how to get baby fry

Posted by: mattmonster1991

how to get baby fry - 04/02/19 05:13 PM

is it possible to get the hatched eggs of a flathead catfish for stocking? since catfish mostly get eaten after they hatch due to swimming in big schools id like to try and get a few hundred or so baby flatheads and raise them till they get about 4 t 6 inches then turn them lose


curious how i could go about doing it it would be so easy if the females eggs would just hatch but it needs a male maybe i could catch like 4 flatheads put them in a small pond and maybe they will reproduce then could watch the surface for the fry and collect them that way? its a stretch but anyone have any other idea?
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/03/19 08:19 AM

I am sure that the fishery biologist types have a stringent procedure that would be beyond me, but I have netted small flatheads out a nearby creek with dip-nets and seines. There's no way that I could come up with a more than a few, however. I believe they come up the creek during high water times and get stranded in the deeper holes.
Posted by: Matzilla

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/03/19 09:14 AM

google glass minnow trap - you can make one by finding the largest glass mason jar you can find and simple drilling the appropriate sized holes in the lid. You could also try using a small mesh (1/4" cloverleaf trap but most folks around here have better luck catching fry and minnow size fish with the glass traps.

How many fish are you looking to get? Trott lining 10-20" fish might be the easiest way to get numbers of fish with the least amount of effort
Posted by: cb100

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/03/19 04:15 PM

I have done that with other fish that I want to raise. I have a pond with just fhm. Once the fish that I want spawn I catch them out and put back in the other pond. Then let the fry grow. And eat the fhm fry as they grow.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 04:53 AM

heck a few would be fine tbh id like t raise them till they get big enough to return to the creek i fish t help their population its full of blues and channels but when iv set poles out iv only caught 1 and about 8 channels and 4 blues

im in a weird position i wana eat flatheads but i dont wana kill them cause then ill have less to catch lol
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 04:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Matzilla
google glass minnow trap - you can make one by finding the largest glass mason jar you can find and simple drilling the appropriate sized holes in the lid. You could also try using a small mesh (1/4" cloverleaf trap but most folks around here have better luck catching fry and minnow size fish with the glass traps.

How many fish are you looking to get? Trott lining 10-20" fish might be the easiest way to get numbers of fish with the least amount of effort


well trotlining catfish would be hard cause then id have t force them t have babies i was hopingthat somehow i could set something out that i could do t catch babies then put them into a small pool outside and raise them for about 5 months till they get about 6 t 8 inches then try t return themback to the creek t help my catfishing population

tbh im not sure how much that would actually help though because 2 rivers feed this creek the creek runs into a bigger creek 3 times the size of this one so im wondering if when we get big floods if it just restocks the creek here
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 08:54 AM

I don't know how adventurous you are, but I have read about people making catfish traps (which is probably illegal in most areas). These traps are supposed to simulate a cavity in the river bottoms which appeals to the catfish especially during spawning seasons. Well, the female flathead lays it's eggs in a cavity, the male fertilizes them, and the male ends up babysitting (for about 7 days) until the fry are large enough to venture out on their own. If one were to build a trap-like cavity and allow the adult fish to do their thing, one could possibly "trap" a ball of fry. The trick would be knowing when to pull the trap so that the process is not prematurely interrupted and you would have to know that you have Flatheads using the trap and not other cats.

I have not done this, nor do I recommend doing it without first checking you local laws and regulations.

Flatheads are very difficult to get to reproduce in captivity, so catching the fry may be the only economical way to go about it.
Posted by: Jim Wetzel

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 09:50 AM

First check with conservation department on legalities. If legal, my first approach would be to catch half dozen broodfish and stock them into a pond with a good forage base and no bass. Other option I can do in farming setting is to noodle taking egg mass rather than father. Then incubate egg mass and spread brood out before they start feeding on fish to control losses to cannibalism. A friend of mine that breeds flatheads says cannibalism is still the biggest bottleneck to raising them them. I assume release is into private waters, not waters of the state which in most locations is now illegal unless you are the state.
Posted by: Bill Cody

