Beau March 9th, 2007
Well… not really. But I did put Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas) in the pond. Hmmm… after putting a couple thousand of the little dudes all around the pond, it might as well felt like dumping half-pennies in there! So we stocked some fish yesterday… it’s always fun, and I enjoy doing it. I’ve been managing the pond since last year to try and attain a more balanced Largemouth Bass to Bluegill population. We also have a certain number of Green Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, a few Channel Catfish, several Grass Carp and three Koi! The Green Sunfish have large mouths and compete with smaller Bass, as well as eating the smaller fry of all species. I try to catch and eat more of the Green Sunfish while allowing the Bluegill populations to increase somewhat. The Bluegill have much smaller mouths and do not compete with the Bass at the same level of the food chain over time. But to complement the natural forage foods available, I have supplemented the pond with Fathead Minnows several times since last year. It’s a little early in the year right now, but I wanted to have a large supply of the minnows in the pond before the Bass/Bluegill breeding season in April and May. Some people believe adding minnows to a pond just provides a healthy snack for hungry Bass. It probably does to a large degree, but I believe enough minnows will survive to breed themselves over the summer months. Once the water warms up to about 60 degrees F, they will begin breeding. The fathead minnows are a great addition to the food chain, and hopefully will help the Bass be very healthy for breeding season as well as increasing the average weight of the Bass over time!
Here the Fathead Minnows are swimming out of the plastic bag. They come from an Arkansas fish farm, by way of a large “fish truck” that stops periodically at various feed stores throughout the region. What a job they have… they’re driving on the road five days a week, stopping at five different towns each day delivering fish. The minnows are “hand-dipped” out of the truck’s tanks, and put into the plastic bags to make the 20 minute drive home. After unloading and getting to the pond, I quickly put the bag itself in the water for 15-30 minutes to help them acclimate to any difference in water temperature. Then it’s time to release the minnows! It appeared that only one or two didn’t survive the trip out of a couple thousand fish… I was very pleased. The minnows swam off quickly toward the bottom cover, leaves, sticks, etc. I think they’ve got a great start!
Swim away! Be free!