At this time we will stock more bluegill, with fathead minnows, to help try and boost the bluegill population. A healthier bluegill population means more forage that produced naturally through spawning. If I am trying to better the population in a pond we will stock larger sized bluegill. The fathead minnows are used for immediate forage.
When the forage populations are fairing well we will still stock a forage such as fathead minnows each spring. How many? Well as many as one wants to pay for. Constant attention to the fishery is necessary to know what, how and when to act. If there is still minnows left after ice off, you can cut back on the spring stocking. If you see no sign of them in the shallows, then it is time to stock as many as you feel comfortable.
The time of the stocking can be critical depending on desired results and species you are wanting the forage to benefit. When we are trying to grow large bass for example, we stock around the time the bluegill are spawning. This helps to take the pressure off of newly hatched bluegill fry for a little while. At least giving them a little better chance of making it. Most, likely won't make it, but if they can live longer and grow bigger this means more calories in that meal for the bass or other predatory fish.
This strategy should hopefully get more of your natural forage species, to make it into late summer and early fall. This is when we will typically do another stocking of minnows, just before the ice comes on.
Remember to manage today for a better tomorrow!