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Ok, well, in 3 hours with 5 minnow traps, I was able to remove ~375 PS.

My big concern is I didn't see one YP. Just PS and shiners in the traps.

This past weekend I threw a trap in and looked quickly at the fish, the very small PS fooled me into thinking they were YP, because of the vertical stripes, upon closer inspection, I realized they were all PS.

This means the 50 YP I put in last May did not spawn this year? What would cause that? I have not really seen any of the YP since I put them in, but I never found any dead ones either...

Here are a couple pictures showing the size range of the PS.






EDIT: Hicklings say they have plenty of 4" SMB.

Last edited by ETD66SS; 06/18/12 06:03 PM.
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ETD, I like the tape measure. I have one similar to that one too, but not many people know how to read it. Mine only has the upper portion of yours on it. wink


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I am striking out on places nearby with smallmouth.

I have a call into Finger Lakes Aquaculture, but his phone message says I can only pickup on Saturday's, which is not the day I'll be driving home from the 1000 islands.

I wish I knew a pond owner near me with smallmouth.

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Your experiences are educational to others. Keep us informed. Sometimes one has to make sacrifices to get the fish they want especially hard to locate SMB especially in spring. I keep preaching this fact. When one gets behind in the game and to succeed they have to make extra efforts.

Evidently PS can be prolific esp without predators. That is good information. For others it could be a real good idea to have some fingerling SMB present when the PS spawn for the first time!

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/19/12 08:24 AM.

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Actually, the fish farm I have been using informed me that they could get me SMB. But when it came time to get some, they decided not to I guess. So yeah, I'm now behind of where I was supposed to be.

So far Hickling's is the only one to respond to me with good news, 4" SMB, however $4 each! So I can only really afford 50 of them, and hope they don't die on the long journey home.

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50 smallmouth will get established pretty quickly. In two years they will be spawning, two years after that you will have no problem catching abundant smallmouth.


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Another advantage of buying from a hatchery: You will have a receipt to keep forever, just in case there is ever a question about where you got your fish. In Missouri, if you don't have receipts, it's pretty much assumed by the MDC that your fish belong to the state. Which means that an MDC enforcement officer can, if he or she chooses, enforce all of the state's fishing regulations on your property, including limits and licensing requirements.

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Quote:
Which means that an MDC enforcement officer can, if he or she chooses, enforce all of the state's fishing regulations on your property, including limits and licensing requirements.


Well, here in NYS, even with hatchery fish, people still need fishing licenses to fish in my ponds, and obey size limits as well.

I, as the owner of the ponds, am the only person that does not have to obey the normal angling rules, as I have a pond permit, which gives me the right to manage the populations.

My state is waaaay ahead of yours... frown

Edit: Ok, of all those hatcheries on the DEC list, the one that is the furthest away is the only one with the SMB. I guess I'm going to have to take a major detour next week on the way home.

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Hickling's should prepare the fish well for the trip. That is their business if you tell them how far you have to go home. Try to travel them inside with air conditioning and in the shade. SMB can be as rare as hen's teeth esp in spring thus the high dollar. Smallies are a premium fish thus their quality status as a game fish. It takes a very good knowledgable fish farm to consistantly produce SMB fingerlings each year and many fail - again the reason for a higher price and lack of fish at various farms. . IMO it is MUCH better to box too few into more containers and have them arrive well compared to crowding all into one bag/box, with stress and losses.

IMO stock some now and some again this fall and again a few in 2013 to insure a good early size distribution especially since you need predators. You can always thin them out later. Remember you are 'playing catch-up'. Work at removing this year's hatch of PS. Take out everyone except for maybe 2% of the largest individuals. YOu will have plenty in next year's PS spawns.

Many here think YP are prone to overpopulation, but IMO YP are less prone to overpopulate compared to PS. Lack of seeing YP in your traps is another indication that this is true. Plus YP are a slender bodied fish (fusiform) and easy for many predators to eat as 4"-7" long individuals, not so true with PS. Plus YP will train to pellets easier than PS.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/19/12 10:25 AM.

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Well, I told them I plan to use a cooler with a bait aerator, they told me that would work fine.

Only issue is, they will be in the back of my pickup truck, and it has a black tonneau cover over the bed.

It's a 221 mile trip from Hickling's to my ponds.

