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#18234 06/07/04 04:39 PM
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While it might be better not to even try but what if I stocked an enormous amount of fathead minnows the spring before, added black crappie in the fall, and then stock F-1 largemouth bass the following spring.
To be more specific:
40lbs Fathead Minnows
200 Black Crappie
100 F-1 Largemouth Bass
all of the numbers are per acre
And for another thought what if the numbers for Crappie and Bass were cut in half. Example a 4 acre pond, stock 160lbs of Fathead minnows spring before, add 400 black crappie in the fall, then next spring add the 200 largemouth bass.

This is all just a thought but I have wanted to build my own pond for some time and when/if I stock it I want to have the right numbers, diversity, and timing. What do you all think? Right now I have my heart set on bass and crappie so I would like my stocking set around those two and try and have them as balanced as possible. I just need them to reach catchable size and then I think I can keep a good check on them both. Any constructive criticism?


-Allch Chcar
Living the dream, 21 acres. No pond, yet.
#18235 06/07/04 08:24 PM
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Allchca,

While nobody will ever confuse me with an expert on pond management, everything I have read says that Bluegill are the bedrock of the food chain for predators. You have 2 predators and no forage fish except minnows. I'm thinking it will take a LOT of minnows to match the amount of protein in one 3 inch bluegill. I am sure one of the experts will chime in here and be able to explain it better than I as I am just repeating what I have read here.

Randy


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#18236 06/07/04 08:44 PM
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Allchca,
Randy is correct. BG are the backbone of a lmb fishery. I won't address the crappy issue. Many discussions here on crappy. Just do a search.
I don't think there is anything to be gained in stocking so many fatheads. If you provide proper breading areas 1/10th that amount will fill your pond with minnows in a summer.


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Ric
#18237 06/07/04 09:26 PM
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Allchca, I'm reading between the lines a little, but if you want bass and black crappie, here's my advice. Stock fatheads/golden shiners/mosquitofish and bgill first, 3 to 6 months later, stock bass. The shiners/mosquitofish will prey upon eggs, but some of the bass should reproduce. Once you're bass heavy, stock crappie around May/June the following year. You may lose a few of the crappie you stock to the bass, but that mix should keep the crappie from overpopulating. (that is if you have decent visibility in your pond) I love to catch large bass for the fight, and big crappie for the skillet...works well for me. p.s. you may need to add crappie as you deplete them.

#18238 06/08/04 07:39 PM
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Randy,
I have also read that bluegill are a bedrock prey, but they do much better in a strictly BG/LMB pond. I also think it would take 3-5 3" fathead minnows to make up for a single 3" bluegill since fathead's have a much smaller body mass per inch. A part of this plan though is to substitute something else for bluegill(which I currently have a dislike for since I have so many big ones in the pond I fish), I am hoping to use the black crappie as a substitute since they are supposed to taste really good, easier to clean than bluegill, and are aggressive(I hear they outcompete bass). From pictures I've seen Crappies have a slightly lower profile than bluegill but instead are a little thicker so I would be hoping that the bass would feed more on crappies than on minnows.

Ric,
I've read in numerous places, the kind that recommend stocking 1000-3000 minnows or 3-10lbs per acre initially, that bass would clean the pond of fathead's in just a few years even with bluegill. My thought was to fill the pond with minnows so when the crappie were stocked they would have a good food source and when they were stocked later bass would be able to prey on the minnows some without eliminating the minnows until they got big enough to start feeding more on crappies. In later years the crappies and some of the smaller bass would still benefit from the large number of fatheads while the rest of the bass, especially the ones reaching above 16", would eat the crappies up to 6" or so.

Eastland,
I like your plan, it sounds pretty good. But, I had thought about having golden shiners in this combination but I thought against it due to the fact that someone here(can't recall their name) said it would be near impossible for crappies to be controlled by anything other than a large(stunted) bass population. Also like I said before I'm trying to avoid using bluegill. I want bass with any size to them to focus more on crappies than anything else since crappies seem to reproduce so well. I hadn't thought about mosquito fish but I guess a few would be okay.

To summarize; I am going to try and use crappie as a main forage for my bass since sooo many people say they reproduce very well, to prevent stunting I figured I would keep a large population of fathead minnows, fish for crappies fairly often eating some of the bigger ones and if I have to toss some of the smaller ones that are too big for bass so they don't outgrow their food source, also since they have a slightly better profile I figured they would make good bass food and good eating. And to prevent bass from stunting and switching to minnows I would be trying to keep their number down by eating or tossing. But as a fanatical catch and release fisherman for years I would probably be using alot of excess fish for garden fertilizer(fish was what native americans used for their corn why can't I do it? Especially since I also love corn.).

My ultimate goal is a good population of eating sized crappies maybe from 10"-15", a good population of 3-5lb bass, and a large established fathead minnow community.

Maybe I'm thinking too far out maybe trying to figure out how to stock a pond without bluegill(a bedrock-of-the-faith prey), have two sportsfish in balance with each other(my definition of balance anyway) that directly compete, and have bass relying on crappies in the midst of many minnows is just too much. This would totally be a high risk, high level of management, and pretty expensive. And while a regular pond with bg and lmb may support something like 120lbs of BG and 40lbs of LMB. Instead I'm trying to do something like 100lbs of minnows, 40lbs of black crappies, and 20 pounds of largemouth so even optimistically the bass fishing would be less than a regular BG/LMB pond.

