Everything You Need To Know About Adding Game Fish To Your Pond Or Lake
One of the most common mistakes made by pond owners is to stock all their sportfish and baitfish at once. We recommend that you add 5-15 pounds of fathead minnows to your pond after the phytoplankton bloom. Easy prey, minnows can spawn multiple times in early summer. They are a great food source for bass and larger baitfish.
We suggest adding 5 bluegills to each largemouth bass and 100 largemouth bass per surface acre of pond or lake in our Northeast US area.
Other sunfish and panfish species can be added however, the pond must contain a sufficient amount of bluegill. Other sunfish species have a low reproductive rate, which makes it difficult for them to sustain their own populations under pressure from the bass.
By stocking panfish species with the bluegill, landowners can have more baitfish in their pond as the forage minnow species will have less pressure on them. This means that bass can catch more food.
Impatience can start to creep in and you might believe just a few bass won't hurt. Adding predator fish to the mix will mean that pressure will be on the baitfish, and many will be eaten before their chance at spawning. The result will be a skewed balance, as you'll have too many predatory and too few forage species. This will often result in a decrease in game fish quality and overpopulation of stunted predators.
We suggested that sportfish should be added in the spring and early summer.
Bass fingerlings should be ready to add in July in the northeast.
Ponds should be stocked with largemouth bass proportionately to the number of bluegills. We generally recommend 50 to a maximum of 100 bass per acre and 5 bluegills for each bass.
It takes time and effort to create a pond that produces trophy size large-mouth bass. However, it is well worth the investment if you want to make a great fishing spot.
Up to 50 channel catfish can be kept per acre. With the right feeding program, up to 100 catfish may be added per acre and be harvested for table fare. After bass are stocked, catfish can be added.
Speeding Up The Process
Pond owners should be able to enjoy quality fishing within three years of ensuring their ponds have been properly stocked. They can speed up the process by adding bluegills and removing poor-quality bass as needed. Periodic minnow stockings and pelleted feed will boost quality.