How Can I Manage My Own Pond?

Big Bass

When most pond owners think about managing their own pond they think of shock boats, loud generators, and fish stunning electricity.  For the most part they will feel helpless without the aide of a professional. However, there are options for property owners to make their pond the best it can be in between visits by the professionals.

Healthy Bass
Did you know healthy bass have shoulders? Capt. showing a client what to look for.
Pond management kit
This kit has everything you need in it to get started managing your pond.
Aquatic Thermometer
Thermometer may sound simple and almost silly to need. However, this small instrument can be a real money saver. On the side of our fertilizer boxes it says to start fertilizing once the water temperatures hit 60 degrees then discontinue once the water temperatures get below 60 degrees. Imagine spreading fertilizer when you eye balled the water but it was actually 55 degrees? At $55/box that could get pricey.
Secchi Disk
The secchi disk is the universal tool to measure the visibility in water. Visibility is measuring the amount of plankton in the water. Lakes with higher visibility readings especially above 36″ will carry less pounds of fish. Think of lakes in the mountains where you can see 20 ft down. Lakes like this can hold about 40-80 lbs of fish per acre. Now change gears and think of a farm pond in the middle of a cow pasture during summer. It’s probably going to be pea soup green. This green color you are seeing is plankton. Plankton should be very important to pond owners. It forms the base of the food chain but can also cause fish kills. Managed right you can get 300-400 lbs of fish per acre. To get this amount of fish the visibility should stay between 18-24″.
Fish Scale
We all have that buddy that calls a 3 lb bass a 7 lb bass. Put your doofus buddy in their place and harvest bass with some sound, scientific data. During electroshock surveys we measure in grams. If our scale is off by a few grams it’s not a huge concern. If our scale is off a few ounces that’s a big deal. Scales are critical to proper bass harvest along with a relative weight chart.
Fish Tags
These are Floy tags. Using a tag gun these are what we use to tag bass. There is no other data more valuable than comparing a fish’s weight and length from year to year. Recapture data is a common procedure from biologist in Montana studying Westslope Cutthroat trout to US Fish and Wildlife biologist studying Great Lake steelhead populations.
Fish Tagging Gun
The humble tag gun. This isn’t the most flashy piece of gear we carry but without it recapture data wouldn’t be possible.
Measuring Stick
Another simple tool that’s critical to a pond’s success. Getting an accurate length is important to calculating a fish’s relative weight.
Relative Weight Chart
One of the most common areas of confusion is this chart. This chart has the relative weights of largemouth bass. At certain lengths bass should weigh a certain amount. For example a bass weighing 454 grams (1 lb) will have a relative weight of 100%. If the bass is above 454 grams its relative weight will be over 100% which means it’s a fat and happy fish. Fish under 100% are under performing. Depending on goals fish under 100% can still be released. Many pond owners want fast action so we may only recommend harvesting bass below 90%. However, if the owner wants to grow trophy large mouth bass we will harvest bass over 100% because we are going to push that fishery to its limits.

If you are interested in any of these products head over to our store. If you need advice on using any of these products give the office a call!