A Pond Log by QA

Posted by: Quarter Acre

A Pond Log by QA - 08/22/18 08:14 PM

This is not a thread about the thicker lower section of a tree that happens to be in a pond, however, I suppose, it could be, but it is not intended to be, just yet.

I just wanted to start a thread of some observations that I make while tending the pond. I wish I would have started this "diary" of non-specific topics the day that I began the process of refurbishing the ole'water hole. At any rate, please share as I go if you care to, otherwise enjoy my rambling.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 08/22/18 08:27 PM

The first observation that I would like to enter is something that I saw today...A little background...

I bucket stocked crawdads from the creek behind the house all last summer. Some I trapped, some I caught with a net. All in all, I estimate that I put in about 300 crawdads (I stopped counting around 200). There were a few that where stocked that were about 4" long from tip of tail to tip of nose, but most were 1 to 2" long.

Today, I witnessed a few of those crawdads "coming out" to collect small feed pellets as they drifted towards shore. These guys were about 4 to 5 inches long and, at one point, two of them were fighting over the right to collect pellets from the large stone under the drain pipe. They were collecting the Optimal starter #4 pellets as fast as they could and stuffing them in their mouth just as fast. I hope the growth rates of the fish and crawdads due to the fish food rubs off on the deer around here!

Who would have thought that crawdads would feed train? I'll be looking for them more often and even throwing some feed closer to the shore just for them.

Posted by: Clay N' Pray

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 08/23/18 05:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
The first observation that I would like to enter is something that I saw today...A little background...

I bucket stocked crawdads from the creek behind the house all last summer. Some I trapped, some I caught with a net. All in all, I estimate that I put in about 300 crawdads (I stopped counting around 200). There were a few that where stocked that were about 4" long from tip of tail to tip of nose, but most were 1 to 2" long.

Today, I witnessed a few of those crawdads "coming out" to collect small feed pellets as they drifted towards shore. These guys were about 4 to 5 inches long and, at one point, two of them were fighting over the right to collect pellets from the large stone under the drain pipe. They were collecting the Optimal starter #4 pellets as fast as they could and stuffing them in their mouth just as fast. I hope the growth rates of the fish and crawdads due to the fish food rubs off on the deer around here!

Who would have thought that crawdads would feed train? I'll be looking for them more often and even throwing some feed closer to the shore just for them.



You should get a mini lobster trap and put it on That rock. Would make a cool pic.
Posted by: Flame

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 08/23/18 09:02 AM

Q A, I did start a log from the first day they started digging my 2 acre pond. It has been soooo helpful to look back on any given day over the last 4 years!!! When I first stocked and transported my 4 inch pure Florida feed trained lmb I only had 2 dead fish in the bag. I actually even retained those two fish and put them in my freezer!! I dated the freezer bag and is fun to just look back at the size I started with. As you prob. know I have caught 3 1/2 pounders that are only 16 inch long!! Rw of around 155%. These fish were only 2 years old. Keeping accurate records is one of the best tools you can have. I document every time I see a duck,bullfrogs,otters,gbh,water levels and temps,algea blooms, spawning dates,how much feed,and record every inch of rain we get. I know exactly when and how many fish I stocked and at what cost. It has all proven very valuable. Good luck with yours. Oh, and of course I have pictures of everything possible and video if I can. It is amazing what you will forget from just one year ago without logging it down.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Pond Records - 08/23/18 09:39 AM

I should also log that I broke the Pond Record for HSB yesterday too. The previous record was the first one caught and documented here...

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=38025&Number=494998#Post494998

Yesterday's HSB was 12 inches long and weighed just over 1 pound. A second one was caught just under 1 pound. These HSB are in the neighborhood of 1.14 relative weight. Sure wish I had taken some time at stocking to weigh some of the young fish last April. I was too worried about getting them in the pond without casualties.

Side note: The 3-5" HBG are now 4 -6" long and typically weigh close to 1/4 pound.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arrowhead - 08/26/18 01:55 PM

I saw this bee yesterday whose legs are heavily weighted down with pollen. Ragweed, Golden Rod, Black/Brown Eyed Susans, Ox-Eyes, and Arrow Head are now in full bloom. I have never come across a bee that is all black like this. It was very tolerant of me only being 5 inches or so from him trying to take pictures. I got it in flight and if you look closely you can see the blur of the wings. Anybody now what kind of bee this is?
Posted by: Vortex 4

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arowhead - 08/26/18 05:10 PM

A very busy bee!

Could be a Mason Bee.
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arowhead - 08/26/18 07:46 PM

Hard to tell just how big that critter is. If its larger, like the size of a bubble bee, we have a lot of those around here. They're wood borer bees. They chew holes in dead timber/lumber and lay their eggs inside, fill the hole with pollen, then seal it up. Whatever they use to plug the hole dries like concrete. They're pretty docile, and I dont think I've ever heard of them stinging unless you actually grab one. Some people call them "news bees", because they'll hover in your face like they're trying to tell you something. We see them from solid black, like yours, to having a single yellow band across the top of the abdomen. I've seen them all over the SE US, but more so the further south you go.

