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FORAGE/FEEDER FISH


FATHEAD MINNOWS, commonly called the tuffy or blackhead, are a very important bait minnow for fishermen, but also provide forage for larger fish.  They generally reach 2" to 3" in length and have a life span of two to three years.  They are very hardy and tolerate considerable handling.  Spawning begins when water temperatures reach 50 - 55F and repeats monthly until waters cool in the fall.  They are very prolific, laying 200 to 500 eggs per spawn.  Stocking fatheads with game fish can greatly increase the growth of the game fish.

 

COOL WATER FISH


WALLEYE are strictly cannibalistic in their feeding habits and do not feed on commercial pellets.  When stocking with other cool or warm water fish they help keep down the number of small fish which enhances growth rates.  They do well with yellow perch, hybrid bluegills and bass.  Walleye seldom spawn in small ponds and should be stocked in ponds only one acre or larger.

YELLOW PERCH Also known as Jumbo Perch.  They are a school-running fish and are often fished near the bottom.  They feed on small fish, insect life and will feed readily on commercial diets, if trained.  Jumbos can reach 12" - 14" in length and 10 - 12 pounds if food is sufficient.  They can be stocked with most other species, especially hybrid bluegills, largemouth bass and catfish.

 

COLD WATER FISH


RAINBOW TROUT require water temperatures of 60 - 68F and higher oxygen levels.  Aeration may be required, even in cold water!  Trout feed readily on commercial pellets, bug life and small minnows.  They grow rapidly and can grow to 30" in length and 10 - 12 pounds in ponds.  Do not over feed them in warm weather when surface temperatures are extra high!  Trout can reach up to 30" and 12 lbs in ponds.

 

ORNAMENTAL FISH


JAPANESE KOI These bright, decorative fish are commonly found in parks, zoos and ornamental ponds because of their high visibility.  Koi are helpful in controlling algae, duckweed, elodea and other weeds.  These fish are not to be confused with the weed eating fish called grass carp, which are illegal to stock in Michigan.  Japanese Koi can reach lengths of 24" and can reproduce in ponds.  Most offspring from Koi are usually eaten by other fish and birds because of their bright colors.  The Koi industry recommends to quarantine new Koi when adding to your present Koi population.

FANCY GOLDFISH  Like Koi, goldfish species are bright and colorful and are often used in water gardens by themselves or mixed with koi.  Common goldfish, Comets, Sarassas, Shubunkins and Fantails are some of the many varieties of goldfish.  They will readily consume commercial feed pellets as well as grazing on algae and other plants; they thrive in ponds with ample weed cover and will freely spawn in most ponds.

 

WARM WATER FISH


HYBRID BLUEGILL are a cross between two of the sunfish family: the bluegill and the green sunfish.  Males are the predominate offspring, accounting for 90 - 95% of the young.  They grow rapidly and often reach 1 pounds in two to three years' time.  Many reach 9" to 11" in length, 12-18 months after being stocked as 2" - 4" fingerlings.  They thrive in warmer water, 70-85F.  They are not sterile as many think, but because of the high male ratio they are less prolific than regular bluegills and much faster growing.  They do well when stocked with trout, largemouth bass, channel catfish and perch.

CHANNEL CATFISH are often thought to be relative to Southern states only, but actually do very well in Michigan, especially in ponds that get warm in the summer months.  They do great in 70-85F waters and feed on minnows, insects and commercial pellets.  They can often grow from 4" - 6" fingerlings in springtime to 12" - 14" by fall.  They can reach 25 - 30 pounds and are very good eating.  They do well when stocked with hybrid bluegills, largemouth bass, walleye and even trout.  Catfish will spawn in warm water ponds when spawning habitat is available.  Great predators.

LARGEMOUTH BASS One of our best predator fish for controlling the number of small fish in a pond or lake.  They put up a real battle when caught by hook and line.  They are often stocked with hybrid bluegills, channel catfish, perch and walleye.  Care should be taken to stock predator fish before your lake or pond becomes overrun with small or stunted fish, which is a difficult situation to reverse without killing off the entire pond.

BLACK CRAPPIE are a large panfish.  They can grow up to 16" long and can weigh five pounds, but they are usually much smaller.  Black crappie live in warm ponds, lakes, streams and reservoirs.  They are schooling fish, so they like to stay in groups.  Spawning occurs in May and June in water three to eight feet deep with a sand or gravel bottom.  The first year they will grow two to four inches.  The young will eat zooplankton and as they get bigger they move on to larger foods.  Adults will eat small fish, insects, crayfish, tadpoles and just about anything else that will fit in their mouths.  They feed most during the evenings.  They like water with plants and underwater structures.  Predators include any larger fish such as bass and catfish.

 
 
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