North Carolina ponds offer excellent fishing for Tarheel anglers and represent a significant portion of the state’s water resources. Properly managed ponds can provide excellent fishing opportunities to many anglers at a reasonable cost. However, careful planning and wise management are necessary to maintain high-quality fishing in a pond year after year. To maintain a healthy, productive fish population, you must select the site carefully, construct the pond properly, maintain good water quality, and stock and harvest the pond correctly. Often the difference between a productive pond and an unproductive one is the ability of the owner to obtain sound pond management advice and carry out the recommended practices. Before constructing a pond or implementing any management actions, you should determine your objectives and priorities for the pond. The best management strategy depends upon your objectives. Will the pond be used primarily for irrigation, livestock watering, waterfowl, or recreation? Not all pond uses are fully compatible, so some compromises may have to be made. Do you want the pond to produce trophy largemouth bass or large quantities of average-sized bass? Do you want big bream (bluegill) or channel catfish? How heavily will the pond be fished? How much money can you devote to achieving your chosen objectives? You must answer these important questions during the initial planning stages so you can develop an appropriate management plan for the pond. This publication presents the basic principles of managing recreational ponds and the requirements for producing and maintaining high-quality fishing in a pond. Some common mistakes in pond management and ways of solving pond problems are discussed. This information should allow you to develop and carry out a pond management plan that provides maximum benefits.
NC Coorporative Extension