1/3 Acre Pond with breeding ditches

johnnymax

Candiru
Original poster
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2019
220
235
46
Southeast, Texas
I dug my pond in 2011.

I stocked it with: Channel Cats, Copper Nose Bluegill. I also introduced Glass Shrimp and Mosquito Fish prior to stocking

Nature stocked it with: Large Mouth Bass, Goggle Eye, Various minnows and Bowfin.

No body of water drains to my pond, other than my property and the 5 acres next to mine which has no ponds. I assume the fish got into my pond as eggs that stuck to the legs of birds as the walk in the water through grass and fly from pond to pond.

I designed my pond to have a lot of protected shallow breeding ditches. The ditches were dug completely flat with a large track hoe using a laser level. The pond is pretty small, but it is very deep. It is 30' deep. 30' is over three stories deep. Before it had water in it, it looked like a meteor struck.

I am going to try to get the bowfin out, or at least knock down the population, because they are killing my population of wanted fish.

I want to stock it with various types of fish. Sailfin mollies for sure. I consider my pond to be like a giant sunken aquarium. The Google Earth Image I attached is over 2 years old.

QUESTION: What are other (legal) cool and awesome native fishes you can recommend I add to my pond?

There was a mis-type on the image. The ditch, not the pond is intended as a breeding ground.
Pond Layout.jpg
 
Last edited:

krichardson

Probation Member
Probation Member
Jun 19, 2006
25,539
10,443
480
Datnoid Island
You seem to have your natives well represented.I'd suggest a gar but that may clean out your pond of the other fish over time.
How about going in another direction and getting one of these bad boys?
images (2).jpeg
Chinese saifin sucker.
 

thebiggerthebetter

Gold Tier VIP
MFK Member
Dec 31, 2009
10,351
7,033
3,865
Naples, FL, USA
That's a mighty unique body of water and system you got there. Really cool.

Is the pond cubical or conical? Is it lined? If cubical, I wonder how the banks are not getting washed into the pond... as only former stone quarries filled with water can preserve a 30' vertical drop off.

I don't know what natives you got there and what community you'd like to build. Between channel catfish, bass, and bowfin, I think they would consume any populace of smaller fish, sooner or later, unless there was room to hide. In fact adult channels alone can wipe out everything in there, including bass and bowfin. So I am not sure how it is that all those smaller fish are still in there, unless you feed everyone generously.

I'd fist be 100% clear on the prohibited and restricted f/w fish species in your neck of the woods as one of the first things.

Hopefully Texans will chime in and help you out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matteus and LBDave

johnnymax

Candiru
Original poster
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2019
220
235
46
Southeast, Texas
The small fish have almost 800' of ditch with grass and plants in it to hide in and breed, also, I let grass grow along the banks. I have tires and trees sunk in one corner for breeding and hiding. If you take a dip net the pond is full, I mean full of fry. Mostly perch. I am like you "Bigger-Better" I would have thought that there would not be that many small fry in the pond. I believe it is because the visibility is very low due to suspended collodal clay (not as much as it used to be though.) I think that helps the population survive. The sides are slopped. The pond is cut into almost solid clay. It holds water 100% and there is no sliding or shifting, believe me. When I made grow beds for my garden, I had to dig out for the grow bed then fill it with top soil I bought by the dump truck load. But it is awesome, because the bottom 12" holds water because it is cut into clay.
I will attach a satellite picture taken before the pond filled up and a few pics I snapped yesterday evening. You can see the deep pond and the ditch system. The pond was dug during a drought and all it took was a 5" rain to fill it up, because all the water was caught in that 700' ditch system and directed to the pond.
FYI, I work for a Civil Engineering Firm as a draftsman and I have been doing drainage area plans for 20+ years. It was pretty exciting to design this pond and now see it full of life and staying full when other people's ponds dry up.
In the picture below you can see the sloped sides. The sides on the top, bottom & right are sloped at 45 degrees. The side on the left is slopped like a beach at less than 30 degrees until it is about 8' deep, then it slopes down at 45 degrees also. I am sure it is silting in some. Originally it was right at a quarter million gallons, not sure now. We are planning to build a small home right on the top side of the pond.

