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Keep a fairly close eye on those bass to see if they are maintaining good Rw body condition as the CNBG are becoming in short supply. Without enough larger sized forage like 1/2 lb bullheads those largest bass may hit the growth limit wall before they reach 10 lbs. Earlier you considered adding gizzard shad. Did you do that and if you did are you seeing recruitment? I can scan back through the older posts.

Okay I see that you discussed (Oct 14, 2013) adding Threadfin and gizzard but never saw where either one of them were added. You also mentioned calling Lusk about adding gizzards - did you ever do that?. I think Lusk will tell you that most 10 lb LMB he sees come from water with gizzard shad. However I am confident that 10 lb bass can be raised without gizzard shad, just maybe not as many/ac nor as frequently.

Are you still adding trout annually? Maybe spring and fall trout stocking will work instead of gizzards? Adding trout will take some of the predation pressure off the BG. Then in summer the bass can eat other things to maintain growth?

Your bass population may be at a growing point where enough big BG are in short supply to adequately keep the biggest bass growing. Possibly just add threadfin at this point. You may have to consider removing some of the largest bass so remaining bass have enough food to keep growing at the same rate of weight gain with the existing forage.

PS- this is a great thread of how to grow bass. Thanks for keeping it up dated.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/26/15 03:52 PM.

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Bill thanks for your input and questions.

I did contact Lusk, (really Walter/Chad) Chad conducted the last survey and I am working with him on management. I really think without tilapia I would have ran out of CNBG much sooner and would have had less growth than I have seen.

I have only added trout one winter (2013-14) I wanted to add this year but availability was an issue.

Side note for anyone who may be reading this for bullhead info, when the lake first filled many bullhead and sunfish came in from a pond upstream. I was very concerned seeing schools of baby bullhead swarming in the first year, but now I only rarely see any and they are large when I do. This tells me that LMB have kept their numbers very low. I have not seen any of these swarms again.

I also once had an unbelievable population of 3-5 inch golden shiners but they are also rare to see now. More proof that bass are great predators. Even with 30:1 CNBG to Bass stocking and harvesting all bass under 17 inches, I am running short of food! (also yearly tilapia 100lbs).

I asked Chad about the gizzards and told him my goals (10lb bass) and he still did not recommend them. I am on the list for threadfin shad this year but no promises due to availability. I am willing to put in the work to make gizzards work, such as running a gill net in the summer, traps, extra survey time just to remove them, any other method that may help manage their numbers.

I think spring/fall trout of the right size would be a good substitute for gizzards. I really like the idea of stocking trout in the spring so that they are not in the pond long before water warms and they are eaten. If I could find adult golden shiners (6+ inch) I think this would be good too.

After the survey and after Chad crunched the numbers, I had a bimodal curve population. He confirmed my 17 or less inch cull size was good to continue. He felt my largest challenges were low CNBG numbers due to lack of cover/structure. I am working to correct this in June/July with both natural and artificial structure. I am going to add a second Texas Hunter feeder, and feed more aggressively. I am considering fertilizing the water, (will probably do that myself if I decide to). We also plan to stock crawfish later in the year. Basically my plan depends on if I get threadfins or not. If not I will double up on buying some more CNBG and Tilapia.

Also I am fortunate to have a small forage pond right next to this main pond and I will probably try to raise CNBG in it either this year or the next.

I have conducted this project from Aug 07 when pond was built until now. The whole time I have been in undergrad/professional school and starting Jan 16 I will be free! At that time I will be able to open up my budget and manage it the way I really want to. As of now I basically only fish it in the summer and can only makes changes such as adding structure in the summer.


Last edited by jakeb; 03/27/15 02:49 PM.

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jakeb -

My LMB love trout fingerlings 3"-8" in size. Source of high protein and easy to swallow vs the spiny and more disc shaped CNBG. I began stocking trout in the Autumn as forage and they are quickly devoured.

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Originally Posted By: basslover
jakeb -

My LMB love trout fingerlings 3"-8" in size. Source of high protein and easy to swallow vs the spiny and more disc shaped CNBG. I began stocking trout in the Autumn as forage and they are quickly devoured.


