If you are considering stocking a pond or lake with fathead minnows in order to provide food for larger fish, it is important to have a plan. Fathead minnows are useful in the life cycle of a lake or pond, and provide food for larger fish such as bass. The minnows themselves never get bigger than 1.5 – 3.5 inches, so they are a foundational food for the sport fish. If you are going to use them in your pond, it is good to know something about them and when to introduce them. The best way to make this decision is by talking to your lake management professional.
In the wild, these minnows are olive grey in appearance They are capable of living in low oxygen water, and can be found in ponds, small lakes, and wetlands, as well as larger lakes. They are widely distributed across much of North America. Besides being a forage fish, they are also used as a bait fish. Minnows may also grace home aquariums. Fathead minnows eat aquatic insects, algae, and plant material.
The males are the ones who create the nests for breeding. They also are the ones that protect the nesting areas by using knobs on their chins and snouts to push away predators from the nesting territory. While the female supplies the eggs, it is the male who protects the eggs until they hatch. It is possible for a second male to take over the guarding job of a prior male. Males generally watch over a nesting site for three to five weeks. If minnows are entered into the water in order to be able to reproduce, there needs to be several factors working in their favor. They need to be entered at least one growing season before the game fish are introduced. There needs to be the proper ratio of males to females. The lake or pond needs to be conducive to them reproducing. Otherwise, the plans to use fathead minnows will not go well. They may be eaten too quickly by bigger fish if they are introduced too early.
These are some of the reasons why it is good to talk to a professional first. They can guide you through your decisions, not just about minnows, but about other questions regarding your lake and pond. If you are creating a pond or lake from scratch, from the design stage, to clearing the trees and digging the land, to putting in liners if needed, and filling the lake, then it is best to talk to a professional. There is so much more to creating a lake than digging a hole, filling it with water, and adding some minnows and game fish. A true professional can help you end up with a superior lake by helping you avoid amateur mistakes.