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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#500175 01/02/2019 12:04 AM
by Augie
My front yard cow pond - part 1.

I pondered for some time about how to begin this story, and I couldn't come up with any better place to begin other
than in the beginning, at least the beginning as far as my life and experiences with this pond have gone, so here it is...

In 1961 my folks were recently married, and purchased 40 acres of Boone County dirt a few miles east of Columbia, Missouri
the following year. There were a few overgrown pastures, a wet weather creek, some rusty old wire fences in need of help, a
dilapidated old wood frame house that hadn't been occupied in a good long while, a few acres of woods along the creek, and
a cow pond. Actually, it wasn't a cow pond, not back then anyway. It was a pig pond, or at least it had been not too long
before they bought the place. The farm had long been used for running pigs on dirt, something that's not much done in this
day and age of CAFO efficiency. Even now, 60 years after the pigs left, the ground smells like a hog lot when you dig.

1956 Assessor's office image. The pastures look fairly well beat down and the dam appears rather bare. Good chance there
were some pigs around when this photo was taken.

My folks dozed the old house, and built a new one on the same site in order to make use of the existing water cistern. The
cistern was in good condition, and public water didn't exist outside the corporate limits of Columbia at that time, at least
not on the road where my folks' property was located, so it made sense to them to put their house where the cistern could be
used, and save a few $$$ on construction costs.

1962 Assessor's office image. The farm had changed owners ~'58. The pigs were gone and part of the land was planted with crops.

I came along in May of '63, and the house was ready to occupy by December of that year, so we moved in. I say we, but it
was my folks that moved in. I was just along for the ride. When I got big enough to sit still for a few minutes at a time
Pops started taking me fishing at the pond. The area around the pond was reasonably clear of brush, thanks to the pigs, so
it wasn't difficult to find a good spot to drop in a worm or grasshopper.

The only fish in the pond were bluegill. More bluegill than you could count. If you pulled one out that was 5" long it was
considered a lunker. Pops called them potato chip fish. Scale em, gut em, chop the head off, roll em in crumbs, and then
toss em in the grease. They came out crispy like a potato chip, and about the same size. One bite on each side. But they
tasted great, they were easy to catch, and they were free. My folks didn't have a lot of money in those days, and free was
a good thing.

As I got a bit older, maybe around six or seven years old, my brother and I would spend a lot of time at the pond. Living a
few miles out of town we didn't have much else to do in the summer time when school was out, so we occupied our time as best
we could, and the pond was our favorite place to be when the weather was nice outside. Eventually when we got big enough to
work a real fishing pole we upgraded from cane poles to real fiberglass fishing poles with Zebco 33 reels. My folks owned
some sort of ancient riding lawnmower, and a two-wheel cart to pull behind it. We mowed a trail across the hay field from the
house to the pond so we wouldn't get ate up so bad by the chigger bugs on the way. Life was much simpler in those days.

1968 Assessor's office image. Looks like it must have been a dry year as the water level in the pond appears to be quite low.

As the years went by, Pops was making upgrades around the farm. New fences went up, and with fences came cattle. By the time
the cattle arrived the public water district had run a main line along the road we lived on, which allowed my folks to tie in
to water that never ran out, but it did cost money, and my folks were tight. Pops couldn't stand giving district water to the
cows when there was free water in the pond, and with that our little potato chip bluegill pond began to change, and not for the
better. The formerly clear water was now constantly muddy due to the cattle using it for a swimming hole in hot weather. We
once could catch all the fish we wanted in a couple hours. After a few years of cattle running in the pond we were lucky if we
could catch a dozen. There was cow poop everywhere. In the field, on the pond banks, and in the water. Our paradise was lost.
We stopped going to the pond. There was nothing left there for us.

But the sun comes up every day, and things change. Little kids get bigger. Interests change. Life changes. And so it was with
me. Somewhere along the line when I wasn't paying attention, my Grampa Wilkie tossed some leftover bait in the pond, and some
small channel cats, and some other stuff. Nobody really knows what all he tossed in there. If he was still around I'd ask him,
but he's not, so I can't. He had a commercial fishing license, and decided the pond would make a good place to store live bait,
so he just started tossing stuff in so it would be there later when he wanted to seine out some bait for his trotlines on the river.

