COLLEGE STATION — Knowing the fish population in a pond is critical to maintaining a healthy, continuous fishing enjoyment, a Texas Agricultural Extension Service wildlife specialist said.
“Probably the easiest way to determine how good the fish population is in a pond is to record fishing success over a year-long period, then check the records,” said Dr. Jim Davis, Extension fish specialist.
If there is a reasonable amount of fishing and trophy bass or not desired in the pond, he said, the following guidelines may be used:
* If anglers are catching bluegill 6 inches and more, and the bass being caught weigh an average of 1-2 pounds, the pond is in good shape.
* If anglers are catching very few bass and these are more than 2 pounds, and the bluegill are mostly less than 5 inches long, then the bluegill are overcrowded and the population is unbalanced. This is probably due to removal of too many bass and too few bluegill for one or more years.
* If anglers are catching bluegill over 8 inches and the bass average less than one pound with most 12 inches or less and in poor condition, the bass are overcrowded and the population is unbalanced.
* If anglers catch small crappie, bullheads, green sunfish and/or carp, the pond as an undesirable fish population.
“All owners of one- to five-acre ponds want their small ponds to have a balanced fish population and good fishing,” Davis said. “The best way to achieve this is to control harvest.”
For each acre of pond, where the fish population is not being fed, Davis said, the recommended harvest each year is 15 pounds of bass, 100-200 pounds of bluegill, and 50 pounds of channel catfish.