Redear (Shellcracker)
Redear (Shellcracker)
  • Coexist well with bluegill
  • Feed on snails, mollusks, insect larvae

The Shellcracker or Redear is a species of sunfish or bream related to the bluegill. This fish is adapted for feeding on snails and other mollusks, in addition to insect larvae. They coexist well with bluegill and do not compete with them for nest sites.

Stocked by themselves they will not reproduce in sufficient numbers to support a bass population. Therefore, we suggest stocking them in combination with the bluegill. The common stocking combination of these fish is 85% bluegill and 15% shellcracker.

 

Seasonal Tips

Threadfin Shad Winter Kills

Threadfin shad are great supplemental forage for both bass and crappie in fertilized ponds. They spawn multiple times during the spring and summer and the adult shad are always in the size range that bass can eat. Adult shad seldom exceed 5 to 6 inches. Threadfins are sexually mature at a size of 2.5 inches and the offspring of a spring spawn will be mature by the end of the summer and often spawn in late summer or early fall. Almost all lakes that are successfully managed for largemouth bass contain threadfin shad as an additional forage species.

The single drawback to threadfin shad is they are susceptible to winter kills. These kills do not typically occur every year in the southeast. The farther from the Gulf Coast, the more likely you will experience a kill in the threadfin population. Ponds and lakes that have a third of the lake with depths greater than 15 feet are more likely to have survival of some shad even in cold winters. Ponds and lakes that ice-over for several consecutive days are likely to experience a shad kill.

Although water temperatures below 38 F will cause mortality, the number of consecutive cold days plays an important part in mortality. Threadfin can be stressed by low temperatures and the fish will swim slowly, becoming easy prey to bass, crappie and larger catfish. Many of these stressed will be eaten by fish and birds, never showing up on the shoreline. Just because you never see dead fish on the shoreline does not mean you did not have threadfin mortality.

This has been a much colder winter than we have experienced for the past four years. It is always a good idea to re-stock threadfin in the spring or early summer to insure you do not miss a year without shad.

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