Bass & Minnow Program
Fish program runs April – September 21st, 2020
The District is now offering Bass, Trout and Minnows for sale. If you are interested in stocking your pond with bass, trout and minnows, we will be accepting orders until Monday, September 14th, 2020. Orders can be placed by printing and filling out the order form above 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 stocking permits must be mailed to the NYS DEC Region 3.
WATER TEMPERATURE: Bass 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.
FISH STOCKING: 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 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.
FISH 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.
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.
Trout should be stocked in cold-water ponds. These ponds are those whose surface water temperature seldom, if ever, rises above 72 F. Survival of trout in ponds is influenced more by maximum summer water temperature than by any other factor. Although pond trout can withstand water temperatures as high as 80 F. for periods of one or two days, prolonged periods of water temperature above 74 F. will cause trout to die. For trout, it is important that bottom water in the ponds remain cool. If a pond has a permanent supply of spring water—that is, if there is some water running out of the ponds at all times—and the pond has a maximum depth of at least 8 ft., then it is practically certain to support trout in almost any year. Many ponds, fed entirely by runoff water from the surrounding watershed are excellent trout producers, although trout survival in these ponds may be poor in unusually hot summers. In ponds fed entirely by runoff water, chances of summer trout mortality are less in those located at higher elevations, in those having a maximum depth of at least 10 ft., and in those ponds that receive some shade.
HOW TO STOCK:
The number of trout a pond will support, depends on it’s surface area, water quality, and size of fish. The stocking rate is approximately 100 of 4” – 6” fingerlings per surface acre. This stocking rate has resulted in 8” – 9” trout the first year. Stocking trout in the fall benefits from favorable growing conditions early the following spring. As a result, they reach “pan size” sooner. Minnows should be stocked at a rate of 1,000 fish per acre. Crayfish should be stocked at 400 – 500 per acre.
A pond stocked in the fall with 4” – 6” trout will contain many small but usable trout the first year. If you fish these small fish lightly, you should catch some trout weighing 1½ – 2 lbs. (15” – 16”) during the second year. Waiting another year or two for a 2 lb. trout to grow larger is not worthwhile. Trout grow slowly after they reach this size, and their death rate is high. Also, they seldom spawn in ponds. For these reasons, it is best to fish your pond hard and restock it every year or two.
FISH STOCKING: 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. 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.
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.
When stocking your fish, 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 10-15 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 two hours from pick-up to release.
Fish Distribution-Monday, September 21, 2020
The District will be distributing the fish on Monday, September 21, 2020, at the District pole barn from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 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 500 minnows, 50 smaller fish or 25 larger fish. A large plastic container is also good for holding the bags.
Grass Carp (will be sold again next spring)
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.