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#399819 02/03/15 11:17 PM
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we have sourced a creek to trap them out of of, but not in very consistant numbers. I hope to get them established in some forage ponds. Reading through the old threads it sounds like the same spawning habitat for walleye does the trick for STS? One report says that STS will spawn on FA. I guess we will see and I will try to keep you posted.

Any one with experience with Spottails please chime in.

CJ I see you have a few.


On a side note and maybe a different thread, to target larger shiners especially when fatheads are present, would a trap with larger mesh still catch enough rather than the standard 1/4 inch??


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What is the benefit of this species if they share the same reproductive tendencies as walleye, likely never successfully spawning in a small pond?

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I have a handful of ponds WE reproduce in. But I think the young get ate pretty quick so a forage species sharing their habitat should help recruitment. Plus they get larger than fatheads and should last longer in a pond.

Also for selling minnows as bait or stocking for forage in other areas they are easier to get out of ponds than creeks. Not to mention personal bait use.


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fishm-n - You are correct. Not a lot of research has been reported about spawning details of spottail shiners (Notropis hudsonius) despite their being pretty common in the northern half of the US. Most of the literature that I have indicates similar to your findings that most reports indicate spawning occurs in stream like conditions or areas similar to where walleye spawn; rocky wind swept shore areas.

Those interested do need a lot more information on this topic. Spottails are common in large lakes. I think some bait dealers and Univ Extension agents tried to get them and emeralds shiners to spawn in some ponds near southern Lk Erie, Ohio area with little success. They were pretty successful in pond spawning the spotfin shiner Cyprinella spilopterus which are similar silvery appearance and size to the spottail and emerald shiners. I think most shiner species in the Cyprinella genus will spawn in ponds since they spawn in cracks and crevices of stream or pond habitats.

I hope you have good luck with trying the get your local spottail shiners to pond spawn. Your experiences will be very good information to have on this forum. Make sure you have some stringy algae or similar preferred habitat in the ponds for spawning substrates. Moving water from a water falls or pump-hose will likely help your success of the spawning and egg hatch. Forum member DonoBBD from Canada has had success getting common shiners (Notropis cornutus) to spawn in his small pond that has a water falls that creates a current.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/04/15 07:50 PM.

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I stocked a few hundred spottail shiners into a 0.34 acre mostly mud/detritus bottomed pond. They're very easy to capture in volume when they make their spring spawning runs in the local rivers. I never had any sign of them reproducing. I've also stocked them into other ponds up to 4 acres in size with no signs of reproduction. The 0.34 acre pond I've studied very closely. The shiners can survive, as large adults do show up in seine surveys and minnow traps. Apparently their spawning requirements aren't met by most ponds.

The species I've focused on is the eastern silvery minnow. It sometimes shows up mixed in with the spottail shiners during their spring spawning runs but in lower numbers. It spawns very differently though. I have had two excellent back to back spawns the past two springs in the 0.34 acre pond. I really like this species as it gets larger than most, commonly to 5" and it spawns very early in the season and is quite prolific. They were studied as a food source for Esox species YOY in hatcheries because of these attributes. Now that both HSB and SMB have been stocked into the pond, I'll be seeing how they hold up to predation.

Eastern silvery minnows have several close relatives found throughout North America that may also be good pond forage candidates.

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Thanks CJ.


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There is a Western Silvery Minnow. Its habits are probably very similar to the Eastern Silvery Minnow. The western silvery minnow is not thriving in many of the western states and Canada probably due to declining habitat and inability to tolerate degraded habitats. I suspect it does not spawn too successfully in pond type habitats or it would be a lot more abundant where ever it occurs. The following are more reading materials about the silvery minnows.

Silvery Minnow group
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybognathus

WESTERN SILVERY MINNOW
http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/wildlife/nddanger/species/hyboargy.htm
Distribution description
http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/evalrationale/rationales/fishes/westernsilveryminnow.pdf
In Illinois
https://books.google.com/books?id=KvAuH-...now&f=false

In Iowa
http://maps.gis.iastate.edu/iris/fishatlas/IA163362.html

Not doing well in Kansas
http://www.gpnc.org/wsminnow.htm

At risk In Alberta
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/species-especes/sminnow-menea-p-eng.htm

MISSISSIPPI SILVERY MINNOW probably spawns in a similar way as the other western and eastern silvery minnows
Mississippi silvery minnows spawn in early summer by scattering eggs over a soft organic mud bottom. They do not defend territories and provide no parental care for the eggs or young. Info from this link:
http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index/fish/mississippi-silvery-minnow

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/05/15 10:18 AM.

