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An Iowa pond is the perfect spot for many fun outdoor activities, such as swimming, fishing, hunting, trapping, camping and picnicking. Many Iowans’ first fishing experience was at one of our 110,000 ponds. Anglers enjoy 1.6 million fishing trips each year to Iowa ponds with a local economic impact estimated at $7.5 million.
Iowa's ponds reflect the fertility of its agricultural land. A pond in Iowa will support more fish than ponds in most other states. This high fertility provides excellent fishing opportunities, but can also create vegetation issues in ponds. A pond plant identification guide can help you identify the plants growing in your pond so you can correctly manage them. Find more information on the aquatic plants in ponds webpage or download the printable stocking and managing Iowa ponds handout.
Life in a pond is a complex system with the many life forms dependent on each other. Small single and multicellular plants called plankton live in ponds. These microscopic plankton are eaten by animal plankton as well as some crustaceans, insects and tadpoles living in the pond. Small fish, crayfish and frogs eat the animal plankton, crustaceans and insects and are then eaten by larger fish. Bluegills, although they may grow to nine inches and over, eat mostly animal plankton and insects throughout their lives, while bass eat plankton and insects only during their early stages. As bass get larger, they become the major predator in a pond eating fish, crayfish and frogs. Each link in this web of life is needed to survive. Man, actively looking for and eating fish caught from the pond, forms the final link in the chain. Proper management of the pond and its surroundings is important to keep the pond healthy.
If you need help to diagnose problems or evaluate your pond for stocking, contact your local DNR fisheries management biologist.
Tips for stocking a farm pond are available on the pond stocking webpage.