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 10:47 AM

As J.Wetzel mentions,, what you are doing is likely illegal. Also there is very likely natural reproduction and needed habitat already occurring in your local stream fishing area. The balance of species and ecology in that stream determines the survival rate of fishes due to competition and space (habitat & food availability). So if more FH could survive they would survive in that stream. The nature of that stream and current fishery balance controls who survive in your favorite angling stream. You adding more juvenile FH would very likely not increase the natural numbers because of the natural ecology and fish balance that already occurs for flat heads. If more of them could survive they would survive. That is how natural populations work in natural habitats such as a river or stream.

I suspect that current predation and proper habitat of young juvenile catfish controls the number of adults in your favorite stream. Now if you were doing this in a controlled pond then your success will be a lot higher because YOU control and MANAGE the numbers in the CONTROLLED pond habitat and rely less on all of nature's influences on that stream. Feeding the fish is one good example of this self control. If you could feed the FH in the stream, add to their habitat, and reduce their competition then your chance of success of your plan would be much better.

IMO your time is much better spent and more successful doing something else that has a better use of your time. Doing your plan would give you fish raising experience that could get you a job at a fish farm that deals with catfish.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
I don't know how adventurous you are, but I have read about people making catfish traps (which is probably illegal in most areas). These traps are supposed to simulate a cavity in the river bottoms which appeals to the catfish especially during spawning seasons. Well, the female flathead lays it's eggs in a cavity, the male fertilizes them, and the male ends up babysitting (for about 7 days) until the fry are large enough to venture out on their own. If one were to build a trap-like cavity and allow the adult fish to do their thing, one could possibly "trap" a ball of fry. The trick would be knowing when to pull the trap so that the process is not prematurely interrupted and you would have to know that you have Flatheads using the trap and not other cats.

I have not done this, nor do I recommend doing it without first checking you local laws and regulations.

Flatheads are very difficult to get to reproduce in captivity, so catching the fry may be the only economical way to go about it.


yeah but getting a net small enough for the fry t stay in would be hard iv seen hoop nets are the types most use and the holes are about 2 inches wide ect so not sure what type i could use
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 05:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Jim Wetzel
First check with conservation department on legalities. If legal, my first approach would be to catch half dozen broodfish and stock them into a pond with a good forage base and no bass. Other option I can do in farming setting is to noodle taking egg mass rather than father. Then incubate egg mass and spread brood out before they start feeding on fish to control losses to cannibalism. A friend of mine that breeds flatheads says cannibalism is still the biggest bottleneck to raising them them. I assume release is into private waters, not waters of the state which in most locations is now illegal unless you are the state.



really you have a buddy that raises flats thats awesome!! man it still has to be hard t do id think i do have ponds i could add them to but they have some bass in them already but no cats id love to pick his brain on it t ask how tdo it and different methods
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
As J.Wetzel mentions,, what you are doing is likely illegal. Also there is very likely natural reproduction and needed habitat already occurring in your local stream fishing area. The balance of species and ecology in that stream determines the survival rate of fishes due to competition and space (habitat & food availability). So if more FH could survive they would survive in that stream. The nature of that stream and current fishery balance controls who survive in your favorite angling stream. You adding more juvenile FH would very likely not increase the natural numbers because of the natural ecology and fish balance that already occurs for flat heads. If more of them could survive they would survive. That is how natural populations work in natural habitats such as a river or stream.

I suspect that current predation and proper habitat of young juvenile catfish controls the number of adults in your favorite stream. Now if you were doing this in a controlled pond then your success will be a lot higher because YOU control and MANAGE the numbers in the CONTROLLED pond habitat and rely less on all of nature's influences on that stream. Feeding the fish is one good example of this self control. If you could feed the FH in the stream, add to their habitat, and reduce their competition then your chance of success of your plan would be much better.

