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#10096 05/12/03 08:54 AM
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i will be stocking my new 3 acre pond in about 2-3 weeks in central indiana and i have some questions. i am thinking of stocking 2000 gills, 25lbs of fathead minnows and about 100 smb this spring. then next spring stocking my largemouth. this would give the smalleys 1 year of good growth before adding the largemouths. i would love all smalleys, but i'm afraid that they will not spawn and keeping them stocked at the right numbers would cost BIG $$$. i'm not sure how many from 100 would survive, but it sure would be a huge bonus when i'm out there bass fishing and snag one. i'm willing to take a risk with 100 intially, just wanted everyones opinions!

#10097 05/12/03 06:13 PM
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Good luck! \:D

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CN, What is your estimate of "BIG $$$" for keeping the smallies stocked at the correct numbers? Are you getting springtime SMB from Aquatic Control? Have you verified availability for spring 2003 delivery? Make sure water temps of hauling and receiving water are the same.

If handled correctly, I estimate SMB survival in a NEW 3 ac pond with fatheads to be 90%-95%.


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#10099 05/12/03 11:34 PM
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Craig what part of IN. are you in?I have stocked smallmouth in alot of ponds in these parts.I have had very good luck with them and have a way to make them spawn.Ilove these fish they are in my mind the best bass to put in a pond if you want your panfish to become very large and not over pop.Good luck and if your ever around Greencastle look me up. DOC


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#10100 05/13/03 05:23 PM
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Lake doc,
What type of panfish do you combine with SMB? I was told that if SMB and Bgill were stocked together the Bgill would dominate the Bass in numbers and size.
If this is your intention how big do your SMB get? and how big are your panfish?

#10101 05/14/03 07:52 AM
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bill, the prices i have found for smb around here are 1-3" $1.75 EACH, and 2-4" $2.45 EACH. that's BIG $$$ no matter how you look at it. it wouldn't bother me to make the investment initially, but i hear they won't reproduce around here well and continuous stocking will be required.
doc, i live in muncie. i sure would be interested in your spawning success. email me at craignuckols@comcast.net if you would maybe we could talk some more.
if i could get them to reproduce and live good, then i may be tempted to stock more initially. please respond if you have anymore advice guys.

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If no LMB are present in the pond and if proper gravel beds are present and if good crayfish population is present you should have no problem with SMB spawning. With adequate food, I've had SMB spawn in a clay bottom pond; no gravel. Recruitment of young fish may not be real heavy but you should get enough every year or two to maintain adequate mixed sizes in your pond. Maintain minimal bass harvest and in poor spawning years an occassional supplimental stocking when necessary of 5 to 10 3" fish would not break the bank.

In the spring or fall of the second year (since the SMB prob will not spawn till age 3), I would consider adding 3 to 6 more SMB per acre.

If you use bgill as forage I am very interested in the outcome of this stocking combination. I know of no one whose is doing this, thus I am very interested in the results and management methods required to maintain a viable fishery composed of SMB and sunfish. Does lakedoctor have advice about this topic?


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#10103 05/14/03 09:38 PM
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Bill,

I don't know about bluegill dominating in a pond with SMB as a sole predator, but after putting smallies in a .62 pond with largemouth, I know the smallies were really goig after the small bluegill. I know this because the small bluegill would hang around an inflow pipe from my trout pond and the smallies were really smacking them. Growth was raid too. Fingerlings put in, in the fall were up to 14 inches the follwing summer and stocky. In fact, it seemed they were more interested in the bluegills than the LMB's, however many of my LMB's are fed pellets on a daily basis.


