Never thought much about ponds. Then one day while gazing out over the pasture south of our house from the patio I made the off hand comment that a pond there might look nice, what did she think? Her comment was something on the order of "when are you going to start, when will it be finished and how big will it be?" You would think I would avoid making off the cuff comments to her after the one about taking the motorcycles to Alaska and three weeks later we were in Alaska for a 12,000 mile trip, but then I am a slow learner. Maybe about 3/4 to an acre would be nice. "Not near big enough, needs to be much bigger." You realize as the size goes up the volume of dirt gets much larger, fast. How big? "The whole pasture would be nice".
Well she did not get the whole small pasture (had cows in it just the year before) but the majority of it. Basically the whole part that we could get to hold water behind a dam. So that was the initial venture into my ponding experience. I'll post a couple of pictures below. We do own a nice D6N XL dozer that we use on the farm courtesy of the housing crisis and the east coast was giving away used construction equipment for about half price. The "big" pond she wanted (as opposed to a small cow pond we are accustomed to in this area) gave me the perfect excuse to buy a 12 yard dirt scraper that I had wanted for the farm (clean out waterways and patch terraces) for years but had a hard time justifying the cost. We got started in the spring of 2012 (built the pond ourselves as you have now figured out) with most of the major cuts made, the core trench and majority of dam finished and the pond started filling by late that summer. We lined the bottom with top soil as muddy clay looking water like most of the new ponds in the area have would not do for wife to look at and NRCS said that would help with water clarity. We finished up some of the dam work as farm work time allowed that fall and through the next spring and stocked FHM and BG along with a few RES.
I don't fish. It just seemed like with such a nice pond it was a shame not to put some fish in, and I do have several employees that fish, who have kids that like to fish, and I have grandkids that like to fish. So we stocked fish. See where this is going from my original vision of a small 3/4 acre pond to look out over from the patio? It took on a life of its own.
Having seen some erosion as the pond was filling I hated to see the banks erode so we ended up putting lateral rock around the rim. The NRCS had designed a "bench" for erosion control but the rock just seemed like a good idea. Wanting to be able to walk around the pond in any weather we put crushed rock on the "bench" which was not planned in the beginning. More dollars worth of rock than I even care to think about, we have a nice place to walk or drive the 4 wheeler even right after a rain. I rarely miss going around the pond at least once daily.
Seemed like there ought to be a dock out there so we could sit on it and enjoy the sunset. 160' of 8" I beam and other assorted metal, a lot of treated lumber and 10 - 12-14" diameter Osage Orange (hedge locally) posts harvested off a tree row along with the help of three grandsons and a purchased used floating section from Craigs list and we have a beautiful 8' wide by 100' long dock that we enjoy a lot. The grandsons will enjoy that dock and remember the time we spent together building it for the rest of their life (the fact that it was an afterthought and we put over half of the posts in concrete in standing water and did the final install in the water after the pond was mostly full)
Did I mention I don't fish? I scuba dive and look at lots of fish under water with 100 foot visibility but have never had much interest in fishing other than taking the kids perch (green sunfish I have learned) fishing a few times when they were small. But someday I will get too decrepit to scuba dive so maybe I better make preparations for another hobby now. Takes time to grow fish. Put in the LMB and CC this fall.
Had no plans feeding them but the guy we got the fish from said it would sure make them reproduce better. Having paid a princely sum for something I had little care for catching after getting them, I darn sure wanted them to do at leastsomething like reproduce so started a limited feeding program. I enjoy feeding them so much and observing that it is sad that the water temperature is approaching a time to stop. Go figure.
Some stringy algae forming..................maybe I better check into aeration................ green slimy pond is unacceptable for wife to look at.
All this from a casual comment, almost a wistful one, to my wife. You would think I would learn.
Anyway we have a beautiful pond we enjoy to no end and it all seems worth it. All that from something I would never imagined I would enjoy two years ago, but here we are. Just discovered Pondboss forums a few weeks ago. Wish I would have known about it earlier.
