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Fish Stocking

j-bird

Moderator
I have a pond a little less than two acres in size. I stocked fathead minnows the first year. By the second year, the pond was actually seething with them. The second year I stocked fingerling bass, bluegill, redear, hybrid bluegill, and catfish. That was in 2014. The bass have just about wiped out the sunfish population. None of the bass would make 16”. I have decided this spring, before sunfish spawn, I need to catch as many of the bass and get them out. I live on a 29,000 acre lake so it would be no problem to add bass when the sunfish population had re-established. I wish I had waited two years after the sunfish stocking before adding the bass.
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Channel cats will eat small pan fish and minnows as well. Keeping the top level predatory fish in check is the key to a healthy pond. With a good food chain base predatory fish can grow and multiply quickly......something I have seen done to help bolster pan fish production it get some "T" post and use woven wire fence to protect shallow spawning areas. The smaller fish will spawn and the fry are more protected. Also consider the amount of cover in your pond/lake. Cover hides fish and especially in shallow water if can hide those panfish and help reduce how effectively those bass can feed on them. Ponds are a very similar situation as our deer habitats. Cover is means of food and safety from predators. Brush, rocks, weeds and the like can all help the panfish hide and escape. I will also say that the "catch and release" policy some fisherman have is not warranted. Sort of like shooting or not shooting does. That pond will only support some many fish.....so you need to take some out from time to time. An annual fish fry and camp out with the kids and their friends tends to help the pond and makes great memories as well. I am not sure why but keeping fish seems to have become frowned upon in some areas..... Just like shooting deer...... you have to take some so there is room for the rest of them.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Channel cats will eat small pan fish and minnows as well. Keeping the top level predatory fish in check is the key to a healthy pond. With a good food chain base predatory fish can grow and multiply quickly......something I have seen done to help bolster pan fish production it get some "T" post and use woven wire fence to protect shallow spawning areas. The smaller fish will spawn and the fry are more protected. Also consider the amount of cover in your pond/lake. Cover hides fish and especially in shallow water if can hide those panfish and help reduce how effectively those bass can feed on them. Ponds are a very similar situation as our deer habitats. Cover is means of food and safety from predators. Brush, rocks, weeds and the like can all help the panfish hide and escape. I will also say that the "catch and release" policy some fisherman have is not warranted. Sort of like shooting or not shooting does. That pond will only support some many fish.....so you need to take some out from time to time. An annual fish fry and camp out with the kids and their friends tends to help the pond and makes great memories as well. I am not sure why but keeping fish seems to have become frowned upon in some areas..... Just like shooting deer...... you have to take some so there is room for the rest of them.

Wood pallets weighted down with rocks are also good to protect the small fry. Fathead minnows also like laying their eggs on the underside of flat surfaces.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
You are right on with a water body only able to support so much. I believe it is going to be based off of a lbs. per acre measurement. You can either have a lot of small fish or fewer bigger fish. You cant have it both ways. I see this all the time when trout fishing our spring fed creeks in the driftless.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
Channel cats will eat small pan fish and minnows as well. Keeping the top level predatory fish in check is the key to a healthy pond. With a good food chain base predatory fish can grow and multiply quickly......something I have seen done to help bolster pan fish production it get some "T" post and use woven wire fence to protect shallow spawning areas. The smaller fish will spawn and the fry are more protected. Also consider the amount of cover in your pond/lake. Cover hides fish and especially in shallow water if can hide those panfish and help reduce how effectively those bass can feed on them. Ponds are a very similar situation as our deer habitats. Cover is means of food and safety from predators. Brush, rocks, weeds and the like can all help the panfish hide and escape. I will also say that the "catch and release" policy some fisherman have is not warranted. Sort of like shooting or not shooting does. That pond will only support some many fish.....so you need to take some out from time to time. An annual fish fry and camp out with the kids and their friends tends to help the pond and makes great memories as well. I am not sure why but keeping fish seems to have become frowned upon in some areas..... Just like shooting deer...... you have to take some so there is room for the rest of them.
I agree with all of this. We just put the catfish in for the grandkids to catch - which they do - but they never keep them. I have let some other folks come in and catch some and take them home but there are still too many. As far as the bass go - when you live on a 29,000 acre lake - it can be difficult to make yourself fish your own two acre pond. I have added cover. I believe I have way more pedatory fish than what the prey base will support. I always had a problem keeping small bass not big enough to eat. Now that they are on the lower end of eating size, that wont be a problem. There is going to be a pond cleaning in a month or so.
 

j-bird

Moderator
I agree with all of this. We just put the catfish in for the grandkids to catch - which they do - but they never keep them. I have let some other folks come in and catch some and take them home but there are still too many. As far as the bass go - when you live on a 29,000 acre lake - it can be difficult to make yourself fish your own two acre pond. I have added cover. I believe I have way more pedatory fish than what the prey base will support. I always had a problem keeping small bass not big enough to eat. Now that they are on the lower end of eating size, that wont be a problem. There is going to be a pond cleaning in a month or so.
Good deal.... fishing is a great way to keep the kids in touch with nature.
 

woodduck

5 year old buck +
Love the buck skull on the pallet!
 

