We are lucky to have Martin Konrad, Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau, as a friend. Martin has regularly fished our pond for years and helped track the health of the environment down there. Three years ago, after a hard winter that killed our grass carp and big bass, he gave us recommendations for restocking. Drought and high heat made this a difficult summer for our pond, and I was glad to see Martin when he stopped by to fish. Here is his report on our pond, in case it holds any tips for the rest of you.
I am disappointed with the size of fish I caught Sunday. I have not seen any growth in the bluegill or crappie (panfish) since the spring of 2011. The panfish have large protruding eyes, a sign of poor growth. There are too many of them for the available food supply. Panfish are a short lived species; few survive past eight years of age. The quality of the pond fishery may correct itself as the panfish die, but we need more predator fish, mainly largemouth bass. Bass keep panfish numbers in check. This spring I observed a number of bass, 8” – 12” in length, cruising the shoreline, but we need more. If you recall, I suggested stocking 200 5-inch bass in the pond after the winter kill. I wish I had recommended more. As the panfish die of natural causes, bass reproduction and recruitment must be on the high range. However, this will be difficult to achieve while panfish numbers are high because panfish feed on bass eggs and fry. I suggest we sit tight and see what next year brings.