Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District
Fish Program – Frequently Asked Questions
Stocking fish requires a valid NYS-DEC permit. Stocking grass carp requires a special NYS-DEC permit. Contact DEC Bureau of Fisheries at 518-623-1200 for more specific permit information.
- Ponds should average a maximum water temperature of 75°-85° F during the last two weeks of July. A depth exceeding 6′ is desirable, and 8-10′ offers better protection against winter kill from oxygen depletion.
- The recommended stocking rate for largemouth bass is 100 fish per acre of pond surface (1 acre = 200’x 200′, or 25 fish for the average ¼ acre farm pond).
- Largemouth bass will actively reproduce in most farm ponds that fit the above-mentioned depth and temperature requirements.
Minnows may be stocked as a forage fish with bass to increase food supply and growth rate, but are not required for the bass to survive.
- For rainbow trout the pond should not exceed a maximum summer temperature of 72° F at average depth, during the first two weeks of August, although fluctuating surface temperatures near 78° F for a couple of days are acceptable. Spring-fed ponds exceeding 10′ of depth usually meet the temperature requirements. This is especially true at higher elevations where summers tend to be cooler. Ponds in wooded or shady areas will also stay cooler during the critical mid-summer period.
- Trout usually do not reproduce in a pond unless there is a spring-fed inlet stream of adequate size. For this reason, trout populations usually die out in most ponds over a 2-5 year period. After this time, restocking is required to maintain populations.
- The recommended stocking rate for rainbow trout is 400 fish per surface acre of pond, or 100 fish for the average ¼ acre farm pond.
Channel catfish are a warm water fish and a prized game fish. They can reach sizes of up to 3′ long and 20 pounds in farm ponds. A stocking rate of 50 fish is suggested for ¼ acre (100′ x 100′) ponds. Catfish can live in both cold and warm water ponds, but do not spawn unless water temperatures exceed 72° for at least 3 weeks. Contrary to popular belief, channel catfish do not burrow in the mud and create cloudy water conditions as their cousins the bullhead. Under normal pond conditions, 6-8″ channel catfish will reach sizes of well over 1′ in 2 years, and eventually 2-3′ in size.
(Triploid) Grass Carp
The grass carp is one of the largest members of the minnow family, commonly reaching weights in excess of 25 pounds. We sell the triploid form of grass carp, a sterile fish and the only form of grass carp legal in New York State. The grass carp is used for aquatic vegetation control, but must be used properly to achieve optimal results. Recommended rates are:
|Average Plant Density||Stocking Rate per Acre|
When DEC issues your permit to stock grass carp, they will also tell you how many you may purchase, depending on your pond conditions. You must bring your permit with you when picking up your grass carp, as the hatchery has to enter information on the permit and return it to DEC.