How Can Florida Fishing Pond

David Lawrence
• Monday, 30 November, 2020
• 23 min read

A quiet approach will help prevent fish in proximity to your location from spooking off. You need to minimize your shadow that is cast on the water, so take notice of the direction of the sun.

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Your shadow spooks fish as the bass will think you are a predator such as a feeding bird or other shoreline feeder. Punishing Techniques Use more subtle lures such as plastic worms, soft jerk baits and Rap alas.

Work the open water with some type of slow lure so you can fine the depth of pond as well as if there is any structure. A 6 rubber worm works well for this, if you happen to feel structure that is not visible on your retrieve.

The state has many small natural and man made ponds that, if managed properly, can provide excellent fishing, waterfowl hunting and bird watching. Large mouth bass, bream (bluegill and repair sunfish) and channel catfish are raised in Florida fishponds.

Ponds can be managed intensively for high fish production while attracting wading birds, waterfowl and other wildlife species. Often, ponds are constructed or managed for a variety of uses such as swimming, residential development, drainage, irrigation, livestock watering and mining.

This booklet was prepared to help pond owners develop a sound program for managing a recreational water body including fishing, water fowling and wildlife viewing. Whether you are constructing a new pond or improving an existing one, if you need further assistance after reading this publication and referring to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FCC) Website (MyFWC.com), feel free to consult a FCC fish or wildlife biologist.

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Some algae are eaten by small, free-floating animals called zooplankton, located at the second level of the food pyramid. The objective for most ponds is to establish a simple predator-prey relationship using large mouth bass, bluegill and repair sunfish.

Ponds with low nutrient concentrations are described as infertile and produce limited quantities of aquatic life. Sport fish can be more numerous in fertile ponds due to the abundance of available food organisms.

Excessive fertility disrupts the food chain by channeling too much energy into algal production. During daylight periods, algae cells produce oxygen required for respiration by fish.

When sunlight is not present (night or overcast skies), oxygen production by algae is reduced. Dense algal blooms will deplete dissolved oxygen (DO) during periods of limited sunlight, and fish kills may result.

Fish kills caused by low DO levels are most common during warmer months when algal concentrations are highest and extended periods of calm weather reduce exchange of atmospheric oxygen at the pond's surface. Many of these are the results of human activity (e.g. agricultural practices, lawn fertilizer and urban development), while others occur naturally (e.g. nutrient-rich soils, decaying vegetation).

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These areas are designed to collect street and yard drainage, often containing high concentrations of nutrients that would lead to excessive algal production if allowed to enter natural waters. Prospective homeowners should realize the water quality in many retention ponds is not conducive to sport fish production.

Livestock access should be limited to a small area to reduce erosion and prevent high turbidity levels. Runoff from crop fields should be diverted with sales or berms to prevent excessive nutrient loading, station and contamination by pesticides.

Most ponds constructed in Florida consist of a hole excavated in fairly level ground and require minimal site maintenance. A second type is constructed where ground elevations vary significantly and requires an embankment to impound water.

This information is essential in determining a pond's natural fertility, pH (acidity) and ability to retain water. The ability to debater allows for fish population renovation, bottom improvement and vegetation management.

The best pond shape has complex edges providing varied habitat for fish and wildlife. Such construction increases the “edge effect,” which results in concentration of sport fish, improves fishing success and provides more shoreline habitat for wildlife.

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A narrowband of vegetation benefits the pond by providing fish and wildlife habitat and preventing shoreline erosion. Sodding or stabilizing the land adjacent to the pond immediately after construction also will reduce erosion.

You can create structure during pond construction by leaving elevated outcroppings or rock piles or by installing fish at tractors made of tree limbs or other man-made fish at tractors sold through aquatic management supply companies. Prior to starting construction, check with your county, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Water Management District (WMD), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Usage) for any permit requirements.

They help maintain good water quality by reducing erosion and absorbing nutrients. Properly designed ponds with a narrow fringe of vegetation seldom develop problems.

Planting desirable species will allow you to maximize the biological, aesthetic and recreational potential of the pond. You may need to obtain a permit from the DEP prior to any plant collection or transplanting activities.

Florida DEP also can provide information pertaining to private companies who specialize in aquaplaning and aquatic plant control. Excessive gradual slopes, shallow ponds and the introduction of problematic exotic plants such as drill and water hyacinth can lead to overgrowth of vegetation.

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When plants become too abundant, recreational use is restricted and the ability of predators (bass) to feed on prey (bluegill) is reduced. The three methods for controlling nuisance plants are mechanical (removal by hand or machine), chemical (herbicides) and biological (triploid grass carp and hyacinth weevil).

