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Thread Like Summary
azteca, FishinRod, jpsdad, RAH, Stressless
Total Likes: 25
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#543913 02/10/2022 5:17 PM
by RAH
Anyone in Indiana have experience with spotfin shiners in their pond? Do they do well? Do they offer any advantages over GSH in some situations? Thinking about options for my 4th pond.
Liked Replies
#544351 Feb 21st a 06:56 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
I have found that groves or gaps over 1/4" wide rarely get eggs when smaller or narrower gaps are present. Shape of the spawning device might play a role but I doubt it. IMO instinct tells the male SFS to not establish nor defend territory and for females to not lay eggs in wide spaces because way too many predators including many species of invertebrates have access to eat the eggs. The best gap spacing in my experience has consistently been 2 to 5 mm wide. Optimum gap width is easy to test. Build a spawning device with plates or disks that have different widths between the disks. During spawning season lift and check it where the eggs are being deposited. Been there done that using disk spacing from 2mm to 1/2" and IMO the research studies and literature are mostly correct the spacing of 2 to 5mm spaces will collect the most eggs.

In Snipe's case that he did not see very much recruitment in the pond from his spotfins breeders is probably because the newly hatched SFS fry were being eaten by adult minnows or shiners or the eggs for some reason were not hatching. SFS will eat their own eggs if the eggs are exposed and not well back into the crevice. SFS are prolific. The neat thing about SFS is when the spawning devices have lots of eggs, the device can be moved to a clean fish free pond for the eggs to hatch and fry are able to grow. I have grown lots of SFS in ponds with FHM and BNM present and no other fish. I think most all other shiners who eat zooplankton and small invertebrates will eat lots of newly hatched SFS. The SFS grower in my area had very good success growing SFS in his production pond until GFS invaded and production went down to almost zero. A pond draw down, renovation and a restart occurred this fall.

If you have adult SFS and with the correct spawning structure in a pond and you are not seeing abundant small SFS in mid to late summer, something somewhere is remiss. Remiss: careless in, or negligent about, attending to a task or effort.

Earlier questions from Stressless see below for answers
1. ? is there a 'sweet spot' on the number of crevices, ie., platters that should be in the stack
- Soak the platters in a watershed that has spotfins or any known shiner that is a crevice spawner. Bacially these are shiners in the scientific genus Cypinella.
2? How often should they be checked, moved to the pond
- remove the Platter Stack and bring back via a aerated conveyance if traveling a far distance such as more than 50 miles. Just eggs on a spawn device do not consume a lot of dissolved oxygen.
3? do the Platter Stacks need to remain vertical or can they be laid horizontal for transportation
- submerge platter stack in pond. Try to keep the spawn device off of the sediment on the pond bottom.
4? How long should they be soaked in the pond?
5? Any guidance on where in pond the platters should soaked for the eggs to hatch, deep/shallow water, shade/sun?
?6. how long from Fry to Breeding for SFS - in other words should I leave platters in the pond with no adults over summer or keep trying for eggs?

Thanks much Stressless/

Acrylic platters I’m not sure what these look like except those on eBay.
Aren’t they expensive? Plus the ones I found on eBay are shaped like paper plates that have the wide perimeter flair; bad idea IMO. As some have mentioned IMO easiest, most convenient plates or disks for me are cheap CDs. No preparation, cutting, or drilling is involved. You can also cut plastic sheeting into rectangles or squares.
1?. Number of crevices is directly related to the number of spawning adults and number of eggs desired. Any number of disks more than 2 individual disks to create a narrow crevice will collect eggs. Obviously the more disks in the stack the more egg laying surface that is present. One stack of 10-12 CDs can collect a few thousand eggs.

2?Frequency of checking devices?. During SFS spawning season, devices in the wild habitat for collecting eggs,, I think devices should be checked every two to four days.

3.? Do stacks need to remain vertical or can they be laid horizontal for transportation?
- submerge platter stack in pond? Just keep eggs submerged so they do not dry out.

4.? How long should they be soaked in the pond? This depends on water temperature and age of the eggs when collected; hatching usually requires 5-8 days.

