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Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
#513988 11/13/19 08:44 AM
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Are there any overlooked gems in the forage fish world that get unfairly ignored in favor of the traditional FHMs?

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #513992 11/13/19 11:03 AM
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I feel there are many alternatives and am beginning an experiment of alternative species myself. I believe certain species are better choices for obvious reasons, such as the FHM due to reproduction traits. I'm also finding that availability of certain species that may fit this alternative niche are not commonly used for many reasons.
I think a close examination of species present in your area, reproduction traits and how they may perform in your environment will lead you to a point of decision as to whether less common varieties are worth the trouble.
I can see why they say it's not good practice to try and reinvent the wheel in this situation, but until I prove that theory to myself I'm going to try additional species, fail or not.
Research your local varieties and base your decisions heavily on that.
my 2 cents...


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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
Snipe #513994 11/13/19 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted By: Snipe
Research your local varieties and base your decisions heavily on that.
my 2 cents...


What traits make a good forage fish?

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #513995 11/13/19 12:28 PM
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I am trying lake chubsucker (LCS and GSH in my SMB/YP pond. Also trying to get LCS going with FHM in new pond that may have black crappie and blue catfish later on. Have heard that bluntnose minnows persist better than FHM but have not found a source.

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #513998 11/13/19 03:33 PM
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I like Gambusia. They are indestructible and can sustain a population, unlike the fathead minnows. They never get big so they are great forage for smaller bass.

Some folks don't like gambusia and believe they rob nests. I don't believe they can swim in anything deeper than a few inches of water without getting gobbled up.


4 acre pond 32 ft deep within East Texas (Livingston) timber ranch. Filled (to the top of an almost finished dam) by Hurricane Harvey 9/17. Stocked with FHM, CNBG, RES 10/17. Added 35lbs RSC 3/18. 400 N LMB fingerlings 6/18
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
Vortex 4 #514001 11/13/19 04:41 PM
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+1 on that

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514005 11/13/19 07:18 PM
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Gambusia will tolerate ice cover and will survive winters at least as far as northern Ohio. In ponds that lack good shoreline cover small predators can easily eliminate breeder gambusia.


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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514007 11/13/19 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: saint_abyssal
Originally Posted By: Snipe
Research your local varieties and base your decisions heavily on that.
my 2 cents...


What traits make a good forage fish?


High reproduction with an adult size that is numerous and of useable size that doesn't outgrow potential predation sizes. My efforts are to try and find a species that is numerous in size and quantity at differing water column locations that doesn't directly mimic FHM, yet are slower than GSH. Can it be done?? I'm not sure but am going to try.
Obtained my first wild-caught species today of Red shiner.
Only 23 specimens but a start. They'll be going into forage pond when I'm sure of I.D.

Last edited by Snipe; 11/13/19 09:10 PM.

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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
Snipe #514009 11/13/19 09:31 PM
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High reproduction with an adult size that is numerous and of useable size that doesn't outgrow potential predation sizes. My efforts are to try and find a species that is numerous in size and quantity at differing water column locations that doesn't directly mimic FHM, yet are slower than GSH. Can it be done?? I'm not sure but am going to try.
Obtained my first wild-caught species today of Red shiner.
Only 23 specimens but a start. They'll be going into forage pond when I'm sure of I.D.[/quote]
But how bad could it be if a few of the species outgrew the potential predation size, wouldnt that insure that breeding stock would be staying in your BOW a while longer versus something like FHM that will become extinct in a short period of time? just thinking out loud here.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514010 11/14/19 05:49 AM
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I had great luck with tilapia.
They started spawing immediately.
Upside is the fry grow fast and are easily
Swallowed by smaller LMB.
Downside is they die off yearly as the water cools to 69 +/-.

They are cheap to buy so yearly restocking isn't an issue.

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514040 11/14/19 07:56 PM
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Don't throw rocks at me, but what about bar fish? They check most of the boxes needed for XXL LMB, and most peak out around a pound.


AL
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
FireIsHot #514041 11/14/19 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: FireIsHot
Don't throw rocks at me, but what about bar fish? They check most of the boxes needed for XXL LMB, and most peak out around a pound.


You got me Al. What is a bar fish? I've never heard of them.

Edit: I do reserve the right to throw rocks at you once I know what the heck they are! grin

Last edited by Bill D.; 11/14/19 08:18 PM.


You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514043 11/14/19 08:56 PM
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Bill, I hope you would.

A bar fish is a Morone mississippiensis, or also called a yellow bass. They're the smallest of the "striper" fish, and I think the TX state record is around 3.5# They're a nice fusiform shape, they only spawn once a year, populate the same open water as HSB, dine on small fish and crustaceans, and the vast majority are less than a pound. Kinda like a spiny yellow perch.

If, and only if, I ever stocked them in a new pond, I would think you'd have to have a small hatchery pond to keep 4-5" BG numbers up.

I wish I was 20 years younger. I'd so throw rocks at every you can't do that in a pond window I could find.


AL
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
Bill Cody #514052 11/15/19 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
Gambusia will tolerate ice cover and will survive winters at least as far as northern Ohio. In ponds that lack good shoreline cover small predators can easily eliminate breeder gambusia.


