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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]

Thanks
Jeff

Last edited by SetterGuy; 03/26/23 08:59 PM.

9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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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.


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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I can’t be at our pond often enough to keep otters out. Kind of destroys any plans for fish stocking and development. Frustrating for sure. My pond is only an acre. And almost a square. I think a pack of otters can clean it out pretty fast. Also, unfortunately it’s only a few miles to Mark Twain Lake. Lots of otters there.
We do really like our pond for swimming, but grandkids catching fish was also a big plus.
When I get back home I’ll try to fix the pics.

Pics fixed. Here’s a pic of what’s left coming to feed. Mostly golden shiners. We did see two or three larger swirls, so there are some larger fish present. Not the big swirls like we used to see, and certainly not nearly as many.

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

Last edited by SetterGuy; 03/26/23 09:04 PM.

9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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Man, I'm so sorry to see that, Jeff. So much effort & dreams are put into a pond!


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS RBT -234, 2023 BG TP TFS NLMB, -160




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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.

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I'm sorry to hear all of this.

How is it that an otter is able catch larger gamefish? I've seen a brutal video of an otter taking a large LMB by a dock, and it seemed to be an ambush of sorts.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Great post, woodster. As you say, varmints want easy pickings. Your pond doesn't have to be 100 percent otter (or cormorant) proof, just significantly more resistant than nearby waters.


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS RBT -234, 2023 BG TP TFS NLMB, -160




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Woodster, thanks for the info. I can put together some box like structures made from pallets and sink those around the pond.
I bought a couple of the traps that supposedly kill them, but I never used them as I thought I got all five. There were more than I thought, or the two non confirmed permanent departures didn’t permanently depart..
Do you have a picture or two of the boxes with the 3” vertical slats?
Thx!


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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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.


Fishing has never been about the fish....

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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.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Do you have any other ideas as to where the fish went? Is it kind of a guess still that otters were there?

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The only way to know for sure is to drop a boat in there and electroshock the pond.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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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.


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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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.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Well, I haven’t been on FB since I posted, and I completely missed your post above. But I just now read it. I really think this is the way to go. Thanks! I know it will keep the deer out, but I can live with that. I have a couple of deep cell RV batteries sitting in the barn, and a 200 ah portable solar panel. Maybe I can just get it set up and go from there.
I think the otters are coming up from behind the dam anyway.

Originally Posted by esshup
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.

Last edited by SetterGuy; 03/27/23 12:08 PM.

9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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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..


"Politics": derived from 'poly' meaning many, and 'tics' meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.
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Jeff, compare the joules rating on the solar chargers. You want the highest rating that is possible. The grid based charger that I linked to above has a rating of 9.0 Joules. It says that it also works in areas of moderate to heavy vegetation.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Foolish question but is oxygen crash from rapid temp change or inflow of water a possiblity and did you have any amount of time where pond was covered with snow and ice?

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
Foolish question but is oxygen crash from rapid temp change or inflow of water a possiblity and did you have any amount of time where pond was covered with snow and ice?

We haven’t had much moisture this winter, or spring. No big inflows of water. Temps are a bit on the crazy side with dramatic ups and downs. So maybe that happened.
It was frozen over a few times, but no serious snow, and it warmed up again pretty quickly.


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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but no otter poop with fish scales on the banks either right? It would seem the cause is a mystery without evidence of left over fish meals or otter poop left behind.

GBH can't clean out all your SMB by shore fishing so that don't add up either.

Well, wait, see how it goes, maybe we learn more as water warms up and you get more chances to sample things by net or by angling

It sure is a beautiful sight for me to see those fat and sassy shrimp in your net though. Wow, they are beautiful!

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Lets just hope that no trespassers found the fishery and cleaned it out. 2 or 4 legged.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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Jeff, I can relate. Mine has been cormorants for the second year in a row. We added about a dozen 10 to 15 ft cedars a couple of days ago. Looks littered up and makes me consider just selling the place.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
but no otter poop with fish scales on the banks either right? It would seem the cause is a mystery without evidence of left over fish meals or otter poop left behind.

It sure is a beautiful sight for me to see those fat and sassy shrimp in your net though. Wow, they are beautiful!

I’m still amazed I have any of the shrimp. The US Mail didn’t deliver as planned from Nebraska, just a day or two late, but we had survivors. They like the leaf litter I have around the edges. So do the crawdads.

I found some otter scat right when I found the original 5 otters, then there was some maybe otter poop later. And what I thought might be a pathway. Certainly not enough to account for all the fish.

I hope it wasn’t a 2 legged poacher. I have game cameras up, but those can be circumvented if someone was determined.


Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Jeff, I can relate. Mine has been cormorants for the second year in a row. We added about a dozen 10 to 15 ft cedars a couple of days ago. Looks littered up and makes me consider just selling the place.

Dave, it looks like I’m going to put up an electric fence, if I can find one powerful enough that will run off of a deep cell battery. Two years ago we had a big wind event (tornado or straight line, not sure) and we lost so many big 100+ yr old trees I can’t count them all. Now this.. The thought of selling out has crossed my mind. At 69, running a chain saw all day isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Ha!


9 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (only one seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) Have seen one of these.
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
Otter attack in 2023
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Jeff, I’m now 80 with back problems and figure chain saws are why God made Grandsons,


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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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.

Last edited by John Fitzgerald; 03/30/23 06:13 PM.
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