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Originally Posted by H20fwler
Thanks for the replies!
The hatcheries I talked with do sell SMB, maybe they just wanted to sell me more?

I know a hatchery in Michigan that does not sell regular bluegill, only hybrid bluegill, and they also sell LMB to stock in ponds. One pond that I was called to do a consultation on was stocked by that hatchery. The goal for that pond was to grow some 7# LMB. it was a 3 acre pond. That hatchery sold them 900 LMB to stock in the pond @ 5"-7" and sold them 3,000 HBG. They told the owners that they'd have to buy HBG every year to get the LMB to grow.

There are hatcheries that only look out for themselves, not the customers. H2Ofowler, you have come to the correct place to get advice.

The only issue I see with stocking small amounts of fish is that you will have to go pick them up or pay a delivery fee. With the price of fuel now, getting free delivery on small orders just won't happen. I see Jones Fish in Ohio now has a $400 minimum fish order for free delivery, we have a smaller minimum order for free delivery within 75 miles. We don't have the volume of sales that Jones does so we cannot offer that for people that are further away unless a few people get together to order, or the order is a big one. At $5 or more per gallon of diesel, at 10 mpg it gets pretty pricey to deliver fish any distance. It's not only the drive to the pond, but it's the return drive too.


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Jones now has a pickup site close to me where they bring orders. I actually prefer to buy from a smaller outfit, but it is a drive. I actually got half of my SMB stockers from each hatchery with hope of getting more diverse genetics, but who knows?

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Originally Posted by RAH
Jones now has a pickup site close to me where they bring orders. I actually prefer to buy from a smaller outfit, but it is a drive. I actually got half of my SMB stockers from each hatchery with hope of getting more diverse genetics, but who knows?
RAH, I've been doing some overtime research on this genetics ghost on SMB with the help of one of our Reg 1 Bio's..
We've ran some DNA testing on a few fish and compared to some from known sources. This is getting real. The more we go forward, the more I find there is less genetic difference. I wanted to try and keep a known genetic line "clean".. what is coming up is fish that have crossed and crossed fine-tune themselves to a certain set of criteria (in each area) more quickly than trying to move a regional fish too far out. The best characteristics are brought out by the environment the fish is growing in. Some prosper, some don't. Those that survive will cross and the most prevalent characteristics will carry on.
Not sure why I've tried to reinvent the wheel but there are most definitely different genetic lines if I've learned nothing else.

Edit: I have found most growers don't know the history of their genetics and get a bit "testy" when you ask.... :-))

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Originally Posted by H20fwler
NO BG EVER.

Speaking from experience here... you absolutely will want to carefully inspect every RES that you stock to make sure it's not really a BG.

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Originally Posted by Augie
Originally Posted by H20fwler
NO BG EVER.

Speaking from experience here... you absolutely will want to carefully inspect every RES that you stock to make sure it's not really a BG.

Absolutely correct. The problem is if the "RES" that you purchase to stock is too small to have the RES identifiers, it's an impossible problem.

Same with inspecting every HBG that you stock. I found a half dzn BG in a batch of HBG that I was stocking.


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If the pond owner wants only RES I only stock 4"-6" RES to money back guarantee my work. Full money back is cheap compared to having to kill off the pond and starting over.


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That's a smart move Bill. My experience was very similar to Augie's..surprisingly, I believe we both got some of our RES stock from the same grower, Greg got BG in his, I got BG and a few BCP in mine..

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Originally Posted by Augie
Originally Posted by H20fwler
NO BG EVER.

Speaking from experience here... you absolutely will want to carefully inspect every RES that you stock to make sure it's not really a BG.

Or RES/GSF hybrid. I got some of those in some RES I stocked. It was in a small forage pond that had only FHM and RES stocked at the time so i know where the hybrids came from for sure.

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For the people that absolutely want a zero BG pond, would it be viable to stock a few pairs of adult RES at the time you do the initial FHM stocking?

If it worked correctly, the adult RES would not effect the FHM population - prior to bass being introduced the next season. The young bass could then slaughter the FHMs and then the young RES, but you would have established your RES population in the pond without the risk of introducing BG?

