Charles E. Cichra
4 4. 4. f ,
IL J., -
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T Woeste, Dean for Extension
Managing Florida Ponds for Fishing
A. LARGEMOUTH BASS
C. CHANNEL CATFISH D. REDEAR SUNFISH (shellcracker)
E. WHITE AMUR (grass carp,
I U -
Figure 1. These species are desirable for stocking ponds. The largemouth bass (A) is one of the most popular
gamefish but requires large numbers of prey for good growth; the bluegill (B) provides food for largemouth
bass and is a good pan fish; the channel catfish (C) is a popular food and sport fish and can be stocked
alone or with other species; the redear sunfish (D) may be stocked with bluegill as food for bass and as
a sport fish for the angler; the white amur or grass carp (E), can be stocked (with a permit) to help control
aquatic vegetation. /
A. BLACK CRAPPIE (speckled perch)
B. YELLOW BULLHEAD
Figure 2. These species cause problems in ponds and should not be stocked. The black crappie, or speckled perch
(A) compete with bass for food, eat small bass, and tend to overpopulate and become stunted in a pond.
Yellow bullheads (B) muddy the water and often become stunted from overpopulation.
Managing Florida Ponds for Fishing
Charles E. Cichra
Florida has thousands of natural and man-made
ponds which range in surface area from less than 1/10
acre to greater than ten acres. Man-made ponds
include dug-out and impounded waters, limerock pits,
and sand or gravel pits, commonly called borrow pits.
Fishing pressure on public waters is increasing due
to Florida's rapidly growing population and the
growing interest in fishing as a source of recreation
and food. Competition for public fishery resources,
coupled with the high cost of transportation to go
fishing, has resulted in an increased interest in
fishing private waters that are closer to home. These
private ponds must, therefore, be more intensively
managed to maintain good quality fishing for the pond
owner's personal recreation or as a source of income.
Ponds that consistently produce good catches of fish
require the proper stocking of the correct species and
number of fish, a balanced harvest of mature fish,
good water quality, and proper aquatic vegetation
management. Many unmanaged ponds can produce
more pounds of fish if good management practices are
followed. The annual harvest offish can provide hours
of recreation, an excellent source of food, and even
a supplemental income. The purpose of this
publication is to provide an introduction to the
management of Florida ponds for fishing.
Stocking the Pond
What to Stock
Largemouth bass, bluegill (commonly called sunfish
or bream), and channel catfish are the most commonly
stocked species in Florida ponds. When properly man-
aged, these species can provide excellent fishing.
The largemouth bass (Figure 1A) is a predatory
species and requires large numbers of small fish as
prey to maintain good growth. Many pond owners are
reluctant to stock bluegill (Figure 1B) into their ponds
because of their tendency to overpopulate and stunt,
however, when stocked in conjunction with bass and
properly fished, this species provides food for the bass
and a fine sport fish for the angler. Without bluegill
or other suitable prey species, a quality bass fishery
will not develop.
The channel catfish (Figure IC) is both a popular
food and sport fish in Florida. This species should
be stocked alone in ponds smaller than one-half acre
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or in ponds that are muddy throughout the year. In
larger ponds, catfish do well when stocked alone or
with bass and bluegill. If stocked alone, catfish may
overpopulate if spawning sites are available, so the
addition of milk cans and sewer tiles to provide
spawning sites is discouraged. In the presence of bass,
the survival of small catfish is lowered because of
predation. Supplemental stocking with catfish in the
8-to-10 inch size range is required to maintain their
population in ponds with bass.
The redear sunfish (Figure 1D), commonly called
the shellcracker, can also be stocked as a prey species
for bass and as a sport fish for the angler. This species
should not be stocked alone or comprise more than
30% of the initial stocking of sunfish (bluegill and
redear sunfish) because it will not produce enough
offspring to sustain the bass population. When stocked
with bluegill, these two species will often produce
hybrids which grow faster and to a larger size than
either of the parents.
The white amur, commonly called the grass carp
(Figure 1E), can be stocked into a pond to control
aquatic vegetation. A permit must first be obtained
from the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission before this species can be introduced
into a pond in Florida. Only triploid grass carp,
which are sterile, are legal for use in Florida ponds.
