Fishponds On Farms: Removing Fish from Ponds
Fishponds On Farms: Removing Fish from Ponds In removing fish from a pond at any time the same care should be exercised as in handling stock, due precaution being taken to reserve the best specimens for breeders, and to retain a sufficient number for future reproduction.
Their number and size must be left to the judgment of the proprietor of the pond, as it will vary greatly with the character of the water, size of the pond, climatic conditions, and geographical location.
In southern latitudes pond fishes commence nest building in March, while farther north, in Iowa and Illinois, reproduction does not occur until May or June. Young fish recently hatched are very tender and should not be molested for at least 30 days.
Care should be taken in removing adult fish from a pond, especially during the spring and summer months. In making the selection the larger fish should be preferred to the medium-sized ones, as the larger specimens are very destructive to the smaller fish. They are not as prolific as those of average weight and have usually attained their size through cannibalism.
If a few fish for table use are desired, and one has the time, they can best be taken with hook and line. A fyke net might be used under certain conditions, or a few may be taken in a trap constructed of light wooden framing, covered with netting or galvanized wire cloth of about 1-inch-square mesh.
The trap should have a cone-shaped entrance for the fish, and the interior should contain a few minnows in a wire cage which are used as bait.
Where many fish are to be removed from a pond a seine should be empowered. To use it to the greatest advantage about one-third of the water should be drawn off; this will cause the adult fish to congregate in the deeper waters, where they may be more readily secured.
The water should be drawn off slowly to give the small fish a chance to follow it down.
Before drawing the pond, the vegetation should be removed from the lower portion of the pond where the seine is to be hauled. It may either be clit or raked out with a long-handled garden rake from the bank.
Wading in the pond is to be avoided, as it makes the water roily and leaves deep holes in the bottom, in which the young fish are apt to be caught.
In lowering the water, vegetation of a rank and dense growth is very apt to settle down and smother the young fish. It should be moved as soon as observed, but cat’s-tail and other plants having stems of sufficient strength to support them in an upright position need not be removed, unless this is necessary in order to haul the seine.
In many instances it might not be necessary to draw off the water if the vegetation was removed from a portion of the pond and the fish fed regularly in the cleared space, for, with care, a seine could be passed around them and an enormous number secured.
It is inadvisable to draw a pond during the warm summer months unless one has the supply of water available to refill it at once. Better results are attained by drawing off the water in the cool fall months, but even then, one should be sure of being able to refill the pond before freezing weather.
For this reason, it is believed that seining with a large net in the clearing where the fish have been accustomed to feeding would give the best results.
‘When the proper amount of water has been drawn off the seine should be laid out from a boat and hauled toward the bank at the deeper end of the pond. In case the deepest place is near the middle of the pond, it will be necessary to work the seine around the fish and haul it toward the nearest bank.
Should more fish be removed from the pond than are desired for immediate use, the surplus can be placed in a floating live box anchored near the outlet or where the water is deep. This box may be made of wooden slats placed far enough apart to permit the free circulation of water and yet retain the fish. The slats should be nailed to a small frame of 2 by 2-inch material, forming a box 16 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet deep, and provided with a hinged cover.
If preferred, a small enclosure in the pond fenced with galvanized wire might be provided for holding surplus fish, removing them when required with a large hand dipping net or a small seine.
The advantage of the enclosure over the live box is that it will not crowd the fish, and they are thus held under more natural conditions.
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