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Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
#527010 10/23/20 08:29 AM
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OK. So this is just a brainstorm that has been brewing a few months. We all know how well ponds grow fish in the first couple of years. But at some point some things change and the sustainable system, that is, one that has reached capacity and requires support for the reproduction and recruitment of the community members possesses a great deal of inefficiencies to support this need. These inefficiencies revolve around these two main needs.

1. The pond must support prey fish that are too large for the largest predators to eat. These pay their way, of course, by producing offspring that the predators can eat but the system isn't very efficient for a couple of reasons. The adults compete with the young and consume their young. The number of prey fish recruits reaching a length of 1" to 2" is generally quite limited with respect to the potential when the pond is under populated. So growth of predators stall.

2. The pond must support predator recruits. These pay their way, of course, by replacing their parents when they die. But again this isn't very efficient. The predator recruits get the first opportunities of the prey fish reproduction and if they are in sufficient quantity can nearly eliminate any recruitment of prey appropriately sized for the largest predators.

Production of trophy fish is very inefficient for these two reasons. But if one could reduce these inefficiencies the potential for ultimate weights and carrying capacity for trophy fish can be improved. Reduction of the inefficiencies can be accomplished by harvest for example. Another approach has been female only LMB. Both of these work, especially the latter. But there may be one way to greatly improve the latter and that is the topic.

TP are documented to greatly improve LMB growth and carrying capacity particularly in the larger sizes of LMB. One advantage they have is that they disappear every year and this leaves a fresh slate for their niche the following growing season. The efficiency would be greatest if TP reach ideal sizes for the predators but not much larger than that. In this case, the LMB could consume all them if they were so inclined. Limiting the size, also prevents the risk of a Trophy choking on one that is just too large to swallow. This happens ... don't know how frequently ... or if the risk is any greater than with BG.

So in the Female only situation where few LMB are of sizes less than 18" prey becomes desirable at a length of around 3". Below this length prey isn't commonly on the menu and so TP could be stocked in this situation at smaller lengths. So they represent a really good option for forage ponds where they can be produced in very large quantities over several cycles. Probably only the first crop would reproduce substantially (this applies ONLY to Mozambique TP) in the LMB pond after release. Anyway there seems to be a great deal of potential to release a large quantity of small fingerings that can reach a reproductive size by end of the 2nd month in the pond (4" in length) about 1 month subsequent to being the minimum desired length (3"). I've attached a spreadsheet that simulates the attrition of a single stocking but it doesn't also take into account any TP reproduction which would take place after the MOZ TP reach ~4". It assumes all predators exceed 18" in length and that 100% of the fry stocked at lengths of 1" to 1.5" survive to 3" in length. The weight of adult female MOZ TP required to produced this number of fry (6000) in one crop is 3 to 4 lbs. This particular approach has potential to produce 30 lbs/acre of LMB annually while supporting standing weights of 75 to 108 lbs LMB/acre. The management approach is to stock 3 1 year old female LMB annually and harvest 5 year olds with a target weight objective of 10 lbs. I have attached a spread sheet for the LMB as well. The spreadsheets assume 1 surface acre.

The space required to raise this number of 1" TP in one crop is around 400 sq ft.. They could be grown without aeration. For continual production from the adults, the optimum situation would be a rotation of the adults between two or three units. Adults remain in a pond for 21 days, and then are rotated to a new pond by seining with a large mesh. Leaving the adults in the same pond will reduce production because after 21 days the largest fry will be consuming the subsequent crops of newly hatched TP. The spreadsheets explain why a small forage pond can be so beneficial for your predator fish. They provide the conditions to get the YOY to the 1" to 2" sizes in great number.

TP could provide most everything LMB need but there remains a gap following the winter die-off where forage is needed to maintain them until TP fry stocked the following year have attained desirable sizes for the LMB. A possible idea here is a large crawfish species that fills this gap. In the south, red-swamp crayfish may be ideal (if a burrower is acceptable to you) in that they produce a strong fall crop of young that will recycle dead TP not consumed by LMB. They will reach desirable sizes by March and even produce a spring crop also.

