Once you’ve built a pond on your property, it’s time to decide which types of fish you’d like to stock it with. To support the growth of your pond, as well as your ability to fish from it, you’ll need to strike a balance between prey fish and predator fish. For instance, when stocking your fish pond, you’ll need to include three prey fish for every one predator fish. This ensures your predator fish will be well fed and able to grow and reproduce for years to come.
You’ll want to stock your pond in the fall or spring when temperatures are mild, and oxygen levels are high. This allows fish to become acclimated to their new environment more quickly without the stress of harsh weather conditions or lower oxygen levels. As for quantity, that depends largely on the size of your pond. A half-acre pond, for example, would need roughly 240 bluegill, 120 yellow perch, and 30 largemouth bass. A one-acre pond would require 480 bluegill, 240 yellow perch, and 60 largemouth bass.
Here Are the Four Most Common Fish for Stocking Your Fish Pond:
Largemouth bass are the most popular fish to use in a fishing pond—probably because they are one of the most common sport fish in America. The state of Tennessee even made it their official state sport fish! These fish start spawning at one year of age and go on to live an average of 16 years. They eat smaller bait such as fish, crawfish, frogs, bats, and even small birds. Eventually, they can become quite large in size, with the largest weighing in at 22 pounds 4 ounces.
When stocking your fish pond with largemouth bass, it’s important to consider their environment. Too many weeds will make it difficult for bass to find their prey, resulting in smaller fish. Too little weeds and bass might completely wipe out their prey leading to starved and stunted fish. Provide a semi-weedy environment and add larger fish and minnows to one end of the pond and smaller fish to another. This will allow prey a chance to hide before letting predators loose.
Popular prey for largemouth bass, bluegill fish can grow up to twelve inches in length and live an average of 5-8 years They thrive in water with adequate underwater features such as stumps and logs. This allows them to hide from predators easily, especially when spawning. Bluegills are typically caught with live bait and bright colors. They bite at dawn and dusk and can be found using only a pair of polarized sunglasses. Once caught, cook bluegills into panfish—an edible fish that won’t outgrow the size of a frying pan.
Yellow Perch is another common prey for largemouth bass. They grow up to 10 inches in length and live an average of 9-10 years. In addition, they make an excellent panfish and can be caught using live worms, minnows, or crickets. They prefer to hug the water’s edge in weeds, reeds, or other aquatic structures.
Catfish typically rest on the pond floor without interfering with the predator/prey balance. It is the most commonly eaten species in the United States and often one of the more inexpensive species to eat. For this reason, they make an excellent fish for stocking your fish pond. Not to mention, they can help cull the bluegill population if it starts to become too populous. Simply add about 50 catfish per acre of pond as necessary and make sure there are shallow spaces and possibly running water.
BTL Liners makes pond liners for fish ponds. Our pond liners are made from reinforced polyethylene (RPE) and reinforced polypropylene (RPP) and are fish and plant safe. We use only potable grade liners which are perfect for recreational use. If you are interested in creating a fish pond on your property, contact us for more information.