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#507184 - 06/10/19 11:38 PM Encouraging FHM recruitment?
ErikPawelskiBuff Offline


Registered: 06/04/19
Posts: 3
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Iíve read on a lot of platforms that minnows, especially FHM, will struggle to recruit after an initial introduction of predators. In a theoretical <1 acre setup with SMB and YP, what could be done to help them along?

The go-to strategies seem to be a 1-year head start and pallets or other structure to encourage spawning. Does anyone have any other ideas or success stories?

Just brainstorming, but I like the idea of a sustained FHM population keeping the forage base diverse and feeding bigger fish year after year.

Or is a second-year wipeout a necessary, unavoidable, and irreversible sacrifice in growing good sized perch and bass?

P.S. I suppose this conversation could be expanded to all baitfish. GSH and paper shell crawfish appeal to me greatly in combination with FHM. But each seems to be more straightforwardly sustained than FHM (craws sufficient rocky habitat, and GSH due to their size compared to minnows.) Hence my search for possible FHM recruitment ideas to round things off.

Regards from Western NY...


Edited by ErikPawelskiBuff (06/20/19 03:46 PM)
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#507188 - 06/11/19 12:10 AM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: ErikPawelskiBuff]
Snipe Online   content


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 389
Loc: NW Kansas
Separate forage pond for FHM. They are just too slow (hence their value) to sustain more than maybe 3 yrs-4 at most. (in most cases)
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#507189 - 06/11/19 12:10 AM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: ErikPawelskiBuff]
Cole B. Offline


Registered: 06/09/19
Posts: 8
Loc: San Angelo, TX
I am no expert, and I live in a much different environment, but here are a couple thoughts I have.
The problem with fathead minnows is that they are very slow, and IME, donít make a whole lot of effort to avoid being eaten. Smallmouth bass are just as voracious predators as their bigger mouth cousins and yellow perch are also very piscivorous from what I understand. While providing habitat and a headstart with certainly give you much greater numbers of minnows than you add, it is likely that they will still be fully exterminated after a year or two at most. Even if you can protect the adults, they do not live long and their YOY will likely all be consumed by small perch and bass. Also in NY, they have a much shorter spawning season than they do down south. Fatheads seem to only thrive when they are they only species present. I think craws and GSH are a much better bet long term. I doubt they can survive that far north, but mosquitofish (aka gambusia) are a similar size as fatheads but seem to survive predation much better.

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#507193 - 06/11/19 01:11 AM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: ErikPawelskiBuff]
Snipe Online   content


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 389
Loc: NW Kansas
Erik, welcome to the PB forums by the way!
Hey, I would not overlook starting FHM even if you intend to use other species such as GSH, etc.. Nothing is more productive to the start of a pond than the FHM.. Lots of numbers and easy targets so don't skip them entirely. Also, in the north you do have a shorter growing season but this means shorter predation as well. Longer growing seasons mean it's more important to have brood cover-longer.
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#507206 - 06/11/19 11:49 AM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: ErikPawelskiBuff]
Quarter Acre Offline


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1186
Loc: West Central Missouri
Welcome to the forums Erik,

It would appear that the FHM's are destined to fade away as a stocked pond matures. My pond is on its second summer with predators which is its third summer with FHM's. The FHM population is a fraction of what it was last year. My pond, by luck pretty much, is set up too potentially extend their presence. For one, several stacks of pallets are located at the shallowest sunny end of the pond along with the dock which gets frequented almost daily. This seems to be where the HBG spend their time while the HSB stay further out in the pond where the water is deepest and much more shaded. I also have a strong population of crawdads and their rocky habitat is also in the same area away from the HSB. This same area has some tree stumps and rock piles. In short, my FHM's and crawdads have their preferred space about as far from the HSB's preferred space as can be expected. This may help them extend their (FHM and Craws) presence, but once the HBG get to where they can eat the larger minnows and the HSB can eat the larger craws...their strong populations are bound to dwindle. Time will tell.

Ultimately, I dream of a forage pond that can raise the FHM's and a large stocking can be done every fall. There may be a blessing to the minnows demise as the HSB are there to keep the HBG recruitment to a minimum, if the minnows kept a strong population, the HSB may not be so enthused to feed on the YOY HBG.
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#507845 - 06/20/19 03:46 PM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: Quarter Acre]
ErikPawelskiBuff Offline


Registered: 06/04/19
Posts: 3
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Thanks for your description of those spatial coincidences. Perhaps I can deliberately try to create structures that achieve similar results.

I'm planning on a cocktail of all three (GSH, FHM, PSC), so I suppose the fatheads won't be make-or-break for the whole food chain anyways.
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Fortunate is he who can understand the causes of things.

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#507850 - 06/20/19 04:35 PM Re: Encouraging FHM recruitment? [Re: ErikPawelskiBuff]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5441
Loc: SE Kansas
My 1/20th acre forage pond was stocked with FHM and RES. Good FHM production initially. Then I introduced GSH. FHM were soon gone. Don't know if the GSH were the cause of demise, the RES, or a few GSF that somehow got in the pond. But gone were the FHM. GSH did great though and maintained population.

I have since killed that pond off and reintroduced FHM about a month ago. May use it to raise some HSB from fingerlings when the FHM get thick enough to walk on.


Edited by snrub (06/20/19 04:40 PM)
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