Just about every farm, ranch or orchard on this watery planet has at least one pond or lake. Sometimes the pond is for storing irrigation water, to give livestock a drink – or it’s just there.
MANY ANGLERS DRIVE RIGHT PAST RURAL PONDS – AND MISS GOOD FISHING.
Just about all the ponds will have fish – and some very hot fishing,
Finding Private Ponds
The first step toward hot farm pond fishing is getting into the car with a map and driving around the countryside. It won’t take long to find ponds shimmering behind fences.
The fish in a private pond – mostly largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie in most of the United States – often go for months without seeing a fishhook or angler.
Ranch ponds in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain states often hide trout that are much bigger than the fish in the famous river a few miles down the road.
Once a pond is found, it’s time to find the owner of the land and make a visit.
It’s a good idea to get a telephone number and call ahead, but dropping by for a talk is sometimes the only way to make contact.
Making A Farm Pond Connection
Anglers are always a little nervous walking up to a ranch house or barn. Here are a few tips to make a connection with the landowner:
- Always close all gates.
- Shake hands, ask how the landower is doing – and, after a while, bring up that pretty pond in the nearby pasture.
- Ask for permission to fish the pond. Anglers should assure the landowner that all rules will be followed.
- If the landowner says yes – and they often do – anglers should ask if he or she wants a few fish for dinner.
- Anglers shouldn’t complain if the landowner wants anglers to release all fish caught – or charges a small fee.
Keeping a Farm Pond Connection – and Making a Friend
Anglers should promptly close all gates while on the farm or ranch. Nothing angers a landowner more than seeing cattle or sheep in the wrong place – or loping away down the road.
It’s tempting to start fishing right away, but experienced pond hounds hike around the pond, scan the water for fish and fishy spots – and pick up any trash they find.
Dropping by and saying goodbye – and thanks – to the landowner is always appreciated. Offering the landowner that six-pack of beer in the cooler is also a good idea.
Smart, polite anglers don’t pound the pond every week. They should visit every now and then – and always invite the landowner to come fishing. Don’t bring in live minnows for bait, these critters can overpopulate the pond if they escape.
A gift certificate to a nice restaurant is a good holiday gift for any rancher or farmer.
Catching Some Fish
Many farm ponds are small enough to fish from the bank. Anglers use small canoes, prams or float tubes that can be launched from the bank to fish bigger ponds.
Most farm pond fish rarely see a lure, but they can be spooky. Savvy farm-pond anglers use light tackle, smaller lures and keep splashing to a minimum.
Most of the fish will lurk along the shoreline in a smaller pond. Creeping along the bank, casting parallel to the shoreline and retrieving the lure or fly is a good strategy.
Don’t pass up casts to weedbeds, rocky areas and places where shallow water meets deeper water.
Early and late in the day are usually the best times to fish.
Don’t Forget the Camera
Having a camera along is a good idea. Many world-record fish have been caught in farm ponds.
Landowners often like to see shots of the big fish they’ve been raising for the past few years. And, in the end, friendships made with landowners often become more important than the fishing.