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#551595 08/21/22 05:38 PM
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Hello there, I hope everyone is well. My grand daughter caught this fella cruising about with a pack of shiners over the weekend. I only put 4 smallmouth in the pond so my expectations were not to really see anymore than just that (could have all been one sex and getting them isn't easy at the hatchery - or cheap). It's no shiner though so looking for confirmation or correction.

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STP #551596 08/21/22 05:54 PM
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Probably important to note, I did not stock any LMB.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/21/22 06:55 PM. Reason: posted in wrong location
STP #551597 08/21/22 06:54 PM
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That is a nice juvenile smallmouth. If all four survived it is highly likely there is at least one male and one female. If it gets lots of food the rest of the year it could spawn in early May 2023. Otherwise a spawn will occur spring 2024. Now you know they will survive, You might want to buy 4-6 more this fall to get a second year class. Did you get the fingerlings from Fenders?


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STP #551598 08/21/22 07:10 PM
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Hello Bill, Those I was only able to get from Jones' - there were simply none available when I did the initial stocking from Fenders. Very surprised to see a yearling (or so) I guess there's a "couple" in there somewhere but when they went in maybe 6in. I reserved another 8 with Fenders a month or two ago and feel pretty good with the Perch/SMB combo going forward.

Thanks for confirming and all your advice. I hope you're well and ready for some fall temperatures.

STP #551599 08/21/22 08:08 PM
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There simply may not be any better life experience than a smallie spawn in your own pond.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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STP #551600 08/21/22 08:21 PM
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Sunil - I was shocked when she pulled it out! The original 4 are very seldom seen and not in any way interested in being caught ever again. Every now and again while mowing I'll see one really high in the water just chugging along without a care in the world but had gotten to the point where I figured I was seeing the same (and only) survivor. Then a 5yr old with a princess pole fishing in a foot of water pulled that little guy out, I had to post because it didn't seem possible. Hoping more made it because that's beyond HBG eating stage - at least the ones in my pond - the hybrid stripers may have at them but I don't think for much longer and there's plenty of easier minnows to eat along with pellets.

Very cool, very impressed with all the knowledge given here!

STP #551605 08/21/22 11:45 PM
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On a side note here.. my expectations were to see hit and miss spawns from my SMB.. what I have observed is not what I had anticipated. What I thought may possibly be unfavorable spawning conditions have shown me I don't know Jack about SMB.
If they are "in" the water, it is highly likely they will pull off a spawn. Recruitment may be a different story but reproduction occurs in conditions the "books" say they won't reproduce in...

Last edited by Snipe; 08/21/22 11:46 PM.
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Snipe #551631 08/22/22 12:32 PM
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Me either, but I don't care if it was a "fleeting affair" or just "friends with benefits" - just happy to see the BOW supports them and look forward to seeing them grow up!

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STP #551637 08/22/22 02:33 PM
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With the pond being new with minnows/shiners the 1st stocking and with a few SMB in the 2nd stocking you should have the best SMB growth possible in your region based in the fish's genetics. Expect the first 4 to be 10"-11" by next fall 2023. .


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Bill Cody #551639 08/22/22 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
Expect the first 4 to be 10"-11" by next fall 2023. .

Just think how much fun those SMB will be next year for a 6-year-old with a princess pole! grin

STP #551640 08/22/22 04:26 PM
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Right, little girls with absolutely "inadequate gear" and a worm always manage to catch the fish that we have entire tackle boxes, rods and reels dedicated to catch.

It is the way and it cannot be altered.

STP #551646 08/22/22 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by STP
Hello there, I hope everyone is well. My grand daughter caught this fella cruising about with a pack of shiners over the weekend. I only put 4 smallmouth in the pond so my expectations were not to really see anymore than just that (could have all been one sex and getting them isn't easy at the hatchery - or cheap). It's no shiner though so looking for confirmation or correction.
I have caught a bunch of those, and smaller, with a tiny jig hook and Gulp Alive green waxies for bait. I could actually see them in shallow water hunting in packs of a few along the bank, toss the jig in and watch them follow it up and strike. I have stocked three other ponds by catching many that way and transferring them to my other ponds. Anywhere from about 4" up to 6" in size. Figured most of them would just get eaten when we transferred them, but we can catch SMB regularly in the ponds we transferred them into so I guess many survived. Mine were all recruits from my original SMB spawning. I've had them spawn and reproduce every year up until this year. This year I don't know because I have not been around that pond that much and have not fished for the small ones. But I see no reason there is not another crop of them out there. They have been very prolific in my SMB/RES only pond. This year could be different though as I stocked quite a few HSB so they may have had an impact on the recruitment of the SMB spawn.

I enjoy catching tiny fish. Man those little SMB can flip a hook in a heartbeat. I would pull them right in as soon as they struck because about a third of the time they would throw the hook by the time I got them to the bank and would have to pick them up off the ground.

They are fighters. In a couple of years if things go well, you may have lots of small SMB.

