Australian Bass fingerlings can be stocked for grow out in a farm dam at a maximum
rate of 100 per megalitre (ML) of water. 100 fingerlings/ML of water is a good
average stocking that will ensure all the fish grow well and fast. A megalitre of
water is 1,000,000 litres. A pond 50 metres by 20 metres and 1 metre deep is a ML
litre of water. The minimum dam size for stocking bass is 1 megalitre of water. Bass
are not recommended for dams smaller than this.
Bass fingerlings cost $121/100 and generally take 3 years to reach an edible size of
over 400 grams in average farm dams. Bass stocked in large impoundments with plenty of
food have been known to grow to 1.2kgs in 3 years. Bass are not a species that grows
to a large size like Murray Cod or Yellowbelly. A Bass of 4kg would be considered a
Bass can be fed
artificial food and will eat any of the marine fish pellets but need
to be trained to eat them. This makes life easy for those of you wanting them as
aquarium pets. Generally in a farm dam Bass are a predatory fish only eating live
food. The main foods they will eat are yabbies, shrimp and small fish as well as
insects and insect larvae. Crickets, earth worms and grass hoppers are also some of
their favourites. As a predator they eat just about anything that moves and this is
what makes them such a great sporting fish. They love lures and flies and even if they
are not hungry if a lure comes close enough to them they will smash it just to show it
whose boss of the pond. It is important that you do not overstock your dam with Bass
as they will just not grow if you put too many in. As they only eat live food and
average farm dam will only naturally produce enough to feed 100 bass per megalitre of
water. It is recommended to add a food source for your bass to your dam, yabbies,
glass shrimp and Australian smelts are the preferred food species.
Unfortunately Bass will not breed in your farm dam and you will only get out what
you put in. If you place 100 in your dam you can only expect to get out approximately
75 as you must be prepared for a 25% mortality mostly from Cormorants (Shag) a bird
that visits farm dams and chases and eats small fish. Bass are smart and fast but when
they are young you will lose the odd one here and there and that totals up over the
years. Many dams also have eels, these are not much of a concern as the bass
fingerlings are generally too fast and smart to be eaten, however the eels eat the same
food the bass eat.
Australian Bass are native to eastern flowing streams and rivers, NSW DPI Fisheries does not allow their stocking into farm dams west of the Great Divide. If you are stocking into your farm dams on the eastern drainage then dams should be over 1 mega litre in capacity, above 1 in 100 year flood levels and not be susceptible to overflows that allow the fish to escape.