Stocking fish in small pond

Asked May 21, 2020, 12:44 PM EDT

We have an area of standing water behind our house. In late summer it largely dries up with an area that's about 10X10 and 3' deep that remains full of muddy water. When it is full, in winter, spring and most of the summer, it is about 30'x30' and maybe one to two feet deep, with some deeper areas. It extends into a woodland area on the south side. There are tons of toad tadpoles in it, and deer and turkeys wandering about. Over the past few years, we've been trying to dig it out deeper and build up sides to keep it more pond-like and less like a swamp. Wondered about stocking it with a few catfish, just for fun and maybe some fishing. From the pictures, you may be able to see a dirt barrier in the middle of the water. The part in front of the barrier is just swamp and will dry out. The part behind (where David is waving) is what we are digging out and has a portion that stays wet all year. We are in S. Lansing.

Ingham County Michigan

1 Response

Catfish are fairly hardy, and as long as the pond doesn't dry up or get too muddy, the catfish should do okay if it's deeper. If it's drying up now or losing a large amount of water, then the fish could struggle with both sufficient oxygen and changing temperatures. Below 55oF or above 90oF are outside their optimal range. The catfish could also increase the muddiness so think about that as well. Unless you put in some structures, they probably won't reproduce, but that's probably good because then you can keep track of how many there are in the pond (particularly if there are no predators). Once you deepen your pond, you might start out with stocking 50-100 fingerlings per acre, or perhaps somewhat larger, and then see how they do. Then repeat that again next year. If you want more, you could stock as many as 300-400 fingerlings/acre if you desire. It sounds like there's sufficient food with all the tadpoles and probably aquatic insects around. Some people say you can feed the catfish but if there's sufficient natural food around, you really don't need to do that.