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






#10104 05/15/03 02:32 AM
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To start from scratch on a pond stocked for smallies get a good forage base of crawfish then add some tadpoles,fathead minnows and wait 60 days.Then stock your bluegill and smallies.The smallies don't target the big bluegill 4to6" like the largemouth but they'll sure take care of the 2to3" to keep the population down, then you'll end up with a pond that will have some monster smallies and some monster bluegill and one hell of a fun place to fish.To get the Smb to spawn just make a creek bed.Put rocks and sandy gravel in 3to4' of water and there you have it.The thing that I do alittle different is put in a horizontal water flow thru the fake creek bed, not alot of flow is needed but a little bit makes a world of difference. DOC


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#10105 05/15/03 09:14 PM
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LkDoc - Do you have very many ponds stocked with bgill and SMB? Are there very many instances where the bgill have become stunted in a pond with only SMB as predators? Seems likely that the bgill reproduction would often outpace the SMB reproduction esp in a year where SMB reproduction is minimal which often happens. SMB always seem to have more spawn failures and less recruitment than LMB. This is why SMB fingerlings cost more and are usually more scarse than LMB fingerlings.


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#10106 05/16/03 02:18 AM
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Hi,Bill.This is all about stocking rates and the size of the smallies when stocked.The smb that I like to stock is between 4to8" If the bluegill is stocked at a rate of .50 normal rates then the only thing that is going to be overpopulated is the fishermen on the bank.The SMB will keep the bluegill pop. in tact they don't target the big bluegill because well the name says it all Smallmouth.But the fry to 3" size is fair game and in the north it makes a nice balance.The only thing that I didn't add was the channels.Stock these at below normal rates last 4to6" is good.I have stocked 3to4 ponds this way and all are doing better than the large mouth at growth and population balance.The owners are happy and won't let me take my best friend fishing.The Smb are 4years old and are between 3.5 to almost 5 pounds with plenty of huge bluegill to throw on the dinner plate.This type of pond needs to be monitored close to keep a good balance but is well worth it. DOC


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#10107 05/16/03 02:18 AM
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Hi,Bill.This is all about stocking rates and the size of the smallies when stocked.The smb that I like to stock is between 4to8" If the bluegill is stocked at a rate of .50 normal rates then the only thing that is going to be overpopulated is the fishermen on the bank.The SMB will keep the bluegill pop. in tact they don't target the big bluegill because well the name says it all Smallmouth.But the fry to 3" size is fair game and in the north it makes a nice balance.The only thing that I didn't add was the channels.Stock these at below normal rates last 4to6" is good.I have stocked 3to4 ponds this way and all are doing better than the large mouth at growth and population balance.The owners are happy and won't let me take my best friend fishing.The Smb are 4years old and are between 3.5 to almost 5 pounds with plenty of huge bluegill to throw on the dinner plate.This type of pond needs to be monitored close to keep a good balance but is well worth it. DOC


Doc
#10108 05/16/03 02:18 AM
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Hi,Bill.This is all about stocking rates and the size of the smallies when stocked.The smb that I like to stock is between 4to8" If the bluegill is stocked at a rate of .50 normal rates then the only thing that is going to be overpopulated is the fishermen on the bank.The SMB will keep the bluegill pop. in tact they don't target the big bluegill because well the name says it all Smallmouth.But the fry to 3" size is fair game and in the north it makes a nice balance.The only thing that I didn't add was the channels.Stock these at below normal rates last 4to6" is good.I have stocked 3to4 ponds this way and all are doing better than the large mouth at growth and population balance.The owners are happy and won't let me take my best friend fishing.The Smb are 4years old and are between 3.5 to almost 5 pounds with plenty of huge bluegill to throw on the dinner plate.This type of pond needs to be monitored close to keep a good balance but is well worth it. DOC


Doc
#10109 05/16/03 02:20 AM
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Sorry I hit the mouse button two times to many.DOC


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#10110 05/16/03 08:25 PM
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LkDoc - It is good information thanks.


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#10111 05/17/03 06:09 PM
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This combination of big smallies and huge bgill sounds like heaven to me. My pond should be almost completly sand and rock bottom. At the 7 to 10 acre size what stocking rates are recomended for this mix? How many crayfish would I need? And how many fatheads?