If it isn't that large, tho, I have no clue.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arrowhead - 08/26/18 07:55 PM

Well, I admit, I did not give any size reference. It is actually about the size of a honey bee. We have the wood borer bees around here and I can see the resemblance even though the wood borers in the old barn have some yellow to them even though slight. They will be the finial demise of the barn if I don't tear it down first. This guy by the pond was all dark. pretty much black.

I will image search the mason bee and see what comes of that.
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arowhead - 08/26/18 10:31 PM

You got that right about wood borers, Noel. They will reak pure havok on a barn, porch, or anything made of wood for that matter.

They make a real neat popping sound when you hit them with a tennis racket!!
Posted by: RAH

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arowhead - 08/27/18 06:09 AM

Perhaps a mason bee?

https://mason.bees.supply/

Carpenter bees look quite a bit stockier, but share the glossy black abdomen. Mason bees naturally nest in hollow weed stems, but are commercially kept in "straws".
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Interesting Bee on the Arrowhead - 08/27/18 02:35 PM

With a little "looking around" on the net, I think that a Mason Bee is a strong possibility. You know that there is a hobby that revolves around catering to the Mason Bees?

Anyhow, the feed trained crawdads are coming on strong. I fed yesterday and counted 8 crawdads of size combing the shoreline rocks and plants for the pellets. About as quick as I counted the eight some would disappear while another would appear somewhere else. There's a bunch of those buggars doing really well. The ones I see are 4 to 5 inches long which is big for my neck of the woods.

Do you think that crawdads will cut down rather big arrowhead stems? I am seeing quite a few felled stalks.
Posted by: Dam'dWaters

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 08/27/18 03:32 PM

Great observations on the crawdads. Mine love the leftover pellets too. When I saw your pics/story about their feeding habits, I had to share this pic from earlier this summer at my pond. Hunger has a way of getting anyone into trouble..... this guy is no exception. 1st one I ever got with a hook/worm!
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Snake and Crawdad Standoff. - 08/27/18 05:12 PM

Nice Catch DW! It's been a long time ago, but my Grandpa would take me fishing for crawdads in the road ditches out in Kansas.

I wish I would have photo captured a brief moment the other day between a common brown water snake a crawdad. It was feeding time and the crawdad managed to move in nose to nose with this snake (actually touching). I think it is evidence that the pond inhabitants are "fat and happy". The snake did not move and once the crawdad realized what he was doing...backwards into the water and he was gone.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Snake and Crawdad Standoff. - 08/27/18 08:10 PM

Now, I have to one up myself. I saw a different snake of the same kind tonight actually get run off by a crawdad during feeding time. The snake was sitting on the rocks, mostly in the water, while a crawdad crawls up mostly out of the water and starts pinching at the snakes head. The snake flinches and abruptly turns about face and slithers into the depths. I did get some video of the crawdads crawling nearby and slightly on the snake, but did not get the actual confrontation.

It's pretty cool what you can witness if you just stop for 20 minutes and look around!
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Snake and Crawdad Standoff. - 08/27/18 09:19 PM

When my pond first filled up, I saw a few small crawfish, but haven't seen one since Hurricane Harvey flooded the place. I didn't have much in the way of hiding places for them back then, tho. They're everywhere down here, so maybe they'll come back on their own, or they may just stay in the clay till after dark and I just dont see them. Come spring, I'll probably go drag a net in the ditches and drop of few in the pond.
Posted by: TGW1

Re: Snake and Crawdad Standoff. - 08/28/18 07:20 AM

Mike, dragging the ditches and pot holes is how I got mine started in the pond. In the early spring it was pretty easy to drag up a thousand 1/4" to 1" crays and transport them to the pond. I did it thinking I could feed the res and maybe they would grow to feed the lmb. Today I have an established population in the pond after moving about 2500 of the small crays into the pond in the first two years. I did run into a problem by doing that. The craws will dine on the plants in the pond and its been pretty hard to get the desirable plants going. It might be better to get some good plants going before introducing the craws.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Crawdad Ingenuity - 08/29/18 12:12 PM

I don't typically care for overdone "One Upmanship", but I guess it's alright since I am one up'ing my own stories (and without exaggeration to boot).

So, the crawdads are continuing to amaze me. The first photo is for reference. Notice that the circled crawdad is about 15 feet from shore and in about 6 feet of water. I had just fed the fish and thrown some pellets close to the banks for the craws. I don't typically feed on this side of the dock, but just started feeding a little bit on this side just for the craws.



I have no idea how this guy got out this far into the pond in only a few moments after the feed was thrown, but there he is...



Happy as a crawdad can be...



