Bovines and Bass

Some great fishing can be found in remote ponds and streams that are way out in the country, often on farms or ranches. These bodies of water not only provide rugged fishing opportunities but may multitask as irrigation for crops or a watering hole for livestock.

If building a new pond by the book, most states recommend construction which excludes livestock, utilizing a fence and a pipe in the dam which leads to a gravity fed watering tank. If allowed direct access to the pond, cows will muddy the water, add to the nutrient load in the watershed (which can cause excessive aquatic vegetation), increase sediment (shortening the life of a pond), and damage fish spawning areas. But that doesn’t mean don’t give it a try. Sometimes water shared with livestock still produces remarkable fishing.

Lack of fishing pressure is a huge plus for these systems. It takes a bit of practice to negotiate between strands of barbed wire fence with a fishing pole and tackle box, without snagging your back or other parts of your anatomy. Make sure to ask the landowner’s permission and promise to close the gate behind. As an ambassador for other anglers, set a good, respectful example.

And though I’ve never had a problem with a cow, I keep a watchful eye. That is, between landing fish.

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.