Threadfin shad
By
Dan Suttle

Threadfin shad is stocked in private lakes as a forage fish. Is this a rip-off? You be the judge. Threadfin Shad are quite temperature sensitive, they are intolerant to cold water. High moralities occur at 45 º F (7 º C), and most fish are dead at 40 º F (4.4 º C). Threadfin shad, Dorsoma petenense, are used as forage fish because they remain relatively small, usually less than 8 inches. They are schoolers, open-water fish. Shad are filter-feeders and feed mainly on zooplank-ton and phytoplankton. Phytoplankton and zooplankton is the same food source that your sport fish (Bluegill, and small bass) feed on. Threadfin shad normally don’t eat fish feed. Life-span of Threadfin shad is about 2-3 years. Lakes that need forage fish for bass is usually low on Bluegill. Bluegill is the best fish for a forage fish. No other fish can come close to Bluegill as forage fish. Adding Threadfin shad to a lake is only prolonging a shortage of forage fish. The only way to solve this problem, lack of forage fish is to add the largest Bluegill possible and stop taking Bluegill out and remove some of your predator fish (bass). One load of Threadfin shad  (5,000 to 7,000) or about 25 pounds of fish can cost as much as $1800.00 or $2.57-$3.60 for each fish. Threadfin shad can only survive in most private lakes for only 3-8 month at best. Lakes that are in the Deep South that have warm winters promote over population of Threadfin shad. That is a big problem then to get rid of the Threadfin shad.  In large lakes where Threadfin shad have survived the mild winter and not been killed by the cold water temperatures. In harsh winters some report large numbers of shad floating dead killed by cold water temperatures. Threadfin shad everywhere, an ugly site to see and a smell that last for days or weeks. If Threadfin shad is added to your lake be sure to check the fish carefully to be sure they are all Threadfin. Also insist on a fish health inspection, as shad can carry numer-ous diseases. Threadfin can overwinter in deeper reservoirs and large rivers in more northerly loca-tions, but are less likely to survive in shallow lakes.

I, Dan Suttle have run Suttle Fish Farm for over 22 years and have not sold any one fish by the load. To me that is dishonest to do so. You can buy sand or gravel by the load but not live fish.  Live fish are sold by weight –price per pound or by count –so many fish in a pound. Think about this, if I know your going to pay me by the load of fish, how many fish will I give you? What incentive do I have to make sure the number of fish is there. All I know is you are going to pay me for what fish I bring you. If I lose fish on the way I take them out before I get to you. Remember you’re buying the fish by the load even the dead fish. You don’t buy live fish by the load. You can buy sand, gravel by the load but not live fish. I think this is a good way to get around the weight and measurement law or a good way to sell fish that are not there. You don’t get what you pay for. Most good reliable and honest fish people will say I have a minimum order for that fish. Most fish farmers have different size trucks (small, medium and large). Larger trucks can haul more fish. What is a load, a tank full? Fish tanks come in all sizes 100 gallons, 200 gallons, 500 gallons and so on. I have experience in hauling live fish. I haul by pounds of fish per gallons of water. The weight and measurement law went out the window when you buy fish by the load. You buy fish by size 1-2-3 inches and so on or by weight 1-2-3-pound and so on. Normally fish are counted by weight several times to get the average number of fish in a pound. Then so many pounds are loaded in tanks.  For example bucket and water are weighed with no fish.  Let’s say 25 lb. Then you add 5 lbs. of fish. Now your bucket weighs 30 lb. You count each fish in the bucket. For an example 100 fish is in that sample 1. Sample 2 you do it again. Your count is 200 fish for 5 lbs. of fish sample 3.  Your count is 300 fish for 5 lbs.
Sample 1 is 100 fish for 5 lbs. that equals to 20 fish per lb. 100/5
Sample 2 is 200 fish for 5 lbs. that equal to 40 fish per lb.  200/5
Sample 3 is 300 fish for 5 lbs. that equal to 60 fish per lb. 300/5
Now add 100+200+300 = 600 fish for 15 lbs.
How many fish in one lb?  600/15lbs. = 40 fish per lb.
Now you want 10,000 fish.
That’s 10,000/40 that’s 250 or 250 lbs. of fish 
10,000 fish equals 250 lbs. of fish
Or you can add 20+40+60 fish per lb/3 =40 fish per lb.
3 is the number of samples taken.
That’s 10,000/ 40 that 250 or 250 lb.
40 is the number fish per pound
10,000 fish is 250 lbs. of fish

The weight and measurement laws say you must get what you pay for.

