I have just found this forum and already have found interesting information that will help me manage my old 2.5 acre pond. I will be reading mostly and looking for information already posted.
Some background about my pond. The pond was constructed in the 1930's or so per a neighbor. I have owned the pond since 1998 and I live next to it on my little 16 acre mini-farm. Over the years I have had success with the pond, but I have not been paying it the attention it needs in the past six or seven years.
When we started, it had some 3 lb. crappie, very small bream, hundreds of flathead catfish, a few freshwater eels, huge shiners (bigger than the larger bream) and a few small bass. The vegetation was out of control and the pond is still very silted. Much of the pond, even with the silt, is around 3 feet deep and the deepest part is about 8 feet deep. The pond had no stand pipe or valve. The overflow was a cut in the corner of the dam that allowed excess water to slip off the top of the pond. Run-off and two springs feed the pond.
We built a house in 1999 next to the pond and installed a geo-thermal heat pump with the coils submerged in the pond. Then I started working on improvements to the pond.
I built a dock and tried feeding the fish to see if fishing would improve. It did not.
I added some grass carp.
I installed an 8" siphon drain system myself with a shovel and mechanical tamp so I could drain the pond and to normally retain the top layer of the pond water.
I installed a 18" diameter drain pipe in the corner of the dam for overflow. It had to be upgraded to a 36" diameter pipe to manage the heaviest rains and has worked great since.
I drained the pond the first time using the siphon system in 2001. That is how I know what was in the pond from the beginning. I did not do any excavating but that would really help I know. I removed all the fish I could. I was hoping to be rid of all the crappie, shiners and catfish. It was then restocked with largemouth bass, Georgia Giant bream, shell crackers and grass carp. Success! We fed the fish during this time and some of the bass got to 8.5 lbs. But things went downhill in about 2010. Fishing got slow for both bass and bream. I think we had a turnover that killed a lot of the larger fish. The crappie were all gone but there were still some large shiners and the catfish were taking over the pond.
I drained the pond again and restocked again in 2011. There were thousands of catfish. This time we did our best to remove all the catfish and shiners. But, I retired early during this time and was not financially able to feed the new fish as I had the at the last stocking.
So, today the bass fishing is not very good and the pond does not seem to have the fish activity it once did. There are still bass in the pond in varying sizes and the grand kids catch a few bream on occasion. There has not been a catfish or shiner caught in several years now. But, I am now in better shape financially. So I am going to begin managing the pond and feeding the fish again this year.
Thanks to ahead of time for the help this forum has to offer.