Homestead 2011.jpg

2019-06-18 07.21.55.jpg

2019-06-18 07.20.26.jpg

2019-06-18 07.21.23.jpg
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
MFK Member
Nov 27, 2018
1,244
1,150
149
Long Beach
Hey John!
This is really interesting. I am a construction superintendent and have dealt with civil engineers for 25 years. Also had years of Biology at college.
Not sure if you posted how long the pond has been up and running. Have you had any storm events? If so what did they do? Do you test the water?
Do you know what type of "micro" animals are in the water?
It's interesting how some fish got introduced by nature.
Do you get any migratory birds at the pond?
Hey Duanes have you looked at this thread? I bring this up because you seem to be a student of natural systems.

duanes duanes
 

johnnymax

Candiru
Original poster
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2019
220
235
46
Southeast, Texas
Hey LBDAVE,

How old is the pond?
I dug the pond in 2011 and then did not do anything with it. Life got in the way, started a business that made me a slave 24-7 for 5 years, but the last 3 years I have been back doing Civil drafting again and I am finally settling down. We now live on the property with the pond. I did not realize how much of a jewel I had until just joined a few forums Monster Fish Keepers and NANFA specifically.

Have you had any storm events? If so what did they do?
We have had storm events. I am where everything was flooded for weeks as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My property was above the flood. When this property hit the market I was the first to look at it (the day after it was listed) then I looked at the topo maps and told my wife "This property will never flood. We may get flooded in, but we will be high and dry!" She ran and put down ernest money that day. Nobody else even got to look at it. During Harvey we were flooded in for four days, but no big deal. The ditch system has an over flow that goes into the roadside drainage ditch. It tapers up to a good section of shallows, so I don't lose big fish. So, if too much rain water goes into the ditch system, it never makes it to the pond. We have had a lot of rain over the winter. Pond is awesome.

Do you test the water? Do you know what type of "micro" animals are in the water?
I have not and I have not even thought of doing that. Not sure where to get it done? I have a microscope, but not powerful enough. I love looking a sedement from the pond.

It's interesting how some fish got introduced by nature.
It was upsetting to me. It is like having someone put different fish in your aquarium without asking. I did not want bass in the pond, I wanted black crappie to be my predator. The pond it too small to support both. And, the Bowfin upset me tremendously. I have seriously contemplated draining the pond to get them out. I wonder if they are susceptible to shock? You know shock the fish and the are stunned and float up.

Do you get any migratory birds at the pond?
Not too many. Ducks some and Canadian geese every now and then. Canadian geese are HUGE! I actually put the ducks on my pond because I want them to fertilize the pond. Texas Parks & Wildlife has papers on how much fertilizer to add to fish ponds to get more fish production, but I am not sure I want to do that. I try to be organic if it makes sense to me, but I am not afraid to use any technology, including fertilizers under my control and within reason. But for now, my ducks add a little nitrogen to the pond. That feeds algae, feeds microbes, feeds bugs, feeds minnows, feeds fish, feeds me.

...you seem to be a student of natural systems.
Not sure why, but I am. I read all the books about ponds and pond life since the 6th grade. I would check them out of the library over and over. I read and study everything about aquatic life, garden microbes, etc. The wife and I did a podcast for years about being self-sufficient. We started it way before it was a fad. I learned a lot preparing for every show. I love the workings of nature.

My next big project is making a vernal pond, because there is so many aquatic species than can only reproduce if the pond dries up and is then filled again. I want to see what nature stocks it with.
If you are new to vernal pond life google it. I need to get my tractor running first. It is on my list...

I am now finally where I can slow down and enjoy the pond I created. I want to stock it with various native species. I would love to take a dip net and scoop up colorful fish. That would give me a rush!
Sorry for such a long post... :(
 

LBDave

Peacock Bass
MFK Member
Nov 27, 2018
1,244
1,150
149
Long Beach
Hey LBDAVE,

How old is the pond?
I dug the pond in 2011 and then did not do anything with it. Life got in the way, started a business that made me a slave 24-7 for 5 years, but the last 3 years I have been back doing Civil drafting again and I am finally settling down. We now live on the property with the pond. I did not realize how much of a jewel I had until just joined a few forums Monster Fish Keepers and NANFA specifically.

Have you had any storm events? If so what did they do?
We have had storm events. I am where everything was flooded for weeks as a result of Hurricane Harvey. My property was above the flood. When this property hit the market I was the first to look at it (the day after it was listed) then I looked at the topo maps and told my wife "This property will never flood. We may get flooded in, but we will be high and dry!" She ran and put down ernest money that day. Nobody else even got to look at it. During Harvey we were flooded in for four days, but no big deal. The ditch system has an over flow that goes into the roadside drainage ditch. It tapers up to a good section of shallows, so I don't lose big fish. So, if too much rain water goes into the ditch system, it never makes it to the pond. We have had a lot of rain over the winter. Pond is awesome.

Do you test the water? Do you know what type of "micro" animals are in the water?
I have not and I have not even thought of doing that. Not sure where to get it done? I have a microscope, but not powerful enough. I love looking a sedement from the pond.

