Pond Boss
Posted By: Jreb79 Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 02:22 PM
New 1.5 acre pond built last March. FHM in March, CNBG in May, and LMB in December. Fertilized and feed all year into winter and recently started feeding again. No fertilizer yet, letting the water clear up so maybe I can spot a bass. FHM’s and BG are doing great and BG even spawned quite a bit last fall.

I stocked my new pond with 100 fingerling LMB in early Dec. Since release I have not seen a single bass. I’m starting to worry the bluegill ate them. I would assume they would hit a live worm or minnow by now. Tried several times with live bait and small lures. BG are wearing out anything I throw in but no bass yet.

What would you do? Should I be worried they didn’t make it?
Posted By: Jreb79 Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 02:30 PM
Also I’m in lower Alabama. It’s 5-9’ deep. I have virtually no shallow banks and all sunken artificial structures that can’t be seen. Water temp is in the mid 60’s. Could they still be on the bottom and to small to hit small bait and lures?
Posted By: Theo Gallus Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 02:50 PM
How big were the bass and the CNBG when the bass were stocked? Perhaps we can allay your "they got et" worry.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 03:01 PM
IMO BG did not get eaten by any of the small fingerling stocked bass even if they were as small as 1.5". You did not provide a size range of the stocker LMB other than fingerling. Water quality was good at stocking due to BG spawning so water caused deaths was not an issue. Proper fish handling and stocking is/was a whole different topic. If fingerlings were unhealthy from the fish farm,,,, it is VERY unlikely all died; some maybe likely not all. What is probably happening is the surviving stocker LMB are gorging on and focused on eating the fall spawn of very abundant tiny BG & smallest FHM and not interested in what any anglers are presenting that is unnatural appearing. Your early fishing enthusiasm can be the good start of creating a pond full of hook smart/shy bass. Actually and ideally,,,, angling for the stocker bass should not really start until the stocker bass have spawned 1st time which would have happened in May 2021 if you followed suggestions in the next paragraph. Watch for more LMB activity as the water warms to the 70'sF. "Patience grasshopper". 100 LMB in 1.5ac is not a lot of individuals per ac and these small bass could be staying well fed and naturally shy of human shoreline activity due mostly to a pond full of small natural foods. Why go shallow if foods are throughout the pond water column?

In inches what were the lengths of these bass stocked in December? If they were fingerlings in Dec, really well fed new year class(2020) LMbass hatched in AL by Dec should have been 8-10" long some of the fastest growers could even been 12" by Alabama's long growing season climate by Dec. Anything smaller than that were IMO stunted and runts that had been fish farm size graded fish (i.e. slow growers) and/or either too crowded during growth or had been shorted on foods in the hatchery ponds maybe both. At a minimum these new bass should have been 5"-7" when raised optimally in the southeast US. If these bass were bought off a traveling "Fish Truck" then expect what you get/got; they deal in quantity not quality. IMO by choosing the fingerling size in Dec you chose or received LMB that had lost good 1st year growth that will never be regained because those same year class LMB that were spawned in Apr in AL and 8"-10" long had lots more length during the 1st summer than those 3" LMB going forward. One can expect but not necessarily get only 'fair quality' 2"-4" Lmb in IN,OH,MI, PA, NY in Fall but not Alabama with a long growing season. Knowing about and doing some homework about fish growing before buying can be VERY beneficial to the consumer. IMO By buying slow growing fingerlings in Dec you skimped on cost considering how much money you had spend establishing the pond. If the pond was for long term angling a big portion of the homework and cost emphasis should have been on the quality of stocker fish which are the genetic basis of the life and overall quality of the pond.
Posted By: Jreb79 Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 03:48 PM
I bought them from a traveling fish truck from Alabama Pond and Fish. The BG are fast growers and some are over half a pound. The bass were averaging about 3” when stocked.

Is there a chance that even though they should be very well fed that they will always be stunted and small? I just assumed they should be around 6”+ by now and should be showing up at feeding times to hammer the minnows and small BG. I sure wish I would have waited till this spring to buy the bass and had a better knowledge before buying them. I have no intention of creating a trophy bass pond, just a great place for our family to have fun fishing.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 08:31 PM
Those fish were on the very small size for being almost 1 yr old. I think they were not able to eat much or maybe they were just the slow growing ones that had been put through sizing machines and all the faster growing, larger ones removed. The truck was probably just selling their left overs at the end of the year so they did not have to hold them all winter for the spring sales. These small ones were maybe slow growers also known as runts. They will grow when getting enough food however they will never be as big and grow as fast as those that were 7"-12" long and the same age. You spent all that money on building that pond it is sad you skimped on a few added dollars to buy high quality bass. I would go find a local REPUTABLE TRUTHFUL fish farm that has some soon to be one year old LMB, pellet trained bass and are 8"-12" long that had been hatched in 2020. Don't buy 2 yr old 6"-10"bass!
Or you can wait until this fall(2021) and buy this year's bass 7"-10" long. This way you will have at least some known good genetics and pellet trained fast growing bass added to the small bass you have stocked. I would at least buy 30 to 60 more quality bass. Get them pellet trained so they continue to grow fast.
This is how it happens in nature. You start with 1000 -5000 bass fry and give them all the food they can eat. At ONE YEAR OLD about 15% to maybe 20% are slow growers aka IMO runts 2"-3.5"- those that tend to stay smaller,,,, same as with most all animals even humans; small short ones. Then you have 25% fast growers (tall people and longest ones 8"-10"); of those 5% are the tallest aka jumpers or shooters 10.2"-12" maybe a few 13"). The middle 50% are average size 4"-7" with length variation even among them ranging from 4"-7.7". You bought those slowest growers and short ones. See the great service the fish truck provided.
Posted By: Jreb79 Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 09:00 PM
I honestly did not know any better.

