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#515816 - 01/17/20 01:46 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
5444 Offline


Registered: 01/03/17
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Loc: Midwest
I thought you should never combine SMB and LMB.
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#515819 - 01/17/20 03:14 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
RAH Offline
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Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
SMB will not recruit with LMB. I prefer stocking at lower numbers than most though.


Edited by RAH (01/17/20 03:16 PM)

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#515820 - 01/17/20 03:35 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
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Fish farms are in the business to sell fish. They are proposing a mixed fish stocking for variety. In most of our opinions leave out the LMB and catfish. They can always be added later if you decide you need them. Once you add the LMB expect to gradually see your SMB numbers dwindle unless you ladder stock 8"-10"+ individuals.


Edited by Bill Cody (01/18/20 10:13 AM)
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#515829 - 01/18/20 12:18 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: Bill Cody]
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I agree 110% with Bill Cody. If BG start to get too plentiful, I'd look into stocking more SMB or possibly HSB.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#515832 - 01/18/20 02:34 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
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I gotta get my 2 cents in FWIW.. If it were me I would leave the LMB and CC out-for now.
I know what young WAE will do with plenty of BG or other small sunfish present and with WAE you have some control over numbers without having to worry about recruitment. Yes, that can happen but odds are strongly against any YOY WAE for at least 3 yrs, and not likely after that. You can ladder a few every year if you want and keep good control of BG/PS.
I "think" you'll see more diversity if you leave the LMB out. CC won't really consume much in the way of controlling anything for many years but they can and will eventually affect visibility within the pond which will heavily affect your desired species which are sight feeders.
Bill C and esshup are more experienced than me with the pond management and I will agree on possibly more WAE or HSB, but not any more SMB, they would only suffer or cause another species to suffer from lack of appropriate sized forage.
Again, only my 2 cents as they may see something I haven't.
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#515835 - 01/18/20 05:13 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
RAH Offline
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Also, it is beneficial to get forage going before adding predators if you want good size predators.

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#515894 - 01/19/20 10:30 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
5444 Offline


Registered: 01/03/17
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Loc: Midwest
I plan on leaving out CC and LMB. I am going to add 10 walleye though. So If I add my predators in the Fall, I'll be promoting larger predators and if I add them in the Spring, I'll be promoting larger forage? So my predators totals would be 30 SMB and 10 WAE. Keystone does not carry HSB.
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#515898 - 01/19/20 11:07 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 865
Loc: NW Kansas
I think you'll have a tuff time finding WAE in the spring, probably tuff finding SMB as well. Big thing is not taking somebody's runts which in the spring would be WAE less than 9-10" or SMB much less than 5-6".
The idea is to promote forage period. By letting the FHM propagate all summer you have many, many hatches of differing sizes filling the forage "box", which you want as full as possible when predators are introduced for best growth. FHM introduced in the Midwest by May 1 should be spawning fairly quickly and every viable female will be laying eggs every 5-20 days. There will be new FHM hatching every day through the end of September. A full summer of this and you have a pretty decent amount of forage so stocking predators in fall is the earliest I would consider.
If I had it to do over, I would have waited until the second fall for predators in mine but it's over and done.
I "think" I would max my SMB at 25 seeing what I have in my 5/8ac pond, maybe 12-15 WAE.
I might add that I think the WAE will have an advantage over other fish as they can and will continue to forage in the dark when the target is more likely to be at a resting-staging position for the night.


Edited by Bill Cody (01/22/20 08:02 PM)
Edit Reason: added: in the spring
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#515899 - 01/19/20 11:33 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
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I went back and read this thread again and I have to back up here..
If you have an abundance of cover I think the BG are going to become a huge chunk of your biomass in 3-5 years.. I'm not sure the BG are something you want in many numbers-with lots of cover present.
SMB are not going to control BG unless there is very little cover present, just keep that in mind. WAE will hammer BG when they can but not sure they are near as effective as LMB, which presents a potential issue to me. I'd say wait and obtain some male only BG but they will cross with RES and you will have some (small numbers) cross back to mostly BG. The potential is there.
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#515900 - 01/20/20 12:16 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: Snipe]
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FWIW, I have a client that is willing to experiment with his 3+ acre pond. He has a LOT of cover in the pond, both wood and rocks but his sides are steep so there isn't a lot of flat spawning habitat. The bottom of the pond is primarily clay. There was an influx of water from the river just as construction was completed, so the pond was rotenoned in 2016 prior to stocking. Both Bullheads and GSH were killed and there are none showing in the pond 3 years later.

The water typically is higher in the Spring/early Summer than the Fall, and there is grass growing to the waters edge which provides spawning habitat for the GSH.

His goal was a trophy SMB pond with large panfish and great ice fishing.

