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Stocking Your Lake

Stocking Your Pond or Lake
Stocking your lake with fish is a very important consideration when constructing or managing your lake. What type of fish you choose to stock is dependent on the size and location of your lake. For ponds smaller than an acre, your best bet is to stock catfish, minnows and bluegill.
For ponds over an acre in size, the combination of largemouth bass and bream (Sunfish – bluegill, yellow fin, silver bream, sea bream, surf bream, etc.) work very well and provide for some great fishing and healthy eating. The two fish species work very well together and should last a very long time in a good lake management system. In a well-managed and fertilized pond or lake, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and insect larvae will supply food for various fish species. Bream grows and reproduces fast, so it’s important to keep an appropriate amount of bass so the bream will not overpopulate.
There are many other stocking options and local fish hatcheries will deliver fish directly to your lake, including hybrid striped bass, bluegill, red-ear sunfish, channel catfish, fathead minnows, grass carp, ornamental koi, gambusia, black crappie and many others. Before stocking any lake or pond, be sure to research what species work well together. It’s much easier to stock your lake correctly the first time instead of attempting to remove unwanted fish later. It’s very important to keep up with your lake management, since poorly managed lakes can become overpopulated, causing stunted or small fish, or unwanted species.
Remember to have enough structure in and around your pond to provide for spawning and prey species survival. Shade and sunken pine trees mixed with shallow water cover will add to your food species survival. The attraction for crawdads, frogs and water insects should not be dismissed.
The Carolina Fish Hatchery specializes in live fish for pond stocking. Price lists and further information on the fish species they have to offer can be found here.