BROOKVILLE – Jonathan Ferris, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Richmond, an educator in Wayne County, offered advice on fish stocking and management to participants during an Oct. 8 pond clinic.
The event, sponsored by the Franklin County Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, was held at Mick and Jenny Wilz’s Brookville farm.
“A lot of people don’t know what’s in their ponds,” so keeping a fishing journal is a good idea, he said. “It will tell you about fish health and the environment in your pond.” Some information to keep track of can include, “Is the average bluegill size growing or shrinking? How many fish are you catching per hour? Are you finding bass? Keep note of things you never stocked there, but are showing up.”
When it comes to stocking fish, “be realistic on how many you can hold in your farm pond. If the pond is in good shape, 320 pounds of fish per acre is good.
“The channel catfish is one people like, but they don’t normally spawn unless there’s a hole or dark, secluded place.”
Some people “are attracted to hybrid sunfish because of their size. They’re supposed to get big fast, and some of them do. The problem is since they are a cross between different fish, it throws off their sex ratio. There’s a lot more males than females, and they don’t breed as fast.”
A stocking ratio that has been successful in Indiana is five bluegill to one largemouth bass, not to exceed 1,000 bluegill and 200 bass per acre. Channel catfish can be stocked at a rate of 100 per acre, he noted.
The agriculture and natural resources educator also had advice on what not to do: “Don’t start with big fish. The problem is if for whatever reason one species survives better than another, then all of a sudden the whole thing’s out of whack. It’s a lot better on the long-term balance to stock them small and let them grow.”