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#499845 - 12/21/18 01:19 PM Question about Stocking a large body of water
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
I need help in deciding if this stocking plan will be successful. We have a 50 plus acre lake that we are going to be getting ready to stock in the next few months. Obviously it will take a significant amount of fish and money to get it going. Here is the question: if we put 24k fingerling CNBG and 24K fathead Minnows, left it along for a year then come back with 60 LMB/acre would this stocking plan be successful for a Bassfishing Lake. I would probably come back during the year and also put a load of TFS in as well. My thoughts are with no predators the bait could really multiply in a year's time. One draw back I have been told was that by doing this it gives the CNBG time to mature enough to be able to eat the fingerling bass when they are stocked???
Also in the equation we will be adding a couple feeders to help the CNBG grow. I do have plans as well to start a hatchery pond to supplement the bream and or TFS. Any and all advise is welcomed, just want to get this one going in the right direction from the start and not have to play catch up with time or money.
thanks for the help.

Also you have different ideas on stocking let me know. I know the ideal way is 1000 CNBG/ acre but that does cost. So give me your thoughts.

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#499846 - 12/21/18 02:36 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Zep Offline
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 3133
Loc: Dallas & Wills Point, Tx
so this is a brand new 50 acre lake?
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#499850 - 12/21/18 05:38 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
Yes, it's a pumped lake. And we are through dredging it.

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#499855 - 12/21/18 09:00 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Pat Williamson Offline


Registered: 08/08/14
Posts: 2474
Loc: Oakwood,Texas
If you can catch or buy adult BG to put in they will spawn a lot faster than adding fingerlings only. If you cant add them all at once then I would wait a little longer to add the LMB, giving the BG time to spawn many times. I know how hard it is to pay out so much for stockers. I added grown BG and they went it breeding within a week. With no predators surviving BG will increase.

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#499864 - 12/22/18 11:24 AM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3120
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
Your stocking strategy is sound. Go with it.
Here's my opinion...
When you stock fingerling bluegills, they'll grow up in that environment and become conditioned to it. Plus, at 500 per acre, that's a good number to establish a significant food chain over a year. The fatheads will reproduce exponentially.
The only catch you might have is potential to have predator fish introduced inadvertently through the watershed.
By stocking 500 per acre, you have control over the numbers in the beginning, and providing a growing food chain that will support your fingerling bass when you stock them.
After a year, when you stock bass, bluegills aren't likely to eat them. They'll have plenty of fathead minnows for bluegills and bass to eat.
You have a good plan.
If you need a source of fish, Pond Boss has a number of vendors that can help.
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#499869 - 12/22/18 11:19 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: Bob Lusk]
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
Good deal, that will work. I'm hoping the THS will explode as well when we add a load of those. Can someone educate me on the breading specifics of tfs? What temps Do they bread, how many times/year, typical numbers that can expected off of each breading cycle.
As much information as you feel like explaining.
Thanks

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#499940 - 12/25/18 09:56 AM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19651
Loc: Miss.
See this on some common forage species including TFS.


https://srac.tamu.edu/serveFactSheet/12


Threadfin shad spawn starting at 67 to 70 F (19 to 21 C) and broadcast adhesive eggs over vegetation and woody debris. Prolific spawners, shad mature in less than 1 year and produce large quantities of eggs. The length of the spawning season is variable and spawning can occur over a broad temperature range.

Threadfin do not survive in cold water and usually die in winter outside
of the deep South and Florida. High
mortalities occur at 45 F (7 C), and most fish die at 40 F (4.4 C). Abrupt decreases in water temperature are particularly hard on the fish. For this reason, threadfin can overwinter in deeper reservoirs and large rivers in more northerly locations, but are less likely to survive in ponds.The native range of threadfin shad is the southern half of the Mississippi River Basin; portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas; and much of Florida. The species has been widely introduced into reservoirs and lakes throughout the Southeast.





