BY BRANDON BUTLER
Large Missouri bodies of water, like Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, the Missouri River and many more, offer incredible angling opportunities. They also often require somewhat of a steep learning curve and advanced equipment. If you are just looking to relax, catch some fish and put a few filets in the freezer, you might be better served to hit a local farm pond.
Farm ponds,which is just another name for private ponds, abound in Missouri. According to the Department of Conservation, there are over 350,000 of them scattered across the state. Many offer excellent fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish.
Depending on the size of the farm pond, an angler may use a small boat, canoe or kayak to effectively fish the water. Some anglers may even venture out in a float tube, using flippers to kick their way around. Even without a boat, most anglers can walk along the shoreline and fish. On ponds that are frequently fished there will often be a path surrounding the entire pond making it easy to get around. Casting maybe another issue since trees or brush will frequently grow next to the shoreline. Propping up a chair and sitting on the bank watching a bobber is about as relaxing as this world gets, in my book.
Farm ponds allow you to keep tactics pretty simple. It’s possible to catch about everything swimming in a farm pond with a nightcrawler or minnow, but artificial lures catch fish too. Some anglers just want to feel a tug on the end of their line, whiles others are after specific fish. Either way, it’s fun and rewarding.
It’s hard to match the excitement of having a largemouth bass viciously attack an artificial lure on top the surface. That’s probably the biggest draw to bass fishing for me. Topwater lures for bass fishing come in a variety of styles. Some are made to walk-the-dog while others to chug and spit. It doesn’t really matter since bass will strike either one. Walking the bank of a farm pond early at dawn or dusk, pitching a plug along a weedline is a recipe for topwater success.
Farm ponds are notorious for having aquatic plants growing in them. Some of these are desired grasses that assist in filtering the pond thus creating a stable environment. They also create a place where predators lurk and prey are found. Invasive grasses may also be growing or taking over a farm pond. These should be eradicated. Farm ponds abundant with grass are normally blessed with a population of frogs. For an angler fishing a farm grass-filed farm pond, use frog imitating lures. There are two types of frog imitating lures I like. One has a hollow body and the other a solid body. Jitterbugs are my favorite.
If you have your own farm pond, or if you have access to one, and would like to try and scientifically manage it for optimum fishing, it is not as hard as you might think. The MDC offers a wealth of information. Most of it is available on the website at www.mdc.mo.gov
See you down the trail…