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Hi,

New pond stocked back in April with 3000 1-3in bluegill and 50 pounds minnows.
Bluegill now appear to be in the 4-6 in range and are growing exceptionally maybe too exceptionally.
We are on track to stock fingering bass this July.
Goal is to have some biggg bass
HERE’s my concern

My fathead minnows appear to be MIA
My bluegill will be 6-8 inches by the end of the year and my bass will maybe reach 10 in. Are the bass supposed to somehow eat these monster bluegill? I DON’T want a pond filled with skinny bass and 3000 trophy bluegill. Maybe instead of fingerling bass I should stock adults?… Spent a lot of money and did the stocking the hatchery recommended and maybe I’m overreacting but I don’t see any way a 1/2 pound bass is gonna eat a 8 in bluegill.

Thoughts and input would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if somehow we have faltered in this stocking process and/or what we can do to correct it.

Thanks!

Last edited by Barracuda J; 06/09/22 04:19 PM.
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I would think that your BG will spawn this year several times giving yoy to feed new bass . I’m not an expert but a 3” bg will spawn in a new pond.
Just cause you don’t see the fat heads doesn’t mean they’re all gone unless there are other predators that you don’t know about
Do you see any small fish around shore? Do you have any place for babies to hide ( structures)?

Last edited by Pat Williamson; 06/09/22 06:22 PM.
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@Pat Williamson

Yes bluegill have begun spawning although no sign of fry yet.

Went out again today and happened to see some fatheads however were very large. Haven’t seen them spawning yet but maybe they have…?

Yes I see a good thousand bluegill every time I’m at the shoreline but only a few fatheads. There are no predators as pond is brand new and bluegill population is off the charts. Do have a turtle not sure if they chow on fatheads but is a possibility.

As to the structure we have a good 7 very large cedar trees in tbe pond as well as rock piles.

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Originally Posted by Barracuda J
@Pat Williamson

Yes bluegill have begun spawning although no sign of fry yet.

Went out again today and happened to see some fatheads however were very large. Haven’t seen them spawning yet but maybe they have…?

Yes I see a good thousand bluegill every time I’m at the shoreline but only a few fatheads. There are no predators as pond is brand new and bluegill population is off the charts. Do have a turtle not sure if they chow on fatheads but is a possibility.

As to the structure we have a good 7 very large cedar trees in tbe pond as well as rock piles.

Thought bluegills were predators, though limited by small mouth size. Wonder if they eat the fatheads? I know from sad experience that tilapia sure will, especially when there's not much algae for them to consume.


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Frank, I think it is safe to say that BG are consuming FHM.

Barracuda, the LMB are never going to eat your original stockers. they will never be small enough to be ideal prey .... but their offspring will. This approach you've undertaken will require that you to be diligent to ensure that the existing BG are well fed and in good condition and that the water can support the survival fry to lengths that will feed your LMB. This implies plenty of zooplankton to grow the fry into juveniles. The stocking rate of the LMB is also important. You want to be sure that there are not too many.


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Yeah, BG will consume FHM-fry mainly, but it's important to build the food chain.. much more going on in that water than we see. Nymphs of all sorts, aquatic worms that are scary looking, just takes some time for (Cody phrase) the food web to fully develop. Until that time, whatever is most abundant is going to get hammered in a new pond.

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I read a bit further into your post and seen a flag or 2... Your BG probably are to a point that growth will slow way down because they a gonna be focusing on filling the void, producing as much offspring as possible-their energy is put towards that task.
The flag I see is the July addition of Bass.
Why not let those BG that are becoming sexually mature fill that pond with billions of BG yearlings to provide a larger assortment for higher growth potential and wait until fall for stocking bass?? Am I out of whack here guys?

Last edited by Snipe; 06/09/22 10:30 PM.
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Originally Posted by Snipe
I read a bit further into your post and seen a flag or 2... Your BG probably are to a point that growth will slow way down because they a gonna be focusing on filling the void, producing as much offspring as possible-their energy is put towards that task.
The flag I see is the July addition of Bass.
Why not let those BG that are becoming sexually mature fill that pond with billions of BG yearlings to provide a larger assortment for higher growth potential and wait until fall for stocking bass?? Am I out of whack here guys?

Nope, you're not. Another consideration is the water temp in July. Stocking any fish when the water temp is potentially in 90s+ is tough on them. Waiting for cooler water, and another month or two of BG fry growth would be my choice.

This is not a suggestion, just a thought. Once LMB get settled in, your goal of big bass could mean you'll potentially be culling small ones forever. That can be a PITA. I might look at getting larger, but fewer, LMB for the initial stocking. If needed, it's far easier to add LMB, than it is to get them out down the road.


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Wow so much great input here!
Bluegill eating the fatheads would explain the absence of them so good to hear confirmation of that.

As for the bass I was scheduled to receive 75 2in f1s this June however American sport fish said i will receive in July. I am open to calling this schedule off however I DO want to get bass in the pond this year.

With that said do I need to stock additional bluegill? Maybe throw in some 1-3in 3-4in?

As for the bass maybe I should wait until fall and put in 6-8in largemouth or even adults? Unfortunately that would mean they would just be northerns opposed to the f1s which had exciting potential.

How can I best maximize survival of bluegill fry? Will other adult bluegill consume eggs or fry? Is there a way to minimize this?

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Unfortunately that would mean they would just be northerns opposed to the f1s which had exciting potential.
I'm concerned the potential for growth is only possible with unlimited forage of the right size. ASF is a strong organization, and I would defer to their recommendations, but "is this what they recommend"???

