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#361015 - 12/25/13 12:55 AM Reintroducing Minnows
Zachary H Offline

Registered: 12/25/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Hello, I have taken an interest in a recently conserved and partially reconstructed creek. the Conservation people came out and narrowed the creek in order to increase flow, because the creek was on the verge of drying up. It worked. Now, to my question. I love native fish so I am a fan of keeping fathead minnows. Fathead minnows tend to breed (a lot) and that resulted in an overpopulation. So, I was wondering if I could somehow take these healthy minnows and release them into the creek. If they bred there and after a few generations, would they attract bluegill sunfish, bass, and rainbow trout? or would I have to try and work with those and REINTRODUCE them, as well? (I said reintroduce because trout and minnows are native to that creek but disappeared after the creek widened and the water level sank. Now that the reek was conserved that problem is eliminated.)

#361019 - 12/25/13 06:01 AM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
RAH Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3045
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
My guess is that there are laws that prohibit you from introducing fish into a creek connected to other waters, but others will probably chime in with better information.

#361021 - 12/25/13 08:41 AM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
MSC Offline

Registered: 10/10/13
Posts: 339
Loc: Southern Maryland
Now that they fixed the creek, I bet this spring after a major rain event or snow melt, you will have the native fish and minnows back in the creek.
Free expert fishing tips. Just call BR-549.

#361053 - 12/25/13 10:21 PM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
Sunil Offline
Field Correspondent
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 10875
Loc: Somerset, PA
Welcome to Pond Boss, Zachary H.

RAH brings up a good point. You have to assess your own situation, and consider what impacts your actions will have. For me, if I'm just doing things with species of fish that readily exist around the area, I wouldn't worry too much about it. BUT, that is not advising you to do so. Consult the PA Fish Commission rules for sure.

I don't know if fatheads reproduce in flowing streams or not.

I also agree with MSC that if the water levels reach year round flow with depth, fish will appear.
Excerpt from Brad Taylor's "Ghosts of War:"
"It was the difference between involvement and commitment, like ham and eggs. The chicken was involved, but the pig was committed."

#361096 - 12/26/13 09:27 PM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
Zachary H Offline

Registered: 12/25/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you everybody for your input.

#361099 - 12/26/13 10:26 PM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
4CornersPuddle Offline

Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 122
Loc: southwest Colorado
Zachary, welcome to the forum. You have a very interesting situation there.
Where in Pennsylvania are you? I grew up in se near Boyertown, way back in the 50s and 60s. We had a small creek, the Ironstone, that was a short walk from our small farm, so guess where I was all summer and most other times, too?
I remember carrying out a little bucket biology as a kid. I had a particular hole in the creek that was dear to me, so I once stocked it with a half dozen RBT and BT. They hung around for quite some time until one of the locals got word of them, caught them all, took them home to show them off to his family, then tossed them in the trash as he didn't like to eat fish. My first contact with a fish slob.
One other time I brought 6 or 8 SMB that I had caught from a creek downstream from the Ironstone. There were no SMB in the Ironstone for the 5 years before this. Those SMB that I released spawned and got a decent population going. We had very good smallmouth fishing up and down the creek after that. The pumpkinseed and the redbreasted sunfish increased in average size; the weedy creek chubs and fallfish were not nearly as much a problem after that. Why SMB didn't simply swim the 10 or so miles up to that part of the Ironstone from the larger downstream source always puzzled me. There were no dams or anything else to stop them from doing so.
It's been more that 40 years since I walked the banks of that stream. I often wonder what the fishery is doing now.
Good luck with your little creek. Please keep us posted.

#361127 - 12/27/13 11:06 AM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
Bill Cody Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 10869
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Try and check the down stream sections of the creek where it is significantly larger, wider and deeper by 2 or 3 times. Those fish will at times (spring & high water events) move into the upper stream reaches for spawning. Whatever fish are in the down stream watershed are okay to introduce back into your local area of the stream. Stream habitat will determine if or how well the added fish survive.

Fatheads will spawn in stream situations and they prefer the slower backwater or pool areas. I catch them in minnow traps set in small ditches and streams along with other various shiners and chubs. You can set minnow traps in the lower bigger portions of your stream to see what species are present and move some of them into the upper area of the stream near you. Once you get a community of forage fishes surviving in the upper stream, then you can consider reintroducing trout or other sport fish to the stream.

Edited by Bill Cody (12/27/13 11:08 AM)
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#361161 - 12/27/13 04:58 PM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
JKB Offline
Hall of Fame 2015

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
Browsing the Laws in PA. As an "individual", you will not "legally" be able to stock any aquatic species in any of the state waters. http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/058/chapter71/chap71toc.html

You need to read much, much more than this tho.

They do have a neat Cooperative Nursery program, but you have to have a legal setup with board members, bylaws and all that jazz, but you'll get a free Colonoscopy thru the process. laugh (means they'll just check you out really good)

You mentioned a conservation club? (which would be appropriate by law) Maybe you can find out more about this group and join.

If you just start tossing fish in on your own, and they find out, you will not want to be you!

Michigan is pretty easy about this for an individual wanting to help out. It's a free permit with a process involved, but you have to buy the fish from certified disease free sources. Can't just pull them out of your pond or a tank in your garage or basement and toss them in the river.

PA has some pretty strict law's, as do most Great Lake States. One permit I ran across, that had no explanation, was a permit to extend Trout fishing season in a private pond. That one for me, has a couple question marks on it??

To give you a perspective on this. The only fish your allowed to put into a State BOW, is one that you caught out of that same State BOW.

It's nice that you want to help tho, but there are protocols, procedures, rules and regulations.

#361253 - 12/28/13 11:33 PM Re: Reintroducing Minnows [Re: Zachary H]
Zachary H Offline

Registered: 12/25/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Once again, thank you everybody for enlightening me on this subject. It is winter so I do have until springtime to consider the factors in this release. Between now and then I learned I will have to do a lot of research on PA laws, possible exceptions to those laws, permits, etc. But hopefully, by the spring I will have this all sorted out and be able to go through with the reintroduction.


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