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#11563190 - 04/24/16 10:12 PM Forage Fish
FishWrangler2 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/31/16
Posts: 85
Howdy folks!

I've got 2 stock tanks one about 17 acres and the other about 3. We've done a pretty good job of managing the lakes recently and utilizing fish feeders appropriately because we have extremely clear water, aka little natural nutrients. We stayed away from fertilizing the lakes as we're on a fairly tight budget. That said, I think with the appropriate planning, we might be able to regularly budget in forage fish for our lake on a yearly or every other year basis. Besides just stocking bluegill, which we feel that we have a pretty healthy population in both lakes, what would be some other forage fish we could stock that wouldn't die off every winter like tilapia or shad? We're finally starting pull out some good fish, although this year we haven't gotten too many lunkers yet. Are there any risks in overstocking the pond with forage fish? Also, if we just stock bluegill, would stocking around 750 for the big lake and 200 for the small lake be appropriate? Neither lake is probably more than 20 feet deep. Meadowlark, this seems like something right up your alley!

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#11564119 - 04/25/16 12:23 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
Meadowlark Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 2869
Loc: East Texas
Where(generally) is the 17 acre pond located? If in mid to South or South East Texas, it would have an excellent chance at permanent establishment of a threadfin shad population. The smartest Pond Manager I know, Bob @ Tyler Fish Farms, told me once that he would never attempt to establish shad in a pond less than 5 acres....and further, that the cold weather isn't what kills them, rather it is lack of hiding areas. In cold water, threadfins always bunch up in deep water. If you have very limited areas of deep water, e.g. one 17 ft hole in a 3 acre pond, the bass will pick them off until they are completely gone. In a larger pond with multiple deep areas, you have a great chance.

Do you measure and record relative weights? If not, I recommend you do so to more accurately gain knowledge of your forage.

750 small 'gills is not even a drop in the bucket in that 17 acre lake. It should have upwards of 20,000 'gills in it, much more after spring spawning. Once established and if indicated by relative weights, you have to look at other means of increasing your bluegills. Here are two ways:

1) I know you asked about fish that could over winter, ruling out Tilapia, but you might want to re-consider that...at least on a temporary basis. One of the most surprising things I learned about Tilapia many years ago is that they take pressure off your bluegills. I experienced more bluegill, larger bluegill in the presence of Tilapia than without them...because I believe the Tilapia take a lot of the pressure off them, especially in fall and winter when they are chilled out.

2) Here is another option: rainbow trout for winter stocking. I have received incredible results using them. The largest bass by far have come from my ponds after winter stocking of trout.

http://www.crystallakefisheries.com/

They deliver....and supply most of the trout to TP&W.


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#11564188 - 04/25/16 12:57 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
Flippin-Out Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/25/15
Posts: 1564
Loc: Magnolia, TX
Meadowlark is correct that 750 bluegill isn't a drop in the bucket for a 17 acre lake. If you have an established bass population, I bet you'll have to really flood it with bluegill to get a decent survival rate due to predation. (You're delivering tasty snacks if there's not enough forage in the lake to keep the pressure off the bluegill.)

I'm far from an expert, but have talked with biologists/pond managers about my own pond. I have some bass remaining in a pond that got out of whack, and I was warned I might be wasting time/money to try to add bluegill unless I put a LOT of them in there at once.

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#11564231 - 04/25/16 01:18 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: Meadowlark]
BrandoA Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 2792
Loc: Marble Falls
Originally Posted By: Meadowlark
Where(generally) is the 17 acre pond located? If in mid to South or South East Texas, it would have an excellent chance at permanent establishment of a threadfin shad population. The smartest Pond Manager I know, Bob @ Tyler Fish Farms, told me once that he would never attempt to establish shad in a pond less than 5 acres....and further, that the cold weather isn't what kills them, rather it is lack of hiding areas. In cold water, threadfins always bunch up in deep water. If you have very limited areas of deep water, e.g. one 17 ft hole in a 3 acre pond, the bass will pick them off until they are completely gone. In a larger pond with multiple deep areas, you have a great chance.

Do you measure and record relative weights? If not, I recommend you do so to more accurately gain knowledge of your forage.

