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#488675 - 04/16/18 04:15 PM A Balcones escarpment hill country pond
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Hello from northwest Bexar county, Texas, near Leon Springs and Boerne. I started a new pond in February 2017 to fulfill a 28 year old dream of damming up a ravine on our property. My friend's big backhoe/loader was able to dig down as much as eight feet as we progressed down the ravine, alternating between solid rock ledges and soft rocky clay layers. We were building a pond, 50 by 100 feet, together with a recirculating river cascading 100 feet from the top of the ravine. I expected to find the legendary Spanish silver, supposedly buried on Cross Mountain as the Spaniards fled the Indians...what better place to bury it and certainly not on the solid rock hill top. No silver...damn! Then my friend started worrying about dropping into a cave...well, the known but unmapped cave ought to follow the fault line which is known to run about fifty feet north under the street. Anyway, I lined the pond and river with 30 mil poly (otherwise used for lining oil well frac water ponds). I have some very steep sides into the pond but we were able to cut some shelves along the sides. All this without HOA permission...as they say, better to ask forgiveness for a "water feature" than ask permission for a small lake. As luck would have it, my great neighbor, Berto, head of the architectural review committee, lover of ponds and owner of a construction company, covered my ass. Berto even gave me a one horse submersible pump! Now I had a total three HP to pump up to the head of the river. Come April and I stocked twenty Channel cats, fifty CNBGs, twenty RES, and three pounds of Fathead minnows. I was advised not to add any LMBs because the pond is too small. Well, about July, I'm looking at buucoo bluegill nests and I don't see anything attacking them. Avoiding my fish supplier (scientist, lake manager, and all that), I mail ordered ten LMBs, too small at the time to whittle on the bluegills...but I'm looking to the future. All the while, I'm feeding these fish various fish pellets and they are growing! I fertilized the pond some to help the plankton. I built some pvc fish attractors, added a pallet and an old Christmas tree. I found five mutilated Channel cats that the submersible pump had devoured...of course, I should have built a cage around it...after the fact wasn't very easy, it being five feet under water, but I gotter done. About August, I stained the pond with a beautiful Caribbean blue dye...three weeks later the blue was gone but I had a fluorescent green color which I still have to this day. Last fall, getting a few pounds of shiners, I also picked up ten hybrid blue cats (HBC?). My fun development work stopped when summer hit with oppressive heat and humidity. In the fall, I planted $250 worth of various wild prairie grasses, flowers, and dam slope stabilizing seed...of course the deer ate almost all of it as it sprouted. Winter was usually cold and when not, I was golfing...plus my usually friendly fish went to the bottom. Now I'm back at finishing this project. The river awaits, wanting leaks fixed, waterfalls sealed, streambed rocks placed, and landscaping. I've come to notice that plants, underwater, marsh (I'm also working on about five hundred sq. ft. of bogs), and landscape cost a lot of money, more even than rocks, and even wholesale. Golf courses have lots of water plants but I need to develop a thieving attitude. In the end, I need to cover up black poly liner, stabilize some open dirt slopes, and build wooden decks and walkways. I found a recipe for stabilizer, far cheaper than $50 per gallon, requiring only a gallon of Elmer's glue ($8 to $12), five gallons of water (wow! now we got six gallons!), and a cup of vinegar...the vinegar converts the Elmers into a full fledged acrylic...this stuff is used on bike racing dirt tracks. I expect to break holes in it to put plants. Still, I have a dilemma regarding covering the exposed poly liner: I thought of hanging paving rock on a frame supported from above. Then I thought of hanging fake wooden bulwarks from above. Then I thought of fake grass, which I will try, but which no doubt would be strikingly odd against the rock and dirt hillside. I will be so grateful for any advice in this matter!
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Dan McWhirter



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#488678 - 04/16/18 04:41 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Two pics of pond and "river" showing exposed slopes and poly liner. Any advice on covering the liner, especially the vertical hang, will be most appreciated.
The pond has a dual aerator and a fountain. I intended the "river" to aerate and circulate, but dumping large rocks into it created too many leaks through the liner, which I'm now chasing in the warmer weather.
I recently added a sand filter after noting that my cloudy water was not due to algae but to dirt and dust that accompanied my crushed limestone and gravel. The filter has done a good job. I'm thinking that besides caring for fish and fishing, swimming will be available when it warms up.


