Hi everyone. I'm John, and I've been lurking the PBF for a while now, finally made an account. I had been at a loss for what to do with our pond for years until I stumbled across this site. After reading for weeks, I have questions about algae management, water testing, as well as corrective fishing for stunted LMB, and CC.
My family owns 80 acres of claypan prairie in central Missouri, complete with a 25 year-old, 2.2 acre farm pond. I estimate the max depth at about 12'. We are just now starting to manage it actively. The watershed is entirely farmland, with a 100' permanent grassland buffer between the edge of the pond and any livestock. Most of the watershed is not on our property and includes some livestock and some crop production, mostly soybeans. Soil testing in this area showed low pH, which is fairly typical.The water
We plan to test the water soon through the local ag extension program. What do I need to order?
I know we need to determine the pH, but they also Nitrate-N and/or nitrite-N, Ammonium-N, Chlorides, Sulfur-sulfate, Phosphates (ortho), Boron, Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, Micro-nutrients (zinc, iron, manganese and copper), Carbonates and bicarbonates, Electrical conductivity, Total solids, and Hardness.The algae
The pond visibility is generally moderate, with Secchi depths of about 2' I would estimate. It's limited by what I would guess is planktonic algae. We did the Mason jar sediment test, there wasn't any sediment, colloidal or not. It sounds like at least 2' of visibility and a green, fertile pond is not something to worry about?
Filamentous algae currently covers 10-20% of the total surface area, worse this year than last most likely due to a nitrogen application in the adjacent field. Trying to tell our neighbors what to do with their cropland would be ill-advised in these parts...So to manage this it sounds like planting tilapia would be a good idea, but they're illegal to stock in MO. Any thoughts?The fish
The pond contains BG, CC, and LMB, the classic Missouri Dept. of Conservation stocked combination. After fishing the pond for two summers, I can say with some confidence that it has the typical 'bass heavy' distribution of under-fished ponds with most LMB about 10"-12" and thin. The pond record currently stands at a measly 15". The pond is teeming with fish, and there do appear to be abundant BG, so I think the balance can still be corrected. For about 10 acre-feet of water, how much weight of LMB should I pull out? Do I even need a slot at this point? After correction, how much weight of LMB and what slot should I use for maintenance?
There are also some green sunfish, all of which we either eat or toss on the bank. The CC are huge, averaging about 3' long. I'm not sure what to do with these...should I get rid of them? We don't really like to eat catfish and fishing for them is so boring. They're probably eating my LMB, too.Priorities
I'm hesitant to mess with aeration, feeding, or structure at this point. My priorities are water quality and population management at this point. Please let me know what you think about the plan.