Creating & maintaining good fishing in a pond that has been properly constructed & stocked doesn’t have to be a lot of work. In fact, it can be as simple as a pond owner deciding what they like to catch most & then following the management recommendations contained here. Some pond owners may simply want to catch as many fish as possible, regardless of their size. Others may want to catch fewer, but bigger largemouth bass and bluegills. Still others may prefer to catch mainly trophy largemouth bass or channel catfish. Each option is possible with little more effort than it takes to simply control the kinds and sizes of fish harvested from the pond.
Pond fishes are a renewable resource and sustained harvest is an important tool for creating and maintaining good fishing. However, pond owners need to carefully control how much of the catch is removed from their pond because overharvest can cause a variety of problems. Fish abundances should be low enough to allow for good fish growth, yet high enough to provide good fishing. Adjusting fishing and harvest practices is the easiest and most enjoyable path to good fishing. Each year a portion of a pond’s fish population dies of natural causes. Keeping a few fish for the table puts them to good use and can actually increase the number of large fish in a pond by helping to prevent overcrowding. Other management practices that can contribute to good fishing are fertilization, artificial feeding, and the addition of habitat structure. However, these management practices alone will not overcome the problems caused by overharvest.
New pond owners are often anxious to fish their newly stocked ponds. Unfortunately, harvesting too soon from a new pond may ruin future fishing. Largemouth bass and bluegills should not be removed from a new or renovated pond for the first three years to allow the initial stock to grow and reproduce. During this time, fishing can be allowed as long as anglers release their catch.