While it’s not as epic as deepwater angling for marlin, not as challenging as searching for trophy muskie, and not as stunningly beautiful as fishing the Florida Keys, there’s something special about pond fishing.
It’s a classic American activity. Find a hidden farm pond on a midwestern gravel road and you start to feel like a bit like Tom Sawyer. They may not be the biggest bodies of water in your area, but ponds offer a surprisingly high level of activity and some shockingly big fish.
When you go pond fishing, make sure you are prepared by keeping these simple tips in mind.
ALWAYS TALK WITH PROPERTY OWNERS AND RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY
First and foremost, you should always talk with property owners before fishing on a private pond. While many ponds are located in public areas, the vast majority are located on private property.
Most property owners are happy to see someone enjoying their pond, so knock on the door and politely ask if you could cast a line in their waters. If you’re gracious and respectful, there’s little chance they’ll say no.
RESEARCH THE POND BEFORE FISHING
One of the best ways to get information on the pond’s fish is to ask the property owner. Once you have their permission, ask them about the species in the pond, good places to cast, successful techniques, and general depth levels. If the pond is on a public park, the local conservation department may have fishing information on their website.
This knowledge will help you have more success while you’re pond fishing.
FISH NEAR THE TRIBUTARY
Most ponds are essentially dammed-up streams, so there will be a tributary that brings in plants, worms, and other food that fish like to eat. If you are going after catfish, casting near these tributaries is one of the most effective techniques, as they will often wait by the pond’s tributary for food to come to them.
TARGET DEEPER AREAS IN SUMMER
A farm pond can be surprisingly deep for such a small body of water, and casting into these deep areas is a great way to target bigger fish. During the summer, the deeper water will be cooler, and many fish, including largemouth bass, may be hiding in the depths. The pond may not have much for cover, so the deep spots will be the only place for fish to hide from the sun.
CIRCLE THE POND ALL THE WAY AROUND
The beauty of ponds is that the fish are always nearby. Unlike massive lakes, where fish have thousands of acres to roam, a pond keeps them in a concentrated area. If you’re not catching them from the spot you’re at, start circling the pond, casting as you go. It’s only a matter of time until the hungry catfish, bass, crappies, or bluegill start hammering your line.