5.? Any guidance on where in pond the platters should soaked for the eggs to hatch, deep/shallow water, shade/sun? If the pond has no predators eating plankton or fish fry, then soaking for hatching anywhere in the pond will be okay. I have hatched SFS eggs in a bucket of aerated pond water. Eyed eggs are best to use for bucket hatching and water exchanges are helpful prior to hatching. Shallow water has the warmest water for egg development. If the pond has turbid silty water, where silt can collect on and inside the plates then the stack is best placed so it receives some current and well oxygenated water from an aerator. In ponds containing fry predators, IMO the more dense habitat in shallow water the better. Newly hatched poorly swimming fry are very easy food items.

6.? How long from Fry to Breeding for SFS - in other words should I leave platters in the pond with no adults over summer or keep trying for eggs? IMO fry should be at least a full 1 year old to spawn, although those grown indoors could spawn less than 12 months old. Some websites say SFS do not spawn until 2 yr old.

Research and my experience shows the preferred gap spacing between plates is 1.5 to 3mm, however the narrowest spacing more quickly gets packed with sediment from turbid water and/or growths of filamentous algae. Depending on water quality the devices after a month or two can become very dirty or covered with FA. I have put dense FA infested spawning devices in a tilapia cage and the device was quickly cleaned. I prefer 2mm to 4mm. Spaces or gaps more that ¼ inch are too wide and uncommonly used for egg deposits. My SFS readily spawn in between clear CDs and white plastic sheeting. Other colors will also receive eggs. I hang my devices from the dock with 6” to 18” of water over the devices. Most eggs seem to be collected on devices hung with water 6”-12” on top of the stack. Those in 3ft of water receive only a few eggs.
I collect and clean the spawning devices each fall or spring prespawn. IMO clean surfaces for egg deposition result in best egg hatching. I hand clean my all my devices and a pressure washer works well.
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#544539 Feb 25th a 01:02 AM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Spotfin Questions
Q1 - "How far in, inches or mm, do the eggs of the SFS "usually" go into the crevasses, from the edge of the two platters making a crevasse inward towards center?"
I mostly use CD disks and I see eggs inward to the central post which is 2".

Q2 - "Q) Did the distance from the crevice edge to the internal stop, the PVC or threaded rod or whatever center support edge. Did that distance make any difference in the selection of crevice spawn choice?"
Distance of outer edge to internal (stop) post does not seem to make a lot of difference for placement of eggs in my experience. However I have not done a lot of experimenting with this topic. Range of diameter or width of disks or plates that I have used varied between 3" to 6".
Egg placement IMO is primarily based on width of space between disks or width of the crevice.
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#543950 Feb 11th a 05:07 PM
by esshup
Ideally I prefer to have the baitfish (as adults) get too big for the predators to eat easily, so there will be some broodstock left.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
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#543976 Feb 12th a 12:46 AM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Ideally I prefer to have the baitfish (as adults) get too big for the predators to eat easily, so there will be some broodstock left

Good point. This is why one importantly should properly match the preyfish with the predator. Know the habits of all fish related to your fishery. Bluegill - LMbass combo makes matching easy. Other less popular fish really should have some homewwork or professional and experienced advice before randomly stocking fish just because it seemed like a good idea. There is way too much of "Oh snap, I wish I would not have done that".
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#544008 Feb 13th a 02:55 AM
by canyoncreek
RAH I would most definitely use SFS in your pond. I've posted my impressions before about them and they present almost no downside that I can think of.
The main struggle is sourcing them. I was unable to dedicate enough time and energy (and find suitable equipment or build it) that would allow me to harvest or trap, or net large enough quantities to share with others. But it is back on my list of things to do again this year.

You are fortunate if they are native in your streams or lakes already. I'm not sure there are any natively in the bodies of water in SW michigan. The fish database page that was linked to in a thread earlier has a few pictures and entries for SFS by me but the pictures listed makes me real skeptical about the identification accuracy.

Bill has a great write up about them too.
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#544085 Feb 15th a 10:48 AM
by RAH
Only FHM and lake chubsuckers in my 3rd pond where I am thinking of introducing spotfins. Yellow perch are in my 2nd pond. Had enough ice for a friend and his son to fish the pond with YP in it, There are also SMB in the second pond and GSH, so I have no plans to introduce spotfins in that pond.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
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#544090 Feb 15th a 02:48 PM
by azteca

You can see some spawning structures.