IMO your time is much better spent and more successful doing something else that has a better use of your time. Doing your plan would give you fish raising experience that could get you a job at a fish farm that deals with catfish.


that would be awesome but yeha i wont release them back into the river ill just put them into the big lakes that i have that are private my 2 fav fishes are black crappie and flathead catfish sadly you cant go just find flatheads its a very good eating fish and so hard to catch id love to be able to raise small flatheads in a 12 acre lake which doesnt have many catfish as is id hope t add about 300 flatheads to the water
Posted by: wannapond0001

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/04/19 09:17 PM

You're never gonna quit are you mattmonster? :))
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/05/19 08:40 AM

Originally Posted By: wannapond0001
You're never gonna quit are you mattmonster? :))


lol nope as hard as it is t catch these bastards i gotta makesome happen XD
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 05:07 AM

I like that.
Posted by: gehajake

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 01:56 PM

I can appreciate your taste for flathead and black crappie, both are my favorite, we still catch a few on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, Blues are a lot more prevalent and easier to catch but a flat is a treat to catch and extremely tasty to eat, caught a 75 and a couple 40s last May on the Missouri, they are still out there but not as many as I wish, we put that one back but keep a few 20s and 30s to eat.
That being said, I understand they will not readily reproduce in still, (pond) waters, I was thinking they needed moving water to spawn, and obviously specific nesting habitat, which consists of a hole such as a barrel or pipe with the back end closed off. curious about the reproduction abilities in ponds myself.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 06:48 PM

i find it sad for every flathead theres about 50 blues or 100 channels it seems and people always keep them hardly ever return then into the waters i hate how u cant just go catch them in numbers close t channels or blues frown


wish i could get a bunch of babies and after awhile return them back into the creek so i could have lots of small flats t catch would be super fun but as they said its illegal t do this hell id rather catch them than nasty bowfin and gar XD


i think its funny t live in a world where fish hatcheries are raising alligator gars t introduce into areas because they claim to have low numbers yet.. not flatheads?
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 07:37 PM

Matt,
Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason you dont ever find Flatheads in great numbers in the wild is because thats the way mama earth intended it to be?

If you put 300 flats in a 12 acre pond, you better have deep pockets to maintain an adequate forage base, and a very understanding pond owner because they're going to eat everything they can get in their mouth, including each other, and they have the biggest mouth of all North American freshwater fishes.

I appreciate your enthusiasm toward the great spotted cat, lord knows I do, but sometimes you're better off leaving well enough alone, and just cherish every encounter you have with the beast.
Posted by: anthropic

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 09:58 PM

Mike, I wonder if flatheads might be doable in specialized situations, such as a LMB overpopulated BOW with stunted fish. Assuming the flatheads aren't able to reproduce, maybe introducing a few would be more help than hindrance. Especially if, as the situation improves, you then take out the flatheads.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 10:19 PM

yeah id prob stock the pond with gizzard shad and white crappie so theyd have plentyyyyyy of forage to eat and also could maybe have some decent crappie since the flattys couldkeep the numbers down idc for bass at all and i dislike channel and blue cats over a certain size

it would eb a unique design i know what flatheads can do but if you put white crappie which reproduce t crazy rates and i go out and net tons of shad t add to the lake like every other month id think it would give the cats plenty of food t eat
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 10:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike Whatley
Matt,
Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason you dont ever find Flatheads in great numbers in the wild is because thats the way mama earth intended it to be?

If you put 300 flats in a 12 acre pond, you better have deep pockets to maintain an adequate forage base, and a very understanding pond owner because they're going to eat everything they can get in their mouth, including each other, and they have the biggest mouth of all North American freshwater fishes.

