Hello there, I hope everyone is well. My grand daughter caught this fella cruising about with a pack of shiners over the weekend. I only put 4 smallmouth in the pond so my expectations were not to really see anymore than just that (could have all been one sex and getting them isn't easy at the hatchery - or cheap). It's no shiner though so looking for confirmation or correction.
On a side note here.. my expectations were to see hit and miss spawns from my SMB.. what I have observed is not what I had anticipated. What I thought may possibly be unfavorable spawning conditions have shown me I don't know Jack about SMB. If they are "in" the water, it is highly likely they will pull off a spawn. Recruitment may be a different story but reproduction occurs in conditions the "books" say they won't reproduce in...
We were able to get out in between the rains this weekend and feed with actual eyesight and there's a few more SM in there than I thought. There seems to be a solid 10 or 12 feeding in the 5-7in range which is really cool, double cool they've taken to pellets or just learned from the perch "eat while you can". They stay very close to shore in the grasses though so my guess is they know the stripers exist or are just careful. I still plan on grabbing the farm raised ones from Fenders if he has them this fall, maybe some over winter FHM but other than that going to let it ride.
So far so good, thanks to you all and I hope you had a nice Labor Day.
Howie, It bothers me that your state and my state (MI) still just push the standard stocking plan of LMB, BG and Catfish. Especially in northern ponds there is so much to gain from considering a minnow/YP/SMB combo or a minnow/HBG/YP/HSB/Walleye pond. For those who are OK with SMB being their apex predator along with perhaps HSB or another apex predator that does not reproduce, they can really have a great fishery. The kids still have fun catching the YP and SMB and the eating fare is still great.
Of course if you want catfish to eat then that is fine but at least here in MI if you talk to the biologist they seem to have a hard time grasping that there could be another option. I'm glad folks here have tried other combos and have been successful.
Dr. Luke follows the forum and has a pond in Iowa and could also give some state specific insights for you.
I am in at least 6 years since stocking SMB and think they likely have been spawning for at least 4 years. If my friends or neighbors ever pull out any thin ones, then I'll try to remove more. I have 2 newish ponds with no top predators and also a BG/LMB pond, so I can always find a home for some. If anyone nearby wants 5-10 small SMB for their pond, drop me a message. I think that I can spare them. Only started with 20 stockers in a 0.9 acre pond stocked at 10 per year in consecutive years (from 2 different hatcheries).