We recently received a call from a pond owner who has been affected by the Apple Snail. Apple Snails can take over a pond and consume all of the vegetation. The snail was introduced to the Southeastern United States by aquarium owners who then dumped the unwanted "pet" into local waters. The snail is spreading rapidly. Below is a map from the US Geological Survey showing the snail's range.
Our customer wanted to know if Redear Shellcrackers could help solve his snail problem. The answer is YES! The Shellcracker will eat young, recently hatched, snails. The adult snails are too large for the shellcrackers, but a healthy population of Redears will help keep the snail population in check. To fully remove snails from your pond, you will need to hand pick the adults.
If you see large clutches of bubble gum colored eggs along your shoreline, then you have the Apple Snail. See below for an image.
A full news article from AL.com (above pictures also from AL.com) about the snail can be found here: Amazon Apple Snail Threat.
Contact Southern States Game Fish Hatchery if you would like to discuss your situation.
Spring stocking season is right around the corner. Spring and Fall are typically the best times of year to stock your pond with fish because the weather is mild, and the water temperature is pleasant, making transportation and acclimation easier on the newcomers.
Southern States Game Fish Hatchery has Coppernose Bluegill and other baitfish ready to introduce to your pond or lake. If you want to boost the size and population of your Largemouth Bass, early spring is the perfect time to add forage to satisfy their pre-spawn feeding. Shad, minnows, bream/bluegill, and other smaller species are all primary targets for bass. In spring, bass are not picky eaters and devour anything available.
In late September we headed to Louisiana to stock two ponds in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area. The first was an eight acre pond in Suplhur, Louisiana where we dropped 8,000 Shellcracker Bream and Coppernose Bluegill. The second pond was smaller and required only 2,000 bream, it was located in Lake Arther, Louisiana.
Bream are a necessary addition to your pond if you want to grow larger bass. Here's a great article on What Bass Eat.