What Type of Fish Can You Find on a Golf Course Pond?

You read our post on whether you can legally fish on a golf course. To avoid getting arrested, you went about asking for permission the right way, and that permission was granted. You’re very excited to start fishing in the golf course pond soon. What kind of fish can you expect to catch there?

The species of fish you may find in a golf course pond will vary depending on the pond, but catfish and largemouth bass are the most common. You may also reel in some crappie, perch, and bluegill.

In this guide to catching fish in a golf course pond, we’ll discuss further what could be living in the pond and how to be sure. We’ll also share tips for fishing, including which lures to use. If you’re wondering whether you can eat golf course fish, we’ll cover that as well. You won’t want to miss it! 

These Are the Fish You Might Find in a Golf Course Pond

We must again start with the caveat that the fish stocked in a golf course pond will vary based on availability and other factors such as geography. Keep reading for more information on how to know what’s in a golf course pond.

Related Reading: Am I Allowed to Fish on a Golf Course?

For now, here is an overview of the fish you could hope to reel in! 

Largemouth Bass

Of all the fish that are common in golf course ponds, perhaps none are more numerous than the largemouth bass. 

Native to the central and eastern United States, largemouth bass has since propagated in waters elsewhere in the country (and in the world, as they’re frequently found in parts of Canada and Mexico as well).

With sizes between 15 and 38 inches long, reeling in a largemouth bass will surely impress all your fishing buddies, especially when you tell them that you caught it in a golf course pond.

We have heard that golf course largemouth bass can fight especially hard, perhaps because they live a rather lazy life in the pond and they’re reluctant to give it up. You better bring your A-game! 

Further Reading: Do Fishing Bobbers Work for Bass?


Another sizable fish you could see in a golf course pond is the catfish. 

Known for the barbels on their faces that look like cat whiskers, catfish are usually easy to fish for since they’re very undiscerning about their diets. They will eat literally anything, even if it’s not food. 

Most catfish are about 22 inches long, but some of the bigger ones are 52 inches. We don’t think you’re going to find a catfish that big in a golf course pond though! 


A member of the sunfish family, the crappie is a freshwater fish that’s frequently spotted across North America. These are also panfish, in that you can put them in a pan and fry them up for a dinner the whole family will enjoy.

Considering that they fit in a frying pan, crappies are not that large. The average size is 10.8 inches long. Some anglers have sworn they’ve caught 19.3-inch crappies, but that’s just a rumor until it’s been proven.   


The gamefish known as the perch includes three species, the yellow perch, the Balkhash perch, and the European perch. In the United States, the yellow perch is the only type of perch you’re liable to see. 

That’s not such a bad thing. The yellow perch is known for its good food quality. Plus, the bright yellow coloration of these fish might make them easier to catch in some conditions. 

Bigger perch might be 20 inches long and weigh close to a pound! 


Your local golf course pond might also have its fair share of bluegill, which are nicknamed copper perch, sunny, brim, or bream. Technically, some parts of the world call the bluegill a perch, but it’s not in the same fish family.

Known to swim in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams across North America, bluegills are not always blue. They’re mostly yellow, brown, or green with some blue coloration. 

Bluegills are smaller fish, measuring about 7.5 inches long. Bigger ones might be 16 inches long, but don’t hold your breath hoping to spot one at that size in a golf course pond. 

How Do You Know Which Fish Will Be in the Golf Course Pond?

You like to do your research before planning a fishing expedition. Knowing which fish live in the area helps you plan your bait choices as well as your fishing style, such as fly fishing versus baitcasting.

You want to know which fish you’re likeliest to see when you visit the golf course pond. How can you be sure?

Your best bet is to find the groundskeeper or landowner and ask them. They’ve been involved with the golf course for long enough that they should have a very good idea about which fish are swimming under the water’s surface.

If those parties are unavailable, you can always read reports online. The newer the documentation is, the better, as that will ensure its accuracy. 

Which Lures Should You Use When Catching Fish on a Golf Course?

What are some lures we recommend when fishing in a golf course pond? Here are some great options to consider.


If you’re allowed to fish at the golf course after dark, make sure you bring some poppers with you. Since poppers disrupt the otherwise still waters, fish will find it hard to resist coming over to check out what’s going on. 

The key is to stick to one area for a while, catch a few fish, and then move on elsewhere in the pond.  


When fishing in a golf course pond by day, spinnerbaits will catch the fish’s attention like poppers do at night. Spinnerbaits are loud and move a lot. Since the pond waters don’t have much in the way of a current, spinnerbaits can agitate fish. Then it’s up to you to reel ‘em in! 


We just wrote a great post on digging up nightcrawlers (a type of common worm) that you should read if you want to use live worms as bait. Of course, plastic worms are also available, but the real deal might be likelier to attract bites.


The last type of bait we’d suggest for fishing in a golf course pond is crankbait. Due to the size of most ponds on golf courses, crankbaits are a much more effective bait choice than they are in larger rivers or streams. 

Are Golf Course Pond Fish Safe to Eat?

Thanks to the information in this article, you successfully caught some fish from your local golf course pond! You’re feeling pretty proud of yourself, as you should.

You had already checked with the landowner or groundskeeper, and they said that you could take home whatever fish you caught. However, now that the fish are packed away in your cooler, you’re wondering what you’re going to do with them.

Can you eat golf course fish?

The verdict is out on this one. Some people say you should absolutely, 100 percent never eat golf course fish. Others say the fish might be healthier than the ones caught in any lake, river, or reservoir.

We can understand the logic that eating golf course fish isn’t the safest decision. The golf course likely uses a bevy of chemicals to keep the turf looking healthy and green. Those chemicals may leech into the water. 

Fish swallow the water and consume the chemicals too. The amount of chemicals might not be so high that the fish die, but sometimes that can happen. Then the fish are quietly disposed of by the groundskeeper and replaced.

Whether you should eat golf course pond fish will vary from one golf course to another. Since you’re already friendly with the golf course landowner or the groundskeeper at this point, we recommend asking them what kind of treatments the green receives.

Don’t ask about the pond, per se, just quiz them on turf maintenance. If the groundskeeper or landowner mentions using chemicals, then don’t eat the fish you caught from the pond. It’s not safe!

Final Thoughts

Golf course ponds are a common home of largemouth bass. Other fish species you might come across include crappies, catfish, bluegills, and perch. 

While fishing in a golf course pond is fun (if you have the permission to do so, that is), if the turf around the pond is chemically treated, then we must reiterate that it’s not a safe or smart idea to eat the fish you catch from the pond. 

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

Recent Posts

outdoortroop-21 outdoortroop-20