Undesirable Fish Species For Texas Fishing Lakes and Farm Ponds
Many other species of fish have been stocked in Texas fishing lakes and ponds, but none have been as consistently successful as largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, fathead minnows, or combinations of these fish. While other species may do well in streams, lakes or reservoirs, they often cause problems in fishing lakes or ponds or are not suited for most private lake environments. Do not stock the following species or any species not listed in your ranch or farm lake without first consulting a fisheries biologist.
Hybrid sunfish are often touted as a “superfish”; however, the crosses used to produce these hybrids are not good forage fish and should not be stocked alone for bass prey. Hybrid sunfish perform best when stocked with channel catfish and fed regularly with a commercial catfish ration. Some reproduction can be expected, but the offspring will not be as desirable as the original hybrid. Eventually, pond renovation and restocking become necessary because of overpopulation and stunting. Stocking largemouth bass into a hybrid sunfish pond may greatly reduce the production of second generation hybrid sunfish through predation. In this scenario, do not harvest any bass and allow this population to become as abundant as possible. As long as no other prey species are available, an abundant bass population may successfully limit the survival of the less desirable hybrid sunfish offspring. This could eliminate the need to renovate a pond and potentially ruin a developed catfish population. This scenario can only succeed when no other bass prey exists in the pond and bass abundance is high. This scenario will require periodic restocking of hybrid sunfish to maintain the population. Because this scenario involves many factors, consult a professional fisheries biologist if you are considering hybrid sunfish for your pond.
Gizzard shad can rapidly grow too large for most sportfish to consume. Without predation on large adult gizzard shad, they become overpopulated. Research has also proven that at high densities, gizzard shad can decrease production of young bluegill through interspecific competition for zooplankton resources. Never stock gizzard shad into a pond with newly stocked bass and bluegill populations. The only scenario where gizzard shad are desired is in ponds with existing bass populations that are managed for trophy sized fish. In this trophy fishing lake scenario, large bass are able to benefit from the availability of larger prey and the pond owner is aware of the potential risk of a negative impact on bass and bluegill recruitment of young fish to adult sizes. Consult a professional fisheries biologist before stocking this species.
Golden shiners are occasionally stocked in established fishing lakes to increase forage for largemouth bass. They should not be stocked in new lakes as they are heavy consumers of more desirable fish fry and eggs and could prevent the successful reproduction and establishment of any newly stocked game fishes.
Crappie are also very undesirable for stocking in fishing. They compete with bass for food, eat small bass, and tend to overpopulate and become stunted.
Carp, Bullhead and Green Sunfish
Carp, bullheads and green sunfish often are inadvertently stocked or enter the fishing lake from adjacent water bodies through means such as flooding. Carp and bullheads are bottom feeders that can stir up the pond bottom and cause muddy water. Bullheads and green sunfish are notorious for overpopulating, particularly if bass populations are reduced.
This excerpt was taken from a publication by Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Read the entire text here.