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Stocking Recommendations - Harrison Fisheries

Stocking Recommendations

The most commonly asked questions by pond owners are what types of fish, how many and what size of fish should I stock? We recommend following the Missouri Department of Conservation’s recommendations for stocking farm ponds. The most widely used and successful combination in Missouri is channel catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass. The concept of this stocking combination is that the bluegill eat small aquatic insects and in turn serve as food for bass. The bass control the numbers of small bluegill so that those remaining grow to large size.

To provide you with an answer to the question: “How many fish should I stock?”, take some time and answer the following three questions:

1. How large is your pond/lake? Since stocking depends on how many surface water acres you have, first determine the size of your pond. The following charts are provided for your quick reference. NOTE: Rather than measuring with a tape measure, step off the distance. One step should equal about 2-1/2 feet.

2. What is the expected fishing pressure? Recommended initial stocking rates vary for different fish species. It is very important that the proper number of fish be stocked since this original stocking should support the first 3-5 years of fishing.

3. Do you plan to feed your fish at least 4 times a week?

Click on images below for larger view.
Pond Estimator Area of Acres

Basic Recommended Stocking Rates

1. New or Rehabilitated ponds or lakes with no fish population:

  1. Recommended stocking rates for a one acre pond if you DO NOT plan to feed your fish:
    We recommend using the Department of Conservation’s guidelines. Stocking rates are based on soil fertility.
    Normally, all counties north of the Missouri River, plus the Bootheel, receive 100 bass, 500 bluegill and 100 channel catfish per acre.
    Counties located south of the Missouri River (in the Ozarks region) usually are stocked at a 50% rate, 50 bass, 250 bluegill and 50 catfish.
    A few counties have a 75% option, 75 bass, 375 bluegill and 50 catfish. They are Barry, Benton, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Cedar, Christian, Cole, Cooper, Dade, Dallas, Gasconade, Green, Henry, Hickory, Jefferson, Lawrence, McDonald, Moniteau, Newton, Osage, Perry, Polk, St. Clair and Webster.

  2. Recommended stocking rates for a one acre pond if you DO plan to feed your fish:
    Channel Catfish 200-500
    Hybrid Bluegill (when not stocking bass) 500
    *Bluegill 250-500
    Bluegill/Hybrid Bluegill Combination: 70%
    Bluegill 175-305 30% Hybrid 75-150
    Fathead Minnow (to establish forage base) 5-10 pounds
    *Largemouth bass (recommend stocking in fall) 50-100
    *Bluegill & bass stocking rates are the same whether or not you feed your catfish.
    Note paragraph 1a above for correct stocking rates based on your geographical location.

2. Restocking ponds/lakes with established fish populations.

Recommendations are per one water acre:

  1. With large bass present
    Channel Catfish (8” minimum size) 100-?*
    Bluegill or Hybrid Bluegill (3-5” minimum size) 100-?*
    Fathead Minnows (to maintain forage base) 5-8 pounds

  2. With no large bass present
    Channel Catfish (4” minimum size) 100-?*
    Bluegill/Hybrid Bluegill (1” minimum) 100-?*

    ?* Determined by individuals stocking objectives. Width -- Feet Width -- Feet

For sizes, prices, delivery information or questions on any of our fish,
call us at 660-423-5482. We look forward to serving your fish needs!

At Harrison Fishery, we are your “Pond and Lake Stocking Specialist”.