Lake Management: Stocking Hybrid Perch

When it comes to fish stocking for your lake there are many options that can work with your overall lake management plan. Although there are more fish stocking options than you would imagine, stocking hybrid perch offers some attractive management possibilities in both lakes and ponds.These conditions are critical to success of lakes stocked with hybrid perch and lake owners will be disappointed unless proper precautions are taken.

First off, do not attempt to stock hybrid perch into ponds containing other fish and never stock them in combination with other sunfish species. Hybrid perch don’t work well with others. Hybrid perch are tough fish, but they are best suited to lakes that are 3 acres or smaller in size, so make sure you estimate your lake size before stocking! However, you will always stock hybrids in combination with a predator fish, such as largemouth bass, since hybrid perch are not sterile.Although most hybrid perch populations are about 90 percent males, they do still have reproductive potential.

Fish overpopulation is something commonly addressed in lake management because too many fish makes for poor lakes and ponds. The same can be said of a hybrid perch population. Stock these fish with either bass or channel catfish. When stocked with bass, hybrid offspring do not survive because bass quickly consume all of them. This makes hybrid perch a perfect forage for growing big largemouth bass!

The most commonly stocked hybrid perch result from crossing male bluegills with female green sunfish. These hybrids are usually 95 percent males and are highly vulnerable to fishing. On the bright side, these fish readily accept artificial feed and grow faster than bluegills or redear sunfish under similar conditions.

It is recommended that you stock 750 hybrid perch and 50 bass per
acre and then implement a good fertilization and supplemental feeding program. However, keep in mind that lake management for hybrid perch is for the production of trophy bream and largemouth bass growth will be less than desirable. Bass are typically stocked only as a management tool to keep hybrid perch reproduction down and to influence growth of hybrids favorably.

Remember that periodic fish re-stocking is necessary to sustain a fishery for more than a few years in most cases where predators keep the production down. Lake owners should keep lake management records with the number of hybrids removed and plan to restock when 50 to 70 percent of the originally stocked fish have been caught and removed.

And another tip, make certain to restock with larger fingerlings (3 to 4 inches) so that the new additions are less vulnerable to predation than smaller fish.

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