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Old 07-06-2014, 05:09 PM   #1
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Stocking ranch tank

Looking for any input, opinions, ideas on stocking our tank in the San Antonio area. It's just over 10acres and ave depth of 15'. It has native fish in it but would like to add Florida bass.
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:42 PM   #2
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How much would some input cost from somebody in the business of small lake/pond management?
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:48 PM   #3
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IME, start with a good stock of bait fish. After a year or so for them to establish, add the predators. The bait fish will support both the natives as well as the stocked fish.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:03 PM   #4
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When you say it has "native" fish in it...what kind and how many? The answer directly affects any correct response to your question.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:25 PM   #5
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Pond management ain't simple... Meadowlark can attest...
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:07 AM   #6
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Anyone know what a crappie can eat in a year? What is the best meal to stock for them?
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:42 AM   #7
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We would hire and pay for mgmt advice but would rather someone in this area, there are bass, channel cats, crappie, a lot of sunfish unfortunately some gar (trying to get em all out), tank is close to medina river and it has flooded over in the distant past. Pond had been here long time. I don't know the history i assume all fish in it are from past floods. We would like to increase size of bass. Not sure if we need to clean it out and start over or add to what we have.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:45 AM   #8
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:11 PM   #9
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Unless you can control what gets in the pond, I don't really see any advantage to starting over. Sounds like the next flood would undo any gains from starting over.

From your description, there is nothing to be gained from adding bait fish, either. The gar, cats, and existing bass would simply devour them...and since it takes about 10 pounds of forage to add one pound to a bass, the cost curve is prohibitive.

You can, however, increase the size of your bass population by removing every bass under about 13 inches. To check your progress, determine the relative weight of your bass now and track it as you go forward with removing all small bass. This simple management technique is effective if applied strictly.

The crappie can be problematic. They compete with the bass for the same forage and can easily over populate and stunt in small impoundments. 10 acres is the lower limit for recommending crappie...and you are right on that limit. So, I would keep a very close eye on the crappie population and remove every one of them that may be stunted. Its difficult to tell but I've seen 6 inch crappie that are double digit years old look just like 2 year old crappie. The only way you can tell for sure is to check the otolith for rings.

The cats can also be problematic if your goal is larger bass....again they compete for similar forage resources. If all you have are channels, that is manageable...but its likely you have also blues and perhaps even flatheads. Flatheads are the top end predator just ahead of the blues. Both will outcompete any bass in the pond...and if you have them, you will never be able to have the bass that you could otherwise have.
If your goal is larger bass, you should remove all blues, flatheads, and consider removing even the channels.

Sounds extreme? Again, remember what I wrote earlier, it takes 10 pounds of forage to add 1 one pound of weight to a bass. Those crappie, catfish, and smaller bass all will act to limit the size of the bass you can grow.

On the positive side, you indicated you have a lot of sunfish. What is the size distribution of the sunfish and what types are present?

You mentioned Florida bass. While it is true that the Florida bass will grow larger generally than the native bass, all other things being equal, it is also true that the Florida bass are more difficult to catch (sometimes almost impossible with a lot of fishing pressure). Until you know more about what you have and have applied some of the management techniques mentioned above, its probably advisable to go slow on the Floridas.

When you have removed a lot of the smaller bass, managed the competing fish, and determined your bluegill population, then consider adding some Florida bass to the mix. Many hatcheries are now selling the cross between the Florida bass and the native bass which tends to give you the best of both worlds, i.e. catchability and growth. But in your case, the pure Floridas are going to cross anyway with whatever is there now.

As you move forward, there are other management tools available to you, e.g. Tilapia and threadfin shad and possibly gizzard shad....all of which under the right circumstances can add size to your bass.
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadowlark View Post
Unless you can control what gets in the pond, I don't really see any advantage to starting over. Sounds like the next flood would undo any gains from starting over.

From your description, there is nothing to be gained from adding bait fish, either. The gar, cats, and existing bass would simply devour them...and since it takes about 10 pounds of forage to add one pound to a bass, the cost curve is prohibitive.

You can, however, increase the size of your bass population by removing every bass under about 13 inches. To check your progress, determine the relative weight of your bass now and track it as you go forward with removing all small bass. This simple management technique is effective if applied strictly.

The crappie can be problematic. They compete with the bass for the same forage and can easily over populate and stunt in small impoundments. 10 acres is the lower limit for recommending crappie...and you are right on that limit. So, I would keep a very close eye on the crappie population and remove every one of them that may be stunted. Its difficult to tell but I've seen 6 inch crappie that are double digit years old look just like 2 year old crappie. The only way you can tell for sure is to check the otolith for rings.

The cats can also be problematic if your goal is larger bass....again they compete for similar forage resources. If all you have are channels, that is manageable...but its likely you have also blues and perhaps even flatheads. Flatheads are the top end predator just ahead of the blues. Both will outcompete any bass in the pond...and if you have them, you will never be able to have the bass that you could otherwise have.
If your goal is larger bass, you should remove all blues, flatheads, and consider removing even the channels.

Sounds extreme? Again, remember what I wrote earlier, it takes 10 pounds of forage to add 1 one pound of weight to a bass. Those crappie, catfish, and smaller bass all will act to limit the size of the bass you can grow.

On the positive side, you indicated you have a lot of sunfish. What is the size distribution of the sunfish and what types are present?

You mentioned Florida bass. While it is true that the Florida bass will grow larger generally than the native bass, all other things being equal, it is also true that the Florida bass are more difficult to catch (sometimes almost impossible with a lot of fishing pressure). Until you know more about what you have and have applied some of the management techniques mentioned above, its probably advisable to go slow on the Floridas.

When you have removed a lot of the smaller bass, managed the competing fish, and determined your bluegill population, then consider adding some Florida bass to the mix. Many hatcheries are now selling the cross between the Florida bass and the native bass which tends to give you the best of both worlds, i.e. catchability and growth. But in your case, the pure Floridas are going to cross anyway with whatever is there now.

As you move forward, there are other management tools available to you, e.g. Tilapia and threadfin shad and possibly gizzard shad....all of which under the right circumstances can add size to your bass.

Heck of a reply, and some great advice.... Hows that for a response on a public forum?!!! I've spoken with several professionals that manage high end trophy bass lakes, and all of the above advice is spot on. Crappie wreak havoc on bait fish populations.
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