Ever wonder if you should supplement your lake’s food chain? After learning the volume of forage REQUIRED to grow healthy largemouth bass, there’s only one answer. In fact, there are no options!
You invested a large sum to build and stock your dream lake. Pardon the oversimplification, but initial stocking resembles filling your gas tank for a long trip. The first tank jump starts growth the first year. Maintaining a full tank of forage thereafter is CRUCIAL to providing nutrition bass require to reach your ultimate destination—trophy status. Fail to maintain abundant forage and your management program will sputter to the shoreline.
Bob Lusk Outdoors is not in business to sell supplemental forage. We’re in business to help you—grow big fish. To achieve that goal, our experience confirms you must maintain a “diverse food chain” and “balanced bass population”.
A favorite trivia fact states largemouth bass MUST–WITHOUT EXCEPTION–eat approximately 10-pounds of baitfish to gain ONE, SINGLE pound. Is your mission 10 to 12-pound trophies? Then, you must grow 100-120-pounds of forage—per fish. If you lie awake at night counting pounds on bass instead of sheep, you realize food chain planning is no trivial matter.
So, how do we ensure the forage tank remains full, and you begin setting lake records? Develop a diverse menu. Effortless feeding means bass convert nutrition to growth. Energy is not expended roaming the lake in search of a meal. A strong forage plan will have your bass looking like a champion steer at the state fair.The first phase is feeding bluegill. Grow large, healthy adults and they’ll produce
The first phase is feeding bluegill. Grow large, healthy adults and they’ll produce boatloads of bass food. Bluegill are the foundation of the forage chain. They spawn four to five times per year in the south. Conduct regular surveys to confirm you see sizes from one, two, three, four, five-inches, and up. Are you feeding bluegill? We recommend one feeder per three surface acres. We sell the best model on the market and ship within 24-hours. Feed a high-protein floating feed from April through November and they will almost grow before your eyes.
From March through May, stock crawfish. Professional anglers and researchers agree these critters are “forage gold”. When water temps reach 50-degrees, crawfish depart burrows seeking a mate. Bass feast on them especially during pre and post-spawn periods. Our fondest fishing moments are observing crawfish pinchers protruding from a bass’ gullet.
During April, add Mozambique tilapia. Tilapia reproduce every 28-days and contribute large volumes of forage until fall. Their presence relieves pressure on bluegill and helps maintain stronger bluegill populations. Tilapia offer an added bonus, controlling annoying filamentous algae and duckweed. Mozambique do not survive water temps below 52-degrees. As water cools, they become lethargic. Sporadic swim patterns mimic your favorite fishing lure and send bass into a fall feeding frenzy.
Through April and early May, stock threadfin shad. Threadfin thrive in fertile lakes with balanced plankton blooms. They average six-inches, a perfect size for most bass. Threadfin continuously travel upper zones of the water column and spawn multiple times from spring to fall. On some lakes, you may see exciting surface action as bass bust a school.
In December, consider stocking rainbow trout. Forage sizes average five to eight-inches. Trout are the steroids of bass forage. If you have a one-half-acre pond or smaller, stock 10-12-inchers for fun winter fishing. Treat yourself. Surprise friends with a fresh trout dinner on a crisp winter evening. Highest catch rates will be recorded in small ponds. Trout survive in the south until late May.
Bass and forage populations MUST be balanced for these programs to succeed. That means bass harvest quotas MUST be fulfilled–annually. Failure to meet harvest requirements results in excess bass populations. When this occurs, food chains cannot provide ample forage. Lakes become overpopulated with stunted fish simply because each lacks the 10-pounds of nutrition required to achieve the next weight class. To determine if your bass are healthy, ask us about a lake survey to conduct a relative weight survey. Relative weight tells what a bass of a given length should weigh if developing normally.
You built that dream lake to embark on a memorable angling journey. Don’t miss the opportunity to fulfill your dream because the forage tank ran dry. Failing to harvest bass can be as devastating as four flat tires. Bob Lusk Outdoors is your trip planner for successful lake management. And what trip doesn’t include a photo album. We’ll help map a forage itinerary, so you return from each fishing excursion with a new memory for the album.
Let’s design a forage plan to—grow big bass!