I have at my disposal a 1/10th acre pond that I can easily drain and refill etc. The pond is loaded with thousands of fathead minnows that have reproduced since last summer. I placed three 10 to 12 inch crappies caught in a nearby natural lake into the pond about a week ago. The fish and others were caught on a long shallow ridge hump of dead bullrush.
Anyway, true to their natural instinct to hang around vertical structure, they are hanging around a pier and vertical post. I plan on adding a large weighted tree branch or two closer to shore ASAP. It will have a nylon rope attached to it so I can pull it out for seining.
I'm going to put 3 or 4 more in today as they were not far along in the spawning mode, so external sexing was difficult. I did fillet seven and 3 out of the 7 had eggs but not very developed yet. I want to add just a few more to make sure I have both sexes!
In my state it's perfectly legal to use fish from public waters as broodfish, as long as I have a fishing license and they are caught legally. Of course I can't sell them like the fish I raise on the farm.
Presently adding waste water from one of my indoor recirculating tanks to get a phytoplankton bloom more intense to feed zooplankton.
My goal is once I determine there is reproduction, I will seine out the brood fish. Then when the offspring reach about in inch or so I will bring them inside to a tank and attempt to feed train them starting with freeze dried krill. I haven't found a non feed trained fish that doesn't respond to krill. Then of course attempt to slowly wean them to commercial feed. My goal is to plant single sex crappies if they can be sexed into my single sex pond of bluegills and yellow perch. And to produce large ones for sale.
I know it probably will be difficult to feed train them but I think it will be worth the effort if I can grow out large feed trained crappies.