LIMING & FERTILIZATION
Maintaining a healthy pond often requires specialized treatment with lime or fertilizer.
At Lochow Ranch, we’re experts in liming and fertilization applications with more than 50 years combined experience and a strong commitment to maintaining and improving lakes and ponds in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
We understand that your lake or pond is an important part of your property, and we treat it with the respect and care it deserves. We know it’s an important part of your property’s healthy ecosystem.
We highly recommend that you fertilize your lake, especially if you are serious about growing trophy Largemouth Bass. If you are regularly feeding catfish in a pond, excessive nutrients are generated from the catfish wastes and uneaten food, and this provides enough fertilization for the pond. In this case, fertilization is not needed. Fertilization promotes the growth of phytoplankton which are the foundation of aquatic ecosystems. Phytoplankton serve as a food source for filter feeding fish such as Threadfin Shad and fish fry.
This is NOT as easy as it sounds and most lake and pond owners are not successful with this fisheries management practice on their own.
Every waterbody, big or small, must have nutrients. Such substances will help boost the number of plankton in the pond or lake. These tiny organisms both will stimulate the entire food chain (by feeding the water critters that feed the small fish that feed the big fish) and shut out sunlight so that aquatic weeds don't take over the pond bottom.
Fertilizing your pond limits light penetration. It stimulates the growth of phytoplankton, which intercept the light rays. Fertilizing has the added advantage of enhancing fish growth. The microscopic algae provide food for many invertebrates, which are eaten in turn by fish. Timing is important, however. Added nutrients can stimulate growth in undesirable plants if the water is allowed to clear, or if plants have grown close to the surface before fertilizer is applied. Therefore, fertilizing should be viewed as an ongoing process.
Just as you would fertilize fields to increase crop yields, you should fertilize a pond to provide phytoplankton with adequate nutrients for growth. Proper fertilization increases food availability throughout the food chain and indirectly increases the total amount of fish a pond can support. Ponds should be limed before fertilizer is applied. Liming is important because it increases pH and alkalinity. Even without fertilization, this may improve available nutrients which can support a phytoplankton bloom.
Fertilization will not stimulate a desirable phytoplankton bloom if alkalinity is below 20 ppm. Our Biologist will collect a water sample for analysis to determine the proper action to take to make waterbody reproductive. If alkalinity and pH are low, the addition of powdered, agricultural limestone (Ag Lime) should raise pH and alkalinity. The amount of lime needed depends on chemical characteristics of bottom sediments and water chemistry.
Contact Lochow Ranch Lake Management to determine the best method of applying lime. Lime must be spread evenly over the entire pond so it can react with the bottom mud. Because limestone dissolves slowly and is washed out of the pond with overflow water, it is not uncommon to repeat treatments every 3 to 5 years.
Pond Management Feed
Providing a high quality feed for your lake is an easy way of speeding up the maturity of your fishery. Supplemental fish feed increases the health and growth of your fish population. Largemouth Bass, that haven’t been feed trained, do not feed on artificial feeds but do benefit from the increase in small sunfish which they eat. If one decides to offer supplemental feed, offer the feed in the same area and at the same time each day. Do not overfeed fish. A good general rule is to supply what the fish will eat in 10 to 15 minutes. Fish are cold blooded, so they don’t have to eat all the time like we do. It is common for fish to only eat in the warm months, 55 degrees Fahrenheit and up for the most part unless you decide to stock rainbow trout. Winter feeding is not required but will improve bluegill growth and reproduction. If feeding is continued during the winter months, make sure the fish are indeed cleaning it up. Un-eaten feed can result in rapid ammonia spikes which is highly toxic to all fish species.
For bass, Bluegill are the number one forage fish. Stocking new forage species is not always the solution. You may need to enhance the bluegill you have with a feeding program for them. No other forage fish comes close to performing as good as the bluegill for bass. Some fish species such as crappie compete for the same natural foods as bass and can reduce the overall forage base instead of increasing it. Bluegill achieve a size allowing them long term survival and long term food source for trophy bass.
Let the certified professionals at Lochow Ranch provide you with a detailed on-site assessment of your pond’s condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Results of a standard water quality analysis, specifically the alkalinity and hardness values, are used to determine if lime is needed to correct imbalances in water quality.
Fertilizing helps increase the primary productivity and thus the productivity of the entire fishery.
Depending on precipitation and geographic location lime needs to be added every 1-3 years.