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Consider splitting your order into to one of their preferred packaging methods (bag&oxygen) and put that inside the truck if possible. If they wont fit in the truck get another cooler and put the bagged fish in the 2nd cooler with a little ice on top but not in the water. BE very careful not to over cool the water and cause temperature shock putting them into the pond. Put a little ice on the bagged fish every 50-100 mi. Just enough ice to keep the air cool and thus the water in the bag from overheating. Have a thermometer in the cooler to monitor temps. Try to maintain water temps close those water temps in your pond or temp of the hatchery water where they are holding the smallies. They are premium fish don't kill them. Ask if the smallies you are getting are pellet trained.

IMO the smallies are worth the extra expense, effort and hassle which is why you are taking a trip to 1000 Islands. LMB are a dime-a-dozen type of fish - IMO.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/19/12 10:27 AM.

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I do not have an extended cab truck, and I have bucket seats to boot.

I don't think I can fit them in the cab with me, with AC.

I'm also not sure I trust the bag + oxygen for that long of a trip.

I have a couple of days to plan something.

The bait aerator I have has two outputs, each with a diffuser stone.

I think I will split the order into 25 fish in each cooler, each with a diffuser stone. I'll get a second aerator of the same type as a backup. They are 110V and I use one of those car battery booster/power packs to run the aerators.

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There is a powder on the market that removes ammonia and nitrites from the water, or locks them up so the fish aren't affected. Cecil told me about it, but I can't remember what it is. IIRC he bought it from Aquatic Ecosystems. You might want to get some for the trip.

Bill is right about monitoring temps. I moved 125 LMB last summer, 6"-8" fish. I moved them in bags, and put ice in the bottom of each 5 gal bucket according to the hatchery. Inside an air conditioned car. 3 hr trip and when I got there, ALL the LMB were on the bottom of the bags, mouths open and stiff. 25 fish per bag. I was able to save 100 of them, but lesson learned. 1) less fish per bag. 2) monitor temps 3)monitor fish once an hour.


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Fish of 6"-8" will consume a lot more (at least twice) DO and produce more ammonia compared to 4" fish. It is a biomass - respiration thing. I would worry about coolers in back of the truck heating up too much in this June heat. I would prefer to not have ice on the bottom of the bags but on top. Cool air tends to sink. Ice on top will also cool the air inside the cooler and reduce heat build up. Ice on top is easy to see when it is melted and needs more ice. Too much ice can be as bad as too little ice. Hauling fish in heat is an art and science and dangerous/risky. If you have an air thermometer in the cooler on the bag or beside a bag it will indicate the water temp pretty close. Problem with adding ice to the water is too rapid of a temp change which is not good for the fish. I've hauled lots of fish in lower numbers in bags w/ pure oxygen. They freight ship them for 24 hr trips that way all the time. Problem now with that is the heat. Another option for conservative plan is fewer fish per bag 12-18 with ice on top. Be prepared that they have larger smallies 5"-6" which require fewer per container. Even if the hatchery guarantees live arrival - talk is cheap. The problem is not the cost of the fish but the time and travel involved to get them as you are now realizing.

Keep up the good efforts removing PS. As you trap more you may see some small YP. Each small bass can easily eat 250-400 small fish per yr depening on the size of the bass and prey. This will give you an idea of how many to remove for each bass or other predator that is missing.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/19/12 12:06 PM.

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Ok, I have now removed 875 young PS.

Just when I think it's starting to slow down, I move the traps to new locations and it starts all over again. Seems like no end in sight...

So, while trapping 875 PS, and about 300 shiners, I have yet to trap a YP or a fathead. (I have even trapped about 20 very large Bullfrog Tadpoles with rear legs, they must have squeezed their way into the holes in the traps...)

There must be 10,000's if not 100k fatheads in there, they just are not finding their way into the traps...

I'm concerned that out of all these fish I have trapped, I have yet to see a YP. Should I add more YP soon???

BTW, I have placed these fish in my brothers pond as food for his LMB. At some point he is not going to want anymore. What should I do with them?

Take a blender out there and grind them up for fish food?

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IMO each smallie could eat 150-200 small PS/yr. Keep removing PS until you get about 150-200 out for each SMB added (50) or until trapping yields essentially no PS. Some PS will learn to avoid the traps. This totals 7500-10000 PS to remove. You are getting an idea how many fish a predator eats. Don't worry about taking out too many YOY PS.

