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Cold water bait fish
#522460 06/13/20 09:50 AM
Joined: Feb 2013
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jamh13 Offline OP
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Hello all, Well my groundwater fed pond is now complete(of course they are never really complete...) it is a smaller pond at about 40feet across and ~ 5.5 feet deep with steep rock wall sides. The spring flow is very high into this pond, about 20-30 gpm and as you can imagine it stays very cold. After a 90 degree sunny day yesterday it still registered at 56 degrees at the end of the day. I’ll be putting some trout in it eventually but would like to First add some baitfish to it that stand a chance of reproducing in a pond that probably isn’t going to see too many days with temps over 65 degrees. If there are any shiners or minnows Or daces that could pull this off where could I source them? River shrimp maybe? I’m in north western Illinois. Thanks!

Re: Cold water bait fish
jamh13 #525799 09/11/20 07:14 PM
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Hi. I'm no expert, but I have a trout pond in Ontario, Canada. It is not spring fed, so it actually gets much warmer than yours would ever get I assume during summer. I stocked it with 80 8-10" brown trout about 3 summers ago. The fish are now 22-25" and seem very healthy and full. We did not stock any forage fish before stocking, but the pond had an abundance of aquatic insects, minnows, and some crayfish. I would say my trout did very well without any need for baitfish being added. I also know lots of local trout pond owners pellet feed, which might be an option for you.


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Re: Cold water bait fish
jamh13 #525801 09/11/20 07:47 PM
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Smelt spawn at 42-44 degrees, but require running water to spawn and no idea how they'd do in a pond. That's the only bait fish I can think of that spawns in cold water.

Actually, I just found this bit of info: Mature smelt, 2-3 years of age or older, generally ascend streams to spawn around the time of ice-out (March-May). However, it is well documented that some populations spawn successfully within lakes and ponds that lack suitable spawning tributaries by utilizing shoreline areas or offshore shoals.

I know Trout love Smelt, we used to dip net for them when I lived in Upstate New York. If you could find a way to get some, it would be really interesting to see how'd they do.

Re: Cold water bait fish
jamh13 #525824 09/12/20 05:34 PM
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I'll throw in another plug for the hardy and versatile Spotfin shiner. They are the only fish actively taking pellets in the winter if we have a mid winter thaw and have pockets of open water. They are hardy, fast swimmers, reproduce well in ponds with still or moving water and easily take to pellets (at least the optimal I give them). I'm not sure if trout can catch them as they are amazingly fast and often will shoot out of the water at high speed landing sometime more than a foot away to escape predators.

They should be found natively in Indiana in streams. I didn't think we had too many natural bodies of water with them here in MI but I was pleasantly surprised when we were fishing about an hour north and the kids caught a bunch of them in their seine net in a small lake that also had a great pike and crappie population.


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