I gave him a few extra pellets for the effort and eventually he released from the arrowhead stem and disappeared.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Crawdad Ingenuity - 08/29/18 01:11 PM

Great camera work Quarter Acre. Surprised a predator did not get him.
Posted by: anthropic

Re: Crawdad Ingenuity - 08/29/18 02:01 PM

Surprises me that you have craws freely moving about. Here they are almost all snug in their holes...
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Crawdad Ingenuity - 08/29/18 03:29 PM

The only fish in the pond that could mouth him would be 1 pound HSB and they tend to hang out in deeper water and away from the dock. I doubt that there will be as many crawdads next year as the FHM's diminish and the game fish get larger.
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Snake and Crawdad Standoff. - 08/29/18 04:08 PM

Originally Posted By: TGW1
Mike, dragging the ditches and pot holes is how I got mine started in the pond. In the early spring it was pretty easy to drag up a thousand 1/4" to 1" crays and transport them to the pond. I did it thinking I could feed the res and maybe they would grow to feed the lmb. Today I have an established population in the pond after moving about 2500 of the small crays into the pond in the first two years. I did run into a problem by doing that. The craws will dine on the plants in the pond and its been pretty hard to get the desirable plants going. It might be better to get some good plants going before introducing the craws.


I've considered that QA. As it is, the only grasses I have in the water is some water willow, one clump of a cattail looking plant, some rush and one clump of something that looks kind of like an arrowhead, only it has a single spear type blade on the end of each stalk. Everything else is growing from the shoreline out into the water. Not sure what it is either. But it is creating some decent shading right against the shoreline.

I do have some FA, not a lot, but if they want to eat it, they can have it!!!
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Recruitment Observed - 09/11/18 08:58 AM

I thought I was seeing some odd looking minnows at feeding time lately. Last night I got a better look at the odd fellows and it turns out that they are YOY from the HBG (or RES). I only saw a few, they were about 2 inches long, the same as most of the FHM's that surface for feed, but they were more laterally compressed and deep with some darker colorings.

Now, I'm wondering what to do about it if anything. I still have tons of FHM's. I am feeding the HBG and HSB about 1/2 to 1 pound a day and do not believe that the YOY are important to the health of the pond this year. I'll try to trap some this week and see what they are. If they are HBG, they may go to the creek. If they are RES, I think they can stay as my fish have a lot of black spot grubs.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

New Pond Records - 09/19/18 03:31 PM

Well, a close friend came to visit last week and now has the pond HSB record. After 4-1/2 months of being in the pond, it is now 1.3 pounds and about 13 inches long. It went in between 4 and 6 inches long.



I managed to beat my old HBG record, not by much, but its mine anyhow. (I'll have to get the HSB record back real soon too.) The HBG record is now 0.28 pounds at just over 6 inches long...



I'm a happy pondmeister!
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: New Pond Records - 09/20/18 12:55 PM

Wow.. You actually caught a HSB! Mine are extremely elusive. Have been in since October of 2015. None have ever been caught. Mind sharing your technique for actually getting one on a hook?
Thx
Jeff
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: New Pond Records - 09/21/18 09:27 PM

I fish in the evening before I feed (if bites are lacking, I feed. Not sure if that actually helps with the hsb, seems to improve the hbg bites though). I use a white #1 mepps(barbs pinched) and a medium light rod and reel. I cast out in the middle and give the rod a quick but steady pull to get the spinner spinning, then reel the lure in as slow as I can while keeping the spinner active. That's it. The lure runs deep enough to stay out of sight (20 inches or deeper) and hits are sudden and hard, no playing around like LMB can tend to do. Of course, I've only caught 4 or 5. There main foods are fhm and pellets.
Posted by: jpsdad

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 09/22/18 08:36 AM

Your crawfish are a great success QA. I see you have some good habitat for them also.

HSB and HBG look great as well. Excellent growth.
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: New Pond Records - 09/22/18 08:57 AM

Iíll give it a shot. Iíve tried everything else, short of dynamite.
Thx
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 09/24/18 11:57 AM

Originally Posted By: jpsdad
Your crawfish are a great success QA. I see you have some good habitat for them also.

HSB and HBG look great as well. Excellent growth.


Thanks jps...I counted 12 craws last weekend eating the pellets all within the 20 feet of bank that I have taken to throwing a little food at. They all appeared out from the shadows in a matter of a minute once the food as thrown.

And Jeff...I lied to you. I have been using a Rooster Tail brand spinner, not a Mepps and its smaller than a #1 Mepps too, but if your HSB have been in the pond for several years a small spinner will likely get swallowed. I actually had HBG get that small Rooster Tail swallowed pretty deep the other day and I have stepped up to that #1 Mepps. I didn't catch a thing however. But, I have altered my aeration timing to days instead of nights which has the fish out of whack as well. Good fishing to you!
Posted by: Flame

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 09/24/18 06:30 PM

On all your little treble hooks you can still cut off two of the 3 hooks and bends and pinch the barb down on the remaining one. Just makes it a lot easier to remove. One hook is all you really need IMO.
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: Feed Trained Crawdads??? - 09/24/18 07:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre

And Jeff...I lied to you. I have been using a Rooster Tail brand spinner, not a Mepps and its smaller than a #1 Mepps too, but if your HSB have been in the pond for several years a small spinner will likely get swallowed. I actually had HBG get that small Rooster Tail swallowed pretty deep the other day and I have stepped up to that #1 Mepps. I didn't catch a thing however. But, I have altered my aeration timing to days instead of nights which has the fish out of whack as well. Good fishing to you!


