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#66673 03/18/06 05:56 PM
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Would SMB spawn in most farm ponds in climates suitable for their long term survival? I don't know the answer but suspect maybe not unless they were gravelly bottomed. Am sure someone in the forums has the answer. In any event if it is no, they will not reproduce, why not stock them instead of LMB and avoid the stunting problem of LMB. Is it because they are not widely available to replenish on a put and take basis?


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Hi Layton. I used to work for the the Kansas state agency when they were still called the Fish and Game Commission. We usually took rubber feed tubs and filled them with gravel to provide substrate for smallmouth bass nesting. The biologists there believed, and I guess that I generally observed, that smallies would not spawn without that rock/gravel habitat.


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Dave,

What size tubs did you use? Can these same tubs be used for BG spawning sites?


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Layton, I find that SMB in the 8-10 inch range cost about $5 each when delivery is figured in. Actually, my HSB also cost that much after delivery was figured in.

A mental problem we have is that on the bass fishing tours, a bass is a bass is a bass. No more credit is given for a SMB or a spotted bass than is given for a LMB. Obviously LMB grow larger and so SMB and spotted bass are penalized just because then tend to be smaller.

SMB tend to be a stream fish just the same as spotted bass are. Hence the need to mimic stream conditions such as a gravel stream bed.


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Russ -- we just went to the local farm supply stores, and bought the rubber feed tubs. I'm thinking something like 18-24 inches in diameter, and maybe 8-10 inches deep? We got the soft rubber ones because they would sink. The hard plastic ones would float until the gravel was added. As for bluegills, I sure don't know. As they nest in colonies, it seems like you could put a number of the tubs in close contact with each other, and let multiple males have their own gravel. As we've discussed on the forum, I'm not sure that it's necessary, as bluegill usually find a place to spawn even if no gravel is present. It might be sort of fun to set up the "artificial colony" and watch them spawn where you place it.


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I have SMB in my small pond and I have placed areas around the edges with gravel. I selected the spawning beds for them. I have seen them swim around them and enjoy them. I did not place the gravel in tubs. There is some silt and otherwise that gets on the area but they dust that off as they prepare the beds. I hope this helps.


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Dave - how deep did you place the tubs?


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NEDOC -- That's always a tough one. In general, I'd say maybe between 3 feet and 6 feet. Generally, we'd put them deeper the clearer the water. I can't remember going shallower than about 3 feet, but of course, we didn't put smallies into muddy ponds. I have this general thought in the back of my mind that a lot of the nest-building centrarchids (bass, crappies, bluegills) often nest at about 1 to 1.5 times the water transparency. In that recent bluegill nesting study that we did, the average depth of the bluegill colonies was right at 3 feet. However, in extremely clear water, I have seen reports of smallmouth and spotted (Kentucky) bass spawning down to perhaps 20 feet.

Eric -- your plan might actually be very good for the young smallmouth bass. Those small fingerlings like to stay in rocky habitat once the male no longer is guarding the school of fry.


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Dave, I have a 4 ft to 5 ft ledge aoround 3/4 of my pond with the one side having a slope down. On the ledge I have areas that have gravel and some mid to larger size stones further away from the gravel. The thought there is to provide larger cover as the fry get larger. Once you move from the ledge my pond drops striaght down to about 15 ft deep. I have some rather large rock piles down there for the SMB and Perch. This last summer ( when the pond was down about 4 ft. I added a ledge on the sloping side in one section. That ledge is about 3 ft - 4 ft deep with cut in channels and gravel and rock piles and even a few deep holes with brush and PVC run ways in and out of them. The interesting thing to see is that there was many more fatheads that made it thgouth the winter than I thought I would have and they are all around that area and using the runways and cover as I thought they would.

Life is fun as you make the cover and dwellings for our underwater friends.


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Dave, or anyone, I've got a couple ?'s. I'm in the process of building a small pond (80x100) 9' deep with banks sloped at 2-1. My goal is fast fishin for me and my grandkids. I intend to stock with FH, GS, BG, SMB, and HSB. Won't go into #'s cause Cecil is helpin (enough said). Roughly, what do the tubs cost, and what size gravel would you recomend? Pea gravel vs small (#9) Limestone? Think I've read that the SM prefer smooth material. I intend to have pyrmids of larger field stone next to the pots for post hatch. I'll have a sand beach for the BG Thanks in advance, Bob-O


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I think I have seen something that said 3/10" gravel or bigger is recommended. That may have been for bluegill though. Also are tubs really needed? Why cant you just dump it on the ground.

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Wow! Lots of good stuff on this thread!!

Eric: sounds like a wonderful set-up that you have. I really like larger rock for the smallies as they grow. In our "hill ponds" (rather than gravel pits), I like adding field stone to the ponds. Islands, face of the dam, humps, piles that run from shallow water down to deep, etc., are all good.

Bob-O: my first thought is -- do you have any rock naturally in your location? If you have rock in the soil, then a little wave action on the points will result in some rocky habitat. If so, you may not need to add rock? What does Cecil say?? Those feed tubs cost several bucks each at the farm supply stores. I haven't looked for quite a few years, so like everything, they're probably more expensive than I remember. "Surely" they are still less than $10? Nothing extravagant. Most of these fishes are really adaptable, and they'll probably use a variety of gravel sizes. I like Slymer's 3/10 inch idea, although I'm sure you could go larger, and include some that is 1/2 and 3/4 inch. I'm not familiar with exactly how such material is sold. We always scavenge stuff. \:\)

Slymer is also right to question whether tubs are needed. We only used tubs in the Kansas ponds because there was no rock whatsoever in the ponds. We wanted the gravel in the tubs to hold it in place, and not let it get lost by moving around, sinking into the silt, etc. If you have a better supply of gravel to spread in certain locations, the tubs certainly are not needed.