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Would the eastern variety be a good variety for other PB members to experiment with in their small forage ponds? I think some enterprising PB member who has success could do well by then selling them in small quanitites to others who would like to raise them as a potential forage fish in their ponds?

I know of a few doing specialty fish grow outs and sales for small volume sales via FedEx shipment rather than truck shipment and it seems to go well.

Of course small volume sales would work only in ponds where there are no predators and where a few fish could potentially turn into hundreds and then be relocated.

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I think a few other forage minnows not available from fish farms, and more commonly available from the wild, and more prolific and better pond habitat spawners would be more productive than the silvery minnows. Species such as bluntnose minnow (BNM), spotfin shiner, satinfin shiner, steelcolor shiner and the lake chubsucker (LCS). Other borderline species I think that would still be easier to produce than silvery minnows would be blacktail shiner, red shiner, brassy minnow, bullhead minnow. The BNM and bullhead minnows spawn very similar to the fathead minnow. Thus they would be good pond species. Plus you want to choose a species that is fairly tolerant of a wide range of pond conditions from clear to turbid to lower DO.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/fishfacts/brassyminnow.pdf
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AFCJB16020


Last edited by Bill Cody; 12/13/19 08:02 PM.

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Thanks Bill. I assume bigger fish farms and fish haul outfits can't break down their minnow offerings to all the different species you describe above. Outside of catching in the wild, are you aware of outfits that are trying to create larger populations of the BNM, spotfins, etc that they eventually could sell to those of us interested in creating our own sustainable populations?

I think Brian Zimmerman was trying this with a variety of species and I was curious if others were.

minnows are apparently fairly tolerant of the shipping process and it seems like a great start up business opportunity.

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The availability of these uncommon minnows and shiners is not even a small scale or sporadic commercial occurrence. No fish farms are doing it that I know of and the field is IMO wide open to a creative retired person or as a side family type business. Demand is low and profit is probably low due to them not being popular. Todd Overton tried raising lake chubsuckers for one year. He evidently concluded they were too much effort and too low of profit to continue growing LCS.


I think these uncommon minnows and shiners make very good forage fish in some of the specialty fisheries of non LMbass predator communities such as yellow perch, walleye, HSB, HBG, maybe SMB, maybe crappie, and other uncommon pan fishes. Some of these shiners will grow to 4"-6.5" long and as a group are better at avoiding predation and thrive better and live longer than the fathead minnow. With adequate refuge habitat these forage fish species will maintain populations long term in pond settings without LMbass.

A second dealer of uncommon fish is:
http://jonahsaquarium.com/index.htm
Wouldn't his be a neat 4"-5" shiner to have as a forage fish in a yellow perch - walleye pond?
http://jonahsaquarium.com/JonahSite/piccpyrrhomelas02.htm
Or how about this shiner?
http://jonahsaquarium.com/JonahSite/picinctrichroistia.htm
Special Order fish
http://jonahsaquarium.com/JonahSite/fishlistoccasional.htm

Both of these shiners I think could be raised in ponds similar to the spotfin and several other Cyprinella shiners. Cyprinella genus of shiners lay eggs in crevices of logs and rocks.

There are a few mom & pop fish guys that are raising the spotfin shiner in Ohio as a bait fish for Lake Erie anglers when emerald shiners are scarce during perch angling season.
http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index/fish/spotfin-shiner
http://gallery.nanfa.org/v/members/dsmith73/minnows/cyprinella/Spotfin+shiner.jpg.html
http://www.roughfish.com/spotfin-shiner

There is one local guy near me in NW Ohio that raises spotfins for bait and pond stocking.

The steelcolor shiner (6.3") gets a little larger than the spotfin shiner (4.8").
http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index/fish/steelcolor-shiner

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/05/15 02:54 PM.

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Time to break out the minnow trap and hit the creeks around here this spring. I just checked

http://wwx.inhs.illinois.edu/collections/fish/data/ichthyology/ilfish/

and both Bluntnose and Spotfin are supposed to be in our local waters.


Edit: Hmmm...maybe I am jumping the gun a little. Perhaps I should build the forage pond before I stock it! laugh

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Here is a resource I found that shows lots of different minnow as well as other species for Kansas. Did not check if other states were available. Unbelievable how many different minnows there are.

Fish of Kansas

Edit: I would not put too much faith in the ranges they show for the fish. They show rainbow trout over most of the state, and I think a person could fish his whole life in most of the state and never catch a rainbow trout. Lots of other fish ranges I question also. They also show the orangespotted and longear sunfishes in most of Kansas, checked USGS site and they also said they are native to my area. Didn't know that either.

Last edited by snrub; 02/05/15 07:45 PM.