#10112 11/23/03 07:55 PM
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SMB certainly do well in a smaller pond. We have them in our 4+ acre pond. I question the use of bluegill as their forage. Yellow perch are a shape that is easier for them to eat.


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#10113 11/23/03 10:47 PM
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I think that lake doc sees the BG shape as a plus.
I am studying Biology at UMD and am looking at going into fisheries managment.
The BG/SMB problem is all about the size structure of your two populations. If SMB eat enough BG under 4" then every BG that reaches 4" is guranteed to grow to 8"+. But if BG reproduction outpaces SMB predation too much then you will have stunting in the 4" size class. All you need to do is watch the size of the 4" BG and or the number of 5"-6" BG. If you see few or no 5"+ fish you know that BG competition is too high and you are not getting any BG growth. How to solve that problem is the tricky part.
If SMB are present they should mop up on the smaller BG, and severly reduce the life expentancy of the BG, since a BG's best defence is being too big to eat. If SMB size and numbers are also dropping you have bigger problems. One thing I thought of was excesive we cover. SMB are not designed to hunt in the weeds that BG favor, a few grass carp could do wonders to increase SMB predation and therefore size.

#10114 12/02/03 06:58 PM
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LakeMD,

When talking LMB bass/bluegill stocking it seems that acre ponds are the threshold for such stocking to work. Based on your experience with stocking SMB and BG, do you feel this combo would be suitable for ponds less than 1 acre.

Russ

#10115 12/02/03 08:17 PM
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Russ - The SMB & yellow perch combination in your northern NY area is probably a better and more compatable combination. Walleye will also work with yellow perch. These combinations can work in ponds as small as 1/3 acre, but the smaller the pond than 1acre the fewer harvestable fish that can be raised and the more management it takes to keep it in balance and keep all fish growing well.

The main problem with SMB and bgill as I see it is SMB are not reliable spawners. Some years you get few or no young SMB. Then the prolific bgill quickly start getting ahead of the predators. Soon bgill overpopulation and stunting is the next phase.

SMB can be obtained in NY from Hicklings Fish Hatchery in Edmeston.


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#10116 12/02/03 09:05 PM
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Brother Cody,
Learning curve steep.
As I learn about combinations of fish stocking strategies northward, I am seeing some striking thinking.
It appears that smallmouth bass are inconsistant spawners in numerous cases..but not all. Are there specific geographic locations, water types and climates most conducive to smallmouth recruitment? Or, should pondmeisters need to look at smallmouth as a "put and take" species, and generally forget about recruitment?
The follow-up question is this...as geography changes, should people give special consideration to different forage species for specific predators such as smallmouth or walleye?
In other words, is there a part of the country where bluegill are better forage species for smallmouth, but other areas where yellow perch are better for smallies? What about other species as forage?
And the same questions for walleye...
Bein' from Texus, I may tawk funny, but I'm fixin ta larn sumpin bout them northern fish.


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He can teach to catch fish...
#10117 12/02/03 10:47 PM
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Bobby - You can ask a real heap of questions. How does one begin to answer all those questions?. Plus I'm not sure there are definate answers to your ??? anyway. As always, It All Depends!! It seems like this is leading to you're working on a future PBoss mag article. I will briefly tackle one question. You've got some complex topics.

Preface. I am sure there are much more knowledgable persons out there than I about SMB biology. I have only been working with them about 15 yrs.

As you know optimum ambient temperature plays a big role in SMB growth & survival.

SMB in the correct conditions can spawn successfuly each year providing the weather doesn't interfere. Even in marginal conditions they can do well; providing.... For instance, There is a 1/3 acre pond near me where forage is not optimum and the SMB dominate with a good range of year classes. The primary benefit in this pond is it has quite a bit of 1"-1.5" angular limestone stones along the steep sided shore for spawning nests. Some nests are even built on a slight down angle of the slope. Some rooted weed growth is present as refugia for fry.

