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Hi,

Is it possible to have rainbow trout, channel catfish, fathead minnows and maybe bluegills in a approximate 1/3 to 1/2 acre pond. the pond temperature averages during the summer a high of about 70 to 73 degrees, the water is fairly clear, and the deepest part is about 14' deep with an average of about 8'.
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I would say yes. If the water stays cool don't expect the same growth out of the cats as a warmer pond.
Cecil will have advise though.

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Thx for the info so far ric,

Now that i know that trout and catfish should work \:D What about the bluegill? is that okay? The main reason the bluegill are included is that i dont expect fathead minnows to a main food source for BOTH the trout and catfish. I figured the fatheads and various bugs would be okay for just the trout,so a small population of bluegill may go a long way to helping out the catfish. And if no bluegill would golden shiners be better?
thx again - Jighead

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jighead:
Hi,

Is it possible to have rainbow trout, channel catfish, fathead minnows and maybe bluegills in a approximate 1/3 to 1/2 acre pond. the pond temperature averages during the summer a high of about 70 to 73 degrees, the water is fairly clear, and the deepest part is about 14' deep with an average of about 8'.
Thanks I've already learned alot from browsing around on this awesome site.
Even 70 to 73 is a little high for trout. That also seems rather cool for Arizona. Are you in high country?

It's possible you could compensate for the temp for trout with additional aeration but a better bet would be to run in well water or artesian free flowing well to keep temps down in the 55 to 65 range that trout need.

If you are able to have trout the catfish growth will suffer. You have a Catch 22 situation with high temps of 70 to 73. Not optimum for catfish or trout. It's in between both. Bluegill will also be slow growing.

How about smallmouth bass or some other "coolwater" fish?


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Cecil,
yes im in high country just south of flagstaff at about 7500 feet. I think the trout may work because of several lakes in my area. They have trout and catfish in them year round with stockings in spring for trout. the average depths there are about 8 to 10'. The trout that are raised in Arizona are very hardy, All of the hatcherys in Arizona are lower in elevation than me, but i imagine they use aerators. I've thought about some other cool water fish but they are hard to find in Arizona. i really like all fish and my original idea was lm/bg but my pond really isnt that big. And trout and catfish are both great fighters. Any Ideas. I appreciate your input.
thanks - Jighead

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JH This idea is worth a try just to see if it is possible for your situation. However I would keep the numbers of catfish on the lower side because they could easily cause you water clarity problems due to their activity of roiling the sediments if not for food then during spawning season. Cloudy water from silt suspensions will put undue stress on the trout which may already be stressed during the summer warm temperature periods.

I would also initially leave out the bgill because if you want to change to some other fishery, the bgill will be the hardest to eradicate or control compared to the other species. You can always add bgill later. but once in the pond you are pretty much "stuck" with them.

As mentioned previously don't expect the catfish growth rate to be very fast due to the overall cooler water temps throughout the warm water period.

I would first try the fatheads and golden shiners and if you need extra forage then later add bgill.

If this pond is remote expect poaching to be a problem. If you live on site then supplimental feeding of trout food will benefit both trout and cats in terms of fish size and quantity of fish produced.


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Jighead,

Put in trout and see what happens. Any brown trout available? They handle warmer temps a little better than rainbows, brooks, and cutthroats. I would also include some kind of surface aeration. If those are just your surface temps you may be allright.

I personally wouldn't have catfish. They do nothing for me and compete with and eat other fish including small trout. They can get very large and hard to catch too. Your water temps are well below optimum temps of the 80's for maximum growth.

If you want faster growth and a larger carrying capacity you may want to feed your fish. However don't overdo it.

My trout pond that produced over 500 lbs. of trout up to almost 12 lbs. a couple of years ago is only 1/10th acre. It's 9 feet deep and I run a diffuser on the bottom in center 24/7 unless air temps get above 80 F. I also now run about 35 gpms of well water into the pond 24/7 except from November through part of March. Check out pics on my web page under my profile.

If you water temps are marginal I would suggest a surface aerator in summer.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Thank you everyone that has replyed,
especially Bill and Cecil
Cecil,
500lbs!! WOW is that all at one time? do u have any natural forage or are u all feed?
Bill,
Yes, my pond is kinda remote and i dont live on site, but my pond isnt visible from the road and I have national forest on all sides of me so i have no neighbors \:D And all the campers (mybe 2 or 3) that have noticed it and have asked me I've told them it was just a watering hole, there are no fish. ;\)

Im probaly gonna have catfish but limit them, and im going to go with bill's idea and also go with trout, fatheads, and shiners. Outta curiosity WOULD fatheads work as a primary food source for BOTH catfish and trout? For stocking rates for my 1/2 acre pond how about: trout - 100 6 to 8" and 50 10 to 12", catfish - 35 6 to 8" and 15 10 to 12" and 6lbs of fatheads. (I have no idea how many shiners)- help
Also IF bgills were added - 100 2 to 4" and 100 4 to 6"
Any suggestions? thanks for input and time - Jighead

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Another Quick question IF i were to have a trout only pond (just thinking) would fatheads work as only and primary forage? This is just a thought im probably still going with original idea.

