Catfish are easiest to raise because they feed on pellets at all stages of life. They are commonly started at four to six inches in size. They can grow at an average of one pound or more per year if fed on pellets. Typically after two summers of growth it's best to begin to harvest them. If left too long, catfish will become a burden on the pond's food chain. Catfish feed on fish, snails, vegetation, and even small ducks, pretty much anything that is edible. Small bluegill seem to be a favorite meal as the main diet for bass. If let go, catfish will grow to sizes of eight pounds and even up to ten or twelve pounds. Remember, the older and bigger they grow the smarter and harder they are to catch. Also, they will compete with bass. It is not uncommon to have a pond in which the catfish have depleted the bluegill population to the point of the bass becoming skinny and stunted. It is best to harvest catfish at two to three years of age at which time they should be about two to three pounds. This is the best eating size. The one exception to this rule is by feeding pellets. If you so chose, catfish will become reliant on pellets and therefore will not compete with bass. This gives the pond owner the choice of making the catfish pets for as long as they want. Reproduction in small farm ponds is common, but the survival of the catfish fry is generally zero. The male catfish will find a hole in the bank or under some kind of brush. He then will make a spawning bed. The female will come in and lay the eggs, which the male will fertilize and then fan with his tail until the fry hatch at which time they leave the nest. The catfish fry will school up for the first month making them an easy target for any predators. So the catfish will have to be restocked every few years according to how many are caught.
If you plan on harvesting fish from your pond, set up a guideline to follow as in how small a fish can be taken. This will help ensure you maintain a good base for reproduction. A good fisherman can ruin a good pond in a few weeks of fishing. For Catfish, a good size for harvesting would be 16 inches and up or 2 pounds.
Size: 4-5 in.
Price: $0.85 each