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Food Source Thoughts #13536506 04/27/20 07:28 PM
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dfwbassin Offline OP
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Thinking of trying to work on managing our neighborhood ponds. We have two that are probably 4-5 acres in size each, with one being around 20ft at the deepest point and the other around 10-12. Both of them are spring fed with extremely clear water. However, for food sources, ive been thinking about catching some thread fin shad and putting them into the pond. Not sure if that is a good idea? There are decent numbers of spots and largemouth, with some crappie and a decent number of bluegills, but not a large numbers. The average bass being around 14-18 inches, and the biggest caught so far is 3.75lbs. Would the deeper pond be able to withstand having shad? Or would it hurt the ecosystem? I would like to thin the population out, but not sure that would fly with the HOA.

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: dfwbassin] #13536597 04/27/20 08:23 PM
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Some thoughts...

The trouble with managing neighborhood ponds is "neighbors" or the public that you can't control or even have any idea what they may be doing to the fishery. That's one thought.

Catching threadfins runs the risk of picking up some undesirables along with them...just be careful. Small undesirable fish very difficult to spot unless you do it one threadfin at a time. Another thought.

I can't see that you would be hurting the ecosystem...other than the risk of introducing undesirable fish. Third thought.

As, far as long term survivability, my thought (fourth) would be your chances are very small. In those size ponds the threadfins will tend to ball up in the deepest spot in winter and there they are completely vulnerable to the predators who will pick them off until all are gone.

Have you tried measuring relative weights to determine if the ponds have a problem? Seems like you should have larger bass than 3.75 but maybe the ponds are young, maybe the bass are northern strain, or maybe the "neighbors" take them out before they can get large ?

Neighborhood ponds are difficult , at best, to manage.

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: dfwbassin] #13536663 04/27/20 09:03 PM
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Flippin-Out Offline
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I agree with Meadowlark. 20+ years ago, I did some effort to goose up the bass size in a 6-7 acre HOA lake by my house. I brought home legal bass from some public water. It seemed to work as within a couple years I definitely saw improvement. I then encountered a neighbor who told me about the kid down the street....headed home carrying a 10+ he had caught out of the lake. He tried to convince the kid to let it go, but no cigar. I'm sure he had his buddies were catching them as fast as I was replenishing the lake.

For smaller waters, the best and most prolific forage for bass by far is the "bluegill" (of various varieties). You've got those it seems. I haven't seen your pond, but you describe it as "clear" and that's a big problem, maybe even THE problem for your pond. "Good" pond water isn't clear - but I bet your typical HOA thinks its great! The food cycle begins with plankton and other tiny organisms - that your pond probably doesn't have enough of. Without that, you can't begin the climb up the food chain to the bluegill and then the bass. Your pond may need to be fertilized....maybe a LOT of it. Then it may very well fix itself. University extension services often have documents and assistance expertise you can leverage. I've done some of this, and will venture a guess that fertilizer may be your best first step.

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: dfwbassin] #13537481 04/28/20 01:52 PM
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As mentioned above managing a neighborhood pond is a good thought that most likely will be a headache due to the uncontrollable's. Enjoy them for what they are... neighborhood ponds.

Last edited by BrandoA; 04/30/20 02:56 PM.
Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: Meadowlark] #13537540 04/28/20 02:25 PM
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dfwbassin Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Meadowlark
Some thoughts...

The trouble with managing neighborhood ponds is "neighbors" or the public that you can't control or even have any idea what they may be doing to the fishery. That's one thought.

Catching threadfins runs the risk of picking up some undesirables along with them...just be careful. Small undesirable fish very difficult to spot unless you do it one threadfin at a time. Another thought.

I can't see that you would be hurting the ecosystem...other than the risk of introducing undesirable fish. Third thought.

As, far as long term survivability, my thought (fourth) would be your chances are very small. In those size ponds the threadfins will tend to ball up in the deepest spot in winter and there they are completely vulnerable to the predators who will pick them off until all are gone.

Have you tried measuring relative weights to determine if the ponds have a problem? Seems like you should have larger bass than 3.75 but maybe the ponds are young, maybe the bass are northern strain, or maybe the "neighbors" take them out before they can get large ?

