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#564046 02/02/24 10:11 AM
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So last night I found this hole in my dam strictly by walking nearby and hearing the water running. Went back out before work this morning and took this video real quick. So far I can not locate the hole in the pond side of the dam

[video:youtube]
[/video]

I went down the backside of the dam last night and the hole is big enough I can fit my fist in it. I am guessing muskrats did this as I killed a pair a couple months ago but in the winter I am home very little during daylight hours and the pond had been down 18 or so due to our extremely dry fall here in IL. So with recent rainfalls the pond had come back up to pool but is really falling now with this. I suspect this hole is around a foot below full level.

So what in the world do I do to fix this?

I have a 2" siphon I can set back up to pull the pond down faster and not thru this hole over the weekend to hopefully stop the leak and possibly find the other end of the hole.

Appreciate any guidance on this.


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Anytime I have ever seen a repair on the dam for water pouring out it always has come down to a backhoe to dig out the area and find both the incoming and outgoing water spot(s).

Once you have it opened up, pack it back with clay, top with topsoil and plant some new grass seed.

Water is a wicked thing when it comes to erosion. If it twer me...I'd be getting on that leaky spot on the double as it will only get worse with the water pouring out of it.



GL on the repair.


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I plan to set my 2" syphon that I have up in the shed rafters from when I dug out the other end of the pond several years go tomorrow hopefully. Figure the quicker I can pull the water down the better.


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Originally Posted by BLUE72CAMARO
I plan to set my 2" syphon that I have up in the shed rafters from when I dug out the other end of the pond several years go tomorrow hopefully. Figure the quicker I can pull the water down the better.

Agree!

Can you check the pond periodically while you are pulling it down? If so, you might go look after every few inches of drawdown and see if you can observe a tiny vortex or surface disturbance to help you locate the hole on the pond side. I would hate to leave it for the weekend though. Draw down now. If your pond is still filling, then perhaps you can let it come up a little on Friday night, and then you watch it drawdown over the weekend. (Or, the hole may be quite obvious after your initial drawdown!)

Also agree with Boondoggle on the repair. Dig it out clean and repack it well. Think of it the same way your dentist does a cavity. YOU have to make the hole bigger to fix it properly.

Finally, looks like you are going to be working on "muskrat patrol" this spring and summer. Do you know how to trap? Lots of people on the forum with similar problems are excellent trappers - usually out of necessity.

Good luck on your dam repair.

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Unfortunately I am stuck at work until 5 with 1/2 and hour drive home after that so not a lot of day light to play with when I get home tonight.

Yeah I trapped several out of the pond a couple years ago and shot two I saw by coincidence of looking out the back door at the right time one night a couple months ago. But hadnt seen any sign of a run or hole around the edge like I had a couple years ago. Also read about guys burying chain link fence in the face of the dame at normal full pool to stop this from happening. May give that a go, big thing is finding somebody with equipment that wants to mess with it now.


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Originally Posted by BLUE72CAMARO
May give that a go, big thing is finding somebody with equipment that wants to mess with it now.

I can rent a mini-excavator in my area that is small enough to be towed by a 1/2-ton pickup, but still has a maximum digging depth sufficient for your project.

The compaction will be a little tougher. I am a big guy, but getting old. I can still run a vibratory plate compactor by myself on level ground (barely). I recently ran a jumping jack compactor on uneven ground and that was beyond my capabilities after a few clay lifts. Two guys, or a big son by himself would help you greatly on the compaction.

The mini-ex is easy to learn to operate. I put my wife in the seat a while back and told her she would be able to put the bucket teeth in the exact toothmarks showing from the previous bucket. Three scoops later she was doing it.

If not DIY, than maybe you can get some construction guys over before they really get going in the spring on their main business jobs.

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So I got the siphon back going Friday before dark and by saturday morning it had dropped the pond level enough to stop the leak. Less than a foot from full if I had to guess. I made a call to a guy I grew up shooting trap with on a youth team that works for a local excavating company. He pretty much just does pond work for them now as they keep him busy either building or repairing ponds 90% of the time. Any how company owner came out Saturday morning while making his rounds to take a look at it and the problem is bigger than I had hoped. Turns out it is not a muskrat hole that got it. The ticking time bomb of the trees on my dam has finally went off. So pond is going down 4-5' and the dam is getting a makeover in the near future.


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Interesting thing about muskrats....I believe that they have some inherent sense that when they dig their dens, they don't allow the water to drain out of the pond, at least intentionally.


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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Good news that you have some help, found the trouble, can get it fixed and know what to do in the future to prevent it.

All good things.


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I'm glad that you found the fuse before the bomb detonated.


