(see disclaimer)




By Mark_Wilson

If you are looking to do some productive fishing during the late spring, summer, and early fall months, then here is a suggestion…Go farm pond fishing! I don't mean for you to fish one of those private lakes that charge a few bucks for fishing access, I mean a farm or ranch pond. Farm pond fishing is usually local, within 40 miles or so from your home. It is a low cost way of fishing. You do not need a boat. All you need is your rod and reel, a small assortment of tackle, the transportation to get there, and permission from the landowner to fish. And, there is rarely heavy fishing pressure on a farm pond.

Farm pond fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill can be very rewarding during the early spring months through the early part of fall (February - October). Do you know someone who either owns or has access to a farm pond? If you do, and you have not gone fishing on a pond, you have been missing some great fishing.

Farm ponds are relatively small. They usually are around an acre to over forty acres in size, with an average pond going between 3 and 10 acres. They are used mostly for watering livestock. They are a shallow (up to 15-20 feet deep in the deepest part of the pond), weedy, warm body of water. Most of the farm ponds are stocked with the Northern strain of largemouth bass, but some of them contain the Florida strain largemouth, or a mixed strain of Northern and Florida largemouth. These bass average around 2 pounds, some are smaller, but they can grow as large as 12 to 15 pounds. In addition, many ponds have crappie and bluegill in them too.

The bass and other species of fish feed on smaller type minnows, pollywogs, frogs, toads, snails, grasshoppers, dragon flies, lizards, snakes, small birds, and other small living creatures.

After you have gained access to a farm pond it is time to go fishing. Keep in mind, it is not your property, and treat the pond and property owner with respect. Make sure you always have permission to be there, do not litter, keep the property clean (help pick up other debris), and do not create any damage to fences, roadways, etc. Do not bring any guns. Ask the property owner if it is ok to wade in the pond or to fish with live bait (you do not want to contaminate his pond). Do not take any fish, unless it is with the property owner's permission. Then, only keep what is needed for the table. And, remember the smaller keeper type bass (12" minimum size) taste better than the larger ones. Release the larger fish. They are the spawners and have the good genes to carry on the larger and healthier strain of fish.

So, let's get on to fishing a farm pond. Lure selection…If the water is fairly open you can use an assortment of top water (poppers, buzz baits, frogs, etc.), mid range (rattle traps, swimming worms, flukes, grubs, etc.), and bottom type lures (weighted worms, lizards and other plastic baits). You can tie the lures on direct or Texas and/or Carolina rig the baits (sometimes Carolina rigging is best because the weight settles in the weeds and the lure flutters above the weeds). If the water is weedy, you probably will have to fish weedless top water and mid range lures. Color is not that essential in farm pond fishing.

Farm pond fish can stand the warmer water. The fish cannot migrate very far because they are confined in their environment. I try to look for shaded areas, like under and beside weeds and tules. Even though the water may be warm, there is shade around the plant life and the fish can be in the very shallow water. Sometimes the fish are suspended over the deeper weed beds too. You just have to work around a pond


Page 1

to establish a pattern. Once you find the fish, they will be there on other visits to the pond.

Most of the time you can drive right up to the edge of the pond. Then you can work off of the tailgate or out of the trunk of the car. You can usually fish slowly around a pond in an hour or so. After you have completed the first round, you should know where most of the fish are holding in the pond.

Any standard bass equipment in casting or spinning will do. I prefer casting rods and reels. Rods are in the 6' to 7' range, capable of handling 12# - 20# test. Reels can be small, but capable of handling the 12# to 20# test line. I like the heavier 15# and 20# test lines because of the weed factor. Sometimes you need to reel in a two-pound fish and ten pounds of weeds. Sometimes wading is very productive because you can cast out further and cover more water. Wading can keep you cool also.

Most of the smaller fish such as bluegills and crappie may be caught on worms under bobbers. If the property owner will let you use minnows, they are very productive too.

Besides fishing there is a lot of wildlife to observe. I've seen ducks, geese, turkeys, hawks, and countless other species of birds. And, I have seen otters, beaver, coyote, raccoons, skunks, frogs, insects, and such. Also, in certain areas, I have seen snakes too.

I hope most of you readers get a chance sometime to fish a farm or ranch pond. It can be a lot of fun.


      Good Luck,     Mark Wilson

         Practice catch and release!



More Fishin' Articles

1. Mark's Tip on "Summer Sturgeon"

2. Farm Pond Fishing

Bait fishing for Fall/Winter Stripers
Fishing Knots

California Marine
    Sport Fish