Should I Stock Catfish in My Pond?

By Ethan Stokes
Small catfish held in hand

When most private pond owners think of pond fish 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 fish 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.

The Big Question - Should You Stock Your Pond with Catfish?

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.

Catfish have High 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.  

How Do Catfish Survive Where Other Fish Species Cannot?

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

Catfish are Great 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.

A Small Pond Will Likely Require Catfish Restocking After a Harvest 

As catfish do not regularly reproduce in pond settings due to less than desirable spawning habitat. Catfish like holes and underwater burrows to “nest.” Small farm ponds usually lack these cavities, thus stunting a catfish spawn.

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

Catfish = 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.

Managing Catfish Size and Feeding Habits is Easy Compared to other Fish Species

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

Contact Pond King for Catfish Stocking and Pond Management

There are many reasons why catfish are stocked in ponds and lakes across the country, but it’s easy to see why private pond owners enjoy catfish in their ponds. Give Pond King a call or contact our team for help with catfish stocking questions  and our fisheries biologists will provide you proper stocking rates for your pond 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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