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#304979 08/29/12 06:56 PM
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just started on my first pond. ive never made a pond before but ive done a bit of research and had 2 different pond guys i know look at it and they both say they wouldnt think twice about it. im uneasy about it since i have to wipe all the trees out to do it and it may or may not hold water. They say it will be no problem so ive bit the bullet and pretty much have to try to make it work now. heres the area i have and the water is planned to come to a hair above the backhoe when all is done. i test dug down about 8 ft at the dam and ran into solid dark clay,which i would think should work for the core.anybody see anything im missing or havent thought about before all these trees are gone?

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how big do you plan your pond being when you are finished and it is full?


Fishing has never been about the fish....

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When you do the core, make sure you take it out past the pond basin and tie it into good soil.

What are you going to use to compact the clay? I'm assuming that you will be digging down to clay and using it to "plate" over the non-clay soil that is near the surface around the edges of the pond?


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it should be a little over 2 acres. i had planned on coring back in the back like you described. i have a dozer and backhoe and if it ever rains and i only pack 6 inches or so at a time, i would think it would be good enough? i plan on stripping all the topsoil out down to clay around the whole thing. once i get it logged, i just have to wait for rain. i dont think its rained all year it seems like, and its just powder everywhere around here.

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and im still trying to decide how big of an over flow pipe i should put in,or even maybe 2 smaller ones instead of one big one.

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The tracks usually won't pack it tight enough. They're designed to float over soft surfaces......

Multi tired pan scraper or sheepsfoot. Load the pan up and drive it around 'till your dizzy. Or Sheepsfoot and let it walk out of the clay before adding another 6". I'd shoot for a minimum of 18" compacted with a target of 24".

You expecting to get any rain from Issac?


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How many acres of watershed will be feeding the pond? Where 'bouts in Hoosierville?


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This is not the best of times to build a pond. The clay/soil needs to be moist enough to compact.


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.

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^ i agree, which is why im not doing anything yet. lol.theres approx 8-10 acres around that feeds into it.

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heres a pic of the dirt about 2 ft down which im told is good. does this look like decent clay to be packing the bottom and the dam with?


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Drill some 1/4" or so holes in the bottom of a 5 gal bucket. Pack 6" in the bottom. Fill with water. See if it leaks out....

If it does leak, and you used dry clay, try adjusting the moisture content before packing and see if that solves the leakage problem.


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actually, i did just that today...lol. ive got a few inches of gravel in the bottom as well. so far, not a drop has came out. and as dry as the ground is right now, its really not packed that great, so that seems like a great sign to me. i have a little bit redder clay down in the dam area i need to check as well. i may need to pack some of this stuff down there if it doesnt do as good as this i assume? also, question.... this clay seems to be over most of the area,especially on the shallow end. i would love to leave some stickups near the bank in a couple areas,which i am finding is a no no. but i have seen it many times work. is that worth trying or no?most lakes have alot of that and were never packed or anything and hold fine.

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Yeah, but the lakes were formed naturally and back when they formed, nobody cared if they were there or not.....

Clean the bottom, pack it good and place your own stick-ups where you want them. After spending $$ to build the pond, you don't want to spend the same amount or more $$ fixing a leaking pond.


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no, im talking about man made dammed up lakes. im just thinking , if theres substantial clay under the trees, then it could work?

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If you have a constant spring running into it the trees could probably be left if not I would do as esshup recommends and add them back in later


"I think I have a nibble" Homer Simpson

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no, no spring. how would you add them in later exactly?

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Look in the archives, there's a large thread about adding structure to ponds.


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yeah, i can add structure later. logs, tires etc. but a few standing stickups would be neat as well.

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eh, ill just save the stumps i dig up and set them back in when its done i guess. same effect

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Now you're getting it! wink grin


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the more trees i take down , the more nervous and second guessing im getting. but i did test the more redder clay i found as well in the bucket and so far its not leaking any either. it looks as if it wouldnt hold water to me, but who knows

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If both are not leaking any, and you want to see which one will seal the best, find a taller container (more water weight on the clay).

Heck, if you wanted to see how the clay would perform under, say, 10', 15' or even 20' of water, get a 2" dia piece of PVC, pack 6", 12" , 18", etc. of clay in one end, drill a few holes in a cap and slip the cap on tightly (no glue). Support the cap on something porus, stand it up and fill it up with water.


