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Harmony Under Water

Harmony Under Water

Baitfish habitat.

A customer near Ponca City, OK, may not have what some folks call a mini-pond, but it certainly isn’t big enough to do what it is doing.

We see lots and lots of different environments.  Some do what they’re designed to do, some don’t.  Some that succeed, shouldn’t.  Others that should succeed, don’t.  It’s one of those big puzzles a fisheries biologist spends a lifetime trying to figure out.  This pond covers about 3-acres.  It was designed with every feature needed for successful bass fishing.

When launching the electrofishing boat, we began seeing things very pleasing to a biologist.  There was perfect habitat.  There was a line of aquatic plants ringing the pond.  There was chara, a low-profile plant that offers excellent habitat for newly-hatched baitfish.  Beyond vegetation was a ridge of rocks where water dropped-off to deeper zones.  All perfect for bass.  There was a peninsula built to deepen a shallow zone.  This spot held intermediate and sub-adult bass. Two tall trees stood in the middle of the lake.  They attracted bluegill and bass.  Along the dam, we saw a ring of plants and gentle slope for small bass to feed.

Water

Unique success. Bass and crappie in a small pond.

As the boat hummed into action, we quickly picked-up fish.  Early results revealed a variety of sizes. Normally, a pond this size produces a few good fish and lots of overcrowded bass with little or nothing to eat. That wasn’t the case here.  There was a nice crop of healthy bass well beyond 100-percent relative weight, plus five size classes of bluegill.  The bluegill were impressive since they didn’t receive one-ounce of supplemental feed.  We also saw three-sizes of redear sunfish.  The most surprising discovery–healthy crappie.  Every biologist on the planet preaches against crappie in small waters.

When reviewing results, productivity throughout the environment began to make sense.  Habitat for baitfish…check.  Limited spawning areas for crappie…check.  Congregation points for crappie in the middle of the pond, in deep water, with big bass looming nearby…check.  Consistent crappie harvest each Spring.  Every feature was in harmony.

So, what’s that got to do with your mini-pond? Well-designed and managed small ponds have potential to respond in much bigger ways than their larger counterparts. Take the challenge.  Rethink your mini-pond strategy.  Develop a plan to help your mini-powerhouse grow up…and up…and up.  Call us for a consult.

Water

Balanced bluegill population.

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