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#544062 Feb 14th a 06:42 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Does the fear of no submerged plants not apply to FHM and chubsuckers? Spotfins are primarily an open water pelagic specie not as dependent upon submerged plants as refuge compared to more bottom oriended and bottom dwelling FHM and LCS. My philosophy is stock several species and the local habitat and other fishes will determine who are successful based on existing conditions.
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#544098 Feb 15th a 04:56 PM
by canyoncreek
azteca that is a fabulous slide deck you posted. I wish we could hear the audio that went along with these slides. I bet it is a treasure trove of real life knowledge and experience. I wonder if anyone in WI is still growing SFS for the bait industry on a larger scale using the lessons learned here?

Bill Cody, do you understand how they are making these cedar spawning structure? Where are the crevices, just the space in between the cedar planks? They indicate a certain size square was preferred but didn't mention a preferred gap size. If the cedar squares are 2-5mm apart, how do the eggs get so far in between the squares? The fish can't swim in that crack!!? Maybe the current floats the eggs that far in?

I note current was helpful and I see that as a missing thing in my pond as well. SFS orient immediately to any moving water in my pond as well.

It could be that my black plastic cardboard squares were not accepted as egg laying structure due how smooth the surfaces were and not due to gap as gap size was similar and orientation very similar to what was in the pictures in that slide show. Probably (guessing) the cedar (wood) squares gave some added texture/roughness for depositing eggs.

I will experiment with rough sawn cedar vs smooth cedar and other crevice structure. I had added pallets and put a car tire with plenty of tread left under the deep end of the pallet to help keep it level on my sloped banks. I assumed the SFS may have used the crevices in the tires as spawning sites but have not pulled the tires yet to see for sure if eggs were laid there.
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#544106 Feb 15th a 05:56 PM
by Stressless
Abstract from - https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/10.1139/f76-243 on observed results from collecting eggs from free range Spotfin Shiners.

In 1975 experiments were conducted in the Susquehanna River, near Berwick, Pennsylvania, to investigate spawning-site selection of the spotfin shiner (Notropis spilopterus), a crevice spawner.

Results of experiment A revealed that visual cues and water currents were important in spawning-site selection.

Spotfins deposited 43.638 eggs on black discs and only 2 eggs on clear discs; 87% of the eggs were in horizontal crevices and the remainder in vertical crevices paralleling (7%) and perpendicular (6%) to the current. Fish spawned over the entire disc in slow currents but avoided strong currents (0.57 m/s) by spawning on the downstream side of the discs. Nearly 90% of the eggs were deposited in crevices 1.5 and 3.0 mm wide, the two smallest sizes. In angular crevices 15–90° from horizontal, fish deposited 74% of 8,358 eggs in the 15° crevice and 24% in the 30° crevice.

In experiment B, a stack of black acrylic plates was placed near the river surface, at midwater, and near the bottom;

in July fish deposited 91% of 13.088 eggs in the bottom stack. By mid-August stack usage had changed and 80% of 11,456 eggs were in the surface stack; the others were in the midwater stack. Rate of egg deposition on acrylic plates between July 10 and August 20 peaked in early August.In experiment C, 95% of 46,328 eggs were placed in crevices between blue (55%) and black (40%) plates; other colors were green (4%), red (1%), and white, yellow, and orange (< 1%). Fish usually spawned on the plates between 0600 and 1000; spawning did not occur at night.

The spotfin has potential as a bioassay organism because of its wide distribution, the ease with which large numbers of its eggs can be collected, its extended breeding season, and the simplicity of rearing the young.
Stressless Note: There's not enough money to pay me to count thru 46,000 and change pin head eggs!!

So I'm building stacked sets of rigid black or dark blue plates with crevices 1.5 - 3.0 mm wide that will be put in the eddy areas of the local creeks/rivers that have Spotfins, using FISHMAP(click here) to find those, setting the stacked crevices horizontal at the bottom of the water column and moving them up in the column as the month slides from Late June thru Aug in Ohio.
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#544168 Feb 16th a 06:14 PM
by RAH
canyoncreek - I do not have any SFS yet. I have lake chubsuckers in my 2nd pond and added some to my 3rd pond. I plan to catch SFS locally.

FishinRod - I have not done any real water analysis, but expect this pond to be like my first 2 in which the fish do well. Alkalinity is high based on a hot-tub test kit. Our dogs fit the bill for why we got them. We sleep well at night.
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#544228 Feb 18th a 02:01 AM
by canyoncreek
I think there is enough know how, determination, and opportunity with members of this forum that we should continue to research, share experiences and try to get a large population going. We can share our successes and if some bait operator somewhere wants to start selling SFS I think it would take off. They are very hardy and very lively. I would think any angler who would buy a 3-4" shiner for bait for pike fishing or for big bass would be happy with these. They don't seem to be as sensitive to warmer water or handling. I don't know how they do if they were in a bait bucket with a dropping dissolved O2 though.