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clearing is getting farther along. my stomach is gonna be sick until "IF" or "WHEN" it holds water. i hate getting rid of this woods


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Going back to the first threads, spend the money and rent roller. Find a sheepsfoot and a smooth shell roller and compact. We ran all over my ponds with large rubber tires for days as we moved and laid down the first layer of clay but that minor compaction did not compare to what the rollers did. Make it right the first time not like me.

Don't shortcut the compaction, great title for Mike
Otto's Biography ha ha


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i cleared trees up to this point today.literally dropped one 10 ft from this before i saw it...


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Man, you'd be one unhappy camper if that branch would have fallen on you! The bald faced hornets wouldn't have been happy either. wink


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How do you handle hornets like that?

Can you drop the whole nest into some kind of sack and tie it off? Then maybe tie a cinder block to it and chuck it in the pond? LOL.

I wouldn't even know where to start without a flame thrower LOL.


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im not touching it..lol. but i will go back this winter and steal the nest. its huge,about 3 ft long.

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I thought the same thing (get the nest in the winter) and every nest that I saw was torn apart a few weeks after the first frost. It took 3 years to finally nail down the culprit(s).

I really wanted a nest to hang in the barn, and I finally got one by spraying it with Pounce a week or 2 before the first frost. That killed the nest in 1 day, but I let it hang for a week to make sure none of the eggs hatched.

The culprits? Chickadee's and Tufted Titmouse. They tore apart the nest looking for immature hornet grubs.


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I know some guys (hunting camp)that cut one down just after frost and took it into their camp. It was warm in the camp - guess what - they were alive and quite angry.
















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well its cleared and i spent 8 hrs today shoving topsoil out. the whole bottom is all super good clay it seems. some rocky red clay on one bank,but should seal when i clay the whole thing. i had a foot deep area dug back before i even cut a tree down and its been full of water over a week since the last rain. i dug it out today and its bone dry underneath it. good signs so far

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well, rain caught me before i got done, but it looks to be ok so far. not far from done. and this water has been in there for 2 weeks and stable.


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Looking good!


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i will say building a dam is an ungodly amount of dirt moving i hope to never do again...lol

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at this point ive gotten about another 3 inches in it from rain and the only time i can mark a water drop is when its sunny out for a couple days. the most ive seen go down yet is an inch. would it be safe to say by now that the bottom at least is going to be water worthy?

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I think you're good!


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i hope so..lol. now we just need a whole winter of rain and snow to do any real help in filling it

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gonna call it after today and just let it rain. not much i can do other than drag stumps in when i get around to it. im tired...lol


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had a few decent rains. not enough. but its gettin more and more


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Won't those stumps float?


I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

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they might...ill worry about that later.

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Lol that's the way I handle problems too.. Wife hates it


I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

BG. CSBG. LMB. HSB. RES.

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From my own limited experience on this, mine did not float, as long as the majority of it is root ball. The amount of dirt in amongst the roots will keep them down. If you are still worried about it, anchor them so they will stay in the area you want them.

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Looks good! Nothing better than that first pond. The excitement begins..lol Hopefully the rain will set in for you. I had to pump water in mine over the summer, but have got alot of rain this month to fill it up good. Good luck and happy fishing!!

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im thinking as long as theyre not TOO deep and stay vertical they might stay put. ill just be happy if the water stays up in the area to even create that kind of problem

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It's hard to imagine big heavy stumps floating, but trust me, they do frown. I tried to anchor mine, but even before they were submerged, one broke free and floated like a cork. Me and kid #1 had to canoe out to it and tie it off to the top of one that stayed anchored so it wouldn't float off and sink where I didn't want it. Took a month or more, but eventually soaked enough water and sank.

Very exciting waiting for a pond to fill. I bet it'll look great. Please keep us updated!

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Seen something interesting the other day on youtube. A pond builder had taken a trackhoe, and dug small holes and turned the stumps upside down in them so that it formed something similiar to a mushroom look.


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yeah ill pass on the upside down stumps...lol. i like the more natural look

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We did 'shroom stumps along the edge of the creek channel rather than burning them. Pond builder tapped them in with the trackhoe. Great cover. Note: It's NOT a swimming pond! I still have some small floating sticks and logs that pop up know and then since the pond has filled. Kind of irritating, I'm just glad they're not stumps. My pond experience on waiting until "later": I installed wood duck boxes "later". Bad idea! Driving 4x4 posts into a pond bottom in ~6" of water then trying to attach the boxes all from a jon boat was painful!
Here's one for the 'shroom stumps!


