Farm ponds are hard to beat for good fishing. A haven for family

outings, they are often the site of a child's first catch. Farm ponds get

far less fishing pressure than public reservoirs, making them quiet places

to cast a line. The best farm ponds can even produce trophy bluegill,

channel catfish, largemouth bass and redear sunfish.

One way to improve the fishing in your farm pond is to add structure,

also known as fish attractors. Structure provides cover and feeding areas

for fish.

"Fish instinctively like to associate with something for protection,"

said Kerry Prather, central fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky

Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "These things naturally

occur­fallen trees, rocks, dirt banks to some extent, a cavity­something

they can hide in or around."

You can help nature along by adding additional structure to your farm

pond. If you are in the process of building a pond, leave some trees, stumps

or rock piles to create natural hiding places for fish. For existing ponds,

structure can be added using natural or artificial objects.

"You can emulate storm damage with fallen trees placed in the pond, as

if the tree were growing on the bank and fell in," said Prather. He

recommends angling the trees instead of pointing them directly out to the

deep part of the pond. Deeper areas receive less oxygen in the summer and

aren't the most effective places to add structure. Instead, place trees from

the water line out to a depth of about 6 feet. Use larger trees or small

trees bundled together into brush piles.

"Hardwood is best, because it lasts longer and has more surface area,"

said Prather. "Cedar is okay if it's all you have, but it takes a lot more

of them to make a brush pile."

Logs, concrete, tile and even artificial reefs create good structure.

"We recommend people avoid the use of tires, because they leech and break

down," said Prather. "Plus, they don't have as much surface area."

Anchor trees and brush piles by tying concrete blocks or other heavy

objects to them. If possible, place structure where you can see the tops of

the objects so you will know their location. You may notice algae and other

aquatic plants growing on the fish attractors. This is beneficial to fish.

"Invertebrates and algae will live and grow on fish attractors," said

Prather. "The longer the algae grows, the more attractive it is to

invertebrates. This is good for small fish. Too many people like to keep

their ponds clean. Natural vegetation provides great fish cover."

Structure also provides anglers with good places to fish. "It

concentrates the fish for the angler," said Prather. "It attracts bigger

fish to feed on smaller fish hiding in the fish attractors."

For more information about adding structure and managing your farm pond,

read Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's booklet, "A Management Guide for Ponds and

Small Lakes in Kentucky." The booklet is available through the department's

website at fw.ky.gov. Click on "Fishing," then "Farm Pond Management." The

booklet is also available by calling the department at 1-800-858-1549.

Author Hayley Lynch is an award-winning writer for Kentucky Afield

magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and

Wildlife Resources. She is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter.

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