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    Pond Structure
from jyarb  
1/11/2011 2:50:29 PM



My dream is to raise a state record bass that my grandson will catch. I renovated my pond two years ago and wanted to share some of the things I did to try to provide good habitat for the fish. First of all, the pond has a ditch running about through the center and I cut the trees there, but left the stumps. There is an old pond within the pond that is small, but gives an area that is around 16 feet deep. I built three ridges that are about 2 ft. higher than the pond bottom. Most of the cover I placed in the pond is concentrated on these ridges. Also, with my box blade, I made dirt piles that would be anywhere from 2 to 4 feet deep and placed cover on these. I built a lot of PVC structure you will see in the pictures, but have found fish like wood with the pvc, so in a lot of places there is wood beside the pvc. Also there is a camper shell, freezer, dryer, woodburning stove, and an old boat tied to the trailer. After getting all the structure in, I planted rye grass. As the pond began to fill, the number of aquatic insects that lived in the rye was unreal. The pond was stocked with bluegills and I also put in golden shiners and toughies (fathead minnows). I put in Florida strain largemouths during the early summer. The last two years, I have hauled shad to the pond. At first I put only threadfins, but as the bass have grown, gizzards were also added. I feed my bream daily and the bass know what time. The pond is 8 feet deep at the dam and the sides are cut about 3-4 ft. straight off except on the shallow end. I have an aerator that is supposed to circulate the whold pond. I'm going to do a series of pictures of the structure added.

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   Pretty Cool but you forgot something! from travkeg  1/11/2011 2:57:52 PM
 The kitchen sink and toilet!!! Those bass have all the other ammenities you've provided...Can even stay warm with the wood burning stove.. LOL

Great job and your grandson is a lucky young man...

   I've got more picutes, but from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:17:10 PM
 my red letters aren't showing and I can't post them.

   Time and date from olefool  1/11/2011 3:28:57 PM
 that you want me there? Looks like you have done a great job. I'm sure you will enjoy many days and years of fun trophy fishing.

   I do have the toilet from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:29:19 PM

Commodes make an excellent stump and will be there forever. It's real easy to get them from plumbers, who are more than glad to get rid of them

   This shot show the old pond and the boat from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:36:33 PM

Funny story about the boat. One of my friends called and asked if I wanted the boat for the pond. I said yes and he said he would be right there since he lives about a mile away. I heard this awful noise coming down the road and it was him pulling the boat and trailer with only the rims and no tires on the trailer.

   Ridges and pvc from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:42:28 PM

Also rye grass

   PVC structure from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:50:55 PM

Take a 5 gallon bucket and drill four hole in the sides at the bottom across from each other. Insert two pipes to serve as stabilizers to keep the buckets from turning over, especially in areas with current. Then put a 4-inch vertical pipe and add concrete. After the concrete is set, drill holes for horizontal one or two inch pipes. What I did with these is just put in a number of vertical pipes with some with added pieces at a right angle.

Edited 1/11/2011 3:52:28 PM

   Good Job. from RICH ZIERT  1/11/2011 3:55:41 PM

I wonder if there is something in the make up of cinder blocks that could bleed into the water over time and not be so good. Any man made stuff needs to be checked out.

    from jyarb  1/11/2011 3:59:26 PM

Edited 1/11/2011 4:01:25 PM

   This is one of my breams favorite bedding sites from jyarb  1/11/2011 4:13:50 PM

It's a high spot right by where I feed my bream. Dug out around it with my box blade and it is a hard bottom with gravel. When the pond is low, you can see bream beds all over it. Since renovating the pond and making the high spots, my bream no longer bed on the banks and also bed deeper. I wonder if they feel more secure away from the bank and the great blue herons that love my pond.

   Concrete blocks from jyarb  1/11/2011 4:21:16 PM
 Rich: I have thought about that and, since they mainly have lime, didn't think they would hurt and might help. About every two or three years, I notice that the fertilizer isn't working as good and have to add two or three tons of lime per acre. As soon as I do, the pond blooms again.

And who do you let fish is a big problem Ole Fool. I wish I could let everyone fish, but as a retired teacher sometimes I have 3 or 4 people a week ask to fish. I hate to say no, but have to. Basically, I just let family fish. That might seem selfish to some, but if you figure what you've got invested, it's not. I have let some people fish and the next time they come, without asking, they bring someone else. Then those folks think they can come anytime. It's a hassle.

   Jyarb from RJR  1/11/2011 4:35:34 PM
 aren't you competing with Ray Scott in Alabama? I really liked the toilet shot. That should be a Classic. I read a book last year about the quest for the World Record Bass. Monte Burch wrote it several years ago and he had section on someone down there in your neck of the world, trying to build the perfect lake with structure, food, bait, to grow the ultimate bass. Good read. I am jealous, but in 13 months I will be retired and I might just try to top your efforts. But it would be for the Missouri Record only! But if this Global Warming stuff doesn't quit soon, you wont be able to grow a bass bigger than 4lbs in Southeast Missouri.

   Keep it from TheAmBASSador  1/11/2011 8:11:16 PM
 for yourself and family...people will abuse their friendship and permission to fish. They will get over it..but if you let one you might as well invite the whole county. What time is supper? I got a new fangled lure I want to experiment on them bass in that pond....

