Channel Catﬁsh is the ﬁsh of choice when stocking a small farm pond with catﬁsh and they are great fun to catch. They are a great predator ﬁsh because they do not interfere with the management of your other ﬁsh, meaning they pair well with other predator ﬁsh such as bass. These catﬁsh are bottom feeders that eat insects, invertebrates, ﬁsh and sometimes aquatic plants. A pond that is shallow could be muddied as catﬁsh forage the bottom.
Channel catﬁsh can grow up to 15 inches in a small pond within 5 years. You may increase this rate with periodic stocking of bait ﬁsh or by feeding ﬁsh pellets, which they can easily be trained to eat. They are not self-sustaining in most ponds because they require cavities to spawn. Structures to mimic cavities can be added to the pond or fish can be periodically restocked.
Many people stock their ponds from other sources where ﬁsh are harvested in the wild. However, it is recommended to purchase your ﬁsh through a certiﬁed hatchery to minimize the risk of contaminating your pond with diseased ﬁsh, thus ruining your ﬁshery. Check out local hatcheries where ﬁsh can be purchased. Bullhead, ﬂathead and blue catﬁsh are either undesirable in small ponds or are not suited to the type/size of environment. Contact our oﬃce at 513-732-7075 or our website for additional advice on pond management.