How to Fish Ponds

Learn how to fish ponds and other small bodies of waters and you may find the fish of a lifetime is just a cast away.

Pond Bass
Pond Bass

Most people pass by some of the best fishing waters every day, and never give them a second thought. I have learned over the years to stop and try a few casts, the rewards can be well worth the effort. On the days when I don’t feel like loading the boat, and hauling it several miles to the lake, small waters can be a convenient and productive way to fish. fishing small waters can be just like fishing any other body of water, but there are a few things to keep in mind.


Any time the water is gin clear, fishing can become a little more challenging. Water in smaller bodies of water is not affected by current or boat traffic, as a result it can be crystal clear. When the water is this clear the fish can see anything moving on the bank, and become very spooky.

Here are a few ways to over-come spooking fish.

  • wear clothes that blend in, camo works well
  • watch your shadow, never let it fall on the fish you are trying to catch
  • A quiet approach is always best sound travels a long way through water

Use a stealth approach and blend in and you will do well.

Matching the hatch

A pond is a more confined area, and this can restrict the food choices for the fish. As a result the fish in a pond can become very selective in their feeding habits, and an offering that doesn’t match what they are accustomed to feeding on ,can be completely ignored. As a general rule the smaller panfish will be feeding on any insects that can be found around the pond, and the larger fish will be feeding on smaller fish.

My grand-daughter picked up on this and often points it out to me. We used to stop at a bait shop and buy crickets and worms. Now she tells me to save my money. One day she proudly pointed out to me that the crickets we buy are brown, and the ones she catches at the pond are black. The brown ones will not catch the larger bream she prefers to catch, so she prefers to catch her own crickets and grasshoppers.

In South Carolina where I now live, it is legal to catch small bream and shell-crackers, and use them for bait. In ponds and smaller waters it’s a fact that the large trophy size fish eat the smaller fish. Floating a small bait-fish, minnow or shiner will catch trophys that refuse to feed on anything else. A live cray-fish or craw-dad deadlined on the bottom, using a slip sinker rig is a favorite way to catch bass.

Artificial lures for ponds

When considering what lures to use, I always keep one thing in mind: MATCH THE HATCH. You want your lure to imitate, as closely as possible, what the fish are feeding on. One of my all time favorite lures for matching small bluegill is a spinnerbait.

I prefer a tandem spinner bait that has a Colorado blade on the inside, and a willow leaf blade on the back. I prefer the willow blade to be brass and the inside blade be nickle silver. For skirt color I like black and blue, or blue and yellow round rubber. Even in super clear water this combination will get vicious strikes.

Don,t overlook soft plastic baits. A Texas rigged worm or lizzard, either fished with a slip sinker or as a floating rig are deadly on pond bass. In clear water I use colors that are translucent like watermellon seed or green pumpkin seed. If the water is murky or in low light condition I prefer something with more contrast like junebug or red shad.

Small ponds can be a spectacular fishery for panfish like crappie, bream, bluegill, and shellcrackers. For panfish it’s hard to beat a 1 to 2 inch tube bait, fished on a 1/16 ounce lead jighead. My choices for colors would be chartreuse with silver flake and white, both fished with a red jighead. These jigs can be difficult to cast so try adding a weighted float about 12 inches above the jig. Sometimes the waves moving the float will provide all the action needed to catch fish, if not try moving it with short twitches.

A Few Things to Remember

  • Always get permission from land owners
  • leave the area cleaner than you found it
  • Respect the owners fences, roads, fields, ,and animals
  • Respect any rules the owner may have for the pond
  • Never take more fish than you need to eat.

Respect the owner and his property and you may get invited back to fish again.

As always feel free to leave comments, your favorite tips or fish recipe, or fish pictures. Good fishing



4 thoughts on “How to Fish Ponds

  1. I’m a city girl. I moved out to the country with my family when I was 7. Some of our neighbors taught us how to catch crawdads in the creek by our house. They’d go fishing with them.

    Catching crawdads was fun – when I could hide it from my mother. She had this thing about us getting diseases and dirty in the creek, blah, blah blah.

    Anyway, this article reminded me of that.

    Sounds like your granddaughter is a pretty smart cookie. :)

    1. Thanks Kinya. some of the most fun I have had doing this website,is reading comments like this. It’s amazing how when you start talking about fishing and the outdoors, how many good memories it sparks in people.Feel free to comment and share, anytime. that makes it all worth it to me.

  2. It’s been along time since I fished in a pond, not since I was a kid. Most of the fishing I’ve done (not much) has been in the sea and that’s a while ago too. Found this article an interesting read and your grand daughter telling you how it’s done is obviously learning fast from the expert!

    1. Thanks Neil. To be truthful my grandchildren out fish me on a regular basis. Watching them catch fish means I have passed something on. One thing I have learned from them is a piece of advice I will pass on to you. Get out there and fish as often as you can, make some more memories.

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