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Bennie Offline OP
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Hi, I have a 1/3 acre pond, stocked with bass, perch, hybrid bluegills and catfish.

Everything seems pretty good-sized. Bluegills are not huge, but on the larger side. Catfish are pushing 2 lbs. I caught a 12" perch, and the bass are 1-1.5 lbs, not skinny, not fat.

I feed the pond a few pounds of fatheads spring and fall.

Aside from fatheads, i'm looking to augment my bass feeding with other sunfish. I've read that redear might be the way to go, but I live in Mighigan. What is preferred--redear or just regular sunfish? Thanks!


Bennie
LMB, HBG, YP, CC, FHM, located SE Michigan
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Redear are something you should stock because they eat parasite carrying snails which can spread disease. If they will survive your winters I would get some larger ones in right away. RES only spawn once a year so they will not become a prime forage fish like bluegill although some will certainly be eaten by your bass. The bluegill really are the backbone of your food chain, the fatheads are probably just a snack for your bluegill and bass.

EDIT: I just saw that you have hybrid bluegill and not regular bluegill. I would add some regular bluegill right away as your bass will decimate the hybrid bluegill in short order. Regular bluegill spawn throughout the summer and their young are the primary forage for bass, the hybrids do not spawn as often which means less food for your bass.

Consider adding a feeder. It will help your bluegill grow which will in turn help your bass. Good feeders are not cheap but they really help your fish pack on pounds. The capacity of a 1-acre pond is 100lbs of predator fish, with a feeder that number increases significantly.


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Agree with MD 100%

My advice is to stock 250 - 400 BG asap as it will take pressure off your YP and HBG as LMB forage.

Stock RES as bonus fish and to help prevent parasites - might have to go with Pumpkinseeds if you are too far North - a couple Winters will tell you what will work. We have some RES in Michigan [Coach B] and seem to be doing well.

Feeding will help your fishery in many ways, strongly encourgage at least hand feeding program if you live on site or feeder if absentee.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Bennie Offline OP
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Follow up question: my main fishery stocks only hybrids but I found another fishery that offers regular sunfish (spring and fall) and redears only in the fall. Is there any reason I can't stock some of each at the same time? this fall? The redears being the snail eaters (and spawning less often) and the regular sunfish being the breeders? Thanks!


Bennie
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You can definitely stock them together. Try to get larger RES and BG so that they don't get eaten before they have a chance to spawn.


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Bennie, how far North of the Indiana/Ohio border are you (mile wise), and how deep is your pond? I'm about 35 miles South of the Michigan border, and this area is getting close to the northern habitat border of RES. I know of a small lake in Jones, Mi. that has RES, but that's about as far North as I've caught them. I think they do O.K. in that small lake because it has some depth to it. Pumpkinseeds take the place or RES in Northern Ponds.


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Hi, I'm probably 60 mi. north of the Michigan/OH border in a suburb of Detroit about halfway to Lansing. The pond is 8-9 feet deep.

I'm going to do all I can to get fatheads to spawn and reproduce, but as the bass get bigger they eat a lot more so I'm thinking of alternatives. The fishery I found sells HBG, regular bluegills or maybe they are green sunfish, and redears. I've not found any pumpkinseed fisheries (suggestions?) in SE michigan...yet. Thanks for the tips.


Bennie
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I forgot to mention the fishery that sells redear sunfish is in Imlay City, Mi, which is at least 30 miles north--perhaps they sell to owners of deeper ponds...


Bennie
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If they're selling RES up there, ask them if they keep any over the winter, and what size pond (area and depth) they keep them in. If their pond that they overwinter them in is similar to yours, then I think you're good to go with the RES.


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My bet is they are buying them from another hatchery from the south. I sure could be wrong though. You won't know until you ask and hope they are honest about it. If you cannot find hatchery raised pumpkinseeds, they should be fairly common in most lakes around you. There are dangers in stocking wild caught fish, but when they are your only option, sometimes the risk is worth the reward...

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Bennie Offline OP
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That's what I suspect--i'll look around.

I do have a lot of snails--they are good bait for bluegill/perch.

Do I really need to get rid of them? Or are red-ear sunfish and pumpkinseed used to control how many of them are in the pond? I don't see the parasites in the meat of any of my fish--very clean.


Bennie
LMB, HBG, YP, CC, FHM, located SE Michigan
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Q: do all sunfish species inter-breed or is that not possible? if we have red-ear or pumpkinseeds and regular sunfish together, will they possibly make a cross between the two species?


Bennie
LMB, HBG, YP, CC, FHM, located SE Michigan
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Very possible. We catch several BG x RES hybrids, (gillcrackers), every year in one of our ponds.




"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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Almost all species of sunfish can interbreed with each other. Some do it far more frequently than others in wild conditions. Certain pond conditions can make it more common as well. Crowded spawning areas, turbid water, etc...

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Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
My bet is they are buying them from another hatchery from the south. I sure could be wrong though. You won't know until you ask and hope they are honest about it. If you cannot find hatchery raised pumpkinseeds, they should be fairly common in most lakes around you. There are dangers in stocking wild caught fish, but when they are your only option, sometimes the risk is worth the reward...


The RES from Imlay City Fish Farms are from the south, is that a problem? They told me this when I inquired about them in the spring. They said the only way to know if they will survive is to put some in the pond.

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It can be a problem. RES not adapted (born and raised there over several generations) to cold winters can die. That approach (just put some in and see if they live) to stocking is stupid in most cases. It leaves you with a gap in size in that species which makes it much harder (and more expensive) to fix. Plus if you are counting on the species to fill a biological niche and it won't work you have to change the plan on the fly with no guarantee you can fix it.
















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Well my stocking plan was for YP, RES and WE. The RES was primarily in case snails show up and because I've never had them before (or BG) smile. Considering my stocking plan, if the RES don't make it will it be a problem adding them later? I think I can only get them in the fall so a grow out cage won't be an option. I do have hiding places and structure in my pond.



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loretta, give Jones fish a call and ask them. That might be an option for you.


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Is that all the species ? What is going to keep the YP from stunting? Are you going to catch and eat (harvest) a bunch of YP?

One option would be to add a few PS in addition as a backup for the RES.
















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I've been raising SFS and BN minnows since last summer without any predators. Yes, I do plan on harvesting some YP.

Jones is a little far for me, I might give the imported RES a try first. Two sizes are available, will a smaller or larger size fare better in your opinion?

Last edited by loretta; 07/22/12 11:34 PM. Reason: more info
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I would try the RES also but would also add a few PS just in case. What is going to control the populations of forage fish esp the YP ?
















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Originally Posted By: ewest
I would try the RES also but would also add a few PS just in case. What is going to control the populations of forage fish esp the YP ?


The WE, no?

I don't think PS is commercially available near me either. But I can get SMB. If the WE that I stock can't keep up I will add more of them.

Last edited by loretta; 07/22/12 11:41 PM.
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For an order of $200 or more, Jones delivers for free.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Originally Posted By: esshup
For an order of $200 or more, Jones delivers for free.


Really, lol. That's interesting but I'm not sure my order will total that much, my pond is only 1/4 SA and I'm stocking on the low side. I'll call them and see what my options are. Thanks for the info!

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The dollar amount doesn't have to be of one species.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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