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#3450 - 08/24/05 12:15 AM Digging existing pond deeper
GSStage2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Near Lansing Michigan
I apologize if this has been covered in previous topics. I just found this sight and I am extremely overwhelmed with the information. I am subscribing to Pond Boss magazine tonight. This a very lengthy question also. Even if I could be steered to previous posts I would appreciate it. I will be browsing for sometime but my work begins in a few days.

I have had a pond for the past 10 or so years that is about a half acre when full. It is a run off pond so the level fluctuates up to 48” as it is down that much now. It is all natural clay and when full (full meaning to the run off drain) it is 12 feet deep. (So I am at about 8 feet now) I put an aerator in it 2 years ago which completely eliminated the muck that accumulated. The fish have done fairly well with Bream, Largemouth Bass being the primary fish with some Black Crappie. The Bass grow fast as do the hybrids with some pellet feedings. 2lb Bream with Largemouths caught in the 6 to 7 lb range.

The problem I have had in the past couple of years even with the aeration in the Winter keeping the ice open, is that the larger Bass are dead in the Spring, or did I kill them off with aerator as this is when I had a fish kill problem in the Winter?

The pond was originally dug with very steep sides that were well above the water level, so now I am having the sides modified with a dozer to be less steep (out of the water parts) so I can manage the trees and weeds that have grown up. I am also having it dug deeper to at least 12 feet now. (This will make it 16 feet in the Winter and Spring)

I have heard that clay ponds take a while to clear. This pond is crystal clear all of the time. As they will be digging in the water. I am slightly concerned about the existin fish. There is a huge amount of fry this year as the spawn was good for the hybrids (I know) and the Bass)

I am at the lowest now for good fish, I have not stocked in a few years and this past Winter took out most of the fish over 16”. Will this kill the rest of the fish? I have means of pulling the fish and putting them somewhere else until the work is done.

Thank you in advance.

I am in Michigan
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#3451 - 08/24/05 02:16 AM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
h20fwlkillr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 320
Loc: Holden, Mo
Aerating in the winter actually cools the water. All of the pond basicly becomes the same Temp. I would stop the air in late fall.
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#3452 - 08/24/05 07:49 AM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
Cecil Baird1 Offline
Hall of Fame

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by GSStage2:
I apologize if this has been covered in previous topics. I just found this sight and I am extremely overwhelmed with the information. I am subscribing to Pond Boss magazine tonight. This a very lengthy question also. Even if I could be steered to previous posts I would appreciate it. I will be browsing for sometime but my work begins in a few days.

I have had a pond for the past 10 or so years that is about a half acre when full. It is a run off pond so the level fluctuates up to 48” as it is down that much now. It is all natural clay and when full (full meaning to the run off drain) it is 12 feet deep. (So I am at about 8 feet now) I put an aerator in it 2 years ago which completely eliminated the muck that accumulated. The fish have done fairly well with Bream, Largemouth Bass being the primary fish with some Black Crappie. The Bass grow fast as do the hybrids with some pellet feedings. 2lb Bream with Largemouths caught in the 6 to 7 lb range.

The problem I have had in the past couple of years even with the aeration in the Winter keeping the ice open, is that the larger Bass are dead in the Spring, or did I kill them off with aerator as this is when I had a fish kill problem in the Winter?

The pond was originally dug with very steep sides that were well above the water level, so now I am having the sides modified with a dozer to be less steep (out of the water parts) so I can manage the trees and weeds that have grown up. I am also having it dug deeper to at least 12 feet now. (This will make it 16 feet in the Winter and Spring)

I have heard that clay ponds take a while to clear. This pond is crystal clear all of the time. As they will be digging in the water. I am slightly concerned about the existin fish. There is a huge amount of fry this year as the spawn was good for the hybrids (I know) and the Bass)

I am at the lowest now for good fish, I have not stocked in a few years and this past Winter took out most of the fish over 16”. Will this kill the rest of the fish? I have means of pulling the fish and putting them somewhere else until the work is done.

Thank you in advance.

I am in Michigan
Being as far north as you are I politely disagree with the poster H2ofwlkillr. He doesn't have to deal with the snow and ice you do so shutting off his aerator in fall is just fine down there.

That said, yes, you can stress your fish with winter aeration if not done correctly. Been there done that here in northern Indiana. You need to set your diffuser in a different place than in winter than summer. Set it in only 3 or four feet of water preferably in a shallow end of the pond if possible. If you set it in the deepest water, as in summer, you will chill your water and there will not be a warm water sanctuary for your fish (relatively speaking). I do agree with H2Ofwlkillr on that.

I had my pond dug out deeper on the edges a few years ago (it's called dipping around here) and the water became very turbid. But it did clear relatively soon. However that didn't hurt the fish. It's possible it could be a concern going into winter as bass and bluegill are sight feeders and they need to build up reserves for winter. Maybe someone else can chime in on this.