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I started my RES with 25 small fish after examining each one individually. I did this the first year after stocking FHM in my YP/SMB pond. Stocking a few pairs of adult RES seems like another way to go.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
For the people that absolutely want a zero BG pond, would it be viable to stock a few pairs of adult RES at the time you do the initial FHM stocking?

If it worked correctly, the adult RES would not effect the FHM population - prior to bass being introduced the next season. The young bass could then slaughter the FHMs and then the young RES, but you would have established your RES population in the pond without the risk of introducing BG?

Don't be fooled, RES will eat FHM if they are large enough, so will BG.


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That's why I feel patience is of utmost importance. Minnows and small sunfish are not the bottom of the food web, They are quite a few steps beyond the beginning. As a new pond "seasons", plants begin to grow, periphyton, phytoplankton, zooplankton, aquatic insects, inverts and other "come with time" critters all come together to create a best case scenario. Things take time to fill the void. The more ponds I mess with in fisheries, the more I realize how impatient I am and was.

Last edited by Snipe; 03/08/22 11:29 PM.
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I was a lot more patient with my 2nd pond, and am creeping with my 3rd pond. May not live long enough to finish stocking my 4th pond:) I will get FHM in it this spring.

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Sometimes patience isn't a good thing. Like when a pond is dug in a wet spot that wasn't sterilized. GSF were in the wet spot and took over the pond, eating all the forage fish and any offspring of the panfish that were stocked. The owner waited too long to stock the predators and the reset button had to be pushed.


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esshup,

I know that the RES will eat the FHMs. My question was whether a few large breeder pairs would be enough to disrupt the initial FHM proliferation step for most pond stockings? Specifically, the step where people stock 10# of FHM that turn into a pond full of FHM before the rest of their planned species are stocked.


Snipe,

That leads to your comment. I know that FHM and Lepomis are not the bottom of the food chain. All of the things you mentioned lower in the food chain MUST be established for a new pond to thrive.

However, I frequently see advice to throw in the FHMs when the new pond has barely started to fill and there is only a few feet of water. Has anyone observed a die off of the initial FHM stocking because the food chain below them was not yet established?

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Rod, a substantial part of putting in fatheads once you have some water in a new BOW is the sheer existential joy of stocking fish. I just warms the heart so much.

Plus, the fatheads are relatively inexpensive, and mostly, they'll survive.


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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I would say the same.. if there's a couple of feet of water, get the FHM started. I doubt you will kill any FHM by stocking too early. What they need to survive happens pretty fast, what they need to thrive in that first year takes a period of time. Now, one can fertilize and get a bloom fairly quickly but depending on location, you may be fueling a fire by doing so. If done in stages to allow the process to cycle in a timely fashion, I find the outcome is better and more stable.
In esshup's example, that can be very true, but the only wet spot in anything within 150 miles of me, is where you wet your pants so I don't have to worry about existing species such as that, but it's super solid advise in areas where those conditions exist.

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FishinRod:

That depends on the available habitat that the FHM have to reproduce on. As you know, the male guards the nest and keeps the eggs clean by using the tubercles on his head to "brush" them. Now if there are only a few areas that are conductive to FHM reproduction and the RES pick off the male before the eggs hatch, there might be a reduction in the number of eggs hatching, so the FHM population might not grow as fast as it would without the larger RES in there. How's that for a wordy "It depends" answer? LOL

I haven't seen any FHM die off when stocked in a new pond that was still filling.


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Update on the fish stocking and progess in the new pond;

Late last spring -2022 we put in,
30 pounds of FHM
1400 GSH two different sizes

Couple weeks later,

25- 4" walleye
150- 3"-5" Perch
100- 4" Red Eared Sunfish
25- 3"-4" Black Crappie

Fed them all summer, the FHM population exploded into millions from grain of rice size to full grown. When we fed we would see all kinds of minnows, some shinners and the perch would dart up fast. The other fish stayed pretty shy. The perch were 6"-7" going into fall.

In early November added 50-4" Small Mouth

Have decided not to add any LMB or CC. In hind sight I wouldn't have added any crappie...but we do like eating them, any caught in the future to small to eat will not go back into the pond. Want SMB and perch to be the main focus.

Looked into maybe adding 10-15 hybrid striped bass but have heard they get pretty agressive eating everything up so crossed them off the list.
Will be adding 400 brooder GS in a couple weeks to be sure to get some spawn this year.