What Not to Stock
Many other species have been stocked into ponds,
but none have been as successful as the largemouth
bass, bluegill, and channel catfish combination. While
other species do well in streams, lakes or reservoirs,
they often cause problems in ponds or are not well
suited for the pond environment.
Black crappie (Figure 2A) and white crappie, also
known as specks, speckled perch or white perch, are
among the worst fish to stock into ponds. They
compete with bass for food, eat small bass, and have
a tendency to overpopulate and become stunted in a
pond. They spawn prior to bass in the spring. The
young crappie quickly grow too large to serve as prey
for young bass.
Common carp and bullheads (Figure 2B) should
be avoided because they will stir up the pond bottom
while feeding, causing muddy water. Bullheads will
also often overpopulate in a pond.
What Sizes to Stock
New or reclaimed ponds are normally stocked with
small (1- to 4-inch) fish, called fingerlings. These small
fish will produce harvestable populations in one to
two years. Care must be taken to make sure that wild
fish are not present in the pond, or the newly stocked
small fish may be eaten.
To shorten the time before a pond becomes fishable,
larger fish can be stocked. These will be more expen-
sive to stock, but the amount of time required before
fish can be harvested from the pond can be reduced.
How Many to Stock
It is critical that the correct number of each species
of fish is stocked. Improper stocking rates may prevent
a pond from producing a quality fishery. In Florida,
100 bass and 500 bluegill fingerlings are normally
stocked per acre. Catfish can be stocked at 100 per
acre, along with the bass and bluegill or by them-
selves in catfish-only ponds. If the catfish are to be
fed, then higher stocking rates of catfish can be used.
If larger fish are stocked, fewer fish are required.
Stocking rates of fifty 8- to 12-inch bass, two hundred
4- to 5-inch bluegill, and fifty to one hundred 8- to
12-inch catfish should be used.
When and How to Stock
To prevent wild fish from becoming established
and competing with stocked fish, a pond should be
stocked as soon after it is filled or reclaimed as
possible. Bluegill and catfish are normally stocked in
the fall, and bass are stocked the following spring.
Stocking bluegill in the fall will allow them to spawn,
providing the small bass with a forage base. Catfish
are stocked in the fall to allow them to grow large
enough so that the bass will not be able to eat them.
Bass are stocked in the spring because they are highly
cannibalistic, and if left in the hatchery ponds in large
numbers throughout the summer, they would eat each
other, thereby reducing the number of fingerlings that
would be available for stocking. Contact your regional
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission office
or your County Extension Service office for a list of
local fish suppliers.
Stocking a pond in mid-summer should be avoided.
High water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen
may weaken fish being transported. Sudden tempera-
ture changes can cause fish to go into shock and die.
When stocking fish, transport water and pond water
temperatures should be equalized by slowly adding
pond water into the transport container. The fish can
then be added to the pond when the water tempera-
ture in the container is about the same as that of the
Fishing the Pond
When it comes to managing a pond for fishing, a
distinction must be made between fishing and harvest-
ing. Fishing is simply the act of trying to catch or
catching fish, while harvesting is removing the fish
from a pond. Generally, no limit needs to be placed
upon the fishing of a pond, but fish harvest must be
closely controlled. Occasionally, a fish that is returned
to the pond may die from hook injuries or mis-
handling. These fish must be considered as part of
the harvest. If properly handled, few fish will die while
being caught and released.
Overharvesting off bass probably ruins fishing in
more Florida ponds than any other cause. Anglers can
easily overharvest the bass population during the first
season of fishing. This allows the bream (bluegill and
redear sunfish) to overpopulate the pond. The likeli-
hood of bass overharvest can be reduced if the pond
owner restricts the harvest of bass by anglers. How-
ever, making a pond off limits to everyone is not en-
couraged because underharvesting can also lead to
The most sensible way to prevent bass overharvest
is to establish a 15-inch length limit for a period of
two to three years following stocking. If during this
time, all bass that are less than 15 inches in length
are released, the pond should begin producing
harvestable-sized fish of all species. During this time,
the fish that were originally stocked will have to
support most of the fishing, so care must be taken
not to overharvest these fish.
