Harvest to Maintain Pond Balance

Management : Pond Management

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Purina Animal Nutrition

For a bass/bluegill pond, harvesting is a viable method for maintaining pond balance and managing populations. 

While bass should not be removed from a pond for at least two years after stocking, bluegills may be harvested after the first year.

The size of the fish you wish to harvest is entirely up to you. If you’re managing for good all-around fishing, you can harvest the following recommended number of pounds of good eating-size fish:
  • Lbs or Fish/Acre       
  • Bass- Fertile and Fed Ponds-25
  • Bass- Infertile Ponds- 10
  • Bluegills- Fertile and Fed Ponds- 200 or less
  • Bluegills- Infertile Ponds- 100 or less 
Normally a conservative harvest like this one produces good fishing. It is advisable to keep records of your catch and harvest so you can determine the balance of your pond. Your goal, of course, is to have both bass and bluegills in self-sustaining populations without one species becoming too abundant.

Most other species of fish stocked into ponds will not stay in balance despite management efforts. For example, it is difficult to maintain a reproducing population of species such as rainbow trout, channel catfish, hybrid striped bass and walleyes. The harvest of these fish should be recorded and the proper number simply restocked the next year.

Enhancement strategies
Play an active role in enhancing the quality of fishing in your pond by utilizing the following strategies:
  • Feed your fish – Purina Animal Nutrition research shows that feeding pond fish can boost the productivity of your pond.
  • Install fish attractors – these supply cover and protection for fish, provide a substrate for aquatic invertebrates, and concentrate fish for better fishing. Stock fathead minnows – stocked at 4-12 lbs/acre, these are easy prey to get bass off to a strong start. Bass will eliminate all minnows within months.
  • Aerate and destratify – mix the water to prevent dead areas from forming in your pond. It can make your pond more productive, eliminates pond turnover, and can prevent fish kills due to oxygen depletion.
For more information on stocking strategies, contact your local Purina Animal Nutrition representative.