I think the perch should spawn this spring 2023 but am still considering maybe putting another 100 4" in?

The pond has filled up nice and is at the rock line now, has about 5' to go to be full. The water is half way up the beach area and we will be shooting sand a couple inches deep over the pea gravel base in early summer. The corner ledge covered in pea gravel is under a foot of water now.

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What habitat do you have in the pond for the Yellow Perch to spawn on? If you feed the fish a good commercial fish food, the HSB will eat the food - they are pellet trained.


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Originally Posted by esshup
What habitat do you have in the pond for the Yellow Perch to spawn on? If you feed the fish a good commercial fish food, the HSB will eat the food - they are pellet trained.

This is the habitat we put in;

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I don't have the time or the want to feed every day, the HSB were just going to be something to maybe try.

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Originally Posted by H20fwler
Originally Posted by esshup
What habitat do you have in the pond for the Yellow Perch to spawn on? If you feed the fish a good commercial fish food, the HSB will eat the food - they are pellet trained.

This is the habitat we put in;

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I don't have the time or the want to feed every day, the HSB were just going to be something to maybe try.


The cover is a little light in the pond, you want to have the cover to equal about 20%-25% of the surface area of the pond. I don't have the time to feed the fish in the pond every day either, that's why I have a solar powered Texas Hunter directional fish feeder on the pond.


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I agree for the size of the pond the cover is light. We also built a shelf/ledge into one corner around twenty yards long by twenty feet covered in deep pea gravel that will be around 5’-6’ deep when pond is full. We made a few of the SM spawning beds and added a few large rocks on it. Also have the beach area that is pretty big that starts out two feet deep then slopes down to five feet with a 2’ high stone sand barrier then drops off fast to 15’ that will hopefully supply more spawning space and cover.

Trying to manage it all with my wife’s input that swimming and family recreation is a priority over fishing in this pond. My goal is to try and balance it all and have both. Would love to be able to catch foot long perch and four pound smallies one day from it. Trying to build up the forage base as much as I can to help with that.
We do enjoy feeding the fish by hand but the esthetics are #1 with my wife looking out over the pond so an automatic feeder isn’t going to work. Hopefully I can find a good balance between her ideas of an awesome pond and mine.

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Originally Posted by H20fwler
I agree for the size of the pond the cover is light. We also built a shelf/ledge into one corner around twenty yards long by twenty feet covered in deep pea gravel that will be around 5’-6’ deep when pond is full. We made a few of the SM spawning beds and added a few large rocks on it. Also have the beach area that is pretty big that starts out two feet deep then slopes down to five feet with a 2’ high stone sand barrier then drops off fast to 15’ that will hopefully supply more spawning space and cover.

Trying to manage it all with my wife’s input that swimming and family recreation is a priority over fishing in this pond. My goal is to try and balance it all and have both. Would love to be able to catch foot long perch and four pound smallies one day from it. Trying to build up the forage base as much as I can to help with that.
We do enjoy feeding the fish by hand but the esthetics are #1 with my wife looking out over the pond so an automatic feeder isn’t going to work. Hopefully I can find a good balance between her ideas of an awesome pond and mine.

You may be able to hide the feeder from sight with some bushes or tall grass. Even with the feeder every time I am at the pond I pull the top off the feeder, grab a handful of food and toss it in the pond. The fish get used to my footsteps coming to the pond and will make V's in the water swimming that way to get a free handout of food. The feeder really helps when I am not able to feed them. I have it set so it feeds 2x day, once in the early morning and again 1 hr before sunset.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The YP grow well on good feed. I feed Optimal feed, a mix of Bluegill and Bass food.


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Love the size of those perch! That is exactly what I hope to have some day..


Here is one of the spawning structures I put in on the corner ledge covered in pea gravel, I've got a few of them on it. The pea gravel is 6"-9" deep, ledge will be around 5'-6' deep when full.
.[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Here are a couple shots of what the pond looks like as of today, still has five feet to go to be full.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The GS came the other day, put half in this pond and half in the big pond at other farm. Only had one dead from what I saw, pic shows the size.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


What do you think of adding more perch this spring? If so how many do you think?

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