If we calculate the above numbers it looks something like this.
PS 1"long =abt 0.6g. 1.5"long= 1.5g.
SMB 4" long = weighs abt 16g, 6" long smallie weights abt 55g. A weight gain of 39grams over a growing season.
To gain 39g, I figured 60% of 10:1 weight conversion was consumed fish thus 39gx6 = 234grams of fish consumed for each bass to gain 39g X 50 bass = 11,700 grams of fish eaten required to gain those 11,700grams of bass weight/growth.
11,700g of PS = 19,500 1" PS or 7,800 1.5" PS.


If you don't catch any YOY in your trapping this summer-fall. Then it would be okay to add some of this years crop from a hatchery so you have some of this year's year class of YP. I wouldn't put any more than 100/ac 2"-4" YP or 3"-5". I'm not sure why you had no successful YP recruitment this spring. The spring weather was an odd year for YP spawning, although hatches did occur in many ponds. Actually in my YP pond I would prefer not to have YP hatches because this allows for faster growth of YP and good control of numbers. YP are not that expensive to have to stock 100/ac each yr which would provide fast growth due to lower densities and lack of overcrowding.

In theory without a YP harvest and if one started with 200YP/ac and added 100YP per/ac/yr and assuming YP have a life span of 8-10 yrs. at the end of 8 yrs there would be around 800-900YP/ac. If one harvested 50/ac/yr that would still leave about 400/ac.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/20/12 05:44 PM.

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Quote:
This totals 7500-10000 PS to remove


shocked

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Well I hit the road for my 1000 islands vacation tomorrow, and to pick up the SMB next week sometime. Tonight I made good progress on my setup for "cool aeration".

The center cooler will be packed with ice in an attempt to cool down the air the aerators push into the coolers containing the fish.

I bought some cheapo pool thermometers to keep an eye on the temperatures in the fish coolers.

I still might go to Home Depot and get soem plumbing insulation for the hoses going from the icebox to the coolers.

Cool Aeration

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It appears you have some decent aeration and hauling conditions planned. Keep in mind that you want to maintain water temps close to what the fish were living in and not cool them down a lot and then warm them back up to put them in your pond. Too stressful IMO. Hauling temp should be maintained similar and within 4F of your pond temp. The aeration system you have designed should keep them in good condition for the trip home if they are not too crowded in each cooler. It is much better to arrive with fewer lively fish than lots of dead fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/22/12 09:18 PM.

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I'm hoping 25 4" SMB per cooler is not too crowded.

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Ok, I made the drive to Hicklin's after I left the 1000 Islands.

All went well today except the 60 MPH in a 45 MPH workzone speeding ticket, that will probably make these 50 SMB cost about $500 and 4 pts on my license more than the $200 I paid for them frown

The guy at the fish farm seemed to think my setup was overkill, said I did not need the ice box, nor 2 aerators per cooler...

The temperature of the coolers started and stayed at 64 F the whole trip. My pond temp was 78 F, so I had to slowly warm up the water in the cooler for about 1.5 hrs to about 76 F before I let them go. That's way more than a 4 F swing, hope they'll make it ok.

SMB-Stocked

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Good job except for the speeding ticket. Overkill in fish hauling is IMO much, much better than stressed and dead fish. Those smallies should grow about a fast as possible with shiners and PS as food. Report back in October as to how big they are. You might get a SMB spawn in 2013.


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Quote:
Those smallies should grow about a fast as possible with shiners and PS as food


Kinda funny, as when I was adding them to the ponds, a bunch of PS and shiners came over to see what was going on, and greeted the SMB. Little do they know...

A spawn in 2013 would be quite amazing.

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This is likely the 2nd year for those fish. The SMB you stocked looked a little bigger than 4" - more like 5". Did you measure any of them? 2013 should be starting their third year. Smallie will often spawn when 3 yrs old. They should be 8"-10" long in May of 2013 with all the forage fish in your pond.

In re-reading this thread I am wondering why you stocked PS before the SMB since the original plan was to put PS in after SMB. Now currently PS are tending to be overabundant. If anyone else uses this combination I would not stock PS until the SMB have spawned and numerous fingerling SMB are available to eat newly hatched PS and YP. As EDT found out SMB stockers can be hard to locate when you want or need them irregardless of what a fish farm tells or promises you.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 06/27/12 06:57 PM.

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Originally Posted By: ETD66SS
Kinda funny, as when I was adding them to the ponds, a bunch of PS and shiners came over to see what was going on, and greeted the SMB. Little do they know...


That's good stuff.

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