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Really cool NEDOC.

Makes me want some!


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Grab some on your way home from Husker Harvest Days!!


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Thanks for that offer. Unfortunately I'm afraid they might not make it home alive. I do want to visit with you about them though when we get together.

Right now I kind of have my ponds full up on projects. But by next year I might consider trying to do something like you did.


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Neat project


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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Nothing too special here but wanted to provide an update at Week 8. The feeding has definitely picked up. I'm feeding 3-4 cups of feed per day now. A mix of Optimal Grower #4 and Optimal Bluegill Junior. They seem as though they'd eat as much as I throw at them. I'll try to catch one here in the next few days to give an update on growth at this point.

Just wanted to edit this in for next year when I read over this and want advice from myself..... If I had to do it over again I would order 10 lbs buckets of Optimal #2, #3 and #4 then transition to Optimal Bluegill Junior


Last edited by NEDOC; 08/15/18 11:04 AM.

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That is way cool!

With my SMB I have noticed over a few weeks where originally the Starter #4 was the main pellets being hit now I see them passed up more and more and the larger pellets being chosen. I mix up some starter #4, BG Jr (ran out but some coming in tomorrow), Optimal BG and a few Optimal Bass in case some of my original stock are eating. They hit it pretty good in an initial flurry as I throw it in then quite a bit just floats. Try to do it a couple times a day in small amounts.

Your HSB act more like my BG in my main pond. They just keep going at it till it is gone. I'm still mixing in the Starter #4 with my BG mix and I still see lots of small BG along the shore line in shallow water going after it.


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That is neat. You have convinced me to add a few HSB to my new pond this fall when I stock the first LMB. Plenty of minnows so they will be on their own (not regularly fed).


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Snrub, you didn't have to crowd the SMB to feed train them? That's great. Ultimately I'd love to get some SMB feed trained. But busy with my Tiger Muskie and HSB this year. Next year I believe I'm going to attempt LMB, Pure Strain Muskie and more HSB again. But hopefully 2019 will put SMB on my itinerary.

Redonthehead, I don't think you can go wrong with HSB. My goals are much different than most in that I'm stocking HSB to help eliminate as much reproduction as possible in my pond (common carp in my case). But if stocked in the proper numbers I don't think you can go wrong. So many great things about them... 1) no reproduction 2) grow fast 3) aggressive 4) feed train readily 5) affordable and 6) fight like no other fish in a small pond.


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I would like to try what you did next year. I am quite a bit closer to the hatchery so might just try to pick up a batch.

The SMB and feed is kind of a funny story. When I got my original 100 SMB Hartley delivered he said they would go to feed easily and that they fed them sinking feed he had a feed mill near him prepare. Well that was in December and the feeding season over so this spring I started putting out floating pellets to try and get the SMB to feed. My FHM took to the pellets fine but as far as I could see hitting the surface I never saw the original SMB eating. Maybe they were cleaning it up when is sank but I could never tell. Then about a month ago I started seeing SMB fingerlings in very shallow water (the summer water had cleared a lot so could see better). They would chase a small jig and I could see them hitting the starter pellets.

So the funny part of the story is that as far as I could tell my original stocked SMB did not take to the feed very much (I do see some larger fish hitting the larger pellets now) but the new recruits took to it pretty readily. At least some of them. Who knows how many. Some of them must eat a lot because I have caught a couple of 6" ones that their bellies are stuffed full and oozing out pellets out their anal opening.

I just kept putting out small amounts of pellets (not enough to foul the water - just a few cups in a one acre pond) even if I saw no activity. Figuring if they got hungry eventually they would eat. They did, at least some of them.


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Interesting...... I've got a 2/3 acre pond with quite a few SMB hatched from this year, and I have about 4 gallon of Optimal Grower #4 I was trying to get rid of with my HSB. I think I'll go ahead and switch the HSB over to the Optimal Bluegill Junior and use the Grower #4 to attempt feed training of my YOY SMB!! Thank you for the idea, even if I should've thought of it months ago.


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I would suggest mix the starter about half with BG Jr. Once they get about 5" they start to prefer the larger pellets.


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The most efficient size pellet is one that is about 25% of average mouth gape.

The pellet size should be approximately 20-30% of the size of the fish species mouth gape. Feeding too small a pellet results in inefficient feeding because more energy is used in finding and eating more pellets. Conversely, pellets that are too large will depress feeding and, in the extreme, cause choking. Select the largest sized feed the fish will actively eat.

Last edited by ewest; 08/18/18 09:27 AM.















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When the water was clear and I could see the SMB feeding mid day when the sun was overhead I saw the selectivity first hand of pellet size. I was observing SMB from about 3.5" to about 6" in length.

Sometimes they would just race to a pellet and eat it. Other times they would race to a pellet, stop, and look at it then either eat it or pass. Then sometimes I would see them race to a pellet then at the last moment veer off their path and select a different size pellet near the original one they started after.

I could observe they definitely had a preference for larger pellets as the fish size was bigger.

