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#341704 - 07/01/13 03:53 PM My Dug Pond Project
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Well after doing some research around here and going thru all of the permitting process over the last two months, I finally broke ground on my pond the other day. So far all we have done is strip the topsoil and then we have had 5+" of rain since, so I kinda already have a pond...

I am building the pond in my backyard and will be using it for fishing, swimming and wildlife viewing. The pond is going to be around one acre at full pool. I have decided that I'm going to give the SMB/RES/YP stocking combo a try. I also have an unlimited supply of broken concrete and brick type material to utilize for structure in the pond.


Here's a picture off my back deck from last winter showing it before I started any work.



Here's a picture of the area stripped of topsoil and after nearly 5" of rain...



Here's a shot from the opposite direction looking back towards the house. You can see that we just bermed the topsoil around the perimeter and plan to use it to cover some of the berms being built around the pond.




Here's a rough drawing of the pond perimeter and some contours of the ponds bottom.




Edited by Huntmaster (07/15/13 01:58 PM)
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#341715 - 07/01/13 04:43 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Omaha Offline
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That place looks incredible and I love the extensive planning. Keep at it!

Jumping ahead here, but considering the structure and the species (and potential species) you're going with, what forage base were you considering for this pond? This could help with structure suggestions as certain forage fish prefer different types of spawning habitat.
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#341724 - 07/01/13 05:35 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
I have seen on here that most people seem to use FHM for forage. I was thinking something along that line as well. But then again, I'm open to whatever the pros here think would work for my scenario.

In the coming year, I'm planning on taking the crops out of rotation and installing some shallow wildlife ponds/wetlands in the field and surrounding them with Warm Season Grasses. I could dig one pond deep enough to raise my own FHM as well. Or anything else for that matter.
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#341725 - 07/01/13 05:37 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Another thing that I haven't seen on here much is ice fishing. If you are going to ice fish your pond, does that change anything?
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#341726 - 07/01/13 05:42 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Omaha Offline
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Registered: 12/06/08
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Loc: Nebraska
Fathead minnows are a good start, but you will eventually want something else that will sustain a population. Fatheads will eventually go extinct. You can consider golden shiners or check out this thread for other options. Some people don't like the golden shiners for various reasons (bait stealers, competition, etc.).

Just noticed your new post about ice fishing. You're speaking my language! Your plan already includes some deeper water which would be one thing I'd want in a pond I'll be ice fishing. If I think of anything else I'll chime back in.
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#342016 - 07/03/13 10:21 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Omaha]
Todd3138 Offline
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Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 3490
Loc: North Central WV
Agreed that FHM may be a decent starting point, but they are small fish and as Omaha said, they'll likely be of limited use as your dominant fish grow. I'm not as well versed on SMB and their preferred forage, but crayfish are a definite good forage for them. However, crayfish bring some of their own issues to your pond such as burrowing (never good with a dam, perhaps less of a concern for you with a dug pond). There are also restrictions from state to state on the different types as some are considered invasive, so you need to be cautious about that.

There are several folks here on the forum who are very well versed on SMB and who should chime in with thoughts if you just sit tight for a bit.

Great looking plans and nice land, by the way!
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#343727 - 07/15/13 01:50 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Todd3138]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Well it finally quit raining and we had some sunshine to dry things out a bit. I think if I would've dug the pond a month earlier, it would be full now...

I have stripped the topsoil around my entire property creating a place to put the excavated pond materials. This will create a 5-6' tall berm around the entire place. Following which I will plant spruce trees on top to create a long term living fence around the homestead.



My excavator is on-site and we should be ready to go this week.



And my boy wanted to help clean the tracks...

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#343740 - 07/15/13 03:31 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Dudley Landry Offline
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Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 869
Loc: St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
When you create a wetlands area on your property, do you retain control of that wetlands area or does the wetlands then fall under the control of a government agency?

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#343754 - 07/15/13 04:32 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
They always remain your property, but can become regulated depending on the type of wetland. Mine are preconversion wetlands and since I'll be leaving the preexisting field drainage system in place, I can drain them anytime I want and they can be converted back into crop fields.

I could also do a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) on my place and then they would be a bit more regulated. Under WRP, they basically pay you 90% or so of the property value for converting them to wetlands. Not a bad deal if you don't ever plan on selling the place...
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#344874 - 07/23/13 11:03 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Well the wait is finally over... We started the pond footprint yesterday and with two weeks of good weather in the forecast, we should be able to move quite well.

Here's a pic of the crew from my deck just before (hopefully) the last shower moves through for the week.




Using the dozer to set the initial side slopes so the guys hit my goal of 3:1



Looking down into the hole. Love seeing blue clay...



Edited by Huntmaster (07/23/13 01:22 PM)
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#344875 - 07/23/13 11:06 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Omaha Offline
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Registered: 12/06/08
Posts: 4508
Loc: Nebraska
That is going to be an absolute dream of a view Huntmaster. Wish my grass looked that good. crazy
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#344907 - 07/23/13 02:40 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Omaha]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Originally Posted By: Omaha
Wish my grass looked that good. crazy


It's only that nice since we have been hammered by rain...