With that said here is what we stocked:

Fall 2016 we stocked FHM and GSH
Spring 2017 we stocked HBG, RES and small YP
Fall we stocked 8"-10" YP (also wanted to stock SMB but couldn't find any)
Spring 2018 stocked 6"-9" SMB and White River Crayfish
Spring 2019 stocked HBCP
Fall 2019 stocked 8"-10" HSB (I also threw in a dozen Golden Rainbow Trout and 2 regular colored Rainbow Trout)

After the winter of 2017 there were virtually no fatheads seen in the pond. To this day there are quite a few GSH most likely because they have ample spawning habitat in the shallow shoreline grass in about 1/3 of the pond and they provide ample forage fish. Some 8"+ specimens are caught when ice fishing. The majority of the pond is lined with 6"-8" riprap down a foot below the water line. ALL fish stocked were feed trained with the possible exception of the HBCP. The HSB were stocked because of the abundance of GSH.

There is one TH feeder on the pond feeding a 50/50 mix of Optimal BG and Bass food. A 2nd TH feeder will be added this Spring. The owner hand feeds in late evening when he can.

YP are 13"+ HBG are 10"-11" and 1.5"+ thick. SMB are 3#+ (they were stocked as feed trained fish but he has not seen any actively feeding on the pellets). He has not actively fished for the SMB so they don't get hook shy. Any caught are incidental catches.

No underwater or marginal plants were observed in the pond after 2 years so this September Blue Flag Iris, American Pondweed, Arrowhead and Pickerelweed were planted.

As Snipe noted BG were NOT stocked because of the SMB being the planned apex predator in the pond.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#515901 - 01/20/20 01:11 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: Snipe]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Snipe
I went back and read this thread again and I have to back up here..
If you have an abundance of cover I think the BG are going to become a huge chunk of your biomass in 3-5 years.. I'm not sure the BG are something you want in many numbers-with lots of cover present.
SMB are not going to control BG unless there is very little cover present, just keep that in mind. WAE will hammer BG when they can but not sure they are near as effective as LMB, which presents a potential issue to me. I'd say wait and obtain some male only BG but they will cross with RES and you will have some (small numbers) cross back to mostly BG. The potential is there.


Good stuff here from several EXPERTS that eat, breathe and sleep these issues daily. Follow their advice!

I speak from experience, SMB will not manage BG populations even in a BOW virtually devoid of cover/structure. Even with dense apex predator populations of WE, HSB, HBCP, YP and SMB I still must employ management techniques to harvest BG populations through seining, angling, cast netting, trapping, you get the picture - it's a PITA year after year after year. Problem is a 5-6" BG is virtually bullet proof in a cool water, limited gape fishery - that's where the stunting occurs and per Kenny above the primary concern here is that the BG are adding significant [and worthless] biomass and pressure on the fishery. Yes you can collect and repurpose BG to feed your fish, but this is labor intensive and robs one of the precious time meant to spent ENJOYING the pond, not intensively managing it every day.

Choose a different lepomis species as companion to the SMB fishery - RES are absolutely safe - per Scott, PS can stunt although they are less fecund than BG, so you could also go that route. HBG are an option but F2+ generations will revert to less desirable GSF genetics per Cody. Agree with everyone else, leave out the CC and LMB - give your SMB fishery a good run for 4-5 years first. I like Scott's stocking for his client....if you can avoid GSH try to go with a different shiner species like Spotfin or Reds and Bluntnose minnows. GSH do compete with YP and YP lose - at least in the several fisheries I manage. I still see nice YP in the fisheries [14"+], but frequency of angling dropped off severely since GSH were stocked. GSH aren't going to RUIN your YP fishery, just relating there are more desirable species to try and source.
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#515914 - 01/20/20 11:10 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: teehjaeh57]
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TJ:

The HBG offspring are smaller and less vigorous in their growth so hopefully the SMB and HSB in addition to the larger YP and soon to be larger HBCP can keep the YOY under control. Since HSB occupy the same space in the pond as GSH, I think they will be the controlling predator of them. I like GSH because the adults are bigger than many of the SMB can eat, therefore there will be adults every year in the pond to reproduce. The smaller YOY GSH can feed the HBG, YP. HBCP and the medium sized GSH can feed the SMB and HSB.

With the difficulty in sourcing enough of the other shiner/minnow species, at this time I don't see that as a viable stocking option for ponds compared to the availability of GSH. At least not around here. Do you have a supplier that can produce enough of those to stock 1-3 acre ponds? What numbers do you have to stock to keep a reproducing population and can that be achieved in a year before stocking apex predators?