I think this scenario could also support a trophy lepomis fishery. In this case, just like the LMB, it would be a put and take proposition where male only BG are stocked on a ladder basis. This would involve adapting the TP stocking such that TP fry are too large for these trophy BG to eat. A reproducing lepomis fishery would undermine the efficiency of this system. I would mention that it really isn't necessary to have a forage pond with TP as forage. One could just stock adults in the spring. The advantage of a forage pond is that there will be very little attrition in growing the fry to the 1" to 2" size. If in the pond, BG will take a toll if they are present and would require a greater weight of adults. So the forage pond is suggested as a way to leverage a small space into a lot of forage.

Attached Files
LMB -Tilapia Simulation.xlsx (46.34 KB, 34 downloads)
SHA1: abefad3825b15d19126700369117b2440f37bb58
Female Only.xlsx (9.7 KB, 17 downloads)
SHA1: 2ceb2f3acf5744665b44b3ed8fb0fb8828aa2dc8
Last edited by jpsdad; 10/23/20 09:21 AM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527013 10/23/20 12:27 PM
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Forage eaten by the LMB can also survive if sufficient cover is present, thus allowing the forage population to persist.

Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527031 10/24/20 05:44 AM
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Thank you Rod,

I agree cover is really important for prey fish and other prey items. It also provides additional foods and when the cover is alive it provides even more benefits. I think efforts towards providing diverse habitat is really good for pond's bio-diversity and in so many ways makes the aesthetics much more satisfying.

This scenario presented here is a bit of a Franken-Pond when it comes to the predator fish (LMB & BG) community members. I think to many it may seem unnatural and that is only because it is. There would be no other way to support 100 lbs of LMB whose avg weight is in the trophy category and where in the population a trophy individual is the rule as opposed to the exception. This not a natural condition.

That said, the niches that would otherwise be filled by the BG and LMB offspring can now be filled by other creatures and a broader more diverse community can flourish where other members of the community are participating in greater numbers. The problem with the scenario is that there is little support for it from fish suppliers. One needs 1 year old sexed LMB grown on forage, sexed BG that all reach adult sizes in their first year. The ability to purchase 1.5" TP fry at a reasonable price ... say $25/lb ... would be a great help too.

Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527036 10/24/20 07:41 AM
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It also depends on what size LMB one considers to be a trophy. My good friend pulled a 6.4-lb bass out of my 1-acre pond last Fall and a 4.5 lb one out this Spring (fished 5 times total). He ate them both. Clearly this size LMB is the exception in my pond, but they are there. My neighbor removes about 60 BG each year to eat as well to keep things in check.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527040 10/24/20 03:28 PM
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I definitely consider that fish a trophy, its a dandy. I don't recall how old your pond is but as it ages LMB reproduction will eventually make fish like that very difficult to grow without a diligent harvest of smaller LMB. Nature seems to take a pond without angler intervention to a state of more but smaller LMB and fewer but larger BG. I have a lot of experience fishing ponds like that and enjoy the superb trophy BG fishing they provide. This seems to be the balance that keeps the BG in check and maximizes biodiversity. These old BOWs, many older than 70 years now, still produce dandy BG and lots of modest LMB. They are a lot of fun to fish and the lack of trophy LMB isn't an issue for me when I fish them.

The best public waters that produce trophy LMB produce them in numbers that are measured in units of acres per fish. When an angler catches one, its a noteworthy accomplishment. I could see where if an angler owned a pond where 75% of the population were trophies he could lose the appreciation of what a trophy is and what the accomplishment really means in waters where LMB and BG are fighting their battles naturally. To be sure, I appreciate what you accomplished in growing that great fish above.

Even so, a lot is invested into trying to grow big LMB and sometimes it just seems an injustice when a member has given it the good ole college try and failed despite their investment of time and money. This particular approach is one that would stack the deck and could produce both trophy BG and LMB on an ongoing basis for the cost of 3 1 year old female LMB/acre-year, 40 1 year old male BG/ year, and 7.5 lbs of 1" TP/year. It would allow a harvest of up to 30 lbs/acre of LMB and 50 lbs/acre of BG every year and a guy wouldn't even have to buy a feeder, feed, or an aerator to do it. But he needs a source for the sexed ladder stocking and water that is provisioned to exclude contaminating fish. There are number of farmers who are producing food fish at barely break even prices who might take up that challenge with some of their water. I would like to think they could produce fish like this for a good profit and it remain a great value for the owners of recreational fisheries that are geared toward maximizing trophy potential.