Thanks! Iíve recruited my son in law to help with this project. To catch the uncatchable! We will try anything and everything.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fish's First Fall Observations - 09/27/18 07:36 PM

Three things have happened over the last week or so...natural and induced by myself.

First off, the night time air temps have dropped well below the pond's water temps (air is in the 50's at night while the water was at upper 70's). Daytime temps are barely above the pond temps as well (Daytime air temps in the 70s compared to water temps at 69 degrees F today).

Secondly, I have switched to running the aeration from a 9pm - 9am night time schedule to a daytime 9am - 1pm schedule in an attempt to keep from cooling the pond down and possibly warming it slightly during the day. The end result has been vague at best. The pond temps have dropped from the upper 70's to upper 60's despite the aeration change. Maybe it slowed the drop down, but I've not been impressed. It seems like summer just quit and let fall come right in the door. (the weather has been beautiful for being outside, however)

And lastly, with the aeration and temp changes...the fish have slowed way down on feeding and, even though there has been regular fishing, the catching as been lacking. I will continue to aerate for the near future during the day, I guess until daily air temps become below the water temps...then taper the air off and reserve the shallow diffuser for ice-off duty.

The crawdads, however, are really proving themselves. I bought a small throw net for fun and spent 30 minutes today goofing around the pond and probably caught 40 - 4" to 5" long virile craws. I released them to provide next years generation, but next year...I may have a small boil.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Fish's First Fall Observations - 09/28/18 01:37 PM

Fall is an important time for fish going into winter especially in northern areas. They need to feed to add reserves for winter. Next PB mag has an article on this so be sure to subscribe.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: New Pond Records - 10/08/18 08:59 AM

I have bested my friend's recent record at my pond for HSB. Yesterdays HSB catch was 1.4 pounds at about 13 inches. 1/10th of a pound heavier may not be much, but I'll take it! It took me several weeks to get one to even bite. There has been only one HSB caught since the last record catch (three weeks)and I did not have the scale with me to check it's weight. It's nice to have the record back in my name...I think I will give the pond a break now from any fishing pressure.

Posted by: Quarter Acre

Fall Aeration Schedule Change - 10/10/18 09:26 AM

Log Entry...The outside air temps have been expected to drop about 30 degrees this week (highs in the 80's to highs in the 40's) and I have changed the aeration time from (9am to 1pm) to (noon to 4pm). Right, wrong, or indifferent I assume that running the air during the warmest part of the day is best until the outside air temps cool below the water temps. This should happen today as the high is forecast to be 63F and the water temps have been in the upper 60's. I will be cutting the air times in half daily until the 15 minute mark is hit this weekend and then shutting it down, unless convinced otherwise. The theory I am sticking with is that the aeration needs to stop once the air temps get below the water temps.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Fall Aeration Schedule Change - 10/11/18 08:34 AM

Observations have shown me that as long as there isn't a ton of wind, the water will chill from the bottom up, as well as the top inch or two will be chilled. That top layer gets heavy enough, it sinks in areas to the bottom, and you can see this take place at the surface when you have no wind with small waves out of nowhere. There will be a warmish layer between the two cold where the fish will hang out until the warm layer mixes out.

I would assume aeration would break up that warm layer, so that the entire column would be about the same temperature except for maybe the top couple of inches, slowing the bottom cooling but speeding up the warm layer cooling.

Personally I would turn off aeration during fast cold snaps, no need to speed up the chilling process and ruin the refuge in a warmish layer. The natural turnover of that top cold layer to the bottom will bring down plenty of dissolved O2. Of course these events are usually accompanied by high winds, so it probably makes no difference one way or the other, unless you are talking at night when everything has gone still.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Aeration Schedule Change - 10/12/18 08:55 AM

Thanks for chiming in with your observations Liquid! Its' amazing how I never stop learning new things here, you have given me even more to ponder and watch for.

Yesterday's high was 53, today's is supposed to be 47. I quickly ramped my aeration times down this week and it won't be running today. The pond water column last night was 67 to 68 degrees and feeding was practically nonexistent with the exception of some FHM's and, of course, the crawdads. I will be checking the temps over the next several days to watch for cold weather stratification.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 10/18/18 09:57 AM

More observations for the record...I have been watching the pond's water column getting cooler and cooler. It has dropped from the upper 60's to the mid-upper 50's in the last week with the bottom at 7 foot a few degrees cooler than the upper sections. No evidence of stratification yet;keep in mind that the pond is 10 foot deep and my dock only allows easy temp readings down to 7 foot deep.

