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Is there any harm done in stocking largemouth and smallmouth bass in a small pond?

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I have a small pond (1/3 acre). A friend of mine put 4 Smallmouth and 8 Largemouth bass in my pond last April. The size ranged from 14 to 22 inches. All have survived and seem to be doing well. One of the Smallmouth has already spawned and a couple of the Largemouth are nesting now. I don't know if there is any harm to stocking both of them or not, but I haven't seen any problems.
If the Smallmouth fry survive and grow well in my pond I intend to catch out all of the Largemouth if I can. I much prefer the Smallmouth to Largemouth. The Smallmouth puts up a much better fight than the Largemouth.

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Larry, Where are you located? They reason I'm asking is I'm wondering how warm the water in your pond gets. I'm building a pond in south central ILL and would like to consider SM bass for stocking but I've heard the don't do well in water that gets too warm.

kevin

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A site ya'll might find useful on the topic of prefered water temps for domestic fish species.

Temperature ranges for freshwater fish


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Kevin,
I live in the tip of Southwest Virginia, about 15 miles North of the Tennessee border and about 60 miles East of the Kentucky border. Thats got to be at least 50 or 60 miles further south than south central Illinois.
I don't really know how warm the water gets but I did measure it a few times last year and the water temperature was in the low to middle 80's. The warm temperature didn't seem to bother the Smallmouth because I could see them cruising around the pond in the evenings.
I have also heard that Smallmouth don't do well in warm water ponds. That's why I am not going to do anything in a hurry. I intend to make sure that the young Smallmouth actually do live and grow in my pond before I start taking the Largemouth out. It could be that the adults can survive better than young fish.
If I were in your position I would stock the Smallmouth, but I have to admit that I don't know how it would turn out.

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The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Inland Fisheries Division, stocks smallmouth bass in several reservoirs throughout the state. Although reproduction is spotty to nonexistent, the adults have excellent growth rates, about 2x as fast as say, MN. I don't see why a put, grow, and take fishery couldn't be established in most lakes that possesses some combination of deep water and rip rap.

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Nice link Pottsy...I live north of Nashville,Tenn in an area known as the highland rim which is sort of a big highland but rolling foothills tha surrounds Nashville which is down in kind of a bowl. I recently began to consider the option of stocking SMB in this area and whether they would make it ot not. This is the state of the world record SM but from a deep reservoir much further east of here but not further north. As well we have some pretty good stream and river fishing for smallmouths around here. As much as I would love to stock nothing but Fla.Strain LMB and Coppernose I don't know if they can take our worst winter or not. I would hate to go through several years of bringing them up only to have a very cold winter (once every 5 years or so)kill off my fish. We are in a tricky spot geographically as it's not south enough or north enough to be perfect for either (IMHO) but it sure makes for 4 true seasons of the year.
It would seem like to me that getting some serious circulation of water or a strong spring feeding the pond would be suitable for Smallmouth.

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Hey Mark,

In my opinion I think you will be ok with both LMB and SMB as long as you have enough water depth to avoid issues in the winter or super-heating of the water in the summer. You may find that one does better then the other after a few years and could vary your stocking rates/strain based on these findings. We of course have all four seasons here, sometimes in extremes and both LMB and SMB do fairly well, although SMB seem to be prevalent. I cannot speak on FLA. strain LMB however.


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Isaac -- my experience has typically been that the largemouth bass almost always will outcompete the smallmouth bass. Often, the smallmouths will disappear entirely in a few years. I assume that it happens either through predation, competition, or both as the largemouth will be far more piscivorous than smallmouths under most conditions. The smallies sure are fun to catch, and if you want to keep them, you may want to catch&release smallies, and harvest largemouths? However, if you have a panfish present (such as bluegill), only the largemouths have the predatory capability to keep them in check. So, I'd protect the largemouths in that case.


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David Willis is exactly right. What you will find is this...either smallmouths will survive your habitat, or they won't. Smallmouth bass need cooler water, depth, rip-rap..rocky cover. If you have smallmouth environment, smallmouth will survive. The next problem, though, is how well they can survive, and compete, in a community of fish. If you have smallmouth with bluegill, expect bluegill to dominate by number, if not by size. If you have smallmouth with largemouth, expect largemouth to have the upper hand.
Where I have seen some success with smallmouth and largemouth are larger private lakes, say bigger than 30 acres, that has cover and habitat for both fish. But, after several years, don't be surprised if smallmouth disappear when competing with largemouth bass.