- Dave
4.5 acre woodland pond constructed Feb 2011
- began fill Aug 25 - full pool Nov 18
- fish stocked Oct 25: 1200 Shellcracker; 3800 bluegill bream; 500 channel catfish
May 2012: 500 LMB May 2012; 50 "permitted" sterile grass carp.


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Originally Posted By: Kiko
We did 'shroom stumps along the edge of the creek channel rather than burning them.


That's what I did. The big Oak stumps did not float, but the Cedar stumps did.


AL

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Originally Posted By: bottledgt
yeah ill pass on the upside down stumps...lol. i like the more natural look


The upside down rootballs give the fish more places to seek shelter from the sun, and I don't think you'll be looking at them much once they're covered with water.

But, if you had planned on leaving some of them out of the water, then that's a different story.


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yes sir...

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yeah, not real sure this is gonna work...its got more water in than its ever had,but still seems to drop anywhere from 6-10 inches between rains or snows. doesnt seem like it should drop that much to me but not sure. maybe it takes longer than im giving it to tell for sure

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Nope, shouldn't drop like that. There's gotta be an area that isn't sealed somewhere.....


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yay. good luck finding that. shouldve left the woods there. oh well its ruined now...lol

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Well the leak has to be in the portion that's seen water so you know where to start.. Does it stop dropping at a certain height if so the leak is above that.. Do you see any wet spots down stream or on the backside of the dam? 6-10 of drop could be possible if its not a big bod of water yet.. Post some pics of how much water you've got in it so far.. Are you sure it's dropping that much or just a estimate.. Place a measuring stick in the water mark the water level and see what happens over a week with no rain..


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forgot to mention. its really never went down below its last known level before a rain. basically if it was 5 ft deep then rained and filled to 7 ft, it wouldnt go back to 5 but fall back to 6 or 6.5 . so im not sure if its just soaking in that much or what yet.

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it is wet behind the dam,but its wet everywhere today and thawing out, so that doesnt mean anything. the old streambed at the base of the dam is not very wet at all. actually drier there than most other places.. the last pic i posted has water in it and theres 2 steel T posts in the right of the pic. water level is up to the concrete base of the higher one currently.

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Give it sometime it'll fill to the top with a good downpour then you'll know what you got going on or it'll dry out and you'll find a wet spot on the back of the dam then you'll know you have a leak.. Kinda in a play it by ear stage.. Did you core the dam?


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maybe it is just soaklng in the water if it goes up 2 ft. and only drops 6" after a while. Don't get discouraged as I rather sure you will be stocking fish in no time. Good luck.


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yeah im gettin a little ahead of myself...lol. it may be fine. the dam is cored. ive not seen any water back there yet when its dry. judging by the rain we've got itll take more than a downpour. i need a few of em...:) i really dont think its the dam leaking if anything. im just worried about rock underneath the whole thing since i did find a couple spots in excavation. not much i could do at that point but carry on and pack over it. i guess one good thing is it has had water in it since the first day back in october i think and even though its fell a bit here and there its always been going up for the most part.

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well its dried up a bit around the pond and it still seems to be wet behind the dam. more than anywhere else anyway. so maybe it is seeping a bit there. theres no water running down the hill though. . its just wet about a 1/4 of the way up which is approx the same elevation as where the water level is. whats weird is it isnt wet at all at the bottom and never has been since i started checking it. and not wet above the area either. guess ill just let it set over the winter and keep an eye on it.

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and if anybody is curious...i got the hornets nest...and its currently hanging in my shop by my deer mounts lol


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Don't those hornets come out of hibernation when they warn up ?


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Bott.,I put a cinder block in my ponds a couple of feet under the water. Then I get a baseline measurement so I know exactly how much my water level fluctuates. You may want to do something like that. Hopefully it will be a wet spring.


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no. there are no hornets in it. they arent in there after the frost starts . plus the birds start in to eat the larvae. notice the holes. its been in my heated shop since dec so its all good...lol. and i have the water flagged so i know where its at.

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Lol that coulda been bad


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which is why i waited till it got cold...lol. they dont stay in it over winter. they build new ones each year

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well the back of the dam is dry enough to find something. only spot i find is one about big enough to stand in. pretty muddy and wet, but JUST right there. and not running down the hill at all. its dry below it and in the old creek ditch below it. not sure here, but it cant be good

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Take a pair of post hole diggers and hit a few whacks straight down. If it is leaking you will be in muck quickly. To be sure go 25 ft. each side of pilot hole, then dig a hole at each spot. If they are dry,you know you have a leak. I have used this method to find leaks in water lines(black plastic tends to start going bad after 20 some years). Good luck.