Two to three years after stocking, a decision should
be made as to what size fish are desired. Bass will
have reproduced two or three times during this period,
yielding an abundance of small young bass. If left
unharvested, these young bass will grow slowly due
to competition with each other, resulting in a bass
population comprised primarily of fish less than 12
inches in length. These small bass will feed heavily
upon the sunfish, controlling their number. Fewer
sunfish will be available for harvest, but they will be
of larger size (7 to 8 inches). The catch will thus
consist of small bass and large sunfish.
If the pond owner is interested in harvesting bass
larger than 15 inches in length and sunfish of a
variety of sizes, then 12- to 15-inch bass should be
released after the initial two to three years following
stocking. Bass of this size grow rapidly, produce many
young, and prey heavily upon intermediate-sized
sunfish. About twenty-five 8- to 12-inch bass should
be harvested per acre per year, along with any bass
larger than 15 inches. Total bass harvest should not
exceed 20 to 25 pounds per acre per year. A good rule
of thumb is to also harvest 4 to 6 pounds of sunfish
for every pound of bass harvested.
Catfish can be harvested at any rate desirable to
the pond owner. A good record of catfish harvest
should be kept, so that the catfish population can
be maintained at a predetermined level by
supplemental stocking of 8- to 12-inch fingerlings as
needed. These catfish fingerlings must be stocked to
prevent them from being eaten by bass.
Stock Assessment and Correction
If the fish have not been properly harvested, an
adjustment of the fish populations may be required.
If primarily 3- to 5-inch bluegill and few or no bass
are caught, then overharvest, high natural mortality,
or poor survival of young bass has occurred. This
problem can be corrected by stocking fifty 8- to 12-
inch bass per acre. Bass less than 15 inches in length
should be released when caught until small bass
become abundant. One of the harvest strategies
mentioned above can then be followed.
If only small bass and no sunfish are caught,
harvest of bass has not been adequate or no sunfish
are present. In this situation, 200 4- to 5-inch bluegill
should be stocked per acre. Approximately twenty 8-
to 12-inch bass should be harvested per acre per year
over the next two years. After this time, a decision
should be made as to which of the management
strategies described above will be followed.
Removal of Unwanted Fish
Ponds which contain large numbers of rough fish
such as gar, bowfin mudfishh), bullheads, carp, suckers
or shad are best managed by the complete removal
of all fish from such ponds, and then restocking with
desirable species. This process is called pond renova-
The least expensive method of removing unwanted
fish from a pond is to drain it, and to allow its bottom
to dry. Unwanted fish will often leave the pond
through the standpipe. Those remaining will die as
the pond water evaporates. This will effectively remove
any fish from the pond, and will allow bottom sedi-
ments to oxidize. Many impounded ponds in the
Florida panhandle can be drained. If a pond cannot
be drained, as is the case with many dug-out ponds
in Florida, any water remaining in the pond can be
treated with chemicals to kill the fish. Rotenone is
the chemical most frequently used. When used at
recommended rates, rotenone is not harmful to
livestock or other warm-blooded animals, even if they
drink the pond water immediately after treatment.
During the autumn, when water temperatures are
above 700F, is the best time to renovate a pond to
ensure a complete kill prior to restocking.
Rotenone comes in both an emulsifiable powder
and liquid form. The powdered form can often be
obtained from your local feed and seed store. The
liquid form is occasionally available from local sources,
but is usually mail-ordered. Contact your County
Extension office or the regional office of the Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. The first
step in reclaiming a pond is to determine the quantity
of rotenone required. The surface area of the pond
(in acres) should be multiplied by the average depth
of the pond (in feet) to give the pond volume in acre-
feet. At the recommended rate of 2 parts per million,
5 pounds of 5% powder or 0.65 gallons of liquid
rotenone is needed for each acre-foot of water. For
example: if you have a 1-acre pond with an average
depth of 5 feet and you treat with 0.65 gallons of rote-
none per acre-foot, you will need 3.25 gallons of
rotenone (1 acre X 5 feet X 0.65 gallons per acre-foot
= 3.25 gallons).
