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Fishing ponds can be a fun and exciting experience and can bring in a variety of different fish. Choosing your bait depends on the type of fish that may be inhabiting the pond, though there are a few baits that are usually universal in interest to freshwater fish. Try to determine what kind of fish are in the pond, or find out from the city parks and recreation department if the pond is stocked for recreational fishing, and adjust your baits accordingly. Here are some tips for the most common game fish that are typical in pond stocking.
Trout are often very interested in shiny objects, like minnows or spinner baits with worms attached. They also feed on bugs on the surface of the water, so fly fisherman can use real flies or tied ones to coerce a bite. Trout like cold water, so look for them in the deeper ends of the pond, beneath logs and by rocks. They tend to bite more during insect hatches and during the morning and evening, which is a good time to fly fish them.
Bass like a large variety of baits. Leeches, frogs, insects and worms all have been known to work. If you have tackle, spoons and plugs will work for drawing in bass as well, and they're known to hit a spinner bait when the opportunity arises. Remember to adjust your tackle to the size of the fish as there is usually only one or two "big" bass in a pond while the others are typically smaller. Don't fret if the bass are being picky. Try a different bait and lure combination until you get bites. Fly fishermen will also have luck with these fish and should cast around weedy areas and near drop offs in the pond bed into deeper water.
Hook up worm and bobber rig to see if the panfish are in the biting mood. Small jigs with grubs or minnows are also known to do the trick. If you've an assortment of tackle and lures, try a small crankbait or spinner to get their attention. Panfish will also hit flies, just make sure they are appropriate size for this typically smaller species. This type of fish, which include perch, bluegill, white bass, crappie and sunfish among others, tend to bite more during overcast days, but can be found near weeds and logs most of the time.
If all else fails
There's a reason that worms have been catching fish for so long--fish like them. If you are unsure about the species of fish in the pond, either scout by carefully observing shallow waters and shadowy areas, or cast in a hook with a worm on the end and a bobber. Most fish, especially those in ponds, have to compete for food and aren't likely to turn their heads on an easy meal like a worm.
Sam Eggleston has been a journalist since 1999, working primarily with Gannett, Ogden and Morris newspaper companies. He has written for the "Escanaba Daily Press," "The Marquette Mining Journal," the "Kenai Peninsula Clarion," the "Novi News," the "Northville Record," the "Livingston County Press" and "Argus." Eggleston studied English at Northern Michigan University.