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#547162 04/28/22 11:01 AM
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Im getting ready to stock a 6 month old 1/2 acre pond in louisiana and want some input from yall. The pond is longer than it is wide and has a 10-12ft channel running the length of it. Ive got lots of structure in it (pvc trees, pallet structures, tire pyramids, stake beds, cinder block structures) and my goal is to have a healthy population of bluegill and bass. The fish farm is recommending i stock 1500 native bluegill now and then 150 bass/500 channel cat in october. I wasnt originally planning to stock catfish but if they wont disturb my bluegill and bass then i will stock them. They say not to stock fatheads and to feed the floating catfish pellets sold at tractor supply. Does this sound like good info? Thanks in advance

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1000 channel cats per ACRE stocking rate? that would require an enormous effort at harvesting catfish or soon you would have an all catfish pond!!!

Are you in a hurry? It sounds like you worked hard to get the right structure, I would spend some time building a very diverse type of forage base while you can. Freshwater shrimp should be plentiful in the bodies of water around you. Scuds, crayfish, all kinds of minnows, shiners, etc get them going so you have a good start.

Then you will be ready for all those bass to not go hungry. If I had a 1/2 acre pond and LMB was my main predator I wouldn't dare put in more than about 50 bass and 150 BG. With good structure and good water chemistry things will take off with reproduction and you will be forever wondering how to get rid of your stunted bass.

Can you do tilapia?

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Oh yeah luckily i had a long period of dry weather and was able to get lots of structure in place. Im not in a big hurry, id like to set it up the right way even if it takes a while. The numbers did sound a little excessive to me. Im not sure about tilapia, i will have to look into that. Thanks for the input!

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Echoing canyon's comments on the channel cats, if you really are not interested in channel cats, I would consider putting in 5-10 of them just for a splash of variety.

The number of 1500 bluegill into 1/2 acre or converted to 3000/acre is a fairly new concept designed to 'flood' a body of water with bluegill as forage fish, and then let them all spawn without any predation on them by predator fish (LMB, etc.). Thus when the bass are introduced, there is a ton of food for them to eat, and they have explosive growth.

You could lessen the bluegill stocking number and push off the LMB stocking until Spring '23, and get possibly a similar result.


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I have a problem with 150LMB in 1/2a... as an initial stocking. I know you are much further south than the area I work in but I would like to know if the folks recommending those stocking numbers provided you with a size of fish at stocking? are we stocking 4-6" BG then 4-6" Bass? Larger Bass?
In 1/2a pond with good structure, 3-4lbs of FHM would be 1000's of pounds going into winter months. 75-100 pair of 4-6" BG would be millions come late fall. That's when I'd stock year 0 LMB at about 60 6-8" fish. Not sure why they say no FHM, and add that many cats? I think that would be a mistake.

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It sounds like the fish farm is looking out for their interest instead of yours. $$$$$

The “normal” recommended stocking rate is1,000 2 inch bluegills per acre with 1,000 or x pounds of fatheads. Give them a year to spawn and add bass. Anything smaller than 2 inch will be too fragile to handle. Feed a good brand of food. Food isn’t a good place to try to look for a Tractor Supply Company bargain. I can personally recommend Optimal, Purina and Skretting.

Bass and bluegills have a symbiotic relationship. Only bluegills can spawn enough to feed bass and only bass can keep up with the spawning rates of bluegills. It’s the predator/prey relationship like coyotes and rabbits.

If you don’t stock the bass in a timely manner, the bluegills will over spawn, foul the water and die. Been there and done that.

Prior to release, float the bag in the pond to acclimate the fish to the ponds water temps.

Last bit of advice. Don’t lie to your wife about the $. You’re gonna get caught.

Last edited by Dave Davidson1; 04/29/22 07:32 AM.

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Double Digit,

When I read the original post it was very unclear if you were being advised or if you are planning this on your own. I infer from your handle that you want to grow very large LMB so this truly doesn't seem like anything that a reputable establishment would advise. Too many LMB, plain and simple to ever reach that goal. If this advise came from a local fishery then run don't walk as fast as you can.