Great info, basslover. Of course, we know how big California LMB get feeding on trout, which confirms your experience.

I hope to raise tilapia until the fall, when they get sluggish and die. (Around here that's usually November/December.) The bass could eat them, then I could stock trout. They won't last past April/May due to heat, but again will get sluggish before they die and the LMB will enjoy them.

Both tilapia and trout get plenty big enough to encourage LMB growth to 10 lb. The only real issue I see is that I need to keep on feeding. Another advantage is that it would take some pressure off the CNBG population.

Last edited by anthropic; 03/27/15 03:56 PM.

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Originally Posted By: basslover
jakeb -

My LMB love trout fingerlings 3"-8" in size. Source of high protein and easy to swallow vs the spiny and more disc shaped CNBG. I began stocking trout in the Autumn as forage and they are quickly devoured.


Wow! Yer trout fingerlings must be a lot cheaper than they are here. The two species available at the fish farm I use are Browns and Brooks. Fingerlings 4 to 6 inches will cost $1.50/ea here. No way, I could afford to use them as LMB snacks.


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jakeb - Check with Rainman he may be able to work in adelivery for you. If you put an advance order and standing order in for the trout from wherever you get them you will likely get them reliably in spring and or fall or both. Fish farms can better schedule grow out if you have a standing order or a preorder for them.


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Originally Posted By: anthropic

Great info, basslover. Of course, we know how big California LMB get feeding on trout, which confirms your experience.

Both tilapia and trout get plenty big enough to encourage LMB growth to 10 lb. The only real issue I see is that I need to keep on feeding. Another advantage is that it would take some pressure off the CNBG population.


That is why I began feeding my bass trout - seeing the large bass in Cali dining on trout. I wasn't certain how my LMB would react to the inclusion of trout. I know where some LMB hang out, so I took a few trout over there and dropped one in. My water clarity is crystal clear, so I had perfect visibility 4 feet down. The trout hugged the pond bottom, two LMB swam over, one nudged it near left pectoral fin and the other LMB just sucked it in sideways and took off with it sideways in its' mouth.

I baited one on and within 30 seconds had a LMB on the line.

I later added a few more and watched as the LMB just slammed the trout.


I know my LMB had never seen a trout before, so I wasn't sure how they'd react. But they quickly began eating the trout. When you look at the shape of a trout compared to a panfish it's easy to see why a trout may be preferred over a bluegill - the torpedo shape is so easy to swallow and there aren't all the spines on the trout like the bluegill has.

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Originally Posted By: Bill D.

Wow! Yer trout fingerlings must be a lot cheaper than they are here. The two species available at the fish farm I use are Browns and Brooks. Fingerlings 4 to 6 inches will cost $1.50/ea here. No way, I could afford to use them as LMB snacks.


I usually drop in 6-8" trout, so I'm looking at between $.90 to $1.20 per trout. The 4" trout run $.60 a fish. Sure I wish they were cheaper but they are high quality protein and they don't die - my LMB feast on them. Stocking them relieves some other forage fish and improves the diet of the LMB while dining on the trout.

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Jake, drag a bunch of cedars into the pond and around the edges for forage protection so they can grow. If you don't have any or enough cedar, come to my place in Bowie. I can fix you up with all of the trailer fulls that you need. Just pick the size that you want to cut and load.


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Dave, Jake's coming to NE to cut MY cedars. When they are all gone, he can come to your place if he needs more.

Jake, amigo - good to hear from you again. Been way too long - and you missed another PB conference. No more mulligans, young man. Congrats on your fishery - your management techniques have paid incredible dividends - and it's been an honor watching your progress...really incredible stuff we have all learned from.

Now - do us a favor and stick around. We need your input on the forum!


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Trout normally retail for around $7-12/lb depending on transportation....that is often cheaper than FHM, and a whole lot more filling for a bass over 1.5#. Adult brooder Golden Shiners can run about $15/lb.

Last edited by Rainman; 03/28/15 02:27 AM.


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Just a dang minute TJ. I have first dibs on anyone a hundred miles or so from my place who needs or even likes to cut cedar.