If you are buying 10,000 live fish I better sent you 260 lbs. of fish in case some die. If your fish are in 3 tanks that means 87 lbs. of fish in each tank. The driver knows how many fish you are getting and how many lbs. of fish are in each tank. If the driver don’t tell you, ask and say show me. Make him take samples and weigh them out. If he don’t have any scales to weigh the fish out send him home. Or better yet, let the driver unload the fish and when you get the bill and say I only wanted 1,000 fish. Here is the money for 1,000 fish. Ha. The point is make sure you get what you are paying for. No more, no less. I been doing this for a long time. It is common practice to count and weigh fish out in the field on a large order.  I tell the customer how many pounds of fish in each tank.  Tank 1, 50 pounds, tank 2, 75 pounds tank 3, 50 pounds tank 4, 75 pounds and so I tell him the fish count per pound. Here is how many pounds I have. I tell him I got to weigh the fish out in at least one tank. Which tank do you want me to weigh out or I will weigh all fish in every tank you choose the tank and how many tanks you want me to weigh out. When I leave, I know three things about my customer who wanted me to weigh all tanks. He is smart, he works hard for his money and if he needs fish again.  He will call me back again. And the customer knows three things about me, I am honest, he got what he paid for and who to call when he needs more fish.


 Buyers beware
 
Threadfin shad stocked in private lake as a forage fish. Things you need to know:
 
1. Threadfin shad are intolerance to cold water moralities occur at water temp 45 º F all dead at 40 º F.
2. Life-span of Threadfin shad is about 2-3 years if they over winter 3-8 month if they don’t overwinter.
3.Threadfin shad take away feed from your sportfish ( bluegill and bass ). They eat the same food source of you young bream and bass.
4.Cost money which could be spent to solve the problem buying larger bluegill.
5.Threadfin shad can become the problem if they overwinter.
6.You can’t eat Threadfin shad.
7. Lakes become almost impossible to keep fertilized. More money is needed  to buy more fertiler.
8. Threadfin shad are not recommended for less than 20 water surface acres.
9.Adding more and bigger bluegill and removing some predator fish is better than adding Threadfin shad 99% of time.
10. Threadfin shad is some time sold by the load not by size or length or pound. A load is a volumetric unit derived from the capacity of the hauling tanks or truck load of hauling tanks or you buy what they bring you. Load does not mean so many fish at this price. A load must contain at least one fish to be a load of fish. Anything over that you are lucky. Dan Suttle
11. It is important to distinguish between the “look-alike” Threadfin shad and the gizzard shad. The best way to tell the two species apart is that the upper jaw of the gizzard shad extends beyond the lower jaw and has a deep notch in the center. The upper jaw of the Threadfin does not extend beyond the lower jaw and it is not notched. Gizzard shad are considered a problematic species because they grow too large to serve as forage for most predatory fish, and large numbers of big gizzard shad can accumulate in ponds, interfering with the production of other species.
12. When purchasing Threadfin shad, be sure to check the fish carefully to be sure they are all Threadfins.
13. Also insist on a fish health inspection, as shad can carry numer-ous diseases.
14. Lakes with Threadfin Shad will always produce smaller and fewer Bluegill.
 
What’s the good things about Threadfin Shad?

1. They don’t get to large that your bass can’t consume them.
2. Shad are in the herring family. They are very prolific.

Threadfin Shad stocking rate

Depending on the lake’s characteristics, the following stocking guidelines for Threadfin shad:

1. Less than 20 water sufface acre--------- none

2. Lakes larger than 100 acre---------100 fish per surface acre

3. New lake ------------------none

4. Lake less 100 but more 20 acre --------50 fish per surface acre ----very overcrowded with bass 100 fish per surface acre

Note there is not one stocking rate for every lake --fishing pressure and other things have a big part in determining a stocking rate. These rates are maximum and will not work all the time. Only by adding larger Bluegill can help with overcrowding bass population.

Bluegill
The bluegill reproduction will provide a food chain for larger bass. If the bass aren’t over-harvested, they will control the numbers of bluegill and prevent overpopulation. In turn, the bluegills that survive the bass predation will grow large enough to provide excellent bluegill fishing. This stocking combination is basic and has been proven to work.

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