Greetings from Blessed Bayou! With this recent chilly weather, the hot weather of Spring and Summer may feel a long way off, but Spring is just around the corner! Many lake and pond owners forgo managing their bodies of water with as much attention during this time of year, due to the fact that the weather isn’t as pleasant and the organisms in their body of water aren’t as active. It is, however, during this time that lake and pond owners may make large improvements in their lake and pond that will pay dividends in the warmer seasons, when bodies of water once again become our focal point.
February marks the perfect month for fish stocking for a number of reasons. First and foremost, cooler weather signifies cooler water, which in turn represents less stress for fish during transport. The reason behind this? It comes down to oxygen in the water. Cooler water is much better at retaining higher levels of dissolved oxygen. Transporting fish between water bodies is a uniquely stressful and unnatural experience in a fish’s life. It is highly probable that the water that the fish are being transferred between will not be very close with regard to certain water parameters such as pH and total dissolved solids. This difference in water chemistry can result in stress on the fish being transported. Why add another unnecessary stressor to the fish during their move? Stocking in the late winter minimizes transportation mortality and allows your fish to have an easier time acclimating to their new environment.
Another reason February fish stocking makes a great deal of sense has to do with breeding season, which for most fish is the Spring. Stocking fish and allowing them to “settle in” to their new home before the breeding season starts ensures that fish will be able to make full use of the breeding season. If you’re planning on stocking forage fish, that means more food for your predator fish and thus, larger fish. If you’re planning on stocking predator fish, that means more future trophies.
Finally, winter stocking allows for the unique opportunity to add rainbow trout, a species unavailable to Texans during warmer months. Trout can be stocked at a size of around 4” to provide a high protein extra forage species for largemouth bass to keep them growing well throughout the winter, when the bass in other ponds struggle to put on weight. As the water warms, the trout become increasingly lethargic, allowing bass to chow down just as their metabolisms begin ramping up. Rainbow trout are also available at a size of around 16”, allowing for an opportunity to add variety to your angling experience that will last until late Spring.
Whether you are interested in increasing the number or growth potential of your existing fish population or adding something new to your body of water, February fish stocking is the key to enhancing your angling experience. Call us today or visit our website to learn about all the species that we can stock for you!