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#19715 06/07/07 12:04 PM
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I'm sure you experts have already read this, but for those who haven't cheak it out.
http://www.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/BassTilapiaPolyculture.PDF
After more research of my area, I have discovered that the Blue tilapia is the common fish for my area, I think they can tolorate lower temps. So I plan to sein them from the local ponds and put them in mine. As well as TFshad, FHM, LMB. Sorry Bruce, no BG yet, I want to see if tilapia will bite and be more catchable if no BG are present, If their still hard to catch I'll stock BG next year. Im trying to determine what the stocking rate should be. MY question to the experts is based on this study? If 1 ha= 2.4 acres? and my pond is Apx 3 acres should i stock my bass at a higher stock rate than the usuall 100 p/ac (south). Say 125-150 p/acre assuming I have aprox 500-600 tilapia. What so Ya'll think?
In their study they put in 129-6oz bass with 590 tilapia in 2.4 Acres, only 49 bass survived and weighted about 1.3lbs after 6mths. in another pond they put in 494-5oz bass with 590 tilapia in 2.4 acres and 296 survived and weighed 1.2 lbs after six mths. (Huh?) Oh yea I'm trying to manage for trophy largemouth. But i Also want good numbers of bass if that's possible.

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I get nothing on that link. Why not add bluegill, the addition can I think only help to beef up th ebass along with the tilapia, the combo is beter thatn just tilapia.


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Before i say anything , this is going to be long but im trying to get help with stocking rates on something very few people have done before, I assume. I'm hoping that experts can analyze this data and maybe we can come to some kind of concensus. Greg, Have you tried pasting that link? it works when i click on it. Wish i could tell you how but I'm no computer wiz. I'll give you the meat. But understand that I live in Brownsville, TX (born in Ga though)and the tilapia in my area live year round. avg winter temps are about 65 degrees. So to answer your ?about the BG. How long does it take for a BG to get to 1-1.5lbs? and how long till their 3-4lbs? Which on fights better? I truly dont know YET. Of course this depends on if you can catch them. So if i leave out the aggressive BG maybe the tilapia will be catchable. If not I'll stock the BG. And lastly at the risk of being black-balled from the forum, I truly prefer the taste of tilapia to BG. And I've eaten lots of both. Unfortunatly The best part, the data table i cant paste because it doesn't make sense but I'll give you the bottom line. From what I see
that if you stock LMB on the very heavy side with tilapia that you get FANTASTIC growth of both species, the Bass growth is in the first thread. In the pond they put the 494 bass in the tilapia growth was this: 590 brood tilapia- 150grams/ea=5.2oz and 6mths later avg harvest wght was 475 grams=1.04lbs, ranging from 182-650 grams. largest at 1.4lbs. with >20,000 juveniles. total unexploited juvenile biomass at harvest was 376kg=828lbs and total tilapia biomass was 655kg=1444lbs


POLYCULTURE OF LARGEMOUTH BASS (Micropterus salmoides)
WITH BLUE TILAPIA (Oreochromis aurea):
USING TILAPIA PROGENY AS FORAGE
William A. Wurtsa, D. Allen Davisb, Edwin H. Robinsonc
aCooperative Extension Program, Kentucky State University, P. O. Box 469, Princeton, KY 42445
bUniversity of Texas at Port Aransas, Port Aransas, TX 78373
cMississippi State University, Delta Branch Experiment Station, P. O. Box 197, Stoneville, MS 38766

1. Introduction
The proliferation of tilapia in public waters, their ability to reproduce rapidly and
their acceptance as forage by piscivores have generated interest in the use of largemouth
bass to manage tilapia reproduction and proliferation. Research by Schramm and Zale
(1985) indicated that largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) show a preference for
blue tilapia (Oreochromis aurea) over indigenous forage; this was dependent upon forage
size and availability as well as vegetative cover. Swingle (1960, 1966) examined the
ability of largemouth bass and peacock bass to utilize tilapia spawned in tilapia
production ponds. The addition of piscivorous predators reduced the total number of
tilapia (juveniles) while increasing the number of harvestable (large) tilapia.
The present study was designed to evaluate the use of largemouth bass to control
tilapia reproduction as well as to provide base-line information concerning the number of
bass that can be supported by the progeny of a fixed density of tilapia broodfish.