750 small 'gills is not even a drop in the bucket in that 17 acre lake. It should have upwards of 20,000 'gills in it, much more after spring spawning. Once established and if indicated by relative weights, you have to look at other means of increasing your bluegills. Here are two ways:

1) I know you asked about fish that could over winter, ruling out Tilapia, but you might want to re-consider that...at least on a temporary basis. One of the most surprising things I learned about Tilapia many years ago is that they take pressure off your bluegills. I experienced more bluegill, larger bluegill in the presence of Tilapia than without them...because I believe the Tilapia take a lot of the pressure off them, especially in fall and winter when they are chilled out.

2) Here is another option: rainbow trout for winter stocking. I have received incredible results using them. The largest bass by far have come from my ponds after winter stocking of trout.

http://www.crystallakefisheries.com/

They deliver....and supply most of the trout to TP&W.



How much do the trout cost? Seems it would be expensive.

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#11565817 - 04/26/16 07:29 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: BrandoA]
Fishbreeder Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 1269
Loc: Brazoria County, Texas
Originally Posted By: BrandoA
Originally Posted By: Meadowlark
Where(generally) is the 17 acre pond located? If in mid to South or South East Texas, it would have an excellent chance at permanent establishment of a threadfin shad population. The smartest Pond Manager I know, Bob @ Tyler Fish Farms, told me once that he would never attempt to establish shad in a pond less than 5 acres....and further, that the cold weather isn't what kills them, rather it is lack of hiding areas. In cold water, threadfins always bunch up in deep water. If you have very limited areas of deep water, e.g. one 17 ft hole in a 3 acre pond, the bass will pick them off until they are completely gone. In a larger pond with multiple deep areas, you have a great chance.

Do you measure and record relative weights? If not, I recommend you do so to more accurately gain knowledge of your forage.

750 small 'gills is not even a drop in the bucket in that 17 acre lake. It should have upwards of 20,000 'gills in it, much more after spring spawning. Once established and if indicated by relative weights, you have to look at other means of increasing your bluegills. Here are two ways:

1) I know you asked about fish that could over winter, ruling out Tilapia, but you might want to re-consider that...at least on a temporary basis. One of the most surprising things I learned about Tilapia many years ago is that they take pressure off your bluegills. I experienced more bluegill, larger bluegill in the presence of Tilapia than without them...because I believe the Tilapia take a lot of the pressure off them, especially in fall and winter when they are chilled out.

2) Here is another option: rainbow trout for winter stocking. I have received incredible results using them. The largest bass by far have come from my ponds after winter stocking of trout.

http://www.crystallakefisheries.com/

They deliver....and supply most of the trout to TP&W.



How much do the trout cost? Seems it would be expensive.


1) Meadowlark and the tilapia thing, I have gotten similar results in ponds and lakes from a quarter acre to over 1000 acres. Add tilapia to a bass pond and the bluegill do better. This allows for a lot more winter forage than without tilapia, even though they die off.

2) Rainbow trout is by far and away the cheapest "buy it off a truck bass food" you can get. Half or less than shiners, cheaper'n goldfish even. Now what you put is what you got, they don't reproduce and they die when it gets hot (tilapia in reverse) but by the pound the least costly and highest nutritional value you can buy off a truck.

Now if you got a pond that has been hyped up with tilapia and trout stockings on a regular basis, you gotta keep doing it or the fish will get poor. But a pond managed like that can produce more and bigger bass than by any other method. Think of keeping a predator in an aquarium, the aquarium does not produce much food, all the food comes from outside, but the small container can grow several very large fish. Same with a pond. If you depend on the pond to provide, it will but for very few fish. If you provide supplemental food, the limit becomes water quality, not food.

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#11565885 - 04/26/16 08:02 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
Flippin-Out Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/25/15
Posts: 1564
Loc: Magnolia, TX
Very interesting that rainbow trout are such cheap bass food compared to the other off the truck options. I knew they were high nutritional value, but didn't expect the cheap part. They must really have the science of low-overhead production locked down tight. How long does it take a farm to grow 8 inch feeder trout, for instance? (or whatever size should be appropriate)

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#11566006 - 04/26/16 08:52 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
BrandoA Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 2792
Loc: Marble Falls
So how much do trout cost?

