Fish Stocking Services
One of the best ways to manage fish populations in your own waterway or community is to strategically plan and stock with carefully-selected, hatchery-reared species. Strategic fish and pond stocking can have a number of positive benefits including:
- Bolstering Fish Populations for Exciting Angling Opportunities
- Balance Native Fish Communities
- Create a Prey Base for Improved Wildlife Watching
- Reduce Exotic Fish Populations Through Competition & Predation by Native Species
- Reduce Invasive Exotic Plant Species
- Control Nuisance Mosquito & Midge Hatches
All of Lake & Wetland Management’s fish are aquacultured in closed pond systems then transported in specially-designed, cooled, aerated tank trucks and gently hand-stocked by experienced hatchery staff for the healthiest and least stressful transition from our hatchery to your property.
Areas We Serve in Florida
When it comes to pond stocking fish, we have a solid reputation with several trusted fish farmers across Florida. Lake & Wetland Management will guide you through your pond fish stocking experience and be sure that you are stocking the proper fish in your waterways. We provide our professional fish stocking services to the following areas in Florida:
- Central Florida
- Fort Myers
- Palm Beach & South Florida
- North Florida
- Treasure Coast Florida
- Tampa Florida
Why a Professional Is Needed for Fish Stocking
A healthy and diverse fish population is essential to creating an environmentally balanced lake. At Lake & Wetland Management, we know that fish stocking has clear benefits, but the sheer amount of fish to choose from makes it easy to get confused.
It takes more than just adding fish to a pond, and rushing the process by stocking the wrong fish can result in unbalanced populations and ecosystems. A huge part of lake and pond management is making sure the fish population is well-balanced. Each body of water is different, so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
A customized plan created by experts will ensure that your lake or pond has the right fish population to endure its health and your continued enjoyment. Based on the state of the ecosystem in your lake or pond, a professional will recommend whether you should add fish stock, how many, and what types are needed. And if you have too many of a particular species, a professional may recommend harvesting some of them.
How To Stock a Pond or Lake With Fish Properly
There’s a lot to consider in order to stock a pond or lake with fish. Done right, you have a functioning, low maintenance ecosystem. You need to build a good environment and set up a balanced food-chain.
To create balance in a lake or pond, you need the right amount of prey fish to predator fish ration. This will ensure that the predator fish have enough food and that the feeder fish have a chance to mature and reproduce. When a pond is properly stocked, the fish population will practically manage itself.
Selecting fish of similar sizes helps the population grow together. The amount of fish depends on the size of the lake or pond. Before stocking a pond, check and make a note of how many “wild fish” are already in the pond. It is important to see how many and what type of fish are already in the water body, so you don’t add too many predators and not enough prey when you stock the pond.
When to Stock a Pond
Spring or fall is the best time to stock a lake or pond since the temperatures are milder and the oxygen levels are high. The fish will be less stressed and will acclimate better to their new home. If stocked in summer, it will take them a little longer to adjust.
Transporting fish can be risky, so your best bet is to have them delivered. When they arrive, let the transport bag float in a shady area of the lake or pond for about 15-20 minutes so the fish can slowly adjust to the temperature of the water.
To make sure the population of predator and prey fish remain healthy, keep the water well-oxygenated when you are pond stocking. A fish stocking professional can help you add the right type of aeration system if you don’t already have one.
Benefits of Fish Stocking
Both municipal agencies and private organizations such as Lake & Wetland Management, Inc. have been stocking fish in Florida’s waters for many years. Though this practice originally came about as an effort to add non-native fish for the purposes of food and recreational fishing, contemporary fish stocking revolves around the restoration of native populations (rather than the introduction of new ones). There are multiple reasons for this.
- For one, many of Florida’s native fish species have been overfished, and many others are no longer able to breed due to scarcity, pollution or environmental causes.
- Sustainability is one pertinent reason to stock waterways with fish. These species stabilize the habitats of lakes and wetlands. Some keep parasites and bacteria in check, while others fertilize the water with nutrient waste. However, a native species that is threatened, endangered or extinct will often introduce new (often non-native) species that will compete for the waters’ sun, oxygen and resources.
- In addition to environmental sustainability, fish stocking also has the potential to raise the value and/or appeal of a waterway’s property. Stocking your lake with fish can make it appear more fun and interesting to people. It also allows people to fish for sport, thereby attracting them to your waterway and making for an all-around more enjoyable experience for visitors/residents.
Custom Stocking Plan
If you want to lake or pond stocking waterway, you can start by calling 855-888-LAKE to get a free quote from Lake & Wetland Management, Inc. We will come to your site, assess your needs and develop a plan for what kind of fish you need stocked.
From large lakes to small backyard ponds, whatever your goals, Lake & Wetland Management can develop a custom stocking strategy specifically tailored to your individual needs and those of your waterway. What follows are some of the more commonly stocked species we offer:
Eastern Mosquitofish, (Gambusia holbrooki)
A cousin of the Guppy, the mosquitofish bears live young. It is extremely tough and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and salinity. This small surface-dwelling fish has an upturned mouth and specializes in preying upon the aquatic larvae of mosquitoes and midges and has been introduced around the world to control the spread of mosquito-borne disease. In turn, it is an important forage fish for larger fish, birds, insects and other predators. Females grow substantially larger than males.
- ♂️1.5 inches
- ♀️2.5 inches
Bluegill, (Lepomis macrochirus)
This common sunfish or “bream” occurs naturally from the Rockies east to the Atlantic coast, from Canada south into Mexico and has been introduced into the western USA and around the world. Named for dark navy blue gill covers, males are more brightly colored, especially during the spawning season. A popular panfish, the bluegill is often stocked as a forage fish for its larger cousin, the Largemouth Bass. Bluegill are often stocked in conjunction with Red-ear Sunfish to add diversity (70% Bluegill/30% Red-ear Sunfish).
- to 2.95 lb.
- to 15 in.
Red-ear Sunfish, (Lepomis microlophus)
Related to the Bluegill, the two species sometimes hybridize, especially in murky water. Also colloquially known as “Shellcracker”, this panfish possesses thick plate-like teeth to crush its preferred prey, snails and mussels. Its name comes from the red edge of its gill covers. The Red-ear prefers deeper, heavier cover than the Bluegill and is often stocked in conjunction with Bluegill to add diversity (70% Bluegill/30% Red-ear Sunfish).
- to 4.86 lb.
- to 16 in.
Largemouth Bass, (Micropterus salmoides)
Florida’s official state freshwater fish and one of the world’s most prized gamefish, the Largemouth Bass has been introduced around the globe. A top predator, it eats any animal it can fit in its oversized mouth and swallow, including fish, frogs, insects, and the occasional small bird or mammal. The Florida largemouth bass fishery generates billions of dollars annually for the state economy. We stock the Florida subspecies, sometimes known as the “Florida bass”, or “black bass”. Typically available only in spring.
- to 17.27 lb.
- to 24 in.
Contact our fish stocking professionals today for any questions regarding our services and fish stocking species for lakes and ponds. Call us at 855-888-LAKE to get a free quote from Lake & Wetland Management Fish Stocking experts.