Raising fish – Great recreation & a great survival resource.
In another discussion I mentioned I feed catfish, and I was asked to provide more info.
My farmstead did not have a pond when I bought it, so in the spring of 2013 I decided to put one in. I love fishing… even in small farm ponds. But as a prepper, I realized even a small, one acre pond could contain thousands of pounds of fresh meat that could be sustained indefinitely due to natural reproduction, as long as I fed the fish. Feeding them accomplishes two things. First it allows for a much larger population of fish than a normal pond could sustain naturally. Second, grain fed catfish are far superior to natural fish. The flesh is pure white, firm & has no fishy flavor.
My problem was, I didn’t have a ravine or gully that would allow me to simply, and cheaply, put across a dam. My only choice was to dig out the whole pond in a corner of my bottom pasture, where rain runoff naturally flowed. Then that created a new issue… what to do with all that dirt. Being an avid shooter, I had them build a large berm next to the pond, where I could set up targets. Then the rest of the dirt was spread out across the pasture in a way where any rain runoff funneled to the middle of the pasture & then would flow into the pond. Here are some pics & a rather poor video showing the construction.
In the following pic, notice the trees that were knocked down & stacked in the pond. Also note where the trackhoe dug a bunch of holes and mounded that dirt. That is all structure to provide different habitats underwater & to provide safe areas for fish to hide. Also the pond is dug with different elevations where in spots it is pretty deep & then tapers to a water depth of 2 feet.
Below is the shooting berm.
Added a small dock a bit later.
At our local farm supply, you can order fish from a company that comes a few times each summer. They put the fish in clear bags and then you rush them to your pond. The next spring, 2014, I brought in channel catfish, hybrid bream & fathead minnows.
I then added an aeration system using Vertex bubblers to improve water quality. I put in two of the dual units pictured below. They sit on the bottom of the pond & put out millions of micro bubbles. This adds oxygen directly to the bottom of the pond & keeps the water circulating throughout the whole pond. I put a small compressor in the tack room of the horse brn & ran the pvc piper out to the edge of the pond.
This pic was taken in July 2016. These fish are two years old.