Management Of Recreational Fish Ponds In Alabama
Alabama has about 50,000 small, private ponds covering more than 134,000 acres. Ponds are usually built for several purposes: irrigation, livestock watering, and recreation. Recreation is probably the most important reason for building a pond in Alabama. Unfortunately, most ponds are poorly managed for recreation, even though as much as 25 percent of all fishing takes place in private ponds.
Properly managed ponds provide excellent recreational opportunities. A good fishing pond must be managed like a vegetable garden: It must be seeded (or stocked) properly, limed and fertilized correctly, weeded now and then, and harvested in the correct numbers and on an appropriate timetable.
The purpose of this publication is to provide the owner or manager with keys to success—guidelines for correct pond management.
The first step in recreational pond management is to decide what kind of recreation is desired. Ponds can be managed for fishing, swimming, wildlife attraction, and esthetics. It is difficult to manage for all of these recreational activities equally well, but the most important can be emphasized. This publication will target fishing and attracting wildlife.
Small farm ponds are not mother nature's creations; they are the work of human beings. They must be managed to be productive and provide good fishing. Again, think of a pond as you would a garden or orchard. It must be properly laid out, fertilized, planted (stocked), weeded, pruned (in this case selectively harvested), and protected from climate-related catastrophe (for example, turn-overs) to be bountiful. All of this takes time and effort, but the rewards are outdoor recreation and good food.
A special thanks is extended to artist/naturalist Rick Hill, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, for use of his illustrations.
Published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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