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Thread Like Summary
anthropic, FishinRod, gehajake, SetterGuy, SherWood, Zep
Total Likes: 19
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by SetterGuy
After fishing pretty hard for two days, I’m convinced the otters did a lot more damage than I thought or hoped.
We have caught four sunfish or HBG crosses of some kind and two perch.
No SMB, HSB, or large YP.
Tossing out some feed it looks like I still have lots of golden shiners. I’m really not wanting to invest in a lot of fish again. I’m really glad I didn’t invest in solar aeration.
So, my plan is just to put 200 YP back in and gamble with the otters.
I can’t think of anything else that would have taken out the larger fish. But I am not an expert in any way shape or form.
Interested in your thoughts.
FYI, I saw five otters in all. Three of them I am absolutely certain will never be back. Two others received strong warnings. But I’m not up here a lot. They could come in and clean it out and I’d never know.
Fish pictured is one of the four (my guess) sunfish I mentioned earlier.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

Liked Replies
by DrLuke
Originally Posted by SetterGuy
Originally Posted by canyoncreek
Do you have any other ideas as to where the fish went? Is it kind of a guess still that otters were there?

CC, it’s the only thing I can come up with. We have a GBH that’s always there. We put up a game camera where he likes to hang out, and we have pics of him with a decent size fish in his mouth. I just can’t see how he would have cleaned it out like it is.
For 7 years, every time I put out food the water would boil. With all sizes of fish. Now we have a bunch of 2” skinny little fish pushing pellets around like 5 yr olds trying to play soccer. The big fish are gone. For the last several years I could walk the bank and see the big SMB take off from the bank as I walked around. We see zero now. I’m not sure I need to spend the $$ to verify my fish are gone. I am going to go back up in a few weeks and try to fish very early I. The morning. That was a 100% success time historically. But nothing is moving on this very still BOW. It used to be pretty fun to see some very big swirls, and know they were hunting.

Really sorry to hear about your troubles Jeff. I know how I felt with our fish kill a couple years ago, and this is basically the same thing. We had our first river otters show up this fall. Our house is right next to our pond and over looks it, so we spotted them pretty quick. It was trapping season at the time, which allowed me to harvest them via .22 magnum. The most remarkable sign they had been there was the scat. It was basically all fish scales, or fish scale 'logs'. I poked one with a stick and it fell apart and seemed to be just scales and not much else. So if you walk the edge, keep any eye out for scat. It will also tell you where they prefer to hang out, which is good to know for later harvest when appropriate.

I got a lot of good advice after our winter kill and some of the best was 'not as many fish are gone/dead as you think'. Beef up your cover, keep on feeding (if you do that) and the fish will go to work on the next generation here in a few weeks.

Keep your chin up, my pond boss brother..
4 members like this
by woodster
Yup been there. Don't give up on your fish pond, here are some lessons I learned. Otters are opportunist and a pond like fish bowl will get cleaned out. First thing to do is add structure to the pond that your fish can hide in or escape too. It needs to be strong so the Otters can't rip it apart. Keep in mind an Otter can get through a 3" hole. I built boxes out of pallets with the slots vertical for fish to fit through but not wide enough for an Otter. I also made 55 gallon drum structures. Cut slots for fish to go through but too narrow for the Otter. Some cement or rocks inside to hold it in place. Do several in a group if you can. A pile of logs and brush can be a benefit also. A frustrated Otter goes where the fishing is easier. The worst case is multiple Otters as one will go in the brush an others will catch what comes out. I built several chain link boxes that look like a dog kennel that have slots big enough for fish, added structure inside them and sunk them in deeper water. My ponds are too large for a fence but I have heard of people putting a fence around their ponds. Otters don't jump or climb a fence so a short fence buried on the bottom works. Another idea is a cattle electric fence wire near the ground but you need to keep it mowed so weeds don't short it out. You can trap Otters or use other methods of permanently removing your Otters but more will replace them. Make your pond suck for the Otters and they will move on.
3 members like this
by esshup
To be able to trap otters, you must know EXACTLY where they will travel. I would invest in electric fence stakes and put a couple of strands of wire around the pond close to the ground, not more than 3" apart and go up at least a foot. If it was my pond AND I had power back there I would go with this one. https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/power-wizard-pw9000-electric-fence-controller It's for moderate to heavy vegetation too, so you probably won't have to trim much around it.

I know you don't have power there (yet) but if there are Otters coming and hitting the pond; you don't know exactly where they are traveling AND you aren't there all the time, I think running electric will be cheaper in the long run than restocking the pond a few times, not to mention the years of fish growth that you lose every time they visit.

You will need to either turn kill the power to the fence when you are physically at the pond, or set it back far enough from the water that you can walk around it easily. If it was mine, I'd just cut the power when I was there and put a lighted switch so that would remind me to turn the power back on before I left.
2 members like this
by gehajake
Your pictures don't seem to be posting Jeff, at least I'm not being able to open them.

I know the feeling about your otter problems, they can be devastating and maddening, and to think the government took your money and re-established them for your detriment is even more maddening. they reproduce like rats, and clean out your biggest, best fish first, I know, Ive been there and found out too late that they all but cleaned out one of the best fishing holes Ive ever had the privilege of fishing in.
1 member likes this
by anthropic
Man, I'm so sorry to see that, Jeff. So much effort & dreams are put into a pond!
1 member likes this
by canyoncreek
Do you have any other ideas as to where the fish went? Is it kind of a guess still that otters were there?
1 member likes this
by esshup
Jeff, see my post above. Like I said on your FB post, I don't know if a solar fence charger will stay charged enough with the amount of shade the trees provide back there.
1 member likes this
by Zep
Yep...sad story. It is very challenging dealing with river otters. They can eat a lot of fish. A friend of mine traps them for us almost every year and I try to shoot them, but they mainly are just active at night. When my days of pond ownership ends, dealing with otters is something I will not miss.
1 member likes this
by John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald
I have had otters in the ponds so many times that I figure it's a losing proposition to ever stock or feed again. What will be will be. I'm pretty much done with the ponds, except as a nice place to hang out for a few minutes.
1 member likes this
by Dave Davidson1
Dave Davidson1
Jeff, I’m now 80 with back problems and figure chain saws are why God made Grandsons,
1 member likes this
by FishinRod
Have you ever tried ice fishing for your YP? You might have to drag your jon boat out on the ice if it is not thick enough for you to fish safely in Misery?

Have your tried getting your worms down to the bottom in deeper water when fishing during warmer weather? That might get you into territory with more YP and fewer BG.

Finally, have you tried fishing for YP during the first BG spawn. That might be your best chance of having the fish separated as much as possible in your pond.
1 member likes this
by FishinRod
Sorry about the d*mn otters!

Looking at the pictures, I suspect you DID NOT have to say "Smile!" before taking the shots. Rather, the fish catching and quality family time were more than adequate to generate the smiles! grin
1 member likes this
by Sunil
That young man is super happy!!!! Great report.
1 member likes this
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