Sometime during the early 70's, I'm not exactly sure what year, and it really doesn't matter when it happened, only that it did
happen, my folks sold three acres to some friends who wanted a house in the country. They wanted at least 200' of road frontage.
Pops wasn't around when the surveyor showed up to measure out the lot. He staked off 200' of road frontage, and went from there.
Doing that put the new property line, and a fence, across a shallow neck of the pond. Not a big deal at the time, but many years
later it would turn out to be a major nuisance for me.

1977 Assessor's office image. New outbuildings all over the place. Signs of livestock damage on the pond dam. And that fence...

1980 Assessor's office image. There's plenty of water in the pond, but the cattle have absolutely wrecked the dam.

1981 was a drought year in this corner of the world, and the pond by then was a disaster from years of cattle running in it.
Shallow, stinky and full of muck. When it would get very low the cows had trouble wading out to get a drink due to the depth of
the muck, so Pops called dirt guy out to fix it up a bit. There was no consideration given to anything other than making it a
better place for a cow to get a drink of water. Pops still didn't like paying for cow water, so preserving the little bit that was
in there was important at that time. Dirt guy dug out the muck around the edges with a high-lift crawler, and left what Pops
called a "volcano" in the middle. Basically a mountain of semi-solid mud/muck, that held what little water remained in the pond.
The cows would walk down into the basin of the pond and stick their necks over the edge of the crater to get a drink. Somehow
through all of this some fish managed to survive. Eventually the drought ended and the pond refilled with water, but all of that
mud and muck and poop and nastiness that formed the volcano was still in there.

Fast-forward 15 years or so and I've got a wife and kids of my own. Pops had discovered that the pond still held a good number of
channel cats and had started feeding them. When my boys got big enough to start hanging out with their PawPaw, he would take them
to the pond and they would throw a few jugs in, and most times they would manage to catch a catfish or two. It's not likely any of
the cats that my Grampa tossed in 20-odd years before were still living, so they must have been reproducing on their own. Most of
them were a pound or three, but every now and then they would pull out a whopper. Mother Nature finds a way, I guess.

1994 Assessor's office image. The dam is getting really worn down by the cattle. The overflow had always been on the northeast
(upper right in the photo) side of the pond. Now the low spot is on the southwest next to the corner of the lot that was sold many
years prior, and trees have begun to grow on the dam.

2002 Assessor's office image. With no leaves on the trees it's easy to see that the wear to the dam caused by the cattle is becoming
progressively worse.

Fast-forward another ten years or so and my daughter decided that she was a horsey girl. There was no room for horses on the little
country lot my family and I lived on, so we kept the horses at my Gramma Easley's farm a few miles away. The girls wanted to get a
place where they could keep the horses at home, so we started looking for property. We looked and looked and looked, but nothing we
looked at ever felt like home. One day, out of the blue, Mom says "Why don't you buy ten acres from us and build a new house out here?"
So we did, and that's how I got my pond back.

2007 Assessor's office image. We're a few months away from starting construction and the poor old pond is looking rough.

We designed our new house, hired a contractor, and broke ground in July of 2007. By this time, the wonderful neighbors that built on
the three acres my folks sold back in the 70's had gotten old and moved to town, and been replaced by a couple who came here from
Chicago. They had it in their heads that if my folks ever sold any land, they would be the ones who it would be offered to. To say
the least, they were not happy when the dozers showed up to start cutting in the lane to our building site. (Note - I thought long
and hard about what/how much to tell about my dealings with neighbor guy. It's not my intention to come across angry or bitter, or
PO'd or anything else in telling this part. I seriously considered not telling it at all, but it's an important part of the story so
I decided to leave it in.)