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#11568429 - 04/27/16 08:01 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
SeaAggie2015 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 08/03/12
Posts: 146
Always like seeing what Meadowlark has to say. Everything seems to be on point. Just some additional information on tilapia. They do good for filamentous algae if you ever have a problem with that, so really you get double benefits from them. Sure you have to buy them every spring which isn't the best idea for a budgeted lake, but if you have a good population of bluegill, then adding more isn't necessarily the best option. It's like having a glass of water. If it's full, adding more doesn't really help you. You've got to look for some crystal light or meo to get more out of it.
_________________________
Noah Blackmon
www.pondking.com

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#11569366 - 04/27/16 02:59 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
FishWrangler2 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/31/16
Posts: 85
Thanks for all the input so far!

ML, our property is near Lake Whitney, so I'm not sure it's far enough south for what you were initially suggesting. That said, the lake does have pretty good depth (15-20 ft at least) and was constructed with with some pretty good structure at those depths. Thus, their could be an argument made that the shad would have enough structure to hide. This is what the guy's website we've been using says about shad:

"Threadfin Shad are a preferred forage fish of largemouth bass. Threadfin grow to a maximum size of about 6-8 inches. They feed directly on phytoplankton in open water. Threadfin begin to reproduce when water temperature reaches 70 degrees and will continue throughout the summer. The shad will lay their eggs in early morning in shallow water in large schools. They will build a large population fairly quickly. These fish are somewhat temperature intolerant and tend to die around 42 degrees. If winter waters temperatures do fall below 42 degrees it will be recommended to restock threadfin shad."

Which brings up one other issue of the water not have much natural nutrients observed by the water clarity. Would this be problematic? Could fish feeders provide enough supplement? Also, how many would we have to stock initially? Would it be $1000 or $5000?

As for other information about the lake, my father and I have made concerted efforts to weigh and measure our fish. Kind of strange, but until last year, we rarely caught anything over 3 pounds. Then, all the sudden, we started catching 3+ lbs pretty reguarly with someone usually catching a 5+ lbs fish once a trip. That encouraged us to become more diligent in our harvesting and maintenance of our feeders, which also show us our healthy bluegill population with plenty of "brooders". This year has been slow to start off, but I think it is because of the cooler spring and imagine fishing should really heat up the next few weeks. I'd say our average size fish now is probably around 1.75 pounds in the 14 in range whereas a couple of years ago it probably didn't break a pound and were 11 in. Amazing how that small number of inches makes such a difference in size!

As for the Tilapia, I'd be more than happy for us to get them, as long as it was at a reasonable price. We do have a grass problem, so maybe a justification could be made that by having the Tilapia we would essentially be paying for our "weed-killer" depending on how expensive that process usually is. How much would the annual cost be to stock the Tilapia on annual basis?

I am surprised at the limited number of forage fish out there besides bluegill that have the resilience to withstand annual temperature fluctuations. Hopefully, the shad, which to me seem the most viable option at this point are able to withstand the cold temperatures. Being fully aware of the situation, I think that trying to make an argument of a one-time stocking, as long as it's reasonable, would my best bet. Also, given what SA noted (I'm a fellow Ag as well, whoop!), I do think putting more bluegill in may not be advisable.

The only other species I have come across that might be an option are golden shiners. Any thoughts on them or reasons why they haven't been suggested yet?

Also, from what I can tell, the 3 acre lake may be too small to justify additional stocking. It's ok as the 17 acre lake because of it's size has the most opportunity to become a "trophy" fishery.


Edited by FishWrangler2 (04/27/16 03:11 PM)

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#11570382 - 04/27/16 11:00 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
Techsan4 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 06/06/12
Posts: 50
Tilapia will not serve as "weed-killers" since they only help with filamentous algae and won't help with coontail or other "grass" at all. On top of that, tilapia must be stocked in pretty high densities to noticably help with filamentous algae control. You need to add 40+ pounds per acre to make a serious dent in filamentous algae, which would be $7000 or so a year for your lake.

IMO tilapia are great for controlling filamentous in small ponds where it doesn't cost a lot to stock in high densities. In larger bodies of water, like your 17 acre lake, they are overrated for algae control.

