Fish-Ponds, are those reservoirs made for the breeding and rearing of fish. They are considered to be no small improvement of watery and boggy lands, many of which can be appropriated to no other purpose. In making a pond, its head should be at the lowest part of the ground, that the trench of the flood-gate, or sluice, having a good fall, may, when necessary, speedily discharge the water. The best method of securing the work, is to drive in two or three rows of stakes, at least six feet long, at a distance of about four feet, extending to the whole length of the pond-head, the first row of which should be rammed not less than four feet deep. If the bottom be false, the foundation may be laid with quicklime ; which, slaking, will make it as hard as a stone. Some persons place a layer of lime, and another of earth dug out of the pond, among the piles and stakes; and, when these are well covered, drive in others as occasion may require, and ram in the earth as before, till the pond-head be of the height designed.
The dam should be made sloping on each side, and a waste left to carry off the superabundant water in case of floods or rains ; the depth of the pond need not exceed six feet, rising gradually in shoals towards the sides, in order to allow the fish to sun themselves, and deposit their spawn. Gravelly and sandy bottoms, especially the lat-ter, are well calculated to promote the breeding of these animals : and a fat soil, with a white rich water, such as the washings of hills, commons, streets, sinks, etc. is said to be the most proper for fattening all sorts of fish.
For storing- a pond, carp is to be preferred, on account of its delicacy, quick growth, and prolific nature, as it breeds five or six times a year. This fish delights in ponds that have marl or clay bottoms, with plenty of weeds and grass, on which it chiefly subsists during the hot months.
In a late publication, we meet with the following singular method of furnishing a fish-pond with a variety of fish: About the latter end of April, or the beginning of May, take the root of a willow that stands near the water side, and is full of fibres ; wash off the earth which adheres to it, then fasten it to a spike, and drive it into a river or pond well stored •with fish : they will speedily be induced to deposit their spawn or roe on the fibres of the root. After a few days (in cool weather, perhaps, weeks), remoye the spike, with the willow root, from the pond, and convey it to that which you design to store, driving it to the depth of four or six inches under the surface of the water ; and, in about a fortnight, a great number of young fish will appear. The root, however, should not be left too long in the first pond or river, lest the heat of the sun ani-mate the spawn, and disengage it from the root.
ponds should be drained every three or four years, and the fish sorted, In those which are kept for breeding fish, the smaller kind should be taken out, for storing other ponds; but a good stock of females, at least eight or nine years old, ought to remain, as they never breed before that age.p>
Stealing of fish, by persons armed and disguised, is felony without benefit of clergy, by 9th Geo. I. c. 22, and by 5th Geo. III. c. 14, the penalty of transportation for seven years, is inflicted on persons committing depredations on fish, in any water, within a park, pad-dock, orchard, or yard; as likewise on the receivers, aiders, or abettors ; and a forfeiture of 5l. to the owner of the fishery is to be paid by persons taking or destroying (or attempting so to do) any fish in rivers or other waters within an inclosed ground, being private property.