Consider Winter Drawdowns for Pond Management
Consider Winter Drawdowns for Pond Management
11/30/2023 8:00:00 AM

One of the most useful and inexpensive pond management practices is called a "winter drawdown." Water levels are reduced in a pond to a predetermined level, generally exposing 35 to 50 percent of the pond-bottom. Winter drawdowns can be useful in controlling aquatic weeds and can help manipulate fish populations. They are also useful when repairing piers and docks or exposing shallow shoreline areas that need to be deepened. 

In most farm ponds, lowering the water level 2 to 4 feet exposes the proper percentage of the pond bottom. You must consider the topography of the pond, amount of shallow water, and pond shape and design. Winter drawdowns are typically conducted from late-November through mid-February. In south Mississippi, ponds can be allowed to return to normal level in early-February so not to hamper bass spawning activities that begin earlier in that part of the state.  

To perform a winter drawdown, make sure the pond has a drain pipe that allows the water level to be lowered and kept down throughout the winter. Ponds without a drainpipe can be retrofitted; detailed information on how to do this is available through your county's Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Ponds without a drain pipe may be experiencing low water levels due to the recent drought allowing pond owners to take advantage of this management practice.


Read more about managing Mississippi ponds and small lakes.

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