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I appreciate the input fellas and it really makes sense. I thought the HBG being approximately 90% male would definitely hinder reproduction, but canyoncreek is 100% right. Many owners have been having issues with them reverting back to GSF. I've been trying to take it slow and do what's best for the pond; but then I start researching all the types of fish and just get overzealous and want to have them all smile. Canyoncreek,Bill D and Snipe, thank you for the reality check and my pond thanks you!

I have put maybe 1/2 dozen crawfish in the pond. My pasture has crawfish randomly living in it. I'd never guess in a million years I would catch crawfish in a midwest pasture. I even have them by the house. I figured they end up in the pond anyway. By no means is it a sustainable population, it's barely a start. I did check to make sure they are not the evasive rusty craw. But if I have them in the pasture, it's only a matter of time before they make it to the pond. A couple of summers ago my boys and I were catching frogs in a 4wheeler rut in the pasture that was full of water. I began scooping up the mud and I thought I had a bunch of dragonfly larva. No, they were a bunch of baby crawfish.

So I am going to steer clear of CC, BG, YP and HBG.

What kind of numbers should I consider for RES, PS, HSB and SMB? Would you guys consider any other type of fish for forage? Where is a good source of crawfish? Again, thank you for your time. I truly appreciate your time and input.


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I'm not sure you should exclude YP completely but consider a couple of options with the YP

1. If you can source larger size ones to stock then you have flexibility to add them at any time later. So you can see how the SMB, HSB and the panfish balance out. If you like to add YP for how fun they are to catch and how good they taste, you could add them later. It might require stocking 5-6" size fish to keep them from being eaten by the SMB.

2. If you can find YP that are pellet trained then the YP are a great option because you get the added fun of having a fish that is super easy for kids to catch, super fun to watch eat pellets, and are great eating. Also, they help control snails, help control crayfish population and they don't put pressure on your minnows as much since you can supplement feed with pellets.

I didn't catch where your pond is in the midwest but if it ices over in the winter then the YP of course have to make it all winter on minnows so they will put some pressure on the minnows.

I love our YP and if our predators hammered them I would just stock more pellet trained YP. The kids feed them like pets, the YP are aggressive eaters (don't believe anyone who says they only eat in low light conditions), and they lay enough eggs each season that you probably will be removing eggs as a population control strategy.

Read the posts here about trying to source some type of shiner outside of a GSH (active posts with good information have been happening today)

Some local creeks will have bluntnose minnows, various dace, and sticklebacks etc.

if you can source lakechubsuckers these are a great additional option.

Someone in the last couple of weeks had crayfish shipped to him from a midwest state, you might be able to find that thread as it went well for that PB member.

Curious where you are sourcing Pumpkinseed as many forum members would love to add those to their northern ponds.

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I have been reading a lot on an alternative forage other than FHM. It seems the GSH are more readily available. I haven't found a source for an alternative forage yet. Although Anderson fish farm has black salty's. Keystone Hatchery is where I will source my fish from this spring.

Last edited by 5444; 10/27/19 09:26 PM.

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Keystone is awesome in my opinion. Mike and Diane Robinson are great people. My bride and I look forward to our trips there. We will heading that way soon for some WE and GSH for our fall stocking.


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Good to know Bill. I'm actually going to be within 30 minutes of them here in a few weeks for training. I thought about stopping by to pick there brains a little.


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Cool. It is a very busy time for them. My advice is shoot Mike an e-mail from their website so he can be a available for your visit.


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Just FYI, The black saltys are hybrid gold fish, aka carp..

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Thats good to know Snipe, thank you. Whats the difference between FHM and tuffies? I see that Keystone offers both.


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I do not believe there is any difference. Some say the "tuffies" are just male FHM. sometimes they sort them out at bait stations because spawning males tend to be less desirable on a hook.

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I sent Mike at Keystone an e-mail with the question. I'll report back when he answers.


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"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"



Just another name..

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Originally Posted By: Snipe
"FATHEAD MINNOWS (Pimephales promelas)

ALIAS: Tuffy, blackhead minnow, minner"



Just another name..


I think you're right Snipe. I remember asking one of the biologists at Keystone this same question several years back. IIRC the answer I got was there is a difference in providence between their FHM and Tuffies. Keep in mind, this is going by my memory and I am older than Pat W's Falstaff beer supply! The FHM are pond raised and may have a few stickleback mixed in. Their Tuffies will be pure FHM and produced in a more costly procedure. There is a price difference. I will be interested in Mike's reply. I always get the FHM as I don't mind a few stickleback.

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If in the upper midwest you are getting sticklebacks in with FHM then the FHM are coming from wild ponds in MN or WI. Pure cultures of FHM are usually coming from AK farms. As Snipe noted below the AK should be AR for Arkansas. Mis-typed happens a lot!

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Alaska??? AR maybe?? :-))))
I didn't just catch Bill in a mis-typed situation did I? grin

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From Mike at Keystone...

"Yes, they are both Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) but the Tuffies are raised in Arkansas. Because of how they are raised and harvested, they are hardier in the summer. Basically, Tuffies are the thing to stock if you are trying to seed a new pond in the spring, but they are a waste if you are trying to feed a hungry bass pond, because they will both get eaten either way."


