Importance of Forage Fish in Ponds

So, you have a pond and a dream of reeling in an awesome trophy bass…now what? A lot goes into the creation of that pretty 10-pounder, believe it or not. Food quality and availability almost single-handedly dominates the outcome of the sport fish in a recreational pond, and it all starts with a select few forage fish celebrities!

Before your pond or lake can support predator fish like bass, it is essential to introduce and create a well-established forage fish population in order to feed them. This is typically done by stocking species such as Fathead Minnows, Golden Shiners, Coppernose Bluegill, and Redear Sunfish. Each of these species contributes a great deal to the food chain of the pond in their own unique way.

Fathead Minnows and Golden Shiners are a great food source for fingerling bass and catfish, as well as mature bluegill. They reproduce often and are much more nutritious than other minnow species, making them a key component in any pond.
Coppernose bluegill are great additions as well, as they also reproduce quickly and offer some variety in a nutritional sense to growing sport fish species. Coppernose bluegill are also a favorite of young anglers, as they will readily fight on a hook and line as well!

Redear Sunfish, which are similar to the Coppernose Bluegill, are another species of fish that can be used as forage for larger species, but they have another important role in a pond ecosystem: they keep your parasites in check! Especially when stocked in bass-focused waters, Redear Sunfish will consume parasitic worms and eggs that may ail your prized bass, making them skinny and undesirable.

The importance of starting your pond or lake with the recommended stocking rates of forage fish is immeasurable. If you want to ensure healthy, happy fish that will soon grow to be that trophy catch one day, various types of forage species are incredibly essential. After all, nothing can grow without enough food!

If you are interested in stocking your pond or lake with some forage fish that will ensure healthy growth, contact Henneke Hatchery to inquire about various bait packages based on pond size…your fish will thank you!


Author: Jordan Moore

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