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I posted this in my habitat thread, but I think it will get more exposure here.

This stocking plan is for a one acre dug pond that we are going to be excavating hard this week since the weather has finally helped out.

Here are my plans to date and subject to change as you guys help me out even more...

I'm thinking I stock 200 GSH, 100 FHM, 100 Papershells, 50 1-3" RES and 20 4-6" RES this fall if the pond fills in time. If not, then next spring.

The following fall or spring depending on my first stocking date, stock 40 3-4" SMB and 100 1-3" YP both feed trained.

I also have thought about adding Grass Shrimp to the mix depending on my vegetation growth.

I plan to line two shores of the pond and a couple underwater peninsulas with rip rap and broken concrete to help the crayfish and SMB.

Any adjustments, comments or ideas on my stocking plan?

Any other minnows that I could add to help diversify and help the pond?


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I would bump the # of FHM by 900 or so, and get them in asap, even before the GSH. If you have 3-4 feet of water in it, stock the FHM and they should make it thru the winter. As for the YP/SMB, I would try to stock larger YP. At the size that you listed, the SMB can eat them, which is what you don't want with your stockers.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I thought that giving the FHM an entire spawning/growing season before introducing the SMB that 100 would be enough, but adding more is not a problem.

Noted on the YP size.


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The fingerling 1"-3" YP - SMB will not IMO stay on feed. They are too small, with too short of feed training habituation and when added to the pond will go "off feed" to utilize all the abundant natural foods. It is instinct overpowering pellet training. If you are lucky some will later resort to eating pellets, but I think the number will be few 10%-20%. I hope I am wrong.

Grass shrimp are distributed as far north as the lower part of lower MI. Be aware they may not survive in your area.
http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2620

Crayfish, if you can create good habitat for their long term survival, will be a better forage item than grass shrimp in your planned fishery. With good habitat, numerous other invertebrates will fill the forage item gap in the lack of grass shrimp.

If you want a strong YP population, I would stock more YP and at 2 to 3 size classes (3-5 YP for every SMB). A good option is to stock the SMB after the YP have spawned the first time. This way the SMB eat YP and other items allowing the other food items to increase and better establish. In good conditions SMB can over power the numbers of recruitment YP resulting in low numbers of recruited YP after the initial stocker YP are harvested or naturally die outin years 5-9.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/15/13 03:15 PM.

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Is there any danger of YP growing large enough to take SMB if small SMB are added later?

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That makes perfect sense to me. What minimum size/age of YP/SMB do you need to get so they don't relapse as much?

Depending on water levels, would it make sense to stock the bigger YP this fall or just wait to give the bait fish longer to reproduce?


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Hmaster says""What minimum size/age of YP/SMB do you need to get so they don't relapse as much?"" That is a gray area. Generally the longer the fish have eaten pellets the more likely they will stay on pellets. Example: fingerling YP will often go off pellets when stocked into a food rich pond - it is instinct, and YP that have been on pellets for 17-24 months rarely eat minnows and are almost exclusive pellet eaters. I generally put pellet trained fish 3"-6" in a cage and continue to pellet feed them, strengthening the pellet eating habit for another 3-12 months.

"... would it make sense to stock the bigger YP this fall or just wait to give the bait fish longer to reproduce?"" I would wait until spring to stock pellet trained perch. Stocking them in the fall allows them and forces them to be in the pond overwinter to weaken or loose the pellet eating urge - lessons. Spring stocking is best IMO since they will likely or hopefully resume pellet eating within 3-10 days and continue pellet feeding for the summer months strengthening the pellet eating habit. It helps to have other or older pellet eating YP or fish ('teacher fish') in the pond to lead the new pellet eaters to the pellet feeding area. If you are not interested in pellet fed fish then fall stocking is okay.

RAH - "" Is there any danger of YP growing large enough to take SMB if small SMB are added later?"" It depends on how habituated or how strong the welfare mentality is to pellets that the perch are. Strong welfare pellet perch rarely eat a minnow even slow swimming FHM. I've seen welfare perch starve in the presence of lots of FHM, bluntnose minnows and grass shrimp. However 5" to 8" aggressive minnow eating perch could eat weak or disoriented SMB fingerlings (1"-2"), but not likely the healthy SMB fingerlings that are 3"+. From my experience 10"-12" YP generally do not eat 3"+ healthy rapid swimming fish but will take disabled or hampered 4" minnows on a hook. Fingerling SMB of 3"+ have experienced enough cannibalism that they are fairly predator savvy. Good dense habitat that is fairly extensive plays a role in survival of newly stocked small fish.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/16/13 02:01 PM.

