For technical assistance in pond construction, contact your county's U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office.
How to Create a Catfish Pond. A catfish pond can provide outdoor recreation as well as a steady supply of fresh fish for eating. A catfish pond that is kept at low to moderate stocking and feeding levels can be managed with little effort. Read on to learn more.
Prepare the pond. You can build a new pond or convert an existing one. It must have an adequate water source, and an emergency spillway or standpipe drain. Catfish may not do well in ponds surrounded by too many livestock, cultivated fields and industrial facilities that release contaminants into the watershed. Wells and surface water from creeks or other ponds also may be used as a water source.
Control other fish species. Catfish thrive best alone, and other fish species increase the risk of disease. Use an approved fish pesticide to get rid of unwanted fish.
Fertilize the pond if necessary. Fertilizer should be applied based on the water's clarity. Perform water tests to check water quality.
Prevent and control aquatic weeds. Build the pond so that banks have a steep slope, then fertilize it and stock with triploid grass carp to control weeds.
Have a soil sample analyzed to determine whether you need to add lime, and if so, how much is needed.
Stock the pond during cool temperatures at 100 to 150 catfish per acre.
Feed the catfish insects, small fish, decaying organic matter and plant material, and commercially formulated pellet feeds.
Control spawning by adding a few bass to eliminate fingerling catfish. Spawning can result in crowding and disease problems.
Monitor water quality and check fish for disease frequently. Look for changes in water color and feeding behavior, erratic swimming, and fish lying in shallow water or at the surface. Check fish for sores and unusual scale conditions. If you see problems, take a water sample and a few symptomatic fish to a fish disease diagnostician.