A biologist may inspect the pond, and if appropriate, will issue a permit to allow you to purchase a specified number of triploid grass carp. You may be required to install a fish barrier to prevent the carp from escaping to another water body.

In extreme situations, a chemical treatment followed by the stocking of grass carp to maintain control, is a viable solution. Proper levels of pond productivity are required to sustain a fish population, which supports wildlife.

Turbidity is caused by clay and silt particles held in suspension in the water column. Colored water that is clear, but resembles tea, is caused by tannins and lignin leached from certain upland soils.

Green water is caused by suspended microscopic (phytoplankton) algae, and will be discussed in the “Managing Pond Fertility” section. Resuspension of clay and silt can result from high winds, livestock wading along the shoreline, and the burrowing actions of crayfish and certain fishes.

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Planting trees to buffer winds and fencing livestock to restricted areas of the pond are effective. The easiest and safest method to reduce turbidity is to apply green hay to the pond's surface.

Green hay attracts and neutralizes charged soil particles, causing them to settle on the pond's bottom. The decaying hay will also promote the growth of microscopic plants and animals that provide food for small fishes.

Another way to reduce turbidity is to apply alum at a rate of 200 pounds per surface acre. Alum is usually available from farm supply dealers who sell fertilizer in bulk quantities.

A county agricultural extension agent can assist you in determining how much lime your pond requires. Response time and frequency of treatments will depend on local soil conditions, pond flush rate and rainfall.

One way to determine a pond's fertility is to measure water transparency during spring and summer. Cut a 2-inch square of white plastic from a bleach bottle and fasten it to the end of a wooden yardstick.

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By adding nutrients to the water, you will stimulate algal growth and strengthen the food chain. Over fertilization will cause fish kills; consult a FCC biologist before starting a fertilization program.

If visibility is less than 16 inches, it is important to distinguish whether turbidity or suspended microscopic algae is to blame. Ponds located near septic drain fields, fertilized lawns, cultivated crops and livestock are often overloaded with nutrients.

Leave an “manicured” buffer of desirable vegetation between lawns, agricultural fields, pastures, and the water body. Retention ponds required for new developments are extremely vulnerable to poor water quality since, by design, they collect runoff from streets, parking lots and lawns.

Most fish kills result from low DO conditions that over fertile ponds commonly experience. Ponds located near coastal areas may experience saltwater intrusion from surface or groundwater sources.

Disease outbreaks may also occur in crowded fish populations that compete for space, food or reproductive advantage. Spawning stress occurs because fish are expending a lot of energy, feeding less and are in proximity to each other.

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If you begin an intensive supplemental feeding program, sudden stoppage may create food shortages and stress. If DO related fish kills occur on a regular basis, you may want to install an aeration system.

Paddle wheels, bottom air stones, fountains and other devices that create bottom-to-top vertical mixing (stratification) of the water column while adding Oxygen can help maintain adequate DO levels and reduce the chances of a fish kill. Consult a FCC biologist or aquaculture supply company representative before making a decision on aeration.

The FCC website or the Regional Office can provide a list of fish suppliers in your area. There are three reasons to consider stocking: (1) the pond is new with no fish population; (2) undesirable species have invaded the pond ; or (3) an established fish population has reached an unbalanced state where prey species (bream) have overpopulated and interfered with predator (bass) reproduction, or vice-versa.

Stocking large juveniles, or 1-year-old fish can be successful, provided there is adequate habitat to ensure survival. Renovation (killing out) and restocking is usually the most feasible method of correcting an unbalanced or undesirable fish population.

Ponds less than one surface acre in size generally will not provide a good large mouth bass/bream fishery for a substantial length of time. Channel catfish are recommended for stocking, since natural reproduction is limited in small ponds.

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The disadvantage of stocking only channel catfish is that they require supplemental feeding to achieve good growth. A catfish pond is very simple to manage and provides good fishing and an edible crop.

Possession, importation into Florida, sale or transportation of any live specimens or eggs of this species of black bass is prohibited except by special permit from the FCC (see Rule 68-5.002 at Ferules.org). Under this rule, only fish stocking suppliers whose fish have been genetically tested and authenticated as pure Florida large mouth bass (Micrometers salaries florid anus) by the FCC are allowed to possess or sell bass to customers for stocking south and east of the Suwanee River.

In fertile ponds that support thread fin shad, it may be desirable to stock hatchery-reared sunshine bass. While black crappie are a popular game fish in lakes, they have a tendency to overpopulate and cause unbalanced populations in smaller ponds.

