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Arkansas Farm Pond Management Calendar Although managing a small pond or lake is a year-round effort, timing is often critical to the success of individual.

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Presentation on theme: "Arkansas Farm Pond Management Calendar Although managing a small pond or lake is a year-round effort, timing is often critical to the success of individual."— Presentation transcript:

1 Arkansas Farm Pond Management Calendar Although managing a small pond or lake is a year-round effort, timing is often critical to the success of individual management practices. Use this pond management calendar to help plan your management strategies. Keep in mind that some management strategies are not required every year, and some may not be appropriate for your pond. Lime if needed: Adding crushed limestone to a pond reduces acidity of bottom soils and makes nutrients more available to be used in the food chain. Liming is recommended in ponds with an alkalinity less than 20 ppm. Liming is usually required every 4-6 years in ponds with low alkalinity. Fertilize if desired: Fertilizer stimulates the growth of microscopic plants that feed the fish and shade out undesirable rooted weeds. Most ponds don’t need fertilizer, but for those that do, begin applications when water temperature exceeds 60  F. Once started, a fertilization program must be continued every year. Check density of bloom: When fertilizing, check the density of the algal bloom to avoid over-fertilization and to know when to fertilize again. Use a white tin can bottom nailed to a yard stick to measure how deep you can see in the water. A depth of 18”-24” is ideal. If less, don’t fertilize, if more, fertilize. Drawdown pond for winter then refill pond: If needed, lower water level to about ½ the original volume during the winter. This helps keep the pond fish community balanced by concentrating bluegill for bass to eat, and controls weeds by exposure to freezing and drying. Refill in late-winter to early spring. Control weeds: Although chemical control of weeds should be the last resort, it is best to perform herbicide applications in spring before the problem gets out of hand. Application during late summer can be more difficult and result in water quality issues. Make sure to have the weed correctly identified prior to treatment. Stock catfish if desired: Catfish must be restocked periodically because they do not reproduce successfully in balanced ponds. Keep records of your catfish harvest and restock when needed. For ponds with abundant bass, stock 6”-8” catfish. This will ensure that they are not eaten by bass shortly after stocking. Check pond balance: For best fishing, fish populations should be in balance. Use a seine annually to collect fish from the pond. Balanced ponds should have many recently hatched bluegill, some intermediate-size bluegill, and some recently hatched bass. If you don’t catch all three, the pond may be out of balance. Feed fish if desired: Many species of fish including catfish and bluegill will eat prepared feeds. Sport fish such as bass benefit from increased prey resulting from feed. Use a floating feed and only feed what the fish will consume in 5-10 minutes. Do not feed if you fertilize your pond. Fish and harvest pond: Fishing is fun, but harvesting bass and bluegill is also a very important management action for a healthy pond. As a rule, 4-5 pounds of sunfish should be removed for every pound of bass. Harvest pounds of bass per acre in infertile ponds, pounds in naturally fertile ponds, and more if the pond is fertilized or fed. Inspect levee for holes: The winter is the best time to identify problems with the levee because the vegetation dies back and makes holes and damage more visible, and because the pond may be drawn down for management. This is also a good time to add fish habitat or renovate older structures. Trim grass/brush on levee: Although some vegetation around the pond helps control erosion and provides habitat for wildlife, cut the vegetation on the levee periodically to prevent brush and trees from growing. Tree roots weaken the levee and increase the likelihood of leaks, as well as encourage muskrats, beavers, and snakes to take up residence. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence


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