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If you have lots of cover for the fatheads to reproduce they could feed your trout and catfish if your trout and catfish are in low numbers. If not enough cover the fatheads will become easily snarffed up and eradicated.

I feed my trout pellets, but the thing you have to keep in mind is the inflow of the aerated well water at 35 gpms allows the high carrying capacity. I figured I safely got about 13.3 pounds of trout per gpm. If you had a static pond you are more limited. Even with the inflow of fresh water I can't go much over 500 lbs., and I do have lots of filamentous algae early in the year which I am constently removing with a net.

Trout numbers sound good but I can't tell you anything about the catfish numbers. Like I said I have no use for them. Try the trout first and if that does not work out go with other species.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Thx cecil,
You have been a huge help and i appreciate your input. I may just take your advice and start with a trout only pond with fatheads and maybe a very FEW catfish. But i want a more diverse forage for the trout and just in case the fatheads are gone quick. Do you or anybody else have any ideas on other forage that i could add for the trout? I'm also probably not going to have aeration depending on how much $ it costs. Also i was wondering if i had a lure only fishery how long do you expect my trout to live before i have to restock?
Thx for input - Jighead

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Your trout will find natural feed as in insects etc if the numbers or low but don't expect a fast growth rate unless you feed them. It only takes about 1.5 pounds of pellets to produce 1 pond of trout where as it takes 10 pounds of fatheads to produce one pound of trout. Why? The minnows have a lot of water where as the pellets are condensed food.

Catch and release will kill some of your trout no matter how careful you are. On natural feed I would not expect your trout to last more than 2 or three years. On artifical feed a few years longer.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Cecil,
If i were to have an auto feeder, would 2 to 3 times a week suffice? And is there a special kind of trout feed or would i just use the normal purina game chow floaters? Also do you think about a 10 sec spray would work? I figure 10 secs can get out a lot of feed.
Thanks again - Jighead

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Jighead:
Cecil,
If i were to have an auto feeder, would 2 to 3 times a week suffice? And is there a special kind of trout feed or would i just use the normal purina game chow floaters? Also do you think about a 10 sec spray would work? I figure 10 secs can get out a lot of feed.
Thanks again - Jighead
If your fish are being fed, artificial feed 2 to 3 times a week is not enough. You need to feed them at least once a day. Twice a day is optimum. The smaller the fish the more often they are fed. If you anticipate marginal temps later in the year I would feed only once a day in the morning and not in the evening. Reason being you have more of a propensity for oxygen depletion problems at night with higher temps vs. morning when you phytoplankton and other plants are cranking up the oxygen for the day. Also ammonia levels are highest within 4 hours of feeding and when the fish go on a feeding frenzy they use a lot of oxygen. So better to have that in the morning vs. just before dark.

I would not use the Purina Game Fish Chow for trout. Too low of protein. It's only made for "supplemental feeding" anyway contrary to what everyone thinks. Purina also makes a feed called "Aquamax" which is much better for them. You could get a couple of different sizes and mix them if there is a size disparity in your fish, but you are much better off getting a consistent size of trout for a lot of reasons one of them being canabilism.

I like to feed by hand so you will have to get help from someone else on duration of feeding, and of course that depends on how many fish you have. Perhaps feed by hand first to get an idea of how much feed to broadcast and then set your feeder to broadcast the same amount of feed.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Jighead -- I just found your post. You've had worlds of help from Cecil and Bill, our two "best" sources of info!

I had one thought to add. I would strongly discourage the bluegill stocking. In my opinion (not shared by everyone on this site), neither your trout nor your catfish can control reproduction by bluegills, even at cool water temperatures. I would predict a pond full of overpopulated, silver-dollar size bluegills in a few years. They will eat zooplankton and insects, and compete directly with your trout.

Of course, feeding overcomes a lot of woes. However, if you are feeding, then why risk a prey species that has the potential to overpopulate?


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Dave

I agree with you 100% on this one. We had a trout/Bluegill pond (not by intent but by accident), that yielded completely to Bluegills. In most private ponds trout do not reproduce, but BG's can be very prolific without a top predator. Needless to say I also would not recommend this combination.

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thanks for all your helpful input.
I am now all most certain that the pond will contain about 150 rainbow trout, about 50 catfish, and about 6lbs of fathead minnows. I am still contemplating feeding, i see the upsides, but it takes me about 2 hours to get to my pond. Is 6lbs of fatheads enough if it will be my ONLY forage besides insects?
Also, I have a smaller pond that is about 1/8 acre big and i thought about putting only bluegills and channel catfish in, but you said that catfish wont be able to control the bluegills. Is this true that catfish arent good enough predators to be the MAIN predator and control bluegills? I dont want a pond (even though very small) over populated with bluegills.
Thanks for all your comments and input, especially cecil - Jighead

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If you seriously want trout don't put in BG. They compete for the same forage.
If you are able to feed such as putting in an auto feeder then the dynamics change & you could have both but still need a big mouth preditor ie bass to control their numbers but then restocking trout would be a problem.


