Upcoming pond workshop offer keys to fishing success
By Dr. J. Wesley Neal
MSU Extension Service
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who want to improve an existing pond or build a new one can find guidance in upcoming educational workshops.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks have teamed up to offer at least seven pond management workshops this year. The short sessions will be held throughout Mississippi, so chances are good there will be one near you.
Each workshop will cover a wealth of information on pond management. Experienced fisheries biologists will present the basics of pond design and construction, species selection and stocking, and fish management and harvest. They may discuss other common pond issues, including weed management, feeding fish, need for agricultural limestone and the benefits and risks of fertilization. With something for every pond enthusiast, presentations will last about 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time for additional questions.
Landowners can bring photos or samples for analysis of any problems in their ponds, like an uncontrollable weed or a strange new creature that recently appeared. An aquatic plant can be carried in a bucket of water or wrapped in a damp paper towel. Fresh weeds are much easier to identify than plants held for many days with advanced stages of decay.
Hopefully, the presenters can identify problems and make recommendations on the spot. If not, they will attempt to find resources to help determine effective solutions later.
Best of all, these workshops are completely free to the public, and everyone is welcome. You can look for the nearest workshop by going online to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks home page at http://www.mdwfp.com. On the menu at the top, click on “Fishing & Boating” and then select “Pond Assistance” from the drop-down menu. A list of planned workshops will be posted, along with many helpful publications on pond management.
While on the site, download a copy of the publication, “Managing Mississippi Ponds and Small Lakes: A Landowner’s Guide.” It is full of information on how to build, stock and fish ponds to achieve personalized management objectives.
We are currently planning workshops in Yazoo, Lauderdale, Tunica, Montgomery, Washington, Forrest and Marion counties. To attend any of these workshops, please preregister with the Extension office in the county where the workshop is located. Preregistration is not required to attend, but it helps the organizers plan for the event. Encourage friends, neighbors and fellow pond enthusiasts to participate as well. We hope to see you there.