Bass & Minnow Program

Fish program runs April – June 29th, 2019

2019 Bass, Minnow and Grass Carp Order Form

The District offers an annual sale and distribution of Largemouth Bass, Fathead Minnows and Grass Carp for the stocking of rural ponds.

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The Grass Carp is a herbivorous, freshwater fish. Grows very rapidly.  They thrive in small lakes and backwaters that provide an abundant supply of fresh water vegetation.

Bass do especially well in either cool or warm water ponds where plants are present but not abundant.

Bass may be stocked alone or with forage fish such as fathead minnows.

The 2019 Annual Bass, Grass Carp & Minnow sales program is starting now.  We are holding the fish pick-up in June in order to distribute the grass carp earlier when it is cooler.  Because of this earlier distribution date there will not be any 3” – 5” bass available.  You can also call the District Office at (845) 292-6552  to obtain further information.

2019 Annual Bass & Minnow Program

If you are interested in stocking your pond with bass, minnows or carp this summer, the District will be accepting orders until MONDAY, June 24, 2019.  Orders can be placed by completing the order form attached and returning it to the Sullivan County Soil & Water Conservation District office at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road, Liberty, NY  12754.  Full payment must accompany each order.  Checks should be made payable to Sullivan County SWCD.

Fish pick-up date is Saturday June 29, 2019,  from  10:00 a.m.— 11:00 a.m.

Stocking Rates

Bass and minnows do especially well in either cool or warm-water ponds where plants are present, but not abundant.  Cool-Water Ponds: The temperature of the surface water exceeds 72º F., and ranges from 72° -75° F., but rises as high as 80° F. only for several days during the summer.  Warm-Water Ponds:  The temperature of the surface water ranges from 76° -80° F. during the hottest part of the summer and exceeds 80° F. for a week or more.

Bass should be stocked at a rate of 50—75  fish per acre, along with forage fish such as fathead minnows.  Bass alone will provide a fishable population; however, growth rate and size will be smaller than if forage fish are not stocked.  Minnows should be stocked at a rate of 1,000 per acre.

In most ponds under one acre area, bass predation usually eliminates the forage fish within a four-year period.  Bass populations will continue indefinitely without any other fish species present.

MinnowFish Spawning

Bass normally first reproduce as two-year-olds.  Once they have reproduced, bass will spawn successfully each succeeding year in shallow water during early summer when the water temperature reaches approximately 71° F.  Most bottom materials are suitable for spawning.

Fathead minnows reproduce the year following stocking and each year thereafter, so long as adults are present.  Fathead minnows begin spawning in May when water temperatures reach 60° – 64° F. and continue throughout the summer.  A bass requires 8 lb. of live food to gain 1 lb. of body weight.  Therefore, it is important to have a good forage fish population.  It is also important for the minnows to have a cover to breed and hide in, such as grass and weeds.  You can also create a space with small holed wire, placing Christmas trees in the water, or a pile of rocks.  The cover should be placed in the shallower areas of your pond no deeper than 4 or 5 feet of water.

Bass should not be fished until two years after stocking.  Experiments have shown that the average bass-forage fishpond should support harvests of about 22 bass per surface acre per year from the second through the fourth summer after stocking.  Thereafter, the bass spawned in the pond should be fished at about the same rate.

Increasing Food Supply

If your pond water is clear and with little weeds for the forage fish to feed on than you can fertilize your pond.  Liming-Ground agricultural limestone can be used to increase the fertility of the water, thereby increasing production of natural fish foods.  It increases the availability of nutrients already present or added to a pond.   CAUTION:  Pond owners should NOT use lime or quicklime (calcium oxide) as these may kill the fish.

Feeding-Feeding fish in farm ponds is unnecessary when fish are stocked at recommended rates.  Although supplemental feedings may increase growth rate an inch or two per year, it is rather expensive.  Supplemental feeding of bass is not generally needed.

Fertilization-A single application of fertilizer in a newly constructed pond tends to hasten the establishment of a natural food supply. Additionally, fertilization is generally not recommended in New York ponds.  In most northern states, fertilization more often stimulates growth of algae and rooted aquatics, rather than plankton.  Also, many owners find blooms, if achieved, objectionable.

DEC Fish Stocking Permit

Anyone stocking a pond with fish must apply for a Fish Stocking Permit through the NYS-DEC, Bureau of Fisheries.  There is no charge for the permit.  The permit allows owners to plan fish management to suit them.  For your convenience, attached is an Application For a Permit to Stock Fish.  Complete the application and mail it to the NYS-DEC Regional Office, Bureau of Fisheries, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY  12561.  DEC will then send you a permit.  A Fish Stocking Permit is good for five years.

NYS DEC Fish Stocking Permit Application

Stocking Procedure

When stocking your bass, never dump the fish directly into your pond.  Pond water should be added slowly to the water in the transport container until it is within 6° F. of the pond water.  If the fish are in a plastic bag, an easy way to do this is to place the bag in the pond and let it adjust to the pond water.  This should take about 15 minutes. After the water has adjusted either let them swim out of the bag or toss the fish into the water. The fish should be released as soon as possible but should not be in the bag more than an hour from pick-up to release.

Fish Distribution,   June 29, 2019

The District will be distributing the bass and minnows on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at their office from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  Important – The fish will be bagged here for easier transporting at $1.00 per bag.  You will need to bring a container to transport your bags of fish.   A 5-gallon container will transport about 25 —4”-6”bass,  15— 6”-8” bass, or 500 minnows.  A large plastic container is also good for holding the bags.

Grass CarpGrass Carp

The Grass Carp need a separate permit from the Bass and Minnows.  Anyone wanting Grass Carp should fill out the appropriate permit and mail it to the NYC DEC address listed on the permit. It will take awhile to get the permit back from DEC, so you should mail the permit as soon as possible.  A copy of the permit you filled out must be sent along with your order and payment.  The permit from DEC must be brought with you when you come to pick up your fish.  There should be three copies and you must bring all three if you have not already sent them to me.  Grass Carp are non-taxable.

Grass Carp Information

Grass Carp Stocking Permit Application