Whether you’re stocking a new pond, replenishing an existing pond or adding to an already-established population, here’s what you need to know about when and how to best do it.
Create Fish Habitat
Provide shelter for your new fish by creating a habitat for the smaller fish to hide, grow and reproduce. Weeds, grasses, felled trees and other debris already in your pond will provide some cover, but a specially designed environment, like Porcupine® Fish Attractor or Fish Attractor Logs, can improve on what’s already there providing a habitat that won’t decompose and is an ideal space for fishing or fish spawning.
When to Stock Your Pond
Spring or fall is the ideal time to stock your pond with fish. Temperatures are mild and oxygen levels are high, so the stress factors affecting your fish will be at their lowest. Once acclimated to your pond, they’ll be primed to flourish. Fish can be added in the summer, but they’ll need a little more time to adjust.
Selecting Fish To Stock
Keeping a healthy underwater ecosystem means creating a balanced fish population. We advise sticking to a ratio of three prey fish (like sunfish, bluegill or perch) to one predator fish (like bass) when choosing species. Selecting fish of similar size will also help the population grow together. The number of fish you add to your population will ultimately depend on the surface area of your lake or pond. Below is an example for stocking a ¼ acre size pond.
- 150 2-4″ Bluegill
- 50 3-5″ Channel Catfish
- 50 2-4″ Perch
- 25 3-4″ Bass
- 6 lbs. Fathead Minnows
Acclimating fish to your pond is simple. Place the transportation bag in a shaded area of the pond and let float for 15-20 min. This allows your fish to slowly adjust to water temperatures in your pond. Next open the bag and let the fish swim out on their own. If you are adding fish to a pond where fish are already present, release minnows at one end of the pond to attract larger fish and release the smaller fish at the opposite end so they have a chance to find shelter.
You will want to wait 24 hours before feeding your new fish so they have time to settle. A game fish food, like The Pond Guy® Game Fish Grower Fish Food, is a great way to provide the fish with protein and nutrients, boost their immune systems, and grow healthy game fish. Plus, it’s a floating pellet—so you can enjoy watching them as they come to the surface and eat.