“Even people with a small property with one small pond can grow a quality sport fish and have good recreational fishing on their place.”
Alan Rudd is a consulting biologist, and says when a drought’s over, there’s a chance to renew fish populations.
“Ponds that have dried up, ponds that have been re-dug, or re-built, or people building brand new ponds. At the end of a drought it always rains. The rains have filled it up and we get new habitat. New habitat is an opportunity to establish a new fish population.”
Predators like bass and catfish require forage fish like sunfish or threadfin shad.
“Often times we will have a three species combination in pond stocking, large mouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish. Channel catfish are a native species of catfish that grow well on natural food alone or they will eat pelleted food as supplemental feed.”
Established ponds may require a little different approach when being stocked.
“Brand new ponds, you stock real basic numbers of fish. You turn them all loose at the same time and they will grow well. If it’s an existing fish population sometimes you may want to release small large mouth bass in there and it turns out that some of the fish in there start eating your predators before they have a chance to grow.”
Sound agricultural practices produce healthy ponds.
“If you have well managed pastures in your watershed, and they are heavily vegetated and well fertilized, then that helps your lake also.”
And when you catch fish, how many can you keep?
“In general, we tell people, harvest what you want, and then you’re going to have to replenish it either through re-stocking or through natural reproduction.”
I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.