If you want to grow really large LMB, no more than 25 culling 6 in each of the subsequent years after stocking.

Oh and canyon makes a great point on the CC. WAY over done if you want BIG bass.

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/29/22 07:50 AM.

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DDigit - From your Forum handle it suggests that you want to grow some big bass in this small 0.5 ac pond 11-12ft deep. If this is true then rethink or examine your stocking plan. A 0.5 ac pond will only grow as many POUNDS of bass as the body of water with adequate fertility including food production can maintain as a healthy and balanced condition assuming aeration is present. Aeration creates happy healthy water and a quality fishery. If no aeration then plan on about 30%-50% fewer POUNDS of fish because whole pond aeration exposes more of the pond bottom to dissolved oxygen(DO) and all that it as life sustaining oxygen does for keeping the pond healthy, happy water for growing more fish pounds. DO throughout the entire pond does for your pond want oxygen does for your entire human body. Without good body oxygenation,,,,, tissues and organs fail and perish.

First of all you should understand Carrying Capacity and how it relates to numbers and sizes of fishes in the pond. Read it a couple times and study this from our Q&A Archives.
https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92440#Post92440

Before I spend more time on this plan what are the sizes of the larger bass (predators) and average sizes of predator that you want to grow in this SMALL pond? Keep in mind that the bigger the bass in a body of water the fewer of them there are per acre as their top end size of the population increases. Again Carrying Capacity is very important in forming goals for the whole fishery. Goals have to be reasonable based of size of the pond, fertility of the pond, water quality, and how the fishery numbers are managed.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 04/29/22 07:25 PM.

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Thank yall for the feedback. Im not so concerned with growing trophy bass, im more so wanting a pond with big bluegill and enough bass to catch for fun. Id like to be able to keep some fish to eat every once in a while. The fish farm giving me this info said FHM will get eaten fast and wont be a replenishing food source. They also said not to aerate the pond because it will mix the cool water from the bottom and raise the overall temperature. The bass they offer would be about 3” and theyre saying the catfish would be another food source for the bass once they start to reproduce.

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Well in that case ... Not too many LMB. But just keep in mind that they will be stunted in the 8" to 10" lengths. There are many ways to do this but I will put in my two cents.

1. Go with 150 LMB

2. Reduce the BG to 1/4 to 1/2 the amount recommended. I like 400 for your goal.

3. Reduce the CC to 80 and stick with your plan to feed them Tractor supply feed. I would get 12" or larger CC so they can be grown to ~ 1.5 lbs (18") by end of each season. Fish for them in the fall and keep every one that you catch stocking only as many 12" CC the following spring as you kept the previous fall. Harvest all you can. If you don't think you would like to harvest as many as 80 CC then reduce to the amount you would like to harvest. Don't release your CC.

4. Add FHM anyway, first, right now and give them a chance to produce a good crop of fry before adding the BG and LMB. This will get your LMB to a really good size before the BG are reproducing. You don't want a lot of BG recruitment in a pond focused on BG fishing.

It'll take 4 bags of catfish feed (~$80) for feed. The CC will fertilize the pond with their waste consuming most of the feed. In a addition to this you might also consider additional fertilization of the pond since it is new. Consider a pelleted organic fertilizer like alfalfa or cottonseed meal and fertilize 20 lbs right now and then 10 lbs every week until the sum of CC feeding and fertilizer exceeds 10 lbs a week. If you decide to go this route, I will help you determine an appropriate season inventory for fertilizer. I will also provide you a feeding schedule that will tell you the weighed amounts of each to feed each day. This plan will not overtax the carrying capacity and will grow nice CC and BG and small bass. The savings on your initial stocking should pay for feed, fertilizer, and additional CC stockings for several years.

