Farm Pond Fishin’

Exploring Kansas Outdoors


While driving the countryside lately, I’ve noticed that despite the ever-encroaching drought, some of the really nice farm ponds around still hold lots of water. Good farm ponds built in the correct place are hard to beat, and farm-pond fishing is often good. This brought to mind a farm-pond fishing adventure Joyce and I had a few years back about this time of year at a local pond.

With rods, bait and tackle boxes in hand we clamored down the side of the grassy overgrown dam and onto a roughly built but sturdy dock that put us ten feet out from the bank and four feet above the water. Hooks were baited and cast into the water before us, which rippled slightly with the breeze. That breeze, along with copious amounts of nasty spray, kept the ravenous mosquitoes at bay. The sun slid slowly behind nearby trees, leaving its beams to dance upon the rippling water and offering reprieve from the heat as it ushered in the cool evening. Barn swallows by the dozens strafed the pond, either scooping insects from the surface, or snagging them on the wing in mid-air. The deep “harumm” of granddaddy bullfrogs echoed back and forth from behind tufts of cattails. One line was baited with liver and fished on the bottom, while the other rig held a feisty Canadian night crawler suspended beneath a bobber. After twenty minutes with no action, I climbed the steep grassy bank to the truck to retrieve our ever-present cameras. As my back was turned to open the truck door, Joyce called to me “Did you bring the net?” I pondered why she would ask that question when we were fishing in a small farm pond, but when I spun around and saw the pole in her hands bent toward the water like a divining rod, the reason for her question became obvious. I scrambled back down the bank as she hoisted a dandy three pound channel cat up onto the dock…Welcome to the sport of farm pond fishing!

The agricultural land of central Kansas is dotted with small farm ponds, many out of sight along field drives or in the middle of pastures, and despite the beastly dry summer here, late spring rains have left many farm ponds in our neck of the woods with good water in them. The only down side I can see to fishing farm ponds is the lack of the large variety of fish species found in most Kansas reservoirs. Typically, farm ponds contain largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegills and possibly bullheads. Most ponds are on privately owned property, meaning permission to fish there is required. Once permission is granted however, you will often have the whole place to yourself every time you’re there, because fishing pressure on these ponds is often nil. A boat is not usually needed, although a canoe, or one of the popular small two-person crafts can come in handy to get you out past any weeds or moss growing along the bank. The dock from which we fished was the perfect length to get us out beyond the cattails. Farm ponds are always fed either by springs or by run-off water, and since most of them are situated in pastures or otherwise grassy surroundings, the water in them is often well-filtered before reaching the pond, making them very clean.

So, if you’re used to big-lake fishing for walleye, crappie, white bass or stripers, if you love the drone of a big outboard motor as it pushes your big boat across a big lake, and if the presence of dozens of other fishermen all around you are an important part of your fishing experience, farm pond fishing may not be your gig. If, however you can be happy catching bluegills, channel catfish and largemouth bass from the bank or from a small boat and never see another human being in the process, farm pond fishing may be for you. Sign me up for choice number two! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!

Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]


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