If too many or too few bass are harvested (removed) from small ponds, the balance established with the initial stocking can become disturbed. Over harvest of bass and/or under harvest of bream are one cause of population imbalance, and results in poor fishing success.

Bream reproduce at high rates and stunting occurs when reproduction exceeds predation. A stunted bream population also adversely affects large mouth bass reproduction and results in poor fishing success.

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A practice of restricting bass harvest coupled with high removal of bream will help prevent stunting. An overcrowded population of small bass will exhibit slow growth, and you will catch very few quality-size individuals.

Once a pond becomes unbalanced with too many bluegills, only the addition of adult bass may help restore proper prey/predator ratios. If supplemental stocking of adult bass is not possible, one way to restore a fishery is to chemically renovate the existing population and restock with fingerling fish.

Only certified applicators may apply rote none as it is labeled a restricted use pesticide (RUP) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Rote none is not harmful to livestock (except swine) when applied properly and at recommended application rates.

Treated water should not be used for drinking or irrigation of crops and swimming is not recommended until treatment is complete. Drain the pond to the greatest extent possible prior to application to reduce the amount of chemical needed for renovation.

Another way to restore a fishery is to drain, dry or scrape the lake bottom, refill the pond, and then restock with fingerling fish. All Florida lakes and/or ponds over time gradually fill in and develop muck deposits on the bottom that can affect water quality, spawning, and juvenile fish survival.

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Fish-feeding stations are excellent for attracting bluegill and channel catfish to a location where they can be caught easily. With floating food, it is easy to observe feeding fish, allowing you to determine sizes of bluegill to evaluate population balance.

Disadvantage of floating pellets is that the food can drift into shallow water, making it difficult for fish to feed and more is consumed by birds. If food is consumed rapidly, then gradually increase the amount dispensed, up to a maximum of 20 pounds per surface acre daily.

Discontinue or switch to sinking and reduce feeding amount when water temperature is below 60o F because fish usually become less active. High fish density can increase the frequency of disease outbreaks, and sudden stoppage of feeding can stress the population.

Dispensing too much feed can deplete dissolved oxygen levels, and aeration is often required to prevent fish kills. Bugs dropping on the water surface are eagerly consumed by bluegills and even small bass.

Rock piles, plastic pipe, concrete culverts and wood boxes also can provide shelter areas. Wading birds such as herons, egrets, ibis and even wood storks may visit your pond.

Cormorants and unhinges swim underwater in pursuit of small fish, and can reduce sport fish populations if too many are present. Non-venomous water snakes are much more common, and they feed on a variety of animals including rats and mice.

Otters are cute and fun to observe, but unfortunately, they can harm the fish population of a small pond. Beaver and nutria can also damage a pond by destroying surrounding trees and vegetation stands.

They also serve to attract numerous insects, which are an important dietary component for birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and a variety of mammals. Woody stem plants, such as wax myrtles, salt bush, willows, and Florida maples also provide food resources, cover, nesting habitat, and perching sites for a variety of birds.

Woody stem plants have the additional benefit of providing shade and serving as windbreaks and sight and sound barriers. For instance, trees or shrubs should never be planted on a dam or spillway as their roots can damage or weaken the structures and may attract burrowing animals.

When flooding and drainage of a pond can be controlled, plant and animal communities can be enhanced by water level manipulation. As water level recedes along the ponds edge, newly exposed mudflats can also attract a variety of spring migrating shorebirds and wading birds.

Draw downs will stimulate the growth of beneficial plants on the exposed mud flats, which can be slowly reflooded with the accumulation of water during the summer rainy season. When reflooded, these plants will provide food and cover for many fish, amphibians and wading birds.

We recommend you discourage domestic ducks and geese from using your pond, because they are unnatural and compete with native wildlife. In fact, domestic mallards are causing major problems for Florida's native, wild mottled ducks.

For the landowner, there are several cost-share incentive programs for improving wetlands and surrounding uplands for which your property may qualify. For additional information on these programs and other habitat improvements, contact your local FCC Private Lands Biologist or the nearest Arcs office for details.

Following these guidelines should help provide good fish and wildlife habitat in the form of food, water, and cover. This habitat will attract a variety of species to your pond and provide year-round viewing and recreational opportunities.

Florida's freshwater fisheries comprise 3 million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals-with no closed seasons. The recreational fishery resources alone in these waters provide entertainment for more than 1.2 million anglers annually, who enjoyed 25.7 million days fishing recreationally in Florida's fresh waters (National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation-2011).