How can I best maximize survival of bluegill fry? Will other adult bluegill consume eggs or fry? Is there a way to minimize this?
Yeah.. don't push too hard. Good things take time, and if I had 1 piece of advice that I thought would be the most important thing to say, It would be "be patient".. as mentioned here or maybe another thread- It takes time for the food chain to fully develop- answer to growing EVERYTHING.
I'm not in your location so stocking rates and timing are different, but a good fishery isn't built overnight and a great fishery takes a few more days...

How can I best maximize survival of bluegill fry?

Dense cover, lots of it, in 1-3' water, but those fry need to have less cover as bass are introduced so they have good access, but you still need "some" fry protection.

Last edited by Snipe; 06/10/22 08:41 AM.
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Originally Posted by Barracuda J
Hi,

New pond stocked back in April with 3000 1-3in bluegill and 50 pounds minnows.
Bluegill now appear to be in the 4-6 in range and are growing exceptionally maybe too exceptionally.
We are on track to stock fingering bass this July.
Goal is to have some biggg bass
HERE’s my concern

My fathead minnows appear to be MIA
My bluegill will be 6-8 inches by the end of the year and my bass will maybe reach 10 in. Are the bass supposed to somehow eat these monster bluegill? I DON’T want a pond filled with skinny bass and 3000 trophy bluegill. Maybe instead of fingerling bass I should stock adults?… Spent a lot of money and did the stocking the hatchery recommended and maybe I’m overreacting but I don’t see any way a 1/2 pound bass is gonna eat a 8 in bluegill.

Thoughts and input would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if somehow we have faltered in this stocking process and/or what we can do to correct it.

Thanks!

July is to hot IMO for advanced fingerling LMB stocking in TX. Wait until late Sept and stock fewer 8-10 in. LMB. They will feed on new BG ( those spawned by the 4-6 in BG you see now) in the 2-3 inch range by fall. As a general rule do not harvest (nor have them eaten as prey) your original stocker BG or LMB.

If you are feeding try and get feed trained LMB. Depending on your goals stock 20-25 advanced stocker LMB per acre. How big is the pond?

Last edited by ewest; 06/10/22 10:19 AM.















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@snipe

Completely agree that size potential is only reachable with unlimited forage. Their reccomendatipn to me was the bluegill and minnows in spring and bass fingerlings in summer. Whether it’s a good recommendation to t not I have yet to determine.

@ewest

Okay would the high temps cause higher deaths among stocker bass? Or is there another concern with the temps?

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Higher the temp, the higher the respiration but higher temp water holds LESS DO (Dissolved oxygen), it's very stressful, slime coat is thinner and harder to replace when temps are above 60. It's very, very stressful on them and if things are not perfect, expect high mortality rates.
Sorry, I should let ewest speak being you ask him, but I've been down this road many, many times..


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I agree ! Well stated.

Last edited by ewest; 06/13/22 09:42 AM.
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Wouldn’t he be better off to wait till next year to stock LMB, the forage would be very strong by then… just wondering

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Only my opinion, but I think mid fall is best because of the differing sizes of BG hatch available. Some of those late 1/2-1" BG won't make it through winter anyway and I'm a fan of starting smaller fish because you have a better idea of age/growth prior to stocking.
Just my opinion, no real science behind it..

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In North Texas we can easily go from nice water temps to danged hot. So, I like to start out early with fathead minnows and medium size bluegills simultaneously in early Spring. Give them a couple of months and, if we don’t get an early summer, add 2 to 3 inch bass.

If we get an early summer, might have to hold off stocking predators(bass and/or cats) until the next year.

Of course, I’m feeding heavily from day one of stocking forage.


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I think the principle is that the 3000 BG are not meant for food for the bass. They are meant to produce all the offspring that are the forage for your bass. You grow big bluegill so that they will not be consumed and can keep spawning to feed that growing bass population. It's something like 10 lbs of forage to add 1 pound to each bass per year--you'll need a lot of bluegill fry! smile Good luck and have fun! And I also vote for a later LMB introduction. I waited almost a year to give my BG 2-3 spawns and have been very happy with the results.

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The using of more BG (2500-3000) per acre @ 2in size has been found to increase the time period at which the LMB out eat the forage base from 18 - 24 mths to 36-48 mths in southern ponds. Keep in mind that new ponds approach carrying capacity in the south at about 2 yrs. So, keeping a strong forage base beyond the reaching of carrying capacity is important for fish size structure in your pond. Generalities, so recall, it depends on water quality and productivity.
















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I would cull a bunch of the bluegill. It is good to have some big bluegill for spawning purposes but too many and they will outcompete other fish. I don't know exactly why but when I remove big gills, there are always far more small gills around.

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Originally Posted by Theeck
I would cull a bunch of the bluegill. It is good to have some big bluegill for spawning purposes but too many and they will outcompete other fish. I don't know exactly why but when I remove big gills, there are always far more small gills around.

Theeck, I think you pretty much nailed why. Competition and predation. Taking some BG that are too big to be food for LMB reduces predation of fry and competition for a finite food resource. Thank you for sharing your experience. We often overlook that management for LMB can include removing older BG that we don't need so many of.. Some believe that BG should never be removed where LMB growth and ultimate size is the goal. Intraspecies competition can be offset by feeding/fertilization but there are limits to the degree one can expand carrying capacity each year. Harvesting skm BG that are no longer on the menu can help in either case as it will reduce BG intraspecies Competition and predation either way.


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