Catscratch

5 year old buck +
Good looking cover you've made! I bet they pay off big time for ya.
We have our own recipe for structures and love fishing them.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
Just curious if you have used this same setup in the past. Without much knowledge or better pics/description it looks to me like they are just going to be floating cover?
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Just curious if you have used this same setup in the past. Without much knowledge or better pics/description it looks to me like they are just going to be floating cover?

Nope, there are cinder blocks wired to the bottom pallet so they will sink. They work well providing cover for the smaller fish and top pallet extending out is a place for the larger ones to hand out.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Good looking cover you've made! I bet they pay off big time for ya.
We have our own recipe for structures and love fishing them.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

Post some pics if you have them, always looking for new ideas.
 

Catscratch

5 year old buck +
It's very similar to your plan of giving both bait fish and predatory fish their own cover. We just do it separately. I like cedars and "twiggy" structures for bait fish, and large hardwoods or hedge for large fish. We sink them adjacent to each other and I try to point the tops towards bank so that we can fish jigs through the cover without getting snagged.

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We've spent all winter catching crappie by the bucketful and bass as big as 24.25 inches. This is in a pond that used to be difficult to find fish in and a "nice" bass was a 5lb'r. Structure has made a huge difference!
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Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 
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Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
It's very similar to your plan of giving both bait fish and predatory fish their own cover. We just do it separately. I like cedars and "twiggy" structures for bait fish, and large hardwoods or hedge for large fish. We sink them adjacent to each other and I try to point the tops towards bank so that we can fish jigs through the cover without getting snagged.

We've spent all winter catching crappie by the bucketful and bass as big as 24.25 inches. This is in a pond that used to be difficult to find fish in and a "nice" bass was a 5lb'r. Structure has made a huge difference!

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

Cat ... great idea withe the bucket & wood/branches! Especially like the cedar idea.

Nice work on that bass, bet the kids love fishing there.

I knocked down a cedar and tied a cinder block to it.

cedar IMG_20180318_121618 (002).jpg
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
Just curious if you have used this same setup in the past. Without much knowledge or better pics/description it looks to me like they are just going to be floating cover?

ST ... here is one of the cribs with cinder blocks attached.

cinder block 20180318_122420 (002).jpg
 

Catscratch

5 year old buck +
The buckets are free from a local nursery and landscaping business. They can't re-use any pots that have a logo on them so they are happy to get rid of them. Does the wire work well? I thought about using wire but was afraid that it would rust out eventually and I would end up with crap floating around the pond.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
The cinder blocks sit flat on the pallet and they have coat hangers as wires. Once the pallet is on the bottom the cinder block should not move. Some of the smaller bricks I use wire.

The pallets are screwed together with deck screws. And the tree branches are deck screwed in also.

I did they same approach 4 years ago and have not had them come apart.
 

ksgobbler

5 year old buck +
I filled the bottom of my pond up with hedge and cedar when it was dry. We also made rock piles.FFB02C11-033D-4061-984A-A28C5F5117A0.jpegBF60CCCB-4088-4992-953F-F7DDEEF1055E.jpeg
 

ruskbucks

5 year old buck +
You are right on with a water body only able to support so much. I believe it is going to be based off of a lbs. per acre measurement. You can either have a lot of small fish or fewer bigger fish. You cant have it both ways. I see this all the time when trout fishing our spring fed creeks in the driftless.
It is a very fine line. I think I actually have it balanced both ways. Only took 20 years to figure it out. I no longer stock regular bluegills. They seem to reproduce to much and ended up stunting all the fish. I stock hybrid bluegills that don't reproduce, and went with pumpkinseed sunfish that are not prolific as the regular gills. Perch, crappies,largemouth, and catfish. We catch huge hybrids and the perch and crappies are 10-12 inches on average on a 2/3 of a acre pond.Bass are up to 18' which is good for WI. The bass have started to reproduce pretty good, stocked a few northern pike to try to keep them in check.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
sounds like a dream to me!!!!!
 
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