2. Materials and Methods
Five 0.04-ha ponds were stocked with largemouth bass fingerlings at the
following densities: 124, 247, 494, 988, and 1136 fish/ha. The mean weight of
individual fish stocked at densities of 124-988/ha was 17.3 g; 60.6 g bass were used at the
1136/ha density. Tilapia broodfish (150 g) were sexed and stocked at a density of 590/ha
and a ratio of one male to three females; 340 g broodfish were stocked with the 60.6 g
bass. Additionally, each pond was stocked with crawfish (Procambarus spp), 45 kg/ha,
and top minnows (Gambusia affinis), 30 kg/ha, to provide forage until juvenile tilapia
populations had become established.
A 32% protein, floating catfish feed was offered for the first three weeks of the
experiment at a daily rate of 14.4 kg/ha to provide nutrients for tilapia broodfish and to
stimulate natural pond productivity. After three weeks, feed was offered at a fixed daily
allotment of 7.2 kg/ha until water temperature fell consistently below 15° C (the first
week of November 1985). Fish were stocked 14 June 1985 and harvested from 17 to 21
December 1985.
Temperature and dissolved oxygen levels were measured in each pond three times
weekly. No supplemental aeration was used. Well water was pumped into ponds
continuously when freeze warnings were in effect to protect tilapia from low water
temperatures. Since it was presumed that tilapia activity in the bottom sediments would
affect turbidity, secchi disc measurements were initiated after tilapia populations were
well established, approximately 3 months after stocking, and continued once weekly to
assess water clarity. These data were intended as an indicator of visibility as encountered
by the bass.
At harvest, individual weights, total biomass and survival of bass were
determined. The gut contents of bass were examined to determine if they were
consuming tilapia. Final biomass of the original tilapia broodfish and total biomass of
unexploited juvenile tilapia were measured. Mean individual weights of tilapia broodfish
were calculated by weighing the largest tilapia harvested from each treatment, equal in
number to tilapia broodfish stocked. Broodfish survival was assumed to be 100% in each
treatment. No mortalities were observed among broodfish during the course of the
experiment.
Final weights of bass and secchi disc measurements among stocking densities
were compared using one-way analysis of variance and multiple comparison tests. Data
means were compared using Scheffe’s test for data sets of unequal size and Duncan’s
multiple range test for data sets of equal size (Ott, 1977). Results are reported significant
with p set at the α ≤0.05 level for both one-way analysis of variance and multiple
comparison tests. The correlation coefficient, R2, is reported for significant, analysis of
variance findings.
3
3. Results
The data presented in Table 1 indicate that, at harvest (Figure 1), bass in the high
density ponds (988 and 1136 bass/ha) were significantly smaller (R2 = 0.894) than those
in low density ponds (124, 247, and 494/ha). Bass from the highest density pond had the
highest survival (Table 1). Bass mortalities were observed during the first seven days
following stocking. Gut contents of these fish revealed no food items.

Harvest weights of individual tilapia broodfish were greater in ponds stocked with
high bass densities. Broodfish weights were similar in ponds stocked with bass densities
of 124-494/ha (Table 2). Total tilapia biomass ranged from 655 to 907 kg/ha in low
density bass ponds and from 442 to 840 kg/ha in high density bass ponds (Table 2).
Numbers and biomass of unexploited tilapia were comparatively larger in low density
bass ponds than in high density ponds (Table 2). In addition to many big juveniles, ponds
stocked with bass densities at or below 494/ha had several kg of tilapia fry (819/kg).
Each kilogram represented approximately 20,000 fry/ha.
Dissolved oxygen concentrations and temperatures ranged from 2.8 to 15.0 mg/1 and 8°
to 31° C (Table 3). Secchi disc measurements were from 24 to 117 cm. Throughout the
growing season, mean seechi disc values were significantly higher (R2 = 0.65) in high
density bass ponds (Table 3). The high density ponds had substantial filamentous algae
blooms.