Edit: Pond design ended up at 3.5 acres (Edit: measured acres ended up being 3.1 - I think the maximum possible was 3.5 and we decided on a slightly smaller footprint) and we added a little during construction so the shoreline had some "character" (wife is an artist) and a small shallower spawning area. So 3.5 acres plus (Edit: ended up 3.1). Pond from above picture shows the tops of some fish structure with the pond about 3-4 feet below full pool. Graveled outline is full pool line.
Really nice strip pit KingRace. Lot of surface area.
Zep that is a strip pit common to this area. It was where coal was strip mined and the water filled the dug area. Much of this mined land was "reclaimed" and made back into pasture and any of the more recent mining it was requirement that the land be leveled back out. But some remains to this day. What once was considered almost worthless land that could hardly be sold now brings premium price for recreation use.
There are quite a number of these "strip pits" around this area. Some owned and managed by fish and game, some private owned.
My goodness gracious, wish my wife would go along like that when I have casusal thoughts pour from my lips like rain on a spring morning.I usually get the " how much is this gonna cost " response. LOL All kidding aside, awesome place and beautiful pond. Only thing missing is me sitting on that dock.
My pit is about 19 acres of water. The deepest part is about 20 feet, it also has quite a bit of shallow water. The land is still pretty rough, the spoil piles are all overgrown with trees, and it makes a pretty interesting landscape. It would be nice to have a dozer to re-arrange some of the hills.
Someone ask me about stocking so thought would add it to this thread.
On March 19, 2013 we put in 1500 3-4" BG that had a few RES mixed (maybe 5-10%?)in along with 30# of FHM. The FHM reproduced fantastic and the BG biggest ones are around 5-6" this fall. Also have a bunch of new 3/4" to 2" BG so the original stock matured and spawned. Been hand feeding some floating and sinking catfish 32% pellets. About a half gallon a day lately. Not as much early on.
Then on September 2, 2013 stocked 350 6-8" CC and 350 LMB fingerlings. Amazing how fast those catfish grow with a little feed. Caught a couple and they had big fat bellies and about 10" long already.
Then November 5, 2013 stocked some more RES, another 125 3-4" to add to the what was in the initial stock. For a new pond we had a tremendous crop of snails so I wanted to make sure we had adequate RES to keep them in check.
In our renovated pond at the same time also put 125 RES and had caught 10 adult BG out of our new pond and put them in about September. Not exactly sure what I'm going to ultimately do with that pond as far as fish go. I may catch a few LMB and put in to keep the BG from getting out of hand.
Edit: I corrected the original stocking rates. I should have known not to rely on memory. I has originally said we only put in 750 BG instead of the 1500 we actually did. After measurement on Google Earth it appears the pond is 3.1 acres.
I'll have to enlist some grandkids! Should be fun. They sure seemed to grow rapidly in the short time they have been in the pond (the fish in the pond, not the grandkids. They both seem to grow rapidly though).
Will probably take at least some out to stock sons pond and daughters pond (if I get hers refurbished, just been at it a couple days).
Edit: After measurement, the pond is only 3.1 acres.
I corrected the stocking rates that were put in my pond in the earlier post. Might have known not to rely on memory. After looking up the three invoices added correct dates of stocking and we had put in 1500 BG/RES mix instead of the 750 earlier stated.
I think this is why esshup thought some stocking rates were off. I had mis-stated what I actually did.
We have not eaten a lot of fish in the past (Long John Silvers every few weeks maybe ) but are planning on it. Esshup has already warned me that we should start harvesting CC when they reach 2# and that is my intention.
I much prefer the whiter, drier meat of LMB or BG than CC, BUT I have eaten CC that was cooked in breading in bite sized chunks where the breading got away from some of the "oiliness" that I don't care for as much in CC. So I think we will find some recipe's that we will like. My wife is a great cook (and I have a belly to prove it )so I am sure fish is going to be on the menu.
Also have a number of employees with families that like to fish and grandkids that like to fish. So I think we will figure out a way to harvest enough to keep up with it. We will give it the good ole try anyway.
I think we will have some BG and CC ready to eat later this spring or summer.
P.S. Wife and I did catch a few BG just to get a better idea of the size they were getting last fall, and I had to admit, it was fun. I think I just never had enough time when younger to get involved with fishing. Scuba diving and motorcycle riding are my first loves when it comes to hobby's and there are only so many hours in the day when a guy is trying to raise a family and make a living. But now with more time since being semi-retired (employees would argue fully retired), fishing may appeal more to me than before. Looking forward to spring anyway. Thanks for the reply.