The #4 Optimal starter works fine for the 3-4" SMB but much bigger and they prefer something larger. By the time they reach 6" they will already sometimes take the Optimal Bass pellets which are just slightly larger than AM600.

I feed some of the #4 starter (last year I used AM400) most of the year in my main pond. Just a couple of cups mixed in with my larger pellets. As I throw them out by hand as I am driving along in my UTV the larger pellets will naturally go out further and the small light pellets will land very near the shore line. Small 2-4" BG just gobble the starter pellets up right up next to shore. A few of the larger fish will get some and CC will Hoover up anything they can, but if the fish have a choice they will always eat up the pellets of their choice size then go after something larger or smaller than their choice.

BG will hammer an Optimal Hand Toss till either a big enough HBG comes along to eat it, it softens so they can tear it up and eat it, or the most likely a CC will come along and it is gone. A 12" CC can swallow an Optimal Hand Toss or AM LMB pellet.

I have been feeding whole 3-5" GSF live with tails cut off to my pet 2-4# CC along side my dock. I have seen the big boys hammer a 7" GSF as I toss it in. I cut off the tail clear into the meat so it is bleeding and can not swim faster than the CC. The CC will chase it down if they to not catch it when it first hits the water. Bamm!

Also have one or more 3-4# LMB that will get one if they get there early. Usually be the first or second fish I toss into the water. After that the CC pretty much dominate the scene and it is rare for a LMB to get a chance at a meal.

Last edited by snrub; 08/18/18 09:50 AM.

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Finally caught a few to check on growth rates. The smaller one was about 3.5" and the larger one of these is about 4.75". The feeding has picked up significantly just in the last couple days. I've gotta say this is a great and easy fish project..... so far.





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Those are really growing fast!


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Feeding a bit more aggressively at 10 and a half weeks since delivery.



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Wow those are really going after it!

What size feed are you now feeding and how much bigger do you think they are since the last pictures a couple weeks ago?

Maybe you threw the feed all together to show the aggressive feeding nature but I wondered if spreading it out a little more might prevent fish from spiking each other and doing some damage. I don't know if that is a problem but I did hear one comment from a fish hauler that he had trouble with the larger HSB hauling them, especially in warm weather, of damaging themselves by spiking then that causing problems with infections.


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Nice work NEDOC !!
















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Originally Posted By: snrub
Wow those are really going after it!

What size feed are you now feeding and how much bigger do you think they are since the last pictures a couple weeks ago?

Maybe you threw the feed all together to show the aggressive feeding nature but I wondered if spreading it out a little more might prevent fish from spiking each other and doing some damage. I don't know if that is a problem but I did hear one comment from a fish hauler that he had trouble with the larger HSB hauling them, especially in warm weather, of damaging themselves by spiking then that causing problems with infections.


I'm feeding Optimal BG Jr right now. I can't really tell how much they've grown but may try to catch a few tomorrow and get an idea how much they've grown. I'll try to get pictures.

I have no idea if they are spiking each other. I'm not terribly worried because they bunch them in a much more confined environment when in an aquaculture environment. Part of the reason they are feeding more aggressively is due to the fact that usually I'm only feeding them once per day, as its still dark when I leave for work now.


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I caught a few this weekend. Most were between 5-6". They're really beginning to increase their feeding. Also of note is that the nutrient load is really beginning to lead to filamentous algae issues. Not really much of a problem with steep sided lined pond. I pulled it all out in 15 minutes in my little lined grow out pond.



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I got to see them today, but one look at me and the HSB were off their feed. I think NEDOC's fish don't like me. grin

One very impressive set of ponds and pondmeister! And helpers. wink

Last edited by snrub; 09/10/18 09:45 PM.

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I was nearly sick to my stomach with disappointment. I'd been looking forward to showing my ponds off for days, and sure enough I had the slowest feeding of the entire summer when you show up. First time ever the tiger muskie didn't feed at all. And even the hybrid striped bass were slow feeding. Ugh......... But still great to meet you. I suggest we make this an annual event!! Thanks for stopping by.


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No need to feel bad. The fish took one look at my ugly mug and said "enough"! Same thing happens at my pond when people visit. Amazing what fish take in above the surface.

C and I really enjoyed it. It is great to see what others are doing with ponds. Your pictures you post are good but it does not begin to show the overall layout of your property. What a great oasis in a sea of corn! Thanks so much for the hospitality.

Last edited by snrub; 09/11/18 07:51 AM.

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Those are some beautiful fish. What a great thread you have made. Amazing what people can do with a little time and will. Keep the post and pictures coming.


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With water temps in my grow out pond dropping into the 40s and 50s my HSB have quit feeding on the surface. So I took to experimenting with hydrated feeds. I hydrated some Optimal #2 and formed it into small wax worm looking shapes. About the third piece I threw in and it was game on. At first they wouldn't hit it til it was in the bottom one foot of the water column. But as I progressed they started hitting it in the top couple of feet in the water column. I probably went thru a pound or more of hydrated feed this way. Seems like a great way to extend the feeding season a bit.

The plan is to release them into the large pond within a couple weeks. I'll try to update the process then.


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