   Your Pond from Ralph Manns  1/11/2011 11:01:54 PM
 Looks good. In AL likely the Floridas will do OK. Provided you never freeze over.

Other than the old pond, you don't have much deep water. I hope the recirculation system is positioned to pump up from the bottom of the old pond, as it likely will thermocline and stagnate over summer.

It's hard to tell from the imagery but make sure you have several places that go over five feet deep when full-- eight-ten feet would be even better. The bigger a bass gets the more sensitive its gas bladder becomes to low pressure. Really giant fish (13+) in Doug Hannon's pools reportedly developed bladder trouble until he made sure they could go down at least five feet to pressurize their bladders.

   Had not read that Ralph from jyarb  1/12/2011 7:46:15 AM
 The lower 1/3 of the pond is over 5 ft. deep and it is 8ft. deep at the dam. The main reason I didn't have it dug deeper is that during the summer, most ponds in AL don't have any oxygen in water lower than three to four feet if they are well fertilized.

When the BASS AOY guys went to the big fish lake in Montgomery with the wounded soldiers, they found a lot of great deep structure, but no fish. All of the fish were in water less than 3 ft. Water temp was in the 90's.

The aerator is in about 5 ft. because that is as long as I could get the electrical cord out. So far, I have only run the aerator when we had several cloudy days in a row or I had a plankton die off. Guess when the bass get bigger I need to run it all the time in the summer.

Last winter the surface of the pond was totally frozen about three to four inches thick. Probably is this morning. The bass made it fine. Did lose all of my shad and will this year also.

   Tilapia from Waldo #11975  1/12/2011 11:33:07 AM
 What about stocking tilapia as a food source. I had heard of Donovan lakes in marion had done that. They had several fish in the teens caught. The only negative I could see from that is the cost.

   I tried tilapia one year from jyarb  1/12/2011 3:14:43 PM
 before I renovated the pond and was disappointed with the results. Have a friend who thinks they helped his pond. I got mine a little late and may not have stocked enough.

    more for jyarb from Ralph Manns  1/12/2011 3:33:19 PM
 The forces that are sufficient to let water stratify are strong enough to resist most aerators, IF the aerator is set shallower than the top of the thermocline. While an aerator at 5 feet may reduce oxygen problem under calm, windless conditions and cloudy skies, you likely will still have low-oxygen conditions at 8 feet and deeper in the old pond. But the aerator may suffice to at least let the lunkers get deep enough to compress.

Waters like the one in Montgomery often don't hold many bass over 10 pounds. Hannon's explanation is the only one I've encountered, as fish biologists have been silent on this possible need for depth as bass get larger.

Pond management is tricky. The benefits of fertilization may not be so great that you will wish to risk possibility of fish kills by raising levels near the margin. Perhaps you will get more reliable lunker production if you focus on raising just a few large fish by relying upon selective harvest to reduce competition for the food most suitable for growing large bass. It is often easier to feed the bluegills than manipulate plankton levels with fertilizer, and most ponds don't have real problems with feeding bass larvae and fry on plankton without fertilization.

I suggest greater focus on adult growth rather than the entire food chain will lead more rapidly to lunker production. But how to make a lunker fishery is heavily debated. I hope you are a regular reader of Pond Boss Magazine.

As for tilapia. If you are sure that the pond will winter-kill them, they may help. But if they overwinter you easily may end up with more tilapia biomass than bass biomass. We have some in our smaller 2 and 3 acre community ponds. With no supplemental bluegill feeding, our ponds had insufficient food to grow really big bass with 6 pounds about tops, and our bass were fairly skinny before tilapia were stocked yearly. But the tilapia provide only a supplementary diet. Our 10-16 inch bass are slightly fatter now, but I've seen no 7-pound bass. The biggest fish I see are ones I've hand fed to assure they have had ample food. Hand fed 3# bass grow about a pound a year. But as we have open community fishing, I've lost a few of the hand-fed 5-pounders to anglers although we have a must-release policy for large bass.

   Great Looiking Pond from Papafins  1/12/2011 7:15:49 PM
 I guess I'm with Ralph and would have like to see some deeper water mabe twelve to fourteen foot.

Good luck raising a hog.

   Ralph, On your subject of compression. . . from Rich Ziert  1/12/2011 11:33:46 PM

My personal theory on larger bass consists mainly of what represents stability to those fish. If as you say, and I have researched on my own, larger fish seek a layer of water where any kind of external and ambient change is less; at least as much as possible for the neighborhood, the moment or the season. If these larger fish have to adjust internal functioning with less stability and it proves to be not their best choice - I.E.: wasted energy. Being older wiser, more experienced, they more or less draw on what they have been conditioned for over their years. Deeper water provides the greatest stability factor of all the things that affect them adversely from a physiological view. These factors are water temperature, dissolved oxygen, PH, competition, foraging possibilities, less effort of the payoff, fishing pressure and so on. Lake to lake, or even neighborhood to neighborhood within a lake these factors change and that layer of stability water becomes wider or narrower, deeper or shallower. It's not tough to figure this out. But anglers do have to put in the work and expect fewer returns.

Jyarb, Shad are fatty fish. Put some other prey into the pond that provides greater protein content.

Edited 1/13/2011 12:14:17 AM



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