I have a new pond and want fish; what do I do now?
The first thing you want to do is apply for a private pond stocking permit. You can do this by contacting your area Fish and Game office or downloading the permit from the site http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/regulations/ponds.html. This process can take some time, so be sure to plan and be patient.
How many fish and what size should I buy?
We encourage people to give us a call or e-mail so we can discuss what would most likely be
best for their pond. There are many factors to consider when stocking a pond, such as the size of
the pond, depth, flow, food availability, location, and species already present. The 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 surface acre carrying
capacity formula to determine the max amount of fish you can have (you don't ever want to have
the max number of fish in a pond), and we will work backward 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; figure out what the wild fish in your region grow to. Feeding trout pellets allows the fish to limit exertion for food and makes sure they get enough food to grow continually. You can find trout pellets at your local farm feed store, or they will be able to order them for you. We suggest you use floating pellets because 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 toss out as much food as the fish can clean up in 5 minutes; if they feed aggressively, feed more if they are lethargic, put it away.
What strain of Rainbow do you sell?
Our stock comes from the Jocko River hatchery in Arlee, MT, and Trout Lodge in Washington. Both strains have proven successful in various locations, and we have been more than happy with their performance in our facility. The Jocko River strain is what the state of Montana FWP stocks in reservoirs and ponds within the state. They are great fish and have been proven to grow large in all environments. The Trout Lodge strain from Wahington is a more recent addition to our stock but has proven to be a wonderful fish. Unfortunately, the growth rates and characteristics are similar enough we have not seen a benefit of one over the other.
The myth of the Kamloop
We receive requests for the super trout known as the Kamloop quite often. The Kamloops trout, sorry to say, is a bit of a myth. Rainbow trout from surrounding waters were stocked in an area of Canada that had never had trout before. These rainbow trout thrived and grew large due to an environment that was teaming with food and unique water qualities. Of course, after the trout established themselves, they decimated their food source and stopped growing so large. That is why today, you do not hear of these particular trout getting as large up in Canada. You will hear of them getting huge in Idaho, but again this is due to the abundance of forage fish and water quality, not superior or unique genetics. Everyone wants to claim the "super trout" that gets bigger and fights harder. We all love a good fish story, after all.
When should I order?
The earlier you order, the better; we sell 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, especially 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 acclimated to the pond through winter and then come on in the spring.
Harriman Trout CO
A family run Private Fish Hatchery for over 60 years