When you clean the CC, under the skin near the center on each side of the fish is some darker colored meat. Trim that away and toss it. The CC will taste less oily/fishy. The colder the water that they are caught from, the better they taste. To me, the meat isn't as firm on larger fish as it is on smaller ones.
Amen to the above. Down in Alabama, I raised my daughter out catfishing I think. Stop by the grocery to get chicken livers and head to the pond for the evening. We ate the 2-4 pounders. I love catching those 8 and 12 pounders (6 lb line- work them easy), but they aren't worth eating. Sometimes the wife soaked in milk, but the younguns didn't need it to get rid of the fishiness. Cornmeal with some spices and fry..
Nice looking place you have there snrub, congratulations. If you don't mind me asking, I was wondering where you purchased your paddle boat? The wife has been talking about getting one and yours looks like a good one.
Note: Hey Lusk, you ought to hit these guys up to be advertisers. These are great boats and this would be a great site to promote them. Guess that should have been a private message - too late.
The story. We started out, as I usually do, cheap. It's in my nature. My parents were married at the depth of the Great Depression and I grew up in a frugal, religious household.
Wal-Mart sells via on line order the relatively inexpensive plastic pedal boat we thought we wanted. I looked at lots of different brands. Ordered it in March. Plenty of time to get it for the summer in our new pond. 8 weeks later special shipping company delivered it. Fork lift holes in the bottom. Sent it back. Month later finally get credit and second one shipped out. Still time for summer use. Waited. Waited. Forgot about it. Called. It had been shipped but shipping company had caught the holes in it this time so took it back before it ever got to our place. Summer is here. Talked to Wal-Mart and they were going to ship out another. Week went by they called and said their system did not allow for the third try, would have to put in a new order. Canceled. Money refunded. Disappointed. Summer mostly over. Looked around for one locally but no luck.
The more I thought about the little plastic boat the less I liked the idea. First let me say they get pretty good reviews and at about $600 they are affordable. I think they would be great for 30 year old couple with small kids. But wife and I will be 60 this spring. Stepping into a tippy plastic boat off our dock made me have second thoughts. I go swimming in our pond but wife has no desire to and her first fall into the water from a tippy boat suddenly did not leave a pleasant picture in my mind.
So I started doing internet searches. Lot of reading. Ran across Paddle King and it looked super. Waaaay more money that we planned on spending (isn't it always). But it was aluminum. Even if it got a hole eventually we have a welder 3 miles away that can repair anything on it. It would last our lifetime likely if we gave it any care at all. It was stable. I can walk all the way around it with or without wife aboard easily without fear of tipping. I put my diffuser in place with it. I put a fish finder on it. With a little luck and sweet talk I am expecting an underwater fish camera present to find its way to my birthday dinner. IT IS DRY WELL. Let me repeat that. The pedals are above water level, so the water freely drains out. Lots of features the cheap boats do not have.
Looked up dealer network. Witichita (3 hours away) dealer had two and a trailer. Went out and bought it and put it in the water. Have not regretted it. Paddles easy. Fun to use. Room for 4 if all 4 are not too big (800#).
We have the four people version because we have grandkids. I will say one thing, if all you are ever going to want on the boat is 2 people, I would go with the 2 person. With two people in the 4 person boat, it is a little front heavy. Not enough to bother anything except in wind. With the back up a little, the wind will tend to push the back end around worse than if we have one in the front seat and one in the back. Somehow my wife does not want to be on the peddaling end if we do it that way. One in each seat (front and back) boat is balanced and wind does not bother it as bad. You do not want this boat out in heavy wind anyway as going with the wind is a breeze so to speak, but it puts up enough of a sail effect it is not as much fun in 20 mph wind. The 2 person boat would be better balanced if all you ever need is 2 person capability. The 4 person has a lot higher max weight capacity though.
We have no regrets buying it. We bought the table accessory which is nice to mount fish finder and has built in drink holders. We bought a swimming ladder but have to install yet before we put it back in the water this spring. Good if you fall in, which we have not yet.