Nebraska Pond Management - Second Edition

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/605475

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 95

26 • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � P roperly stocking a pond can make a world of difference in the quality of fishing it offers for years to come. The stocking strategy you choose should be geared toward the kind of fishing you want. If your primary interest is raising fish for eating, channel catfish or hybrid striped bass are a good choice. Both grow large on a diet of artificial feed and provide good fishing, too. If you just want to have something in your pond to catch, you could get by with almost any stocking combination. Most people, though, would like a low maintenance pond that provides good sport fishing, as well as an occasional fish to eat. After years of studies in ponds across the country, state fisheries biologists recommend stocking a combination of largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish as the best choice for warmwater ponds. Most Nebraska ponds are only capable of supporting warmwater fish species year-round. Trout require water temperatures below 70 degrees and high oxygen levels, and usually will not survive through the summer in most ponds. Except for supplemental stocking of channel catfish, a pond that already contains bass and bluegill generally does not need to be restocked. Additional bass or bluegill should only be stocked after evaluating their relative abundance and size distributions. See page 50 for ideas on how to assess fish populations. Moving fish from a neighbor's pond, a local lake, or nearby stream to your pond is not a good idea. It can even be illegal, especially if you do not follow bag, possession, and size limits. Many sunfish species are similar in appearance and you could accidentally stock green sunfish or other undesirable species. There is also the possibility of transmitting fish diseases to your pond. If you've invested a lot of money in building or renovating a fishing pond, trying to save a few bucks on stocking may sound attractive, but it is not likely to provide the return on your investment that you were hoping for. To reduce the risk of stocking undesirable fish species or diseased fish, obtain the initial stocking of largemouth bass and bluegills from the Commission, or purchase them and channel catfish from a licensed private fish hatchery. Ponds should be stocked as soon as possible following completion of the dam to reduce the chance of undesirable wild fish species becoming established. Water in a pond that is still filling should be at least 8 feet deep to ensure over- winter survival of fingerling fish initially stocked in the fall. It normally doesn't take long for food items, primarily zooplankton and aquatic insects, to become established. It is usually best to avoid stocking in summer months because high temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels could be present in the water and reduce survival of stocked fish. Recommended Stocking Combination Largemouth Bass Largemouth bass are large predators that are well adapted to ponds. They are members of the sunfish family. Because of their growth potential and fighting ability, bass are sought by POND STOCKING The best stocking combination for warmwater ponds is largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.

Articles in this issue

view archives of OutdoorNebraska - Nebraska Pond Management - Second Edition