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#168732 - 06/16/09 11:34 PM Stocking Mature Bass
CAW25 Offline
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Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
I know stocking adult bass in a new pond is not a good idea but I can't wait for 3 or 4 years to fish! My pond is a bout 1 1/4 acres and was dug last November. It's nearly full with the deepest section about 18 feet. This spring I stocked 300 hybrid bluegill, 75 channel cats and 8 lbs. of fathead minnows. I plan on adding 100 redears as soon as my local hatchery has them in stock. I've also added about 75 dozen crawdads from local creeks. I intend to keep supplementing forage almost on a weekly basis. The local creeks I seine have an endless supply of chubs, shiners and suckers. I literally can seine 500 per hour. My kids love going to catch crawdads and minnows anyway. Last Sunday we caught 18 dozen crawdads in 3 hours. I should note that I am not putting anything in the pond that I can't identify. My plan is to stock mature bass in the spring after the bluegill spawn. I know this isn't the conventional way but I'm very "hands on". My question is can I make this work? It seems to me that if I focus on good cover, good water quality, and a good food source I can make this work. I'm also installing a large aerator next week. Opinions/advice?

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#168740 - 06/16/09 11:58 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Loc: northern VA
My first thought is be careful you don't introduce diseases and/or parasites. Sourcing that many wild forage fish, you're bound to get a few that are diseased or carrying parasites. There are steps you can take to minimize that risk though...

You can stock adult LMB, but again be sure you are sourcing healthy fish if you are obtaining them from the wild. I would keep the bass in the 8"-12" range, but I'd wouldn't stock bass any larger than 14". I would stock about 30 bass in that size range. That should get you off to a good start. I would get the redear sunfish(RES) in as soon as possible or stock larger fingerlings so that they are not eaten by the larger bass you will be stocking.

Most species of crawdads found in streams are not adapted to pond life and will either die or leave the pond to find a suitable habitat. You may want to spend your time trapping and or netting crawdads from a local lake or pond to make sure you are getting species that are adapted to pond life.

Do you know what species of chub, shiner and sucker you are collecting? Some species may be worth collecting and stocking in your pond prior to the introduction or bass next year in the hopes that they take hold, spawn and build numbers prior to the bass introduction. If you are unsure of the species, take photos and post them and we'll help ID them for you...

You mention having stocked HBG but not pure BG. HBG have very limited reproductive capability which means they will not be able to support a healthy bass fishery. Is there a reason you are not stocking pure BG? They have the reproductive capacity to support a healthy bass fishery. I know you plan to seine large numbers of forage fish, but seining can be a lot of work and having to do it on a regular basis could get very old after a year or two...
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#168752 - 06/17/09 01:35 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CJBS2003]
CAW25 Offline
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Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
Thanks for the response. Most of the fish I seine are horned chubs, common shiners, red finned shiners, white suckers and hogsuckers. I can pretty much choose the size. The majority are in the 3 to 5 inch range. There is a lot of other species that take a little more effort, but I'm not sure how good a forage they would make. There is a ton of sculpins. I could catch as many of them as I do crawdads. They seem to be under every rock. I'm afraid they would eat as much forage as they would provide. I've noticed about a 10% mortality rate on the crawdads. Alot of them are also making mounds around the edge of the waterline. Most seem to be adapting well.

I would like to get some regular bluegill. I know their spawing rate is much higher than hybrids. I'm planning on catching a few dozen around 4" or so this weekend to release. Believe it or not, my local hatchery only carries hybrids and redears.

One concern I have is weed growth. I would like some weed growth to help support my forage. It's a new pond and doesn't have any weeds at all yet. Should I introduce weeds of my own choosing now or let nature take it's course and see what grows? I'm thinking that if I established weeds of my own choosing, they may prevent unwanted varieties from establishing. I'm hoping also that the bottom cover would help keep algae to a minimum. I would value your opinion on this. If it is a good idea, what weeds would you suggest. The pond is tiered. It has a gradual slope down to about 5 feet, a second slope down to about 10 and then drops off to 15 to 18 feet. I did leave one end (about 1/4 of the pond) shallow. I'd say 7 feet or less. I'm sure weeds will grow very rapidly at this end. I'm hoping the depth will help control weeds in the rest of the pond. I do have a few areas of gravel and some large rock piles scattered that should help keep some areas open. By the way, I'm in west central Ohio.