In those YP fisheries that you manage, what is the underwater vegetation situation (type and amount), and are there any other apex predators in the pond besides YP? Is there sufficient habitat for YP reproduction?
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#515922 - 01/20/20 02:12 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 865
Loc: NW Kansas
" Do you have a supplier that can produce enough of those to stock 1-3 acre ponds?"
We're hoping to change that in the next year esshup, in particular the Red shiner.
As for the spotfin, they have the longest lifespan suggested and that may allow longer spawning opportunity but that is yet to prove itself. Hope to know more by summers end 2020.
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#515929 - 01/20/20 06:05 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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I agree HBG populations are far easier to manage and that's a benefti vs BG, but they come with their own downside per Cody [outbreeding depression?] unless fresh HBG genetics are stocked supplementally [also per Cody]. There are benefits and negatives stocking GSH - the primary negative I have personally experienced is their impact on the YP fishery, that's why I want to explore shiner alternatives [per Cody and Kenny]. Since alternative shiner species aren't commercially available across most of the US it's critical habitat exist to establish the population prior to predator stocking. Few of us are fortunate to have reproduction ponds like myself so supplemental stocking of rare shiner species is going to be difficult and expensive - placing increased importance on establishing the forage base well in advance of predator stocking. Stocking numbers of alternative shiners is a guideline we haven't established yet, but several PB members have Spotfins established - perhaps they can share their experiences.

On GSH/YP relationship other factors have been eliminated, predator density and pond habitat remained unchanged the variable was GSH stocking.

Alternative shiner species may be made commercially available by an enterprising hatchery owner someday, perhaps soon!
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#515959 - 01/21/20 01:34 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 865
Loc: NW Kansas
esshup, my intent is #1, finding alternative forage species that may produce in a way that relieves pressure from 1 specific species already present and It'll be quite some time before I can determine if there are any similar traits to GSH. As for testing, I'm in a very good position to have that done should I decide to venture out but for now this is a test I'm conducting for my own experience-no plans to sell. The hell I went through getting my hands on what I did was not an easy task but I plan to share the end result with all that want the information and as of right now I only have 1 gent I plan to supply Red shiner to because he's wanting to experiment as well. Where that takes us, who knows??

Sorry 5444, didn't mean to get so far off base here but we're looking for similar answers about forage choice.


Edited by Snipe (01/21/20 01:37 AM)
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#515966 - 01/21/20 09:55 AM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
ewest Online   content
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Great thread with lots of info.

One general point to make here is management.

Every species has its traits , uses and +- .

The management issue is - while we know the traits of each species individually we really don't know what happens when they all get together. That is why multi species waters(natural ones) like reservoirs or river fed waters are so hard to manage. There are so many variables just between species not to mention all the natural factors like weather. The more variables present the harder to manage to a specific goal.

It would still be fun to roll the dice and watch - just don't get frustrated about reaching the goal. Goals often change.
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#515971 - 01/21/20 12:02 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
5444 Offline


Registered: 01/03/17
Posts: 54
Loc: Midwest
Snipe, no worries at all. I'm learning so much everyday from you guys, I have no issues with the direction conversations go.

So here is my stocking plan now. I do have 10# of FHM that have successfully spawned last summer.

*Spring 2020**
5# Fathead Minnow (per lb.)
150 Pumpkinseed, 1.5-3"
150 Redear Sunfish, 2-3"
150 Yellow Perch 3-5"

*Fall 2020**
30 Smallmouth Bass 4-6"
10 Walleye, 6-8"

So my question is what should I do if the Pumpkinseeds are not available and should I get 25 YP that are 5-7" or over 7"?
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#515973 - 01/21/20 02:37 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
esshup Offline
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IF PS aren't available I'd just double the number of RES and I would add the larger (over 7") YP because you'd have a greater change of adding to the females in the pond. Typically female YP are larger than males, but Bill Cody knows more about YP than I do, I'd be interested in hearing what he says.

Will the YP and SMB be feed trained fish?

While PS are a pretty fish, when stocked with RES they tend to act more like Bluegills than RES, and there have been instances (per Dave Willis) of PS overpopulating and stunting in a SMB only pond. PS wont' grow as large as RES.

Another note on the RES. I don't know where the pond is located in the "Midwest". Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana is about the upper limit where RES can live due to the colder winters. Any further North and it's PS only. I know (and have seen) PS/BG hybrids, but never seen a PS/RES hybrid. A local lake here has PS/RES and BG in it, but the predominate fish are BG, then RES and lastly PS. PS are not colony spawners like BG/RES.
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#515982 - 01/21/20 08:06 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 865
Loc: NW Kansas
As above, some larger YP will more than likely be female and add (potentially) a good shot of forage the next spring although I'd venture to say some of your stocker 3-5" YP will spawn the following spring anyway. I'd probably up my RES by 50-75.
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#515988 - 01/21/20 09:40 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
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Almost all Centrarchidae (better known as sunfish ) can and do cross. PS can cross with both RES and BG.
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#515991 - 01/21/20 10:18 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
Snipe Offline


Registered: 10/26/18
Posts: 865
Loc: NW Kansas
I'd bet a PSXRES would be an interesting looking fish.
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#515995 - 01/21/20 11:21 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: Snipe]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Snipe
I'd bet a PSXRES would be an interesting looking fish.