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i did that around in that area and it was drier underground than on top, but it is definately leaking and filling my hole up. doesnt ever really run out and down the hill, but fills up the holes. so...guess its back to square one sometime later this year. due to the water that came in the pond on me before i was completely done, it really didnt get packed on the inside of the dam like it should have. maybe i can get in there after i dry it up and repack the face of the dam and the bottom and maybe even add some more dirt to it.

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Since you have the equipment,it might be best to breach the dam where the leak is. I wouldn't rush it as it may be a super wet spring. It should be an easier fix now that you know the leak is up on the dam. Good luck.


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yeah, ill probably leave it alone till summer or fall or something, just in case it wants to fix itself...which most likely is not the case..lol

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If it was me I would stock a couple of hundred CC to just have fun till you drain it. good luck!!!


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If you are going to remove the water, I would do it by pumping. If you breach the dam, there is a good chance that you will send an awful lot of that dam material downstream. You will need that soil to rebuild.


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if i can get access to extra clay this year from excess dirt at work, i may haul some more in and go a couple foot higher like i wanted to do anyway. im gonna see what the water does on its own this summer. i may not have to drain anything lol

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well. leak hasnt got worse or better really. just the one spot on the back that since i dug a hole ,constantly stays full with watr and seeps down the hill slowly. and the water is crystal clear and brownish mineral color. i walked the dam 7 or 8 times and water witched and found the same spot every time,which is directly over where i hit rock when coring the dam about 4 ft deep in just this one spot. i find water lines all the time doing this and its always been right, so i kinda believe it. now just gotta figure out what i wanna do here. guess i should have spent more and hoe rammed all the rock out deeper.

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How deep is your pond now? Has it gained any depth? I have never had any luck with the water witching, we just drill till we hit water.


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its about the same give or take a foot. when it does rise, it slowly goes away down to about where it is now, which is probably 4-5 ft. i got the backhoe out and dug as deep as i could with the extend a hoe at that spot i marked about 20 ft long down the front top of the dam, and when i came up with nothing, i then went to where the leak is and did the same thing. still nothing. even more amazing is the dirt down past 8 ft deep or so is all dry as a bone all the way down far as i can go. seems if there was a leak the dirt would be wet if i was anywhere close. since im already in there i maight as well cut from one end till the other and see if i can find water anywhere.

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Bottledgt, It might be leaking out the bottom but you never know. I think I would bust that rock as deep as you can. Good luck!


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well its leaking out the back cause theres water coming out of the dam. i just have to find where. im gonna finish trenching all the way across and see if i can find water anywhere first and try to pack it back in with the bucket to stop it off. if i dont find anything, i guess ive gotta move it all and go deeper and start over.

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ive went as deep as possible, but cant get any deeper to where the rock is. its all dry. but i dug down behind the dam where the leak shows up and water is coming through the seam between the old ground and the new ground. so i guess its just the fact that i cant get any deeper is why i can locate any water. gonna get my buddies trackhoe and skidder and try to get deeper to find it, then probably gonna have to recore it and rebuild it. i know the dirt is way to dry down there to have enough compaction to really work, so thats probably most of the problem. once this is fixed, it seems lke this thing should hold a lot better.

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Sounds like you got to the bottom of the problem!


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well. not yet! i cut the dam down some where the rock is so i could get deeper and after about 5 more ft i found it. dug out both side of it and nothing...not even a drop of water. at this point i know im at the bottom of the original core so i dont know whats up now. i havent found the slightest sign of a drop of water anywhere and im every bit of 20 ft down. theres only really one area i havent dug out yet and my my luck thats where it probably is...i thought for sure it would have been coming around that rock ledge but i guess not

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Maybe tomorrow.


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maybe,..,,.lol. whats really gonna suck is when i get through it all and still not find water. lol

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I think I would still hammer that rock big time. We came from eastern Ky. and all they used to dig ponds was a bulldozer. They would push the dirt down from the dam and after they got the depth,they would bring the dirt back and build the dam. The only ones that would leak would be where they hit rock and didn't pack it good. No cores and they didn't compact the bottom. Soil was all clay.