I was out here doing groundwork one day, I think we were running the water line from the main out at the road, when neighbor guy
waved me over to the fence. He'd already thrown a couple big fits at me, and to be honest I had no use for the guy from the day I
met him, so I'm wondering what it is that he wants this time. He says to me, "I wanted to talk to you about the pond." I say to
him, "What about it?" I've got a house to build, and when you're building a house time is literally money. I haven't yet gotten
to the point that he's a non-person to me, but it won't take much to get me there. So then he says, "I'd like to do something about
the pond. Clean it out and make it bigger." I respond by telling him that I have a house to build, and the pond is the least of my
concerns at this point in time, but if he wants to talk to dirt guy to have at it, and let me know what he finds out, and I go back
to whatever it was that I was doing.

A few days later he waves me over to the fence again. "I talked to dirt guy. He told me that because of the way the land lays, for
me to get more water on my property and not have the banks too steep the dam will have to be raised up about ten feet." I ask him if
he got a cost estimate for that, and he says, "Yep, it will be close to (it was a big number and I really don't want to say what it
was, because he was probably lieing anyway), and I was wondering if maybe you'd go halves with me. I know you've got a big construction
loan, so spending another (big # many thousands $$$) won't hurt you." I say to him, "The time to make this pond bigger was before I
started building. You've lived here 15 years and not said one word to Pops about the pond. I've got a power line and a water line in
the ground below the dam. To make this thing bigger the dam will have to be completely dozed out, a core key dug, and then a new
dam built from scratch. None of that is going to happen. I'm not going to spend a dime on the pond right now. I've got a house to
build, and I'll worry about the pond when I'm done doing what I need to get done." Then he went absolutely ballistic, called me a few
choice names, and says, "Well fine! I'll just build a whole new pond and you won't have no pond at all!" In that moment he became a
non-person to me. I told him to do whatever it was that he felt like he needed to do, and went back to my own business.

Not long after that, dirt guy showed up and began to build a new pond on neighbor guy's side of the fence. I told them that my only
concern was that they make sure any water that comes out of the spillway from the new pond drains into the old pond and doesn't run
across my front yard. Well they didn't do that. There have been rare occasions when we got really heavy spring rains that some
water from his pond ran across my yard - twice, maybe three times in the eleven years we've lived here. I probably wouldn't ever have
noticed, except one of those times some of his trash fish came along for the ride and wound up stranded on my lawn. Sounds crazy,
but I've got pictures to prove it. In thinking back on that now, I should have told them to make sure none of the overflow from the
new pond made it into my pond, and to send all of it across my yard. That pond doesn't have enough watershed to stay full, but I
didn't know that at the time. I was talking to Pops about it recently and he told me that our good dirt guy came out and looked at
the site, and refused the job because he didn't think it would ever fill up, and was worried about getting paid if it didn't, so
neighbor guy found a hole digger to do the job.

Anyway, I don't want to spend any more time talking about neighbor guy. He did what he did on his side of the fence, and I'm really
happy that he did, because now I don't have to cooperate or deal with him in any way in terms of what happens to my pond going
forward. I'm already working out what I'm going to do to minimize the possibility that his trash fish get into my water. It's
unlikely that I'll be able to 100% prevent that from happening, but there's a lot I can do to keep it at a minimal level so that it
won't have much, if any, long term impact on the management plan that I've developed for my pond.

The south side of my pond dam was riddled with muskrat holes when we bought the property, and had been leaking a bit for several
years. I cut half a dozen middling-sized thorny locust trees (a couple of them better than 18" at the butt) and a bunch of smallish
tree sprouts off the dam, had the guy who dug the basement for our house dig the stumps out with his dozer, and use some of the clay
from the basement dig to fill the stump holes and smooth up the back side of the dam a bit. A couple years later I had him back to
add some topsoil where the basement over-dig had settled, and he did a bit more smoothing on the pond dam so I could get over it a
little better with the lawn mower. Definitely not what you'd call a fix, but at least now I could mow it, and keep it from growing
back up with brush. After finding the Assessor's office photos I remembered that one weekend I had a rented mini-excavator out here
for another project. I got done with whatever that was and had most of a day left with use of the machine, so I dipped the pond around
the edges as far out as I could reach with the boom. The water was so low at that time I was able to get out into the pond on the
upper end. Jamie asked me if I could make an island, so I did. Then after the weeds grew up on it she saw a big snake and wouldn't
go out there anymore.

