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#567577 06/04/24 09:52 PM
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Trying to find a good resource to identify fry in the pond from spawning. We have a couple of different forage species in the pond but can't seem to locate a good source in the searches I've done on google and minnow identification pages. Our forage fish are:

Fathead Minnows
Ruby Reds
Golden Shiners
Native Bluegill
Redear Sunfish
Tilapia (edited in...forgot to list)

Yellow Perch

Seeing loads of fry in the pond and it appears as though there may be two different types based on coloration of the fish but that may also be size of the fry too.

1st small fish we are seeing is basically 1/2 - 3/4" long silverish sides with a dark lateral line about center of the fish horizontally from behind head to the tail. This fish also seem to flit their tail for small movements in the water vs swimming or cruising the bank. These seem to be in smaller groups of say 50-100 fish. I was thinking these were Fathead. Not seeing anything in pink/pale orange color of the ruby red.


2nd small fish we are seeing is 3/4"+ with more of a dark colored back and mid and belly appear more silver. More of a swimming movement in the water. These guys will work as a group to take a floating Optimal JR pellet and munch on it as they push it through the water. Curious if these might be shiners. There was a group of these guys that I was really amazed by. They covered an area of 1' x 3' stacked-up side by side and cruised along the shore in front of the feeder. When I approached them the group split and half went left and the other half to the right.


Both of these are pretty narrow top to bottom / not short and tall like BG/RES.

Tried to take a couple of pics but when zooming in they are pretty grainy and not really usable to post to help identify. Had hoped there was something in the archives but I didn't see anything for Fry Identification.

There a good place to look?

Last edited by Boondoggle; 06/04/24 11:16 PM.

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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
There a good place to look?

Buy a long-handled swimming pool dip net, scoop fry, take good pics, post on Pond Boss?

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Lives of Baby Fish - Pond Boss Magazine

Was looking for something like this.....It doesn't show lots of the forage but there are a couple of great pics of small fish in here. Baby BG almost translucent at 2-3 weeks I think rules them out from what we are seeing in the pond. I'll keep digging on the net to see if I can find an additional link to share.


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Ruby reds (pink FHM) are generally slightly yellow looking as early stage fry. FHM have lateral stripe but they would not be this years hatch to see that yet. 3/4" they are pretty clear still. and 3/4" would be 3-4 weeks old.
GSH are needle shaped and the last of the minnow forage to spawn-generally-and would be no lateral line visible.

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Thinking these are likely FHM but I could be wrong. Anybody want to chip in?

Pic from today and there are multiple thousands of these guys swimming in groups right now.

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Are your only options what has been stocked in your pond, or do you get creek fish and/or fish from neighbor's ponds higher in the watershed?

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There is a creek within 1/2 mile downstream and we have had water flow out of the pond once due to rain. Watershed is bordered by gravel road and nothing within a mile that could get to us.

On my multiple attempts to trap crawdads in the creek north and south of the pond I never saw anything but Green Sunfish and other various sunfish resembling BG. No craws, shiners, or minnows. None of the attached made it to the pond....they were returned safely to the water they were taken from.

Pretty much the options at the beginning of the post are my possible choices unless one of the hatcheries had a mixed stock/stray that got in when we put fish in the pond.

Good questions.

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All 3 pics look to be FHM to me...

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Boondoggle, the minnows are FHM, it's hard to tell about the fish in the trap, but some look like regular bluegill. I can't be 100% sure because I can't see the whole individual fish.


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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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I agree on the pic from the trap. I can definitely identify the Green Sunfish when I see them but the nuances of picking out a Northern Bluegill vs Longear or other similar species is not something I've ever tried to do. I suppose as fall gets a little closer I'll be able to try the "everything but crawdad trap" in the pond to see how we did on spawns which is really what I'm trying to get to here.

Goal is no obvious holes in the food chain / sizes of forage through some sort of sampling.

One of the things I've noticed a shortage of with all this spawning is a nearly complete void of mature FHM since spawning started in the feeding zone. Seeing babies in the bazillions but very few mature ones. Only a few reasons I can think of for this:

1. Busy on the nest making more babies.
2. Natural mortality after spawning.
3. My YP have been snacking on them.

With 1st year water and LMB as top predator would it make sense to pop a few more lbs of FHM in to make sure spawning continues trying to rule out 2 and 3 above? I get FHM are a short term population while the BG and GSH are getting established.


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You can stock all the FHM you want but only so many fry will survive due to the right amount of plankton to grow them.
The first part of the hatch will be spawning before summer's end-if they have ample food.
Adult FHM are very seldom seen except for black head males guarding nests, and I am sure a few get consumed by YP but YP also take advantage of other items developing in the pond.

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[Linked Image]Had a couple more pics from today's visit to the pond. Sadly I didn't have my net handy to get one of these guy out of the water but to the naked eye they looked like there was a shimmering green color to them. Might have been the reflection of the sun off the nearby grass but not what I had seen on the other fish so far. Curious if these might be some of the Mixed species of Tilapia.

Any thoughts?


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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
Any thoughts?

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!"

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Couple more shots....clarity isn't great.

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I have no Idea , but 60 years a go , my Dad, had an identical L&S Lure, same green , 1.5" long , a fish catcher !


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Swimming School

Tried to catch one or two of these guys in a net and failed. Trying to decide between Tilapia and BG. Going to toss a minnow trap in this weekend to see if I have any luck. They are in the very shallow water and much larger than the FHMs.

Any guesses?


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The first picture looks like a bluegill to me.

Maybe the second picture also.

The third picture does not look like a bluegill to me.


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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Picture or you clicked on the link in that last post?


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I could not access the "Swimming School" link, so before that.

I'm just guessing.


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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Swimming Fish

See if this works. Never uploaded to youtube before...but here we are.


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Thanks, I can see that video now.

The fish are too fast for me to tell, but I did see two types of fish in the back half of the video so you've got a few things going on.


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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They are pretty good about eluding my small net but seem to be a different species. Not sure if you can see it in the vid but there's a couple of times where they flash from the sides. To tall for a FHM which is making me lean to BG or Tilapia. I have zero experience with identification of fish that small. Was curious if maybe the schooling or swimming movement might be a clue.


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Happened across a site that I thought was helpful.

University of Wisconsin - Fry Identification


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