This is my old thread about my SMB/RES pond. It started out as a RES only pond but in the first year I decided to add SMB. Probably two or three pages in before the SMB stuff starts.

My RES/SMB dedicated pond

Last edited by snrub; 08/22/22 06:13 PM.

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STP #551647 08/22/22 06:15 PM
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I had been just trapping crawfish from local creeks when time provided but I guess next spring I'll have to find a place that delivers (and isn't out of stock within seconds).

Very fun, appreciate everything learned and will continue to update.

STP #551967 09/06/22 07:25 PM
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We were able to get out in between the rains this weekend and feed with actual eyesight and there's a few more SM in there than I thought. There seems to be a solid 10 or 12 feeding in the 5-7in range which is really cool, double cool they've taken to pellets or just learned from the perch "eat while you can". They stay very close to shore in the grasses though so my guess is they know the stripers exist or are just careful. I still plan on grabbing the farm raised ones from Fenders if he has them this fall, maybe some over winter FHM but other than that going to let it ride.

So far so good, thanks to you all and I hope you had a nice Labor Day.

Last edited by STP; 09/06/22 07:27 PM.
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STP #551968 09/06/22 08:30 PM
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I just stumbled across this thread. I have a 2/3 acre pond that is fairly deep (17' at deepest). I take regular trips to the Boundary Waters to fish for smallmouth.
I am in SE Iowa and the state recommends only LMB , bluegill, and channel cat, so that is what I have stocked. The pond is aerated and the highest water temperature I have had this summer is 82* at the surface. I would love to be able to have a smallmouth population in my pond for the fishing excitement ( 10 grandkids from less than a year to 13). Any advice about this possibility?

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Howie, if you can put in smallies that are larger than what your current LMB population can eat, then you can have the smallies. They just might not thrive, and you might have to continually stock them every year, or every few years. Smallies seem to eventually fade away in smaller waters where LMB are present.


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I wish I could tell you Howie, I stocked perch, some hybrid bluegill, hybrid stripers, some redear and 4 lone smallmouth. No LMB or catfish, really just a panfish pond with a 5-7in max for the initial stocking. So far the perch/HBG look great and the hybrid stripers are a lot of fun, feeding is nuts. I've never seen the smallmouth spawn (heck never seen them much period) in the pond before this year but they are going now so it's an experiment.

To be fair I stocked fatheads and shiners for around 8mo before adding the "attendees". Not so much due to choice just had things to do.

STP #551971 09/07/22 03:40 AM
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I have seen here that SMB will not thrive with LMB or BG. My SMB are doing well with YP, GSH, RES, FHM , and lake chubsuckers in a 0.9 acre pond. I have multiple age classes due to spawning. I did provide spawning structure as recommended here. I moved 9 smaller SMB to my LMB/BG pond in the hopes that they might provide bonus catches, but I do not expect reproduction with LMB or BG. Wanted to thin out the SMB in the source pond due to how many are in there, even though they seem fat and happy. Great advice on this forum has really helped me with my ponds. A big thank you once again!

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Howie,
It bothers me that your state and my state (MI) still just push the standard stocking plan of LMB, BG and Catfish. Especially in northern ponds there is so much to gain from considering a minnow/YP/SMB combo or a minnow/HBG/YP/HSB/Walleye pond. For those who are OK with SMB being their apex predator along with perhaps HSB or another apex predator that does not reproduce, they can really have a great fishery. The kids still have fun catching the YP and SMB and the eating fare is still great.

Of course if you want catfish to eat then that is fine but at least here in MI if you talk to the biologist they seem to have a hard time grasping that there could be another option. I'm glad folks here have tried other combos and have been successful.

Dr. Luke follows the forum and has a pond in Iowa and could also give some state specific insights for you.

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STP #551981 09/07/22 10:36 AM
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Could not agree more, canyon creek. Bill gave me a ton of advice in the beginning because I had no desire for a LMB pond, nothing wrong with them but I'd rather have something different. I just followed instructions and it seems to be working!

Love it.

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There are options. With LMB and SMB in the same waters then the LMB almost always out compete the SMB with respect to foraging and reproduction. Sunil provided a good choice above for stocking advanced size SMB which should do well with enough forage present. The SMB likely will not be able to sustain reproduction and offspring over the long term with LMB present.

Last edited by ewest; 09/07/22 11:01 AM.















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Curious RAH, how many years have you had SMB spawning? I'm in no way in a place where stunting would occur yet but just would like a reference so I can keep an eye on things.

Last edited by STP; 09/08/22 05:40 PM.
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I am in at least 6 years since stocking SMB and think they likely have been spawning for at least 4 years. If my friends or neighbors ever pull out any thin ones, then I'll try to remove more. I have 2 newish ponds with no top predators and also a BG/LMB pond, so I can always find a home for some. If anyone nearby wants 5-10 small SMB for their pond, drop me a message. I think that I can spare them. Only started with 20 stockers in a 0.9 acre pond stocked at 10 per year in consecutive years (from 2 different hatcheries).

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