2011 Assessor's office image.

So... I spent the next few years working on our new property, getting things set up to suit our needs. Built a riding arena for the
girls, cleaning up the fencerows, so on and so forth. Eventually I get things to the point I can start thinking about what I want
to do with my pond. One day Pops asked me if I'd been feeding the fish. "Well, no, it hadn't even occurred to me. Why?" Then he
reminded me that there used to be some whopper channel cats in there. So I went to the local farm-n-home store and bought a sack of
floating catfish food and started hand-feeding in the evenings. There wasn't much action at first, then there was a bit more, then a
bit more, and before long it was a genuine frenzy when I'd toss a handful of pellets into the pond. This little puddle is loaded
with fish! Now what to do?

We started fishing, that's what! How could it be possible that this shallow, nasty, neglected for years puddle could have so much
life in it? It was absolutely amazing. That's when I really started thinking about what I could do to make it better. I wasn't
too far into the thinking about it process when Mother Nature took charge, and set the stage for what was to come.

End part 1.
Liked Replies
#525864 Sep 14th a 03:45 PM
by Augie
The day that I've been waiting for, the day that paid back every bit of the $$$, toil, and suffering that it took to resurrect my pond, finally arrived.

Between the COVID panic, military obligations, nuclear reactor training, and all of the other assorted craziness in the world today, it's been over
six months since I've been able to see any of my grandkids. Things worked out to where they were all able to come for a visit over the weekend.

This one is Lexi. Just turned 5yo, she belongs to my oldest son Justin and his wife Amanda. Lexi has been asking to go fishing since the first time
she saw the pond after it filled, so she got to go first.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

Then it was 4yo Rhett's turn. He belongs to #3 son Taylor and his wife Rachel. This kid is a pistol. Pretty sure he's going to be the one that
turns out to be Grampa's fishing buddy.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

This is 7yo Lennox. He belongs to Taylor and Rachel. Poor guy suffered a brain injury at birth and is severely challenged mentally. After seeing
the other two catch a few he looked at me and said "Fish, Grampa?" You could have knocked us all over with a feather at that moment in time.
It was obvious that he'd been paying attention. He grabbed the rod and the reel handle just like how I'd been showing the other two to do it, and
dipped the jig in next to the dock like a pro. Soon as he felt a tug he was cranking on the reel like he had Moby Dick on the end of his line.
Moments like this don't come along very often for this kid. I'm glad I was able to be a part of it.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

Wife Jamie, daughter Leah, and Logan - the doberman that thinks she's a Lab rode herd on Lexi and baby Ruby while the boys were fishing.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

There was way too much going on to get weights and measures on the fish we caught, but just from visual observation they are doing very well.
Every one of the RES and BG/HBG that were caught were in great shape. Most of them were in the 8"-9" range. I was especially impressed with
how thick the RES are across their backs. I don't have a lot of experience yet with the YP, but they looked to be in good shape too. We caught
half a dozen of those, all in the 7"-8" range, so I'd assume they were all fingerlings from the first stocking in September of '19.

But this day wasn't really about the fish, it was about the kids. The fish could have all been stunted 3-finger BG and it wouldn't have made a
nickel's difference in the amount of fun that was had and the memories that were made.
3 members like this
#545432 Mar 20th a 04:08 PM
by Augie
Spent some time testing the waters this morning. Didn't find any YP, but I found some other things.

How's this for a two year old SMB? I think not too bad.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

The RES and BG also came through the winter looking fat and happy.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
3 members like this
#527350 Nov 6th a 03:04 PM
by Augie
The muskrats did a lot of damage when they invaded back in the summer. It took 1800lbs of bentonite to pack the tunnels they dug in the pond dam.
I did a light Soil Floc treatment around the edge, then used Nanner to place ~20 ton of 3x6 crushed limestone on the face of the dam.
That should do well to thwart any future tunneling attempts. I've got a few hours worth of hard labor in store re-arranging and smoothing out the stone.
Once that is done I'm going to hit it around the edge with a triple-shot of Soil Floc, then wait for the rains to bring it back to full pool. After that it's wait
and see if that stopped the leaks.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
2 members like this
#528674 Dec 9th a 02:19 PM
by Augie
It's been a little over a year since the YP stockings, and I decided that it's time to start figuring out how to catch them.
I know I can catch them on a piece of nightcrawler, and I'm sure a FHM would work just as good, so I'm experimenting with artificials.