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well, if i have to end up REALLY digging it out i will. gotta find something first. theres obviously no water penetrating the from half of the dam anywhere ive dug so far. most of what ive dug has been open for 24 hrs now, and not a drop of water has came through anywhere. hopefully i can find SOMETHING tomorrow cause after tomorrow there wont be any part of the dam i havent crossed

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all done. tired. no luck whatsoever. the dam is all packed back in mostly. not a drop of water from one end to the other. and all the while i worked today, it dropped another 1/4 inch. thought sure id find something, but no water whatsoever is being lost though any part of the dam i built. thats good ,but now i gotta wonder what this seeping water out back is from...

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You have my sympathy. Do you think it could be coming from the bottom of the pond. Is the leak lower then the bottom of the pond? I hope you solve this before it affects your sex drive.


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the water coming out is between the original dirt and the new dirt at the back of the dam. no idea where its spouting from though. i dug WAY deeper than where its coming out at. i just thought if it was the dam, id for sure have it taken care of before all this spring rain came. but i guess now ill just get to watch and see it drain some more. i know for sure i was at least 5-6 ft below original ground when i dug today. i was down good in the original hard pan and nada. not a sign of moisture anywhere.

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This may not work at all but I might try this since you have no fish in your pond. The water should run in a straight line fromwhere it is exiting the pond. I might buy many of the blue discs that you put in a commode. Put several of them in a mesh bag that is weighted down so that it doesn't move. Start at the dam, drop it as close to the dam as possible. If it doesn't get blue water move it straight back 5 feet and repeat the process. It may or may not work but Mr.Tidy will think you for the business.


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eh...i pretty much know now the dam is fine...lol

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as of today. gotta finish the top of the dam again after the rain gets the rest of the dirt moist enough to pack . its a hole of water! maybe itll seal eventually. if i eventually gotta drain it and put more clay to it , so be it. this is too good a setup not to have water here. i tossed a float and fly bobber setup out in the middle and played around with leaders and found that its 6 to 6 1/2 ft roughly deep which is about what i thought.


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65 degrees yesterday and snow today . in 4 hrs today, its up 4 inches and still rising. good to see. maybe it just needs to keep filling and we'll see what happens.

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That is good BOTTLD,maybe you solved your leak problem. I sent you a PM. Good luck.


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i dont really think i solved anything lol. heres a shot when i was digging. as you can tell, im DOWN there. and its dry. the rock is in there too if you can see it close to the far end. but it does ease my mind now, knowing nothing is coming through it.


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man today got good in a hurry. an inch of rain totally engulfed my measuring stick i had in the water that was sticking out 3ft. now i can watch it and see how fast it goes down...lol. its NEVER been this full yet. but we havent had this much rain yet either


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Man that pond looks great so far! Good job!

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Yeah, that is nice-looking! I wish I had the time and money to go play with some heavy machines to try my hand at it. Early career was landscaping, but got tired of rising on mowers. Loved the architecture side of though, and pond building fits right in there.

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Any updates??
Did you pond fill??

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nah. its a waste. same thing. water stays the same. i just got a 6ft mudpuddle i guess

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pond just stays at the same level as the pic on page 4 (#325812) it gets deeper, but disappears in a week or so and re stabilizes. im assuming thats the level where a leak is and i only have one good idea where it could be. luckily i know exactly where that is. in about the middle area of the pond i hit a nice solid rock. i could only chip up about a 4x6 ft chunk off the top of it. so i packed over it. how much i cant remember. but it is about spot on where the lake level is from what i remember. im thinking maybe i will trench down out past the waters edge till i find it and see if water is penetrating there.

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Either that, or it's leaking out from the very bottom. When the water gets deep enough it forces the water out, but when the water level drops the pressure is reduced and the leak closes back up again.


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yup, thought about that too...i can try this with very little effort though, so maybe ill get lucky, but i highly doubt it. wish i had stuck with my gut and left my woods alone

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I think I'm having the same problem
When I excavated I had rock on the bottom of the pond
My gut told me to ripe it out and compact it with clay
But time and money was an issue, mostly time.

I'm Also a little more the half full (or half emty )
I'm hopping that the bottom will seal itself but I'm running out of patience.
You must believe one day all your hard work
will pay off

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well all its done this far is destroy what was there...its now below that rock area, so it has to be leaking out the very bottom, which is probably following the rock under the dam. i believe this fall i will be ripping up the dam for real and busting through the ledge to get down under it and pack it off and try that.

