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New pond dug last summer that finally started filling after this winter. The pond is the typical(for my area I think) kidney shape, shallow on one end gradually sloping to 15ft at it's deepest point on the other end.I have 10 Christmas trees divided into 2 bundles(will be adding more as I collect them) 1 pile of clay tile 5ft dia. X 2ft high and will have some brick/concrete availbe later if needed, and two "spawning beds" 3ft wide X 4ft long, that are not currently under water. So I my need to add some smaller beds until the water rises?
My hope is to have a bass and bluegill pond.
I have read many post on starting with fatheads and bluegill, and adding the bass later. That all sounds good and makes since, but the confusing part is the numbers of fish and the time table to do it in. Each post has something diffrent, so what are the suggestions for my site? Any other species needed for the mix? Any other "structures" needed? taking a deep breath, that was long

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Have you tried downloading the pond guide from the INDR for answers on pond stocking rates in Indiana?

It's at
http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/fsmgt/fishpd.htm

I think you will get some good advice on here, but be aware that stocking rates and suggested species can vary from region to region and how far north or south you are.

Cecil Baird
Ligonier, Indiana


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






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Cecil

Thank you for your reply.

I have read the Pond Management guide, it is pretty general in regards to numbers. They recommend a 5:1 ratio of bluegill to bass, not to exceed 1,000 bluegill and 200 bass per acre, and 100 channel catfish per acre. There is no mention any fatheads or other "food" and kind of implies that you stock all species at once.

Thats why I'm confused on what to do.

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Jake a couple comments, any pond less than 1 acre is going to be a difficult to manage for Bream/Bass. You must be much more careful with harvesting. Many pros will suggest just catfish. My suggesstion is to go with less than the max amount of fish. Say 250 Bream 50 bass and 25 cats and have a feeding program. Stock Bream, cats and fathead now and bass this fall.
Good luck!

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I can help confuse you. Just some quick thoughts based on ponds in your region.
No cats unless you plan to regularly catch them out and eat them. Otherwise I find they are pretty much not needed in a pond and usually become come a nuisance or novelity. I believe that each larger catfish takes the place of one bass. What would you rather have bass or catfish?. I prefer bass, more bass less catfish; many differ. You can have a mix of both but if you don't eat cats, why have them take up space when several extra bass MAY be more fun. Maybe not, it depends, you decide.

In rereading your intro question, you want a bass bgill pond. Then why stock cats?
If no cats, just leave the cats out, the 50 bass will probably, when the pond matures, end up being 12 to 20 larger bass and 10 to 30 bass less than 8". Depends on how you harvest & manage.

When to stock what species. It can be done either way. The purpose of adding bass later after bgill or fatheads is that one or both will have spawned and there will be scads of baby fish for the newly stocked bass to eat. Resultant bass growth will be more than twice as fast compared to stocking bass and bgill at the same time together.

If you add the bass after the bgill or fatheads spawn watch carefully that bgill do become over abundant in the first 3 yrs. Do not harvest any bass until the first stocked bass have had little ones that grew up and spawned and this spawn is catchable, usu 4 to 6 yrs after initial bass stocking. This helps promote successful bass spawns which control bgill numbers.

One half acre pond does not allow much bass harvest (1 maybe 2/yr). Primarily because you do not have many bass in there. Each bass you take out leaves behind about 5-8 lbs of uneaten bgill that would have been eaten if that bass was still there. So each bass harvest should include some harvested bgill.

The harvest method/techniques will determine what sizes of fish are in your pond. You manage that.

You have to stock based on your goals. Decide on your goals then stock and manage toward that goal. Have a goal then seek advice specific to that goal. There are many new midwestern, newbee nonfishing, pondowners. They have no well thought out plan or goal. This is primarily because they do not know all the options or choices or possibilities. Thus the State or others (hatcheries) have blanket or general stocking guidelines for a generalized fishery. But what if one wants a specialized fishery? Then throw those guidelines out, or maybe just modify them a bit with some experienced help that keeps "your goals" in the forefront.


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Bill Cody

Thanks for your reply.