Last edited by jpsdad; 10/24/20 03:37 PM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527046 10/25/20 12:01 AM
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Feeding BG is, I suspect, one key to growing trophy LMB. Additional forage weight & numbers, plus it draws out prey into the open. Also, raising additional forage in a small pond dedicated to that purpose can be helpful.

During winter, rainbow trout can help feed LMB. They are easier for LMB to swallow than TP or BG due to fusiform shape. One issue I ran into last winter was stocking 100 pounds of both larger (10-12 inch) RBT and smaller (4-6 inch) ones. The big ones grow extremely fast on a feeding program and within six weeks are too big for almost all bass. This year I'll stock 2 to 3 times more smaller RBT than bigguns. Bigguns are great fun to catch during cold months (cold being any temp below 55F where I live), but smaller ones do more good for LMB.

Freshwater prawns could be interesting, especially if they could be raised with a fish that didn't eat them much. TP may fit the bill. Wonder if large prawns might even be grown with smaller BG that couldn't swallow them. Or would BG attack the poor crustaceans anyway?

Last edited by anthropic; 10/25/20 12:31 AM.

8ac, 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, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20, 206




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Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527047 10/25/20 04:23 AM
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Pond is 17 years old and I do not feed. In addition to removing 60 BG per year, 10 or so LMB below 14" are also removed. RES are released. I have a lot of plant cover. I remember a very small pond (about 1/10th acre) that a friend had with lots of big LMB. It was full of weeds and had lots of frogs. I do think that my high frog population also helps my LMB grow. I have quite a few water lily beds especially in a shallow area that was purposely constructed to allow plants to grow as cover for small fish. Beaver hammered the lilies a while back, but the beaver are all gone now (neighbor trapped them out). I also had a lot of curly leaf pondweed in another of my ponds (also about 1 acre) which I think helped the forage to flourish and grow nice SMB. The pondweed now seems almost gone, perhaps due to papershell crayfish, so things may change. Hopefully, the larger YP, GSH, and lake chubsuckers will be spared and keep producing young for the SMB. That pond has a rip rap jetty that I made to help the crayfish. I only started with 20 SMB (10 added in each of 2 consecutive years) which no doubt helped them grow fast. They have also spawned. My goal was to establish nice fishing and wildlife ponds through habitat construction, fish species choice, and removal of fish through angling. My neighbors and friends help with the latter. Its just a hobby so I try not to let setbacks get me too stressed. I had two cases of partial winterkill in my LMB pond, one of which killed off all of the CC. Snow on ice can be a problem without aeration, but I have too many wildlife-habitat projects underway to do everything that I might like to do. My third pond is awaiting more plant growth before stocking predators, and my 4th pond is awaiting Spring to finish completion.

Last edited by RAH; 10/25/20 05:00 AM. Reason: correction in age of pond
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Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527050 10/25/20 07:14 AM
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TO ME, it’s all about the forage base. Without that, it’s about like trying to grow a garden with poor soil in the shade.


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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Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527055 10/25/20 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by anthropic
During winter, rainbow trout can help feed LMB. They are easier for LMB to swallow than TP or BG due to fusiform shape. One issue I ran into last winter was stocking 100 pounds of both larger (10-12 inch) RBT and smaller (4-6 inch) ones. The big ones grow extremely fast on a feeding program and within six weeks are too big for almost all bass. This year I'll stock 2 to 3 times more smaller RBT than bigguns. Bigguns are great fun to catch during cold months (cold being any temp below 55F where I live), but smaller ones do more good for LMB.

I think this a very good idea and one that your LMB will respond to favorably. I also think RBT present a promising species to fill the gap left by TP under the scenario of this thread's topic. If the RBT stocking can occur after water temps have substantially lowered LMB feeding demand, there might be greater potential as there may be less attrition allowing for greater spring standing weights of RBT. Like the tilapia, they represent a disappearing species and seem almost ideal for this purpose.

Originally Posted by RAH
My goal was to establish nice fishing and wildlife ponds through habitat construction, fish species choice, and removal of fish through angling. My neighbors and friends help with the latter. Its just a hobby so I try not to let setbacks get me too stressed.

I like your approach to this and despite any setbacks I think your goal has been exceeded. The management from a harvest perspective I think has been done very well. Given your pond's age, it is clear that the trophy above was grown from offspring of your original stocking. The partial winterkill may have assisted with that but all the same Well Done!

