Pond Boss
Posted By: turbo2liter New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/21/21 10:25 AM
Hey folks,
I'm new to the pond world but had one on my property all my life including growing up. I recently built a small one near the house, 1/2 acre surface but 30ft deep at dam for some casual bass fishing. I added an aerator to the deep end as well.

The pond filled early 2021. In January I sunk 10 pine trees to the bottom for habitat, and in March/April I had 40lbs of fatheads and 40lbs of shiners added to it. Intent being, to get the ecosystem going before adding the bigger fish.

This week, I had the pond stocked. I was supposed to be getting/the invoice & order shows I got:
  • 40lbs more fatheads
  • 40lbs more shiners
  • 40 5-7" largemouth bass
  • 750 4-6" bluegill
  • 20 5-7" hybrid striped bass
  • 15 4-6" channel catfish

I thought the guy delivering seemed like he was here quick, so I asked him before he left - you got ALL this delivered? He seemed legit when he answered, so I accepted it. When I walked inside, my wife asked me the same thing... so I went back and watched the security camera. The delivery guy made 4 trips, each trip carrying a 5gal bucket in each hand -- 8 5gal buckets total.

I'm assuming the 40lbs of fatheads and shiners are using the buckets as measurement, so that was a bucket each. Which leaves 6 buckets.

Are all those fish possible to move in 6 buckets? That seemed unrealistic, but before I approached them, I wanted to make sure my head is on straight! smile


PS- would love to get input on what I'm doing here or tips, but let's limit this thread just to the question at hand please.

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Posted By: gehajake Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/21/21 11:25 AM
Having stocked mine a few times over the last couple years I would say that amount of trips and buckets seems entirely legit, but that's just me. that being said, it is hard to keep track of amounts, I make every effort to be there when they do it, even then its hard to keep track of.
The combination of fish sizes and quantities could certainly be handled in 8 buckets (more fish than water, however). They just dumped them in with no acclimation, I'm sure. Not acclimating the fish is very common with fish suppliers and is not too big of a deal, but I prefer to acclimate my fish in five gallon buckets with no more than 2 pounds of fish per bucket and preferably 1 pound.

What I have found is that a 4-6" fish order is 90% - 4", 8% - 5" and 2% - 6". That's the main reason I like to be present to make sure they are at least in the range I ordered. I have had fish suppliers try to sell me fish that would be big enough to eat the smaller range that they had available in another species just because they were out of the size I wanted. Most fly-by-night suppliers don't care a lot about what they sell you. In my example, they were trying to sell me larger HSB and about 500 small HBG..that would have been expensive feed.

Another thing I like to do is use a floating net set-up and, after they are acclimated, dump them in the net and sort through them looking for species I did not order. I had a baby carp get into the pond with some FHM's once. No big deal, but a dozen carp would have upset me.

Most get away with just dumping them in and it is very common for large orders (think conservation lakes). My small pond allows the extra effort and peace of mind.
Posted By: turbo2liter Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/21/21 04:50 PM
OK thanks guys. I think everything made sense except for 750 bluegill in those buckets... that was primarily what got my attention. But if y'all say that's doable, I am going to API (assume positive intent) here because other than the bucket count everything else is legit, and this is a well known regional supplier.
Posted By: Sunil Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/21/21 05:51 PM
I haven't done the math, but that sounds like no professional stocking I've ever seen or been involved. with.
Posted By: ewest Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/21/21 07:59 PM
That is no way to stock a fishery !! Can you post a clearer pic. It looks like they were half full of fish with little water.

20 5-6 HSB would take a whole bucket. How were they hauled in ? Truck? How many bays ?
Posted By: esshup Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/22/21 01:48 PM
Speed is of the essence when delivering fish, the less time you spend at the pond means you can get more deliveries done during a day. It's not like you jump in the truck and hit the road. It takes 1-2, maybe more hours to load the truck with the fish, then it takes at least an hour after returning to sterilize/clean everything. Add in the drive time between deliveries and sometimes you can only make 2-3 deliveries in a 10 hour day and that is if you eat lunch while you are driving. If it takes 45 minutes to deliver the fish at a pond, and 1/2 hour to drive to another pond, that is 3 1/4 hours right there out of the day to make 1 delivery. Add the time it takes to measure out the salt/chemicals that go into the fish haul tanks, the time it takes to fill/replace O2 tanks on the haul truck, etc, etc. there is a lot of time that goes into a single day of delivering fish. My fish delivery days are typically 12+ hours long..........

750 bluegill would have weighed between 40# and 100#, depending on the size of the fish. 4" Bluegill weigh approximately 40#/1000 fish, 6" Bluegill weigh a wee bit over 100#/1,000 fish.