We've seen a few on the forum, they are amazing Kenny - really a pretty fish.
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#516007 - 01/22/20 12:52 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
5444 Offline


Registered: 01/03/17
Posts: 54
Loc: Midwest
Esshup, YP and SMB are not pellet trained.


Edited by 5444 (01/22/20 12:53 PM)
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#516008 - 01/22/20 02:33 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
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Reference - 5444 pond is approximately 1/2 acre and located in western IL area. Pond will also be 12' deep.
Not having pellet trained YP nor SMB puts a significant decrease on fish numbers that will be grown in the pond. Plus normally their growth will be relatively slower and likely not as big. This all being due mainly to amount of available food. However one can grow decent sized fish in a 0.5ac pond it is just they will be fewer and average size will be smaller in comparison to fish in a pellet fed pond.
So for: *Spring 2020**
5# Fathead Minnow (per lb.)
150 Pumpkinseed, 1.5-3"
150 Redear Sunfish, 2-3"
150 Yellow Perch 3-5"

Since you already have a pond full of FHM I would move the 5# FHM to the fall stocking.

*Fall 2020**
30 Smallmouth Bass 4-6"
10 Walleye, 6-8"
FHM

I am glad to see that you dropped out the BG and HBG for initial stocking. They can easily be added years later with good success if desired.
Firstly I would have an alternate plan for not getting the PS and SMB. These two fish species are commonly not available at some fish farms depending on the historical consistency of the Fish Farm. Do your homework diligently, ask how many times in the last 10 years did they not have SMB. If it were me, I would be locating other farms that sell PS and SMB if you really want them for your initial stockings. SMB almost exclusively are only available as fingerlings in the fall as individuals from that spring's hatch. They sell out fast and supplies are limited due to low production by smallies. I have seen numerous times where Walleye are more available than SMB in the fall. This is because the Farms generally go to a dependable producer and buy the stocker walleye. SMB as a whole can have a bad spring and almost no one has them throughout the common retail market. I would do my best to locate a place that sells HSB as an alternate for SMB. I would be seriously looking at SMB from TJ as very high quality dependable pellet trained smallies. Your entire fishery will be a whole lot better if you can start with pellet raised smallies. I refer back to Snipe's earlier statement: ""I drove 7hrs to get my SMB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes. It's easy to say it's too hard.. Life's too short, get what you want.""

Yellow perch. I agree with esshup to at least get some 5"-7" YP for the initial stocking even if you have to settle for fewer initial YP numbers. Maybe 25-30 (5"-7") 60-80 (3"-5"); cost can be equal to 150 3"-5" YP. Also see later.

The other thing you could do is slightly decrease the numbers of PS-RES to increase the number of perch. If you get the mixed sizes of YP early enough, as in March, you will get YP eggs and a YP hatch this spring (2020) which happens in April. For a YP hatch this spring, you need mixed YP sizes to get a decent number of smaller males for fertilizing eggs of the larger 6"-8" females. Just one egg ribbon from a 7"-8" YP will give you lots of small YP for a 2020 year class. With your planned panfish forage supply, the YP are likely to be your main pond forage fish because RES-PS might not produce lot of small fish each year. Thus the YP will be the backbone of your SMB-WE fishery. Plus you might not even get PS and your RES survival may struggle during the Illinois winters.

If you do this to get a YP hatch in 2020 you could stock some 3"-5" HSB spring 2020. HSB are readily available in late spring early summer. Then add some fingerling, juvenile SMB in fall 2020. All will do fine because the small HSB will eat pellets all summer if you fed them AND reduce their predation influence while allowing good recruitment of FHM. Do not hesitate to drive 3-5 hours to get good quality fish and the species for your planned stocking. "I drove 7hrs to get my SMB-HSB and I'd drive 20 if that's what it takes." Small numbers of properly bagged oxygenated fish travel very well.



Edited by Bill Cody (01/22/20 08:31 PM)
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#516012 - 01/22/20 11:13 PM Re: Finally pulled the trigger! [Re: 5444]
5444 Offline


Registered: 01/03/17
Posts: 54
Loc: Midwest
Bill Cody, thank you. This was very helpful. So I found out today that my supplier will substitute 4-6" YP if the 2-4" are not available. So assuming the PS are not available, should I get 100 RES and 300 YP for a spring stocking? Or is this too many perch? TJ will you please send me some info on your SMB.
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