I have a new pond and want fish, what do I do now?
First thing you want to do is apply for a private pond stocking permit. You can do this by contacting your area Fish an Game office or dowloading the permit from the site http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/regulations/ponds.html. This process can take some time so be sure to plan ahead and to be patient.
How many fish and what size should I buy?
We encourage people to give us a call or to e-mail so we can discuss what would most likley be
best for thier pond. There are many factors to consider when stocking a pond such as the size of
pond, depth, flow, food availability, location, and species already present. Best advice we can
give is to start small with just a few smaller fish and see how they do. If there is a problem the
investment is small and it is a good starting point. Then we will use the suface acre carrying
capacity formula to determine the max amount of fish you can have (you don't ever want to have
max number of fish in a pond) and we will backwards from that.
What do I feed my fish?
If you want to grow large fish you need to use a large amount of food. If you want a natural fish that will not get as big stock fewer and allow them to forage for food. This will very often limit the growth of your trout to around 3-5lbs, just figure what the wild fish in your region grow to. Feeding trout pellets allows the fish to limit exersion for food and makes sure they get enough food to continually grow. You can find trout pellets at your local farm feed store, or they will be able to order it for you. We suggest you use floating pellets becuase it makes it easier to see how the fish are doing and how much feed they are eating. As for how much to feed we just toss out as much food as the fish can clean up in 5 minutes, if they feed agressively feed more if they are lethargic put it away.
What strain of Rainbow do you sell?
We raise the Jocko River strain of Rainbow trout developed by the State of Montana Hatchery in Arlee, and almost all of our fish are triploids. But we have raised dozens of different "strains" over the years and very little depends on genetics as opossed to the enviornment they are being introduced to. We often get requests for what are called Kamloop Raibow, problem is Kamloop rainbow don't really exist. They are just a standard rainbow that lives in a very specific area, problem is when you remove them from that enviornmnt they revert back to te generic rainbow.
There is no super strain of Rainbow Trout, enviornment and care is how you grow large fish, genetics can improve the chance of fish surviving in specific areas but it is never a gurentee that any fsh will thrive.
What is a triploid Rainbow Trout?
Triploids are Rainbow that have been heat or pressure treated at the egg stage so as to make them sterile. The major benefits of this are that the fish have the capacity to grow larger because they are not using energy to spawn or make eggs. This means the females do not get sick and die from being egg bound, and males do not attack each other and get distorted jaws or scars. There is nothing worse than seeing 10lb plus fish die because they are full of eggs and have no place to spawn or males missing eyes and jaws because they have been fighting.
Along with longevity and size benefits triploids also are benefitial to Montana's native species. If for some reason the fish escape into natural waters there is zero chance of them cross breeding with Cutthroat. This allows them to be stocked in areas previously closed to Rainbow.
When should I order?
The earlier you order the better, we sell out of larger fish usually by late spring. You do not have to get the fish in the spring but it would not be a bad idea to let us know what you want so we can hold them for you. We prefer people stock in the spring, ecspecially with larger fish. This allows us to deliver them on cool days while the water is cold and stress to the fish can be kept at a minimum. Smaller fish seem to do better if they are stocked in the fall, this gives them a chance to get aclamaited to the pond through winter and then come on in the spring.
What about Bass?
Bass ponds are trickey, mostly becuase Bass require a large amount of food to grow. We have not been succesful with getting large bass to take commercial food in quantity. So we end up feeding them thousands of rainbow to get them to a good qulity size. For us this is not an issue but for you it can be exspensive to feed them. If you are on the east side of the divide you can get forage fish from other sources. The other problem is they can overpopulate very easily, leaving a small pond wth stunted and skinny bass. This is less of an issue in larger reservoirs because of food abundance and predation.
We try to maintain our Bass pond with a forage fish ratio of about 8to1. This yeilds good growth and along with culling and active managment we have produced Bass upwards of 6lbs.
If you have any ideas or questions about Bass please feel free to contact us.
Harriman Trout CO
A family run Private Fish Hatchery for over 60 years