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I agree with you Snrub. The only way to tell what's actually living in the waters near you is to check it out with a trap, seine, etc. and see what you can catch.


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They do well in tanks as far as growing them, but never went further than that. Not nearly aggressive as the Emerald toward others tho.

It was fun messing with this stuff a while back, but age is setting in.

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Originally Posted By: JKB
They do well in tanks as far as growing them, but never went further than that. Not nearly aggressive as the Emerald toward others tho.

It was fun messing with this stuff a while back, but age is setting in.


JKB,

I know what you mean about the age thing. Wish I had started this 30 years ago!

Anyway, My wife and I love to fish rivers and streams cause you never know what you might hang into. On the Kishwaukee River could be most anything including a couple of drunk teenagers on a raft! grin I figure I will carry a trap along and soak it while we are fishing. If we catch anything I want in the trap, I will keep them and toss them in the main pond and remember where I caught them when I get serious about stocking the forage pond. Ahh...maybe I will write down where I caught them...memory is another thing that's not so reliable anymore! grin


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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
The availability of these uncommon minnows and shiners is not even a small scale or sporadic commercial occurrence. No fish farms are doing it that I know of and the field is IMO wide open to a creative retired person or as a side family type business.


Bill,

I am curious, how hard is it to start up a small business to fill that kind of niche? A lot of hoops to jump thru?

Bill D.


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""..how hard is it to start up a small business to fill that kind of niche? A lot of hoops to jump thru?"" First thing you will probably need for the small business is a bait dealers license to sell within the state. Your state may have a fish raising permit for commercial sales. Check your DNR website for local regulations. A state vendor's license is probably needed for charging sales tax.


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Bill, would the people near you ship spotfins to me in Michigan?

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canyoncreek- I doubt they would ship them since they are not set up for shipping. He might meet you part way or why not drive to get them? They would haul easily in a large tub, garbage can or several buckets depending on how many you want. Place a large plastic bag or two in the container and tie it closed to keep water from splashing all over in your vehicle. It would be very best to haul fish in cooler 50-65F water temps of April or early May. He lives near Stryker OH if you want to determine the mileage.


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Thanks Bill, I'll look into it.

I see you can order pretty much anything from Jonah's aquarium, even large fish (muskie, walleye, sauger) Any idea how he can maintain access to all these types of minnows and the larger fish year around?

would love to source some steelcolor shiners too!

Dumb question but do the FHM cross breed with shiners or do the many types of shiners crossbreed with each other to hybridize? I have GSH and wondered what would happen if I added spotfin or steelcolor etc

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Spotfins from the NW Ohio guy will be very cheap (0.10ea) compared to Jonah, so the drive to pick them up would be worthwhile. I doubt Jonah ships fish in winter. I think many of his fish are wild caught and only a few at a time. I have talked to him about sourcing some fish for me.

Some hybridizing of shiners and minnows occurs but it is pretty rare in most cases because the fish have specific or unique breeding habits. FHM rarely hybridize due to the unique spawning locations. FYI- the Univ of Michigan has a whole room full of preserved hybrid fish specimens. I spent a month there sorting fish specimens as a winter term project when I was in college.

Comparing spotfin & steelcolor shiners, I think I would prefer steelcolor shiners due to their larger adult size, but I cannot source them locally.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/07/15 10:07 AM.

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Bounced around MI to check out paperwork. First off, not on the approved list, so you won't find a fish farm or big bait operation that could supply these.

Private wild caught would be your best option in MI.

I kinda like the N. Redbelly Dace.

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As is the current rule for obtaining most of these uncommon fish for your sport fishery, be prepared to go out and use a seine, drop net, and/or fish traps in your local creeks, back water areas or small lake to collect your own brood stock. It may even involve traveling a few hours to get to a stream that is known to contain your desired species. Many small streams can be easily seined. You will often be surprised at what you will catch with a few pulls of a small 6-8ft seine through the pool of a small stream or creek. If you have a new pond or a designated forage fish pond, you will only need a few to several individuals to get your breeding population started.

When my family used to go to Canada fishing each year the camp owner collected all his bait minnows with numerous traps set in local streams. I used a couple traps and a drop net in the lake we fished to easily catch additional bait minnows. If the minnows are living in the lake, there is a good chance it hatched there as an egg and the adults can reproduce in the pond habitat.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/07/15 10:29 AM.

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Bill,
So when you say a few to several, is this in an aquarium/bucket type environment or the "no fish currently" pond environment? Will ~10 minnows/shiners of a specific species be able to establish a strong population in a 1 acre pond void of any fish? I understand more is better but how long would it take to establish the population with 10 or so fish?



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