4. Discussion
In certain situations, tilapia have been shown to be an important source of forage
for largemouth bass (Noble et al., 1975; Schramm and Zale, 1985). No tilapia or other
food items were found in the stomachs of bass in this study. Presumably, this resulted
from reduced intake in response to the 28-day period of cold weather preceding harvest.
It appears that tilapia were consumed as is evidenced by the low densities of unexploited
(juvenile) tilapia in high density bass ponds (Table 2). Ponds stocked with high densities
of bass, which produced significantly smaller bass at harvest (Figure 1, Table 1),
apparently did not have a sufficient forage base for optimum bass growth. Tilapia
broodfish in ponds stocked with low bass densities were substantially smaller at harvest
than broodfish in ponds with high bass densities. The tilapia-bass interactions observed
in this study, with respect to number and size of tilapia at harvest, are similar to those (as
discussed in the introduction) reported by Swingle (1960).
Since multiple spawns would be expected from tilapia broodfish and sexually
mature offspring, ponds stocked with a fixed number of tilapia broodfish should supply a
relatively stable forage base. The bass population that could be supported by a tilapia
based forage system would depend on the rate of forage production (spawning) and the
rate of forage consumption (predation). That is, a given number of bass should be
capable of controlling the spawn of a given number of tilapia.
One might be tempted to define these interactions with Swingle’s (1950) F/C
(forage biomass/carnivore biomass) ratio. However, that relationship does not apply well
in this example. It is the total spawn (tilapia juveniles) and therefore, the original density
of female tilapia broodfish that is important. To avoid confusion, the tilapia-bass
relationship in this study will be represented as the ratio of female forage broodfish (FB)
to piscivore (P) densities (FB/P).
The optimum FB/P value is dependent upon production goals. If one’s objective
is to produce large tilapia and to reduce or eliminate unwanted spawn, bass should be
stocked at high density. If bass size is to be maximized, bass should be stocked at low
density. The results of this study suggest that a FB/P ratio of 1.4 is adequate for
production of large bass. Values near 0.7 would produce large tilapia and minimize
spawn.
Based on the results of this study, it seems feasible to maintain tilapia/bass ratios
for one production cycle in a temperate climate. Tilapia could be marketed as a food fish
crop. Bass harvested from such a system could be used for management of sport and
recreational fisheries. The technique of culturing predatory fish with a prolific forage
species has potential for other game fish, particularly species of high economic value and
whose food requirements are not readily satisfied with commercial feeds

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lwj very intersting stuff. I understand what you are saying. Couple of comments b/f I head out of town. SO one goal is putting food on the table? Agree tilpia are good eatin' This is conterproductive for big bass. Also what is sustanabliity of the larger tilapia, in otherwords I do not think many tilapia survive bass predation. That is a great thing to grow the bass in the study but it will hurt when the bass get bigger and the larger food items they need are not there. I see a pond with just tilapia as forage in TX having good intial bass growth but it will not sustain that growth rate on larger bass unless you continue to stock larger tilapia every year even if they overwinter where your located. I maybe be wrong but do not see downsdie in some bluegill. Try it so we can learn from it.


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Greg, I emailed you that study so you can check out the raw data. In, response to your last post I would WITH RESPECT have to disagree. Based on the data im reading theres really no difference between a management plan using tilapia than that of BG exept tilapia can support a heck of a lot more bass. correct me if i'm wrong. when they harvested the tilapia after 6mth there were over 20,000 juveniles(828lbs worth), the Brood fish weighed an avg of 1.04lbs with the smallest being 6.5 oz and the largest being 1.4lbs. This is after 6mths. What size bass eats 1lb BG? 494-5oz bass were released of which 296 were harvested and weighed 1.2lbs. IS that good growth? I truely don't know YET. you would be more qualified to answer that. I would think that a steady diet of 1-2 lb tilapia would satisfy even the largest of bass?at the same time there seems to be plenty of young forage to get them big enough to eat 1 pounder's. When it comes to tilapia surviving predation they either do a DAMN good job or their just forage factories. Either way the bass and I should benefit. SO, you are correct that my goal is to put food on the table and i would assume that after 1-2yrs I can put as many 2-3lb tilapia on it as I want, and 6-7Mths later they will be compleatly replenished. I should probably leave those 1 lb fish for the bass to eat? As far a BG goes Greg, I love them. I'm from GA, I grew up with them, but I have been blessed, #1. W/ PB forum. I have been able to research for mths before my pond was dug ( STARTS NEXT WEEK ) and almost every on says that they CAN catch the tilapia IF they can keep the BG away long enough #2. I live where my tilapia can overwinter and still thrive, they get bigger than BG, Faster than BG and IIII think they taste better. Oh yea, ive read that pound for pound they fight better, can't wait to test that one!If i can't get them to bite without BG (or chinese cabbage) The CNBG will be in their in a heartbeat. And to all, this is not mean't to be an arguement I just want as much input as i can get on an agreeable stocking rate for my forage and bass in a 3 acre pond. Please help. Keep this in mind. I hope to run this like an experiment (meadowlark w/GG?)where all data is collected with Pics so that all of us can get the benifits of this MAYBE STUPID IDEA.