The next step is preparing the rotenone for applica-
tion. If the powdered form is used, water is first added
to the powder to form a paste. Additional water is
then added until the paste is evenly mixed with the
water (about 10 gallons of water to 5 pounds of
rotenone). Likewise, the liquid form is diluted with
water (about 1 gallon of rotenone with 10 gallons of
Finally, the rotenone is applied to the pond. Uni-
form distribution of the rotenone-water mixture is
necessary to assure the complete removal of all fish.
Most areas can be treated by pouring the chemical
into the prop wash of an outboard as you slowly
motor around and across the pond. Rotenone can be
applied to shallow marshy areas and the shoreline
with a garden sprayer. Deep areas should be treated
by either pumping the chemical below the surface or
by gravity feeding the rotenone through a perforated
hose that is weighted at one end while moving across
the deep areas. The reintroduction of unwanted fish
species can occur from small pockets of water located
upstream from the treated pond. To prevent this from
happening, these areas should also be treated.
Ponds should be stocked soon after reclamation,
but not until the rotenone is detoxified, generally
about 7 to 14 days after application. In cold water,
rotenone may remain toxic for longer periods of time.
Toxicity can be tested by placing several live fish into
a cage placed in the pond, and then observing the fish
for several days to make sure that none of them die.
Scaled fish can be selectively removed from catfish
ponds without harming the catfish by using Anti-
mycin-a according to label directions. This chemical
is most effective at warm temperatures and in neutral
or slightly acid ponds.
Feeding Your Fish
Fish can be fed artificial diets on an occasional
basis to attract them to selected areas so that they
can be more readily caught by anglers, or fed more
intensively to promote rapid growth and higher
standing crops (pounds per acre). Species such as
the channel catfish and bluegill respond well to art-
ificial feeds. Commercially produced pelleted catfish
feed is an excellent choice (for further information,
see Florida Cooperative Extension Service Fact .Sheet
FA-1, "Catfish Feeds and Feeding"). Floating pellets
are preferred over sinking feeds because species such
as the bluegill will better utilize the floating form, and
the pond owner will be able to determine if all the
feed is being eaten. In addition, the pond owner will
be able to determine if the fish go off feed, which
could be an indication that the fish are sick or water
quality is poor.
If a pond is heavily fished, an intensive feeding
program can be established. Begin by feeding at a rate
of two pounds per surface acre per day. Feed at
several locations around the pond. Feeding should
be daily, at the same time, and at the same locations.
Feeding rates can be increased as the fish learn to
take the pellets, but do not exceed ten pounds of feed
per surface acre per day, and do not feed the fish
more than they can eat in 10 to 15 minutes. Also, do
not feed them when the water temperature is below
60F, or, above 950F. Fish do not actively feed at these
times. Excessive feeding can lead to the increased
chance of fish kills due to low oxygen and can become
Feeding small quantities of food or on an occasional
basis will likely have limited benefits to increased fish
growth and standing crops. Feeding fish can, however,
be an enjoyable experience, and should help in
attracting fish to established feeding locations so that
they can be more readily caught. Feeding may in-
directly increase the natural productivity of a pond
by introducing small quantities of nutrients into the
pond each time the fish are fed.
Fish Diseases, Parasites, and Kills
Fish are prone to diseases and parasites just like
any other animal. Their diseases are caused by
bacteria, fungi, or viruses (see Florida Cooperative
Extension Service Circular 716, "Introduction to Fish
Parasites and Diseases and Their Treatment"). Fish
are most susceptible to disease outbreaks in the spring
as water temperatures are increasing and their
resistance is at its lowest coming out of the winter,
and in the summer when water temperatures are high
and water quality is often poor (see Florida Coopera-
tive Extension Service Circular 715, "Management of
Water Quality for Fish"). Generally, mortality is low
in natural populations, such as in sportfish ponds, but
can be a major problem when they are crowded as
in aquaculture ponds. The cost of treating diseases
is usually prohibitive in most private recreational
ponds. The best rule of thumb is to let such disease
outbreaks run their natural course.