Edited by ewest (12/25/18 09:58 AM)
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#499982 - 12/26/18 11:16 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
That's good info, thanks. I must assume they will explode in population without predators around. Our lake is not going to get below those temps, so we are good with survival.

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#499983 - 12/27/18 12:36 AM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 126
Loc: NW Kansas
ewest, thanks for that link.. very interesting read. I find it interesting that it states FHM are known to lay eggs as much as twice a week. I wonder if perhaps they meant twice a month?? Interesting..
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#500032 - 12/28/18 07:59 AM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 247
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: scampbell
Here is the question: if we put 24k fingerling CNBG and 24K fathead Minnows, left it along for a year then come back with 60 LMB/acre would this stocking plan be successful for a Bassfishing Lake. .... One draw back I have been told was that by doing this it gives the CNBG time to mature enough to be able to eat the fingerling bass when they are stocked???


I think this is a legitimate concern and one I would also be concerned about.


Originally Posted By: scampbell
.... Any and all advise is welcomed, just want to get this one going in the right direction from the start and not have to play catch up with time or money.
thanks for the help...


If it were me ... I would give consideration to stocking fingerling bass alongside the prey stocking. While the TFS are going to replace FHM for prey next year you will miss the growth the LMB will achieve this year if you delay. The FHM will provide the bulk of the prey for the LMB in the first year and so the objectives you have for the BG should still be met.

Originally Posted By: scampbell
Also you have different ideas on stocking let me know. I know the ideal way is 1000 CNBG/ acre but that does cost. So give me your thoughts


The benefits of such a high density of CNBG would likely be reduced reproduction of LMB the following Spring if you stock fingerling LMB with the prey and this is a desired outcome. Even higher densities may be desired. But considering the cost, there are more cost effective ways to achieve a similar, and perhaps a more beneficial outcome. I would give consideration to stocking a fixed number/acre of adult CNBG parental pairs which will reproduce in great number in the first year. I would give consideration to stocking in this order. FHM in Feb/Mar ... LMB when available ... and adult CNBG midway through the growing season. At your stocking rate of LMB and with the addition of TFS, there will be no shortage of appropriately sized food for the next couple of years during which time your LMB growth should approach maximum rates of growth.

What you may need to be concerned about with this approach is LMB reproduction which could be completely curtailed by BG in the early going. Stocking advanced fingerling could be required in the first few years. But you only need to recruit 3 to 4 > 12" females per acre per annum to keep the trophies coming. You could grow these in your forage pond in the beginning or purchase them. If you save $25,000-$50,000 on BG, that would serve to purchase a lot of advanced fingerling LMB. Perhaps even the time value of the money saved would be sufficient to more than fund their purchase. I would prefer advance fingerling that are acclimated to BG as forage.

I'm sure this will create a lot of debate but I don't think there would be any long term ill effects once you have good representation of LMB across multiple year classes at which time you could concentrate on forage production.


Edited by jpsdad (12/28/18 08:05 AM)

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#500053 - 12/28/18 04:25 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3120
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
I've stocked many lakes with similar numbers as you're proposing for forty years.
When you stock those 60 bass per acre, they will grow so fast you'll be stunned.
If the lake does as we all hope, you'll see tens of thousands of fathead minnows, ranging in size from newly hatched fish up to adults. When those 3,000 bass are stocked, numerical odds of their demise is small, a fraction of a percent. If you stock 3 inch fish in May 2020, they'll be six inches mid-July. They'll average 12" by late September, and by November will range from 8" up to two pounds...the fastest growers.
You'll have some fish big enough to spawn by 2021. The bluegills won't grow nearly as large, except around the two feeders. The bluegills will mostly mature sexually at 3-4" and begin to spawn. People think those bluegills will grow large, but they won't, as a population. They'll start spawning within a few weeks.
I think the risk of bass being eaten, and limited bass recruitment is low in your part of the planet.

But...I can be wrong...
If you get into Year 3 and aren't seeing bass recruitment, buy more baby bass of great genetics and create your own missing year class. That's not a bad thing, either. It just costs some money.

