January 2021 – Four Acre Wood Farm finally starts to fill the pond!
In preparation for the arrival of new fish, we have started the long arduous task of pumping the well water 300 ft to the pond! (fingers crossed the aquifer has plenty)
Building an ecosystem from scratch is not a simple case of digging a hole and filling it with water and adding fish……or is it?
The previous owners of the farm let the pond dry up, it was full of brush and timber. The first order of business, clear all the pond, have some epic bonfires and skim the bottom ready for the water. Will the pond hold water? We will see…….
Day 1 to Day 4
The filling appeared to be progressing nicely, it didn’t appear that the water was draining out. We had been marking the progress with sticks pushed into the dirt. The water was pumped directly from the aquifer from the well-house. We are very lucky to have a well as a water source for the farm, especially with the Texas summer heat and the amount of water we will need for the animals and irrigation for the crops, orchard, etc.
We wanted to create a fun family fishing pond with a high stocking rate to almost guarantee a bite every cast!! Many favorite species cry out…..Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Catfish… They all need a biodiverse habitat to live and feed in, to grow and survive.
I started noticing little water beetles swimming around from day 3 of filling the water in the pond, where on earth do they come from?
We have frogs! This evening we found no less than 4 small frogs approximately 3″ in length, prime Bass food 🙂 Very excited to see them.
Stocking the Pond
On the search for a natural food source for the future residents of the pond, minnows were a natural choice. Buying minnows from the bait shop would be an expensive route just to stock in the pond. We wondered where all the bait shops across Texas get their minnows from? After 30 minutes of research, there was an abundance of people offering minnows however a lot of them did not offer to ship. Then we found a vendor who became the clear front runner:
Anderson Minnow Farm located in Lonoke, AR www.andersonminnows.com
They are “The Worlds Largest Minnow Farm” and ‘capable of producing in excess of one billion high-quality shiners each and every year’ Anderson Minnows have been in business for over 60 years, starting in 1949. Anyone who has been in the minnow business for 60+ years clearly delivers a superb product and has an established customer base… make sure to check them out if you are looking for minnows!
Anderson Fat Head Minnows were available in 3 sizes, all costing $115.00 including free shipping. It was tempting to look for quality oversize, but I wanted to select a more robust size fish (Large, 2.5″, 415 ct) to start to ensure success. As soon as the water in the pond reaches 60 F (if the fish are of maturity) we should start seeing our first breeding cycle evolve.
All counts and sizes are approximate!
$115.00 Including Shipping www.andersonminnows.com
The fish arrived the day after placing our order and I must say Anderson Minnows do an amazing job of ensuring the fish are packaged well and safe for shipping. They came in a cool pack, an insulated foil bubble mailer, and sealed in an oxygenated bag.
We acclimatize them to the pond by laying the bag on the water’s edge partly submerged for 30 minutes before releasing them slowly into the pond. The fish congregate in one area, laying still in about 5″ of water near the edge of the pond. They look dead but don’t worry they are just stunned. After a minute I took a stick to disturb the water a bit and they all swam off.
The pond is about 4 feet deep and getting deeper by the day. Only a couple of the fish didn’t make the journey. Our experience with Anderson Minnows was amazing. If you need to stock your pond with baitfish, we highly recommend Anderson Minnows! Let them know we sent you. We will be getting some shiners next!