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Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds

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Heather fishes in her grandfather's pond.Small ponds and lakes represent a significant portion of Alabama’s freshwater resources. Alabama has an estimated 50,000 ponds that cover approximately 150,000 acres. Most ponds that have been stocked with largemouth bass and bream (bluegill and redear sunfish) can provide excellent recreational opportunities when properly managed.

Ponds are also important for wildlife, livestock watering, irrigation, swimming, fire protection, and erosion control. Man-made ponds also alleviate the fishing pressure on our public streams and lakes. In many areas of the state, ponds are the only local source of fishing; therefore, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, is vitally interested in helping anglers manage their ponds. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System also has information about pond management and lists of pond consultants.

The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division's pond information is available in sections as sub-pages to this page, and the entire Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds is available in one PDF document.  This book serves as a management guide for pond and small lake owners who desire a high quality largemouth bass and bream fishery. Many of the terms used in pond management are defined in the glossary.  Pond management videos are also available; they cover most of the same subjects as in the book.

Videos on Pond Management Now Available - Videos are available by topic, sub-topic or as a two-hour documentary.

Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds (PDF book, 1,614k) - This is a PDF file of Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds, a publication by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

Applications for Fish Pond Stocking - The Fisheries Section of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (AWFF) has suspended their stocking of private ponds beginning in FY10.

Principles of Fish Pond Management - Anglers wanting to maximize the potential of their pond or small lake should develop an understanding of pond management principles.

Pond Construction - Ponds are more easily managed when properly constructed.

Management Practices - Pond management practices are discussed in detail: eliminating fish prior to stockingproper stocking, liming, fertilizing, feeding, and habitat improvement.

Pond Problems - Pond management can have its challenges. The most frequent problems and questions involve: Aquatic Plants, Watershed CareFish Kills, Pond Leaks, Undesirable Fish Species, Muddy Water, Livestock, Muskrats, Beavers, Otters, Snakes, Turtles, Alligators, Mosquitoes, Water Birds, and Fish Kills.

Fishing Ponds - Catching fish is an important component of pond management. Anglers need to be aware about catching too many or too few!

Determining Pond Balance - When fishing becomes unsatisfactory, someone needs to determine what is causing the problem and how to correct the problem.

Channel Catfish in Sportfishing Ponds - Channel catfish can have their place in a good fishing pond.

Glossary - Terms you need to know in pond management.

Kayla Bateman caught this catfish on a private pond in Coosa County on May 25, 2009.

Ponds with largemouth bass and bluegill can be managed for large bluegill by releasing bass.

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