Feeding is pretty much non-existent by the game fish, maybe a few isolated surface takers. The minnows have stayed hidden for the most part, but the feed mostly disappears or gets dispersed by the FHM's over the course of 30 minutes. I will reduce the feeding from 1/3 pound/day in half and suspect that the will be reduced even further over the next week or so.

The crawdad's feeding enthusiasm has diminished, as well. It takes longer for them to show up to feed and it seems that there are only about half as many visible(6 total vs 12 before)at any given time. And, they are moving slower too.

Before too long it will be a chore to "hang out" at the dock and take readings...I don't like the cold!
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 11/21/18 04:09 PM

Well, a month has gone by and not much change.

Last night's water temps showed 40 to 42 (degrees F) from top to bottom. I keep thinking that it should be warmer towards the bottom. I do not expect to see stratification with the aerators on, but they have been off for over a month. Where's the stratification? I only measure temps down to the bottom at the end of the dock...7 foot deep, but the pond is 10 foot deep out in the middle. I guess I need to tie a longer cord to my thermometer and give it a good throw out in to the pond...my stratification plane may be below 7 foot.

We did get a thin layer of ice over the pond a week or so ago that lasted a few days. Pretty early for ice on the pond, but it's gone now.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Fall Observations - 12/12/18 03:50 PM

As a little aside, last week I changed my aquarium water, and added water that was a little too warm. Maybe only about 5 degrees F too warm. It stratified on the top 8 inches or so, and the filter didn't stir it up very quickly.

I fed the fish, and all but a couple of them REFUSED to go through that warm layer to the food. I suppose this relates to when we observe our pond fish not coming to feed at the surface. They may not feel comfortable jumping through the sharp jumps in temperature, and will instead wait for the food to come down to them.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Fall Observations - 12/12/18 04:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
Well, a month has gone by and not much change.

Last night's water temps showed 40 to 42 (degrees F) from top to bottom. I keep thinking that it should be warmer towards the bottom. I do not expect to see stratification with the aerators on, but they have been off for over a month. Where's the stratification? I only measure temps down to the bottom at the end of the dock...7 foot deep, but the pond is 10 foot deep out in the middle. I guess I need to tie a longer cord to my thermometer and give it a good throw out in to the pond...my stratification plane may be below 7 foot.

We did get a thin layer of ice over the pond a week or so ago that lasted a few days. Pretty early for ice on the pond, but it's gone now.





Hi QA,

There are many reasons why it might not stratify yet. But here's one -- the water isn't cold enough.



The relationship of water density to temperature is parabolic. Meaning, the density of water increases as it cools--for a while. Then it goes down again. (see chart)

In the fall and early winter, the water cools at the surface and sinks. This water movement is often called pond turnover and keeps happening until the magic temperature of 39F is reached top-to-bottom. 39F is the temperature at which water is maximally dense.

Then it stops. When the water at the surface cools below 39F, it becomes less dense and won't sink. It will 'float' on top. The 39F water at the bottom is dense, and it will stay there. This is the winter stratification pattern.

Note that it's opposite of the summer stratification pattern, which is in a temperature range where the cooler water is more dense!

Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Fall Observations - 12/12/18 09:31 PM

That's interesting information Bocomo.

It also raises several questions for those of us way down south. What if your pond surface never sees 39F? Does it not have a winter turn over? Or just not as quickly?

I shut my aeration down about the same time as QA, and at that time, the variance top to bottom (10ft) was 3 degrees, and while I haven't taken a top to bottom reading recently, my last surface reading was still above 50 this past weekend.

Before aeration, I know the pond had a spring turnover, as you could see it.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 12/13/18 11:11 AM

That helps my understanding a lot Bocomo. Thanks for the info! I always thought that the water near the bottom would be thermally warmed by the surrounding earth, kind of like how a cave is always 60 degrees F. I would, now surmise that the opposite is happening. The surrounding earth is being overpowered and cooled by the cooler, sinking water.

I'll have to put more thought into this to really wrap my head around it.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Fall Observations - 12/13/18 11:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Mike Whatley

It also raises several questions for those of us way down south. What if your pond surface never sees 39F? Does it not have a winter turn over? Or just not as quickly?


It will still turnover as the water cools at the surface and sinks. It just won't stratify in the same manner.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Fall Observations - 12/13/18 11:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
That helps my understanding a lot Bocomo. Thanks for the info! I always thought that the water near the bottom would be thermally warmed by the surrounding earth, kind of like how a cave is always 60 degrees F. I would, now surmise that the opposite is happening. The surrounding earth is being overpowered and cooled by the cooler, sinking water.

I'll have to put more thought into this to really wrap my head around it.


Your first instinct is still correct, though! There is definitely heat transfer between the pond water and the pond bottom. If the ground is still very hot it will slow the cooling of the pond when air temperatures drop. That's probably as far as I want to go in terms of a scientific explanation. The dynamics of heat transfer in open systems is beyond my expertise as I'm a biochemist and much better at closed systems than open ones.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 12/17/18 03:03 PM

Just some recent events I wanted to document...

