by Jake Hahn, SWCD Technician
In these times of COVID-19, I have decided to write a fun article that will keep you busy and answer questions about your pond, while keeping to the social distancing. I visit many ponds each year throughout the county and assist land owners and pond managers with many problems they may be having including algae, pond leaks, pond construction and fish kills, most of which are not fun for the landowner to address. I often am asked how do I know if I have a healthy hatchery, or how sustainable is the fish population years after stocking? Not questions I can answer in an assessment, but here is where the fun begins.
People install a pond on their property for many different reasons, including recreation, aesthetics, water management, or maybe just to mow less grass. Whatever the reason, I am amazed at how little many of these ponds are fished. To accurately understand what is happening under the water you have to get in there with a hook and bobber to find out.
Keeping records of the type, size, and quantity of fish caught over time will let you know how your fish are doing. Are they getting larger? Are you catching as many bass as you once were? Are you seeing small fish due to reproduction? You can then use those numbers to make management decisions on your fishery. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has an excellent pond management publication available online that has tips to manage your fishery and includes a diary page example for keeping records.
So let the fun begin and get the kids, grandkids, and big kids at heart out doing some “pond inventory work.” This is a great way to get kids outdoors as they try to outfish their previous outing or for them to learn natural resources management and record keeping. So go out, be active, social distance and have fun.