Attachments
Pond View.jpg (202 downloads)
Uphill view.jpg (166 downloads)

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Dan McWhirter



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#488719 - 04/17/18 07:29 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
CMM Offline


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 608
Loc: West Central MO
Nice looking project Dan.
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CMM


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#489022 - 04/22/18 09:41 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: CMM]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Thank you! I am putting fake grass on those upright sections of poly liner. Looks good, like real grass.
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Dan McWhirter



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#489535 - 05/04/18 01:17 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Subscribed to Pond Boss magazine and love the Facebook live videos!
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Dan McWhirter



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#490706 - 05/25/18 07:36 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
I had bribed the bass with Louisiana crawdads to leave the bluegill alone. I had not seen a bass in three weeks. I assume they were chasing six pounds of crawdads all over the bottom. Today the bass showed up again, stalking the minnows and BG YOY, which already range a half-inch up to two inches. Other than weather being mighty hot and humid, life is good! Placing submerged plants and slices of XMas tree around the BG spawning beds for cover and "looks." Re-learned an old lesson today...a deer pulled a plant from the water and cut it clean off. Years ago a deer pulled my prized lily out of the koi pond and ate most of it, but spit out the blooms, and the plant refused to bloom anymore that year.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#490708 - 05/25/18 08:14 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 52
Loc: Texas
Danny,

Your post may have just answered my question. I live in the Dallas area and caught a number of bluegill in the 1.5 to 2 in range that I had not been seeing till now. Was wondering if they could be this year's first bluegill. When would they have spawned to be this size? Maybe first week of April?

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#490709 - 05/25/18 08:22 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: jpsdad]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
I think first week of April would be right. It was about that time I saw the BG start making nests so I bought two yards of gravel and dumped it on and spread it over and beyond the gravel bed I made last year.
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Dan McWhirter



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#490710 - 05/25/18 08:25 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Just donated to Pond Boss forum
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Dan McWhirter



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#490733 - 05/26/18 08:28 AM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13386
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Nice looking place Dan. You will have to keep an eye on the fish biomass. Bluegills and bass are spawning machines and if they get overly numerous you will have to eliminate some of them. As Bill Cody sez, fish swim in their own toilets and create a danged unhealthy environment.
_________________________
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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#490739 - 05/26/18 12:59 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
jpsdad Offline


Registered: 05/20/18
Posts: 52
Loc: Texas
Your going have alot good times and make some great memories. Glad you have fulfilled this dream. I am imagining now how the falling water sounds while sipping a beer and watching fireflies ....

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#490757 - 05/26/18 09:44 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Thank you Dave! I am pushing the biomass...there's fifteen CC that are close to two feet, monsters that engulf large catfish feed, my wife calls them "hoover." They jump on wiener, seeming to prefer German. I had to throw them back, unprepared for cleaning and waste management. But, harvest is coming.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#490758 - 05/26/18 09:49 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
There's ten hybrid blues, about a foot long, following. Those are my cats...I can see harvesting some...but I'm leery of restocking with small cats that could be easy dinner for cats or bass.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#490787 - 05/27/18 03:23 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: jpsdad]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Thanks! I fell asleep at the pond last night. Peaceful! Fireflies...last year we had a bunch, after almost none for many years (drought?). This year we have a few.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#491605 - 06/11/18 12:08 AM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas


The pond at mid-June 2018, one year old, is showing off its beautiful water and well fed fish: catfish, bluegill, and bass.


Edited by DannyMac (06/11/18 12:09 AM)
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#491608 - 06/11/18 05:35 AM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
Dave Davidson1 Online   content
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13386
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Danny, I'm speaking from personal experience. My first pond, a 1/4 acre which I still have, was stocked about 30 or so years ago with fathead minnows, bluegills, catfish and bass. Everything went great for a couple of years. Then, I noticed a couple of floating bluegills. Before long, the die off started. I lost 90% of the fish. That was Mama Natures way of telling me that I had blown it. Aeration didn't exist in those days and this pond is a mile or so from electricity anyway. It now has about 15 one to two pound catfish, bluegills and green sunfish.
_________________________
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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#491626 - 06/11/18 12:55 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
I put the aerators and fountain to run 10 PM to 10 AM and the pond has dropped from 85 to 80, top to bottom, in just a few days.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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#491627 - 06/11/18 01:11 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline


Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 26
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Thanks again Dave! We've had a 1,000 gallon koi pond for about twenty years...for a while we had about fifteen koi that over the years grew quite large. It has a 1 HP pool pump to run a massive water fall. The intake for the pump was my filter, using blankets of filter material. I was cleaning fish shit out of the plugged filters monthly...we also did not have these newer kinds of bacteria. The koi routinely tore up my water lilies...with teamwork! I lost all but three koi when some chlorine got in from a fresh water well job...I saved three with chlorine neutralizer. Then, I wanted to give them new water...forgot about the running hose and suffocated them with no oxygen. Now it's goldfish only along with some bastard crosses of koi-goldfish. Some of those I put in the new larger pond...they're ugly but goldfish gape and they're easy to see. The bass really get after the little ones.
_________________________
Dan McWhirter



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