Most fish have parasites, such as crustaceans,
flukes, leeches, protozoans, roundworms, and tape-
worms. Generally, these have little effect on the
health of a fish. Little can be done to rid a pond of
all parasites. Maintaining good water quality and
preventing overcrowding of fish is the best way to
keep a healthy fish population. If fish flesh is properly
cooked, any parasites in the flesh pose no health
hazard to humans who consume them.
Fish kills in sportfish ponds are often due to low
oxygen concentrations. Several conditions can lead
to oxygen depletion. Excessive aquatic vegetation can
on occasion die back, consuming large quantities of
oxygen as it decays. The best prevention for this is
to maintain aquatic vegetation at a minimum. Floating
plants such as duckweed can quickly cover the surface
of a pond, preventing photosynthesis and the free
exchange of oxygen from the atmosphere into the
water. Microscopic plants, called phytoplankton, pro-
duce much of the oxygen in ponds. On calm overcast
days, the animals and plants in a pond can consume
the oxygen faster than the plants can produce it,
resulting in oxygen shortages during the night or
early morning hours. Heavy mortality can often be
prevented by pumping fresh aerated water into the
pond or by aeration of the water in the pond.
Runoff from livestock feedlots should not be allowed
to enter a pond in excessive quantities. Nutrients in
the runoff will promote the growth of rooted aquatic
plants and dense algal blooms. In addition, the
decaying organic matter will consume large quantities
of oxygen. Fish kills may also occur in ponds where
high densities of fish are crowded into small shallow
areas due to low water levels. Accidental introduction
of pesticides into ponds should be prevented. Many
agricultural herbicides and insecticides are toxic to
Muddy water is not only undesirable aesthetically,
but also from a fisheries management point of view.
Muddy or turbid water reduces the ability of a pond
to produce fish food (microscopic plants and animals)
and the ability of sight-feeders such as largemouth
bass, crappie, and sunshine bass (striped bass crossed
with white bass hybrids) to effectively capture their
prey. This can result in reduced growth rates for these
predatory species and overpopulation of prey species
such as bluegill and redear sunfish.
Water in newly constructed ponds is often muddy.
This should clear up as the pond banks become vege-
tated. Several factors may cause ponds to remain
muddy after their construction. These include erosion
of soils within the watershed or of the pond banks
by wave action, the presence of fine clays in suspen-
sion, activity by crayfish or certain fish, and livestock
wading along the shoreline.
The cause of the muddy water should first be
determined and then controlled. This will allow the
pond to clear over time. Planting windbreaks and
deepening shallow shoreline areas of the pond will
reduce turbidity due to erosion. Livestock can be
fenced from a pond and given an alternate source
of drinking water. Crayfish are not normally a problem
in ponds that have established bass populations
because predation of bass on crayfish will often result
in reduced crayfish abundance. Nuisance fish such as
carp or bullheads can be removed by rotenone as
discussed previously in the section on removal of
unwanted fish. Shallow ponds with large numbers of
catfish will often be muddy. This type of pond is best
left alone. Any attempt to clear this type of pond will
usually fail as the catfish will continuously stir up the
If the water does not clear, the turbidity could be
due to suspended clay particles. This type of water
can be quickly cleared by broadcasting either 75 to
100 pounds of ground agricultural gypsum or 5 to 15
pounds of aluminum sulfate (commercial alum
crystals) per acre-foot of water.
Hay can also be applied at about two bales per
surface acre. The bales should be broken apart and
scattered about the surface of the pond. As the hay
decays, the clay particles will settle out. The decaying
hay will also promote the growth of microscopic plants
and animals which are food for small fish. If the pond
does not clear, additional hay can be added at a rate
of two bales per surface acre every two weeks, not
to exceed a total of 10 bales per acre per year. Care
must be taken to avoid depleting oxygen in the pond
which could lead to a fish kill.
Aquatic plants serve many roles in ponds. They
produce oxygen which is used by fish and they
remove waste nutrients. They provide cover for small
fish, spawning habitat for adult fish, and substrate
for small aquatic animals which are food for fish.