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"Based on the data im reading theres really no difference between a management plan using tilapia than that of BG exept tilapia can support a heck of a lot more bass. "
-------------------------------------------------

I hope this is correct...as Todd dumps in FIFTY lbs. of his finest.

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Ahvasta, I'm sorry I just caught that. What I'm trying to say is that the data shows if you have too many bass that the tilapia get huge but there's very few juveniles (bass stay small), to few bass and theres Lots of smaller tilapia and (larger bass). And then there's the happy medium where all is in harmony. That's the same as managing a bass/BG pond right? Thats where I'm asking for advice, What stocking rates would some of the pro's use if they were going to try this in a 3ac pond? Todd can get me some GAMBs, And TFshad for now, but I'll need to use Blue tilapia. Todd, if you got'em we're in buisness. Other wise I'll need to get them locally.

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LWJ
PM Todd and discuss your needs. His knowledge, service and quality of fish have been superb! You want him "on-site", his advice has proven to be exemplary. It is nice, in this day and time, to feel you get MORE than your $s worth.

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Very few people have experience with tilapia where they over winter . That is entirely different from the situation where they don't.

LWJ I read the material you posted and will look at the complete study later. I have read many times the Swingle studies and others. The one above and some of the others only apply to aquaculture raising of tilapia for market. While they have good and useful info they are not comparable to a recreational fish pond and especially one where tilapia will over winter. You should talk to Todd if he is helping you. If you want to learn about tilapia start with reading and understanding the SRAC tilapia links below.

The study above so far as you posted does not show any difference with general results between Blue tilapia (O. aureus), Mozambique tilapia (O. Mossambicus) wrt what the study was about or what to expect in a pond.

http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/144249-283f...30f4f19631f1811

http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/144249-280f...30f4f19631f1811
















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avasata, Thanks for the tip, thats good to know.

ewest, Thanks for the links, I have read those aswell. The Data table is what I'd like you to reveiw when you have the time. The goal is a predetor /prey stocking ratio, but i realize few have probably done this before, so they may not want to express an opinion, but ya'll have ALOT more knowledge than me so any suggestions that hold water would be greatly appreciated.As for Tilapia, I'm chosing Blue because they can tolerate colder temps (just in case). And they are found naturally in our resaca (ponds) system.

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LWJ I have looked at both the study and charts. This is the only thing I think you should take from the study. "Based on the results of this study, it seems feasible to maintain tilapia/bass ratios for one production cycle in a temperate climate."

I do not think you should base your decision on the aquaculture tilapia studies unless you want to run one for food production of tilapia and the sale of small LMB for stocking elsewhere. They are not dealing with recreational fish ponds with on going fish populations longer than 6 mths nor with over wintering tilapia. The biology of your situation (on going fish populations) is completely different than the studies. If the study ponds contained either over wintering tilapia or were not harvested out in 6 mths I am fairly sure they would have a big mess by the following summer.
