I'm not trying very hard, just putzing at it for a few minutes after work a couple days a week.

Already learned that bead head flies and little black rubber stick things on a tiny dart head jig work.

Few days ago I tied on a black 1/16oz marabou jig. Never got a bite on that thing. Didn't matter how I presented it.

Yesterday I hung that one up and had to break it off. Tied on a white/chartreuse 1/32oz marabou ~6" above a light blue 1/16oz marabou and promptly nailed a double.

Top fish was ~7 inch size. Bottom fish flipped off before I could lip it, but was substantially larger than the other. I was fumbling the rod with one hand and fumbling for
my camera with the other and gave em too much slack. With the hook barbs pinched down they slip right off if you don't keep the line tight.

Next thing I'm going to try is suspending the jig/s under a float. I noticed last year that the fish moved away from the dock where I'd been feeding, and into the cedar
tangle when the water began to drop below 50°. It's tough to swim a jig through that stuff, so we'll see if suspended slightly above the tangle will entice them to bite.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
2 members like this
#527438 Nov 9th a 03:55 PM
by Augie
On Saturday I added the last of the crushed limestone, and spent several hours cleaning up, moving rocks from where they were to where they were needed.
Think I'm going to need to buy another load next summer, but first I want to see what it looks like at full pool.
It was way too windy to apply SoilFloc, so that remains to be done.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
2 members like this
#542550 Jan 3rd a 03:08 PM
by Augie
After enjoying mild temps for most of the month of December, we've been tossed into the freezer.
Christmas weekend we were in the 60°s. We've seen single-digit lows the past few nights.
The shallow-suspended ring diffuser is doing a great job maintaining open water.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
2 members like this
#520717 May 8th a 12:28 PM
by Augie
Tree frog napping on the pool ladder. He wasn't terribly concerned with me stomping around on the dock while tossing fish food.


[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]
1 member likes this
#521703 May 27th a 12:13 PM
by Augie
Decided it was time remove some of the larger accidental BG/HBG from the pond.
I've been feeding earthworms along with the pellets beside the dock. The RES have moved off the dock and are fanning beds.
There are at least half a dozen rather large BG/HBG that come out from under the dock every day to slurp pellets and worms.
None of these fish have ever seen a worm that had a hook hidden inside. I tell myself that I should have the upper hand.

But no, the fish have the upper hand. I start tossing pellets and worms and Oh, look at that, the RES are back.
Not all of them, but enough of them to make a nuisance of themselves by trying to bite the worm that is supposed to be for the BG/HBG.
Dang RES. Laziest fish on the planet until they aren't. When it's raining earthworms they will fight to get theirs.
I hooked three of them. One of those flipped loose and landed on his head on the dock. Maybe it knocked some sense into him.

And yes, I know I should be doing weights and measures on these fish, but I'm not prepared for that just yet.
Digital scale and adhesive-backed steel measure tape will be here soon. Once those are here I'll be able to collect some data.

The YP are ridiculously fast. I tried my best to keep the worm away from them, but the one time I let it sink just a tiny bit too deep... KABOOM!
This is the first of the Snipe strain YP I've caught by angling. I didn't want to catch it, but I caught it. Released to fight another day.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

If I wanted a bluegill pond I think I'd be very happy with the condition of these fish. They were ~2" sized when they went in 11 months ago.
I hooked another one that managed to flip loose, bounce off the dock, and then flip back into the water. So now there's one in the pond who knows what time it is.
These two I put to the knife and tossed in with the sack of BG that I took out of the freezer yesterday.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
1 member likes this
#526183 Sep 22nd a 04:12 PM
by Augie
I laugh every time I see that three-eyed fish. If I catch one out of my pond like that I'm gonna have it stuffed.
1 member likes this
#530258 Feb 4th a 09:46 PM
by Saviran
Just a bit more work to do and it will look gorgeous. I wish I had the same view around my house, but there is no any river or lake, and in general there was only tall grass growing everywhere, when I returned from city after some time. It was a problem to mow it, because it was too big. I did some searching on the internet and found this list of tools https://www.growgardener.com for cutting tall grass, now that place looks way better, I don't feel like lost in the jungle anymore, proud of how it is right now.
1 member likes this
#533424 Apr 5th a 01:06 PM
by Augie
Back on the pond dam project over the weekend.
I put the smash to a pair of last summer's muskrat dens, placed ~8 cubic yards of 3"x6" crushed limestone, and started filling the low spots.
I'm not looking to make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but I do want it to look like somebody cared about what he was doing.
I bought another twin-screw load of stone in February and I've just about used it up. It's going to take one more load to finish the job.


