Fish Stocking in Farm Ponds
When stocking fish in your pond, pay special attention to species balance, water temperature and food sources to better your chances of a healthy fish population.
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Whether after initial construction or after revitalizing your pond, you may need to stock it to supplement the existing fish population. Or you may even be starting from scratch. Pond owners can obtain fish from commercial growers. Lists are available through any department of wildlife and parks, Natural Resources Conservation Service or Extension Service office. Although transporting fish from other waterways is also an option, adequate populations are difficult to obtain and these fish are more likely to have disease than those coming from commercial growers.
Climate, visibility, water temperature and correct fish numbers are four elements that must be considered for best results. Consult your local department of wildlife and parks office for region-specific data. The following are recommendations for Kansas and the surrounding area.
● Stock soon after the pond fills, but try to avoid stocking during the summer, since high temperatures and a lower oxygen level in the water weaken the fish being transported.
● Visibility needs to be at least 12 inches so that species can see to feed. The ideal situation would be 18 inches of visibility – that ensures bass can see bluegill and other smaller species and helps maintain predator/prey balance.
● Take special care to adapt the fish to the water temperature. Fish that don’t go through this process and suddenly encounter a change in temperature will enter shock, and the chances for survival diminish. Take the water that you’re using to transport the fish, say you’re using a bucket, and empty out half of it. Refill that the bucket with water from your farm pond. Repeat this process until the temperature of the water in the bucket and the water in your pond are within 3 degrees of each other. This eliminates the possibility of shock and increases the chances of survival.
● Stocking the correct number of species is also critical to maintaining that balance. It will vary depending on region. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks recommends stocking 100 bass, 500 bluegill and 100 channel cat fingerlings per acre. Consult your state wildlife agency for appropriate recommendations.