My RES/SMB pond had an explosion of bushy pond weed this year. My gambusia that were small in number originally (I think they got in there from some water primrose weed transfers I did from my sediment pond) have done tremendously well and are in high numbers around the shore line now. Waves of them when I drive around in the UTV. I would assume because they have loads of cover now with all the weeds in the pond and along the shore line.


John

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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
FireIsHot #514054 11/15/19 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted By: FireIsHot
Bill, I hope you would.

A bar fish is a Morone mississippiensis, or also called a yellow bass. They're the smallest of the "striper" fish, and I think the TX state record is around 3.5# They're a nice fusiform shape, they only spawn once a year, populate the same open water as HSB, dine on small fish and crustaceans, and the vast majority are less than a pound. Kinda like a spiny yellow perch.

If, and only if, I ever stocked them in a new pond, I would think you'd have to have a small hatchery pond to keep 4-5" BG numbers up.

I wish I was 20 years younger. I'd so throw rocks at every you can't do that in a pond window I could find.


Don't throw any rocks at me, but yellow bass are considered an invasive species in the Midwest.

https://globegazette.com/dnr-battling-ye...fa4eae2a81.html

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514057 11/15/19 10:36 AM
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Cover habitat benefits all wildlife species. Snrub's testimony about gambusia reinforces the benefit of good natural cover of submerged vegetation.


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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514063 11/15/19 02:34 PM
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Josh, no rocks thrown at you.

Actually, that's why I only suggested them for XXL LMB ponds. Bar fish are voracious egg and fry eaters which could eliminate endless LMB culling down here. The lack of spawning LMB could be huge bonus, and no different than a female only LMB pond. That's also why I suggested a hatchery pond for supplemental BG. If the bar fish densities were right, LMB could also become a ladder stocked predator like HSB, instead of a labor intensive fisheries management problem.

Because of their aggressiveness, they are also extremely easy to catch. They'd probably hit a rusty tea spoon with a hook on it. Not sure how, or even if you can catch gizzard shad, but these fish would fit the same forage niche, but not get as big and force the need for removal via electroshocking if overstocked.

IIRC, goby's were the scourge of the great lakes, and were going to decimate existing forage and ruin the fisheries. Now, SMB thrive on them. The same thing has happened here at Lake Fork with bar fish and LMB.

The thread title did say non-traditional, so I ran with it.

Last edited by FireIsHot; 11/15/19 02:39 PM.

AL
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514064 11/15/19 03:25 PM
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Are they good to eat? smile



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514066 11/15/19 04:52 PM
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Bill, their supposed to be. Not sure if they have the red meat on their sides like HSB though. They're right at the top of the trash fish list down here, but online guys say they do taste good.


AL
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514067 11/15/19 05:48 PM
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Very interesting, Al. One man's trash fish...

They are good to eat, if you can find any that are large enough. Just like white bass and HSB.

Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
Clay N' Pray #514072 11/15/19 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: Clay N' Pray
I had great luck with tilapia.
They started spawing immediately.
Upside is the fry grow fast and are easily
Swallowed by smaller LMB.
Downside is they die off yearly as the water cools to 69 +/-.

They are cheap to buy so yearly restocking isn't an issue.



Texas mandates Mozambique TP (unless you get special permission) because they are very cold sensitive. But even they die when water hits low 50s, not high 60s.

What kind of TP dies at 69F?

Last edited by anthropic; 11/15/19 11:07 PM.

8ac E Tx, full 3/16. CNBG, RES, FHM 10/15; TP 5/16; FLMB 6/16. 100 12" NLMB & 1k GSH 10/17. 150# TP & 70 HSB 5/18. 1k PK 11/18. 100# TP 4/19, 200# RBT 12/19, 10k TFS 3/20, 100#TP 5/20, 107




Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
anthropic #514074 11/16/19 06:39 AM
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The kind I bought from my local tilapia farm. They sell by the lb as food.
They don't specify sub species.
They got really slow at 68 degrees and started to get light colored, and died the next week. Body condition was very poor.
No question it was temp related (fall).
Cold snap that week had them crowding in the shallows.

Last edited by Clay N' Pray; 11/16/19 06:40 AM.
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #514076 11/16/19 07:36 AM
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I had a buddy introduce me to fishing and eating Bar fish (yellow bass). When caught in Caddo Lake during December they are great eating and fun to catch with ultralight tackle. Crappie jigs work great. There small with most of them being in the 8 to 10" size which makes them a little harder to clean without bones. No red meat that I can remember. I could see where they might be good forage for ponds with lmb over 18"


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Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
FireIsHot #514090 11/16/19 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted By: FireIsHot
Don't throw rocks at me, but what about bar fish? They check most of the boxes needed for XXL LMB, and most peak out around a pound.


Ok Al, I won't throw rocks! Sounds like "bar" fish are good to eat so I'm in. GSD are good forage for big bass but I wouldn't want to eat one!



You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!
Re: Best non-traditional forage fish for ponds?
saint_abyssal #515179 12/21/19 06:20 PM
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I would like to try some LCS, from what i have read they don't reproduce until they are 3 years old. Does anyone have any idea what size they would be at 3 years old? The one place i have seen them the 1-3 inches are $13 i am guessing those are year old? They do have 6-12 incher's for $29.


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