Hauling rates in tanks could be up to 1#/gallon of water, depending on the size of the fish and how long they are in the tank. Depending on how the delivery truck was set up, they could have put the LMB, HSB and CC in the same tank. The bluegills in another and the Fatheads/Shiners in a 3rd tank, although it's much more common to run the minnows in separate tanks and weigh them out on-site. But they could have weighed/counted the fish before putting them in the tanks so the guy delivering the fish didn't have to do that at the pond, but then he most likely would have moved away from the pond and dumped the water - no point in hauling that water around with no fish in it. I agree with Sunil, the HSB are very sensitive to being crowded during moving the fish, and they wipe the slime coat off of their neighbors if crowded. Even netting them out of the tank you don't want to have too many in the net because of that.

Approximately 8# of fish displace 1 gallon of water. Unless the buckets of water had screw-in lids, there is no way to put 40# of fish in a bucket, and if you did you'd better be about 30 seconds to a minute away from first putting fish in the bucket to dumping them in the pond. I typically fill the 5 gal bucket about half full of water and then put fish in it, and I use screw on lids so the fish don't slosh out. To minimize the length of time at each pond acclimating the fish, we typically check water temp in the pond/holding tanks here, then adjust the water temp in the haul tanks so it mimics the pond water temp so we don't have to spend the time acclimating the fish at the customers pond. You shouldn't have more than a 3 degree temp difference for transferring fish, and it takes 20-30 minutes to acclimate the fish to a 10°F temp change. For big orders, you can pump water from the pond to the holding tanks on the truck, but it's not practical for small orders, and I will not do that period due to bio security reasons unless the whole truck is getting delivered to one pond because then the whole truck needs to be sterilized before loading any more fish. I've done this enough I can judge how much ice/no ice to put in the tanks to ensure that the water is the correct temp at the pond to stock fish without having to temper them much if at all.

Speaking of bio security, that is a big deal today for most fish haulers and rightly so. I use buckets to dip water out of the tank and use nets to get the fish from the tanks. The buckets that touch the tank do not touch the buckets that are used to stock the fish in the pond. The nets used to get the fish from the tanks do not touch pond water. If any of them do, such as a net wen stocking large quantities of fish into a pay lake where I can net from the tanks and turn, walk a few steps and put the fish in the pond, I sterilize the net(s) and tanks when I get back. Some hatcheries go as far as having you walk thru a sterilizing solution to sterilize your shoes/boots before you can walk inside the building.

I cannot find bluegill anywhere from my Arkansas suppliers that are bigger than 3 1/2". My suppliers said they are selling fish so fast that they don't have time to grow them larger, and that next year they don't expect to have the advanced size fish either because they are selling ALL the fish that they can grow - they can't keep them for the 2 years that is needed to get to grow to the advanced sizes. The largest LMB that is available now is 4".

They could have purchased the fish earlier in the year and grew them bigger, or grew their own. The hatcheries that I know of hatch the LMB and grow them larger on feed in tanks and have to grade them weekly by the 1/4" until they are around 3" then they can up the sorting to 1/2". If not they lose too many due to cannibalism.
Posted By: turbo2liter Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/25/21 01:45 PM
Here's four pics of the guy carrying the fish over the hill.

Again, I don't want to turn this into any kind of smearing... sorry, just seen questions like this in some other (automotive) forums devolve... I'm truly looking for advise if I should call and broach the subject, not knowing anything about densities or how fish should be transported.

Video you can download and skim: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rSVUyJptZP_VaiVx6c2arhCh0dN-1jaS/view?usp=sharing

4 pics attached

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Posted By: turbo2liter Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/25/21 01:45 PM
And here's the fish truck

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Posted By: Sunil Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/25/21 02:10 PM
As you didn't actually see the specific fish that were being stocked, there's not any realistic way to know anything for certain.

I would just do your best to observe as many of the fish, in pond, as you can, and then make any adjustments you feel necessary as time goes on.

In future stockings, you can be more hands-on to ensure you're getting what you want.
Posted By: ewest Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/26/21 04:26 PM
Agree with Sunil. I personally do not agree with what was done as you described. Always stay with the guy , take pics and ask questions. If it does not make sense then call the hatchery.
Posted By: esshup Re: New pond / did my fish get stocked?? - 10/29/21 04:44 AM
When I stock fish in a pond with an absentee landowner, I take pictures of the property and any other identifying landmarks, and take pictures of the fish going into the pond, then text or email them to the customer. That way they know I was there, and can see images of what was stocked in the pond. I will be stocking 12"+ TGC tomorrow or Saturday and the landowner won't be there, so that is what I will be doing.

It's really easy for them to see the TGC in the pictures because I tranquilize them before they are moved from the truck to the pond.
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