Ponds which remain muddy for extended periods do not produce quality fishing. Muddy water shades out sunlight necessary for the growth and survival of fish food organisms.
Muddy water is mainly caused by unvegetated watersheds; water entering the pond carries suspended clay and silt particles. Once vegetation problems are solved, so are most muddy water problems. If water remains muddy after revegetation of the watershed, it can be cleared up using several methods:
- Apply seven to 10 bales of hay or apply barnyard manure at a rate of 1 ton per acre at 3-week intervals until problem is solved. Do not use this treatment during the summer if fish are already stocked because of the danger of oxygen depletion.
- Add 5 pounds of commercial alum crystals per acre-foot. Occasionally, much higher rates may be required (up to 50 pounds per acre-foot), but alum is acidic, and high treatment rates in low alkalinity waters may kill fish. Always check ponds to determine if liming is required before applying alum.
- Apply 75 to 100 pounds of cottonseed meal with 25 pounds of normal superphosphate per acre at 2- to 3-week intervals.
- Apply gypsum (land plaster) at 300 to 500 pounds per surface acre.
- In mild cases a standard fertilization program can be effective.
All of these measures are temporary. The source of turbidity must be eliminated for the most effective and long-lasting remedy for muddy water.