Thanks for that "behind the curtain" explanation of some of the problems.
I suspect that most occasional retail fish purchasers (such as myself) have very little idea how much time, effort, and battles against random "bad luck" problems the fish suppliers have to work through every year.
You are correct. Did you know that Pelicans will feed at night and can just about wipe out a pond in a few nights? Water temps in AR went from too cold to "Dang, we have to start up the paddlewheel agitators to get more O2 in the production ponds because the fish are up piping at the surface at daybreak. We have to stop seining the ponds to get the paddlewheels going."
I got a phone call the first week in April saying that there were no more bluegill available bigger than 1" in all of Lonoke County, AR due to them all being sold already. That's why I'm planning on poking in 12-16 ponds this Fall, so I can get fish earlier in the year and have room to store them so I have inventory when our fish stocking season rolls around. We have to get them the same time the Southerners get them so we can have some!!
My minnow supplier told me that if I wanted Fatheads I needed to tell them now (this was 2 weeks ago) because they would be sold out in 2 weeks. Whatever I wanted, they'd hold back for me if I let them know within a few days.
The fish will be available this Fall, but they need to grow the little ones a bit before they get to market size. The supply of advanced sized fish is very limited.