Last edited by jpsdad; 10/25/20 09:42 AM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527064 10/25/20 11:28 AM
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To the dude who stocked RBT as forage for BASS

Did any of them survive, or were they all eaten? Would it be possible to manage both in a pond?


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527067 10/25/20 12:21 PM
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No way to manage both in a pond year round. Water temp requirements for both species are too far apart for both to thrive all year long.


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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).
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
CityDad #527086 10/25/20 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CityDad
To the dude who stocked RBT as forage for BASS

Did any of them survive, or were they all eaten? Would it be possible to manage both in a pond?

As esshup says, very hard to grow RBT and LMB together year round. Smallmouth bass might be a possibility, but even that would be stretching it.

Of course, I'm keeping an eye on the nanobubble technology. That could change things dramatically, enabling trout, tiger musky, and largemouth bass to flourish in same lake. Jury is still out on that idea, hope it works out.


8ac, 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, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20, 206




Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527155 10/28/20 07:56 AM
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FrankenPond revisited.

OK so if you have any doubts about whether this is a doable scenario ... check out what SOLitude did with this .9 acre pond with a female only pond. There is an article on it in Pond Boss Magazine. The stocking rate and standing weight is at insane levels. These fish eat so much that the pond is not able to produce the forage needed. They are fed forage that are supplemented and they mention the conversion is 2 to 3 times the "industry standard" 10-1 one ratio.

I think the piece they are missing is that forage needs are separated into maintenance and growth needs. A fish will not grow unless it is maintained. If it eats enough for maintenance ... then additional food is converted into gain. The female only spreadsheet above demonstrates this, the total gain annually is 30 pounds per acre per annum but the forage requirement for combined maintenance and growth is 675 pounds per acre per annum. The mean FCR is then 22.5 lbs per pound gain.

The bigger the fish get .... the more forage it takes to gain a pound due to increasing maintenance. I added an additional column to the SS to determine the FCR based on assumptions of 5lbs/lb for Maintenance and 10lbs/lbs for growth and got the following FCRs if it interests you.

GROWTH...................................FCR

1 lb to 3 lb in 1 year....................12.5
3 lb to 5 lb in 1 year....................17.5
5 lb to 7 lb in 1 year....................22.5
7 lb to 9 lb in 1 year....................27.5
9 lb to 11lb in 1 year...................32.5

If I have any issues with their particular approach it is that all of the Female LMB are of the same year class and their doesn't seem yet to be a plan yet for recruitment through stocking and normalizing to a sustainable system. But the trophies are there. Some of them are approaching 10 lbs in three years which for Northern strain Females stocked at .45 lbs/individual is little short of amazing.

Last edited by jpsdad; 10/28/20 01:11 PM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527160 10/28/20 10:11 AM
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Fisheries scientists tried the all female LMB method (laddered stocking) in a small Ga lake and had great initial results until year 3-4 when it became obvious that they misidentified a supposed female LMB. Lots of tiny LMB offspring showed up. My point is even trained Fisheries Scientists can make a mistake and often do on sex id. Several other studies on species id/gender where even trained pros id (species and gender) correctly in 70 % range.

I would anticipate (plan for) a carrying capacity issue on the above mentioned pond - at those rates over time there are a lot of fish in the water.

Last edited by ewest; 10/28/20 10:14 AM.















Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
ewest #527161 10/28/20 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by ewest
Fisheries scientists tried the all female LMB method (laddered stocking) in a small Ga lake and had great initial results until year 3-4 when it became obvious that they misidentified a supposed female LMB. Lots of tiny LMB offspring showed up. My point is even trained Fisheries Scientists can make a mistake and often do on sex id. Several other studies on species id/gender where even trained pros id (species and gender) correctly in 70 % range.

Are you referring to this Georgia lake? It is true they messed up the sex identification right from the get go. But this did not prevent the lake from having really good trophy bass fishing. The original stocking was in 2005 and 7 years later the ratio of female LMB to male LMB was 6.9 to 1. To be sure, the lake was in decline as a trophy fishery by then, but it still remained a good fishery where LMB recruits were limited by the ratio of females. They had a reasonable theory as to why the sex ratios remained scewed toward females.

If I do female only myself I figure I am going to have to verify the sex on my own. I think I would have to cath eggs before I would feel confident to release recruits. It would take a provider who certified female only before I would purchase female only from a provider. Even then, I might cath them anyway. If I had 3 acres I would only need to do this on 6 to 9 per annum. I would probably work out a system to use a forage sized pond to produce my own as I wouldn't want feed trained LMB for this purpose.