I would spend your money fertilizing your lake. Focus on the bottom of the food chain first. Fertile water grows fish. Shad will not eat feed, so your fish feeders will not serve as a supplement for fertile water.

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#11570775 - 04/28/16 09:04 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: Techsan4]
BrandoA Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/09/11
Posts: 2792
Loc: Marble Falls
Originally Posted By: Techsan4
Tilapia will not serve as "weed-killers" since they only help with filamentous algae and won't help with coontail or other "grass" at all. On top of that, tilapia must be stocked in pretty high densities to noticably help with filamentous algae control. You need to add 40+ pounds per acre to make a serious dent in filamentous algae, which would be $7000 or so a year for your lake.

IMO tilapia are great for controlling filamentous in small ponds where it doesn't cost a lot to stock in high densities. In larger bodies of water, like your 17 acre lake, they are overrated for algae control.

I would spend your money fertilizing your lake. Focus on the bottom of the food chain first. Fertile water grows fish. Shad will not eat feed, so your fish feeders will not serve as a supplement for fertile water.


That was my thought as well,when I was looking into stocking our 15 acre lake. Prior to stocking our lake with Bass, we let the forage fish get a three yr head start. Going to add more threadfin this year as well.

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#11571820 - 04/28/16 05:25 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: Techsan4]
Meadowlark Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 2869
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: Techsan4
Tilapia will not serve as "weed-killers" since they only help with filamentous algae and won't help with coontail or other "grass" at all. ...



Absolutely, positively disagree. Have you ever been to Fairfield?

Have you ever examined the weeds and coontail there? Biologists Richard Ott explained to me once, in response to my questions about why all the weeks were stripped on that and dieing off, because supposedly Tilapia do not eat them.

He totally agreed the Tilapia were responsible for stripping the weeds bare which then results in their demise. But his theory was that they were actually stipping algae off the weeds and thereby killing them in the process with their filter feeding action. He actually demonstrated this to me...the algae is on the weeds and the Tilapia go after it.

I have first hand experience which also supports my assertion that you are completely wrong. I had a pond once which was completely overtaken by pond weed. I thought grass carp would do the trick but they just could not control much less eliminate the pond weeed. So, add Tilapia and almost immediately I began to see "lanes" cut through the pond weed presumably by Tilapia and then quickly thereafter the grass carp had it under control. They are a symbiotic pair, working together to keep the pond in great shape.

There are so many unsubstantiated claims about Tilapia out there. I've studied Tilapia, hands on, for almost 15 years now and still amazed at what they can accomplish.

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#11571887 - 04/28/16 06:08 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
Meadowlark Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 2869
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: FishWrangler2
Thanks for all the input so far!

ML, our property is near Lake Whitney, so I'm not sure it's far enough south for what you were initially suggesting. That said, the lake does have pretty good depth (15-20 ft at least) and was constructed with with some pretty good structure at those depths. Thus, their could be an argument made that the shad would have enough structure to hide. This is what the guy's website we've been using says about shad:

"Threadfin Shad are a preferred forage fish of largemouth bass. Threadfin grow to a maximum size of about 6-8 inches. They feed directly on phytoplankton in open water. Threadfin begin to reproduce when water temperature reaches 70 degrees and will continue throughout the summer. The shad will lay their eggs in early morning in shallow water in large schools. They will build a large population fairly quickly. These fish are somewhat temperature intolerant and tend to die around 42 degrees. If winter waters temperatures do fall below 42 degrees it will be recommended to restock threadfin shad."

Which brings up one other issue of the water not have much natural nutrients observed by the water clarity. Would this be problematic? Could fish feeders provide enough supplement? Also, how many would we have to stock initially? Would it be $1000 or $5000?

As for other information about the lake, my father and I have made concerted efforts to weigh and measure our fish. Kind of strange, but until last year, we rarely caught anything over 3 pounds. Then, all the sudden, we started catching 3+ lbs pretty reguarly with someone usually catching a 5+ lbs fish once a trip. That encouraged us to become more diligent in our harvesting and maintenance of our feeders, which also show us our healthy bluegill population with plenty of "brooders". This year has been slow to start off, but I think it is because of the cooler spring and imagine fishing should really heat up the next few weeks. I'd say our average size fish now is probably around 1.75 pounds in the 14 in range whereas a couple of years ago it probably didn't break a pound and were 11 in. Amazing how that small number of inches makes such a difference in size!