[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
1 member likes this
#540181 Sep 30th a 02:19 PM
by Augie
It's been a year since the SMB and HSB were stocked. Water temps have cooled to the point that the HSB can be caught and released without killing them,
so Mrs. Augie and I set ourselves to catching out some of the accidental BG. We put a dozen or so in the fish fry cage, and another 20-ish in the bait cage.

I wish that I'd been set up to do weights and measures. Mrs. Augie caught two SMB, and five HSB. This is the smaller of the two SMB she caught - ~12",
which I think is pretty good growth considering they ranged 5"-8" when stocked. I didn't want to over-stress the HSB, so didn't take the extra time to get pics.
They were 8"-10" when stocked, and are now running 15"+ and thick across the shoulders. I'm probably going to need to take a few of them out next year.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]
1 member likes this
#540336 Oct 5th a 03:13 AM
by Tony K
Tony K
When I first read the recipe, I thought it was a waste of BG, but we were culling some small BG, so we diced them up and made these.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
1 member likes this
#500184 Jan 2nd a 12:46 AM
by Augie
My front yard cow pond - part 6.

Finally, we got some rainfall. There's enough water in there to show the elevation changes in the deep area of the basin. With
this water, the far end where the cedars are runs from nothing to about 4' depth, and the near end runs from nothing to about 3' depth.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

More cedars in, and more rainfall overnight. Aside from what came in the two little seeps, this hole hadn't seen water since June.
It was dry down there. The level dropped almost a foot in the week after these rains, and that had me a bit nervous, but when
I considered how dry it had been that made sense. After that initial drop in water level it has been stable. The sheer cut on the
east side (left side of the photo) of the upper end is sloughing as expected. That's the spot that gets most of the runoff water.
You can see clearly that the west side of the cut, which also was a near vertical face, has hardly sloughed at all. We have some
seriously good clay here. It is deep, and it is incredibly expansive. When we built our house the building inspector guy told me
that this clay is the 6th most expansive type of clay that has been documented anywhere in the world. I can't say with certainty
if what he said is true, because I haven't researched it myself, but can say with certainty while I was cleaning this pond out,
if it rained I was pumping before I could get back in with the tractor. It is some seriously good clay.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

We got some more rain, and the level is rising. Every time it rains I jam a stick in the mud at the new water line. So far it stays
where it stops, and both sand veins are under water. Maybe Lamont will luck out. Maybe Lamont will have to spend some $$$ on
Soilfloc. Lamont doesn't know yet, but Lamont is hoping he will be like the blind squirrel who found an acorn.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

More cedars in the upper end, a good line of them against the cut running down the middle of the pond, and I haven't even dented my
cedar tree patch.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

I bought 26 ton of 2"x6" crushed and cleaned limestone and placed it in the pond along the bank on the upper end. That's where the
runoff comes in. Lining that bank with stone will stop the shoreline from eroding and moving uphill, provide good hides for crayfish
and minnows, and help with the ph. Since this photo was taken I added another 25 ton of surface rock to the shelf. A week or so
prior I was down with a bad cold, and stayed home from work for a few days around Thanksgiving. That's when I found PB on the interwebs
and started reading the forum postings. And from all that reading now I know I should have put some sort of geotextile material down
before I dumped the surface rock on the shelf. I suppose I could have dug it back out and put something down, but then Fred G. wouldn't
have anything to yak at me about.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