Quote
I would anticipate (plan for) a carrying capacity issue on the above mentioned pond - at those rates over time there are a lot of fish in the water

Yes I totally agree. It's overstocked, pretty lopsided on population structure, and is really just a feed trough. The bass are thriving on the forage fish they are adding which is requiring 20 to 30 lbs per pound gained. It would seem to me that some of the forage stocked is also making it to a size to escape predation. The standing weight of forage fish too large for those big LMB to eat must also be high. I would bet a James Madison to a donut that they are also feeding the big lepomis though I don't recall them mentioning it in the article.

The owner of that pond must have some very deep pockets and doesn't think twice about costs whatever they may be.

Last edited by jpsdad; 10/28/20 01:09 PM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527231 10/31/20 04:26 AM
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If one is going to attempt all female then why not find some of the florida strain lmb that were in the 4lb range for stocking. It's my understanding most of those sized fish would be female. Double check them like mentioned using a pipet. It would not be cheep but from my experience growing numbers of trophy's is not cheep anyway you look at it.

20 lbs of bg in the 3 to 5" range would be around 3 to 5 bg per pound or lets say 100 bg per 20 lb's of forage. So in a pond with 10 5lb trophy lmb you would be looking at or around 1,000 bg per acre. Just something to think about.

Last edited by TGW1; 10/31/20 05:04 AM.

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Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
TGW1 #527233 10/31/20 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by TGW1
If one is going to attempt all female then why not find some of the florida strain lmb that were in the 4lb range for stocking. It's my understanding most of those sized fish would be female. Double check them like mentioned using a pipet. It would not be cheep but from my experience growing numbers of trophy's is not cheep anyway you look at it.
.

I think this idea has potential. Ideally they would be 2 years of age or less. I have no idea what they would cost though I do know Dixie Belle are sold in large sizes. If fish are forage fed, it is very costly to get them to that size. A typical hatchery wouldn't consider it because they can sell BG in 1 to 3 in sizes for over $100 a pound. It would take close to 100 lbs of forage to grow an LMB to 4 lbs. If they have proportioned facilities to produce what the demand would likely be for these fingerling sizes, then the opportunity cost of a 4 lb LMB would be around $10,000. Now I don't think it really costs $10,000 to grow 100 lbs of 1 to 3" fingerlings. Space and especially water is really the limiting factor explaining why fisheries suppliers focus primarily on fingerlings ... plus they are high value, low risk, and low cost products. I don't know for sure, but the Dixie Belles you could purchase in this size range may be culls from their guided lake.

If you were to purchase some there may be a method you could use to cath eggs even if purchased in the fall. I know in trout hatcheries, they use photoperiod and hormones to induce ripeness and readiness to release eggs. This may also be possible with Female LMB. My thoughts for myself were to drain the grow-out in early to mid March (also would probably do a Fall Seine and straws to select females with > 90% accuracy). If I could cath eggs from the largest just prior to spawn I could release them, other wise I could hold them for a while and possible do injections to stimulate egg development to get the positive ID.

I would probably use Todd's F1 fingerlings for grow out.

Quote
20 lbs of bg in the 3 to 5" range would be around 3 to 5 bg per pound or lets say 100 bg per 20 lb's of forage. So in a pond with 10 5lb trophy lmb you would be looking at or around 1,000 bg per acre. Just something to think about.

Tracy this would be very costly. Based on my standard weight charts 4" BG are 22 BG/LB . If you devised a plan similar to the one I first posted in the Female Only Spreadsheet. You would need around 600 lbs/acre of them and this would cost $7,920/acre-year at 60 cents a head assuming you could buy them at that price. I've gotta go but will offer some ideas you can chew on in this same post when able.

