INITIAL FISH STOCKING:
It takes a little bit of science, and a lot more knowledge to stock a pond correctly. There are standard stocking numbers that exist in textbooks, but not every pond and situation are “textbook.” For example, nutrient levels, water volume, species desired, and the pond owner's long-term goals are just a few of these variations. However, the bottom line is the same for every fishing pond and lake; that is, food, food, food! When managing for trophy fish, and in particular, trophy bass, we always stock a new pond with its forage species first. The forage species include, but are not limited to, sunfish (bluegill and shellcracker) and fathead minnows. These are stocked anywhere from late Fall to early Spring. In addition to stocking bluegill, shellcracker, and fathead minnows into new ponds, we also like to start threadfin shad in the pond, as well. Not every pond will support shad, but if it is around an acre in size or larger, then the chances of them surviving are good. These species are stocked first so they can get ahead in growth and numbers before the bass fingerlings are introduced. In the summer months, we stock the largemouth bass. We do offer the Northern and Florida strains individually, but typically, we stock the F1 “Tiger” bass. This particular fish is created when a Northern largemouth is crossed with a Florida largemouth; with both parents exhibiting superior traits when compared to the other fish in its recruitment class. The F1 largemouth bass is such a superior fish because from the Northern strain, the bass gets its highly aggressive feeding habits; and from the Florida strain, the F1 bass gets its large size.
Growing a trophy bass pond is like growing a long-standing crop in the field. It takes planning, hard work, time, and patience to reap the outstanding results that one hopes to achieve. So before you put the plug in, contact Coastal Plain Land and Lakes at (850) 745-8451 or email us and let us help you get your pond started in the right direction.
SUPPLEMENTAL FISH STOCKING
How many times have you, or someone you know, gone fishing and just wore the bass out; meaning, you caught them all day long. Well, this sounds like a great day on the lake. It would be, except all of the bass were 12 - 14 inches long. They're a great catch for food, but 1 pound bass do not bode well in raising the ol' blood pressure, or look good as a wall ornament. Unless the lake is only a year old, odds are it is “bass crowded.” Furthermore, the amount of forage available for the bass to eat has been depleted. Bass tend to eat themselves out of house and home; so therefore, nearly all of the fish that those 12 - 14 inch bass can get there mouths around have been eaten, and you're left with a few very large bluegill and a bunch of stunted bass. This is where the significance of supplemental stocking becomes crucial. It is necessary to stock, and sometimes re-stock, forage fish in order to maintain a healthy, balanced lake or pond. Supplemental forage stocking, along with bass harvest (which is hard to adequately do in larger ponds), is how this balance is maintained; and it's also how your bass get large, fast. There are several different species that can be stocked to help ensure that this balance is maintained in your pond. These are: threadfin shad, gizzard shad, golden shiners, bluegill, crawfish, and tilapia (ALABAMA ONLY).
If the aforementioned sounds like a problem your pond is facing, contact our office and let our fisheries biologist help you evaluate the problem, and determine which species, and at what rate they need to be stocked to help your bass reach their full potential.