There are “people who go down and get fish from a friend’s farm and they don’t know what they have, or they fish with minnows .... Unless you have them from a reputable source, I don’t recommend using them. It’s a real good way to introduce some fish you may not want in a pond.”
Some problem fish include bullhead catfish, also called “mudcats” or “yellow-bellies.” They are “really annoying catfish, and they will overpopulate quickly and muddy up the water” by stirring up the sediment. Carp, buffalo and suckers compete for food with other fish and destroy their habitats.
“Crappies in general don’t thrive in smaller ponds. They’re really suited for larger acres. Perch “typically don’t do well in ponds, either,” he added.
“When people talk about their fishing quality being lousy, what they’re referring to is they have the wrong kind of fish, all the fish are the wrong size or they’re not catching enough of them.”
Ferris pointed out that if the fish aren’t growing and there are a lot of smaller ones, one of the problems may be too much vegetation, which “creates a lot of hiding places for those smaller fish and they don’t get fed on as much by bigger fish. If you suddenly take away the hiding places, the larger fish like bass have more to eat.
“From a fishing standpoint, we like to see a third of your shoreline with some sort of vegetation.”
Also, “if bluegill are too small, that tells me there are too many fish in the pond.” He suggests, “If you catch a bluegill, don’t throw it back. They can get out of hand really, really fast. What you’ll see is the ones that are left have plenty of food.
“Bass can also grow really fast. They should grow between three to four inches each year .... If you have too many fish and all the fish are small, think about getting some of them out of there. There’s only so much food in that pond.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
SECOND IN A TWO-PART SERIES • Part 1: Aquatic plant management and pond construction, Oct. 11