There are thousands of ponds in the state and most of them contain fish, which makes anglers from kids to grandparents happy. Many anglers started out by catching bluegill or catfish from a pond and got hooked on the sport.
Even hunters like ponds because they furnish water for migrating birds and are home to many other wildlife creatures including bullfrogs as well as a watering hole for deer and other animals.
To help pond owners make better use of their ponds and manage them for best results, an organization called Pond Boss was formed and recently held their third conference at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson at the Grandview Conference center.
This conference center was perfect for such an event and offered the latest in technology and thoughtful design with its large and adaptable rooms, breathtaking views, and breakout areas.
Bob Lusk, a nationally-known fisheries biologist has helped people all over the country design, build, stock and manage private lakes and ponds for more than 30 years, is the editor of the magazine "Pond Boss," a magazine dedicated to manage private waters.
Lusk said, "Everything in life has limiting factors. Our bodies do....or we would live longer than Moses did. Our cars do...or we wouldn't need a mechanic. Fish do, or world records would be broken way too often.
"Our ponds do, too. but if you think about your pond more deeply, so to speak, you can manage these weak-link limiting factors. At this conference we have experts in pond management that have come together to help make ponds more productive and enjoyable as well as learning how to make good use of this resource."
All of the sessions at the conference can benefit pond owners from Seeing what your pond says to amenities around the pond. At a "Hands On" event attendees watched as a Big Cedar pond was treated to electrofishing with bass and bluegill stunned and watched as Justin VanDeHey, from the lake of the Woods, Minnesota, check the fish's stomach content and Matt Morgan from Alabama check the age of the fish. as well as other pond fish related items including fish identification, plankton collection and trapping fish.
"It was a great conference held in a great place," Lusk said. Some of the highlights included the informative sessions, the Hands On event and the appearance of Big Cedar owner as well as the owner of the many Bass Pro stores around the country, Johnny Morris who spoke to the attendees about the importance of ponds and management of them.
Lusk said, "There's just something about having your own pond with a thriving, healthy fish population. Nudging nature's magic, managing your very own puddle of water, sooths your soul. It's and experience, one you cherish."
A lot of fish stories were told at the conference and Johnny Morris pointed out an inscription of the wall at the conference center that said, "Of all the liars among mankind, the fishermen are the most trustworthy."
Lusk told the pond managers that there something inside of you that tells you its time to harvest a few fish. At the very least you want to hold some of these precious creatures in your hand and see for yourself just how well they are doing.
Watching them feed isn't enough, however. You want to catch a fish, hold it up for a close, personal inspection before releasing it to grow or send it to the filet knife.
This year's conference was attended by pond owners from nearly all states as well as from Italy and Australia.
Several owners I visited with said having the conference at the Grandview Conference Center was a winner and the Missouri hosts were great. All were looking forward to another return to the Show-Me state.