Fathead minnows are small forage fish not growing larger than 3 inches making them ideal forage for bluegill, hybrid bream, crappie and small largemouth bass. Their intended use in stocking new ponds is to jump start the forage base. Breeding early in the spring, baby minnows are eaten by bluegill fattening them before the summer spawning season. Baby minnows are also present in the summer months serving as forage for new largemouth bass. Once bass are stocked fathead minnows disappear quickly. This is ok as the bluegill have begun spawning and are capable of feeding the bass. Minnows can be stocked periodically to increase forage for bream in early spring and fall.
Fathead minnows spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach 70 degrees F. Males become dark in color and grow rough patches on their heads. Males use this rough patch to clean the surface of the underside of submerged objects. Females lay their adhesive eggs to this clean surface and the males fertilize them. Males then guard the eggs until they hatch and the baby minnows are large enough to fend for themselves. Branches, leaves, old tires, pallets, tarps, boards or pvc pipe can be submerged along the shoreline to provide spawning habitat for minnows.
Fathead minnows should be stocked in all new ponds at 10 pounds per surface acre and can be stocked into established ponds in the spring and fall at rates up to 100 pounds per acre.