Farm ponds

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests adding underwater structures during winter to boost sport fish numbers in farm ponds and small lakes.

The Missouri Department of Conservation suggests adding underwater structures during winter to boost sport fish numbers in farm ponds and small lakes.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests adding underwater structures to boost sport fish numbers in farm ponds and small lakes. Tory Mason, MDC fisheries management biologist, said completing products during winter will have them ready for spring when fish spawn and summer when anglers will be catching fish. “Structures are good if you want to attract fish to certain areas like near docks or in a place within casting distance of shore,” Mason said. “Another use is providing spawning habitat.” He said structures placed with the goal of attracting fish is different from structures used for recruitment. Structure can be a tree or group of trees, wooden shipping pallets, PVC pipe arrangements or benches made from concrete blocks and boards depending on the use. During a hard winter freeze when the ice is thick, structures can be hauled out onto the ice and allowed to drop to the bottom when the ice melts. In spring and summer, fish will usually prefer more shallow water habitats especially when spawning. Fish prefer spawning and resting sites that offer them shelter from disturbance or predators. “Fish feel more comfortable being near something,” Mason said. Fathead minnows can be an important food to help fish such as largemouth bass grow large. Shipping pallets stacked in shallow water or placed atop concrete blocks provides spawning habitat for minnows. He said trees are an inexpensive way to provide habitat but being selective about which trees is helpful. Hardwood or red cedar trees are best because they can last a long time under water before rotting away. Oak, hickory, Osage orange and locust work well. Mason said the downside is they are a place to hang up lures and bait. The upside is they attract fish for years. For more information about adding structures for fish in farm ponds, contact Mason by phone at 816-271-3111, ext. 1432.

The Missouri Department of Conservation suggests adding underwater structures to boost sport fish numbers in farm ponds and small lakes.

Tory Mason, MDC fisheries management biologist, said completing products during winter will have them ready for spring when fish spawn and summer when anglers will be catching fish.

“Structures are good if you want to attract fish to certain areas like near docks or in a place within casting distance of shore,” Mason said. “Another use is providing spawning habitat.”

He said structures placed with the goal of attracting fish is different from structures used for recruitment.

The structure can be a tree or group of trees, wooden shipping pallets, PVC pipe arrangements or benches made from concrete blocks and boards depending on the use.

During a hard winter freeze when the ice is thick, structures can be hauled out onto the ice and allowed to drop to the bottom when the ice melts.

In spring and summer, fish will usually prefer shallower water habitats, especially when spawning. Fish prefer spawning and resting sites that offer them shelter from disturbance or predators.

“Fish feel more comfortable being near something,” Mason said.

Fathead minnows can be an important food to help fish such as largemouth bass grow large.

Shipping pallets stacked in shallow water or placed atop concrete blocks provides a spawning habitat for minnows.

He said trees are an inexpensive way to provide a habitat, but being selective about which trees is helpful. Hardwood or red cedar trees are best because they can last a long time under water before rotting away. Oak, hickory, Osage orange and locust work well.

Mason said the downside is they are a place to hang up lures and bait. The upside is they attract fish for years.

For more information about adding structures for fish in farm ponds, contact Mason by phone at 816-271-3111, ext. 1432.