Bass are known to live in vegetated lakes, swamps, and even rivers at around 6- 12 feet deep and as far as 20 feet during summer. But you’ll probably spot a few near the water surface. So, why do they like staying near the water surface, and can bass live in a shallow pond?
The answer is yes; bass can live in shallow ponds, as they provide them with an ideal warm climate and have sufficient vegetation for food. Since bass prefer warm temperatures, a depth of 6-12 feet would be ideal.
In this article, you’ll get to learn more about what conditions make shallow ponds suitable for bass and how it affects their growth, population, and fishing in general.
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So, Deep vs. Shallow Ponds: What Do Bass Prefer and Why?
Contrary to most people’s assumptions, bass prefer living in shallow water. Under normal weather conditions, you find them below 8 feet, and it’s only until summer when they go a bit deeper to hide from the scorching sun.
It’s, therefore, safe to assume that bass prefer shallow ponds over deep ones, but why? Here are the top 3 reasons why bass love shallow ponds.
Due to their size and water volumes, shallow ponds tend to warm faster in most seasons.
At the same time, the wind does not stir up the water in shallow ponds as it happens in other large water bodies. Because of this, they get to stay warm for longer periods, even when others are losing heat.
Since fish are cold-blooded, they’ll prefer staying in a warmer environment as it makes them more active; warm temperatures give their metabolism a boost.
Dark Bottoms and Sediments
Unlike in lakes where the bass are frequently disturbed by waves leaving them stranded in new habitats, they enjoy operating freely in dark bottoms and sediments often found in shallow ponds.
Obviously, shallow ponds won’t experience waves, making this an ideal environment for them.
The Vegetation in Ponds
Shallow ponds have plants growing beneath them. You can find common pond plants such as water fern and butterbur. This type of vegetation, in most cases, acts as food to bass, while deep roots can also act as hideouts to bass when in danger.
How Shallow of a Pond Can Bass Survive In?
For most fish species, they require depths of between 4- 21 feet, and for the bass, you might require a pond that’s at least 20 feet.
During winter, the bass will need deep waters and enough vegetation cover to shield them from the cold.
What Bass Need to Survive in Shallow Ponds
Just like you and I need food, shelter, and clothing, bass also have their needs, and these should be met in their natural habitats, which is in the water, of course.
So, what do they really need while in the water? The best bass habitat should have a water temperature of around 84 degrees with an abundance of vegetation that provides bass with food and cover. Here are some of the reasons why bass survives in shallow ponds.
Typical for most ponds, shallow ponds do have vegetation cover to provide food for marine life, which in most cases bass use as a hiding spot from predators and striking spot for prey.
When temperatures are extremely high, or maybe when the sun is too hot for them to handle, the vegetation cover provides a calm relaxing environment for bass.
Bass do love warm temperatures, and that’s why you’ll find them very near the water surface. However, to survive in a shallow pond, the water temperature should not be above 84 degrees. Anything upwards of 84 might result in their death, while extremely cold temperatures make them inactive. Reproduction is least likely to occur during winter.
Bass will survive if you keep the dissolved oxygen level in your pond between 8-9 ppm. So, what do you need to do to ensure the level of dissolved oxygen is okay? I usually add more aquatic plants to the pond as they are a great source of dissolved oxygen.
Bass will survive if the fertility rate of your shallow pond is high, and this is determined by the amount of organic material in it. This organic material will sustain the bass’s food chain in your pond, giving them high survival chances.
Bass are territorial, and so, the structuring of your pond should allow them to define their territories. If you are keeping a couple of male bass, make sure there’s enough room for them to have their territories to avoid constant fights.
At the same time, you should note that they use the structure as reference points that direct them as they roam around. So, try to make your shallow pond comfortable for them.
How to Grow Big Bass in Shallow Pond
Growing bass to a big size is not an easy task because it requires careful management and consistency, don’t you think? You need to follow fish management programs recommended by fisheries experts and know how to control aquatic weeds.
Give them More Food
If you want your bass to grow big, then the secret you need to know the secret behind its size is its stomach. Consider increasing the amount of food you feed them or the number of times you feed them. You can accomplish this by increasing food production by managing the fertility and chemistry in the pond.
Consider Bringing Supplement Prey or Add New Prey Species
Threadfin shad are usually the most common food for bass, but temperatures go below 36 degrees; they die because they are cold-sensitive, leaving your bass hungry.
You can restock your pond or supplement with new bass prey in this scenario and make it a routine as a management objective.
Manage Bass Abundance and Bass Size Structure
You will not get a big bass if you frequently allow the bass’s catch and release in your pond. Make it a routine to harvest the smaller bass. By doing this, you’ll ensure the rest have more than enough food, and they’ll not be competing for any space.
Harvesting smaller bass allows the other bass of intermediate size to grow, giving you high chances of having a big bass in your shallow pond.
How Do You Catch Bass in a Shallow Pond
Shallow ponds make it easy to make a catch, as you don’t exactly need complicated baits, lures, or methods. You should consider targeting shallow waters of not more than 6 feet deep. Don’t be afraid to cast at the bank as there are high chances of making a catch there.
You can also target rocks and overhanging bushes, trees lying in the water, brushes, old weeds, and early growing vegetation in a shallow pond. They are known to hang tight on the cover, so you should cast just beyond the cover then quickly bring your bait to it.
Best Baits for Shallow Pond Fishing
You might be wondering what type of bait you should use when fishing in a shallow pond. Crankbaits, charter baits, spinnerbaits, jerk baits, plastic worms, and topwater baits are some of the most common and best baits for shallow pond bass fishing.
So, which one to use and at what time? It all depends on factors such as the size of the pond you are fishing in, the type of shoreline cover, and the season.
Here I’ve discussed some of the best bait options for fishing bass in shallow ponds.
Although jerk baits are one of the best bass fishing baits, you need to be patient when using them. In most cases, they’ll not be effective if you fish with quick twitches, and you won’t also be able to have a clear view of subtle strikes on the bait.
Since shallow ponds often offer warm waters, it is advisable to use soft-plastic jerk baits. You can also use this bait if the bass in your pond is finicky.
Spinnerbait to Deep Fish in a Shallow Pond
Spinnerbaits are considerably the best for fishing where there’s heavy vegetation cover or the waters are somehow deep. For greater success, use a much heavier spinnerbait with a Colorado blade. They are perfect in this scenario due to the intense vibrations that they produce.
For fish that are about 1-3 feet deep, crankbaits are the best.
Use crankbaits that can be retrieved slowly, have good wobbling action, and deflect stamps and branches.
The good thing about plastic worms is that you have a variety to choose from. Some are best for use hardcover grounds; others work well in slow fishing grounds, while others are perfect for flooded shoreline bushes.
Jigs have proven to be successful over the years. Whether you decide to flip them close to a heavy cover or cast them in bushes and stumps, using a jig bait properly will always land you a catch.
Bass will indeed survive in shallow ponds provided there’s enough food, warm temperature, and cover where they can hide from predators and the scorching.
However, the shallow ponds must be at least 6 feet deep and could go all the way to 21 feet, depending on the temperatures in a given area.