I received some rain a couple weeks ago that must of come down in a short period of time because the overflow pipe was really letting the water out. This rain muddied the pond up pretty bad. Secchi readings were about 30" and were reduced to 12" overnight. I have also turned the aeration system on for a couple hours a day to help keep the periodic, but frequent, ice overs open. This might be adding to the muddy water, but I doubt it as it's only runing one of the diffusers and it's in about the 3 foot depth.

Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Fall Observations - 12/17/18 04:27 PM

Of interest, we has a heavy rain a couple of weeks ago when it got warm out suddenly, it quickly melted off the ice. What was cool is the warm, muddy rainwater "floated" on the top foot or two, and everything below was clear and cold. The muddy water went in, and right back out the spillway.
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: Fall Observations - 12/18/18 10:05 AM

I was up at our pond last week. I had 3-4Ē of ice (I donít aerate). Having these warmer days in the 50s might melt it off. My water is pretty clear right now. I can look down throug the ice fairly far. (12-18Ē) I didnít see any activity below the ice. Not sure how far south of me you are.
Do you fish in the winter? I bought a manual ice auger a few years ago, but we havenít had a good prolonged cold snap to get thick enough ice for me to try it. Up there alone, Iím a little hesitant to go out on the ice.
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: Fall Observations - 12/18/18 10:32 AM

Living just east of Lake Michigan must really keep our weather mild! I can't believe that in Missouri and Kansas that folks have 3-4" of ice already! We have barely gone below freezing at night at all outside of a little snow that came around Thanksgiving! Green Christmas again this year for sure..
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: Fall Observations - 12/19/18 07:39 AM

We had a week with nighttime temps in the teens or low 20s. Cloudy all day and in the low 30s. Almost every pond I drove by was frozen over. Mine had come up a bit due to earlier rains. My feederís legs were all under the ice. Couldnít budge it. Have a nice warm streak going now. Four days in the low 50s, with lots of sun. I wouldnít walk on it before, now..
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 12/19/18 08:20 AM

Setterguy, I have yet to wet a line during the winter months. Before owning a pond, it was just too much to plan a day a go to open waters in the cold weather. Surely I can find time to fish some this winter, but getting out on the ice does not thrill me at all. I went to the pond to try and get bottom temp readings yesterday, but the thin layer of ice has not thawed to allow the throw and retrieval of my thermometer. If not today, this warm streak should allow for it tomorrow. It's amazing how 40 degree water can hold ice even when the last two days have been in the 50s.

I have seen several ice overs already this winter which is out of the ordinary compared to the last 7 years of owning the property, but the thickest has only been about 3/4" this winter.

Liquidsquid, Your observations of separated warm muddy water must have been a sight to see!
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Fall Observations - 01/09/19 10:30 AM

Just checking in to record some observations. The pond has recieved aonther rain since mid Dec that pushed water out of the pond. The 15" overflow pipe was half full at the inlet. A fair amount of light tan foam was generated at the inlet of the pond and the thin layer of existing ice kept it from making it's way to the outlet pipe. This foam is likely protiens from the cattle and hay pastures that feed the pond. I measured water temps at the outlet of the overflow pipe, from surface to the botoom of the pond, and inlet watershed temps. They were all within a degre of 40 degrees F. I was releved that temp shock was not going to be an issue. I turned the aeration system on for a couple hours (all three diffusers) so that the ice would disipate and allow the foam to flow out. It may have made it's way to outlet pipe and/or broke up and disolved into the pond. Either way, the water flowed through the pond for more than 24 hours. At it's peek, I have estimated that it was flowing out at a rate of 7 to 9000 gallons per minute. That would be enough to completely flush the pond within a coule of hours (given uniform flow from inlet to outlet which would not necessarilyu be the case). At any rate, the pond's water was mostly exchanged during the 24 four period of inflow.

Ever since the heavy mid December rain, the water clarity has hovered around the 12 inch mark except for the day of receent heavy rains and it was reduce to 6". I think the two hours of aeration per day contributes to the low clarity, but I hestitate to turn it off to find out. Last year's clarity was near 30" all winter long (without any aeration).

PS: I fished the pond twice since my last entry for about 15 minutes per trip, it started to drizzle both times, it was cold, no bites whatsoever...I went back to the warm shop. My spinner may be too fast of an action for 40 degree water.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 03/26/19 11:27 AM

I threw out some left over feed yesterday to find some, but slight interest from the HBG. If the HSB were there, they stayed low enough not to cause any swirls. It has been about a month since I tried to feed anything and had no takers then. It's time to get the feeder ready and some fresh food on order. Water temps were 46 on the bottom and 52 towards the top.

Pond has been very muddy all winter. We have had a lot of rain runoff and the single shallow diffuser seems to add to the murky waters.