I would like to end up with a pond that has bass for sport and bluegill for sport/occasional eating

Would it be unresonable to stock 500 bluegill(1-2in) 100 bass(3-4in) and 3 pounds fathead. And if so should I stock all at once or wait till the early fall for bass?

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jb. I prefer BillD's suggestion. Southern ponds often have a higher BG:LMB ratio for stocking - often 10:1. Northern ponds usually have lower BG:LMB ratios of 5:1 or lower. It depends on goals and location. 250 gills and 50 LMB, maybe 300-400 gills but in your situation I prefer 250 gills w/ the 3 or 4 lbs of fatheads. Stock gills & fatheads in spring then bass in fall. Lets examine this a little.
Remember you have 1/2 acre.
Are you fertilizing? Keep in mind that this is dangerous & risky in IN, IL, OH, PA, MI. It can easily produce filamentous algae and weeds in the north if you are not an expert and experienced. Fertilizing modifies these details.

1. point 1. fatheads will spawn in May June and spawning will taper off somewhat in July August. Gills will grow fast eating fathead fry, insect larvae and zooplankton. Gills could be 6"-7"by fall. Stock 2-4" bass in fall and they will feed heavily on surplus fatheads production & even get little growth and be fat going into winter which will greatly help your winter bass survival. 3-5" Bass (spring 2004) w/ heavy forage will be 10"-12" (few maybe 13") in fall of 2004. I do not recommend southern raised bass for you. Use northern raised/strain LMB.

2. point 2. Your pond IF ideal and really fertile will supprt 100lb of bass per acre 50lb/0.5ac). If you stock 100 bass & all survive they will theor. grow to 0.5 lb each. 100x0.5lb=50 lb. Then bass carrying capacity is reached. Not much room for bass growth unless some are removed.

But stock 50 bass & if all survive can theor. grow to 1 lb each. 25 Bass can grow to 2 lb each. See? Which would you prefer?
3. point 3. 50 bass is probably the better choice because the bass added in fall of 2003 in IN will not spawn until spring of 2005. You will need a strong young bass (3"-5")crop in spring of 2004 to thin the 2004 spawn from gills. You will need to thin the bass somewhat once 50 get to around one pound so they do not run short of food/forage. Keep an eye on this and availability of forage for guidence of any need for bass removal. As noted above bass at end of 2004 should be 10"-13" long.

ALTERNATIVE. Stock 1-3" gills & LMB together with fatheads (now 10-15 lbs) spring 2003. Fatheads will spawn and bass will grow fairly quick to 5"to 6" and then have ALL the fatheads, including breeders, eaten. LMB will run out of food esp if more than 50. Your refuge areas for fatheads, as noted above are minimal to almost nonexistant. Fatheads are real slow swimmers. Gills will help thin fathead fry and insect larvae. LMB basically grinds to a halt since no baby gills are present to feed them. You go into winter & spring 2004 with 5"to 7" bass and a short food supply until July-Aug'04' when baby gills enter the food chain. Bass might grow another 1"-2" by fall of 2004 (7"-9").

If you buy "pellet raised bass" 3"-4"or (4"-5") spring'03' they can eat fatheads & you can supplimentarily feed them all summer 2003 and have 10" to 12" (12"-14")LMB and 5" to 8" gills by end of 2003. Feeding pellets works.

These are the basics, you decide which method is best for you.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/23/12 09:00 PM. Reason: Stocking ratios

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Do a search on the web for benefits to initial stockings of fatheads. They are GREAT for building up a huge forage base for the bass to feed on. Ideally they should be stocked before the bass. I'm not sure if stocking bluegill with them will hurt spawning production a lot, but look at it this way...it won't hurt to stock the fatheads before any other fish are stocked. I'd stock'em in the spring and let them spawn like crazy up to at least mid to late summer, then stock the bluegill and bass. You might also want to check on the possibility of stocking golden shiners along with the fatheads IF the golden's won't eat all your fatheads. Read an interesting article on a public lake that was initially stocked with fatheads and allowed to spawn for a year or so before stocking other species. The growth rates of other fish were outstanding over the new few years as they got real fat on the fatheads.


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