The pond at Nature Boardwalk has more than 30,000 new residents today! This morning we stocked the pond with multiple native species of fish. Approximately 800 bluegill and 600 pumpkinseed were given a brand new home at the pond, along with an astounding 100 pounds of fathead minnows. The minnows are about an inch long at stocking, so you can imagine that 100 pounds is a lot of minnows. There are approximately 300 individuals per pound!
The fish all arrived on a pickup truck, eager to get out of their small tanks and into the big pond that awaited.
Transferring native bluegill and pumpkinseed to buckets for release.
The bluegill and pumpkinseed were taken off the truck in buckets and given about 10 minutes to acclimate to the change in water temperature. Then the bucket was tipped on its, side and all the fish darted out.
Coordinator of Wildlife Management Vicky Hunt helps introduce the finned residents to their new home.
I helped with the release by holding a few of the buckets while the fish departed. I could feel a few of the fish bump into my boots before swimming off to deeper water. After the release of all of the bluegill and pumpkinseed, the minnows were stocked via a tube that transported them from their tanks on the truck into the pond. They quickly formed a tight school and swam off together into the depths.
In the fall, about 100 bluegill, 200 pumpkinseeds another 100 pounds of minnows and 400 pounds of largemouth bass will be stocked. This allows time for the bluegill and pumpkinseed in the pond to grow—and potentially even reproduce—before the apex predator, the largemouth bass, is introduced into the ecosystem.
The fish are small now, but they'll have time to grow before largemouth bass enter the ecosystem in the fall.
A daily education program hosted at the boardwalk, titled “Fishy Fun,” is a good opportunity to learn more about the pond’s finned residents. (The program meets at 3 p.m. daily at the Peoples Gas Education Pavilion.) Come by the boardwalk and welcome the fish to their new home!