I do respectfully disagree with JP's Dad with his advice to stock the bass earlier. Once the bass gain a foothold and overtake the food chain, which they will, you're behind with little chance to catch up. Bluegills are key, and stocking a known number in the beginning gives you a more calculated chance to build a food chain. If you stock adult pairs of bluegills, there's no calculated risk. You don't start with numbers you can predict. Without that, the risk of bass overeating the food chain is much higher. Fathead minnows will be gone after two years with bass, and threadfin shad are basically good to feed intermediate-sized bass. Your bluegills are the backbone of the food chain.

I'd much rather have the need to stock more bass into a 50-acre lake than try to start culling bass from an overeaten, unpredicted food chain.
_________________________
Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...

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#500067 - 12/28/18 10:57 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
Great stuff guys. We have had issues with other lakes not having enough bait to keep the LMB from basically taking over and eating all the bait. I like the idea of waiting a year plus before we stock bass. This is one where we can't let it get off the rails before we even get started.
In my experience with stocking a few lakes we have, it seems if you don't add bait along the way it's tough to keep one up and running without the bass being stunted. So if the bass don't have enough bait to start with, playing catch up with 50 a acre lake would cost way more than we want to spend.

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#500072 - 12/29/18 10:43 AM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 247
Loc: Texas
Just to be sure ... When I said ...
Quote:
What you may need to be concerned about with this approach is LMB reproduction which could be completely curtailed by BG in the early going


I wasn't speaking of the stocking rates scampbell was considering. I think this would be a problem if the BG were stocked as a small number of brooders. There may have been a bit of confusion there and I want to clear that up. Was just mentioning that one does have a choice about the BG. The BOW could serve as "forage pond" in the first year producing a carrying capacity of 2" to 3" BG which will serve to feed the LMB in the second year and inhibit LMB recruitment. The following spring the LMB will consume them and they (the BG) would start recruiting well as they are cropped.

Large LMB are an outcome of limited LMB numbers and the initial growth should be excellent at 60/acre whether stocked first or second year. To be sure, if stocked in the first year, they will overcome the food chain sooner as they have a head start. But regardless of when one stocks, this initial stocking must experience mortality (preferably harvest) if exceptional ultimate weights are a goal. Only females will be trophies so if one has 30 females/acre weighing an average of 6 lbs that is 180 lbs/acre of LMB. In almost any BOW this requires feeding and prey fry production from outside the system just for maintenance of the LMB. The point here is that without any LMB reproduction the initial 60 LMB can easily outgrow the BOW's ability to support further growth.

The challenge will be keeping the number of LMB limited. Four years down the road the BOW will require some annual mortality of the initial stockers or the LMB will stop growing and stunting will then quickly ensue. A sustainable trophy fishery can only produce 2 to 4 trophies of >8lbs/LMB per acre per annum because a sustainable trophy fishery will have >14" LMB representation in small numbers across each year.



Edited by jpsdad (12/29/18 12:30 PM)

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#500229 - 01/02/19 12:10 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3120
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
Here's another fisheries lesson, guys. Listen up.

When a lake is properly stocked in the beginning, with a sound strategy, the results are normally predictable. Nature can always derail the best laid plan with weather, too much plant life, and invasion of predators, a bad algae bloom...there's along list.

But, aside from unpredictable derailments, here's what to expect from scampbell's stocking plan. Let's dissect it and I'll share what to expect from it, broken down into five years.