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#168771 - 06/17/09 08:59 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
Theo Gallus Offline
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Registered: 05/14/04
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Loc: Central Ohio
Another option would be to stock larger feed-trained LMB. They could be supported with appropriately sized Aquamax until the forage base was fully developed. I don't know of a source close to Ohio, but then I've never looked for them.

Anyone remember where Tony Stewart got his large, feed-trained LMB from for his place in (eastern) Indiana?

Personally, I would not want to stock large numbers of wild forage from several species unless I had the identification skills of a Bill Cody. I would be too afraid of getting the wrong species of fish or crawdads. If you get Rusty Crayfish introduced, you could probably forget about having any noticeable plant life in the pond.
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#168774 - 06/17/09 09:14 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Theo Gallus]
Dave Willis Offline

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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
CAW - we actually stock quite a few ponds with adult or subadult LMB up here. The reason is that fingerling-stocked BLG usually spawn at age 1, but the LMB not until age 2. Stocking the adults puts the package together sooner.

We usually stock at 40/acre, and we like those 8-12 inch sizes that CJBS mentioned. That would mean about 50 or so for your pond? That's a bit higher than CJ suggested, but I'm pretty conservative about having enough LMB to control the panfish. I'm also with CJ on the bluegill idea -- they do provide far more prey.

Good luck! Good fun.
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#168787 - 06/17/09 11:18 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Dave Willis]
rcooked Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/25/09
Posts: 147
Loc: Marion, Ohio
CAW25,

Hello. I'm located in Marion and I am having my pond dug as we speak. There is a fish farm in Forest - called Forest Fish Farm and the guy who owns it is Bob Buckingham - he is a hoot. He probably has some pretty nice LMB which are disease free, etc... if you are looking. I don't have his number and I am going to need to track it down eventually (I hope) to get some myself.

The other option is Jones, but Forest is a lot cheaper than Jones... A lot!

Where is germantown in relation to Marion?
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#168790 - 06/17/09 01:11 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: rcooked]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
Germantown is about 20 miles west of Richmond. That would probably make it about 2 1/2 hours from Marion.

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#168794 - 06/17/09 01:19 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Theo Gallus]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
Are Rusty Crayfish hard on plants? I'm with you on the identification aspect. It hasn't been a problem yet. Unless I'm seriously digging into the bottom, my seine catches have been entirely chubs, shiners and suckers.

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#168806 - 06/17/09 05:02 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Rusty crayfish will completely denude a pond of plants...

If you remember, next time you are collecting, take photos of the different species of fish you catch. Local names are often very different around different parts of the country. I'd love to see what you are catching, then myself or someone can let you know if they are a good pond candidate...

If you aren't a subscriber of Pond Boss, I would highly recommend it. Bill Cody and I are currently working on a series of articles related to the very subject we are talking about. That is, how to collecting forage fish from the wild and introduce them into forage ponds and fishing ponds. The articles will cover how to avoid disease/parasite transmission, what equipment to use, how to identify different species and which ones to keep. It should be of great help to those who are very interested in collecting wild forage fish for their pond but don't know where to start, or those who never considered the idea but may now do so because of the information the articles provide...
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#168863 - 06/18/09 12:27 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CJBS2003]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
I'm in the Ohio river watershed. Rusty crayfish make up about 50% of the native species around my area. The only other variety I know I have is Papershell, or at least I think that is what they are called. That may not be the real name. I know a guy in the DNR and was told that Rusty crayfish can at times displace other populations of crawdads but other than that they are just a crawdad. I had no idea they would consume weeds. I think I better lay off the crawdads for awhile. He did give me a guide that shows most of the local fish found in creeks in my area. It has photos of the different species from minnow stage to adult. It has been a big help. I haven't transferred any fish from the creek yet. I've seined some samples just to know what species were present. I'll take some photos next time out. My plan is to wait until next spring when I start stocking the bass. I don't want anything to compete with the bluegill I've already stocked.

