’t see a problem. They will outfight a pansy bluegill of the same size every time. I have a small pond, about a mile from the house, that is full of them. I take a 4 wheeler ride anytime I’m on the property to feed them.

Lusk said it best about 25 years ago. How is a fish that spawns erratically, at most yearly, going to upset the balance of a pond when bluegills have a rolling, non stop, spawn.

Redears also only spawn annually and they are a preferred species.

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I am hearing you DD1. One man's trash is another man's treasure. It is all about goals for the fishery. GOALS, GOALS, GOALS.

One thing that I learned is if you want to deter GSF is to minimize the amount of shoreline habitat where GSF prefer to hide from predators. Shoreline habitat with pockets is their preferred niche.

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Thanks for the forage pond and rotenone information, Bill. That was my assumption on the reason for drawing down the pond, I was in a hurry and posted hastily. So it sounds like the rotenone plan may not provide much more benefit than trapping, since using it to remove all the GSF might not be a sure thing.

So I guess I better get to building some Z traps. I read somewhere that if you don't check your Z trap often enough, all the fish inside will find their way back out again. I hope this won't be an issue since our pond is 1 hr from our house, so we won't be there every weekend.

Goals were mentioned above. Since my main goal is a good YP fishery, I shouldn't have LMB. And if I don't have LMB, I'll have a harder time controlling the GSF with SMB alone. This is the thought process I've generated after all the posts I've read on the forum. The same reason I'm not introducing bluegills.

I'm hoping I'll be able to convince the gang to let me dig out a forage pond while we have the dozer next weekend, so at least we have the pond dug out if we decide to proceed further. I'd have to line it if I want it at a higher level than my main pond, but I could do that later.

Dumb question and I'm assuming it's a NO since I've never seen it mentioned
before - since the GSF like to hang out near the shore (and our pond currently has an overflowed shallow plateau on one end that I think most of the minnows and GSF congregate at) - would it be possible for me to electrofish them from shore with a generator and scoop them up? I know people do it from boats obviously, but I wonder if it could be effective from shore. I'd be willing to be the guinea pig and report back unless the consensus is a flat out NO.

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I don't think electrofishing from shore is practical due to several reasons. 1. right equipment for it has not been developed IMO; 2. One should have some experience electrofishing before trying something like you are proposing; 3. Not sure how effective electro fishing would be since GSF hide in dense cover that may not transfer current well.; 4. Best electrofishing success is in water with the correct range of hardness and not sure of the water hardness in your area. Do plenty of homework before trying a home made shocker. I would not do it unless one has had at least one experience as a helper with someone with a fish shocker.

IMO you will have more success with 1 or 3 fish traps fishing 24/7 all summer long. IMO since GSF like confined cover,,, they will tend to say in a trap longer as cover and protection than some other common fish species. Also build yourself one or two cylinder traps 10"-12" dia and 3-4ft long. You will be surprised how many GSF they will have in them for soak times of 48 - 60 hrs.

Dig your forage pond. It does not have to be higher elevation than the main pond. If the forage pond is 0.07-0.1 ac and only 6 ft deep on around one half of it,, It will not take long at all to use a 3" trash pump or a semi-trash pump to dewater it - maybe only one or two tanks of gas. If you are just mainly moving relatively clean water sucked through a 1/4" to 1/2" suction screen or a homemade trash can sieve the semi-trash pump should work really good and be cheaper than a full trash pump. Used pumps are sometimes available on Craigs list and others. Plus a new honda pump will be well worth the money for the long term usages. Harbor freight also sells probably reasonable good 3" semi-trash and trash pump.

For predator control of GSF I would first try the SMB. LMB can always be added later. The smallies worked well in my rock - bolder lined pond controlling the GSF once I significantly reduced the numbers of GSF via trapping and feeding them to the smallies. One option I would use to help control the GSF is to add JUST one LMB to your pond. However I think the SMB are good GSF predators as both live near and frequent rocky habitat. Actually after using SMB with a GSF problem in my YP test pellet feeding pond, I think SMB might be a better predator of GSF compared to using LMB for GSF control. Try smallies first with maybe just one LMB and report your results. We can all learn something from your experiences.