You know the funny thing is, I have been wishing for the last month or so that it would quit raining and in another two weeks, I'll be praying for rain... grin


Edited by Huntmaster (07/25/13 10:29 AM)
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#345100 - 07/25/13 10:45 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Here we are after three days of excavating and over 8,000 yards out of the hole.





If you look closely, you can see the 5' and 10' below elevation shots painted on the side of the pond. The first day he got a little aggressive/steep on the left bank in the pic below. You can see how I had him change the grade right behind the kids after seeing the aggressive bank the first night.

We are doing a 3:1 slope until 4' of water and then changing it to a 4:1 until 8-10' of water then adding a shelf 4-5' wide and then dropping down deep after that.



Here is one of the shallow gravel areas. We have to do a little finish work on this, but it should make a good place for spawning once its finished.

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#345109 - 07/25/13 11:43 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Yellow Jacket Offline


Registered: 02/18/13
Posts: 141
Loc: ACE Basin, SC
Awesome.
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#345492 - 07/29/13 12:18 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
All of the material coming out of the pond is going into berms lining the outside of my property. I have been trying to get a good picture showing how much dirt really is getting moved and I just haven't been able to do that very well. I think these photos will help show that a little better.

This is what the view from the road sitting in my pickup looks like before the berm is finished.



This is what the view from the road sitting in my pickup looks like after the berm is roughed in.



We still have to place the topsoil on top of the berm yet and I will be planting grass and trees on top of it as well. Once complete, I will have a berm that is over one half mile long that looks just like this surrounding my property.
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#345504 - 07/29/13 12:58 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Yellow Jacket Offline


Registered: 02/18/13
Posts: 141
Loc: ACE Basin, SC
Will you be trapping water anywhere (in or out) with that berm?
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#345520 - 07/29/13 02:11 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
It actually works out that any trapped water stays on my property inside the bermed area or I wouldn't have been able to do this. I am putting a tile under one spot of the berm so my pond can over flow into a private ditch that is shared by my neighbor and I. Another spot that ponds water during heavy rain events will just be pushed a little further out into my field and will be carried away by my drain tile that is in the cropped field.

I am also in the process of enrolling the property into a CRP program that will convert portions of the property into a wetland. I am going to use a constructed wetland to be my overflow mechanism for the pond which will then overflow into the ditch system.

My property and surrounding area is very flat. The highest elevation change I have is no more than 3' across the entire property.


Edited by Huntmaster (07/29/13 02:34 PM)
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#345610 - 07/29/13 10:09 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
We finished the underwater portion of the beach area today. We cut the clay and designed it like a bath tub so when we add the sand, it won't want to slide down the slope as much. The sand stops around 6' below water level, then it drops down a foot, then slopes down to 10' before it drops to a 12' deep shelf and then down to 15-17' or so.



This is looking back the opposite way. You can see the beach area off to the right. We will be finishing the underwater peninsula that juts out to the center of the pond and another hidden one that is in between that and the beach area tomorrow.

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#345619 - 07/29/13 11:13 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24027
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
That looks like some solid clay! I hope those underwater structure features stay that way for a long time.
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#345633 - 07/30/13 05:52 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13386
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I would think twice about planting trees on the dam. The tree roots can damage the integrity and cause a breach.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#345646 - 07/30/13 09:02 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Yellow Jacket Offline


Registered: 02/18/13
Posts: 141
Loc: ACE Basin, SC
Don't think this pond has a dam...
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#345648 - 07/30/13 09:36 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13386
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I see what you mean. My mistake
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#345652 - 07/30/13 10:24 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: esshup]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Originally Posted By: esshup
That looks like some solid clay! I hope those underwater structure features stay that way for a long time.


It is great clay! When it dries out it is as hard as concrete... It will also stand vertical for 10-15' no problem...

I know some of the areas will silt in through time, but with limited runoff coming from grassy areas, the silt load on the pond should be minimal. There should also be limited shore erosion since two sides of the pond will be lined with rip rap.

Any guess under those circumstances how long some of these shelves with last? 10-15 years?


Edited by Huntmaster (07/30/13 10:28 AM)
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#345721 - 07/30/13 09:19 PM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1912
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
If it freezes, not very long I'm afraid. If you have rip rap available, buttress them with stone walls? If below the freeze line, it should be ok, but critters will disturb them also. Depending on the clay and moisture content, clay will flow.
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#345858 - 08/01/13 09:39 AM Re: My Dug Pond Project [Re: Huntmaster]
Huntmaster Offline


Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 215
Loc: Southeast Michigan
Well by the time I get home this afternoon, we will have the entire pond excavated... I'll try to get some more pics posted of my peninsulas now that they are finished.

We still have to excavate 5' of width around the top 1.5' or so of the perimeter that is sand so we can recompact clay back in to bring the pond elevation up some. We also will be moving some broken brick and concrete into the hole and placing it on the peninsulas.

Now all the habitat placement can get started...
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