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#491770 - 06/13/18 11:15 AM New Member from N.E Arkansas
Brad Morris Offline

Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Arkansas
Good morning Pond Boss Community. I joined the forum in hopes that I can get some help locating information and possibly services for my pond.

I have a 4.5 acre watershed lake that was built in the early 1970's. My family has owned the land since the pond was built, and I was told that it was around 25'-30' deep in the middle. I have not confirmed this with a depth finder because I can not get a bigger boat in it. My pond, at one time, had some of the cleanest water I've ever seen for a "farm" pond. There were muscles that were part of the aquatic population.

Over the years, the pond got neglected and abused by various family members. The pond now is in such a shape that I would like to start over. Not only would I like to get the pond to a state that it once was, I'd like to make it better for fishing.

#491776 - 06/13/18 12:06 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
canyoncreek Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1990
Loc: West Michigan
Welcome to the forum!
What do you see to be the best options for starting over?

IS there a dam that can be breached? You can then let the water flow down, or be pumped down, and then let the muck dry sufficiently to allow machines to spread or remove it. And then do you have a place to go to with several thousand yards of muck?

Most of us would say that 'starting over' for a 50 year old pond would HAVE to include redigging down to the clay to remove sediment and bound up nutrients. Does it have adequate clay to hold water? Or is it also a ground water pond?

If there is a dam that is exposed after drawdown, that would be a time to assess the construction of the base of the dam, inspect or redo the keyway if there are any concerns about construction techniques at the time of the original dam build and also if there are any possible leaks through the base of the dam or behind the dam if it stays 'wet' you need to address those now.

During the 'no water' phase you can also plan for a bottom siphon if that sounds like it would suit your needs or can plan for your future needs for a spillway or over the dam siphon system.

4.5 acres is a lot of water to backup and safely manage.

I would say these are the things that a good pond builder would have you tackle first. After that is done there are lots of good links here about how to stock your forage first while the pond slowly fills and then plan for predators in year 2 or beyond depending on your goals.

Edited by canyoncreek (06/13/18 12:10 PM)

#491785 - 06/13/18 01:37 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: canyoncreek]
Brad Morris Offline

Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Arkansas
The north side of my pond is where the levee/dam is located. The levee is roughly 500' long and 20-25' tall. You can drive on it because it has a gravel top. There is also plenty of growth on the levee with grass and trees. At one time, there was a 4" overflow pipe that went through the levee to keep the water level at a desired point. There was also a culvert in the northwest corner that has since collapsed and caused a cave in at the very end of the levee.

What I am wanting to do is start over with the pond. I want ideas on if I do need to drain it to start over, if there are chemicals used instead of draining for cleaning up the water, the best way to start over with the fish that are in it to build a better fishery. The only fish that come out of it now are all under 2lbs. You can catch fish all day...any of the aforementioned species, and get tired of catching fish. I am needing to know the names of any contractors that could do the work for me since I do not own construction equipment. I guess what I am asking for is to be put on a path that I can follow to make myself am outstanding fishery. I have friends with smaller ponds that fish a lot better than mine.

The pond is in the middle of 60 acres of wooded timber and open fields. The down side to the open fields is that it sits on rolling land. There is nothing really "flat" about my property. I do not know the actual build history on the pond. I just know that I have shallow flats that drop off pretty quickly.

I have attached some photos to give you a better idea of what my pond looks like. It is a great little piece of water, but the fishing just isn't fun. I routinely fish smaller bodies of water and pull out 5-8lb largemouth. Since the pond was built, there has been one 10lb female pulled out and she was a transplant at 6+lbs when she went in. Nothing native to my pond gets bigger than 2lbs...if that

To answer the question a the bottom composition, I have no clue. Just from my reading, I am sure that 40+ years of life in this pond has caused a bunch of sediment and nutrients, not to mention all of the things that have been thrown in there over the years (tires for fish habitat from my grandfather, trees, and just junk in general). Also, I do not really know what you mean by saying that 4.5 acres is a lot of water to backup and manage.

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#491787 - 06/13/18 01:56 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
canyoncreek Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1990
Loc: West Michigan
Thanks for the pictures! Since you have the boat handy, start by creating a topographic map of the pond bottom. Just a rough sketch and a weighted rope with marks tied on the rope every foot. Try to map out where your deepest spots and how deep they are and also where the drop offs and shallows are and how shallow they are.

In the shallows, push a marked 3/4" or 1" pvc pipe, 10' long as deep as you can in to the sediment in say 5-6' of water and see how much soft muck there really is before you hit something 'hard'

is the dirt around the pond clay?

I think many would also say what ballpark budget are you thinking?

Edited by canyoncreek (06/13/18 03:38 PM)

#491788 - 06/13/18 02:05 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
Brad Morris Offline

Registered: 06/13/18
Posts: 4
Loc: Arkansas
The land around my pond is mostly gravel. It is located on top of Crowley's Ridge, which is heavily wooded and gravel. There are quite a few gravel pits located along the ridge. As a matter of fact, there is one less than 5 miles from my property. The shallow flats in the pond never get above 3' deep. 3 of the 4 sides to the pond have a pretty steep slope to them, but the Southeast corner is open to my neighbors flat land and garden. I think he uses my runoff as water for said garden. As you can see in the photos, I have a beaver issue as well. Right now, I am not opposed to them being there because they are clearing the waters edge. This was something that I was planning on doing anyway, and they are doing it for me.

As far as my budget, I have not really thought about it. I was just going to assess the bills as they rolled in. I know that there is going to be some "sticker shock," but I am ok with that.

Edited by Brad Morris (06/13/18 02:08 PM)

#491791 - 06/13/18 03:42 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
canyoncreek Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1990
Loc: West Michigan
So, so far you don't have concerns about significant leaks through the dam and you don't plan to rework the dam for any reason? Trees/vegetation on the dam can be a problem down the road but it appears that is not the main concern now.

IF you are OK with the current depths and level of muck then it sounds like you are not so worried about rehabbing the dam or the depth or muck in the pond but just want to start over to get a better fish population?

Aeration can slowly help reduce muck over time and is beneficial in many other ways. Consider doing research on that.

IT sounds like your pond has watershed sources of water but if it is a gravel bottom then it may be a groundwater pond too with water flowing in and out through the gravel at the bottom. That would mean that you wouldn't worry about 'leaks' so much since it already leaks all the time but refills from watershed and rain events.

I guess you then focus on whether you want to remove large amounts of fish yourself to help restore balance or if you would like to use a chemical to kill many/most of the fish to help you start over?

#491792 - 06/13/18 03:49 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
RAH Offline

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 4296
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Would adding wipers both provide a means to lower the number of small fish and provide good angling?

#491795 - 06/13/18 04:20 PM Re: New Member from N.E Arkansas [Re: Brad Morris]
canyoncreek Offline

Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1990
Loc: West Michigan
Originally Posted By: Brad Morris
Also, I do not really know what you mean by saying that 4.5 acres is a lot of water to backup and manage.

I think I misread your first post. I thought the pond was 4.5 acres big. That WOULD be a big amount of water to hold back with a dam and to manage in terms of muck reduction or to change fish populations.

But the pictures didn't look like a 4.5 acre lake so I went back to re-read and maybe the watershed is 4.5 acres.

How big is the lake? There are some online tools and apps you can download that help you put markers around your pond on a satellite map and it will compute the area for you.

You will need to know the surface area and the amount of water (gallon estimate using the 'acre-feet' unit of measure) if you end up using any herbicide or fish poison.


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