A flapping fish frenzy ensues as an industrial truck carefully backs up to the pond’s edge and empties the stainless steel tank. A cascade of trout come flying out and within seconds your pond is teeming with the industry’s best freshwater fish. Riveting rainbows, beautiful browns, bold brooks, tantalizing tigers and yellowstone trout varieties are now your new neighbors.
These fish have just traveled hours from the local hatchery in an aluminum or stainless steel tank. In ideal conditions, with bottled oxygen and an aeration stone, the fish can survive up to 24 hours. Nevertheless, best practice is to transfer from the hatchery to your property in less than three hours, while the water temperature is cool and oxygen abundant.
Fish Stocking is a practice dating back almost 150 years.
In the past, non-native fish were commonly introduced to environments for sport and consumption. Today, over-fishing or inability to breed are common reasons that require stocking. Professionals employ two techniques for placement – direct from the truck into ponds and net transfer into rivers.
A few factors affect stocking cost: species, weight, and nurture conditions. For example, fish cultivated in a natural pond cost approximately 30% more than their aquatic counterparts raised in concrete raceway hatcheries. Nurture environment will not affect the size and most fish range between six and twenty-two inches at time of stocking. One thing to note is, concrete raceway fish may have damaged fins, a result of close quarters at the hatchery.
Catching fish in your backyard is a fun and entertaining activity for your family and friends. However, merely stocking does not guarantee trophy fish for generations to come. Pond and river maintenance is crucial to sustain the aquaculture ecosystem you have created.
Fish will acclimate to their new environment at varying rates, depending on the hatchery habitat. Experts recommend supplemental pellet feeding for the first couple weeks.
Feeding should be kept at 2-3 times per week so the fish are encouraged to forage naturally as well.
In addition to stocking main varieties of fish, providing a complimentary forage base creates a robust river or pond habitat. Freshwater shrimp, multiple varieties of minnows, and crayfish are pondmate staples of a healthy forage foundation. Flathead minnows are known to prolong the life span of trout, which on average is approximately 5 years.
Looking to the future, specialists suggest re-stocking once a year for the first three years. Replenishing the aquatic population is essential in pond environments where most fish cannot reproduce, with the exception of brook trout.
With this knowledge in-hand, your fish will thrive! Whatever your stocking intentions might be, we hope you enjoy your outdoor sanctuary.