DO I NEED TO STOCK FATHEAD MINNOWS IN MY POND?
In a NEW pond we recommend you stock Fathead Minnows in the spring at a rate of 5 pounds per acre. Fathead Minnows will spawn several times from May thru August, this will provide a forage base for the 2-3 inch Largemouth Bass you stock in the fall. The following spring the bass will finish eating all the minnows and then switch over to eating the spawn of the Bluegill or Hybrid Sunfish to control the populations.
SHOULD I STOCK SOUTHERN/FLORIDA BASS IN MY POND?
Probably not. The southern strain of Largemouth Bass does not do well in the colder northern states. Southern strains of fish in general grow larger faster mainly due to the year round warmer temperatures. In the northern states fish do not feed or grow much during the 3-4 months of winter. Plenty of the correct size forage will allow any Largemouth Bass to grow large over time.
WHY SHOULD I STOCK REDEAR SUNFISH IN MY POND?
Redear is one of the few native species that eats and controls snails. In the southern states
they often call them Shellcrackers. Snails are one of hosts of parasitic grub that can infect
fish, you may have seen them in the meat of fish you have cleaned as little curled up worms.
They do not infect humans, but are unsightly and most people cut them out before cooking.
By stocking Redear you will reduce the snail population and have fewer grubs in your fish population. Redear will not take commercial feed so it is more difficult for us to offer larger sizes , that is why we encourage our customers to stock them in new ponds in order to establish a breeding population. Redear live close to the bottom of the ponds and only spawn once in early spring. Over time Redear
will get large enough to eat.
MY LARGEMOUTH BASS ARE NOT GROWING, WHAT CAN I DO?
Largemouth Bass growth rates are extremely variable due to individual pond ecosystems and forage bases. In a balanced pond, on average, 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound per year is normal. Bass (and predators in general) prefer prey approximately 10% of their size.
A 5 pound bass targets a 1/2 pound Bluegill as this is the most efficient use of their energy. Large bass can starve chasing small fish because they use more energy than they gain when they catch one.
--- Build the forage base of your pond by adding 3-5 inch Bluegill 100-150 per acre
--- Remove some Bass (especially if there are large numbers of any one size) this will increase the forage base for the Bass remaining in the pond.
SHOULD I STOCK BLACK CRAPPIE IN MY POND?
We do not recommend stocking crappie in ponds less than 5 acres and many biologists say less than 15 acres. Crappie are one of the first fish to spawn in the spring and are very prolific. In small ponds they tend to overpopulate and have stunted growth. Crappie eat zooplankton and small insects until they are
5-6 inches long when they switch to minnows and small fish, therefore you can not catch them until then. Crappie will also start to spawn at 6-7 inches. Largemouth Bass prefer Bluegill over the rounder, sharper Crappie and over time stunted Crappie populations increase as recruitment of other species
decline. This can result in thousands of small 3 inch stunted Crappie you do not even know are there
unless you seine the pond. Do not say we did not warn you!
WHAT SHOULD I STOCK IN MY NEW POND?
In a new pond we recommend the following:
In the spring: 1-2 inch Bluegill or Hybrid Sunfish --- 500 per acre
1-2 inch Redear --- 250 per acre
Fathead Minnows --- 5 pounds per acre
4-6 inch Channel Catfish --- 150 per acre ( if desired)
In the fall: 2-3 inch Largemouth Bass --- 75 per acre (with Bluegill)
--- 50 per acre (with Hybrid Sunfish)
I CATCH SKINNY 8-10 INCH BASS EVERY CAST, WHAT CAN I DO?
Bass are your top predator and you don't have a large enough forage base to support that number of fish.
--- Remove about 1/2 of the Bass of that size thus doubling the food for the remaining
Bass. This will allow them to grow so they can eat the next size prey.
--- This is the basis of slot limits on state lakes managed by the Department of Natural
Resources to thin out a particular year class that was overly successful.
WHAT SHOULD I STOCK IN MY OLD POND?
Much depends on the existing stock that is already in the pond but suffice it to say you probably
need to stock larger fish in order for them to survive.
In a old pond we recommend the following:
3-5 inch Bluegill --- 100-150 per acre
5-8 inch Largemouth Bass --- 50-75 per acre
6-8 or 8-10 inch Channel Catfish --- 150 per acre
You can try fishing your pond in several ways and try to get an idea of what sizes and species the existing population consists of and then call or drop by for further advice from our biologists.
In an established OLD pond the Fathead Minnows just get eaten before they have a chance to spawn. It takes approximately 10 pounds of minnows to make the Bass grow one pound. That is an expensive candy bar for your Bass. Stocking 3-5 inch Bluegill is a more efficient way to boost the forage base in your older pond.
DO I NEED TO STOCK TRIPLOID GRASS CARP IN MY POND?
Triploid Grass Carp are genetically sterile and when stocked in proper numbers will
control aquatic plants in lakes and ponds. Stocking rates can vary due to a pond's
fertility and depth. Stocking rates of 3-5 per acre is recommended to start with on average. Difficult problems such as duckweed and watermeal usually require 6-10 per acre or more to achieve results. Grass Carp can grow rapidly and can become quite large (20+ pounds). Like us their metabolism slows as they age and may require restocking every 3-5 years to maintain control of the plants. They are good to eat when large, with firm white flesh with no muddy taste. Each fish is tested to insure sterility
and is then certified by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.