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Fishing a farm pond

Fun for the whole family

Where the fish are

If you're lucky enough to have a stocked pond on your acreage, fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors with the entire family.

Jeff Davis and James Koltes belong to the Iowa State University Bass Angler's Club, and enjoy pond fishing.

First, they say, pick a good location. Even in a smaller pond, some spots will be better than others for catching fish. "You're going to want to look for areas with structures like fallen trees and vegetation like grasses on the side of the pond," Davis says. "The grass that is submerged in water will provide a cover for younger fish to congregate in."

You can use the same pole whether you're fishing in a lake or a pond, but you'll want to pay special attention to the tackle you use. "Lakes are usually a lot deeper than ponds, so a lot of times I like to use a crank bait or something that dives down deeper in the water," Koltes says.

As temperatures rise, fish will retreat to cooler spots deep in the pond or lake. In most farm ponds, deep-water crank baits won't work. "You'll hit the bottom and get in the mud and muck," Koltes says.

Catch and release

When a pond is over-fished, you're left with nothing but small, young fish. That's why it's important to release some of the larger fish you catch.

"Bigger bass are more fun, and they give you more of a fight," Koltes says. "So you want to make sure to put them back."

The same goes with blue gills and other panfish. However, Koltes says, it's a good idea to keep some of the smaller males. "They are referred to as 'sneakers' because they sneak in on the spawning beds and can deter the genetics for big panfish," he says. "But if you catch big males or spawning females, you might want to put those back."

Learn more:

Stocking your pond with trout: Having a pond filled with trout is easier than you might think, even if you live in an area with hot summers.

Raising minnows for bait: Avoid having to make a trip to the bait shop every time you want to cast a line into your pond.

Radio interview sources: Jeff Davis and James Koltes, Iowa State University Bass Angler's Club Listen to the radio story (mp3)

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