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Have you considered putting Fatheads only in the 1/8 acre pond, use it for a forage pond? If it is possible to seine it, or if your schedule would allow use of a minnow trap, you could move FH over to the trout/cat pond all season long. That would give them continual forage on top of whatever feeding you could do.


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Dr Willis expressed my concerns. E.P.Etil verified them. The combination of fish that you want to use (trout, catfish, bgill) is in conflict. These species do not work well together due to their natural behavior and ways of living.

I again hesitate to recommend catfish with trout. If you insist on catfish with trout then I think start with no more than 10-12 cats in 1/3 acre. Add more later only if the fishery is prospering after 2 or 3 years. Catfish when mature, can feasably reproduce in your pond with fish structure present. With trout as your only predator, you could easily develop a pond with abundant, stunted, small catfish.

Six pounds of fathead minnows is not enough to feed 150 trout especially if the trout are 8"-10" long. Each trout should have at least 2 to 3 pounds of fatheads for the summer if the trout are not fed pellets daily. I recommend you first stock 4 to 6 lbs of fatheads in spring and in fall stock 50 to 80 trout in 0.3 acre if not fed pellets. Even 50 trout may be too many in 1/3 ac WITHOUT being pellet fed. Your 1/3 ac cannot grow enough bugs/fatheads to allow over 100 trout to grow adequately on natural food even with minnows. My limited experience is that each growing trout eats as much as a similar sized LMbass.


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Jighead --
I think you've been given some excellent counsel here so far. I happen to have a small (1/4 acre) spring-fed pond that contains both trout and channel catfish.
The catfish were there when I bought my place 3 years ago -- and they were skinny as snakes. I started a feeding program for them and they responded well. Six months after I moved in, I decided that based on summer temperatures, I'd try trout in my spring-fed pond.
My rainbows (and a few browns) have now made it through two Virginia summers -- their growth slows noticeably in summer, but they survive. I routinely have daytime surface temps at 78 degrees in August; but I also have a very good aeration system and 54 degree spring water that enters at 60 to 100 gpm (depending on how wet the season is). Yes, the trout all gang up by the springwater inflow in August.
In my very limited experience with feeding trout (I feed by hand -- using a swimming pool skimmer to launch pellets Lacrosse-style), there's almost no such thing as "too much protein." The feed I use is 42% crude protein and 16% fat. The trout love it -- alas, the catfish are very slow swimmers/feeders in comparison and have to settle for "clean up."
Were I to start managing my pond anew tomorrow, I would remove all the channel catfish (and all the tiny stunted bass and "hybrid" sunfish -- now mostly green sunfish -- that also came with my pond) and just go with trout -- even though mine stress a bit during a normal Virginia summer.
Regarding fatheads: yes, trout like them. I saw about 4 pounds (maybe 800-1,000?) I had just purchased vanish before my eyes all in one afternoon a year ago this month.
Pellets are cheaper in the long run -- and I guess it was Cecil who noted that trout in ponds also use available natural foods. My pond is pretty rich in both damsel flies and midges -- two natural foods my hatchery rainbows picked up on right away. And the pond's shore has lots of grasshoppers from mid-June into early November -- hatchery trout learn pretty quickly these are good eating!
Good luck with your pond -- it sounds like a very interesting one. But I'd opt for the trout and think a while longer about the catfish or other species.
My pond is just a tad too cool for good warmwater fish growth and for maybe about 10% of the year uncomfortably, but not lethally, warm for trout (so far!).
I think it's probably best to keep a smaller pond's fish population on the simple side -- but thats just my opinion. -- Mike

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Good points Dr. Willis and Bill. I didn't even think of addressing the fact that the bluegills would not have a significant predator and would quickly get out of hand. Additonally without optimum temps for the bluegills they will probably stay small anyway. And you all know how I feel about those damn catfish! :rolleyes:

Jighead, looks like you want to have your cake and eat it too. Ain't gonna happen. Listen to those trying to give you advice. Start out with TROUT ONLY and see how they go. If they don't holdover well than you have the other choices. No need to worry about getting rid of them if they don't seem to do well in your pond. They will die ot or you can easily catch them out and they will not be long lived. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Jighead -- Ed and Mike have actually "been there done that" give careful thought to their experiences. Cecil doesn't even "test the waters" with additional species mixed into his trout ponds becaue he knows the consequences.


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Let's just say that you guys are saving my life.
Im now doing like you guys advise and have no catfish or BG just plain trout. I did the calculations and my pond is approximately .43 acre big. So is 100 trout with 12lbs of fatheads and feed a good idea as long as i give the fatheads the summer to spawn? (With luck i can get the fatheads in my pond within 3 weeks) you guys really have helped me. And cecil has a good point if it doesnt work, i can always stock bluegill and catfish. But for now I'm going with the trout which were my main goal anyway.
one more quick question for those that have or had experience with trout ponds, what kind of cover besides the basic christmas trees do you recommend?
you all have been great help, any more input and help is welcome - Jighead


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