Maybe more PB forum folk can find in their local streams, set up spawning structures and see if eggs are deposited and transport the eggs to their ponds as a way to bring home their own SFS.

Bill if you have other ideas for homemade spawning structures, please give us your ideas.
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#544229 Feb 18th a 04:20 AM
by Snipe
I made my spawning structures per Brian Zimmerman by stacking CD's with washers between creating varying thickness. I made 11 structures from 40-150 CD's tall. I also used 1/4" and 3/16" ceramic tile stacked and glued with alternating sides off-center and placed on top of cinder blocks. When I lowered and seined my forage pond last fall I collected 6 SFS out of hundreds of pounds of BNM, RSH and a few FHM. I believe in my case, my forage pond (we need abbreviation for that, I think FP will work ) has no current and is really not big enough to have wind action even and I "think" a bit of water movement would help. Of those 6 collected, they were mostly male, bright, beautiful blue and were all about 5" in length. Girls were about 4, maybe 4.5" and very silvery. I guess I had 2 of 6 girls..
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#544330 Feb 21st a 05:52 AM
by Snipe
According to Brian Zimmerman the width of crevice appeared to be more important than depth, but looking at some bark structures, 3/8-1/2' for depth would be sufficient- I believe. The actually egg laying I was able to get in the CD structures in aquarium seemed they chose the gaps of about 3/16", a few had eggs in near 1/4" gap. The tighter ones I never seen any eggs.
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#544348 Feb 21st a 05:40 PM
by canyoncreek
This is all great info! Lets all try different things using the experience documented here.
We will find out if smooth concrete with channels sawed in it work
We can try rough concrete like concrete block with channels saw in it
We can try different types of plastic/acrylic and different colors.

I will continue to try the grooves in the tread in my tires (obviously I only can choose black in color)
I will make some more plastic disk or square in stacks.

I also plan to pull my pallet structure out and use a saw to add 3/16 to 1/4" grooves on the top side. It sounds like stacking 1/2" sheets of concrete would be wise since they like horizontal grooves but in various heights from bottom of the pond to top so your vertical concrete will give both horizontal grooves but will allow them to present at various depths.
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#544429 Feb 23rd a 01:13 AM
by canyoncreek
Stressless, please share picture of your platters or your assembled spawning devices if you can!
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#544313 Feb 20th a 06:07 PM
by Snipe
Originally Posted by canyoncreek
Is a CD made out of acrylic? I"m thinking cheapest option is a stack of blank CDs or DVDs? I see you can get colored ones (blue, or they make ones that look like LP records with black outside and colored interior ring). In my pond we get enough silt that what ever color the disk is it wouldn't stay that color very long. I'll search for other spawning structures too. Probably any plastic would work.

Males in spawning color are so beautiful!

I have waded out to my spawning structures which I mounted on a threaded rod with hex nut in between each CD and then pushed the long end of the threaded rod into the pond bottom. I could then rock the platter stack back and forth in the water to try to clean the silt off the disks and presumably the eggs. I don't know if silt prevent eggs from hatching and the silt comes from rain events with runoff into the pond. This is where if I could figure out how to keep a little water moving over the spawning structures it would probably help the eggs survive.
If they have a center label, I found that peeled up within a few weeks.
I used 1/2" ready rod and drilled 1/2" holes in pallet beams. a double nut on top allowed me to take a ratchet and drive the RR into the hole without stabbing a hole in my sealed pond. When I did this I found 100 packs of blank CD's at wally world on clearance for 7-8$/100. Now, I can't say that I had any success so I.m the wrong guy to suggest what works.
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#543918 Feb 10th a 07:14 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
Spotfin shiners will behave basically the same in all ponds not just Indiana.
1. Spotfin will not grow as big as golden shiners. Spotfin(SFS) maximum length will be about 5 inches whereas GSH can easily grow to 8" and sometimes 10".