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L.W.J,

One of the key aspects to Tilapia as a forage is that they do not reproduce at temps below 68 degrees and have significantly reduced reproduction below 80 degrees. Hence, for my ponds in East Texas, which I manage for high catch rates on medium sized LMB (3 to 6 pounds) (trophy LMB 10 pounds+ have been a welcome bonus), it is important to have other forage available for those approximately 4 or 5 months during the year in which no young Tilapia are produced.

IMO, you will have the same problem, and perhaps even more so. Tilapia that overwinter are not going to provide much if any reproduction in your 65 degree water temps and during the time those temps are falling to those levels. They survive, but that is about all. They don't even eat much at all, based on my experience with them in a temp controlled indoor facility. In addition, you will not benefit from the die off in which huge amounts of Tilapia are consumed by LMB just before when winter metabolism slows down the LMB feeding rates. In your case, the LMB metabolism will remain relatively high through winter in comparison to mine hence, further adding to the need for additional forage.

It will be interesting to read the stocking rates and the results you get with your plan of using Tilapia as the only forage. In my way of thinking, a Tilapia only forage pond in S. Texas will see results very comparable to a standard LMB/BG pond in more northern latitudes. In both instances, limited forage availability through the winter months curtails LMB growth independent of winter metabolism. My experience tells me that year-around forage separates the average pond from the above average and spectacular ponds.

If I were in S. Texas, I would contact Texas715 (Greg) for his experience. He has overwintering Tilapia and a successful LMB fishery.

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ML, I was hoping you would chime in, I know your a fan of the Tilapia. thanks for the contact. I plan to stock TFshad and Gambs as well. Some one gave me the idea to have a grow out pond for female only LMB. I decided to cut that in half and make 2 - .5 acre ponds instead, one for TFshad & Gambs only. Will tfshad grow (spawn) in .5 acres 6'deep with fertalization and no predators? Do you think I can grow enough forage during the spring & Summer to last for the 2-3 mts that the tilapia aren't spawning?

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That was well said, ML.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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LWJ and ML I thought in the first post that you were also adding TShad and FH as well as tilapia. That is one reason I am very hesitant to give stocking #s. I sure would not use the stocking #s from those studies as in some cases carrying capacity was filled to crowding in a few mths. That is to hard to manage unless you are an experienced aquaculturist with the proper set-up.

Maybe this will help. In the Swingle studies there are reports from non-temperate (no winter kill) ponds where tilapia reached 13,000 lbs per acre IIRC in one year. I will check that to be sure. FWIW tilapia and TShad both feed on plankton so at some level ( my guess TShad and small under 3in. tilapia) will compete for food.

I think ML makes a good suggestion to contact Texas715 for his results and input. I am not trying to discourage you from using tilapia as they can be a very good tool. Just wary of the high rates in the studies and what to expect from over wintering tilapia wrt pond carrying capacity especially in a mixed specie pond.
















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Ewest, thank you (ML aswell). this is the kind of info I have been looking for . Sorry I missed your previous post. I Think what your saying is the only thing I can do is monitor our fish populations with sein and elec. And let them tell us what we need, Is that your best recomendation? TExas715 You out there?

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LWJ look up Texas715 on the directory and email him or send him a PM.

I do think you have options. Monitoring pond populations as you noted ( catch, seine , elect , trap and observation are all good tools) is critical in all good ponds. It is the only way you can judge what is occurring. I do think you need more forage variety than just FH and TShad for a LMB pond. If you really want some big tilapia - what about getting about 25 adult male tilapia from Todd or someone who can 100% sex them and see how they do for a year. Add the small fish now including a few BG and RES in the mix. Then if you want next spring you can add some tilapia females after the other fish have spawned once. Then you would at least have a base established. Those BG, RES, and LMB could all help control the tilapia offspring. Monitor after that and adjust as needed to meet your goals.
















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This is an interesting topic to me. Sorry, about the delay. Been busy and ranch work so I have had to do my little fishing this year after hours (dark).

I don't know where you would like my two cents to start but I am doing a controlled production test in a smaller pond so I can understand the reproduction capabilities of the tilapia (Mozambique).

I my larger pond I have conservatively stock tilapia only twice, once this past spring just to give a boost of only 23 larger size. I have tilapia overwintering since my initial stocking several years ago with one major, several thousands (the smell), kill off. Some survived and have repopulated the pond.

