Top 10 Mistakes Farm Pond Owners Make (10-6)

Clear PondAg Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent—Ag/NR
Smith County

 

Top Ten Mistakes Pond Owners Make (10 through 6)

In this article, we will count down the top ten mistakes pond owners make in regards to managing their farm pond. Are you guilty of any of these infractions? If we try to eliminate these mistakes, we can have better fishing in our farm ponds.  This will be a two part series. Part one is mistakes 10 through 6.  Part two will be mistakes 5 through 1.

The number 10 mistake, stocking your pond with wild fish. Many pond owners decide to supplementally stock their ponds with fish from another pond or nearby reservoir. This often results in an imbalance between the forage and sportfish populations, which can lead to poor fishing. Besides, you never know if those wild fish you are bringing in are host to a disease or parasite pathogen. Stick with farm raised sport and forage fish. You won’t regret it in the long run.

The number 9 mistake, stocking more bass when bass fishing is already poor. A common knee-jerk reaction to poor bass fishing is to stock more bass. In reality, if something is keeping the existing bass populations from performing well, stocking more bass will only complicate the situation. Determine what the limiting factor is, then work to correct it! The only time additional bass should be stocked on top of an existing bass population is for genetic purposes (e.g., stocking the subspecies of Florida bass into a native bass population to produce trophies).

The number 8 mistake, harvesting improperly. Yep, you know who you are! You go out there on a pretty spring afternoon and over-harvest your bass. You have removed too many pounds of bass in too short a period of time and this causes an imbalance between the bass and forage. The result is stunted and overpopulated forage species and a pond full of trotline bait! Remember that a bass filleted at 5 pounds seldom reaches 10 pounds. So if your goal is trophy bass, harvest selectively but don’t release all the smaller fish you catch. What about you catfish producers?  You may stock heavily and feed heavily, both of which are OK, but then fail to harvest enough fish to keep the total weight of fish present below 1,000 pounds per surface acre during the warm months. The stage is set for an oxygen depletion to occur. When you start recognizing and naming individual fish as they come up to feed, its way past time for a fish fry!

The number 7 mistake, failing to properly identify weeds before you attempt to control. It’s easy to think there is “scum,” there is “moss,” and everything else is a weed. But herbicides and triploid grass carp are not cheap, so make sure you know what plants you need to control so you can choose the most effective methods. Many pond owners waste lots of cash each year by guessing at the species of weeds they want to control.

The number 6 mistake, managing for bass in a muddy pond. This is a classical mistake. Remember, bass are sight-feeding predators and need 10 to 12 inches of visibility throughout the year to find their prey. Bass in water the color of peanut butter are usually in poor condition. Take steps to clear the pond, or stock it with species that will do well in muddy water, such as blue or channel catfish.

Remember, good fishing in the result of good fish populations, so make the most of your management efforts by avoiding these common mistakes. Information in this article comes from a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication B-6197 Wildlife and Fish Management Calendar developed by Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist from the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center at Overton, Texas. Again, to get a copy of this Wildlife and Fisheries Calendar, go to https://agrilifebookstore.org .

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