I went and made nice with neighbor guy today. Figured there was nothing to lose by making an attempt, and it worked out great this time.
As we walked back to the pond I told him what I was planning to stock, and I told him the story about finding bullheads in my front yard,
and that I really wanted to do whatever I could to keep them out for as long as I possibly could. I asked him if it would be alright
with him if I built a terrace to keep the overflow from his pond out of my pond. He was completely agreeable to everything that I was
hoping to do. Might have helped that I offered to put up a new fence on the property line once we were both satisfied with the dirt work,
but bottom line... the overflow channel from his pond to my pond has been diverted, and he's no longer on my list of non-person people.
I'll need to get back in there after it dries up a bit to smooth things up, and I want to make sure I've added enough dirt so that all of
the water runs down the hill rather than puddling up and making a skeeter hole. It needs some rain to settle the dirt before I can finish
it up, but it's good for now. Merry Christmas Eve Eve to me.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

Took the Mrs. to Branson after Christmas for a few days of relaxation, and to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary. Noticed things
looking rather soggy on the drive back home. Turns out we got a nice, long, soaking rain while we were away from home.
There's a couple feet of new water in the pond. More good news - the terrace I built to keep the overflow from neighbor guy's pond
out of my pond worked perfectly.
[Linked Image from i1174.photobucket.com]

And that gets the story of my front yard cow pond to where I am at present.

I know a few things, and I don't know a whole lot more than a few things.

I know that the pond must fill up to the level of the currently existing overflow before I'll really know if I have any leaks.
I don't know if there is a core key under the dam, but considering the age, size, and original use of the pond, I believe that
it is rather unlikely, but I suppose that it is possible. Before the cattle got on it, all of the ground around and below the
dam stayed dry, except during periods of wet weather when the pond would overflow. There was a period of time, much later in
the life of the pond, when the ground below the south side of the dam had a tendency to stay a bit wet. The pond was full of
muskrats then, and the dam was in terrible condition from being stomped by cattle. There were also several large trees that had
grown up due the damage inflicted by said cattle, which made the dam unsafe to mow. Those trees were removed from the dam after
we bought the property, and it's been dry on the back side since then. It's my hope that any voids resulting from the decay of
those tree roots have filled in due to the passage of time and all of the heavy machinery traffic that has happened there since
the trees were taken out. The several-feet-thick clay cap that was placed when the back side of the dam was landscaped should
help out as well. I haven't forgotten about the two sand pockets that I hit while mining clay to close the dam. It's very
possible the pond could leak through those as the head pressure increases. If I wind up with any leakage, I'll get my wallet out
and throw a unit or two of Soilfloc in the water.

I don't know where the full-pool water line is going to wind up, exactly. I know where it was before I started the process of
de-mucking, and I'm certain that it will be below that level now due to my use of the historical overflow as the entry ramp into the
pond. Literally thousands of trips over that area with a heavy machine have compacted the soil quite a bit. That, coupled with the
erosion that occurred due to the grass sod being beaten down to bare soil for a five year period of time has reduced the elevation
by at least a foot, and very likely more. I never shot the elevations. I couldn't change the footprint of the pond, so I didn't really
see much point in it. I'll wait for it to fill up, see where the water line comes on the dam, and decide at that time how much, if any,
I want to raise it from there. It won't be difficult to rework the overflow area if I decide to raise the water level a foot or three.

I had originally intended to do the normal Missouri BG, LMB, CC mix. I mentioned that earlier, I think, but after reading on the PB
forums all of the success folks have had with YP, RES, SMB, HSB, and WE, that's what I've decided to do. I've got no shortage of
places where I can go to catch "normal" pond fish, so I'm going to do something different. Will doing so require more intensive
management compared to doing what's easy and normal? Probably. Surely. But that's OK. If it hasn't become obvious by now that I'm
the kind of guy who enjoys a challenging project you haven't been paying attention. As far as that goes, I pretty much have to have
a project of some sort in the works or I get bored. After eleven years here almost everything else is in maintenance mode, so the timing
of this is all good for my mental health and happiness.