I appreciate your enthusiasm toward the great spotted cat, lord knows I do, but sometimes you're better off leaving well enough alone, and just cherish every encounter you have with the beast.


yeah but is it really what mother nature intended or is it that people commercially fish them hard almost eveyrone i know keeps flats when they catch them due to them being known as the best tasting of the 3

lots of other species of fish or animals end up having low numbers due to hunting them obviously they were never here i numbers of channels but lots of flatehad fishermen have told me that the reason you dont catch them as much today is due to over fishing theres guys who go out daily with nets keeping over 300 fish a day for months. yeah that has to have huge effects on them in places too.

also the fact flats dont react sexual maturity till years means when people keep big ones it could really put a dent on them bigger one shave to lay the eggs to reproduce channel cats can reproduce after 1.5 t 2 years i heard i read that flatheads dont reach sexual maturity till around 6-10 years
Posted by: roundy

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/06/19 11:55 PM

Have you considered researching and creating an nursery in the creek itself? Maybe a limited access area that becomes a flathead paradise.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/07/19 07:03 AM

The problem with creeks is that they can come and go freely. Mostly go.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/07/19 09:12 AM

Originally Posted By: roundy
Have you considered researching and creating an nursery in the creek itself? Maybe a limited access area that becomes a flathead paradise.


idk how that would work

the creek starts from the spillway of a rez so it has all types of fish it use to be known as a great place fish 2 decades ago but now it has lots of gar
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/07/19 09:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave Davidson1
The problem with creeks is that they can come and go freely. Mostly go.


do you think one could fish out a creek though? its fed by a larger river about 4 miles from where i fish it so if i kept everything i caught would it just re stock itself during huge floods
Posted by: Augie

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/07/19 11:04 AM

Originally Posted By: anthropic
Mike, I wonder if flatheads might be doable in specialized situations, such as a LMB overpopulated BOW with stunted fish. Assuming the flatheads aren't able to reproduce, maybe introducing a few would be more help than hindrance. Especially if, as the situation improves, you then take out the flatheads.


Before my pond croaked in 2012 it was loaded with stunted BG and BH. Just for grins I tossed in a 5lb flathead that I caught on the Osage River.

That fish would have gone 30+ by the time the pond croaked 5 years later. It didn't seem to dent the bullhead population much,
but the BG went from way too many 4"-5" size to lesser numbers but still plenty of 9"-10" size in just a couple years.

I don't think I'd want a flathead in a pond that was healthy.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/07/19 11:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Augie
Originally Posted By: anthropic
Mike, I wonder if flatheads might be doable in specialized situations, such as a LMB overpopulated BOW with stunted fish. Assuming the flatheads aren't able to reproduce, maybe introducing a few would be more help than hindrance. Especially if, as the situation improves, you then take out the flatheads.


Before my pond croaked in 2012 it was loaded with stunted BG and BH. Just for grins I tossed in a 5lb flathead that I caught on the Osage River.

That fish would have gone 30+ by the time the pond croaked 5 years later. It didn't seem to dent the bullhead population much,
but the BG went from way too many 4"-5" size to lesser numbers but still plenty of 9"-10" size in just a couple years.

I don't think I'd want a flathead in a pond that was healthy.


i find that weird that it didnt hurt the bh population as bullheads are known as the very best flathead bait ud think theyd take those suckers first


how big is the pond must be small if 1 5 pound flat could done that kinda damage tbh i dont see how 1 flathead could do more damage than say just 3 large mouth bass of around similar sizes since they both eat ina similar manner
Posted by: Augie

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/08/19 11:27 AM

Originally Posted By: mattmonster1991
i find that weird that it didnt hurt the bh population as bullheads are known as the very best flathead bait ud think theyd take those suckers first


how big is the pond must be small if 1 5 pound flat could done that kinda damage tbh i dont see how 1 flathead could do more damage than say just 3 large mouth bass of around similar sizes since they both eat ina similar manner


Every pond is different and that is what happened in mine.

Yes, it is a small pond, just over 1/3 surface acre, and at the time was very shallow, probably four foot average depth at full pool.

That flathead was 5lbs when I chucked him in the pond. He didn't STAY five pounds. He ate what he wanted when he wanted and as much as he wanted.
I'm sure he was eating the largemouth bass too. There was a decent number of smallish ones when I tossed the flathead in. After a couple years there
were half a dozen LMB that were 5lbs and up and very few little ones.
Posted by: mattmonster1991

Re: how to get baby fry - 04/08/19 01:58 PM

well tbh thats kind a a good thing so u dont have lots of small lmb just a few big healthy ones