Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Focus on Fish with a farm pond

The water a farm pond offers to wildlife makes it an ideal centerpiece for a high quality fish and wildlife habitat area.
The pond’s location, design, surrounding plantings, and management all contribute to how successful it can be in meeting your expectations.
Get technical help. While you make the decisions, you don’t have to know everything about a farm pond and wildlife plantings yourself. The district holds a pond clinic each year in partnership with the OSU Extension and Noble SWCD. Check
with us for ideas, technical help, and possibly sources of financial help to build your pond.
Location, location, location.
Before you build, you’ll want to make sure the pond will hold water, that there’s enough runoff or springwater to fill it, that it will be deep enough, won’t fill
prematurely with sediment, etc.
The district can help with planning for a successful pond. Rules of thumb are to have about 20 acres of land that drain to the pond for each surface acre of
pond water. That land will produce cleaner pond water, longer pond life and higher fish populations if it’s forest, grassland or pasture rather than cropland.
Surround with plantings for erosion control and habitat.
Seeding grass or legumes around the pond is good for both erosion control and wildlife habitat.
Native grasses with forbs, or grass/legume mixes both work well for wildlife nesting and cover. Trees and shrubs can also be planted for escape and winter
cover and food. This surrounding buffer area is especially important
for wildlife habitat and pond life if the pond is built within crop fields. However, do not plant trees on or near the dam, as their roots can cause leaks in the pond.
If the pond is built in a pasture, it should be fenced. Livestock can trample and ruin pond banks, muddy the water and destroy fish spawning nests.
Run a pipe from the pond to a tank below for their water.

Stocking fish.
The pond could be stocked with fish you might want to catch. Consider bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.

Did you

Bass tend to
school in groups of similar
size fish. If you catch one
bass, you're likely to catch
more nearby. Bass lie in wait
behind cover and ambush
their intended prey; find
them near rocks, wood,
weeds, submerged cover,
deep water, etc.

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