The articles will be a huge help. I'm definitely going to subscribe. This forum has been invaluable. I've found more info here than the rest of the internet combined. I'm learning that fishing knowledge is not the same as fish management knowledge. I'm trying to do everything right. I should have done a bit more research.

Any thought on weed types? Should I try and establish plants or let nature take it's course? I've planted Cypress and white pine all around the pond but nothing in it yet.

One last question (for now). I was hoping to stock 60/40 LMB/SMB. SMB don't seem to do very well in most ponds I've seen. Is there steps I can take to make this otherwise? I know they won't spawn successfully in a pond but I would still like some if I can keep them fat and happy. I won't try it otherwise. In most ponds I've seen them in, they tend to be long & skinny while the LMB are fat & healthy.

A big thanks to everyone's input. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to reply.

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#168870 - 06/18/09 03:57 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
SMB do not compete well with LMB in ponds. Otherwise, SMB would do just fine... If you are going to subscribe, when you call Pond Boss headquarters, ask for the current issue and the one before that. Pond Boss allows you to order as many of the back issues as you like. Those issues are the first two parts of a 4 part series on SMB in ponds and will really help you do things to help SMB out. There are things you can do to allow SMB to successfully spawn in ponds. If you do have LMB present, you'll have to stock advanced fingerlings each year or the SMB will slowly disappear...

As far as submerged aquatic vegetation species to plant in your pond, I'd recommend:

corkscrew eel grass
eel grass
American pondweed
Illinois pondweed
Sago pondweed

As far as emergent plants for around the pond edge, I'd recommend:

Acorus americana, Sweetflag
Carex histricina, Porcupine Sedge
Carex vulpinoidea, Fox Sedge
Dulichium arundinaceum, Dwarf Bamboo
Eleocharis obtusa, Spike Rush
Iris fulva, Copper Iris
Iris prismatica, Blue Iris
Iris versicolor, Blue Flag Iris
Orontium aquaticum, Golden Club
Peltandra virginica, Arrow Arum
Pontedaria cordata, Pickerelweed
Sagittaria latifolia, Duck Potato
Sparganium americanum, Lesser Bur-Reed
Sparganium eurycarpum, Greater Bur-Reed
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#168895 - 06/18/09 09:48 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CJBS2003]
jeffhasapond Offline
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Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 7613
Loc: Pond in No CA, Me in So CA
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#168902 - 06/18/09 10:39 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CJBS2003]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
Excellent. I took your advice and subscribed this morning. Looking forward to my fist issue.

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#168904 - 06/18/09 10:43 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
CAW, I stocked about 25 HBG in my pond with about 250 BG in October of 2002 and early spring of 2003. I have only caught 3 HBG/BG crosses and no apparent HBG/HBG offspring. Standard BG will likely outgrow the HBG by year three and recent research shows that ultimately, standards of both sexes will outgrow hybrids. I think they're kinda neat for a bonus fish but 50 would be more than enough for a pond your size.

Wasn't there a recent article in the mag that for big bass more like 2000 BG per acre was better?

Caw, keep in mind that it takes roughly 10lbs of forage to grow a pound of bass. If you stock 50 two pound wild fish your going to have to seine/buy 4500lbs of forage fish to grow the stockers to 5lbs. Fatheads are good for startup but won't last once the HBG get big enough to eat them. I think a much more reasonable option to meet your goals would be to get standard BG to produce more forage and 12"+ feed trained LMB and feed pellets, Aquamax largemouth for the bass and appropriately sized pellets for the bluegill. Roughly 2lbs. of Aquamax largemouth would grow a pound of bass. You'll have keeper size bass this year and be set up for maximum growth for years to come. You can still add seined forage as needed, more as supplemental to in pond production.
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#168930 - 06/18/09 01:30 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Ryan Freeze]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
I'm only coming up with 1500 lbs. My guess is that it would take 3 - 4 years at least to go from 2 lbs to 5 lbs. If I can seine 6 months out of the year that comes out to about 18 lbs of forage per week to support 50 adult LMB. If my bluegill can provide 50% of the forage I will only need to seine about 9 lbs a week. I can do that in about an hour. That's great info. I'm going to keep a log of the lbs. of fish I add and see how fast their growth rates will be.