Aquatic plants reduce wind erosion to shorelines by
dampening wave action. At times, however, plants may
become too abundant, interferingwith the recreational
use of a pond, including such activities as fishing,
boating, and swimming. Excessive plants can also
disrupt the ability of predators such as the largemouth
bass to capture prey species such as the bluegill.
Under such conditions, growth of both of these species
will be reduced. In addition, decaying plants consume
large quantities of oxygen, which may result in fish
When ponds are constructed with minimal amounts
of shallow water and are relatively fertile, aquatic
vegetation is normally not a serious problem. If aquatic
vegetation becomes overabundant, three methods of
control are available. These include mechanical,
chemical, and biological techniques (see Florida
Cooperative Extension Service Circular 707, "Weed
Control in Aquaculture and Farm Ponds").
Mechanical control may be as simple as cutting
plants such as willows or cattails from the dam of
a pond or raking submerged plants from a favorite
fishing area. Large mechanical harvesters are also
available, but are cost-prohibitive and impractical for
small ponds. Such devices are generally used to
maintain boat trails in larger lakes. Mechanical
control is time consuming and its effects are short-
lived if total control is not achieved.
Chemical control can be an effective means of
controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation in a pond.
Before using any chemical control, the aquatic plant
to be treated must be correctly identified so that the
most effective and economical herbicide can be chosen.
Assistance in aquatic plant identification can be
obtained from the Florida Cooperative Extension
Service, the Florida Department of Natural Resources,
and the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commis-
sion. Specific areas within a pond can be kept free
of aquatic vegetation or the entire pond can be cleared.
If the pond owner wishes to remove all the vegetation
from a pond, only a portion of the vegetation should
be treated to minimize the chance of having a fish
kill as the dying vegetation decays. After the treated
vegetation decays, additional vegetation can then be
treated. Always read and observe the herbicide label
precautions. After herbicide application, the water
and fish may be unfit for food or agricultural purposes
until a specified period of time has elapsed. This
information will be provided on the herbicide label.
Although chemical control is effective, it can be
expensive. The herbicides may have to be applied
several times during the year.
Biological control of aquatic vegetation can be
achieved using herbivorous fish such as the white
amur, commonly called the "grass carp". The grass
carp is almost totally vegetarian after it reaches a
length of about four inches. It prefers to eat
pondweeds that contain little fiber, but will consume
emergent reeds, rushes, and sedges. In the absence
of aquatic vegetation, grass carp feed on terrestrial
plants overhanging or falling into the water. A free
permit is required to possess grass carp in Florida.
The permit must be obtained from the Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Only sterile
triploid fish can be stocked into Florida waters.
Recommended stocking rates range from 5 to 25 fish
per acre of water. These rates vary depending on the
type and quantity of vegetation present. Only eight-
inch or larger grass carp should be stocked into ponds
with existing bass populations to minimize predation
by bass. Grass carp may live more than ten years,
making their use a cost-effective means of controlling
nuisance aquatic vegetation. For further information,
see Florida Experiment Stations Bulletin 867, "Grass
Carp, a Fish for Biological Management of Hydrilla
and Other Aquatic Weeds in Florida".
Many Florida ponds are constructed on acid soils.
This can cause water to become acid, reducing the
efficient use of nutrients, thus decreasing the overall
productivity of a pond. Fish are often stressed in low
pH (acid) water, causing them to grow slowly. A pH
of 7.0 is considered to be neutral, while a pH of 6.0
to 8.0 is considered desirable for maximum fish
An acid water (low pH) situation can easily be
overcome by liming. Ponds can be limed just as
agricultural fields are limed to increase soil pH. One
ton of limestone will raise the pH of a one-acre pond
by approximately one pH unit. Only finely ground
agricultural limestone should be used. Lime can be
applied from a boat over the surface of a pond, or in
shallow areas around the perimeter of the pond.
Response of the pond water to liming may take four
to eight weeks. Frequency of liming varies from pond
to pond depending upon the local soil acidity and
movement of water into and out of the pond. Your
county agricultural extension agent can assist you in
determining if and how much lime should be added
to your pond.
