Last fall we purchased a beautiful two acre property surrounded by 250 acres of preserved farmland. Our land slopes gently from the front up near the house to the rear. Our neighbor to the north has about 120 acres of hay and our neighbor to the south has another 120 acres of soybeans, hay, swamps, and some overgrown orchards. The rear of our property is basically a small valley where everything drains through, going north to south (from the hay farm down my neighbor on the other side). The previous owner took what was basically swampland/a vernal pond and had an excavator dig it out to make it an actual pond about 25 years ago. He mounded up the spoils around the low side and put an 8" PVC drain in which drains to the south into the swamp on my neighbor's land.
The result was this:
These images were taken late summer/early fall-the first two with my cell phone the second two with a trail cam I had posted back there. As you can see it is getting kind of weedy/grassy around the edges. One of my fears is that it will slowly turn back into a swamp, but I do realize that the grasses/weeds do provide cover for fish, so any information on what to pull/what to leave would be great. Here are some facts about it:
- Located in Hunterdon County (Northwest) NJ
- Oblong shape - about 50' x 75'
- Pond is about 300' from the house so aeration would be big $$$
- Average depth of 5' in the center, 3' as you get closer to the sides
- Very shaded
- Water is what I would describe as "tea colored" with a visibility of about 2'
- Level stays fairly constant with water almost always even with top of drain pipe-I saw it drop about 3-4" below the top of the pipe last August/September
- Water source seems to be mix of drainage from the fields and ground water (there is 25' hand dug well on the property up the hill from the pond-water level is fairly close)
- Bottom is fairly mucky-when I was doing depth measurements (from my canoe) I found that if I stiffened the tape measure I could jam it down another 6-8" and when I pulled it up it had that "swamp gas" smell
- This winter it probably froze 6" thick or more with no slushy or open spots
Given all of this, what can I do in order to manage this pond as a (relatively) mosquito free, fun fishing pond for my young (currently 3 and 6) daughters and their friends? Also, the long term goal is to make the clearing next to the pond a picnic/BBQ area with a grill, firepit, picnic table, etc... I don't really care what goes into the pond (sunnys, bass, catfish, carp) as long as it provides some fun for my girls. The previous owner said that he would catch fish elsewhere and throw them in but didn't really apply any thought to it. We haven't seen any signs of life beyond frogs, tadpoles, and one medium sized snapping turtle. Looking forward to learning a lot as a new pond owner and hopefully finding some ways to get more out of this little pond.