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well, decisions, decisions. after all this time i still have the same mudhole preety much at the same basic depth. lol.not sure if ill just dig around the outside in the areas i know where rock is and try to find somthing, or if i should just bust it out and go under the dam and rip up the rock(its a big one. lol) this valley all runs down hill from the shallow end(obviously) and has rock in 3 or 4 spots along the way. then the one i hit in the core. i dug down to that one last winter in the dam, but it was dry. i guess it could be transferring under it though? only reason i think that is about 2 or 300 yard down from the dam there is a nice sinkhole. the question is, would busting through it on the dam help or would it be better to pack over the pond on the inside? i have a feeling ill be doing both before its over lol

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I'd pack the whole pond basin first. If there's a chance that it isn't leaking at the dam, and that's what you repair/pack. then you'd be doing the inside next.


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yeah kinda the way im leaning too. think ill take some more dirt from the shallow end and transfer to the deep end and pack it in.problem is, is there is rock in the shallow end too. but at least if i solve the deep end problem, then later i can haul more dirt in if need be to fix the shallow end. i know its not coming THROUGH the dam,. i was just concerned if it is maybe going under it through the rock seam somewhere

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Screen the rocks out before packing, and you should be packing the pond bottom with good clay, not dirt. If it's just dirt and not clay, I wouldn't waste diesel fuel on it.


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well, i said dirt, but i meant clay. really no rocks other than the huge ones down under. lol.

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Well aftera whole year,it has stayed the same level all this summer. Had a good rain that raised it a foot or more about a month ago.i expected it to go away but oddly, it isholding strong.weird,but ill take it. Things may start to work out now.if it gets better,ill have to work on the muddy water. It has been mudd since day one.

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I really think that this will come in and your like most first time pond builders paranoid all your hard work is for not if it wont hold water. It really takes time for the built up banks to take and hold. You need enough rainfall to perk through and pack. The fine plates in the clay do take time to line up and seal.

I truly believe that the PH or polarity of the clay has more to do with sealing than most of us think. Different elements in the clay will retain more ions of water and take more water to fill. Then if the water and clay have equal polarity she just will not seal or lump up. I have walked the edges of my pond and found areas where I can go clear to my knee in clay muck and other areas where I barely sink in an inch even after being packed. This pond is only a year old too. We have very very heavy clay so heavy years ago our township was Ontario's largest producers of clay brick.

You only need to really worry if you have very very clear water and the pond is still leaking. Try to work on other projects and don't over think the leak. It will be fine in time.

Cheers Don.

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Well,believe me,it aint clear.hasnt changed color once since day 1 . Lol

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Got some rocks from a job i did and made a nice firepit. Made a nice addition.

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Something my wife has been asking for is a BIG rock along our dam at waters edge for her to sit on (and think deep thoughts I presume)for her morning walks. I think a bench would be easier but she does not have the appreciation for how much a BIG rock weighs and the difficulty of placing it on a pond bank with a full pond like I do. We will see. We may end up with a BIG rock rolling down to the bottom of the pond for fish structure LOL.

I mention this, because some well placed rocks like in the picture in strategic locations along waters edge might be a nice addition and something much easier done before the pond is full. Fire pit is nice. I have a big old combine steel tire rim I plan to use for a fire pit then rock the outside of it for looks.

Glad to hear it is starting to hold water better. Would some lime help to flocculate the clay to get it to precipitate out quicker (to plug the seep)? Also help with the water clarity at the same time?


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I have heard of putting bales of hay in will help with the clarity and add some nutrients to a new pond that might be void of nutrients.

In an old pond I renovated it was chocolate milk brown from the native clay so I put a big loader scoop of some hay/manure mixture that came from an area hay was fed to cattle for quite a while. I imagine it was 90% hay and 10% manure, well composted. My thinking was the hay might help clear up the water and the manure help with an algae bloom. Hard to tell for sure but I think it might be helping. I also limed and added crushed rock around the shore line to stop shore erosion which was also adding to the problem.

Just some thoughts. Some of those with lots more experience than me can say if what I did was a good idea or not. Water is still muddy but it has gotten a little better.

In our big pond we dug new I lined it back with topsoil saved from the excavation and it made all the difference in the world. Our new pond has excellent clarity only limited by the algae level. NRCS had suggested we do that if we wanted clear water as the silt particles (from topsoil) are larger than clay particles and will settle out. The type of clay we have, well some of it does and some does not settle out depending on the particular type of clay hit during the excavation. Old ponds that eventually get enough silt will clear up. Otherwise most local ponds that are relatively new are muddy looking.

