Wed. Nov 23rd, 2022

Fishponds On Farms

Fishponds On Farms: Stocking Ponds with Brood Fish

Fishponds On Farms: Stocking Ponds with Brood Fish The most successful and the speediest results in pond culture are attainable using adult fish for the original brood stock.

These can in most cases be secured from the public waters of the immediate locality during the open season prescribed by the State laws.

It is such a common failing to want something new and strange that many prospective fish-culturists endeavor to procure some species of fish that is foreign to their community with which to begin their operations.

To illustrate some of the impractical ideas entertained, the Bureau of Fisheries is often asked to furnish the species of trout indigenous to the Great Lakes for stocking southern waters, or the flounder (a salt-water fish) for introduction into the ponds in the interior.

In general, it may be assumed that the species which is the most prolific in the public waters of the region in question will be the likeliest to produce material results, and by procuring adult fish for breeders the pond in which they are placed should become stocked to its maximum capacity within a year.

On the other hand, if State or Federal aid is relied upon only a limited number of fingerling or, at best, yearling fish will be available for beginning operations, and it will require from two to three years for them to mature and stock the ponds through natural reproduction.

The wisest course, then, will be to choose some native species and to make a persistent effort to secure adult specimens. This can best be done in the fall months, when the fish will more quickly recover from slight injuries which, during a period of hot temperatures, might develop into ugly sores and kill them.

Fish hooked only in the mouth are in no way harmed for breeders, but the greatest precaution must be taken in holding them and in transporting them to the pond. Loosening or rubbing off of scales induces fungus growth which will eventually spread over the body and result fatally.

As the fish are captured, they may be placed in buckets or tubs, which may be darkened by throwing an old blanket or carpet over the carpet over the top.

In changing the water, which should be done as often as the fish seem to require it, care should be taken not to excite them. When the fish are to be held for several days before they can be transferred to the pond, it is advisable to excavate a shallow basin at the margin of the lake or river where the collection is being made and arrange for a moderate flow of water from the main body through its entire length.

A pool of running water 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and from 12 to 18 inches deep will hold two or three dozen large fish with safety.

Live boxes should not be used, as fish held in them will bruise themselves beyond recovery. In conveying fish, a considerable distance by rail or wagon, receptacles of such diameter that each specimen may lie at full length on the bottom should be provided.

The depth of the water is a matter of less importance, but it should be kept at the proper temperature and well aerated.

If necessary, ice may be used to maintain an even temperature corresponding to that from which the fish were taken; but if that be high and the distance to the pond great, it will be found easier to reduce the temperature to 65°, and gradually raise it when nearing the destination to conform to that of the water in which the fish are to be liberated.

During conveyance, the water in the receptacles will be kept in motion and aerated; but when standing still it must be artificially aerated by dipping out some water and pouring it back into the receptacle from a height.

The ordinary 10-gallon can is employed by the Bureau of Fisheries for the transportation of small fish, but if the fish are too long for its diameter nothing is better than washing boilers. Any clean receptacle may be used, but those mentioned are the most convenient to handle.

If the use of artificial food is not contemplated, the number of brood fish allotted to a pond must be apportioned to the natural food available for both the adults and the expected fry and fingerlings. Fifty of either species of black bass or 100 specimens of any of the smaller species are maximum numbers for an acre of water, where the offspring is to remain in the brood pond.

These numbers should produce a much larger number of fry than the waters can sustain until mature, but allowance will have to be made for losses through cannibalism and the ordinary vicissitudes of their environment.

Promiscuous collections of fish will invariably run about equally as to sex, and the numbers recommended will therefore give 25 and 50 pairs, respectively.

There are no external markings by which the sex of pond fishes can be positively determined, but the female black bass usually presents a more mottled appearance than the male and her colors are brighter.

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