Neighborhood ponds are difficult , at best, to manage.


Thanks for the advise! These are all some things I have considered.. just trying to think of something that could potentially help without people really realizing if that makes sense. The reason all of this started was I went out to the lake to catfish and had a half dozen or so shad left in my bait well I forgot to let go, so threw them in there and all 6 of them were gone within 2 minutes. There are not many people who fish them, maybe the same 3-4 of us but I get what you are saying. I thought about them being northern strains, but honestly I am not quite... from my fishing it seems as if they're just your standard North Texas bass! However, here's the one thing I do know. Our neighborhood was built on a parcel large ranch, where the school district used these ponds for the outdoor education class, hence why theres some spots, crappie, they stocked it for the class.

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: Flippin-Out] #13537542 04/28/20 02:27 PM
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dfwbassin Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Flippin-Out
I agree with Meadowlark. 20+ years ago, I did some effort to goose up the bass size in a 6-7 acre HOA lake by my house. I brought home legal bass from some public water. It seemed to work as within a couple years I definitely saw improvement. I then encountered a neighbor who told me about the kid down the street....headed home carrying a 10+ he had caught out of the lake. He tried to convince the kid to let it go, but no cigar. I'm sure he had his buddies were catching them as fast as I was replenishing the lake.

For smaller waters, the best and most prolific forage for bass by far is the "bluegill" (of various varieties). You've got those it seems. I haven't seen your pond, but you describe it as "clear" and that's a big problem, maybe even THE problem for your pond. "Good" pond water isn't clear - but I bet your typical HOA thinks its great! The food cycle begins with plankton and other tiny organisms - that your pond probably doesn't have enough of. Without that, you can't begin the climb up the food chain to the bluegill and then the bass. Your pond may need to be fertilized....maybe a LOT of it. Then it may very well fix itself. University extension services often have documents and assistance expertise you can leverage. I've done some of this, and will venture a guess that fertilizer may be your best first step.


It is clear for texas lake but still maybe only 3-5ft visibility depending on the day... There is a good population of hydrilla that has made itself home in the pond, but other than that it seems as if theres not much else structure wise. I agree though with the water clarity, through the fall and winter it seems like the water would be perfect, but what do you know when people start coming outside here comes the copper sulfate..

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: dfwbassin] #13540263 04/30/20 02:02 PM
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We stock threadfin in dozens of private lakes each year. And stocking less than a few thousand usually results in little to no recruitment for subsequent years. In other words they get gobbled up; especially in clear, non fertile water. We stock a minimum of 6000. Trying to catch a few hundred in a cast net and moving them safely will likely not only be futile, but not beneficial. Unless you can create fertile water and add a lot more than your likely thinking, I think it is a novel idea, but not worth the effort.

The advice from others on managing an HOA pond are spot on. You have little control and thus you will likely be wasting your time.


Steve Alexander
salexander@privatewaterfishing.com
www.privatewaterfishing.com

Re: Food Source Thoughts [Re: dfwbassin] #13541242 05/01/20 07:06 AM
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If you can find a fisheries resource that can back up your claim that the lake needs fertilizer, that might be the best bet. Visibility of 3-5 feet is still woefully infertile. Even if you were to stock a large number of adult bluegill (adult so they are less often eaten by larger bass), they probably still won't produce well due to the food chain deficiency. Fix the water, and the pond could begin to fix itself if you have a sustaining population of bluegill. When the food increases, the number of bluegill will increase. That will give you the small offspring to feed more bass and grow them larger. Even if you had a blank check, you can only do so much with infertile water.

You may wonder how clear lakes get away with it, and why ponds aren't the same. Simple - it's the number of gallons of water required per fish. A huge reservoir will have LOTS of gallons of water per fish in it. Your local pond is scaled way way down, so you need to have more fertile water to support a fishable number of fish in that small body of water. Think of cattle on fertile green east Texas pasture vs. cattle on arid sandy west Texas land. Each requires a very different number of acres per head. The same goes with water in a lake for the fish.

Last edited by Flippin-Out; 05/01/20 07:11 AM.
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