Year One, forage fish are stocked. 24,000 fathead minnows and 24,000 bluegills. That's about 3-4 pounds of fatheads per acre. In the first six months, with fertility in the water and plenty of spawning substrate, the lake will product about 15 pounds per acre. It should max out around 40-60 pounds of fatheads per acre and sustain there as carrying capacity dictates. As that happens, some of those small bluegills will grow to 3-4", stop growing and focus on reproduction. That will take about two months. At that point, you'll see quite a few spawning beds with anywhere from 20-200 little craters of small bluegills reproducing. When the babies come off the nest, they'll compete with fathead minnows, and eat some small minnows. The bluegills will spawn in cycles, most of the summer. Within those same six months there'll be a sharp increase in tiny bluegills and overall growth rates of bluegills will level off. Around the feeders, some of the bluegills will push well beyond six inches that first year. Those will become the dominant spawners by fall. As the first year progresses, I would expect a food chain of 100-150 pounds per acre to develop. Then, when bass fingerlings are stocked at the beginning of Year Two, here's what to expect.

Bass will grow extremely fast. Fingerling bass, 2-3" in size, will find tens of thousands of tiny fathead minnnows and small bluegills. Bass that size will feed primarily on small fatheads and insects. Insects will proliferate due to healthy water and abundant fish to eat as well. Bass will go from 2-3" to 6" within six weeks. At that point, their sizes will begin to differentiate. The most aggressive, fastest growing, mostly females, will shoot to 8-10" over the next two to three weeks. By fall, the slowest growing bass will be around 8" and the best of the best will be at least two pounds, maybe bigger. Fathead minnow numbers will begin to decline measurably by fall, and bluegill numbers will continue to rise. Bass poundage will be around 20-35 pounds per acre (in theory), and the food chain will still be high. Productivity of the food chain dynamics will change. As forage fish are being eaten and converted to bass, survival rates of newly hatched fish will rise. The dynamics of that function will shift, base on how productive the water is. That medium will dictate production. In the phosphate pits, productivity stays high. Jay, Florida, has some productive soils around it, which influence nearby waters. That region of Florida is famous for productivity. So, if the water can motivate continuing spawning of forage fish, here's what to expect.

As bass grow, bluegill sizes will increase. Bigger bluegills will dominate the spawning beds, and more babies will be cranked out. When bass mass reaches around 50-60 pounds per acre, the forage fish will be approaching maintenance level. At that point, in Year Three, the biggest bluegills will be 8-9", and those originally stocked bass will range from 10" to six pounds. Of those originally stocked bass, half are boys, and will top out around 14-16". The other half, the females, expect 20-30% to be the biggest, 30-40% to be "average", and the rest to be under-performers, passive, slow-growers.

Here's where it gets fun. In Year Three, expect those biggest bass, which are now a year old, to reproduce. So, the biggest females will dominate reproduction, which is a good thing. The concern stated above is that there could be so many bluegill eating baby bass as they come off the nest, that recruitment of bass in Year Three could be a problem. That's a problem I'd welcome. That means the lake still has lots of forage fish. If recruitment is inhibited, stock 2,000 bass fingerlings and you've bought the recruitment for the second age class of bass. But, my bet is that enough baby bass would survive the onslaught of bluegills to add that second year class. Electrofish to be sure.

