The LSU AgCenter can help people with managing their ponds, Greg Lutz, an AgCenter aquaculture specialist, said at the AgCenter’s Red River Research Station, Shreveport, La.

“A well-designed and constructed pond is a major capital investment,” Lutz said.

Design considerations include whether the pond is for recreation, aesthetics, a reservoir for livestock, a source of food or even firefighting needs, Lutz said. And legal considerations include liability, obstruction or altering drainage on adjacent property and effects on wetlands.

“Work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to determine suitability of your site and make the best use of existing topography and drainage,” Lutz said.

The minimum average pond depth should be 4 feet, with no part less than 3 feet or “you’re going to have a lot of weed problems,” the LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist said.

Water more than 6 feet deep does not increase overall fish production, Lutz said. An artificial reef can help concentrate the fish, and tire reefs can be made inexpensively and provide low-density cover for a long period of time.

Heavily fished ponds should be fertilized, Lutz advised.

He recommends beginning a fertilization program in February or March and continuing until fall. Applications should be made every two weeks until the water begins to turn a light shade of green with growing plankton.

If the water doesn’t turn green after six weeks of fertilization, liming may be necessary, Lutz said.

“In just about any successful pond in Louisiana, you’re going to have bream,” Lutz concluded. “Bass have to have bream or something like that to eat.”

Catfish have a place in most of these ponds, he added. “Stock bream and catfish in autumn months.”

Avoid crappie, flathead or bullhead catfish, green sunfish, carp, buffalo and other rough fish. “All will eventually overpopulate and ruin fishing,” Lutz said.