What Fish to Stock in Your Pond or Lake



The size of the pond is important in determining the type and number of fish to stock. To calculate surface acreage multiply length times width. There are 43,560 square feet per acre. For ponds less than 1 acre, a strategy including fish that have limited reproductive capacity is your best fit. That way you keep the overall numbers low so the average size can be larger. These fish include channel catfish, hybrid bluegill, hybrid crappie, and hybrid stripers. For ponds at or over 1 acre, you can stock just about whatever you want. We do recommend limiting the stocking of black crappie to ponds that are at least 2-3 acres. Also if you have a muddy pond that is not able to be cleared, then you would want to primarily stick with catfish since they do not depend on sight to feed.

We have formulated several fish stocking plans to give you a guideline on how many fish you can stock. Each plan is calculated for a 1 acre pond. You can multiply or divide depending on the size of your pond. If you stock around a budget instead of the pond’s capacity, just keep the ratios the same.

We specialize in stocking new ponds with adult fish. This gives the customer the opportunity to start fishing right away. We size the different fish accordingly so we can stock your pond with both the forage and the bass at the same time. We have three different bass plans depending on how quickly you want to get to a quality sized fish. Also we can supply channel catfish up to 4 pounds each depending on the season.

Fish Delivery



It is important not to stock fish that may immediately be eaten by larger fish already in the pond. For ponds over 1 acre, we can do an electroshock survey to determine the types and densities of fish present. It does not harm the fish and is the best way to get a starting point for fish stocking recommendations.

Usually customers want to stock additional fish to fatten up their bass. In this scenario the point is to establish a population of producing forage fish. To stock fish directly for the bass to eat is a waste of money. First you want to determine if you have a growing population of bluegill in place. Bluegill are the backbone of the food chain, and there is no sense stocking other forage fish if the bluegill are not established. If bluegill are lacking, then you need to stock adults that will spawn quickly and make an immediate impact on the forage population.

If you have successfully concluded that your bluegill are in good shape, then you can move on to selecting another forage fish that will add to the bass’ feeding options. You will not grow trophy bass without some additional forage other than bluegill. Other forage species include threadfin shad, gizzard shad, tilapia, golden shiners, and crawfish. Threadfin shad are usually your best option if the lake has a good plankton bloom for them to feed on. Golden shiners are good for clear lakes, but they are not as prolific as shad. Tilapia are quick growers and will provide a large food item for bigger bass late in the year as the water cools and they get sluggish. Crawfish do well where there is a lot of newly submerged grass or weeds.

In every situation it is best to take the time to evaluate where the lake is at in regards to both the predator and forage populations. You can waste a lot of time and money just shooting from the hip with supplemental pond stocking. Hiring a lake management professional will get you where you want to be faster and more efficiently in the long run.

Ready to get your pond on track? Pond King is dedicated to meeting every customer's needs and budget and offers flexible options for our Lake and Pond Management Services. Call 940-668-2573 to speak with one of our Lake Management professionals, or click the "Request a Quote" button to email us. We're here to help!