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#559881 07/20/23 07:45 AM
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My friend's three acre pond was finished last fall. There was a smaller pond that had bluegills, that was drained into the new pond so there are some 6-7 inchish bluegills that are spawning now. Unfortunately, some LMB slipped past the screening process. Don't know how many but at least a couple of 10-12 inchers have been seen or caught.

The pond was stocked with FHM last fall, then this spring more FHM, Golden Shiners, and 3-4" bluegills were stocked. The fhm population has exploded but they can't tell if there is a new generation of BG yet from this year's spawn.

So the question is, when should they stock LMB, and what size? Their supplier is anticipating that they will not have bass available in the fall so they are considering stocking 2-3" bass now because of the heavy presence of small forage. Is this a good strategy, or should they either find bass from another supplier for the fall or wait until spring?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

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Firstly if possible I would try and catch those several larger LMB. Those already caught should not have been released back into the pond. They will likely eat some of the newly stocked fish although the new crop of FHM might take some off of the adult bass predation of the new fingerling bass. Bass like to eat small bass - easier to swallow than a bluegill.

New bass stocking. If the supplier with 2"-3" LMB can be trusted and IF these LMB are this year's crop of bass then Yes you can stock them now into the pond. But being in NY it is probable the 2"-3" LMB are last years stunted bass - left overs. I would not buy them. Well fed, not over crowded, new northern LMB should be a minimum 3"-4" by fall (Sep-Oct) . Last year's bass should be at least 6"-8" even if well fed 9"-10" long now in mid July (14 months old). Those last years bass at 2" have lost the growth of those 6"-8" bass i.e. lost 4"-6" of possible growth that will never be regained. It it were my pond I would do my very best to buy pellet trained new stocker bass. A very wise investment to grow bass fast and keep them growing when FHM are all GONE in 2 yrs. .

However if your friend's goal is just to have some decent bass for a general fishing pond then IMO it is okay to buy last years 2"-3" bass. These bass will grow very well in a new pond full of FHM. The amount of growth these fingerlings get will depend on - 1. how many are stocked per acre and 2. how long the forage fish community lasts until the fast growing bass run out of food. Commonly this happens around 16"-18" long and their grow "hits the wall" due to food shortages and the number of new recruitment bass are present. Recruitment bass should be harvested if the goal is larger bass. If the goal is lots of big panfish then recruitment bass should have minimal annual harvest. The fishery management methods all depends on the goals of the owner.

If the pond goal is to have larger bass quickly then do not stock 100 per acre. The fewer of the new fingerlings that are stocked the faster they will grow large and the longer the minnows will last so the original stocked bass have more to eat to keep growing larger longer. It is the new crops of bass that suppress the growth of the original bass.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 07/20/23 03:34 PM.

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