A farm pond is an ideal spot for many forms of outdoor fun. Swimming, fishing, hunting, trapping, camping, and picnicking are but a few of the enjoyable outdoor pursuits which can take place at a pond.
Farm ponds contribute a significant portion to Iowa’s water resource. There are more than 100,000 ponds statewide with an additional being added yearly.
Iowa’s ponds reflect the fertility of its agricultural land. A pond in Iowa will support more fish than those located in most other states. Because of this high “carrying capacity” our ponds have the potential to provide outstanding fishing in both sizes and numbers of fish.
Life within a pond is a complex system with the various life forms dependent upon each other. Ponds contain minute single and multicellular plants called plankton. The microscopic plankton are eaten by crustaceans, insects, and tadpoles also living in the pond.
Small fish, crayfish and frogs feed on the crustaceans and insects and in turn are eaten by larger fish. Bluegills, although they may grow to nine inches, feed primarily on insects throughout their lives, while bass feed on insects only in their early stages. As bass get larger, they become the major predator in a pond consuming fish, crayfish, and frogs.
Each link in this web of life is critical for successive links to be present and survive. Human beings form the final link in the chain by actively seeking and consuming fish caught from the pond. How individuals go about managing the pond and its surroundings is the most important influence on that environment.