SMB seem to have origially evolved in the stream habitat and later were transferred to the lake habitat. They seem to be most "at home" in the stream setting where lots of crayfish and large invertebrates are abundant.

Other helpful items for SMB spawning are:
A. minimal competition for nesting sites with LMB
B. low numbers of nest robbing panfish or forage fish.
C. ample crayfish,
D. and logs or structure in the spawning sites so the males do not have to defend the nest from all 360 degree directions. I think SMB are structure oriented normally and when spawning. In the small pond example above the SMB spawn along shore on a steep slope so only have to defend the nest perimeter for basically 180 degrees.

LakeDoctor had other very good hints for raising smallies. Reread them. Keep in mind that the LakeDoctor stated that the SMB-Bgill combination needed to be monitored carefully.

Okay; I will do another question.
Yes, as latitude and geography changes, I am a firm believer within reason in modifying the fish species that are best suited or adapted for the "local" conditions. But LMB & bgill can do well just about anywhere in typical NA waters.

However, if one wants something else out of his fishery besides LM bass & bgill, then you should look for species that are naturally compatable or naturally occur together. Nature spent thousands of years getting it pretty cohesive and pretty functional, so why try and "swim against the current". In this light I think it is unnatural to try an get a small mouthed predator to eat a wide bodied fish no matter what the geography. Unless this is done for a specific reason or purpose. In these conditions the predator is forced to be less efficient and eat the smaller than optimum sized prey, again "swimming against the current". It can be done but would it work better another way?

The most important perameter or factor for which species of fish are best suited for your water is temperature. Tempearature is usu the most variable as one moves to different latitudes.

The LMB-Bgill is a very versitile and successful combination over a real wide range of conditions. As you know, it has been studied and used extensively and it is a real hard combination to beat for simplicity and a high degree of success. The more species you start trying to manage in a water body the more difficult it becomes to get it all clicking together in a more complex food web. Simpler is often better unless you are trying to achieve something special.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/26/08 11:27 AM.

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#10118 12/03/03 01:14 PM
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I think I see what your saying aobut going with the flow. Its well known that walleye eat perch, so stock those two together. There are many examples of this what about channel and blue cats? what is thier optimum forage? Or trout? should trout be stocked with minnows or not?
I think this reasoning is a pretty good basis for stocking decisions but it also runs counter to the principle of fewer species. In nature there is a huge abundance of diffrent forage and predators in each body of water. That is one part of nature everyone agrees we don't want to duplicate.

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Not sure I agree in nature it is the rule to have many species. Wherever I have observed a multitude of species it has been through man's intervention whether intentional or not. Canals connecting waterways that were not connected before, creations of reservoirs out of streams and rivers, indescriminant planting of fish, introduciton of species by ballast water, by bait buckets etc.

Many virgin fisheries in the far north (not many left) have very few species. I was fishing Devil's lake in North Dakota a few years back and was agast that the lake had no largemouth or smallmouth bass. Bait restrictions was strictly enforced. The only species in this vast lake were yellow perch, walleye, white bass, northern pike and crappie. The only minnows allowed for bait were fatheads.


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






#10120 12/03/03 06:09 PM
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Its funny that the only minnows allowed were fat heads considering that there are tons of diffrent minnows in the wild. I ahve recently become interested in collecting and keeping native fish. In a single little creek on the north shore of lake superior I have caught creek chubs, stickle backs, iowa darters and central mudminnows with in feet of each other.
I feel that fishermen, including myself, focus too much on the big fish. I was shocked when I first learned that minnesota has about 165 species of fish. How many people can name more that 15 off the top of thier head? I couldn't for along time. There are about 25,000 species of fish in the world and we only talk about stocking 12 or 13 of them. Thats okay, aquaculture generaly works better that way, it is easier to deal with only 2 or at most 3 fluctuating populations of fish. But nature has contrived a whole mess of diffrent fish, darters, kill fish, daces, chubs, shiners and stickle backs. And they all have thier place in lakes and streams.

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