Pond Management

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Posted by jd on May 08, 2006 at 14:45:26:

I have been very patient with my new pond. I stocked bluegill in the fall, along with fathead minnows. The bluegill were only 1-2 inches, and as predicted, they are spawning and have beds around the pond. It truly blew me away, as they appear to be only 3-4 inches long. Typical management strategies usually suggest waiting until summer to stock largemouth to allow the bluegill and minnows time to spawn, and phase 1 is complete. I was not able to get Shellcrackers until 6 weeks or so ago, so they have some catching up to do. Also, 6 weeks ago, I bought some fertilizer because the water was too clear. Now the water is nice and dark and looks like a good healthy pond. It was a high phosphorus liquid fertilizer in a 5 gallon bucket that is applied one gallon/acre at a time. Good stuff!

There appears to be millions of fathead fry. I was amazed at how large those minnows got and some were really dark looking. At first, I thought some fish had invaded by pond. However, I netted some to confirm it was the fathead. There were some flat rocks in my pond when it was complete. The fathead cleaned out pockets under these rocks for their spawn. It was then that I recalled from other experiences that fatheads are tank raised by placing pvc pipe cut in half to provide a tunnel or cave like location for spawning.

Combine the fish fry with the millions of tadpoles and frogs that found my new pond, and I think the bass will be happy when they find their new home this summer. Since summer is so hard to transport fish due to stress, I might wait until October. This is my 4th pond to stock in 10-15 years, and it is looking like this one is off to a good start.

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