Ponds with Existing Fish Populations
This section outlines management schemes for several situations with existing fish populations.
A. Abundant Trash Fish
The presence of certain undesirable species (carp, bullhead, etc.) may be best corrected by using the fish toxin rotenone, or by draining the pond and restocking it according to the recommendations listed above. Consult your local ODWC fisheries biologist for advice if you feel this is your pond situation. It is illegal for an individual to apply rotenone to water bodies in Oklahoma without having an aquatic applicator’s license. Rotenone can only be purchased by a person having this license. You can reduce the amount (and expense) of rotenone required by first lowering the water level of the pond by pumping, siphoning or otherwise draining off some water.
B. Overcrowded Bass
In this case, the spring harvest of approximately 50 to 100 bass less than 12 inches in length per acre is recommended. Body condition of the remaining bass should be monitored through the following fall. If bass body condition appears to be improving, follow harvest suggestions under New or Reclaimed Ponds, page 12. If their condition remains poor, harvest an additional 50 bass per acre the following spring and continue to monitor growth and body condition. In most cases, the overcrowded bass population is the simplest situation to correct.
C. Overcrowded Bluegill
This is a common pond management problem in Oklahoma. Typically it begins with the overharvest of bass, thus reducing predation on bluegill and resulting in bluegill overcrowding. Below are two management options for correcting this problem.
Drain or use rotenone, then restock at rates described previously. This strategy can be relatively inexpensive and provides the opportunity to initiate desired management strategies immediately following restocking. On the negative side, angling opportunities will be minimal for two to three years until fish reach catchable size.
Stock 50, 10- to 12-inch bass per acre. This option provides an effective means of controlling an overcrowded sunfish population, but availability and/or cost of these bass may make this option less attractive. If you choose this option, once the desired control is achieved, you should begin to see numerous bluegill over six inches in length. Do not harvest any bass for three years or until a balanced bluegill population is achieved. Thereafter, follow harvest strategies for New or Reclaimed Ponds,