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#168939 - 06/18/09 02:49 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
HoneyHole Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/22/08
Posts: 100
Loc: AL
CAW,
I'm not sure about Ohio but LMB in Alabama can put on 3lbs. per year with adequate forage. I can tell as a fact you need to get @1000 bluegill fingerlings (2 in.) in your pond spawning before you put those bass in. None of the specie you mentioned can support the load of bass and catfish you are planning for even if you intend to keep adding fish. Experiments are tons of fun and if thats your goal, shoot for the moon. But if long term results are your goal I would suggest going with what works. Once a bass pond starts going down hill it is extremely difficult and expensive to reverse.

-HH
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#168954 - 06/18/09 04:43 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: HoneyHole]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
Ohio isn't anywhere close to that. It takes on average 5 years to reach 15 inches. From the information I'm finding an adult LMB averages about a half pound of weight gain a year in Ohio. About the best I can hope for is about a pound per year.

I've got no problem adding more bluegill. It sounds like a good idea to me. Are you sure 1000 isn't too much? I can see 600 or so not being a problem but 1000?

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#168966 - 06/18/09 05:57 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Remember, many of the studies quoting 1000 BG per acre or even 2000 BG per acre are for southern ponds(FL, GA, AL, etc...). Stocking those numbers in the north does not add to bass growth but in all likelihood will lead to stunted BG and no LMB recruitment. More northern ponds, a 1:5 ratio of bass to BG is acceptable. I would say, 100:500. Now you can consider cutting down the bass numbers as in 75:500 but I wouldn't push it much past that IMO.

CAW25, with all the seining you are doing make sure you know the laws in OH related to that activity. Many people don't realize there are often very strict laws related to seining and collecting bait fish from the wild. Every state has unique laws, OH is no different. They allow a maximum seine size of 4' high by 8' long or in Lake Erie, there is no maximum size. They also require a bait dealers license if you have more than 500 forage fish in possession at one time.

Don't want to see you get in a bind with law enforcement... I have been stopped a couple times on the Potomac River when I run my large 4'x50' beach seine. It often bring a lot of attention as people love to come see what you catch. As tempting as it may be, do not keep game fish caught in this method. It is illegal! When you run a large net like that, you never know what you will pull in, lots and lots of forage fish and often some very nice game fish as well...
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#168989 - 06/18/09 09:35 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CJBS2003]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19289
Loc: Miss.
Everyone should note that there are differences in stocking north to south. For example one successful method up north is to stock FH and LMB and then up to a year later stock BG. Another method is to stock 2 inch BG in summer followed by 2 year old LMB the next spring. These methods are not used in the south. In addition often the recommended stocking ratios are different as CJ noted. A review of the archive on State Agency manuals will help. http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=113216#Post113216

Here is a good example from the Penn. manual.


When small bass and bluegills of the

same age were stocked simultaneously in

Alabama, balanced populations always

resulted. When this stocking strategy

was followed in the North, the result

nearly always was a stunted bluegill

population and a bass population

unable to spawn successfully. Research

at Cornell University showed that to

achieve successful bass-bluegill populations

in northern states, the initial

stocking must consist of bass that are at

least 1 year older than the bluegills. This

can be achieved by stocking yearling

bass 1 year ahead of yearling bluegills or

combining 2-year-old bass (over 6

inches) with yearling bluegills less than

2 inches long. Researchers currently

believe that the proper number of

fingerling fish to stock is 100 bass and

200 to 500 bluegills per surface acre.

This stocking strategy has been shown

to be successful in Pennsylvania ponds.



Edited by ewest (06/19/09 01:56 PM)
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#169065 - 06/19/09 09:20 AM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: ewest]
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I've reworked the math to better suit what your considering. In ideal conditions, a LMB will consume 5% it's body weight per day during the growing season. I'm assuming this is about 6 months or 168 days where we're located. I'm also not accounting for growth durning the growing season or any reproduction. For a 2 lb stocker, thats 0.1 lbs. per day or 16.8 lbs. per season x 50 bass that's 840lbs. the first season. For 5 lb. bass it's 2500 pounds per season. Don't get me wrong, they'll survive on much less but they grow surpisingly fast in ideal conditions...even in Ohio.