Were I stocking forage to feed directly I would want to stock the forage so as to grow into the desired lengths. This way, your pond would put some weight on them before they are consumed by those big LMB. Also I would prefer TP over BG because I could be certain that those that outgrew the LMBs' propensity to eat them would be purged from the system during winter. Your pond can produce both TP and BG. But TP have advantages because of the mouthbrooding nature. Also they tend to grow faster than BG. So for at least the larger bass I think they are better forage provided they die off each year. When you stock TP in the spring, they will produce more >3" fingerlings if the standing weight of BG is lower. BG will offer some competition and predation so it may prove beneficial to remove a reasonable weight of them so more TP fry survive. There will be more BG recruitment as well as TP recruits IMHO. Ideally you want more than half the weight of TP adults to be females but likely they will be dominated by males. 20 lbs of TP females can produce 40,000 free swimming fry every 3 to 4 weeks or so. In a forage pond most will grow to advance fry stage of 1 to 1.5". In your pond, it will depend on how many are eaten by small bass and big bluegill. A stocking of 40,000 fry of 1" in length only weighs in at 50 lbs but even if only 10% survive to 5" in length at the end of the season, you're going into die-off with 620 lbs of forage. This doesn't include of course their offspring and the forage the other 36000 TP fry supplied as they were eaten.

To be sure you wouldn't want to pay a $1 each ($40000) for the those fry but if the weight of adults is 50 % female, less then $600 would buy the adults that could produce them free swimming in 4 weeks. This begs the question, why can't we find TP forage to stock that is the length of FHM for something close to price of FHM? I know Overton's sells TP of the 3" to 6" lengths which are available late Summer and Fall. They are ideal for large LMB especially at that time of year and the cost is reasonable at $13/lb but what would be even better is to have 1.5" fry available beginning mid-June at a cost of $25-$35 dollars a pound.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/01/20 04:00 AM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527250 11/01/20 07:01 AM
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Today, you can pay ,30 per 4" bg not counting transportation or taxes. So on the low side it's around $4,000 for that 600 lb order. A Florida strain non feed trained 5lb lmb will cost $250.00 per fish or $50,00 per pound. Not counting transportation or taxes. And I am sure there is a minimum order when it comes to these prices but not sure what the minimum number might be. So lets go with 10 per acre for this discussion.

As per growing out these fish, talking bg, these 4" bg will grow out because they are not consumed all at once. These same 4" bg will spawn if this project was to start at the right time of the year. It takes awhile for the lmb to eat all those fish. LMB growth would be in pounds per year.

I would also lean toward the Tp but only as as supplemental forage. But if you were to use Todd's fingerling lmb for grow out you should not use Tp until those lmb are at least 6 month to a yr old. This is based on my personal experience. I added 5 lbs of Tp at the same time I added fingerling lmb. That 5 lbs grew to at least 60 lbs of Tp per acre. And the grew so fast that I believe they actually feed on some of the lb fry.
I can't prove that but would highly suggest to anyone that is adding their lmb fry not to add Tp at the same time they add lmb fry.

The downside to all of this is when there is all that forage available to these Florida strain lmb it makes them much tougher to catch on artificial baits.

Last edited by TGW1; 11/01/20 07:25 AM.

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Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
TGW1 #527263 11/01/20 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TGW1
But if you were to use Todd's fingerling lmb for grow out you should not use Tp until those lmb are at least 6 month to a yr old. This is based on my personal experience. .

What I "think" I would do is start with FHM in March, stock F1 LMB and Gams simultaneously as soon as F1s are available in May, in Mid July I would add the goldilocks weight of BG adult pairs. If they made good growth by Late August >6" AND I had a source of 1" TP (like from a small forage pond), then I would goose the tail end of the grow out with the little TP fry. I think the LMB could stay ahead of whatever these TP might grow in what little grow out is left. While temps are still above 60 I would seine and sex the fish using the straw method releasing the strawed females. Removing the males is another goose to the growth as the remaining TP and BG YOY would sustain a primarily female population until a prespawn collection. I would not feed but would probably use organic fertilization in the form of alfalfa or cottonseed meal, or even perhaps rice hulls. I would try to grow them to a minimum of 13" by the late winter. early spring collection. This plan could change or adapt however (eg, I might use an alternative to BG like OSS ... though probably not)

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/02/20 08:49 AM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
TGW1 #527274 11/01/20 08:59 PM
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Tracy, I think it's smart not to stock FHM and large TP at the same time. I had a bad experience with this, the TP had little algae to eat and so devoured the FHM before my LMB were stocked. Result was stunted LMB.


