5 Basic Things to Know About Pond Stocking
Fish stocking refers to the raising of fishes in a hatchery and releasing them into a pond or lake to increase existing populations, or to introduce a population where none exists. It is a management tool done to encourage fish hatchery game in new, reclaimed, or renovated ponds and lakes. This activity likewise supplements natural stocks where fish reproduction is inexistent or inadequate. It is also employed to allow immediate fishing through the introduction of catchable sized fishes.
What does one need for stocking fish into ponds or lakes?
In the past, pond and lake stocking was usually undertaken by state governmental agencies such as state Department of Natural Resources, but recently has transitioned to private individuals or groups that are stocking for recreational purposes. However, before anyone considering stocking fish they should inquire if a permit is required. It is advised to check your states regulations prior to the onset of obtaining live fish for stocking.
What is the fish stocking schedule?
Determining a schedule of when it is best stock fish is necessary to ensure optimum return of investment. Stocking of fish is generally performed during certain seasons within a year, when it coincides with food and temperature conditions of the receiving waters. The ecological requirements of fish stocking vary in every state. However, generally, the best period to introduce fish is in early spring and again in the fall. During these times the water temperatures and oxygen demands of fishes are at their lowest while the capacity of the water to provide high oxygen levels is at its highest. Stocking should be accomplished when water temperatures are around than 65˚F.
Where to buy fish to stock a pond?
When preparing to stock fish in your pond, you should find a local, reputable and licensed fish hatchery. Transporting live fish long distances without proper oxygen or adequate water can result in the fish dying before they can even reach your pond bank. Kloubec Fisheries can advise you on what you will need to ensure the survival of your fish during transport. Kloubec supplies oxygen filled poly-bags with treated water for fish transportation to reduce stress on your fish. They may also offer live-haul delivery for larger orders of fish. You should call the hatchery to place an order and discuss transport options prior to making the trip, to save both time and money. It is also at this time they will discuss with you the correct quantities of fish to stock to conform to your pond size and existing fish populations, if any.
What types of fish are recommended for pond stocking?
The most common fish for stocking include Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Red ear Sunfish, Channel Catfish, Fathead Minnows, and Grass Carp.
Largemouth Bass is one of the best predators to stock in a pond to maintain a healthy aquatic habitat. It is highly recommended for a new pond or for restocking an old one. It reproduces well in ponds; hence, supplemental stocking is rarely necessary. A good base of forage fish should be established prior to the introduction of Largemouth Bass. Stocking rate is 100 fish per acre on average.
Bluegill stocking works well for ponds and lakes. The Bluegill serves as both food for the predator fish, as well as another pan-fish for anglers. Red ear sunfishes, on the other hand, work as a substitute for Bluegills although they do not grow as large as Bluegill. Stocking recommendation is up to 500 Bluegill per acre.
Channel Catfish are the ideal pond fish. They help to keep the pond bottom clean, and are commonly trained to eat commercial fish food pellets. However, Channel Catfish usually do not successfully reproduce unless a container is provided for spawning in. Recommended stocking is 100-500 per acre.
Fathead Minnows are very important in a new pond as food for Largemouth Bass, Bluegill and Channel Catfish. Fathead Minnow adults grow to only 3” in length and are very prolific. Their offspring are a constant food source for all other varieties of fish in the pond or lake. Recommended stocking rate is 10 lbs./acre.
The White Amur Grass Carp are recommended for all ponds. It is utilized to control vegetation problems in a pond or lake since it depends on vegetation as its main diet. This specie will not naturally reproduce. Ten (10) fish per acre is the recommended stocking quantity.
How much will it cost to stock fish?
The cost of fish stocking depends on certain circumstances such as the surface area of the pond or lake, type of fishes purchased, size of each, weight or number of each, and their availability.
For example, a one (1) acre pond would need 10lbs of Fathead Minnows. Fathead Minnows cost approximately $9.50 per pound. It is advised to stock up to 500 Bluegill per acre, with a price of $85/100 fish. The Kloubec Fisheries staff can assist in determining adequate quantities