Actually, to retain my Wildlife Tax Exemption, one of the things I have to do is try to eliminate cedar. Even though I am 99% oaks, I'll never finish cutting it all.


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Originally Posted By: Rainman
Trout normally retail for around $7-12/lb depending on transportation....that is often cheaper than FHM, and a whole lot more filling for a bass over 1.5#. Adult brooder Golden Shiners can run about $15/lb.


Thanks Rainman,

I guess I never thought of it like that. Really hammers home the point I see in so many stocking recommendation posts about establishing a forage base first. If you do the math using 10# of forage for every 1# of weight gain, if yer buying that forage even at $7/lb of forage fish, yer talking $350 to raise 1 LMB to 5 lbs!

Last edited by Bill D.; 03/28/15 07:19 AM. Reason: Clarification

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Here are some of my thoughts and rationale why to stock expensive trout just to feed bass.
I think the rationale for using trout is to feed the bass larger than 6-8lbs to give them adequate food to push them toward and over the 10lb mark. It is supplemental forage. The trout due to overall nutrient content will produce slightly better weight gain compared to bass eating FHM & GSH. Also FHM and GSH will not put weight gain on the biggest bass. The biggest bass of 6-8lbs probably ignore the FHM and even smaller shiners and look for larger forage as a food staple.

Growing bass to the 10 lb mark usually requires a different type of forage for these big bass compared to growing bass of 4 to 6 lbs. In some waters, the big bass forage species are lacking, not abundant enough and adding the trout is one fairly low cost way to provide large size live food. Trout are readily available and cheap to produce compared to say bluegill, suckers, and perch at 6"-8" to feed those big bass. Remember small food items are barely if even sustenance food for big bass and small foods put very little if any weight on big bass.

Some don't want gizzard shad in their pond to feed big bass. A strong population of g.shad can roil the water when their primary food of plankton becomes in short supply. Turbid water from suspended silt/sediment/organics then reduces the overall plankton productivity of the pond and the whole fishery then can deteriorate.

Plus it takes deep pockets to feed trout to bass, but for some with lots of money and strong desire for big bass - No Problem! The money can be considered well spent if it allows you to have 10+lb bass! If you are not trying to grow bass bigger than 6-8 lbs then trout are maybe not 'all that' beneficial unless your pond is lacking forage.

When using trout for the benefit of the biggest bass it is probably a good idea to stock larger trout that are 8"-10" even 12" long. Larger trout would have a low vulnerability to the unintended smaller bass. No use having your small bass compete with the biggest bass for food items. When the water reaches 70F larger trout that escaped predation will struggle to survive and be easy prey items for any bass big enough to swallow the bigger trout (12"-13"). This predation vulnerability is similar to using tilapia although the main difference is trout are dying in summer and tilapia in late fall.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/29/15 02:24 PM.

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[quote=Bill Cody] FHM and GSH will not put weight gain on the biggest bass. The biggest bass of 6-8lbs probably ignore the FHM and even smaller shiners and look for larger forage as a food staple.

Bill, you are surely correct that FHM won't feed big bass directly. However, they may feed them indirectly by feeding CNBG and other bass prey.


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Originally Posted By: Dave Davidson1
Just a dang minute TJ. I have first dibs on anyone a hundred miles or so from my place who needs or even likes to cut cedar.

Actually, to retain my Wildlife Tax Exemption, one of the things I have to do is try to eliminate cedar. Even though I am 99% oaks, I'll never finish cutting it all.


Hey, if anybody has some hardwood trees, especially oak, they wish to get rid of that are close to Marshall, TX, please let me know. Like to use them for cover, they last much longer than the planted pine I have now.


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I'm like Dave I got plenty of cedar already down and plenty of dead post oak from the drought. Here for the getting if any body wants to come get some


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Bill I agree with you, and I think that they die as the water warms is even better than how tilapia die in the fall/winter. My question is how many to buy before it becomes overkill.

Based on my survey 25% of my bass are 19 inches or larger (5 acre pond). I know its probably lower than that but my point is, if I buy large trout for the large bass and money is not a concern, how many can these fish actually utilize. During the cold winter months the bass probably wont be able to eat many large trout. As the water warms and the trout slow they will be utilized but a bass can't eat them endlessly.