Any resources available to help find fish in my area? Thanks for all the info so far.
Posted By: anthropic Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/22/21 09:19 PM
Originally Posted by Jreb79
I honestly did not know any better.

Any resources available to help find fish in my area? Thanks for all the info so far.

That's okay, we all make mistakes, some much worse than yours. I wasted the genetic potential of prime Florida LMB because I messed up early stocking of their forage. Just didn't realize it at the time.

You'll do fine because you admit mistakes & want to learn. Those who get defensive & refuse to listen tend not to do well with their pond.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/23/21 01:49 AM
Your situation is not dire. It can be easily mitigated. Two good places in the SE US are Aquatic Environmental Services (lakework.com) and American Sportfish; their northern bass would be a good fit for your general pond fishing goals. Also see this: https://southernstateshatchery.com/. There are undoubtedly a few other good established and reliable fish farms in your region. Ask questions before buying. Whatever you choose,,,,, now you have a little education about LMB and how they are grown at fish farms so you can ask the right questions. Do some searching with maybe the DNR for those with a license to sell fish in AL. Or try a web search for fish farms in AL. I am not familiar with fish farms in your location. The only thing that I do know, is I stay away from traveling fish trucks. Your local game warden may know of good farms that sell quality LMB. Remember IMO look for pellet trained LMB especially if you are feeding pellets to your panfish.

Don't be afraid to drive 2 to 4 hours one way to get 30-60 quality bass to improve your long term existing bass genetics. My concern is slow growing bass often lag behind the fast growing jumpers is often because of a genetic propensity. I think aggressiveness in predators even has some basis in inherited genetics. Everything living has a lot of their characteristics heavily genetically based even more than commonly & currently known today. Personality can even have some genetic basis in humans. For just two examples, look at the variability even in personality of dogs and the ability of different people's immunity to COVID both strongly related to inherited genetics. All animals have a highly complex genetic basis that we are still being learned about all the influences ; fish are no exception.
Posted By: esshup Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/23/21 04:17 AM
^^^ What Bill said. Finding advanced sizes of fish will be harder because of the demand for fish the past year and starting again this year. Fish farms last year were selling fish in the fall at small sizes that they'd normally hold over winter to sell at advanced sizes.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/23/21 02:47 PM
Since quality 1 yr old 8"-10" LMB could be hard to locate this spring and to supplementally stock and enhance your current LMB you may have to wait until this late summer or fall to get the added quality size LMB. Check into making a preorder for picking up some quality sized young of year (YOY) pellet trained bass from your selected fish farm. By late summer your 1st stocked surviving fingerling LMB should be 7" to maybe 10". Please keep us advised of the progress of your fishery. Are you feeding the fish pellets? what brand? what protein content?
Posted By: Jreb79 Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/24/21 05:48 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies, especially Bill. I am grateful. Hopefully I’ll have an update before winter.
Posted By: Bill Cody Re: Where are my bass!? - 04/25/21 01:10 AM
Jreb79 - Reminder questions: Are you feeding the fish pellets? what brand? what protein content? If you buy pellet trained LMbass ask what they are feeding them, the size pellet, and if you can buy 10-15 pounds of that food. Good farms will scoop out and sell smaller sizes. "Stinky" farms will not be customer friendly. What brand and flavor the fish grow up on and if you use the same brand of fish food the resumption to eating pellets is smoother and keeps the bass growing at the same rate. In fall buying a whole bag of pellets for a few fish is not wise because most all the food should be used before winter and not a lot of it held over winter until spring. Fish pellets tend to loose some of their important degradable nutrition such as vitamin C and a few others when held over 6-8 months. It is always best to start with fresh food asap in spring.

Also let us know if you start seeing bass this spring/summer.
Posted By: HenryCountyAL Re: Where are my bass!? - 05/28/21 05:57 PM
Jreb79, I've used Lake Geneva Fishery each time I stocked my 2 pounds and was happy with the outcome. But, they only have Florida LMB. That's in Geneva, AL of course.
Posted By: Sunil Re: Where are my bass!? - 06/02/21 07:45 PM
Jreb79, have you still not seen any bass in your pond since the original posting some 6-7 weeks ago?
© Pond Boss Forum