Let me digest what is being said and asked so i can give a better answer.

L.W.J. you at? I grew up down there.

Thanks

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I did a search on largemouth bass and tilapia interaction and found this -

"Blue tilapia build nests on or close to preferred spawning sites of largemouth bass and bluegills. Because they usually begin to build nests when largemouth bass and bluegills spawn, male tilapia may interfere with the spawning of the two species. Zale (1984) found that male tilapia occupied the spawning beds in Silver Glenn Springs several months before they were ready to spawn. When nest building by tilapia is most active in 1-2 m of clear water, the shoreline looks as if it had been bombed with large 30-cm-wide depressions--some are as deep as 45 cm. No nests or spawning by native species is usually evident in or near tilapia nesting areas while the tilapia are spawning (personal observation)."

I stocked tilapia at a rate of 10 lb. / acre two years ago in May and last year stocked at 50 lb./acre. I found very little results and not much spawning with 10 lbs., but a tremendous benefit with 50 lb. / acre. Spawning tilapia were everywhere and bass were right with them crashing on their spawn. My bass RW sky rocketed on bass over 15" from before tilapia at 89% - 105% to now all 120% - 135%. We are seeing and catching the fattest bass we have ever seen - and across the board on bass sizes. FYI, I also have threadfin shad, copper nose, red ear and channel cats in the lake. I wouldn't just use tilapia because the bass need a winter forage because you will not see the tilapia spawning when the water temp is much under 75 degrees (what I observe) - so my bluegill and shad carry them through the winter for me. I look at tilapia as a Summer / fall forage fish for bass that take the pressure off the bluegill population (save them for winter) and as a great way to keep my lake free of filament algae. They do a great job at this!

This winter and now I have noticed some hold over of 2 - 4 lb. tilapia. I did see a big die off of large tilapia this past winter (never saw small dead ones - just the big ones).

My question is, how many lbs. of tilapia should I stock now per acre if I do have some hold over? Should I do what I did last year and go again with 50 lb. per acre, or back off to maybe 30 lb. per acre with the fear being that I might one day start to have tilapia interfering with my largemouth spawning.

P.S. - We have no problem catching tilapia - try a red worm or piece of nigh crawler fly lined on a small hook - they love them and fight very hard!

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DaveB do you have the pond surveyed for standing crop of fish ( how many lbs of what type of fish per acre) ?

If 50 lbs per acre worked well I would guess that you should subtract from 50 your standing crop of tilapia per acre. For example if 15 lbs of tilapia per acre survive winter then I would add 35 lbs. But that is a WAG. It would be better to have someone do the survey and give an answer based on what they see wrt #s and lbs and size of fish.

The questions you and LWJ are asking are very hard to answer with any degree of accuracy with out seeing/knowing the pond conditions ( balance and population status).
















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Thanks for all the info, T.715 I'm in brownsville, where'd you grow up? I think what I'll do is Stock tilapia & TFS ASAP. let them grow through the summer and measure water temps wkly and growth rates. I'm not sure what winter water temps are going to be. I should be able to fish for them through the fall. and next spring after all data is posted (water temps) we can make a better determination. If BG will be added (maybe)I can put them in at the same time as the bass. DaveB, would you say they fight better than BG pound for pound? I've mixed opinions, some say they don't fight good at all. And can you catch them with the BG or do they (BG) pose a problem?

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LWJ if you go that route then when you add the BG and LMB then add some larger BG. If you use 2in LMB then use your BG $ 65% 2in and 35% 3-5 in. For example at current rates (here) for a 1 acre pond roughly 170 3-5in BG and 600 2in BG. Do however factor in carrying capacity of the pond. If most of the tilapia over winter you may be at capacity next summer.
