Last edited by snrub; 11/25/13 01:32 AM.

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See this for clay turbidity

https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/getFactSheet/whichfactsheet/108/

Hay can help sometimes as can ag lime but it depends on the situation.
















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For placing big rocks on steep banks so they don't roll, get a bunch of smaller rocks embedded into the bank and excavate a bit to cradle the larger rock. Regardless the larger rock will eventually slide downward over time on a clay bottom. It is best to put something towards the top of the dam instead, not on the slope.

If you have the thickness of liner and are not worries about breaking the seal, use rebar or concrete rebar 3' spikes driven in to prevent slippage, cradle with smaller rocks, then roll in the big-un slowly.

With that said, I did all of the above by hand. Managed to roll a 500lb+ rock into a garden trailer which groaned
(used physics as my friend). Had everything prepped to accept the stone... and promptly rolled it too fast into position. Went right up and over my cradle which I thought was robust enough. The large rock just squashed the smaller ones into the clay, and now I have structure on the bottom. I could see it the other day about 12' down.

I really would love to have a tractor... but until I win the lotto, everything I do is on a budget.

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Thanks for the tips. Will keep those in mind. Looks like it will be next summer before I attempt anything.

No worry about a liner here. Your small rocks to make a cradle gives me the idea of some rebar and some portland cement mixed with small rocks to make the cradle. I have a pto powered cement mixer and that sounds like the ticket.


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Heres a shot as of now. Still holding somewhat. Lol. But not ideal

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Looks like to me the water might be a foot deeper than the summer picture. Is that about right?

Is the pond holding at this new level or will it be going back down?

Maybe the leak is starting to slow?


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well, that was from thanksgiving, and yes it is deeper now. it still leaks, but it seems to be slowing more and more. such a slow process but im afraid to do anything but wait since it doe show some hope. lol. its almost at the point of at least being somewhat usable.

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been thinking, and after spring comes,depending on what happens with it,i am leaning towards wasting some money on db110 and give that a try. ive very skeptical that something like that would work, but i understand why it 'could' work being that my leak is not what i would consider 'fast'. any thoughts?

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I tried 12 tons or bentonite that didn't work
My problem was that I never payed much attention to the bottom of the pond
Also my neighbor who is an excellent excavator operator but knew nothing about building ponds did not core half of the dam when I left home alone
I cored the first half
I knew right away it was not holding, it would get a little water then drain right out
So I tried the bentonite it helped a little but would still not hold past half full
A few weekends it filled and ran out the overflow pipe but would drop 14" a week until the halfway mark
I had a good idea what the problem was from the start

1) the dam was not cored correctly
2) the bottom in one section was not cleared or one large stump and a rock formation
3) the bottom was not compacted

It turns out there was an underground stream where the water was running through
It was finding its way through the large stump and rocks and running under the dam

My solution was to rent the excavator and dozer again with the addition of a sheep's foot compactor
1) I cored the front of the dam down 15' down filled and compacted
2) ripped out that stump that bothered me from day one
3) ripped out all the rock around the stump
4) ripped up the whole bottom removing all large rocks
5) core trenched around the whole pond
6) compacted the hell out of it

I knew right away it was holding when I got a foot of water and it held
I redid it in September and it's now about 3/4 full and holding
With all the snow we are having it's going to be a great spring

One last thing I believe I achieved was
I core trenched the top of the pond where the water runoff enters the pond,
By doing that I believe I created an under ground dam forcing the water up and into the pond instead of running under .......

So my advice is to follow the advice from all the knowledgeable experts on the forum

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14 inches a week. Wow. Lol. I dont have anything near that drastic going on. Nor can i core around the whole pond. Thats a little much. Lol. Ive been holding pretty steady all winter. Definately hasn been draining down like it used to. It just slowly keeps getting a little better.

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Originally Posted By: snrub
I have heard of putting bales of hay in will help with the clarity and add some nutrients to a new pond that might be void of nutrients.

In an old pond I renovated it was chocolate milk brown from the native clay so I put a big loader scoop of some hay/manure mixture that came from an area hay was fed to cattle for quite a while. I imagine it was 90% hay and 10% manure, well composted. My thinking was the hay might help clear up the water and the manure help with an algae bloom. Hard to tell for sure but I think it might be helping. I also limed and added crushed rock around the shore line to stop shore erosion which was also adding to the problem.