Fertilization, the artificial addition of nutrients to
a pond, is not a recommended or necessary manage-
ment practice for most of central and south Florida.
Most soils in these areas are naturally rich in phos-
phate and any ponds built in these soils are naturally
rich in nutrients and highly productive. Ponds in the
Florida Panhandle may benefit from fertilization.
Fertilization can be an effective means of control-
ling submergent aquatic vegetation. If begun early
enough in the year, the addition of nutrients to a pond
will promote the growth of microscopic plants. Their
dense populations will shade the rooted plants,
preventing them from growing. Increased risks of
having a fish kill exist for any pond with high nutri-
ent loads. In addition, if fertilization is stopped, rooted
plants may grow back in even greater abundance than
existed before fertilization.
A fertilization program can also greatly increase
the productivity of a pond. Fertilized ponds often
maintain two to three times the standing crop (pounds
per acre) of fish than unfertilized ponds. Such a
program is not warranted unless a pond receives heavy
fishing pressure. Contact your County Extension office
or your regional Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission office for further information on pond
fertilization specific to your local.
Income from Your Pond
The number of anglers in Florida is rapidly increas-
ing due to the growing interest in fishing and Florida's
rapidly growing population. Fishing pressure on our
public waters is increasing, with many anglers looking
for alternative places to fish. With increasing trans-
portation costs, many anglers are looking for fishing
opportunities closer to home. Fee fishing, paying for
the right to fish and/or paying for any fish that are
caught, is becoming popular among anglers.
There are three basic types of fee fisheries: long-
term leasing, day leasing, and pay by the pound
operations (see Florida Cooperative Extension Ser-
vice Circular 809, "Fee Fishing in Florida"). Fishing
rights to a private pond or lake can be leased on a
long-term basis to an individual or group of individuals
such as is done with hunting or grazing leases.
Management of the pond is often the responsibility
of the lessee. Day leasing involves collecting a daily
user fee from the fisherman. Pond management is the
responsibility of the operator, who may stock the pond
with catchable-size fish, such as channel catfish, on
an occasional basis. Normally, however, only those fish
that are produced within the pond through natural
reproduction are made available to the angler. Gener-
ally, largemouth bass-bluegill ponds are used in day
leasing operations. "Put and take" or "pay by the
pound" fisheries involve stocking a pond with fish and
then charging the fisherman for each fish that is
caught. Consequently fish populations in this type of
operation must be artificially maintained at high
levels by regular stocking of catchable-size fish,
usually channel catfish.
Fee fishing operations in Florida are rapidly increas-
ing in number, but vary substantially in their success.
Little is known as to why this variation occurs and
what attracts anglers to these facilities.
McGee, M. and C. Cichra 1988. Catfish Feeds and
Feeding. University of Florida, IFAS Fact Sheet FA-
Aldridge, F. J. and J.V. Shireman. 1986. Introduc-
tion to Fish Parasites and Diseases and their
Treatments. University of Florida, IFAS Circular
Rottmann, R. W. and J. V. Shireman. 1986. Man-
agement of Water quality for Fish. University of
Florida, IFAS Circular 715.
Thayer, D. D., W. T. Haller and J. C. Joyce. 1986.
Weed Control in Aquaculture and Farm Ponds.
University of Florida, IFAS Circular 707.
Sutton, D. L. and V. V. Vandiver, Jr. 1986. Grass
Carp, a Fish for the Biological Management of
Hydrilla and Other Aquatic Weeds in Florida.
University of Florida, IFAS Bulletin 867.
Cichra, C. E. 1988. Fee Fishing in Florida. Univer-
sity of Florida, IFAS Circular 809.
Charles E. Cichra is an Assistant Professor and Extension Fisheries Specialist in the
Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITYOF FLORIDA, INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES, John T. Woeste, director,
in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, publishes this information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of
Congress; and is authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard
to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. Single copies of extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are availablefree to Florida
residents from county extension offices. Information on bulk rates or copies for out-of-state purchasers is available from C.M. Hinton, Publications
Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611. Before publicizing this publication, editors should contact this
address to determine availability. Printed 2/91.