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Do not allow anyone to place fish from other bodies of water in your pond. Fish caught in the wild carry parasites or disease and will also destroy the forage fish population affecting the overall balance of the pond.

Adding minnows will promote faster fish growth and provide food throughout the winter months. Do not purchase bait minnows because they are usually wild caught and are likely to contain undesirable fish, like carp ad bullheads or diseases.

Place structure in pond to provide protection for smaller fish. Items that make good structures are Xmas trees, pallets, and tree tops.

To maximize fish growth, begin a feeding program within a few days of stocking. The bass species are live feeders so stocking minnows in the spring and fall is recommended.

When fishing, put a size limit on fish to be kept and fish out a balanced number of each species.

Bluegills feed almost exclusively on insects and will also eat commercial fish food. Bluegills begin to spawn in late spring and will spawn 3-4 times throughout the summer. These spawn are primarily used as a forage base for predators, such as large mouth bass. One year old fish range in size from 1 - 4 inches and become sexually mature between 4 - 5 inches.

Hybrid Bluegills are a cross between a green sunfish and a bluegill. They grow faster than regular bluegill. They will also eat commercial food. Their spawning habits are like the bluegill however they produce less eggs. One year old range in size from 3 - 8 inches. They become sexually mature at 4 - 5 inches.

Redear Sunfish, nicknamed the Shellcracker, is a member of the sunfish family and similar to the bluegill. It feeds almost exclusively on mollusks. These are fast growing and fun to catch. They reproduce one time a year therefore they will not overpopulate a pond. One year olds range from 1 - 4 inches and become sexually mature between 5 - 9 inches.

Large Mouth Bass, one of the most priced game fish, readily do not feed on commercial fish food. They eat insects, tadpoles, minnows and other small fish. They spawn in 2 - 4 feet of water at temperatures near 60 degrees. One year old fish range in size between 3 - 7 inches and become sexually mature at 10 - 12 inches.

Hybrid Striped Bass are a cross between a striped and white bass. The result is a voracious eater that can grow one to three pounds per year and may grow to be as large as 16 pounds in Ohio. This fish is sterile eliminating overpopulation and takes well to commercial fish food. Can effectively control the overpopulation of Bluegill.

Channel Catfish are scavengers that will eat almost anything and are primarily found at the bottom of a pond or lake. They will easily take to commercial feed which results in tremendous growth. They generally do not reproduce in ponds due to inadequate spawning structure. Suitable structures are buckets or drain tiles place in 3 - 4 foot water depths.

Yellow Perch is sought after for the good tasting fillets. Their primary food is zoo plankton, insects, snails and small fish. They are considered prey rather than predators.  Reproduction occurs on tree-like structures in water depths of 1 - 6 feet. One year old fish range in size from 1 - 4 inches and become sexually mature at 5 - 12 inches.

Triploid White Amur, or the Grass Carp, is a cost effective, natural alternative for weed control in ponds. The use of amur in place of chemical applications is more environmentally friendly. Once an amur reaches maturity it consumes less, therefore 20% of the original stocking should be added annually. They can eat up to 3 times its body weight per day. These fish are sterile due to government regulations to avoid overpopulation.

Black Fathead Minnows are added to ponds as a source of food for other species. They can spawn many times throughout the spring and summer. The use of stacked pallets and trees can create spawning habitats. One year olds range in size from .5 - 3 inches and become sexually mature at 1 - 3 inches. Restocking is necessary if none are visible in pond.

For more information read the Fish Stocking Frequently Asked Questions.