Should I Stock Catfish in My Pond?

By Ethan Stokes
Small catfish held in hand

When you think of pond species, bass, bluegill, and catfish are often the first species that come to mind. It is easy to understand why bass and bluegill are popular species for pond stockings.  Bass (black bass) are the most popular sport fish in the United States and bluegill are often the primary forage for bass across the country.  Catfish on the other hand, often have more questions surrounding why they may be good for your lake or pond.  In our experience, the question of whether or not to stock catfish is one the most popular questions we get throughout the year.  Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider stocking catfish.

Environmental Tolerance

Catfish are very suitable for a wide variety of pond settings as they are very tolerant to less than ideal environmental conditions.  This makes them suitable for shallow ponds, cattle tanks, and other bodies of water that may not be conducive to other species.  Catfish can survive in low dissolved oxygen concentrations (< 3.0 ppm) while other species experience significant environmental stress when dissolved oxygen concentrations fall equal to or less than 5.0 ppm.  

muddy pond

Table Fare


Catfish are one of the most popular food fish in the country for good reason. They have excellent taste and are large enough to provide decent size filet per fish.  The idea of being able to go out to your pond and catch a sufficient dinner is very desirable for many pond owners.

 As catfish do not regularly reproduce in pond settings (lack of cavities) these fisheries are often referred to as “put and take” fisheries and will require periodical restocking to replenish the fish harvested.  


kids holding catfish stringer

Fishing Fun! 

Another common reason catfish get stocked into ponds is to increase species diversity and offer additional angling opportunities.  Catfish are an additional predator that can be regularly caught on a variety of methods including rod and reel, trot line and jug lines. Catching a variety of species and exploring different fishing methods are great ways to keep kids interested in the outdoors and add a little extra excitement to any fishing day.






Size and Feeding

Lastly, catfish grow very well on pellet feed.  Catfish are easily feed trained and can put on 2lbs a year when exposed to a consistent feeding regime.  With growth rates like that, it takes very little time to grow a large fish.  Hooking into a large powerful catfish is always an enjoyable challenge for anglers of all ages.  For others, the satisfaction of feeding fish by hand or watching them by the feeder is enjoyable enough to warrant the stocking.  

catfish feeding on pelleted food

There are many reasons why catfish are stocked in ponds across the country.  If you think you would like to get some catfish stocked in your pond as well, feel free to contact us for proper stocking rates and availability.  

We'll see ya'll Down at the Pond!

Tags: Down at the Pond, Fish and Fishing, Pond Management

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