Any guess? I am sure its very hard question to answer but are we talking in the neighborhood of 5 large trout per large bass? or 50? I know they more trout you have, the better the opportunity will be for a bass to get one.

I guess its similar to the how many pounds of tilapia to stock for forage debate.


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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Here are some of my thoughts and rationale why to stock expensive trout just to feed bass.
I think the rationale for using trout is to feed the bass larger than 6-8lbs to give them adequate food to push them toward and over the 10lb mark. It is supplemental forage. The trout due to overall nutrient content will produce slightly better weight gain compared to bass eating FHM & GSH. Also FHM and GSH will not put weight gain on the biggest bass.


Here's an example: For $14 I can get 1 dozen trout 5-8" in size, or for $17 I can get 1 pound of minnows 3-4" in size. There are about 50 minnows in 1 pound this size.

During August and September 2014 I fed my LMB these 3-4" minnows. They picked them off as they saw them. I fished with these same minnows and landed some LMB.

During October and November 2014 I fed these same LMB trout fingerlings 5-8" in size. Just as with the minnows, the LMB would hit the trout immediately. And I also used some trout to land some LMB.

My observations without using a scale or a measurement stick and relying solely on my eyes and comparing photographs snapped of the landed LMB is that as the water temperatures cooled in October and November the size of these LMB did not hold steady or regress (in weight), but instead the LMB gained weight.

Note that I have less than 16 LMB in this pond so I'm very familiar with the LMB due to their markings and sizes. My LMB have always appeared healthy - there is plenty of forage for them to dine on and not much competition.

While I don't have a weight and measurement chart, I can recall from the photographs and memories of landing the LMB that the LMB certainly appeared to gain more weight dining on the trout compared to the minnows. I also know that a healthy 5" trout has more body mass than a healthy 5" minnow (at least of the ones I stocked). The LMB were thicker and their bellies plumper in late October and through November. I've watched 14" LMB swallow 8" trout.


Last edited by basslover; 03/29/15 10:52 PM.
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Jake, if you get your hands on trout can you grow them out in your forage pond over winter? How much do you think they would grow on pellets? The canloops at my rainbow provider break 12" under his feeder with lots of running water. Think the trout and cnbg could get along.


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Great idea fishm_n, I could use the forage pond for growing small trout over the winter if need be. I think they would gain something like 2:1 on feed but I could be wrong. Depending on the size I am able to buy them I may not need to put them in the grow out pond.


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I have a lot of oaks but digging them up transplanting might be iffy. Never tried it.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

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Yes good idea of buying two sizes of trout in the fall; using the larger ones immediately feeding bass, and the smaller 3"-5" ones to hold and feed in a forage pond then later seining and adding them to the bass pond in the spring. Using 5-10 or 15 trout per large bass would be a good starting number. Adjust numbers to stock each year as you monitor how many trout are feeding on pellets which is a good indication of how many remain.


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Originally Posted By: anthropic
[quote=Bill Cody] FHM and GSH will not put weight gain on the biggest bass. The biggest bass of 6-8lbs probably ignore the FHM and even smaller shiners and look for larger forage as a food staple.

Bill, you are surely correct that FHM won't feed big bass directly. However, they may feed them indirectly by feeding CNBG and other bass prey.



Good thoughts, but BG will perform much better on pellet forage, not FHM. Gape issues. Crappie and YP, another story - but FHM are not ideal forage for BG or other backbone Lepomis. Pellet consumption by Lepomis will indirectly benefit LMB in a big way. LMB won't waste energy chasing tidbits, waiting for nice 6-8" BG, Crappie, et al.


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Interested in some Trout? Trout have been mentioned on this thread as being about the best forage food source there is for LMB, and that's true. A LMB can eat a trout nearly it's own body length due to the fusiform shape and IIRC, trout put pounds on LMB at around 4 or 5 to 1.

I got a call from a food fish supplier that has about 10,000 pounds of trout ranging from 6" to 18" that he has no outlet for. He asked me if I had any customers looking for cheap LMB forage. I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in $5-$6/lb springtime forage fish...?

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/30/15 07:52 PM. Reason: Preface


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