From personal experience (I'm 35 miles Northeast of Germantown):
I stocked the 1:5 ratio of standard bluegill and LMB. My BG + 8lbs of fatheads were stocked almost a full year before 3"-4" LMB, 25 HBG and 15 CC were added. The forage was so thick before the LMB were added that you could almost walk across the minnows. The bluegill I originally stocked spawned twice before adding LMB. I was feeding pellets daily when water temps were warm enough as well. The bass grew from 3"-4" to 14"+ the first year (3) and were very fat. Forage was nearly eliminated by year 4. Little growth in year 5. Tilapia stocked years 5 and 6 for algae reduction and additional forage. I began feeding Aquamax Largemouth in addition to smaller pellets in the fall of year 6. Heavy culling of LMB and all CC in years 6 and 7 due to underweight bass and lack of growth. The weight of the bass returned to very good late that year. 10" bluegills are common and my bass are so I fat I'm almost afraid to lip them for fear of their bottom jaw falling off under their weight.

CAW, you have near zero in-pond production capability outside of the fatheads. The HBG alone will take out most of the fatheads even with no bass in the pond once they grow large enough. The 300 Hybrid Bluegill will also very likely eat any forage added that will fit in their mouth. The 25 HBG I stocked were 9" by the second year I had them in my pond. How many pounds of forage will your 300 HBG eat?

CAW, I applaud your ambition. I wish you the best if you move forward with your plans and am very interested in your results. Since you plan to add caught bass, tagging would be a very good idea since the sizes of fish will vary greatly and tracking growth would be impossible otherwise.
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#169132 - 06/19/09 01:47 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Ryan Freeze]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
You're right about production. I'm definitely at 0. Again, I'm not planning on doing this until next year. I'm going to add a few hundred redears and some regular bluegills soon. I should have a decent bluegill spawn next year to start things off. Maybe 35 adult LMB would be a better idea than 50. I can always add more if the food chain will support it.

Sounds like you're growing some real mutants. I didn't know we could get growth like that in the north. That's awesome. Can talapia survive this far north or do they die out in the winter?

Thanks for the input.

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#169140 - 06/19/09 02:18 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: CAW25]
Ryan Freeze Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 1285
Loc: Southwest Ohio
They die off every winter like they do everwhere they can be stocked legally...this is a good thing...no chance of overpopulation and no chance of them surviving in state water's if they got out. The two years I had them they died off in mid-October. You can get live tilapia from Jungle Jim's grocery but they're probably all male which is fine for algae control but won't reproduce they're fairly cheap too...cheaper than algaecide. I haven't had much luck finding a source of sufficient size and mixed sex in Ohio and producing them myself is too much trouble. I've worked on getting Freshwater Farms and Jone's to get some for a couple of years without results. Maybe we can talk Rainman into delivering us some when he's in KY? I know at least 10 other guys in our area that want them. Search "tilapia grow out tank" There's a pretty lengthy thread I started a few years ago with before and after photos.

Did a fish farm talk you into stocking so many hybrid bluegill?

Another thing to consider: The bass I got were in a stock tank being fed pellets. At the time, there was little talk about feed trained bass and I hadn't even considered the importance. I'm a bass fisherman, so catching stockers was no trouble but I feared introducing disease so I bought fish to stock. A majority of the bass I purchased stayed on pellets. Bass will grow a pound for roughly every 2lbs of pellets they consume. I'm not feeding pellets solely, just once per day to supplement natural forage. IMO, getting feed trained bass would be good insurance that you could keep your bass fed and growing should you not be able to harvest wild prey.
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#169143 - 06/19/09 02:36 PM Re: Stocking Mature Bass [Re: Ryan Freeze]
CAW25 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/04/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Germantown, Ohio
I've seen them at Jungle Jim's too. They have bass & bluegill also. You are correct. A fish farm did talk me into stocking hybrids. At least that's an easy mistake to remedy. Live & learn. I'm still having lots of fun.

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