Fathead Minnows are an important forage fish for largemouth bass – when the largemouth bass
are less than 10 inches long. They are also an important forage fish for all of the fish we sell.
Fatheads only grow to about 3-1/2 inches in length and only live for about 2 years here in the north.They are prolific and reproduce fast. If you have a pond that is approximately 1 acre in size that had no fish in it and stocked 20 pounds of fatheads, by the end of 1 year you would have approximately 300 pounds of fatheads. This is why fatheads are such an important forage species.
Fatheads lay their eggs upside-down. They will lay their eggs on the bottom side of a lily pad. We recommend stacking pallets in shallow water – 3 per stack would suffice. Use rocks to weigh the pallets down. These make excellent breeding places for fatheads.
Where there are fatheads – mosquitoes do not exist. Fatheads eat mosquito eggs, larva, and adults.
Our bluegills commonly grow to well over 1 pound and are not hybrids – we do not sell hybrids.
It is important to remember that bluegills make your bass grow. It is also a good forage fish for other game fish.
A hybrid bluegill is a cross between a regular bluegill and a green sunfish. Interesting enough, the state of Pennsylvania does not allow green sunfish into the state, however hybrid bluegills are allowed. The problem with a green sunfish is that when it gets larger it competes with largemouth bass and other fish for food simply because it has a big mouth. Some people think that a hybrid bluegill cannot reproduce – this is not true – it can reproduce but usually only in small quantities and the young are sometimes deformed. When it does reproduce the young can either look like a regular bluegill or it can resemble a green sunfish with a big mouth. As the generations go by they will reproduce many more young. So it is possible to eventually end up with a pond or a lake that is filled with the green sunfish – which is not wanted. The value of a bluegill as a forage fish should not be compared to a green sunfish which competes with other fish for available food.
Many times people order additional largemouth bass to reduce their bluegill population, when in fact in most ponds or lakes that we deliver to, we find that the bluegill population may not be adequate to feed all the largemouth bass.
We do not sell, Coppernose bluegills or red ear sunfish, as they usually die during our harsh winters, or Pumpkinseed sunfish as they do not reproduce enough young to feed a thriving population of largemouth bass and other predatory fish.
Our yellow perch have proven to be quite remarkable, growing to 7 inches in length in 6 months. Normally a hatchery will grow yellow perch to an average size of 4 to 6 inches in one season and this is considered excellent.
Schultz’s hatchery is redefining the standard of length to be considered excellent growth for yellow perch. We do not attribute this fast growth to the way we raise our yellow perch. Instead, we attribute this fast growth to the genetics of our yellow perch. Part of the genetic makeup of our yellow perch comes from the same waters where the largest yellow perch in the world was caught. Because this is our new breed of yellow perch we do not yet know its maximum growth, however there are indications that it will grow to over 17 inches.
Yellow perch can be stocked in the spring or fall. Usually the smaller sizes are available late spring/early summer. And of course larger yellow perch are available in the late fall. We would suggest stocking larger size yellow perch in the fall (6 to 8 inches), these would then be well acclimated to the water and ready to spawn the following spring. So, if you want to build a population of yellow perch, it would be best to stock in the fall.
LARGEMOUTH BASS – NORTHERN
We selectively breed our largemouth bass, thereby controlling the outcome and the quality of the bass produced.
Our selection of brood stock is used to produce the heaviest bass possible. When our bass reach 11 inches in length they usually weigh approximately 1 pound, which is of course extremely plump. Some of our brood stock originated in a colder climate than ours here at the hatchery. This is important for many reasons, first we get an extremely hardy fish that can survive our cold climate thus reducing winter kills. Lastly, and just as important is that the original brood stock came from places that do not have a problem with largemouth bass disease, which is now in states south and west of Pennsylvania. There is not much known about this disease and there is currently no known cure.
There are only 2 strains of largemouth bass in the U.S. There is a northern largemouth bass that we produce and there is a Florida strain of largemouth bass that we will never produce. There is no largemouth bass strain that has a patent or trademark on the fish itself. There are only largemouth bass that have the name patented or trademarked. We do not use any of these gimmicks to sell our fish.
A very common problem that we hear is “Why have my bass stopped growing to a larger size?” There are usually only 2 reasons this happens: 1) inadequate food in your pond or lake, or 2) the pond or lake has not been stocked in many years. What happens is the gene pool burns itself out, the bass inbreed and eventually become stunted. The answer to this problem is to simply restock your pond or lake. However, if this inbreeding was left unchecked for many years, then the answer may have to be to get rid of the bass and restock with new bass. This is why it is so important to monitor and manage a pond or lake. This problem can also happen to a fish hatchery, especially if selective breeding is not used. This effect is not limited to just largemouth bass and is seen in fish such as yellow perch.
The state of Pennsylvania recommends that a pond be 12 acres or larger before it is suitable for black crappie.
If black crappie are to be raised in a smaller pond, then a good healthy population of predator fish is imperative. Many people think that black crappie do not breed in smaller ponds. This simply is not true. What happens is that in a smaller pond the water temperatures in the spring of the year can change rapidly. When this happens the male crappie will abandon the nest and the eggs will die. However, in some years, the water temperature do not fluctuate so quickly and large quantities of crappie are produced. When these large quantities are produced, if there are not enough predator fish to consume them, then the crappie will over populate the pond. Overpopulation of the crappie reduces the available food in the pond for all other fish and the growth of the other fish is reduced.
Smallmouth bass, pound-for-pound are one of the strongest fighting fish that loves to leap from the water, jumping many times. Most fisherman who have caught this fish – know how strong they are. Smallmouth bass prefer cooler water over 12 feet deep.
There are many different misconceptions about walleye. Many people think that walleye need deep water. This is simply not true.
If walleye are stocked into a pond or lake that is very deep then the walleye will travel to this deeper water during early summer and early fall months. However this will slow the growth of the walleye. Maximum growth is obtained at water temperatures of
76 degrees F. Water temperatures may be lethal at 96 degrees F. A water temperature of 96 degrees F is hardly possible in Pennsylvania or New York.
Walleye are considered the “king” of freshwater sport fish. Although some people have difficulty catching them. One must keep in mind some of the feeding characteristics of a walleye. Walleye feed at dusk and at dawn and also during cloudy dark days. So fishing for walleye during bright sunny days would be a mistake. A medium size golden shiner or a large adult fathead makes for good bait for walleye. Even large walleye over 5 pounds do not eat large fish. A 4 or 5 inch bluegill would be a large meal for a 4 pound walleye. But if there are very few forage fish, then of course they would eat larger fish.
Walleye should be stocked in combination with fathead minnows and yellow perch. If yellow perch populations get too high and the pond or lake is over populated with small yellow perch then we would suggest stocking walleye. And in turn the yellow perch population would be of a larger size after the smaller sized yellow perch were reduced. This would give the larger size yellow perch more food to eat. This can also work for bluegill populations.
Walleye less than 4 inches can be extremely cannibalistic. The best size to stock is 5-7 inches.
We stock walleye during the fall.