The FCC strives to increase and diversify participation in fishing throughout Florida via an effort known as R3, which stands for Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation. The R3 initiative helps create the next generation of anglers who have a vested interest in conserving and managing Florida ’s natural resources.

I'm pretty sure you can 't fish in the ponds and that they do give citations if caught as there was an article about someone fishing in Lake Sumter that got a fine. I'm pretty sure you can 't fish in the ponds and that they do give citations if caught as there was an article about someone fishing in Lake Sumter that got a fine.

You can get a citation for fishing anyplace it's not allowed. There are many places (ponds) in The Villages you can fish.

Last week, before the cold spell arrived, I caught a couple of small Bass in Paradise Lake/ Pond in the Historic Section and a couple of big Bass in Lake Mira in Spanish Springs. I caught them all using Seiko plastic worms rigged wacky style.

Lake Minor seems like an ideal spot since it's a state park and has a pier. Lake Fiona is a Sumter County Park, and yes, you need a license for freshwater fishing.

I'm pretty sure you can 't fish in the ponds and that they do give citations if caught as there was an article about someone fishing in Lake Sumter that got a fine. You would be wrong, you can fish in any pond you can access without crossing private property. The fresh water fishing site has a list of the fishable ponds.

I'm pretty sure you can 't fish in the ponds and that they do give citations if caught as there was an article about someone fishing in Lake Sumter that got a fine. You would be wrong, you can fish in any pond you can access without crossing private property. The fresh water fishing site has a list of the fishable ponds.

Due to the Clean Water Act, the water in many rivers, streams, wetlands and lakes are property of the United States, and thus require permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for any access to fill your pond (as of press time, the Trump administration is seeking to rescind or revise the act.) Access to water on a state level can be rather lax, or highly regulated, such as the case in California.

Contact the local Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the folks there will be able to go over the regulations with you and decipher what, if any, permits you’ll need. This agency can help with assessing your soil and determining if it’s suitable for a pond, or would benefit from clay to prevent leaking.

Sure, you can build it larger, but keep in mind this will require more money due to construction and maintenance time. How you’ll keep the pond full of water is an important part to finding a suitable location.

Surface runoff, meaning rainwater that flows into it from the surrounding land, is the easiest method to secure a permit for. So, don’t bank on keeping your pond fed via a flowing water source on your property.

Use the terrain to your advantage and search for a natural drainage basin surrounded by subtle slopes. You’ll want to inspect the soil to ensure it’s made up of at least 20 percent clay, which aids in retaining water.

While you can import clay to line the top of rockier and sandy soil, those costs can quickly add up. Start by removing topsoil and save it to use in the final stages of building a dam if one is needed.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the minimum depth for sustaining warm water species like bass and pan fish is 10 feet. While the entire pond doesn’t need to be this deep, at least 25 to 50 percent of it should provide enough dissolved oxygen in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer for fish to thrive.

Sink logs or old Christmas trees to provide fish with suitable submerged habitat. Building a fishing pond with shallow sections can help to attract wildlife like amphibians and migrating birds.

Many farm ponds are stocked with bluegills, which are not only fun to catch but serve as a food source for bass. Providing inorganic fertilizers can ramp up phytoplankton and zooplankton levels in your new pond, which are excellent food for young and small fish.

Florida is conducive to year-round fishing which makes The Villages a perfect community to offer ample fishing opportunities for those who wish to wet a hook and line. The Village Community Development Districts and the State’s Water Management Districts who oversee and manages these water bodies, which serves several purposes for the community, also provides anglers fishable areas for their recreational enjoyment.

In order to have a healthy and manageable fishery available for anglers the Village Community Development Districts (CDD) along with the Freshwater Fishing Club has outlined expectations for those anglers wanting to fish the bodies of water within the boundaries of The Villages in accordance with the following conditions: All fishermen are required to comply with federal, state and local laws, statutes and ordinances while fishing within the boundaries of The Villages.

Fishermen may fish in any lake, canal or stream, whether natural or man made, which can be reached without crossing over or trespassing upon any privately owned property or golf courses. Any person crossing into jurisdictional wetlands is in volition of state and federal law and may be prosecuted.

If you have any questions regarding this policy please call the Recreation Business Office at 753-1716. Catch and release is defined as “a practice within recreational fishing intended as a technique of conservation.

After capture, the fish are unhooked and returned to the water before experiencing serious exhaustion or injury.” This definition goes hand in hand with the core values of The Villages and the CDD. Location: Dustin Drive next to the Silver Lake Rec.

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