During Year Three, the lake's carrying capacity for bass will begin reaching max. That's when we start looking at culling. More on that in a minute. In Year Three, we expect reproduction and those baby bass fuel the need for culling. So, if bass don't recruit well in Year Three, we can push back culling until Year Four. In the meantime, we now have 6-8 size classes of bluegills, two sizes of those are the primary broodfish/spawners for the entire lake. In the other 4-6 size classes of bluegills, we expect those to grow as fast as possible, with 80-90% being eaten within the first 90 days of their lives. The remaining number of fish of each spawn will dwindle over the next 90 days...as the brood fish are showering the lake with new babies to take the place of those who gave it up for bass to grow.
As all this is occurring, threadin shad are establishing themselves in the open water and beginning to affect bass behavior. As schools of shad push into 2-3" and then 3-4" size classes, intermediate-sized bass will begin to alter their behavior and shift from exclusively littoral inhabitants into part time chasers of shad in open water. That behavior will influence bluegill behavior. Bluegills will feed more aggressively and not always have to retreat to safety in lieu of feeding. Again, productivity of the water will influence these factors as well. By the end of Year Three the best of the best bass from the originally stocked group will be 6-7 pounds, maybe one or two bigger. By now, those originally stocked bass will fundamentally be three size classes. The best of the best for that lake will be excitingly huge and pretty hard to catch. That's probably going to be 150 of the originally stocked fish, in the best habitat for fish that size. The next size class will be 3-5 pounds, and numbers will be around 150-200 of those. Considering attrition, the remaining bass will range from 1-3 pounds and will number 1,000-1,500 and average around pound to slightly under two pounds. Attrition comes as the best of the best grow larger and mouth gape increases. When that happens in this scenario, those slow-growing bass become food. Those 6-7 pound bass are now making their primary living off big bluegills and those slow-growing bass. If anyone takes time to do the math, these numbers are now somewhere between 50-75 pounds of bass per acre, which is the amount nature sustains, depending on how fertile and productive the water is at any given time. One other important factor here is the dynamics of the food chain. During the course of the second, third, and fourth years, if we had a way to measure productivity, we'd see a lake as this producing something around 300-600 pounds of forage fish per acre, per year. But, the standing crop would rarely exceed 150 pounds per acre on any given day. That's why it's so important to keep the predator/prey relationships as close to "balance" as possible. When the predators overwhelm their prey, productivity of forage fish plummets and carrying capacity for prey becomes dominated by how many mouths there are to eat a baby fish right off the nest.

In Year Four, barring any of those natural influencers we can't necessarily predict, expect major changes in the fishery. Now, you have a significant mass of bass beyond 17". And, they've spawned. Now, you have an unpredictable number of baby bass decimating the food chain at a lower level. They're eating young bluegills, crawfish, insects, each other, and snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails...whatever dares enter the water. Time to cull. Set your limits based on lengths and weights of your bass. Now is the time to be vigilant about culling. For a 50 acre lake, expect to cull 1,000-1500 small bass per year. That's work. For the remaining fishery, the biggest bass have all they can eat, zeroing in on 8-12" bass and large bluegills for dinner. Or, breakfast, or lunch, or snacks. Threadfins are thriving, but their numbers will dwindle during cool months as intermediate-sized bass feed on them heavily. Your biggest bass are knocking on the door of double-digit sizes, and maybe four or five across the lake will hit that magic size in Year Four. During this year, expect forage fish numbers to drop due to heavy pressure from young bass. Catch rates will rise, and anglers will be catching lots of 10-14" bass, with good numbers of 3-5 pounders, a rare 6-8, and maybe a 9. Bluegills will be knocking on the door of 10-11", well beyond a pound, some maybe 1.5 pounds, if the feeding program is consistent.

Year Five shows the best potential for young double-digit bass, maybe 10-15 of those across the lake. Bluegills can be over two pounds, with lots of bluegills in the 4-6" size class, if bass culling has been consistent. For the next three years, this lake has a great shot at some huge bass, with fun fishing, catching good numbers of 4-6 pounders with some 8's and an occasional huge fish.

Now, all this is influenced by hurricanes, droughts, flocks of cormorants and pelicans, freezing weather which eradicates threadfin shad, and otters. It's also influenced by quality and quantity of habitat in the lake, as that gives different sizes of different species of fish what they need to thrive. Productivity of the water will be a great influencer as well. Volume and species of plants influence a fishery, too.

It wasn't my intent to write an essay about this stuff, but I see some earnest questions and thoughtful insight.
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He can teach to catch fish...

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#500397 - 01/05/19 11:21 PM Re: Question about Stocking a large body of water [Re: scampbell]
scampbell Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 02/09/10
Posts: 58
Loc: Jay, Fl
That's a great response with very good information. I'm positive I'll have more questions and comments as we move forward with the lake. I'm really looking forward to it.
If all goes well we should another lake this size or larger (hopefully) about the time this one is hitting it's peak 5-7 years from now.
Bob thanks for information. Really good stuff. My dad will be thrilled to read it.

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