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Ok guys thought you may be interested in this :
smile
Micropterus dolomieu
(smallmouth bass)

Like other centrarchids, the male will excavate and guard a small, round nest. Suitability for nest-building is maximized between 1-2.5 m in depth, with particle size of substrate near 30 mm (Clark et al., 1998). 1" is 25mm. Several females may spawn in the nest of one male (Etnier and Starnes, 1993). Individual females may also spawn in the nests of several males. (Clark et al., 1998; Etnier and Starnes, 1993)

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Micropterus_dolomieu.html

Bluegill :

Nest preparation by male bluegills
exposed coarse gravel( 8-32 mm diameter)and pebbles(32-64 mm) in nest substrate and removed particles smaller than 2 mm. Particles larger than 8 mm provided suitable interstitial space to accommodate bluegill larvae. Survival of larvae was directly correlated with the proportion of coarse substrate in the nest.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/15/17 08:58 PM. Reason: edit fixes















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Shameless hussies!


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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LRunkle - Back to your original questions. I thought the same as you, put SMB in a earth bottom pond with no sand or gravel and then there would be no spawning. I would have good control of bass numbers. That idea did not work for me. Darn things still spawned. They must have used the hard pan clay bottom for the nests. I had several successful spawns over the years.

2. "Is it because they are not widely available to replenish on a put and take basis?" That is one reason they are not used very much. Hatcheries have a hard time producing lots of smallie fingerlings on a regular basis. LMB are easier to produce, grow faster and get bigger, thus more pondowners like or use LMB more commonly.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/15/17 09:00 PM.

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Boy, you guys have got me thinking about SMB for pond #3, if I ever get the land next door to put it in.


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Bill -- I wonder if some of this has to do with latitude. I can't keep any of my SD smallmouth populations from overpopulating. Yet, you hear from the southern folks that they can't consistently get reproduction and recruitment. Certainly, that was evident in several Kansas ponds. I don't think we completely understand the biology.


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Dave, as you know, SD exports thousands of gallons of fathead minnows. Do you think there would be a market for someone (NOT ME!)to raise and export these SMB?


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 Quote:
Do you think there would be a market for someone (NOT ME!)to raise and export these SMB?
I think there might be a market for SMB in the 8-10" range, this would be a more suitable size to add in with an existing LMB population. Everyone I have talked to around here only has SMB availble in the 2-3" range, which makes them perfect snack size for LMB. \:D



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Oops. I answered earlier, Norm, but it's not here. Doesn't really matter, as I had little to add. I don't know the "business" details of someone starting an operation. Maybe a "bug in the ear" of one of the established fish producers here??


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If you want to know the need or market for fingerling or yearling SMB then just try to find some for sale in the spring; very, very difficult to find them at that time of year. There is a good market for them, although consistantly producing reliable numbers of them is also difficult which explains my first sentence. Numerous hatcheries have tried and failed to capitalize on this market. Hatcheires that produce some fingerling SMB almost always sell out in fall fish sales. Overwintering the limited number of fingerlings that they produce is probably not worth the financial risk and effort.

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Great thread! I am considering adding pea gravel to the shallow end of my pond. I had #2 limestone for rip rap delivered by slinger truck. The guy delivering the material said they could shoot smaller material up to 70'. Material, hauling, and placing 90 tons was $15/ton last summer. Here's a site with more info http://www.rockchuckers.com/




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Originally Posted By: Shorty
Quote:
Do you think there would be a market for someone (NOT ME!)to raise and export these SMB?
I think there might be a market for SMB in the 8-10" range, this would be a more suitable size to add in with an existing LMB population. Everyone I have talked to around here only has SMB availble in the 2-3" range, which makes them perfect snack size for LMB. laugh


Wanted to bump this 2006 thread back to the top. Shorty I just had some delivered lately and the 4-6" were six dollars each and the 6-9 were nine dollars each. Plus delivery. Had it not been close to Christmas and I needed a present for myself, I would have balked at that cost. grin

The reason I am interested in this thread is I put ten of the larger size SMB in my 1/20 acre forage pond. Did it kind of as a lark but it got me to thinking (which is always dangerous). The pond is rock lined with crushed limestone from fines up to about 4" diameter. So the thought occoured I might get some reproduction and be able to use the forage pond as a SMB hatchery and fingerling pond.

Another thread recently got me to thinking about circulating some water from my main pond through this small forage pond and back to the main pond again to help maintain water quality if I fed the smallies quite a bit (the fish farm I got them from, Hartley of Kingman, Ks, feed their SMB). I have an area in mind within the pond I could even enhance the spawning area even more, and if I used a small pump to circulate water from the main pond might even be able to provide a slight current over the proposed area?

SMB introduced to my 1/20 acre forage pond

one of the 10 SMB that went in the forage pond

author to this article sounds suspiciously familiar note at the bottom of that article it is #2 of a 5 part series. The links to the rest of the articles are there and well worth reading all of them. They are reprints form Pond Boss articles.

I know SMB spawning substrate has been discussed several times since this thread. Just thought this thread was a good one to revive.

Last edited by snrub; 12/15/17 11:39 AM.

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Thanks for bumping this thread snrub. Always great to review these old threads full of info and update them if anyone has anything to add to them. It also makes me miss Dave and Norm's input. Such great guys.


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Great info! I'd like to have SMB in my pond some day as well...they're usually easy to catch in the spring around here, so I'll just transplant a few each year perhaps


Mat Peirce
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LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP
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