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Maybe my plan to add a low density of both species + RES this fall is a good option? The FHM (and/or GSH) seem to have produced a lot of fry. I have had a hard time finding eelgrass in local water but found a couple plants last night and put them in the pond. Hopefully they will take. My two tries at getting purchased spiral eelgrass to take in more established waters failed in the past. This may have been due to crayfish, but who knows?

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RAH - You going to the Hoosier Pond Gathering at esshup's on Saturday? If so, I'll bring you some eel grass.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/16/13 02:02 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Hmaster says""What minimum size/age of YP/SMB do you need to get so they don't relapse as much?"" That is a gray area. Generally the longer the fish have eaten pellets the more likely they will stay on pellets. Example: fingerling YP will often go off pellets when stocked into a food rich pond - it is instinct, and YP that have been on pellets for 17-24 months rarely eat minnows and are almost exclusive pellet eaters. I generally put pellet trained fish 3"-6" in a cage and continue to pellet feed them, strengthening the pellet eating habit for another 3-12 months.

"... would it make sense to stock the bigger YP this fall or just wait to give the bait fish longer to reproduce?"" I would wait until spring to stock pellet trained perch. Stocking them in the fall allows them and forces them to be in the pond overwinter to weaken or loose the pellet eating urge - lessons. Spring stocking is best IMO since they will likely or hopefully resume pellet eating within 3-10 days and continue pellet feeding for the summer months strengthening the pellet eating habit. It helps to have other or older pellet eating YP or fish ('teacher fish') in the pond to lead the new pellet eaters to the pellet feeding area. If you are not interested in pellet fed fish then fall stocking is okay.


RAH - "" Is there any danger of YP growing large enough to take SMB if small SMB are added later?"" It depends on how habituated or how strong the welfare mentality is to pellets that the perch are. Strong welfare pellet perch rarely eat a minnow even slow swimming FHM. I've seen welfare perch starve in the presence of lots of FHM, bluntnose minnows and grass shrimp. However 5" to 8" aggressive minnow eating perch could eat weak or disoriented SMB fingerlings (1"-2", but not likely healthy SMB fingerlings that are 3"+. From my experience 10"-12" YP generally do not eat 3"+ healthy rapid swimming fish but will take disabled or hampered 4" minnows on a hook. Fingerling SMB of 3"+ have experienced enough cannibalism that they are fairly predator savvy. Good dense habitat that is fairly extensive plays a role in survival of newly stocked small fish.

If stocking in the fall will pellet trained 4" - 6"SMB and 3" - 5" YP resume pellet eating in the spring? This is assuming not caged in a 3/4 acre pond. I plan on feeding when water temps 60+ only.

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08TR - for those sizes of fish, the percentage that will eat pellets in spring will be a lot higher if you can get them early enough in fall so they are eating pellets (3-5wks) before the water temps decrease to 55F-60F. If pellet eating in spring is very slow, I would buy some more perch (6"-8") maybe 20-50 that are pellet trained. YP 6"-8" are more likely to quickly resume eating pellets compared to 4"-6"ers. They should within 7-14 days resume eating pellets and then lead many of the fall stocked pellet eaters (SMB&YP) back to the pellet eating habit. Sometimes the minnows have to be depleted before feed trained fish return to pellet eating. Shelby Fish Farm in Anna OH has very good pellet eating YP, but ask about feed training feature before ordering the fish. Their blue tilapia are also high quality.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/16/13 02:18 PM.

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Bill is Blue tilpia a fish that winter over in Ohio waters? Do they serve as a forage fish? Sorry I know very, very little about Tilpia except my wife always orders them when we have seafood.

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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
If you want a strong YP population, I would stock more YP and at 2 to 3 size classes (3-5 YP for every SMB). A good option is to stock the SMB after the YP have spawned the first time. This way the SMB eat YP and other items allowing the other food items to increase and better establish. In good conditions SMB can over power the numbers of recruitment YP resulting in low numbers of recruited YP after the initial stocker YP are harvested or naturally die outin years 5-9.


I would like to be have a strong YP population so I can use them for the dinner table. With that being the case, how many more YP would be needed?

Would doubling the YP and using a mix something like 50 - 4-6", 100 - 6-8" and 50 - 8-10" stocked in the spring of 2014 accomplish the goal? Then hold off on the SMB (4-6" min) stocking until the the fall of 2014.