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Understood on the electrofishing, I figured it was worth asking the question. Thank you for the explanation.

For the forage pond, we actually already have a 3" trash pump and hoses we bought to help supplement the other pumps when we were digging our main pond. So we should be good there. If I keep it level with my main pond, it will have ground water seeping in all year round, so letting it dry over winter won't be an option. But doesn't sound like that is a necessity. Or if I keep the deep end of the forage pond to 3-4' depth, that would be above the normal ground water level, and I could put a liner in and pump it dry in the fall.

Great to hear on your success with the SMB controlling the GSF. Between that and the trapping, I feel a LOT better than I did a couple weeks ago. I know it will be a lot of work, but it sounds like a good balance is at least attainable.

I'll definitely be reporting back to everyone how things go, I've learned so much from others who have done the same. This forum is great.

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Dewatering the forage pond each year is very beneficial for keeping the FA and rooted plants to a minimum. A forage pond full of algae and weeds makes it almost impossible for a good effective harvest of fish out of it.

Will your YP-Smb seller have some larger SMB with the YOY smallies?. I would try to get 6-12 larger SMB (6"-10") with the fingerlings that you by even if you have to go catch some of the larger ones form a local lake or stream to get some predation on the YOY GSF of the 2024 hatch. Well fed YOY GSF in Mid MI some can be 1.5" to maybe some 2" long by winter.

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I’ll have to check on the SMB size, Bill. And I’m sure any larger GSF I may have are currently well fed… Hopefully will have a better idea of what GSF are left in the pond once I get a few traps in.

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After one or two spawns of GSF and no predators your 0.8 ac pond will easily have 5000 - 8000 young GSF. I trapped 2400 and 3200 per year from 0.1 ac that had just adult YP in the pond. You may have to go catch some larger smallies from a local lake or stream. I am currently thinking with no proof yet that SMB might be even a better predator of GSF than LMB because GSF and SMB both evolved together in stream conditions and often they now occur together in stream habitats. SMB evolving with GSF could make SMB a very good predator of GSF that are commonly a stream dweller.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/17/24 07:52 PM.

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Originally Posted by Angler8689
Since I’d rather not deal with GSF indefinitely, I don’t want to kill all my forage, I’ve thought about a forage pond already, and I just happen to be renting a D5 dozer the last week of June:

What if I make a small forage pond with a liner next to my main pond, move as many minnows/shiners to the forage pond as I can trap, then rotenone the main pond? This adds more questions for me unfortunately…

Is there someone anyone knows in MI who can rotenone the pond for me? Is it pretty expensive?

Does the forage pond need to be a minimum size to supplement my YP/SMB 0.8 acre pond (in subsequent years)? I’ve read about the paint tray design, but I’d rather have it use some type of slopes and not be too deep so kids don’t fall in water that’s over their heads.

I’ll stop the questions here for now in case this is a bad plan.

I really appreciate everyone’s help on this. Trying my best to do things right the first time.


I was going to suggest a forage pond, trap the species that you wanted to have in the pond, Rotenone the existing pond and start over. Good plan. You can make the forage pond 3:1 on 3 sides and much gentler on the 4th side like a paint roller tray. That design makes it MUCH easier to seine out fish to transfer to the main pond. 1/10th acre should be enough. (50'x80)


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Better yet put in a drain pipe from the forage pond to the main pond if possible.
















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If you decide to kill off the gsf. Pump the pond down to the lowest level, almost dry if possible. A very small body of water will yield the best result and cost the least to kill off. Depending on your soil type you may be able to use the dozer to work the edges a little better once the water level is droped.

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Angler's pond has strong ground water seepage input into the basin that makes it difficult to maintain a low pool water level and maintain a constant concentration of piscicide.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/20/24 10:13 AM.

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^^ What Bill said, plus if it's drained down and a pair of GSF or a few of them are in a wet boot print, and that gets missed with the piscicide, then when the pond fills back up there is a good chance that they will have survived and will re-populate the pond. All it takes is 2 fish that got missed and survive to re-populate the pond.

If it was my pond, I'd leave it full, spend the few $100 more for more Rotenone and nuke the whole thing. The risk of missing a few in a drained down pond is too great in my opinion.


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