What is structure? Is it important? Do I have to buy the expensive stuff advertised online? These questions and more are quite common here at Henneke Fish Hatchery. The short answer is yes, structure is beneficial to your pond system…but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
“Structure” is a term used to describe a multitude of objects that provide benefits to your fish species in a pond environment. Fish use structure for protection from predators, feeding grounds, and spawning grounds. Essentially, structure gives forage fish a place to hide and reproduce, meaning that they will obtain optimal production and be a sufficient food source for sport fish species such as bass or catfish. In addition, structure also functions as extra surface area in which algae and vegetation can grow, providing food sources for your forage fish and an overall healthy pond environment.
There are many options available to add structure to your pond. But, put simply, many commercial options are overpriced and come with a lot of “bells and whistles” that aren’t necessarily beneficial to your ecosystem. Most of the time, Do-it-Yourself options provide the sufficient structure you need without all the extras! Below is a list of common structure options used by our customers with great success (and you may already have them laying around)!
- Old pallets
- Used Christmas trees
- Untreated lumber
- Old tires
- Old scrap metal (sawhorses, pipe framing, etc.)
- Milk crates
…and those just name a few! Pretty much anything can be usable as structure for a pond, but remember, location is important. Many people commonly think that sinking structure in the deepest portion of the pond is ideal, and while some deep-water structure is beneficial, shallow-water structure is crucial for the spawning and feeding activities of forage fish. Typically, it is recommended to sink some structure in about 2-3 feet of water close to the shoreline to create ideal habitat for your minnow and perch species. Adding gravel is a good idea too—members of the sunfish family will readily use it and rocky structures to build nests!
All in all, structure is crucial for ponds so your fish can produce to their fullest potential. With the many do-it-yourself options as well as commercial ones, your fish have some great opportunities to enhance a sustainable ecosystem! As always, the experts here at Henneke Hatchery are eager to help. If you have questions or want some more information, give us a call today!