A twist to this is to allow the CC to over winter and stock 40 the following spring. Harvest up to 40 CC in the second year and every year following. Do not release CC that have over wintered. Beginning the second year feed 1.0 lb of catfish feed per day provided all the feed is being consumed.

Last edited by jpsdad; 04/30/22 09:02 AM.

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Jpsdad - That sounds like a good plan, i placed an order for 1000 FHM and will stock them this coming week. What kind of harvest rate would i be looking at for the bluegill and bass? Would going with fewer LMB allow them to grow more than the 8”-10” range?
And as far as fertilizer goes, would the alfalfa pellets(horse feed) sold at tractor supply work?

Last edited by DoubleDigit; 05/01/22 01:09 PM.
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Double Digit,

Reducing the LMB to 50 should allow you grow them to >1 lbs. There will be a range of growth for initial stockers. To grow really big bluegill, however, you probably need them to be more plentiful than that. The idea for panfish is to have almost all YOY be consumed by predators. If all you were to get to the 4" size were 150 BG per year ... that would be perfect in a pond with predators < 12" long. That is a very small proportion to the swim up of BG fry.

You could harvest 30 lbs of BG annually. How much you harvest of the LMB would depend on how anal you are about your BG being big. Allowing a stunted population of LMB is conducive to this goal. The stocking rate of 150 in 1/2 acre virtually ensures that LMB will be small and BG recruitment limited.

Yes, those pellets for horses are fine. Spread them around the margins in shallow water. Allow wave action to assist with dispersion. Put them in shallow enough water to ensure that oxygen is present to assist with decomposition. The release of nutrients are gradual but this will be very good for your FHM. I didn't mention rice bran but it would be very good as well but be sure they are in pellet form and the defatted variety. Full fat rice bran is more than 2% phosphorus by weight.


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It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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Jpsdad,

Okay thanks ill get started with fertilizing also. Would I be rushing things if i went ahead and stocked the BG fingerlings with the FHM?

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Hmm. Maybe not. If you are going to stock 50 LMB then I would say no problem with it but if you are going to stock 150 I would stock the BG and LMB simultaneously and give them equal opportunity on the FHM. That way the LMB are big enough when the BG begin spawning to eat BG YOY up to 2" in length and the BG will not over recruit. You do not want the BG YOY from the first spawn to attain sizes that your stocked LMB cannot eat. This could happen if you give the BG too much of a head start. I like simultaneous introduction if the stocking rate of LMB is 150 where both your 800 BG and your LMB reach > 1/4 lb by fall. The BG will continue growing but the LMB will likely have reached the maintenance carrying capacity.

Sorry I don't have the CC feeding/fertilization schedule prepared yet but I will post later this week.


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FHM , then 750-1000 BG/RES then in fall stock 50 6in LMB.
















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Awesome, thanks
At what point would i introduce the CC?

Also, im not able to aerate right now because i dont have power on site yet. Does that change anything?

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Consider 5-10 channel cats with the first predator stocking. Just for the variety.


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I would hold off on CC then only stock advanced CC to grow out and eat (no CC reproduction wanted).
















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Great read, so I am getting that if stocking same size LMB and BG, it is better to do it together than wait. You do not want the bluegill to have a spawn without any predator correct?

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It depends. Up north you have to watch BG crowding more than in the south.
In the south you want the BG to spawn before you add LMB. You don't want the LMB eating your first stocked BG. Up north it is different, and you don't want your BG to get too far ahead of the LMB and created a BG stunting problem.

Standard stocking method of FH followed by same time stocking of BG and LMB at 2 inches avoids the issue as the first stocked LMB can't eat a same size BG but they eat FH and their offspring. Those LMB will be able to eat any BG offspring hatched in the pond over the first year. There are numerous ways that will work depending on location and goals. The concept is the same you don't want the first stocked predators to eat the first stocked BG.
















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It also depends on when the LMB are available. We've stocked the BG in the Spring and came back in the Fall to stock the LMB because they weren't available in the Spring. Stock the correct amount for your pond goals and either Spring or Fall will work up here.


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