As for the Tilapia, I'd be more than happy for us to get them, as long as it was at a reasonable price. We do have a grass problem, so maybe a justification could be made that by having the Tilapia we would essentially be paying for our "weed-killer" depending on how expensive that process usually is. How much would the annual cost be to stock the Tilapia on annual basis?

I am surprised at the limited number of forage fish out there besides bluegill that have the resilience to withstand annual temperature fluctuations. Hopefully, the shad, which to me seem the most viable option at this point are able to withstand the cold temperatures. Being fully aware of the situation, I think that trying to make an argument of a one-time stocking, as long as it's reasonable, would my best bet. Also, given what SA noted (I'm a fellow Ag as well, whoop!), I do think putting more bluegill in may not be advisable.

The only other species I have come across that might be an option are golden shiners. Any thoughts on them or reasons why they haven't been suggested yet?

Also, from what I can tell, the 3 acre lake may be too small to justify additional stocking. It's ok as the 17 acre lake because of it's size has the most opportunity to become a "trophy" fishery.



FishWrangler,

Let me try to address each question systematically...and if I miss one let me know. Understand my responses come from my first hand experiences and , further, represent what I would do in your situation.

1) Speaking of water clarity "Would this be problematic?" My response would be yes. Completely clear water is dead water for all practical purposes in ponds. Ideally, the visibility would be around 15 inches or so, at least that's what I strive for. Fertilization can help in this situation...but be extremely careful about the use of it. It is so easy to add way too much, create a huge algae bloom, and kill everything in the water body. BE VERY CAREFUL.

2) You stated that your average 14 inch fish is 1.75 pounds. If that is true, and your measurements are accurate, then you are well above average on relative weights (not as good as Meadowlark's ponds, LOL but excellent). You are showing a RW of about 1.16. Anything above .9 is considered good. I encourage you to read and put into practice a good RW program. It will tell you far more that the internet cowboys that love to give pond advise without knowledge to back it up, LOL. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1193/ANR-1193.pdf

3) On weeds...see my response in a previous post to the person who claimed Tilapia will do nothing for weeds. Together with grass carp, they are extremely effective on most subsurface weeds.

4) Golden shiners...I like them, but it is very difficult to sustain them in a trophy bass pond. The LMB are just too good at what they do(predators) and the shiners just can't make it long term, again in a Trophy bass pond.

5) Stocking more bluegill is akin to pissing up the proverbial rope, as I tried to artfully say in my original post.

6) Now the really hard part....what would I do if I were you? Of course, I'm not and situations are always different, especially as related to the money end of things vs other priorities...but having said all that here is what I would do:

a) I would immediately purchase about 30 pounds of Tilapia for your 3 acre pond. The cost should be around $300 to $350. As the summer moves along, say in about 1 more month after the first Tilapia spawn, cast net them and move some to your 17 acre pond. I know you will never be able to get "enough" but everything you get will help take pressure off the bluegills in the larger body and increase their sixe and numbers.

b) bite the bullet, take the risk and stock threadfin shad in the 17 acre pond. Find a REPUTABLE, EXPERIENCED fish supplier in your area who deals in threadfins. Question that person carefully about their costs, where the shad come from, and how "pure" are they. You absolutely DO NOT want lake shad that may contain carp, cats, and many other undesirable fish. BE VERY CAUTIOUS. I can not emphasis enough to be careful about who you select for this. They can absolutely ruin that 17 acre pond forever...or until roteone is used. BE VERY CAUTIOUS.

7) Last...and I fully realize this is the internet...but be very careful about all hat no cattle pond advisors on the internet(or elsewhere). I will never cease being amazed at what these internet cowboys will write about ponds with absolutely no cattle (hands on experience). It is far easier to make catastrophic mistakes, i.e. mistakes that are very difficult, very expensive to recover from....and the internet cowboys never have to live with those mistakes...but you will.

