I can't speak from a lot of experience, but I can tell you what is currently working for me. I stocked HSB, HBG, & RES after a full year of FHM reproduction. About 1000 FHM's turned into more than I can estimate. It was ridiculously amazing what 7 stacks of sunken pallets (for egg laying purposes) and $30 worth of minnows could do. I started to worry about too much biomass in my small pond. You should think about what to stock that can reproduce and supply forage for your game fish. The minnows seem to be considered temporary so you need something that can maintain some reproduction and survival beyond the first year. This is where some of the smaller species come in along with the appropriate habitat and structure.

My HSB went from 4 to 6 inches long (estimated 2 ounces) to the current record of 13+ inches long / 1.4 pounds all in 5 months. I credit the massive amounts of minnows available. Next year, I suspect the minnows will disappear, mostly, and the fish will require more pellets. Pellet feeding this year was not very aggressive compared to other reports of ponds that did not have the available minnows.

The concept of my stocking plan was to supplemental feed, but also rely on the offspring of the HBG and RES to help feed the HSB. My original goal was to grow some larger HBG while using the HSB to keep the HBG populations from getting out of control. So far so good, but who knows what mother nature will do to my plans. I used HSB as a population control predator because these fish can get larger without the mouth gape of a LMB and LMB tend to over-reproduce. Larger mouth gape means that larger HBG would be consumed and the larger predators would need to be culled out (if your goal is larger HBG). I bet that the HSB can get much bigger than any LMB could but still not need to be removed from the pond due to mouth size. I will start removing some HSB and HBG in the next year or two and start ladder stocking to keep my pond viable unless it gets really out of whack, then it may get the flathead treatment or maybe even bluecats. Can you imagine how big a few flatheads could get on an overpopulated HBG pond? I'd need to get a bigger pole!

Fish on!,