As our fish supply changes daily, we recommend calling before you come, just to make sure we have what you’re looking for! We offer delivery services to get your fish on-site, and we take our time to make sure they are acclimated properly.
6-8 in.$$1.104.50 F1 Tiger and Florida Large mouth Bass 6-8 in.$$2.853.50 Pricing and availability are subject to change, call ahead to check inventory.
$19.00 each TWD permit required for TX residents Pricing and availability are subject to change, call ahead to check inventory.
These ponds are stocked and managed to provide fee- fishing opportunities to parents who wish to have a quality experience with their young children, professionals who wish to get away with business clients, families interested in an interesting alternative to a traditional reunion and as a local environmental educational resource for primary school educators. They may offer an alternative to crowded situations or reduce the need to travel great distances to indulge in a quality outdoor experience.
These operations also are playing an important role in the development of young and first-time outdoor people, increasingly women. In a somewhat more controlled environment, experience can be gained and skills can be mastered before attempting more challenging outdoor situations.
In turn, this acts as a friendly introduction to the facility and stimulates word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers. The reality is that our public fishing resources are supported by state and federal tax dollars and voluntary contributions through various check-off programs, as well as the private fund-raising activities and lobbying efforts of sportsperson interest groups.
Today, most users have no problem paying for an opportunity to participate in an outdoor activity that they see as a quality, managed operation likely to contribute to a positive experience for them and their families. Users tend to understand that a private body of water requires stocking, personnel support and related management, and perhaps such energy and infrastructural inputs as filtration systems and weed control programs.
Planning the Operation Ponds naturally exist or are constructed for reasons that may include flood control, recreation, livestock watering or irrigation. The aquaculture and aesthetic enjoyment values of these resources constitute a solid profit center unrecognized by most landowners.
If properly managed, they can provide angling opportunities and aesthetic experiences as good as, or in many cases better than, public waters. For example, an active program In Missouri converts old strip mine pits and quarries into water-oriented recreation resources.
Several publications are available from Missouri Extension Service that discuss the special issues associated with reclaiming and managing these areas. A recent study in Wisconsin cited sport fishing as a 2.3 billion dollar industry that directly supports more than 26,000 jobs and generates $100 million in state tax revenue to help pay for natural resource management and protection programs, as well as critical services that range from primary school education programs and health care for the elderly.
Daily or hourly use fees (day leasing) usually are associated with operations that also rent equipment, sell food or offer meeting or retreat facilities. This presents some problems, perhaps dealing with weather-related stress, battling weeds or undesirable fish species.
Any farmer's crop production is limited by available acreage and quality and care of the land. Similarly, fish production is limited by the size, structure and food availability of a pond.
Sometimes the pond must serve multiple uses, and some management alternatives, for example, plant control, supplemental aeration or filtration, often are expensive. Owners may have a wide variety of reasons for building or owning a pond ; however, an important first step is developing some management goals.
Test the ideas by running them past friends, relatives and impartial third parties including county, state or federal extension outreach professionals. The first and most important step for proper pond management is to choose the primary use objective and understand the limitations that this may place on other agricultural or recreational uses of the resource.
For example, small ponds today are commonly used to aesthetically enhance the landscape, but their relatively simple construction may not provide the best facilities for other activities like swimming, boating and fishing. For example, if the water quality is unacceptable for a cold- and clear-water species of trout, it would be pointless to spend a great deal of time developing a plan for that type of venture.
Develop a plan that reflects the entire fishing experience: this includes the game species but also includes amenities or services that create a certain guaranteed experience and present a certain level of return to both the operator and the client. Most fee- fishing pond or lease operators state that a necessary first step to establishing this type of business is to perform a self-examination that realistically examines how this enterprise fits into the landowner’s goals and lifestyle.
Is the existing infrastructure sound for the enterprise or is there a need for improvements, for example, parking or toilet facilities? This easily can include the pond operation, because for insurance purposes, aquaculture is considered a part of agriculture.
It may be helpful to create a brochure or list of recommendations for people coming with children. This is easy to incorporate as a “helpful hints” page attached to a liability statement.
It also may be helpful to include a written map with instructions regarding safe and hazardous areas. For example, if there are areas with deep or swift water, steep banks, dams or uneven footing, it is good to set this in writing for the visitor.