2. Spotfin due to their smaller size are as not as bad of bait stealer as GSH.

3. Spotfin spawn completely differently compared to GSH.

4. Spotfin are crevice spawners whereas GSH scatter eggs in very shallow water near shore vegetation.

5. Both GSH and SFS eat fish food very well.

6. Both are very prolific.

7. SFS have a longer spawning season than GSH.

8. SFS are probably do not eat as many fish eggs compared to GSH.

9. SFS are not reported to have the egg suppression parasite common to GSH.

10. SFS due to their smaller adult size will not tolerate as much big fish predation as GSH.

11. Both SFS and GSH probably have the same water quality requirements.

12. Both are rapid, very active swimmers and size for size have about the same predator avoidance ability.

I could write at least page of information about very one of the above topics.

GSH and Spotfin have their own niche, similar to FHM and BNM being similar and closely related have their own niche and specific benefits in the pond habitat for a sport fishery. Different types of fisheries have different requirements based on the specie of fish.
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#544070 Feb 14th a 08:24 PM
by canyoncreek
The spotfin can easily outswim your lake chubsuckers and FHM. They move faster than your eye can follow almost. As Bill says they hang out in open water, bask in the sun, and do not seem to fear any predators. They move in groups and all will dart this way or the other way in a cadence.

I think it would be spectacular planning to keep just FHM, Lake Chubsuckers and SFS in this pond for now. If the water chemistry is right and they take off with spawning you will soon have tons of little fish and then you can decide if you want to net them and add to other ponds, or be a local source for other pondboss-ers in your area, or just let them get to ridiculous numbers.

In my pond their only predator is YP and the balance seems to be fine. I have 4-5" adult SFS that the YP can't handle but they also guarantee more eggs being laid. I have a few senior citizen GSH left that help control my YP numbers but the SFS seem to be able to keep ahead of predation and produce many many young minnows.

I have found it very easy to add artificial spawning structures (Cody can share pictures of what he has built). I have made plastic cardboard stacks but they didn't like them. They used my stacks of music CDs the most favorably although they are fussy about the gap size between the CDs. I added some old gnarly logs sawed in half the last 2 summers. The logs had pool noodles on the 'bark side' to help them float. The log were cut long way and the smooth side where the chain saw went through became a floating platform for the turtles, the underside was rough bark and I hoped the SFS would use the natural crevices in the bark to spawn in just like they do in streams where they have to find their own natural crevices. The pool noodles were a challenge to get positioned right to allow the increasingly water logged log to keep floating with the flat side upright. As it got heavier it kept trying to flip over. I need a better plan this summer.

I will continue to experiment with other structures to encourage SFS spawning as this year my stacks of CDs had zero eggs glued to them but I had tons of SFS cruising around.

This year you could have a glorified forage pond with the SFS. If you want a little predator action you could put in some adult YP (8" plus preferred and maybe a dozen) They would go after your FHM first since they move slower.
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#544081 Feb 15th a 03:30 AM
by canyoncreek
as far south as you are probably no chance of sampling fish by way of ice fishing right?
If you have YP in this pond they may bite on a live bait presented slow on the bottom just like they do through the ice. That would help you decide if you have a few YP left. I'm not sure how else to sample what 'small fish' are in this pond since I'm not sure if fish would go in traps at this time of year.

But again, SFS would be able to outlast any panfish (their mouth size isn't very big) and would be more subject to predation if they were overwhelmed with predator numbers (say 10-15 big hungry YP to every 10 minnows)
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#544112 Feb 15th a 06:48 PM
by canyoncreek
RAH, current is not required. I have had great reproduction success even with the 'wrong kind' of artificial spawn surfaces. The fish find a way using other structures in the pond as well.

I just noted that in the slide deck above they found benefit when current was present and in Stressless study he quoted, too much current caused them to seek shelter from the current and only use the 'sheltered' side of the spawning structure.

I was just thinking that I do have a hydrant in one area of my pond and could keep a hose running with diffuser to try to create some water movement across a spawning structure. The other structures would have to be in still water (unless I can add some electric powered underwater turbines/fans/merry-go-rounds) next to each spawning structure. I do not like the idea of electricity going to power something that lives underwater.

These dock/pier mounted deicers still make me nervous for those who might be in the water nearby.

Maybe I can use transformer and instead use 12 or 18V DC power to run a propeller/impeller/ or maybe a automobile squirrel cage type under dash heater/a/c fan to get a little water movement across the spawning disks. DC feels safer somehow...
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