You had a good hatch with hybrids? That's odd considering they are predominately male and there shouldn't be a that great of a spawn. Additionally with the size of your bass in the past they can't be getting that big on just hybrids. I would venture to guess you have more than just hybrids and that is what your good hatch is. That said, if you had a good hatch of whatever -- that will help your bass out in the turbid water.

Interestingly when my pond was dipped the clay that was pulled out did not wash in perceptively. That could be a plus in your case.

Good luck!

BTW, I had very good luck one winter just keeping the snow off the ice and only running the aerator when temps got into the 40's. But that can be a lot of work. I actually do both. Just a thought.
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#3453 - 08/24/05 07:53 AM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
Russ Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 1011
Loc: Ulster Park, NY
GSS,




Welcome to Pond Boss! Take some time to get your feet wet and you'll find that this site offers a wide range of brain fodder on pond/lake management. There is a good knowledge base here which runs the gamut from greenhorn to accomplished professional. Jump in.

The subject of winter aeration, which is especially important for us northerners, has been a topic of past discussion. Here is one link to some good information. Winter aeration
Your initial post does not mention whether your air diffuser is located in the bottom of your pond. If you want to aerate your pond in the winter, given your geographic location, it is recommended that you place your diffuser in shallow water. Like H2Ofwlkillr mentioned, running a bottom diffuser in winter will result in mixing the warmer water from the bottom of the pond with the cooler upper layers. This situation becomes very stressful for fish (see Bill C's post in the link), especially warm water species like LMB which may be the case with your LMB loss. There is a post out there that explains this concept with more detail than I can provide. Perhaps some will post the link, if not you'll have to go fishing for it.


Here is another link involving winter aeration Winter aeration

Russ

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#3454 - 08/28/05 10:27 PM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
GSStage2 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 2
Loc: Near Lansing Michigan
Thanks for the replies. The kids and I fished this past weekend and caught mostly hybrids and yes quite a few Sun Fish. After catching some of the fry, I determined they were in fact Sun fish. Not sure how they arrived, however I know it happens.

Of course my air diffuser is in the deepest part of the pond and run 24/7.

Thanks for the links for the Winter aeration I want my giant Largemouth bass back! My 12 year old did manage to pull a 5lb. 6oz. Largemouth out. He wasn’t happy when he had to let him go! He knows that is a big Bass for Michigan.
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Jeff Hart

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#3455 - 09/01/05 01:47 PM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
bz Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 844
Loc: Minnesota
I can attest to the fact that you have to run the aerator during the winter and you also have to make sure it doesn't cool down the whole pond. I accomplish this by having my bottom diffuser in the deepest spot but only running it for two shifts a day, each 4 hours long. I have had 2 feet of snow on the pond without ever losing a fish that I've seen. I have HBG, Crappie, and LMB. They have all done well. Can't say if this will work for everyone since all ponds are different. My pond is very long with deep section in the middle and vast shallower areas (4 feet) on both ends. My area ratio is about 2/3 shallow to 1/3 deep. Perhaps this has made my situation work. I get a kick out of you southern guys talking about cooler weather and not feeding during cooler temps. Wish I had your version of cool weather. My fish feed all the way up to ice over in November. Then how about -20 degrees for 2 weeks straight in January sound to you? That's why you can't let the aerator run 24/7 in these northern climates.
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#3456 - 10/06/05 04:25 PM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
fozzybear Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/03
Posts: 115
Loc: SE Michigan
GSStage2,
I live just east of you (Fenton MI) have similar pond conditions as yours. Mine is about 12 ft. deep when full and right now is at about 10 ft. due to lack of rain. I turn my aerators off in november and then leave them off until sometime in the spring. The kids and I play hockey on it in the winter so open water is not a good thing. The first two years I was able to shovel the snow off 90% of it almost all year long. I had no fish kills those years. Last year we had some 12" snows that were wet very early in the year and I had a hard time ever getting it clear again. I think I had 2 bass and 5 catfish dead in the spring. The key is getting the snow off 50% of the pond and keeping it off. Lots of work, but if you like skating it may be worth it.
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Its how well you look doing it!


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#3457 - 10/06/05 09:11 PM Re: Digging existing pond deeper
Tuzz Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 234
Loc: Greenfield Park, NY
We have gone 2 winters now turning off the aerators in early November. I do plow the pond so that my wife can ice skate and then use my ice fishing auger to punch a bunc of holes along the inner edge of the ice skating loop. This allows me to bring water up on hte ice to smooth it off. So far no winter kill here. This year could be different unless we get the much needed rain before ice over. I don't have a DO meter to know what our levels are at but would feel alot better if we get a major refresh of water with a good soaking of rain.

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