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What’s the best ratio of predator to prey fish to keep the population growth steady? – Pond & Lake Q & A


3 Prey Fish to every 1 Predator Fish.

Pond & Lake Q & A

Q: I’m thinking of stocking my farm pond with fish. What’s the best ratio of predator to prey fish to keep the population growth steady? – Hoyt in Florida

A: When stocking your farm pond with fish, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the ratio of predator to prey fish. If you’re an angler, you want those trophy fish to grow healthy and strong, and the only way to do that is to provide prey fish, like perch, hybrid bluegill or sunfish, for food.

The rule of thumb that we recommend is 3 prey fish to every 1 predator fish. So for instance, if you toss in 10 large-mouth bass or walleye, you’ll want to include at least 30 perch or bluegill to keep the predator fish healthy and their bellies full. When you first stock your farm pond, however, we recommend you add some fathead minnows to feed the predator fish while the prey fish get established. You may also want to feed the fish with a pellet food, like The Pond Guy® Game Fish Grower Fish Food and use an automated feeder to make feeding easy.

To keep the population of both predator and prey fish healthy, make sure your water is well aerated, too. If you don’t already have an air diffuser or aeration system set up in your pond, now is a good time to add one. When you introduce new fish to a pond or lake, they’ll be adding waste – something that can cause an algae bloom or pH shift and possible a fish kill. An aeration system will decrease toxic gases, increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, and prevent harmful stratification from occurring.

Once your population is established, you can enjoy the many reasons why you wanted to stock your pond in the first place – like fishing! A pond stocked with bass and walleye also keeps the frog and leech populations under control, too.

POND TALK: When you first stocked your farm pond, what ratio of predator to prey fish did you use?

8 Responses

  1. My father in-law has a .34 acre pond that ranges from a foot to 20′ in depth. The pond has been in existence for 7 years with locals throwing in some fish here an there. I’ve caught large mouth bass and crappie. I’ve seen bluegill in here and am told there are some carp and catfish too. I don’t think the population of each species is very many. I’m gonna add an aerator an want to stick more fish. I was thinking 25 Large Mouth, 25 Crappie, 25 Channel catfish, 10 mirror carp for the algae (hydrilla), 100 bluegill, 100 common crayfish, 100 red crayfish and 1500 fathead minnows. Any recommendations? Should I stalk in fall or spring? Should I stalk the mirror carp, minnows, bluegill an crayfish in fall an wait to the following spring to add bass, crappie and catfish? Thank you.

    • Hi Jim – You can stock either in the fall or in the spring. That’s not much of a difference for either, especially when you already have some fish in the pond. As for the catfish and carp, they tend to muddy the waters a bit so you might want to change your mind if clear water is one of the goals of this pond.

  2. I have a one acre pond with Large mouth bass in it, I am trying to find a good pellet type feed for them. any ideas

  3. I seem to have a large population of turtles in my pond this year – How do I rid myself of these?

  4. ok…so 3 prey fish for each predator….now..what about a pond that has no weeds,,and not much cover,, or habitat?..would you keep the ratio the same??
    thanks..george

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