There are few things better in this world than a day spent fishing. And for those lucky enough to possess a pond on their property, it’s just a matter of tossing some cold drinks in the cooler and heading out back. But if you’ve recently added a pond, have suffered a fish kill or prefer species that aren’t self-sustaining, you’ll need to stock that pond.
And that’s not as easy as just dumping a bag of young fish into the water.
First, you’ll need to decide which species of fish you want to stock your pond with. That’s determined, in part, by your geographic region and the properties of your pond. Your local extension agency can help you figure out which fish are best for your situation.
Also, consider which species you like to fish. You don’t want want a pond full of fish you don’t enjoy catching!
You can place your order with a fishery. In my case, that meant pre-ordering the fish I wanted, then heading to the parking lot of the local hardware store to pick up oxygenated bags of our chosen fish.
Read more: Is aquaculture right for your property?
To ensure maximum survival of my fish and encourage development of a sustainable aquatic population, I took some extra steps when stocking.
In the video, you’ll see an artificial structure I built and installed into the pond before it filled with water. Because the pond is an ecosystem comprised of predator fish and prey fish, it’s important to give new residents a helping hand in survival.
So this collection of tubes provides hiding places for the prey fish, ensuring the large-mouthed bass, for example, don’t eat all the newly introduced bluegills and minnows.
Stocking the Pond
There are a few important steps to keep in mind when you’re stocking a fishing pond.
Fish are sensitive to the environment around them, and just dumping them in their new water could cause thermal shock. So take a few minutes to get them used to the pond’s temperature. You can see what I do in the video above.
Mix the Water
Moving day is quite an ordeal for your new fish. And when you move them from their travel bags to the pond, they experience yet another significant change.
So just add some pond water to the bags first to help them adjust to their final environmental change.
Let Them Swim (Slowly)
As new water enters the bag, your fish will slowly make their way out of the bag. You can help them a bit, but don’t rush their exit. Let the fish find the open water.
Over time, your fish will feed, grow and reproduce to populate their new home. You’ll still need to manage the pond, of course. But soon enough, you’ll be able to grab the poles and head out for a relaxing day of fishing at your very own pond.