8ac, 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, 25 HSB & 250 F1 9/20, 206




Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527289 11/03/20 07:49 AM
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While the topic is about Female Only with TP as primary forage the thought of reproducing lepomis has not escape my attention. Given the strength of the TP as a fractional spawner capable of producing a generation of reproducing offspring one doesn't need BG to support the LMB females. But one would want different forage species to fill the gap from winter die off until fry or TP adult additions the following mid to late spring. Water temps are lower during this period and the demand for forage would not be as high as during the growing season. I am thinking other lepomis could fill this gap and what would be ideal are species that fill the gap but not much more. This species should not be prone to over production and not accumulate very large standing weights (we have TP for that).

If you do a google on "Standing weights Oklahoma ponds" you will find an interesting study where biologists determined the population structures of 42 ponds. One of the metrics they determined was percentage of weight in harvestable sizes. The order of the winners in this category were first-CC, second-LMB, third-WM, and fourth-RES. The percentage for RES was 52%, for WM was 73%, for LMB was 82% and finally CC at 100%.

Considering the proportion of harvestable weight (translates to fun fish to catch) what seems key to this metric is relatively low rates of reproduction. Maximum standing weight for RES was 160 lbs and for WM was 120 lbs which contrasts with BG with standing weights as high as 472. I find these two species the most interesting to fill the gap after TP die off in the winter.

Were I to worry, it would be that with a population of very large LMB ... would smaller versions of these fish tend to pile just 3" where most are picked off by LMB as they break this threshold .... or ... would they reproduce at low enough density so as to make good growth with 100 or so surviving to 6" annually. The latter would be ideal where the former may not sustain sufficient recruitment to maintain the lepomis population at optimum levels. Its untested but may have potential and may actually be better in combination than the two separably. The WM with their big gape may serve as crowd control for the RES and help them attain the optimum forage length of 4" by their first fall. Just a really interesting prey fish combination for filling the gap left by TP while potentially providing a vibrant pan fish fishery as well. In combination with TP, I think they would help to make the TP more accessible to hook and line in comparison to BG (BG seem to be quicker than TP at getting to a baited hook making fishing for TP somewhat difficult when they are present). Just thinking .....

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/03/20 12:12 PM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527313 11/04/20 12:02 PM
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If the LMB are feed trained you could supplement with LMB pellets . RT are a winter possibility and craws are a possible fall source. What ever is used needs to fill the size forage/predator status. Feeding small fish to larger predators is not what is needed . Nor is large forage to small predators an answer.
















Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
ewest #527318 11/04/20 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ewest
If the LMB are feed trained you could supplement with LMB pellets . RT are a winter possibility and craws are a possible fall source. What ever is used needs to fill the size forage/predator status.

I can agree with this though for me feed-train LMB would probably not apply

Quote
Feeding small fish to larger predators is not what is needed . Nor is large forage to small predators an answer

Now this is left field and foul as far I can tell. I just can't connect it contextually with any prior post. Please explain.

***Bump***

Just so there is no confusion ... by "foul" I mean the ball isn't in play ... just like in baseball. To be a "fair ball" the closing comments need to be tied to comments you disagree with. I welcome your thoughts on this Eric but need to understand what you disagree with specifically, if any at all, its hard to tell from those closing comments.

If you have other ideas about how to grow an abundance of live prey of the right size at the right times for the annual fingerling grow out ... I am very interested in and welcome your thoughts on that as well.

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/05/20 07:56 AM.
Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527326 11/05/20 11:06 AM
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Not disagreeing at all. Posting for all readers (for context) to let them know that the forage has to match the need. Big predators need big forage and small predators can't eat big forage. Part of what mods are supposed to do is be sure when those who know a lot are discussing concepts (often complicated and science/experience based) that they (unexperienced readers) need to know the basics first. Most readers here don't even post and come here because they don't know about pond mgt. They are not ready to try advanced concepts until they have the basics. A do no harm approach - never want an inexperienced reader to try something they don't understand and get bad results. You would be shocked how many unexperienced readers just go out and buy extra forage and dump it in - not a good approach.

Last edited by ewest; 11/05/20 11:15 AM.















Re: Alternative forage ideas for Trophy LMB
jpsdad #527338 11/05/20 08:11 PM
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Where can i get more info on that 1/10 acre trophy pond? Its very relevant to my interests smile

I tried to back order that maagzine but must have gotten the wrong one. My ideal pond is very similar, but my budget savvy.
Could someone explain why there are no crayfish mentioned in that pond?


Im going to ask a lot of questions, but only because I'm clueless
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