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Good to know fellas, thank you. The pond is almost full with the rain and snow melt from the 3" we received. I believe I'm only 12-18 inches from being completely full. I emailed Mike from Keystone since I will be within 30 minutes of this place in a few weeks. I do not think he will have time to talk. Bill D you were right, he is pretty busy right now. He did say he would meet if I absolutely had too. But that is not the case. Man I cannot wait to get some fish in this hole.

I did walk to the bottom of my dam the other day due to a small dead tree falling along my property line. I noticed some pudding and dampness. It was a day or two after a rain, so puddles of water were here and there. I just did not expect it to be where I found it due to the incline. How would I know if the dam is weeping?


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So quick update. We just received 1.5 inches of rain and my pond is full. The dock I built with a friend was perfectly placed and all is well so far. My 8# of FHM pulled off a successful spawn last summer and are hopefully surviving the winter. I placed an order with Keystone Hatchery for the following:

150 Pumpkinseed
150 Redear
150 Perch
30 Smallmouth Bass

What do you guys think of these numbers for my 1/2 acre pond? Keystone stated he is not sure if the smallmouth and pumpkinseed will be available this spring, or I might have to wait until next fall. If that's the case, what should I adjust for fish numbers? Thank you to everyone who has given me input. I would not be where I am without you guys (Canyoncreek, Bob-O, Bill D, Snipe, Bill Cody, 1/4acre, Teejaeh). Hopefully I didn't forget anybody.

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I'm also planning on purchasing some papershell craws this May.


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I can't give you advice on the numbers, but will just make a comment on the PS.

I wish they were native to my area so could stock them. They are just a darn pretty fish.


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PS and RES are similar in niche environment. PS are known to stunt (possible) as do YP and RES are not known to stunt. What size fish will be delivered ? I would want to be sure of my source of predator fish before I stocked YP and PS.
















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Midwest? Where in the midwest is the pond; as north, central, or southern Illinois? This does make a difference as to how well your RES will survive. Generally the further south it is the better RES will thrive. Can we assume that Keystone buys their RES from AK rather than raise them their self? Southern raised RES are famous for not surviving northern midwest's hard winters. Do you have a strong reason to stock both RES and PS? Both have same food habits and niche habits thus the intraspecies competition will be an influence so each does not reach its full potential.

Common knowledge here about not stunting of RES is mostly due to experience and comments of Dr.Dave Willis. I tend to agree, however I have seen and know of ponds with RES to become stunted when their density becomes overly abundant due mostly to lack of predation. IMO just about ALL reproducing fish will stunt when predation is not adequate to maintain a fishery density 'balance'.

Wanting a forage or predator species and obtaining a forage species are completely two different things due mostly to availability. Some commonly discussed fish species here are scarce as 'chicken teeth'.

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Without having enough cover in the pond to provide hiding places for the fingerlings and YOY when the PS/RES/YP spawn, and having the correct cover in the pond to encourage them to pull off a successful spawn is key. I think the numbers of RES/PS are too low, but you may be OK if you have cover in there and wait a year before introducing the SMB.

Here is a typical SMB from a 1 ac pond that has some underwater weeds, but not a lot, and no cover for the YOY/Fingerlings to hide in. It was stocked with more than double the amount of RES and YP you are planning on stocking Plus 5# of Golden Shiners and 5# Fathead Minnows and the pond owner waited a year before stocking between 50 and 75 SMB.

The SMB reproduced in the pond like the owner planned, and the SMB that are 6"-8" long are 110% RW.

The SMB is 4-5 years old.


As you can see, having cover in the pond is critical to the ponds success.


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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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Originally Posted By: ewest
PS and RES are similar in niche environment. PS are known to stunt (possible) as do YP and RES are not known to stunt. What size fish will be delivered ? I would want to be sure of my source of predator fish before I stocked YP and PS.


Eric the main problem about RES for most of us are the darn things are almost impossible to catch! I have decent luck in a pond where they are the only fish. Put them in with a bunch of hungry BG, and catches are far and few in between.

Of course that could be because I an not a very good angler and severely lack patience! grin


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Pond is located in western Illinois. I also plan on adding 15-20 HSB. Snrub I can't agree with you more. They are such a pretty fish. Ewest, Snrub, Esshup, thank you for the input. Esshup, I have quite a bit a cover in pond, including 10 rock piles.


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So I looked up a stocking plan Keystone gave me from 2017 for my 1/2 acre pond. I'm a little concerned by what he suggested based on all the information I have gained from this forum over the years. Here is what they suggested:

25# of FHM
200 RES23 Redear Sunfish, 2-4"
200 PKS23 Pumpkinseed, 2-3"
200 BLG35 Bluegill 3-5"

**October or November**

20 SMB68 Smallmouth Bass 6-8"
150 YLP57 Yellow Perch 5-7"
20 WLY79 Walleye 7-9"
50 LMB58 Largemouth Bass 5-8"
20 CCF68 Channel Catfish


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