Forage Fish Options

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Fathead minnows are essential in preparing new or renovated fisheries for the introduction of predator fish. They are also stocked as a short-term food supply for existing predators.

Golden Shiners are useful as forage fish for some management programs, and are often used as a short-term food supply for existing predators.

Coppernose Bluegill and Redear Sunfish rank #1 and #2 in terms of ecological importance for most Texas ponds and lakes.

Mozambique Tilapia are an excellent tool for boosting forage production, controlling nuisance algae and vegetation, and provide additional angling opportunities

Check out this great video that captures the process of seining coppernose bluegill at Overton Fisheries.

Fathead minnows are of critical importance for stocking new ponds and lakes. Fathead minnows mature at about 3 inches, or one year of age. Spawning begins when water temperatures warm to approximately 65 degrees and continues throughout the summer. Females produce 200 to 500 eggs per spawn and prefer to lay their eggs on the underside of submerged objects. Females have been observed to spawn multiple times per year. Male fathead minnows have dark heads and dark fins when they are in spawning season, and larger specimens have small bumps or nodules on their nose to stimulate females to lay eggs. Females lack these distinguishing spawning characteristics. Fathead minnows are essential for stocking new ponds and lakes, but are seldom recommended for existing fisheries, unless needed for short -term forage. Typical stocking density in new ponds and lakes is 10-100lbs. per acre, depending on the scenario.

We provide golden shiners for lake and pond stocking, and they are a valuable tool in some of our custom fisheries management programs. Golden shiners are especially useful as a low-cost forage option for a wide variety of predators. We do not recommend starting out fisheries with golden shiners, in preparation for largemouth bass fingerling introduction. However, we often recommend stocking golden shiners in existing bass/crappie/catfish fisheries as well as other specific scenarios.

Our unique OTS Coppernose Bluegill have a story behind them. By combining the genetics from some of George Glazener’s coppernose bluegill with some of the best from our existing fish farm stock, we have produced some high quality pure coppernose bluegill genetics. The breeding stock for these genetics are chosen based on certain characteristics. Males are chosen based on the presence of pronounced orange or red caudal fin with white tipping, exaggerated copper bar across the nose, few vertical bars, bull head. Females are chosen based on evidence of pure coppernose traits plus body condition i.e. egg mass bulge. These OTS Coppernose Bluegill will breed true in your fishery year after year. The males are beautiful and can grow up to 2lbs+. The females have tremendous reproductive potential and can start spawning as soon as they reach the 3″ mark.

Redear sunfish, also called shell-crackers, are a member of the sunfish family. These specialty fish are strikingly beautiful, considered forage and/or sport fish, and play an important ecological role as snail-eaters. They are listed as a sport fish because they can reach 1lb+ sizes and are fun to catch. They are listed as forage fish because they spawn annually, producing significant numbers of offspring, and they have a relatively small mouth. Redear sunfish are important for the control of aquatic snails. Snails are carriers of the very common yellow grub parasite. By consuming snails, redear sunfish break the life cycle of yellow grub parasites and can prevent this parasite from becoming a problem in your fishery. Stocking rate for redear sunfish in new fisheries is up to 250 fish per acre, but a higher stocking density may be needed in existing fisheries.

More than a decade ago, Todd and Kathy Overton set out on an adventure to the San Antonio River to acquire a genetic strain of true Mozambique Tilapia. Armed with a cast net and raw determination, we caught and identified enough specimens to confirm the presence of a self-sustaining population of true Mozambique Tilapia in the temperature buffered spring river water. Later, Todd Overton and Clint Wilson returned with larger cast nets and a fish truck to gather as many breeders as possible. We have beenhand-selecting our true Mozambique Tilapia breeding stock for over a decade now, and we are very proud to offer you these quality fish for pond stocking and aquaponics.

Mozambique tilapia are a type African cichlid that has been stocked with much success in lakes and ponds across Texas for trophy bass production, algae/vegetation control, and diversified sport-fishing opportunities. We consider these fish to be one of the most important species to stock annually for a healthy fishery. Tilapia utilize a wide variety of food sources, such as filamentous algae, planktonic algae, detritus, some types of aquatic vegetation (duckweed, watermeal, mosquito fern, nitella), aquatic invertebrates, and pelleted fish food. By consuming filamentous algae, detritus, and nuisance vegetation, tilapia add links to the bottom of the food chain that would otherwise not exist. Since tilapia make use of natural aquatic foods that other fish can not utilize, they convert otherwise useless matter into fish biomass, and this biomass works it’s way up the food chain to grow your top-end predators such as bass, catfish, hybrid stripers. Tilapia become much less active as water temps cool in the Fall. As temps drop to the mid-50s, Mozambique tilapia begin to stress and become very easy forage for predators. When temps drop below 50F, Mozambique tilapia will “cash out” and will need to be restocked the following spring.

True Mozambique tilapia are legal to stock in private Texas waters without a special exotic species permit. We begin stocking our spring tilapia in March/April, and continue through Summer into the Fall. Typical stocking rates are 5-10lbs per acre in new ponds with few predators, up to 100lbs per acre for trophy bass production.

Nothing at all. Our fish are packed in heavy duty double bags and cardboard boxes, sealed with oxygen. We provide these “live boxes” at $8 ea. During the extreme heat we recommend hauling fish in cab with A/C. Some folks bring totes or coolers, but these often don’t have a lid, allowing stressful sun exposure, and they take up a lot of space. Some folks bring their own livewell. We do not provide any arrive-alive guarantees for folks who use their own livewell systems.

We can pack fish for most any transport duration, just depends on how many we pack per live box. We regularly pack fish for up to 6-8 hours of transport time. Just let us know your transport time and use our bagging system, and you get our arrive-alive guarantee.

To inquire about or to place an order for delivery, please contact Walt at 940-531-2476. Minimum order to qualify for delivery service is $1750 worth of fish.

To inquire about to to place an order for pickup at our market, please contact Todd Overton at 979-571-9481. Text msg preferred.

We do not have an on-line platform for processing fish orders.

To order individual bags of feed, you can use our online store. To order bulk feed, please contact Walt or Todd Overton.

No. 3rd party carriers do not provide a guarantee for any live animal shipments, even if they arrive late. Heavy overnight air packages are very expensive to ship, and the risk of loss is significant. No exceptions.

There is no one size fits all program for ponds. Every scenario is unique. First, start by setting major long term goals for your fishery. We can help you to set the needed short term goals to achieve your long-term vision.

Here is a link to our Fish Pricing & Availability. We try to keep this list updated, but please contact us with any specific inquiries before making the trip.

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