Better is the enemy of good...and with RW of 1.16 be very cautious about proceeding. For example, dumping more feed into the pond can be counter-productive. That waste has to go somewhere. Clean water is absolutely a treasure, to be protected at all costs.

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#11572105 - 04/28/16 08:02 PM Re: Forage Fish [Re: Techsan4]
Meadowlark Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 2869
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: Techsan4
.... You need to add 40+ pounds per acre to make a serious dent in filamentous algae, which would be $7000 or so a year for your lake.

...


Sorry, but I have to comment on this ridiculous statement above. I commented earlier on the statement by the same poster who said Tilapia have zero affect on weeds...but must have missed this 40 pounds per acre nonsense.

I have run controlled experiments in ponds in very close proximity and have been able to absolutely control algae down to 2.5 to 5 pounds per acre depending on the fertility...and I have extremely fertile waters. This is in ponds that had 10 pounds per acre stocking with horrific algae infestations in previous years.

The key word here is TIME. It takes time for these magic fish to do their work. Chemical junkies often expect instantaneous results...and often get them as related to the target weeds but may have other unintended results later on, unknown to them.

Tilapia, on the other hand, eat this stuff, they also clean the pond bottom which discourages future growth...but it takes TIME. You will never experience unwanted events later, e.g. livestock or nature's creatures adversely effected by the chemicals, an increased risk of cancer, etc. by stocking Tilapia.

40 pounds per acre is ridiculous over statement. 10 pounds per acre, even in real bad cases coupled with one or two grass carp per acre absolutely will OVER TIME control algae. At least, it has in every pond I have stocked them in and observed them being stocked in...without exception. In subsequent years, you can reduce that stocking rate by 50% easily and still maintain control..although you loose potential forage fish additions.

It takes TIME. Patience is a virtue.

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#11573245 - 04/29/16 11:25 AM Re: Forage Fish [Re: FishWrangler2]
FishWrangler2 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/31/16
Posts: 85
Meadowlark,

I knew you'd come through! Thank you for all your valuable insights. I've got a few clarifying follow up questions given your recommendations.

For option A, which in theory sounds like it could be the best given my expense constraints and our weed problems, if we were to casting net the tilapia, how would we be able to catch enough to be able move over to our bigger lake? I've got plenty of experience using a casting net, but I'm concerned that we wouldn't be able to catch enough with just a casting net to move over unless the fish somehow concentrate themselves or can be easily seen and caught. Of note, looking at our records, the person we've been using made a similar suggestion to use tilapia on the 3 ac. That said, I really like the idea of killing 2 birds with one stone with that approach since the smaller lake definitely has more of a weeds issue since it is shallower. My main hesitation with this strategy is it realistically working. In theory, it sounds great, but practically speaking, I'm curious how many tilapia we'd have to transport to make a dent without shocking them.

For option B, what do you mean by "pure"? While I can't promise that we don't have any other fish in our lake (catfish or other undesirable species) through birds and runoff, I know we have never stocked any other species besides bass, bluegill, red ears and it appears some green sunfish (much to my frustration) which seem to be all but gone from the bass populations continued presence. From what I can understand, the main concern is making sure that you get "farm raised" and not "lake caputured" shad. I have confidence that our supplier, who I believe is reputable, would not cut corners and would provide us with a good strain. That said, would it be worth it given our "dead" water issue? Because of the risks that you mentioned with fertilization (not to mention the cost) I just don't see it being feasible given that we operate our ranch in hunting & fishing club format which can get really political. crazy Simply put, do you think that since our water is "gin clear" we're going to have issues having a sustainable shad population?

In summary, I like the tilapia option because,
- Relatively low annual cost
- Helps us with our grass issues
- Takes pressure off bluegill

I don't like it because,
- Continual annual expense
- Catching the tilapia seems like it could be difficult
- Uncertainty of the incremental improvement for the effort required

On the other hand, I like the shad option,
- One time expense (less political ramifications)
- Probably sustainable population
- No additional management required

I don't like it,
- It appears the upfront expense might be around $3,500
- May require fertilization
- Stocking risks
- Risk of mortality

I don't have a decision yet, but definitely, I think this has been a helpful process. I look forward to seeing your other thoughts.

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