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#551085 08/02/22 10:03 PM
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Anyone know where I can locate 50 to 100 SMB fingerlings for a pond in Northern VA. Bluegill and Perch have been getting established over last two years and getting desperate as local hatchery Zetts hasn't had SMB in stock both years. Will to pay a good price if someone with a local pond has some available!

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Zett's in Drifting PA has a limited amount of Young of the Year SMB.

Probably a 6 hour plus drive, for you, at least, but it's a possibility.


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SMB have proven numerous times to not control bluegill density. As predatory behavior, SMB will focus their main predation efforts on the more slender bodied yellow perch and tend to neglect the wider body BG to the point of prolific BG becoming over abundant and stunting can/will occur.

Reconsider instead of SMB, using LMB as a predator and then focus on removing appropriate sizes of LMB that produce the size of BG and YP for your goal. IMO it will be a real challenge to produce a high quality pan fishery using reproducing populations of both YP and BG without focused predation on the small 2"-3.5" BG. I think you may need to add hybrid striped bass with the SMB to try and control too many BG. As a result too few YP will end up as an occasional bonus fish will likely be the result. If the SMB-HSB combo does not do well at controlling the BG start adding 10" LMB to get the too many small BG numbers reduced and back to growing into 8"+ size categories. Eventually after several generations LMB will then be the dominant predator resulting in fewer and fewer SMB.

Pellet feeding too many over abundant small BG without adequate predation pressure and a focused small fish harvest often results in producing even more too many undersized BG due to more BG being reproduced and not eliminated from the community.

Great fisheries result from having the niches of predator and prey fishes matched or paired toward optimum feeding behaviors.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/03/22 03:56 PM.

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Per Cody above, this is exactly what I had to resort to - high density stocking of SMB and HSB to manage HBCP and BG populations and my YP suffered as a result - precisely as Cody predicted. Now I supplementally stock 8-10" YP when available to help maintain their presence.


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teehjaeh57 provides very good experience with SMB and BG-YP. Others here have similar experiences. IMO Plan and stock accordingly.


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Another option is to fish long and hard for the BG, and remove a LOT of them every year. A customer has a SMB/RES/HBG/YP/ HSB/GSH/HCP pond where some BG were mixed in with the yearling RES that were stocked. So far the BG are kept under control, the YP are pushing 14" and the HBG?BG are 10"-11". It's a 4 acre pond and he feeds around 1,000-1,500 pounds of Optimal BG/Bass per year. He's removing between 1,500 - 2,000 BG/HBG per year.


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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).
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Thanks all, really excellent details and appreciate all the knowledgeable input! It has been a couple years but back in 2019 after sharing my management goals on a quality pan fishery of BG, RES, and YP I took away feedback that I should try SMB to ensure YP better odds of survival as the LMB predate even the largest YP. I understand with additional removal of BG through fishing our cast netting it would be a "challenge" but viable. So that has been my plan but have not yet found SMB fingerlings available. Based on the great input from above it seems like I would have to add HSB as well to have a chance of achieving this goal, and it would still be very high maintenance if SMB are less effective at BG control than I thought from previous communication (and I recall at the time there was some experimentation with SMB, so perhaps more "data" has come in since 2019!).

So all that said, I already have a situation that needs rectified as I added 400 mixed BG and RES in 2020 and 100 YP and pond is now in its 3rd summer and spawn season and YP already in the 12-14" range and BG 7-8" but many now in the 2-3" range. It seems I am wasting my time on SMB fingerlings at this point and should switch over to LMB and recognize the YP were probably never going to be super viable in a 1 acre (14 feet deep) pond.

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You can have SMB and LMB together. What has to happen is you periodically supplementally stock SMB at 7"-9" every 2-3 years. In small ponds LMB bully SMB and for the most part keep the SMB from providing recruitment.


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I have fished a lake stocked in a somewhat similar fashion to what Dr. Bill describes.

The good thing, is that with low recruitment and LMB bullying, the SMB that you do catch should be nice big ones!

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Originally Posted by Ken77
Thanks all, really excellent details and appreciate all the knowledgeable input! It has been a couple years but back in 2019 after sharing my management goals on a quality pan fishery of BG, RES, and YP I took away feedback that I should try SMB to ensure YP better odds of survival as the LMB predate even the largest YP. I understand with additional removal of BG through fishing our cast netting it would be a "challenge" but viable. So that has been my plan but have not yet found SMB fingerlings available. Based on the great input from above it seems like I would have to add HSB as well to have a chance of achieving this goal, and it would still be very high maintenance if SMB are less effective at BG control than I thought from previous communication (and I recall at the time there was some experimentation with SMB, so perhaps more "data" has come in since 2019!).

So all that said, I already have a situation that needs rectified as I added 400 mixed BG and RES in 2020 and 100 YP and pond is now in its 3rd summer and spawn season and YP already in the 12-14" range and BG 7-8" but many now in the 2-3" range. It seems I am wasting my time on SMB fingerlings at this point and should switch over to LMB and recognize the YP were probably never going to be super viable in a 1 acre (14 feet deep) pond.

Let me share the Kansas state record perch just came from a 1/2ac (going on 5yr old) pond that was stocked with 3-5" BG and RES, 4-6" YP, 2.5" SMB. Year 2 in went Saugeye in a very low number to help control small BG. Year 3 I stocked a half dozen WAE to be ready to replace a few SAE that I have now taken out, and I stocked 6 HSB at 9".
I regularly catch 12-16" YP, SMB up to right at 17" now and I am constantly culling 8-12" SMB and YP. I have 2 year classes of BG that are 9-11" and some 13" RES. It's very unique, it requires some hands-on, but make no mistake, it can be done.

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Ken77 #551443 Yesterday at 08:39 PM
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Well, I ended up going to Zetts in PA for 100 SMB and 50 HSB to add to my 1 acre pond. Also added 100 Shiners to compliment the BG, RES, YP, and FHM added in 2020. Excited to see how this turns out and will do some trapping or netting of BG if needed. Will only add LMB if I boys and I absolutely cannot keep up with the BG.

Thanks all for the support to keep on to try SMB and the tip on Zetts in PA. Will be a fun experiment if nothing else, super excited!!

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Ive heard it said that only bluegills can spawn enough to feed bass and that only bass can forage enough to control bluegill spawning.


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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