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 Quote:
Originally posted by DaveB:
My question is, how many lbs. of tilapia should I stock now per acre if I do have some hold over? Should I do what I did last year and go again with 50 lb. per acre, or back off to maybe 30 lb. per acre with the fear being that I might one day start to have tilapia interfering with my largemouth spawning.
DaveB,

Your observations on LMB RW increases match mine also(LMB at 7 pounds with RW over 1.2), but I've never stocked at that high a rate. One important consideration when stocking Tilapia into a LMB pond is the size of the Tilapia and the water temp. If 3 to 4 inch or even 5 and some 6 inch Tilapia are stocked at water temps in the 60's in a LMB pond, most, if not all, of them will be eaten before they are able to make a contribution. Tilapia need to be stocked when water temps are well into the 70's and also should be 7 to 10 inches to avoid predation.

Regarding your fear that Tilapia might interfere with LMB spawning, there isn't(wasn't) much research available on that topic that I could find in the past, primarily because they die-off in most ponds in this country. In Mexico, that isn't the case and there is some interesting research performed several years ago that suggested the presence of large overwintering Tilapia adversely effected the LMB fishing. The research compared LMB fishing in Tilapia stocked lakes with and without netting of Tilapia. The findings clearly indicated that lakes with heavy netting of the larger Tilapia had superior LMB fishing. The scientists conducting the research suggested, based on these results, that larger Tilapia probably prey on the LMB fry.

When considering stocking Tilapia several years ago, I thoroughly researched everything I could find on Tilapia and this is the only negative research info that I found. If they did indeed overwinter in my ponds, I would seriously consider removing all Tilapia above 3 or 4 pounds.

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Keep in mind their conclusion (seems, feasible, temperate climate, one production cycle):

"Based on the results of this study, it seems feasible to maintain tilapia/bass ratios
for one production cycle in a temperate climate."

Now here is my two cents, and that's being generous.

Tilapia are a very useful tool in pond/bass management. They provide not only a great food base that reproduces quickly but also reduces the
stress on other forage in the pond. But even in this study it was not the only source of food (minnows, crawfish, pellets) not to mention
canabilism of other bass.

I didn't and wouldn't reccomend that heavy of a stocking if you think they might overwinter.

Being conservative and cheap I only stocked 100
6"-8" in my 25ac pond that was heavily stocked with 1-2.5lb lmb. 18 months later is when I had my die off and there were thousands on the shores.
Like others mentioned they were only big ones, 8"
and larger. Doing my best Dr. Quincy M.E. on caught lmb, tilapia were found in about 80% of them.

I went out today and little tilapia were everywhere. Again I only have put 123 total in my large pond.

I have stocked only 20 tilapia with no predators in a pond this years so I can see what their reproduction rate is.

The year after my initial stocking of tilapia the average RW of my lmb went up .75lbs/lmb.

Hope this helps or raises other questions.

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"In Mexico, that isn't the case and there is some interesting research performed several years ago that suggested the presence of large overwintering Tilapia adversely effected the LMB fishing. The research compared LMB fishing in Tilapia stocked lakes with and without netting of Tilapia. The findings clearly indicated that lakes with heavy netting of the larger Tilapia had superior LMB fishing. The scientists conducting the research suggested, based on these results, that larger Tilapia probably prey on the LMB fry."

I have fished most of these Mexico lakes and the lakes had a mix of both tilapia and threadfin shad and lots of bass over 10 lbs. with exceptional RW. What the scientist may have missed is that in the fisheries where the tilapia are netted there are also largemouth removed by nets. Lakes where there was no netting tend to actually have more bass per acre however the sizes of the bass per catch are smaller (100 fish days per person on 12" dinks is common) - too many bass. I have never heard of tilapia consuming bass fry from all the fishery studies I have read that examined stomach contents of tilapia in a bass / bluegill fishery. I have also not observed tilapia feeding on shad fry or bass fry even though a cloud of fry move past them while they are feeding, filtering mud or picking at filament algae on the bottom. I think the issue , if there is one, would be in tilapia using and or competing for nesting areas with largemouth.

Most of you guys here are from Texas. What do you all think about your famous Lake Amistad? It is a tilpia / bass lake right? It also seems to be kicking out one hell of a bass fishery? From the guys I know that have fished it last year they said in their minds it's the tilapia that make the fishery what it is there. Kind of like tilapia are the South's rainbow trout for putting lbs. on largemouth. All the pro's have been throwing tilapia / large swimbaits and venen Kevin V's been using tilapia skirted blades.

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