It wasn't enough that I want to stock black crappie which is already going against the grain of accepted pond principles but I actually want it to be a main fish that my bass depend on. AND keep them both in balance with minnows for crappie food.......
It would be better to wait 10-20 years until BC/LMB relations in ponds are understood in more detail. Then this might be more feasible but I really don't want to wait 10-20 years before strictly BC/LMB ponds are understood better.

What I would like to know is what it takes to properly managed for a bc/lmb/fathead minnow pond, how bass would do in a pond with a useable but unconventional prey and many minnows under 3", if fathead minnows would be able to maintain their numbers in a pond stocked with either of my above numbers or what it would take to have a large minnow base that can support a good sized crappie population and be able to handle any extra bass predation that occurs. I would appreciate any more comments, different stocking numbers, or anything else that can eliminate my wall of fog. All I am doing right now towards learning any of this stuff is managing a 4 acre lake with stunted bass and trying to catch my first black crappie...I didn't mention that I've only caught two crappie my entire life and they were both white crappie so basically all my knowledge of crappie is all from various fishing magazine articles and online searches about ponds. So any help including common known knowledge I may have missed would be appreciated. What I do know ispeople said crappie produce alot of fry, compete with bass(I count that as aggressive), and from pictures it looked like they have a bigger mouth, better profile than bluegill. So I figured, bass food and another fish to catch that I heard better for eating than bass. I guess I'm just trying to think of something outside of the box that requires some fishing attention but little supplemental stocking. I think I would also be willing to feed and/or fertilize the pond/lake that I did this to and it would be between 4-6 acres.

Hope this cuts down on the unknowns, gets at least one person to see farther than they thought they would consider, and maybe just maybe somebody can help me out.


-Allch Chcar
Living the dream, 21 acres. No pond, yet.
#18239 06/08/04 07:42 PM
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I just I hope I don't get a headache or go insane after all that.

Or even worse no one can understand what I just said.


-Allch Chcar
Living the dream, 21 acres. No pond, yet.
#18240 06/09/04 12:13 PM
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I'm not an expert either but you will need something else besides just fatheads. You say the bass will feed on the crappie and the crappie will feed on the minnows but the little crappie have to feed on something as they grow to bass food. The baby crappie will be super numerous and they will eat the baby fatheads. The fatheads won't make it long enough for the big crappie to eat.
I like your thinking outside the box but if it is possible to do without bluegills, you need to add something in their place. If you're far enough south threadfins might help. A type of shiner? Stocking gambusias each spring? Something

#18241 06/09/04 10:43 PM
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Do baby crappies hang out in water less than 3' deep? If they do than gambusias might work if there was enough of them. I don't think threadfin shad would work here thru the winter but if I found a reliable supply and stocked a number of spawning size shad(another idea from someone here) every spring would their spawn feed the baby crappies?

I hadn't thought of what the baby crappies would I eat. Thanks for bringing that point up.


-Allch Chcar
Living the dream, 21 acres. No pond, yet.
#18242 06/10/04 07:25 AM
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I always worry about biomass when someone talks about overstocking a certain species. At 400 fatheads per lb; 40 lbs is 16,000 per acre. THey prefer shallow water and don't evenly distribute so you can have too many oxygen users and waste eliminators per given area. Also, fatheads don't get large enough to sustain mature fish. The protien isn't equal to the energy expended.

I love fatheads. I buy several pounds per year to feed small bluegills. They are very hardy but have their limitations as far as ongoing protien. That is why bluegills are the backbone of the fishery. Crappie only spawn once a year. Bluegills spawn multiple times. Mama Nature has continually corrected my "out of the box" thinking but I keep trying and keep getting corrected. Who knows? Your mix will probably work for several years.

#18243 06/10/04 08:52 AM
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I posted this last week, but will repeat it once more for your sake! I stocked a 7 acre pond with 120 4-6" white crappie, after it was well established with bluegill and bass for several years. The pond owners wanted the crappie for something easy to catch and gooood to eat. Well the next year they harvested 400 crappie in the 1-1.5 pound range. The point is, I'm with Dave, I don't think you can get away with bass and crappie and minnows of any kind. You need the high reproduction rate of bluegill to keep your pond going. I like your out of the box thoughts though. Keep thinking of what you want and manage for it. I would try stocking with bluegill at 1000/ac at the recommended time for your area then split the recommended bass stocking with crappie at the proper time, to allow the bluegill to establish. You may have to set up a feeder or two for a couple of years until the bluegill get a good foothold. Good Fishing.

#18244 06/10/04 08:21 PM
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When I said "gambusias", I meant "tilapia". Something that spawns all year.

#18245 06/11/04 02:13 AM
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Okay so I'll just have to stick with bluegill as a main prey then. When I remembered that bluegill spawn several times a year and crappie spawned only once I figured my idea was pretty much kaput. So thanks for all of your guy's help when/if I stock my pond I'll just stick to bluegill and maybe add crappie later when I have an established bass population if I'm even still interested in crappies then.

I learned something though. And I'm better off now since I won't even be trying the crappie/bass idea. Would cost too much, too.

Brian,
I thought you were talking about mosquito fish aka gambusia minnows I hadn't even thought of tilapia. This is Indiana not Texas. Threadfin shad would have been hard enough to find around here let alone some chilid Native to the nile river.


-Allch Chcar
Living the dream, 21 acres. No pond, yet.

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