It was all about how to build a pond, fish care and handling, and learning how to manage your pond. Experts from all over the world came to Branson, Missouri, at Big Cedar Lodge to share their knowledge with others; in addition to a reunion of old friendships and making new friends, all with the common interest of stewardship and taking care of their ponds.
Session I – All Things Dirt
Mike Otto and Dave Sefton began the conference covering the key to all ponds…the dirt or clay base. Of course without the appropriate base layer pond owner will experience only problems with their new or reconstructed pond. Both Otto and Sefton went into detail on the proper construction of ponds and different conditions that anyone faces when building a new pond. (Note: Mike Otto owns Otto’s Dirt Service)
Session II Growing Healthy, Huge Fish
Dr. Jeff Slipke, AFS-Certified Fisheries Biologist, Southeastern Pond Management, began session two explaining big Bass strategies and going into detail on fish commonly stocked in ponds. Dr. Bruce Condello talked about fantastic sunfish with cutting edge management. Condello’s main focus is developing super sized sunfish; in addition to going over what pond owners should be feeding sunfish in their ponds. “Your bluegill should be getting adequate protein; you should choose feed size based on the size of mouth and feeding two or more different size feed. Basic feeding frequency should be based on the local climate,” said Condello. Nick Peterson, who was award the Jesse West Foundation and student at Mississippi State University, went in-depth into a look at genetics and genetic diversity in isolated bass populations.
Session III Wildlife Strategies
Session three was all about wildlife and wildlife found in, on, and around small lakes and ponds. The session started out with Birdman Mel Toellner. Toellhner, owner of Gold Crest Distributing and Songbird Essentials, talked about the different products available that people can put out and about for the birds moving back after the long winter. Brad Mueller, who works as a wildlife consultant, talked about quail management. Dr. Grant Woods, produces a web TV episode weekly about deer hunting and management that airs on www.Growing-Deer.tv., talked about how to raise big bucks to record sizes. Bob McFarland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, talked about wood ducks.
Session IV – Water Quality made easy
Session four was about water quality and how it applies to your ponds. Bob Lusk, editor of Pond Boss Magazine, started out session four discussing what the heck lab analysis mean. Following Lusk was pond enthusiast, Ken Grymala, who went into detail on maintaining high water quality including the case study of Rocky Springs Farm’s owned and operated by Claudia and Tom Swisher, Gore, Virginia. Dr. David Willis, Head of the Department of wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at South Dakota State University for the past 24 years, talked about dissolved oxygen and how it applies to your pond. Kevin Ripp, President of Aqua-fix, went over integrated algae management including aeration, dyes, microbes, tilapia & algaecides.
Session V Moving the Water-Aeration Effects
Session five topic was aeration effects in small lakes and ponds. Bob Robinson, director of Sales and Marketing/fisheries Biologist with Kasco Marine, addressed five of the most common questions often asked about aeration. Dr. Amanda Quillen, Limnologist and Chief Scientist for Vertex Water Features, explained why pond owners shouldn’t dig their ponds to deep and working with aeration. Armando Piccinini, discussed de-stratifying of a southern European pond and the effects and causes. Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Magazine Editor, talked on the subject of do ponds really need 24-hour aeration.
Session VI-Aquatic Plants
Session six topic was aquatic plants, began with Greg Grimes, Aquatic Environmental Services, Inc. Fishery Management Division, talking about the many options for mini ponds and how to maximize your pond; in addition to stocking of those ponds. After that the topic changed to aquatic plants. Troy Goldsby, Aqua Services, Inc., his topic was runaway vegetation…and what to do and went into detail how aquatic plants become a problem, why should we care, and aquatic plant control methods. Bill Cody, owner of Aquatic Taxonomy Specialists, aka the Pond Doctor, plants on the margin…should they stay or should they go? Choosing the best shoreline plants for ponds, the benefits and value, nutrient absorption – filters complete with nuisance plants, stabilize shoreline sediments, excellent cover and habitat, oxygen production and much more.
Session VII-What’s New?
Session seven What’s New covered a wide variety of topics that pond owners face every day. Gene Gilliland, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as fishery research biologist and manager, Urban Fishing Program Coordinator, Regional management Supervisor and now Assistant Chief of fisheries in the Oklahoma City headquarter, his topic was “Be careful of exotic species”. He noted that VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia) & LMBV, Zebra Mussels, hitchhikers or exotic species are often the source of problems for pond owners. Chris Blood, National Marketing manager for Texas Hunter Products, talked about the benefits of supplemental feeding in ponds and small lakes; in addition to fish feeders that can be used. Blood noted that floating pellets and sinking pellet are available to feed fish in ponds. Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Magazine Editor, his topic was fed fish are happy fish-feeding programs. He explained that supplemental feeding in ponds with high quality Purina Mills feed was increasing the size of fish in ponds. Lusk also talked about ranch management for absentee landowners. Eric West, natural resources attorney, McDavid, Noblin & West PLLC, topic was what science says about fish nutrition. Dr. Ruth Francis-Floyd, Veterinary Specialist in aquatic animal medicine, Director of the Aquatic Animal Health Program, her topic was sick fish? What to do. Fish kills or dying fish can be really devastating to any pond boss owner. Knowing what to do when this happens can make the difference in prevention and keeping your fish healthy. Scott Tucker, Managing Director of Clearwater Lakes and Ponds from Melbourne, Australia, talked about what’s up down under with ponds in Australia. His presentation covering ponds or dams as they are referred to in Australia took the conference to a worldwide association
Hands On! Outside to the Water!
A number of venders were exhibiting pond related products including aeration, feeders, and docks while other pond boss attendees were able to get hands on with water quality analysis, fish identification, plankton collection, stomach contents, and angling with Dr. Bruce Condello.
In between speakers and before the sessions started the attendees were able to walk through and visit with the exhibitors. The exhibitors ranged from aquatic management manufactured goods and other pond related products. A number of attendees of Pond Boss Conference & Expo (www.pondboss.com) were individuals interested in building their own pond and stocking it and found visiting with the exhibitors extremely beneficial. This was followed by social time at Buzzard’s.
Friday night was the pond Boss Conference & Expo 2011 banquet that included a silent auction with 100% of proceeds to benefit the Jesse West Endowment –South Dakota State University Fisheries Students and a report on the status of the Jesse West Foundation by Dr. David Willis.
It was a great time for everyone involved and special thanks goes out to the entire Pond Boss Staff for all their hard work to make the conference the success it was this year. Did you not go this year to the Pond Boss Conference & Expo 2011 at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri? Well, there is always next year.
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