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Originally Posted by Sunil
Interesting thing about muskrats....I believe that they have some inherent sense that when they dig their dens, they don't allow the water to drain out of the pond, at least intentionally.


Sunil, you are correct. They use water to protect their front door. Only thing that can get in is a mink. Once the front door is open to the air, they abandon that den and make another that has an underwater entrance.


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Originally Posted by Sunil
Interesting thing about muskrats....I believe that they have some inherent sense that when they dig their dens, they don't allow the water to drain out of the pond, at least intentionally.

Thats pretty much correct, the problem is, when there is a slight drought and the water level is a ft low, they will dig new ones at the lower elevation, then bingo, when the water comes back up to full pool you have a hole that's draining your pond down to that elevation.
My neighbor lost a really expensive Tennessee walker show horse stud, he was running across the pond dam and stepped down thru the muskrat hollow and broke his leg.


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So I am back to believing that the muskrats are to blame. As the water level has went down it has become very apparent I have a serious muskrat problem at this point. I have found 4 areas that look similar to this entrance in the dam in different spots around the pond. This entrance is probably 10ft out of alignment with the hole in the back of the dam, I am guessing they got greedy with a new addition and popped thru the backside...

The entrance is directly under my siphon pipe and notice all the runs leading out in to the pond. I just picked up a new pair of traps to put out.

[Linked Image]


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I've never seen a trench from a muskrat leading into the the dam. You got a great pic of it.

Good luck on the traps.


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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
I've never seen a trench from a muskrat leading into the the dam. You got a great pic of it.

Good luck on the traps.

I wish the glare on the water wasnt so bad. There are actually three trenches running up towards the hole on this one. The one trench is quite a bit deeper than the others and more obvious.


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Did you buy a colony style type trap?
Colony trap

Or a body trap like a Conibear 110?

Conibear 110

You can catch 1-6, maybe 7 muskrats in a colony type trap. Only one at a time in a Conibear.


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Conibear style, its what the local farm supplies carry.


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I would agree with esshup on the colony trap or as we called them box traps. Growing up we had a similar issue with muskrats in our pond and used a wide variety of trap styles. The box traps were always the most productive traps, obviously when you can catch multiple in one set. They are also super simple to make yourself out of a wide variety of materials.

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I've had them packed in there so tight I really had to work to get them far enough away from the door to get them out.


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Things I didn't know...

How many muskrats live together?
Muskrats reproduce quickly and tend to live together in large families. In favorable conditions, muskrats may rear as many as 20 young in a single season. As muskrat families grow, their lodges expand to include more chambers and even levels.


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Alright guys you talked me into it, just ordered two of the colony traps. So now I need to know how to use them. LOL

Do you just set them in a run like you the conibear style?


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Originally Posted by BLUE72CAMARO
Alright guys you talked me into it, just ordered two of the colony traps. So now I need to know how to use them. LOL

Do you just set them in a run like you the conibear style?

Yes, but make sure they are at least covered with 2"-3" of water.


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Originally Posted by Boondoggle
Things I didn't know...

How many muskrats live together?
Muskrats reproduce quickly and tend to live together in large families. In favorable conditions, muskrats may rear as many as 20 young in a single season. As muskrat families grow, their lodges expand to include more chambers and even levels.


That's in marshes and swamps that don't have banks where they can tunnel into.

They will kick each generation out when momma is going to have a litter, here in Indiana that is around now. It's also breeding season, and I see young muskrats roaming around going from pond to pond searching for a mate.

They can have up to 3 litters per year, with up to 6-7 kits per litter.


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You will want to place the box traps in front or slightly inside there den entrances and make sure they are beneath the water like esshup has said. Muskrats are not the brightest creatures when it comes to traps, unlike some other critters, and are very easy to catch without any prior trapping experience. I wouldn't be the slightest surprised if you are to pull double digits out of your pond.

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Originally Posted by Justin W
You will want to place the box traps in front or slightly inside there den entrances and make sure they are beneath the water like esshup has said. Muskrats are not the brightest creatures when it comes to traps, unlike some other critters, and are very easy to catch without any prior trapping experience. I wouldn't be the slightest surprised if you are to pull double digits out of your pond.

Ok you guys got me curious, Ive never heard of using the colony trap, when you say set it at the entrance to their tunnel, is that with the open end facing in towards the den, so that you catch them coming out of their den, or facing out, to catch them coming to the den?
Or does this thing catch them from both ends?
Ill have to do some research, maybe this is what I need, I have seen tho that many times they have more then one entry to their den.
I do know these little suckers can excavate a lot of dirt out of a dam.


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