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ewest, FishinRod, Scott E, Stressless
Total Likes: 6
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Scott E
Scott E
I'm looking for a predator/prey combo where both are great eating. I don't consider black bass or sunfish to be great eating.

Bass fishing is fun, but I'm always happier to catch a catfish. The more I thought about how happy I am to catch a catfish and how much I enjoy eating them, the more I concluded that my ideal pond would be one where the predator and prey fish are both known for their eating quality. The problem is that it's hard to find info on anything other than the standard combination of LMB & BG. I get why BG are the standard prey fish, but I think I'd rather use Yellow Perch. Which makes me wonder if Channel Catfish can utilize YP as a prey fish the way that LMB utilize BG.

What prey fish are most commonly used when CC are the primary predator?

What predator fish are most commonly used when YP are the primary prey?

What are the most common predator/prey combos for ponds with no LMB at all?

Are there other great eating predator or prey fish I should consider that would thrive in the absence of LMB and BG?

If my predator fish is less aggressive than LMB, will minnows survive as a sustainable component of the food chain?
Liked Replies
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
IMO only the unique pond owner is going to be able to locate, source, or capture spotfin, satinfin or bluntnose minnows. Members here often talk about those minnows but there is no good place to buy them! Those minnows are not for the normal or average pond owner due to their retail scarcity. Be aware that some of the combinations that are suggested in this thread are not tried and tested pond fisheries and mostly theoretical based on knowledge of the fish species.

IMO I do not think WE will do well with CC for mainly two reasons.
1. supplemental stocked common size of walleye are young of year mostly 5"-7" which are no bigger in cross section than a cigar; easy prey for a 17"+ CC. Plus WE are bottom oriented and newly stocked ones will be readily and often in the hunting zone of CC.

2. CC dominated ponds are often murky, turbid and WE do not do well in turbid water. Sauger tolerate turbid water a lot better than WE but where do you buy sauger - no where. Sauger are common in the commonly murky upper Ohio River. Murky water means WE as sight feeders will grow slower and be in the good prey size of CC for a long period compared to a faster growing WE in clearer water. You plan to feed CC thus the pond will have large CC capable of easily eating WE less than 10".

If it were my pond I would start with YP-SMB. Use only pellet trained 4"-6" and some maybe 20-30% 6"-8" stocker YP. This creates big eating size YP the first fall and pellet eaters will allow the FHM to produce high numbers. NY DNR suggests you use GSH (g.shiners) and they as adults can produce long term broodstock.

I helped a local pondowner in 1989 stock their new pond with RES, YP(pellet fed), SMB, FHM and golden shiners. If you are in the same latitude as northern Ohio where RES persist, then RES would be an option to try. Today after 32 years all fish in this 1989 pond are doing well except the FHM. Some of the SMB are 19". The SMB can be added after the first YP spawn as fingerlings or as a last option catch and relocate 4 to 8 9"+ SMB. Surely at least one pair will be in the 4-8 fish mix and the offspring will provide a good M-F mix of recruits. In some areas and during poor SMB hatch years,,, fingerling SMB are not available. If after a few years you dislike performance of the YP-SMB fishery, you can easily change it by stocking other species including your CC. Note if you later add LMB you will significantly hamper CC, SMB, and YP recruitment. I have proven that with numerous pond fish surveys that were published. In northern areas the YP-SMB combo is a good starter fishery that can easily be changed just by adding the other desired fish. This is definitely not true with BG-LMB starter package. Once in,,,, BG and LMB will always be there to reproduce. New generations of each always persist which has pros and cons. No matter what you stock the CC will persist for a relatively long time maybe 14-20 years before the original stockers die of old age. Catch and release CC easily become hook smart and hook shy as hard to catch individuals even with good angler methods.
2 members like this
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
You now have several choices. Now it is up to you to decide what to stock. Then please return here every so often to report how the fishery develops and report your results so we can all learn more good fish stocking and management ideas. One more addition. For spawning I have seen at least two instances where large catfish dug shallow caves about the size of a deep bushel basket back into the side wall of ponds.
2 members like this
by FishinRod
Are you going to supplement the CC diet with feed pellets?
1 member likes this
by jpsdad
Based on your stated goals and preferences I would definitely go with CC but I might lean toward a replacement for the YP. I think I would lean toward walleye if they can be sourced and stocked in your New York location. Walleye probably will not reproduce and you could use them to thin or prevent CC recruits. If their numbers are modest (say 20 to 40 per acre) you could grow some large ones. If they happened to reproduce they may stunt but the numbers should be fewer than YP so they should be larger than YP even if they don't grow at the full potential of walleye. (In that worst case scenario Walleye are your YP surrogate that wouldn't be as prone to stunting). You would probably have to ladder walleye which could be every 3 or 4 years or annually. I think this scenario would prevent over population of CC with modest harvest and modest feeding. So I would encourage providing CC nesting habitat to encourage reproduction. I think this combination would play nice with spotfin shiners or satinfin shiners whichever is native in your watershed. Also I think bluntnose minnows would be a good addition for you. I would be very surprised if these minnow could not flourish in a Walleye/CC pond.
1 member likes this
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