I will be setting up all three diffusers to start functioning soon. I think I will start that process as if it were starting up for the first time...15 minutes first day, double the time every day thereafter that until I am up and running 24 hours a day. Once summer hits, I will have to reduce it down to nighttime operations.
Posted by: TGW1

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 03/27/19 07:37 AM

For me, I lost some fish when I doubled the diffuser time everyday. I go a little slower now when I do my start up. I would suggest a slower start up if it were me.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 03/27/19 09:46 AM

I brought my air system up last year using the basic guidelines without indecent and since the winter diffuser has been active, I hope all goes well this spring.

TG, my pond was recently renovated and has very little muck on the bottom to add to the poisoning effect. I think all will be fine, we'll see. I will, by default, be bringing the system up a little slower than prescribed because I will be seeing some cooler temps this coming weekend and will not double the run times if the temperatures do not cooperate. I base my air schedule solely on water vs air temps. If the air temp is cooler during the run time, I prefer to run the air as little as possible so increasing run-time that day will be put off until air temps rise some more.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 03/27/19 09:47 AM

I have ordered Optimal Blue Gill feed for this year. I chose to bump up in feed pellet size to accommodate my growing HBG. The Optimal BG feed is 1 mm larger in diameter than the Junior and much larger than the Starter #4 that I 50/50 mixed and fed last year. The BG feed is 2% lower in proteins and lipids compared to the #4 and Junior, but I think the fish will prefer the larger pellets and eat more aggressively, especially since the FHM population is much smaller this year.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/04/19 04:46 PM

I have been feeding pellets about every over day now for the last week. The water temp near the surface have broken 50 degrees F. I am hand throwing small feed near the bank and larger out at the end of the dock. The HBG are hitting very light out in the open waters and the FHM's are showing some interest near the bank. I did see the first crawdad feeding yesterday, but only one and only for a very short time. I have been seeing a barred owl or two in the evening and they are harvesting the crawdads best I can tell. I often see a lone pincher on the dock (without the rest of the body) and I have seen, what I believe to be, owl scat on the dock posts that is mainly crawdad exoskeleton. At any rate, the pond is warming up and the feeder is ready for service.

I have also been babysitting the aerator system. It has only been running about a hour a day during the late afternoon and only on days that the temps are above the water temps.
Posted by: DrLuke

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/04/19 06:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
I did see the first crawdad feeding yesterday, but only one and only for a very short time. I have been seeing a barred owl or two in the evening and they are harvesting the crawdads best I can tell. I often see a lone pincher on the dock (without the rest of the body) and I have seen, what I believe to be, owl scat on the dock posts that is mainly crawdad exoskeleton.


Very interesting! Just curious, do you think the owls are pouncing them in the very shallow areas, or waiting for them to crawl out on shore first? Any area where you think the owls hunt frequently enough to put a game camera out? It would be super neat to see how they catch a crawdad for supper! As always, thanks for the report. Here's hoping for a great summer pond season!
Posted by: TGW1

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/05/19 12:05 PM

I would ck that scat and see if it is loaded with fish scales. If so it would be an otter. I was not familiar with otter scat and then I was frown My first sample was on the pier.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/08/19 03:26 PM

Originally Posted By: DrLuke
Very interesting! Just curious, do you think the owls are pouncing them in the very shallow areas, or waiting for them to crawl out on shore first? Any area where you think the owls hunt frequently enough to put a game camera out? It would be super neat to see how they catch a crawdad for supper! As always, thanks for the report. Here's hoping for a great summer pond season!


I caught an owl at the bank the other day which is odd because when I have seen them at the pond they are always in the cedar trees. This time it was merely a few feet from the shore on the ground at about an hour before dark. I presume that it was waiting for a crawdad to make itself known in the water and then would snatch it out. The only times that I have seen the Northern Virile crawdads out of the water was after a major rain event and there was some kind of exodus going on as they were everywhere. I spent the evening picking them up out of the shop which is 150 feet from any water source (pond or creek).

My game camera went south this last year, but if I get another I will put it on the dock to watch the pond.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/08/19 03:28 PM

Originally Posted By: TGW1
I would ck that scat and see if it is loaded with fish scales. If so it would be an otter. I was not familiar with otter scat and then I was frown My first sample was on the pier.


Here's a pic of the scat. It seems entirely composed of crawdad bits...



This one was deposited on top of the dock post which is about 4 feet tall.
Posted by: roundy

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/08/19 03:50 PM

Makes my anatomy hurt just thinking about passing that.....
Posted by: DrLuke

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/08/19 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: roundy
Makes my anatomy hurt just thinking about passing that.....


Not sure if would make you feel any better to know they regurgitate those back up? eek
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 04/30/19 02:24 PM

No Dr Luke, I don't feel any better. At any rate, it's not scat then...it's called a pellet. That word has a more pleasant aftertaste.