Porta-potty-type outdoor restrooms or similar units are affordable and can be conveniently located near access roads and parking areas. Most outdoor programs state that any human waste should be kept at least 200 feet from natural water resources.
Encourage parents to bring plastic zip-lock bags along to pack out baby wipes, tissues and similar paper products rather than dump them in the porta-potty. Weather permitting, an outside area is dedicated to social exchange, barbecue and dining.
This operation requires a $50 to $100 per hour cleaning deposit depending on the size of the group and the complexity of the function. Some functions, for example, weddings, may require additional supervision and logistical support, extra electrical services, parking, portable toilets and similar considerations.
Additional amenities impose additional maintenance and labor considerations: fishing tackle, boats and motors, guide services, casting instruction (for example, fly- fishing clinics), meals or lodging. Some other aspects of client management are simple common-sense considerations like maintaining neat, clean water side areas, grounds and restroom facilities.
Again, the operator is marketing a pleasant outdoor experience, not an excursion to the local litter-filled quarry. Some operators take a page from fishing tournaments and outdoor events where prizes are awarded.
Ponds are amazing ecosystems full of plants and animals that live in or near the water. Briefing packets or observation checklists or set up as a game for children can be great engagement tools.
Others, like birds and turtles, are here to hunt for food or find sheltered nesting sites. A “matching” game card that shows the track, picture of the animal and its role in the pond ecosystem could be a fun teaching tool.
Even small children who see the example and use their net and strainer to catch a pan full of wriggly little monsters can easily grasp what some adults may consider an overly complex concept. For example, all the aquatic insects have adaptations and unique structures for breathing and filter feeding or catching prey.
To breathe, pond snails rise to the water surface and pull oxygen into a special sac. Like many aquatic insects and fish, they have very good camouflage and can be tricky to spot in the water.
The kit would include what the adult leader needs (wading shoes or mud boots, field guides and other printed resources, scoops and dip nets) and things for use by individual or small groups of children (buckets, pans or handout materials). Shallow storage tubs, buckets or dishpans are better for viewing the small swimming and crawling creatures if they are white or light colored.
Plastic bags and rubber bands to make temporary “viewing cells” for passing around or for watching the little critters could also be included. Several large magnifying glasses are essential for seeing the tiny legs, tails, gills and other specialized parts used by these little water animals.
This may be just the beginning for the pond owner, particularly if the operator is interested in branching out into other aquaculture or hospitality areas. Triploid grass carp, lake sturgeon and piranhas all have their own highly restrictive licensing.
Any enterprise that includes lodging, preparation and sale of food, and many other activities requires inspection and licensing. For example, if an excessive rote none treatment is applied during a pond renovation and it causes a fish kill downstream, the owner is liable for replacement costs associated with the cleanup.
Farm Pond Management for Recreational Fishing, Cooperative Extension Program, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, USDA and county governments in cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Farmers sell the fish they raise to processors, grocery stores and restaurants.
The purpose of this publication is to assist the pond owner in pursuit of healthy sport fish populations. 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. Identifying conflicting uses must be a primary concern when developing a fish and wildlife management program.
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. A reference section is located on pages 25-26 to provide additional sources of information on these subjects.
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. These relationships frequently operate at a complex level, where a change in one factor can influence many organisms and their habitats in a variety of ways.
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.
Algal production is limited in waters by the availability of nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus. 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). 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. Information on planning, design and construction of ponds is available from the United States Department of Agriculture.
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. 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.
Planting around islands will provide excellent habitat for wildlife that will not interfere with bank angling. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
They dwell in the gills, eyes, flesh, digestive tract, reproductive organs and skin. The input (from runoff or direct application) of toxic pesticides is another cause of fish kills.
Popular fish for stocking ponds include large mouth bass, bluegill, repair sunfish, and channel catfish, while triploid grass carp can be stocked to help control problem aquatic vegetation (Figure 5, illustrations by Duane Raver, Jr., triploid grass carp by Ted Walk.) 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. The disadvantage of stocking only channel catfish is that they require supplemental feeding to achieve good growth.
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.
Stunted bream are usually between 3 and 5 inches in total length and have abnormally large eyes (Figure 6). 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.