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#546654 04/19/22 10:11 AM
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I will be stocking fish next weekend and am hoping I can get the BG and RES fry to eat right away.

I've read some other threads and information here and saw that some people will keep their RES confined while they get them trained.

If I start out with the same feed that the hatchery is feeding them, do you think there is a chance that the RES will eat the feed without having to cage them up in the pond first? If I do have to cage them, I was thinking of putting a hutch I used to raise small chicks in about 2 to 2/12' of water next to my dock. The cage is about 3 1/2' x 2 1/2' and about 2 1/2' tall. Would that be too small for 200 RES fingerlings that are 3-4" long?

I could possibly put some in the cage while allowing others to go free in the pond and just work with a smaller population.

With the bluegill, are they more likely to eat the feed without training and would it be a bad idea to mix some of them in the cage with the RES?

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BG will feed train themselves very quickly. I've found that if I cage one or two BG with the RES during pellet training the RES will catch on a bit quicker than they will otherwise.
The difficulty in pellet training RES is getting them to figure out that pellets are food. I mix chopped fish/nightcrawlers/bugs/liver/etc with hydrated pellets to get them started.
Once they figure it out you can phase meat out of the mix over a week or so, then over the next week you can reduce the amount of hydration until you're feeding only dry pellets. You'll never get all of the RES to eat pellets no matter how hard you try. If you get 80% on pellets you've done well.
I've never started with more than 50, so can't offer good advice on how many will fit in your cage without being crowded, but my gut says 200 3"-4" inch is probably too many.
I think you'll have a very hard time getting their attention if you try this without putting the RES in a cage.

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I've only been able to get approximately 60% of the RES of a certain batch feed trained, using a mixture of Optimal Starter #4 and Optimal BG JR feed. This is in a recirculating system. I agree, throwing a few BG in with them seems to help them figure out that the fish food IS food.


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I'm going to try it. It makes me a little nervous boxing the RES up in the shallows but they should be safe from predators as I'll have a top on the cage. The deepest they will be is 2 1/2'. Let me know if you think that's too shallow. I am pretty darn sure we won't be having any more freezes this Spring here although it's been a little colder than average for the majority of days. We are about to enter a warming period at least. I am thinking I will only put a portion in there of the 200 I purchase, maybe 100 with a no more than a dozen bluegill mixed in.

Thanks for all the input you all have given me on the various topics I've posted about. I know I have far more questions than input on the forums but although I've owned my own BOW for 18 years now and it's 40 years old, at least the original was. I'm a novice at working on improving it. For the first 16 years I just let it do its own thing but it got away from me and we drained it two years ago and started over new. I'd like to take control as much as I can this time around.

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I wouldn't put more than 2-3 BG in there. You need competition to make it work but not so much that the BG clean it up so fast the RES get a limited amount.

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Ditto on the 2-3 BG. You don't want the BG bullying the RES and keeping them from getting the food. Only a couple to show them what it is and that's all.


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Originally Posted by esshup
I've only been able to get approximately 60% of the RES of a certain batch feed trained, using a mixture of Optimal Starter #4 and Optimal BG JR feed. This is in a recirculating system.

esshup,

Have you ever tagged any of the feed trained RES to observe how much they outperform the other 40% once they are put into a pond environment?

What is the alternative food source for the non-trained RES in your system? Do you think the non-trained fish prefer that food, are better at capturing it, or are just plain stupid?

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Originally Posted by esshup
I've only been able to get approximately 60% of the RES of a certain batch feed trained, using a mixture of Optimal Starter #4 and Optimal BG JR feed. This is in a recirculating system.

esshup,

Have you ever tagged any of the feed trained RES to observe how much they outperform the other 40% once they are put into a pond environment?

What is the alternative food source for the non-trained RES in your system? Do you think the non-trained fish prefer that food, are better at capturing it, or are just plain stupid?

Those are good questions. RES are so hard to catch in my pond that I never thought about tagging them. They are too small to tag when released anyway. No snails in the pond, at least none that I can see, so they have to be eating small fish and other inverts. I haven't caught a RES in the pond in a few years, but a buddies kid caught one last Spring that was 12" long. If he fishes the pond now, I have put a price on all the fish, so he will weigh/measure/write down the info on each fish. I pay $0.50/lb for that information, and have a $2/lb bounty on all the LMB that he can remove. He now has an incentive to gather that info. grin

I furnished a digital scale like they use on the MLF show, and I have a write in the rain spiral bound notebook that I have labeled with all the fish species in the pond. I made columns for date, length, weight, and whether kept or released. Any fish that is bleeding is to be removed.

I keep all that stuff in a tote where he can access it even if I am not home.


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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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Originally Posted by esshup
If he fishes the pond now, I have put a price on all the fish, so he will weigh/measure/write down the info on each fish. I pay $0.50/lb for that information, and have a $2/lb bounty on all the LMB that he can remove. He now has an incentive to gather that info. grin

I furnished a digital scale like they use on the MLF show, and I have a write in the rain spiral bound notebook that I have labeled with all the fish species in the pond. I made columns for date, length, weight, and whether kept or released. Any fish that is bleeding is to be removed.

I keep all that stuff in a tote where he can access it even if I am not home.

esshup, thanks for the reply.

I am impressed with the "data gathering system" you have installed on your pond!

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I just stocked 300 RES and 10 lb fat head minnows last week. That is all that is in the 1 acre pond so far. Got Purina Aqua Max starter food. They would not eat it first 2 days. But this morning I had several come up and eat. Was a great sign!

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You are lucky most RES won’t take to feed

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FHM's are agressive feeders as long as they do not have predators keeping them away. Once predators are introduced then you will not see them coming to feed much.


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The first 10 days I feed, the RES and minnows ate pretty well. It has gotten warmer and the last 5 days they are not eating hardly at all. Just had a large cricket spawn around the lake. Should I keep feeding? Or be concerned? Even my FHM are not eating like they were but I do have large number of tad poles and crickets all around the pond.

Maybe they got plenty to eat, or eat it after I leave.


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