The plan is to stock the forage base (FHM and GSH) in the spring of 2019, and follow up in the fall with the YP and RES. SMB and HSB
will be added in spring of 2020, then I'll add the WE in the fall. Before the sport fish go in I want the pond to be at, or at least very
close, to full pool. If the rest of this winter and early spring turn out to be dry, I'll wait until there's adequate water. That would
give the forage base more time to make babies, and that would be fine. So I'll see what the weather does and I'll stock it when Mother
Nature tells me that it's time to stock it. I've contacted TJ about getting some grass shrimp in the spring. I'm also thinking I'll
add some scuds, but it would probably be best to wait until the pond has filled and the water clears up, so that will wait until next year.

I'm working with the owner of a local bait-n-tackle shop on the stocking plan. In addition to the tackle shop he does pond and lake
management on a commercial basis, and I'm confident in his ability to source good fish. I've fished several of the lakes that he manages.
The fishing and water quality in those lakes are both quite good. I do still need to find out if the hatcheries he buys from sell
pellet-trained fish. If the answer to that question is "no", I may reconsider where I go to buy my fish.

While the shallow areas are still dry land, I'm going to build pallet structures for the FHM, and spawning beds for the SMB. I have most
of the materials to do all of that already on hand. Now that I've been able to build a terrace to keep the overflow from neighbor guy's
pond out I'm not as worried as I had been about his bullheads and what-not getting into my pond. It is just a matter of time, I suppose,
that some undesirables will find their way in. I will deal with that if/when it happens, but it is my expectation that my stocking plan will
result in a healthy predator population that should be able to deal with a handful of mutt fry. I understand that the balance of life will
change over time, and I'm prepared, within limits, to accept that. If it gets too far out of whack to suit me, I'll draw the pond down, nuke
it, and start over. I'm going to toss more cedar trees in the upper end of the pond until I decide there are enough in there. I've got a
perfect spot to build a forage pond, and I'm hoping to find time to work on that this coming summer.

I'm going to install an aeration system in the spring. I've been in touch with KASCO, and they have designed a system that's suited to
my pond. I have spoken at length with the folks at the closest distributor. Haven't decided if I'll go with that one, or buy a system
from my local guy. Right now I'm leaning that way, but I still need to look at what he's got and get a bid.

I'm going to build a 12'x16' floating dock, anchored with mud poles, and connect that to shore with a gangway. The dock will be decorated
with permanent bench seating, a bait cage, a big livewell cage for fish that are destined for a grease bath, a cleaning station with a
whopper-size poly cutting board and a chum grinder, a folding swim ladder, solar accent lighting, solar/battery/invertor system for powering
additional lighting and a music system, etc. This is going to be our happy place, and I intend for it to be comfortable.

As weather and time permit, I will cover the inner face of the dam with 2"x6" crushed limestone, or maybe something a little bigger.
Based on what I placed along the north shore, that will require 100-125 ton, maybe more, depending on how thick I dump it. I'm also going
to need to do another landscape topping on the back side of the dam to account for settlement of the material that was added earlier this
fall. I still have a sizable pile of spoil that came out of the pond during the early stages of de-mucking, so I'm hopeful that I won't
need to give dirt guy any of my money. Other than what he got when the dam was cut all those years ago I've managed to avoid financing his
new dozer, and I'm hoping to keep that streak alive.

So, there it is. That's where I'm at today with my front yard cow pond. Certainly there's something I've forgotten to mention, or never
thought of in the first place, and I'm hopeful that you folks will fix my thinking (or not thinking) where I've messed up. There are some
things that simply can't be changed/moved/redesigned/etc., but there's still a lot to be done, and none of what remains is set in cement,
so please, I want to hear your thoughts.

Going forward, I'll post my progress to this thread in order to keep it all together and hopefully somewhat coherent so I'm able to share
my successes and failures, and easily find all of the good advice that I hope to receive. I've attempted to edit my ramblings to the extent
that it all makes sense. My brain tends to run far in front of my fingers, so there's bound to be something up there that will cause you to
scratch your head and wonder if American is my native language.

Thanks for reading.

1 member likes this
#542551 Jan 3rd a 03:42 PM
by azteca

Thank you for taking time to put all these photos.

It gave me some ideas.

1 member likes this
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