Well, the pond has been getting along with aeration from about 11am to 3pm for several weeks now. The water temps have stabilized from top to bottom around the mid 60's which tells me that the air system is turning the pond over sufficiently. Part of me wants to keep increasing the "on" time, but another part of me says good enough is good enough. Not to mention that the pond has been muddy all winter long (9-12" secchi). It recently measured 13", but that's not enough for me to hang my hat on and say it's getting better. It seems that the aeration system may be contributing to the lack of clarity. The previous winter without air the secchi readings got to be 36", this winter...no comparison with only a couple hours of air a day in the shallows. All in all, I am content knowing that the murkiness of the pond has some benefits like FA reduction and it may be a sign of good fertility.

The fish are feeding well on the new size of Optimal and the crawdads have returned to feeding as well. There does not seem to be as many, but maybe they are tending to this years YOY...not sure how that works, but I refuse to think the owls made that big of a dent...we'll see. The HSB have yet to make the big splashes during feeding time that I was accustomed to last year, but the HBG splashes seem to be bigger. I guess they grew some over the winter. I'll catch a few soon to get a baseline for this years growth. The FHM are still there even though numbers seemed to have waned over the winter, but the water temps are still in the 60's and it's hard to see much through the murk.

Plans this year are too start trapping the YOY HBG to access their recruitment, add some more HSB (about 6 or so)for ladder stocking, and start removing any HBG that get to be decent pan frying size (females if recruitment seems high).

Here's to a new pond year!
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/17/19 03:36 PM

I have caught a few of the HBG this week to find them all (6 total) over last fall's record of 0.28 pounds. The largest was right at 1/2 pound and 7 inches long. The photo shows the second largest at 0.44 pounds and almost 7 inches long. Winter growth appears to have been very good even without pellet feeding. They are on their way to becoming little monsters...

Posted by: DrLuke

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/17/19 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Quarter Acre
I have caught a few of the HBG this week to find them all (6 total) over last fall's record of 0.28 pounds. The largest was right at 1/2 pound and 7 inches long. The photo shows the second largest at 0.44 pounds and almost 7 inches long. Winter growth appears to have been very good even without pellet feeding. They are on their way to becoming little monsters...


Quite the chunker! Great looking HBG, QA! Do they fight the same, better, or different than BG? Just curious, since I don't have them in our pond.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/17/19 04:56 PM

I can't say for sure, my traditional rod and real combos for going fishing beyond my property are more stout while the rod I have been using a my pond has a very light drag and is only 4 feet long. I would bet that a wild (not pellet fed) BG would give a better fight. I think my fish are more domesticated due to the lack of a chase they have to give to just suck up pellets...the HSB, on the other hand, are like freight trains on the light combo!
Posted by: Augie

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/19/19 07:57 PM

Couple more years and that fish will be as big as the plate.
Posted by: Bill D.

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/19/19 08:55 PM

Nice looking fish! Interesting coloration. Is that red on the
O flap?
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/20/19 02:24 PM

It certainly looks to be at least a rust color. I did not take much time while the fish was out of water to actually inspect it closely. It was... caught, weighed, photo'd, and returned to the pond.

Might have some RES or Pumpkin-seed traits, huh? I'll look more for that as I sample the pond this summer.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/21/19 06:16 AM

Green on the jaw is indicative of possible gsf somewhere in previous generations. Or so it is at my place.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 05/21/19 08:33 AM

The HBG were purchased from Harrison's and would have been the traditional BG x GSF cross, but you never know what your gonna get...I believe I had a FHM turn into a grass carp (from a different fish farm).

There are RES in the pond, but this guy is on of the original stockers.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 06/10/19 09:25 AM

Quick update to the HSB pond record...This years first and only HSB catch has broken last fall's record by 0.2 pounds...



This one was 14.5" long and weighed 1.63 pounds. It's good to know that winter growth likely existed even though my sampling is as small as it gets...these fish are hard to get on the line. A total of 3 hours of fishing went into landing this one fish (20-30 minutes an evening for a week with several near strikes and/or misses). It was caught on a 4" long broken back floating minnow lure reeled in slow at the surface - just fast enough to give it some action but stay afloat. If the wind is blowing the right direction, it takes the HBG feed across the pond and the FHM's tend to form small schools and push the pellets around...then the HSB start feeding on the minnows. This has been lasting for about 20 minutes an evening. Eventually the pellets fade away and the minnows return to hiding.

I'm pretty sure there are bigger HSB in there by looking at some of the surface hits, but I don't want to over fish them so I have decided to give them a break and try again in a month or two (if I can resist the temptation).
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 06/10/19 10:33 AM

So thatís what a HSB looks like! One of these days Iíll actually see one. 😂
Looking good QA. Healthy looking fish.
Posted by: canyoncreek

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 06/10/19 02:18 PM

SetterGuy,
Do you see the surface 'hits' or big swirls at feeding time that could indicate HSB?
Posted by: SetterGuy

Re: A Pond Log by QA - 06/11/19 05:27 PM

There are some very big swirls when feeding. Not sure if they are from larger YP or SMB or the elusive HSB. My water has pretty poor clarity right now, so all I see is the swirl. I donít get a good look at any fish.
Going to try hand feeding per TJís suggestion once I retire in seven weeks, and actually spend more than a few hours by the pond.