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isaac - I agree w/ David W. & Bob L.
LMB belong with bgill and SMB will do better with another prey besides bgill. SMB are not naturally adapted to use bgill as the predominat forage. SMB rarely have successful spawns in small ponds with LMB present; exceptions can occur; but rarely. SMB are not as prolific and harder to get good spawns as LMB that is why hatcheries have so few of them compared to LMB. Often hatcheries do not get any spawn some years. Since SMB are not as prolific as LMB, LMB evenutally outnumber and thus out compete and eliminate the smallies over the long haul..

The best chance of your combination working, is to do as Dave suggests, do a heavy harvest/thinning of the LMB and protect all SMB. Since your prey is bgill, keep a close eye on their numbers because they can quickly get over abundant with low numbers of LMB. High numbers of small bgill eliminate the food for fingerling smallmouths and your recruitment will be nill. That is assuming you even get a SMB hatch each year which you probably won't. Your basic fish combination is wrong for a good chance of success without a lot of manipulation. You are in a catch 22 situation here. BC


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i needed to bring this thread back to attention again. i live in central indiana and i am a couple weeks away from "hopefully" purchasing my acreage that has a new 4 acre pond that has not yet been filled. my question: if i stock this with gills, cats, and fatheads, then wait till fall and stock largemouth, what chances would i be taking to split the largemouth population with smallmouth? will i have a fair chance of keeping "some" smallmouth, or will the chances of them all dying be too great to even waste my time? just curious what you guys think, you all have more pond experience than me, i just love to catch em.

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I think your odds of having a healthy largemouth and smallmouth population are slim. The smallmouth that you stock would probably live, but I doubt that they would thrive. You wouldn't be wasting your time as much as you'd be wasting money...smallmouth are typically more expensive than largemouth.

If you have your heart set on smallmouth, then skip stocking largemouth, and re-think the whole stocking plan. However, unless you have deep, cool water, the pond is probably better suited for largemouth.

Mike Robinson
Keystone Hatcheries


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craig n. Consider this. Start out with only SMB and see how the pond develops for several years - maybe 4-5yrs or until the bgills start getting out of hand. Your cats will help control bgill depending on density of each. You may have to also manually thin the bgills to keep their numbers down. Then if the SMB donot work out, you can stock LMB and they will eventually dominate. This way you will have a good established population of adult SMB in the fishery till they eventually die out or dwindle out. You could protect them somewhat by only harvesting LMB.

Another option, is since the pond has no fish yet, stock fatheads and shiners in the spring so they can spawn during summer and fingerling SMB in the fall. If you want a panfish add yellow perch the first spring or 1st fall and then SMB the 2nd or 3rd fall. When you tire of this fishery add your bgill, cats and LMB and they will become dominate after 5-8 years.
Only add cats if you plan to catch and eat them on a regular basis. They are not bottom cleaners.

Since the pond is not full yet, get some coarse gravel spawning beds made before the 3'-4' depth is covered with water. Use washed or smooth gravel the size of bing cherries to golf balls or a little larger. Spawning beds will improve the likelihood of successful SMB spawns.


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I am also very interested in this topic and am curious as to other feeder fish better suited for SMB as well as the cost of stocking a large amount of crawfish since they seem to be the primary SMB forage.(provided the habitat is built to suite SM as well. (Lots of gravel and rocks and cooler water). Would the craws have a chance of reproducing? Would they require moving water and or shallower water in places?

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Reproducing crayfish - still or running water? TN no doubt has many species of crayfish that flourish in different types of habitats. You need to make sure the habitat matches the species you're stocking so they "feel at home" naturally reproduce in those conditions.


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I have a 4 acre pond in N IL the avarage depth is 6'. There is a good population of LMB, Bgills,Crappie (they were here already) Walleye, C cats, fatheads and large Carp. I want to stock some SMB as a bonus fish, Does anyone know where I can buy SMB larger than 3" fingerlings? I'm not sure they will survive to grow to a 7-9" size.


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