Also, is my plan for the RES in the ball park?

Last edited by Huntmaster; 07/16/13 04:06 PM.

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08TR - Blue tilapia and all species of tilapia will not overwinter in Ohio. They are sort of expensive but so are the algaecides that are used to kill algae problems. Four big benefits to tilapia for algae control are: 1. No chemicals, 2. You can eat your algae control agents at the end of the year; try that with algacides. 3. Young tilapia are a food source for the predators in the pond, although lots of predators eating the army of small tilapia is not all that good until the young tilapia are struggling, dying and easy prey in late fall. 4. Algae getting consumed is getting some nutrients bound into fish biomass; some nutrients are extruded in manure. 'Free' or dissolved nutrients grow algae. If the tilapia are harvested, eaten, or removed nutrients are leaving the pond - a good thing. None of those 4 things occur when using algacides so maybe a little extra cost is beneficial.


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Hmaster asks ""Would doubling the YP and using a mix something like 50 - 4-6", 100 - 6-8" and 50 - 8-10" stocked in the spring of 2014 accomplish the goal? Then hold off on the SMB (4-6" min) stocking until the the fall of 2014." Yes this is a better option. For one acre with a planned YP harvest in fall of 2014 more YP could be even be safely added next spring (up to 100). With new planned numbers and to save some $$ you can use proportions of 100-150-4"-6", 50-75 6"-8" and 25 8"-10". The two larger sizes of perch will lead the 4"-6" pellet trained perch to resume pellet eating. With lots of minnows and pellet feeding expect good growth by fall 2014. The 4"-6" will be 7"-9.5", the 6"-8" should be 8"-11" and the 8"-10 to be 10"-13". You will be surprised how well these pellet trained perch will grow esp. those from Shelby Fish Farm (I know his high quality source of YP). Plus if stocked before Apr 1-7 there will be a YP spawn in 2014 and there will be quite a few small perch 2"-5" and minnows in the fall of 2014 as forage for the stocked SMB. YP in your area YP spawn in mid-March to Apr 10. If possible get your YP stocked mid March 2014.

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Bill - I wish that I could make it. There is just too much to do on the farm. Thank you for the offer!

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Perfect thanks Bill!

While reviewing other threads, I saw where you didn't like GSH because they are bait stealers or something along those lines.

Are there other minnow species that are reasonably available that may be a better choice for my pond?


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I am in Ontario Canada just north of London and loaded my pond with emerald shiners, golden shiners, and just some fathead minnows.

I have nothing but pellet trained Yellow perch in my pond this year now. I really think the fathead is the minnow of choice for my small pond. They populate like crazy. After learning more the emerald shiners are fast but may not spawn in a small pond and the golden shiner only spawns once a year and has a 78 day gestation or along that lines.

After putting in the fatheads the population of super small minnows has doubled.

Cheers Don.


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Hmaster. You can get some spotfin shiners in NW Ohio. A Saturday drive would work out for this fall or next spring. PM me for source. Actually the GSH may be a better choice with SMB in the pond esp if weeds are scarce or not present. SMB I suspect will quickly eliminate the spotfins and other smaller types of minnows - too strong of predation pressure. GSH can get big enough to survive long term with adult bass present.

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I'm sure some of you have seen my build thread in the habitat section, but I wanted to make sure there was a link in here for future searches.

You guys have been a ton of help getting this thing going and I'm glad to say that we finally started the hole yesterday!! cool

Thanks for all of the help!!

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=344907&#Post344907


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OK guys. I have over 10' of water in the pond and adding more daily.

Is it to early to think about adding my FHM? GSH?


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Originally Posted By: Huntmaster
OK guys. I have over 10' of water in the pond and adding more daily.

Is it to early to think about adding my FHM? GSH?


10 feet of water is MORE than enough to get that forage base going!

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I will add, if it hasn't been mentioned before, that you'll want some spawning habitat in there when you stock the fatheads and shiners. Fatheads are good with pallets or something else to spawn underneath while I think shiners prefer vegetation.

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I figured that was plenty...most of it all came with yesterdays rain!!

I didn't plan on putting pallets down low, but I could place them no problem tonight before it fills up any more. I do have some concrete piles and whole cement block that they could spawn on under water right now.

Vegetation is another thing. That's probably going to take mother nature for that.


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You can stock FHM in 10" of water let alone 10'!

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