It's interesting how some fish got introduced by nature.
It was upsetting to me. It is like having someone put different fish in your aquarium without asking. I did not want bass in the pond, I wanted black crappie to be my predator. The pond it too small to support both. And, the Bowfin upset me tremendously. I have seriously contemplated draining the pond to get them out. I wonder if they are susceptible to shock? You know shock the fish and the are stunned and float up.

Do you get any migratory birds at the pond?
Not too many. Ducks some and Canadian geese every now and then. Canadian geese are HUGE! I actually put the ducks on my pond because I want them to fertilize the pond. Texas Parks & Wildlife has papers on how much fertilizer to add to fish ponds to get more fish production, but I am not sure I want to do that. I try to be organic if it makes sense to me, but I am not afraid to use any technology, including fertilizers under my control and within reason. But for now, my ducks add a little nitrogen to the pond. That feeds algae, feeds microbes, feeds bugs, feeds minnows, feeds fish, feeds me.

...you seem to be a student of natural systems.
Not sure why, but I am. I read all the books about ponds and pond life since the 6th grade. I would check them out of the library over and over. I read and study everything about aquatic life, garden microbes, etc. The wife and I did a podcast for years about being self-sufficient. We started it way before it was a fad. I learned a lot preparing for every show. I love the workings of nature.

My next big project is making a vernal pond, because there is so many aquatic species than can only reproduce if the pond dries up and is then filled again. I want to see what nature stocks it with.
If you are new to vernal pond life google it. I need to get my tractor running first. It is on my list...

I am now finally where I can slow down and enjoy the pond I created. I want to stock it with various native species. I would love to take a dip net and scoop up colorful fish. That would give me a rush!
Sorry for such a long post... :(
Thanks for the info. On the microscopic side, if it were me id just read about natural aquatic systems. Might as well learn about the complete biologic infrastructure of the pond. Buy a good microscope. If it was me I'd look into microscopes that hook up to a computer so you can see the stuff on a big screen. Also test the water. Would be good to know the ph, nitrirtes etc and see if it varies in time/ weather.
As far as nature introducing fish, for me it's just interesting. "Nature finds a way." Generally speaking I would want the pond to be as much self sustaining as possible. Not saying you can't stock it. Heck stocking is part of the fun!
You know there is plant life to consider also. How it works with the system. Nobody says you can't stock plants. Just want to know what you are doing though.
I think TBTB mentioned the catfish. I'm not a big fan of these unless you are trying to do a catfish farm. I agree that they could end up sort of dominating the pond. Not really a catfish fan. But they do thrive in these types of settings.
On the "student of natural systems" I think you are big time but I was referring to Duanes. He is down in Panama and he is known for his scientific background. Very knowledgeable about fish and "systems" I think. Primarily Central and South America.

On a side note, what do you do for power and water? Do you have any service to this property? Sewer service?

I dragged Duanes' tag into my post. It will alert him and he may chime in.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

johnnymax

Candiru
Original poster
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2019
220
235
46
Southeast, Texas
We are off the beaten path, gravel road for about a mile and no through traffic. But they had county water, sewer and power. Utilities were a must, because we had a Craft Brewery for a while. That was the venture that made me a slave for 5 years.
No internet though. All our Internet is through a Verizon Mifi and we did not have that for the first few years, No Cable TV and we do not have satellite TV either. Netflix and antenna, 9 bucks a month.
I am wanting to put in a well and get off the sewer system, because they are too expensive, but it allowed us to get on the property to live quick and easy.

They have a microscope that connects to your computer? Sounds awesome........ and expensive. :WHOA:
I will have to check it out though. Add it to my wish list.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matteus

LBDave

Peacock Bass
MFK Member
Nov 27, 2018
1,244
1,150
149
Long Beach
We are off the beaten path, gravel road for about a mile and no through traffic. But they had county water, sewer and power. Utilities were a must, because we had a Craft Brewery for a while. That was the venture that made me a slave for 5 years.
No internet though. All our Internet is through a Verizon Mifi and we did not have that for the first few years, No Cable TV and we do not have satellite TV either. Netflix and antenna, 9 bucks a month.
I am wanting to put in a well and get off the sewer system, because they are too expensive, but it allowed us to get on the property to live quick and easy.
Sounds good. We may have 5G in the not distant future. I'm thinking the satellite stuff is going to die out a lot. I know this stuff is expensive but maybe in the future you will also have solar. Man a little self sustained dwelling with it's own lake sounds like utopia! Have a farm! Plants some trees.
Excuse me for getting excited. I'm a city boy.

https://www.microscopeworld.com/t-digital_capable_microscopes.aspx
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store