Just some thoughts. Some of those with lots more experience than me can say if what I did was a good idea or not. Water is still muddy but it has gotten a little better.

In our big pond we dug new I lined it back with topsoil saved from the excavation and it made all the difference in the world. Our new pond has excellent clarity only limited by the algae level. NRCS had suggested we do that if we wanted clear water as the silt particles (from topsoil) are larger than clay particles and will settle out. The type of clay we have, well some of it does and some does not settle out depending on the particular type of clay hit during the excavation. Old ponds that eventually get enough silt will clear up. Otherwise most local ponds that are relatively new are muddy looking.


Update on clay turbidity: I saw the pond about a week ago and much to my surprise the old pond is now almost as clear as my big pond. It also has a nice green cast to it. A couple warm days took about half the ice cover off and the water looked like maybe 18" vis and light green with algae. grin

I think the lime, crushed limestone rock on the banks, and the hay/manure did the trick. Or some combination thereof.

Last edited by snrub; 02/06/14 06:28 PM.

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Thats good to hear. I hope to have a full pond someday so that that can be my next worry! I can only hope. Lol

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And here we are now. Still goin about the same. Gonna try db200 I'm thinking just to see what happens. It's a pond,but also not a pond.

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Sorry to hear it is not holding water like you hoped.


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Wow, this entire thread has been a interesting read. I am where you were on page one. I've just cleared two beautiful acres of woods to build the pond I've been dreaming about for years.
I was trying to avoid every problem you've encountered. I had the USDA pond expert out,then I had a guy come out with a back hoe to dig test holes, then I had the USDA guy come back, and he brought his soils expert. They all gave me the go ahead, even though there were some rocks in the test holes. The clay was very good (ribbon test etc.)
Then we took out all the trees, and started dozing. We found even more rocks.. Not good. I paid a pond expert/consultant to come in and help with advice etc..
I almost shut down the project due to finding more rock, but decided I was already in pretty deep $$ wise.
Got it completed, and now I'm in the waiting phase to see if it will fill, and hold water. We found rocky sections with some 6 to 8" rocks in the clay. They tried to excavate below them, but they didn't end.. So they just ran the Sheepsfoot roller over them again and again.
Walking it the other day I think I've found one pretty big rock, about three feet across that is visible in the clay. It must have been scraped over near the end. Will it leak around that, it is in a shallower part of the pond, but will still be in 8' of water.
Oh well, it is what it is. All I can do now is wait. I'm not investing any more in fishing structure, until I see if it holds water.
Your pics look a lot like mine .. Hope you get this solved. I figure mine will be a huge two acre food plot if it doesn't hold water..

Last edited by SetterGuy; 09/08/14 06:34 AM.

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.
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So, ive not done anything but wait till now. Waiting is getting old. Im not getting any better results it seems than what i already have. BUT ,i still have the same depth of pond through this whole time. Thinking of just draining it down and getting it packed properly first and see if that helps over this winter.

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Just my 2 cents....I would send TJ a PM and explain my problem. He might be able to help with a more cost effective solution or a suggestion.


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I agree with contacting TJ here on the forum. This pond sounds like the perfect storm for the soil floc.



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Im not familiar with a tj? And are cattails an indication of anything? I have a couple clumps growing but only in 2 spots.

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Here you go Bottle. He's doing some tests with the stuff. Maybe this thread will help.
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=422113#Post422113


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teehjaeh57 (TJ for short) that posts here often and does pond consulting professionally. He has been experimenting with a polymer sealer that he has been having success with. He lives in Nebraska (was typing same time as Cisco above)

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Originally Posted By: bottledgt
Im not familiar with a tj?


Get thee behind me, temptation.

Put me down as another vote for the polymer product.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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HMm...call me crazy,but i just dont have much faith in something simple as that sounds...lol. I never did try any bentonite,db200 or any such thing because its just so much money thrown into a hole with no guarantee....and i have to wonder about it holding up long term if in case it did work?

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Not crazy at all. From a mechanic's standpoint, I'm not a big believer of "bottle" fixes either. Still, this polymer product is racking up some impressive results.


"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.
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As big as this is ,it just appears it would be a huge cost to gamble on really. It basicall holds like a bathtub where its at now. Come springtime,im probably gonna be a pig farmer. At least thats not a loss if it doesnt work...lol

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