Pond health and maintenance should be a top priority for landowners who want to get the most out of their favorite fishing hole.
Dr. Todd Sink, AgriLife Extension aquaculture specialist, College Station, said maintaining ponds is critical to increasing fish productivity and avoiding fish kills.
Choosing the right type of aerator is important, he said. He recommends the bottom-style aerator because it mixes the entire water column so fish can utilize the entire pond.
Aquatic vegetation is the cause of 80 percent of low dissolved oxygen fish kills in Texas, Sink said. So, it’s important to ensure that no more than 10-15 percent of the pond’s overall area is covered in vegetation.
Sink recommends using herbicides or biological controls for aquatic vegetation. Manual removal of vegetation can cause more problems like causing the plant to spread.
It’s best to start pond fertilization programs as the pond fills with water, Sink said. This allows the phytoplankton to prevent rooted vegetation from establishing in a pond. But fertilization programs can be implemented at any time in a pond’s life to improve fishing.
Sink said 10-15 pounds of bass per acre should be harvested every year. Anglers should focus on removing bass in the 8-10-inch range, but a little larger or smaller is okay as long as the total pounds of harvest is met.
Sink recommends standard floating catfish diet of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch pellet that contains 28-32 percent protein and 4-7 percent lipid.
Alkalinity and pH levels will determine how much lime is needed, Sink said. He recommends consulting with regional fisheries specialist to determine how much lime should be applied per surface acre.
WORTH THE EFFORT
Sink said maintaining a pond may seem overwhelming but is easy once certain problems are addressed. In the long run, ensuring a pond is providing the correct environment and food supply for sporting fish will ensure productivity whether for sport or sustenance.
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