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Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
#519033 04/07/20 03:46 PM
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Hello everyone,

I'm new to this website but have checked out quite a few post from other members and the knowledge on here is amazing. I've already come to appreciate everyone's input, mostly thru trial and error cases. Now to my story/question.

Approximately 5 years ago my pond was dug for the purpose of building my house pad and for a leisurely bass/bluegill pond. The pond is roughly 1.25 acres w/ an avg depth of 12-15' (a slow and steady 4/1 slope) depending on where you are standing. Whenever the pond was first dug, a natural spring was hit and the pond filled quickly with some of the prettiest water i had ever seen. Crystal clear w/ a bluish green tint. Basically perfect pond water. I then added roughly 1200 bluegill (Copper-nose and Hybrids) along with 12 lbs of minnows. Fast forward 4-5 months and we get the "Flood of 2016" in south Louisiana, a 100 year flood to the experts. Even with a 3' levee around my pond, the flood waters overrun the levee and enter my pond. My pond disappears for roughly 1 week. Naturally the pretty water i once had was a muddy color for a while. Eventually the pond clears somewhat but never back to the pretty bluish green color I once had. Few months pass and I add roughly 30 Large mouth Bass. Weeks pass and I notice what I assume were catfish fry. Thru the years I have been able to catch blue and yellow cats along with bass and bluegill of all sizes. I have also caught the dreaded "Bullhead Catfish." My pond has a visibility of roughly 6-8". My thoughts on why my pond is muddy is a combo of the silt from the flood many years ago and the introduction to the catfish dirtying the water. My 1st plan is to get a few hoop nets and attempt to catch as many catfish as possible in an attempt to reduce their numbers. Hoping this may reduce some of the murkiness of the pond. My 2nd plan is to attack the silt issue with a combo of Alum and lime. I would images my bass are doing a decent job of maintaining the catfish but the pond continues to stay muddy. I am unsure if Plan #1 will help or be a waste of time, same with plan #2. Any and all help is appreciated. I apologize for the lengthy post.

Thanks,
LB

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519042 04/07/20 08:09 PM
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Bass feed by sight! Think of how many bullhead they could clean up if the bass could actually see them!

My guess is your past flood and related silt is not the culprit. That silt once settled would create little problems with day to day turbidity.
Something is stirring the bottom. The most likely culprits in order (in my opinion) would be #1 crayfish (Lousiana has to have native crayfish that found their way into that pond??) They keep the water looking like coffee with heavy cream as long as the water temps are warm enough for them to move. #2, catfish, #3 possible aeration (you didn't mention if you had this?)

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519053 04/08/20 01:27 AM
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Welcome to the forum WL.

The flood washed invasive species into your fishery and this I suspect is the reason for your turbidity issues. You must address them first, treating the water is a waste of time otherwise as it will only serve as an expensive and temporary solution. Removing as many bullhead and catfish as possible is my recommendation through seining, trapping, angling, cast netting, etc. Seining is by far the most effective and efficient way to collect. Be ruthless, remove all whisker fish you can including any common carp that might have made it in. Following collection you can filet and freeze your invasive fish and repurpose them by feeding your LMB with them. Once you remove significant numbers of invasive species you should start to see some vegetation return and corresponding clarity improvement. Glad to have you aboard and again welcome to the forum.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
canyoncreek #519072 04/08/20 09:12 AM
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Cayoncreek Thanks for the reply. I guess it would have been better of me to mention that I did add approx 10 sacks of "peelers" (Small crawfish) to my pond roughly 2 years ago to help the bass as a potential food sources. I live in the heart of cajun country surrounded by thousands and thousands of acres of rice fields and crawfish fields as well. I'm sure more have found there way into there than I think. While ill agree they may cause some water turbidity issues, I wouldn't think they would completely turn my pond from a bluish green to the color it is now. I will try to upload a picture to show the ponds color and clarity to give a better idea of my issue.
Also, there is no aeration in my pond so that shouldn't be a cause although good insight. I have read this in many other articles and can see where it would cause an issue. I appreciate the advice. I will update with pictures and hopefully better news in the weeks to come.

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
teehjaeh57 #519074 04/08/20 09:15 AM
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Teehjaeh57 I appreciate the response.
I believe this will be my course of action. To capture as many catfish as possible with the hopes that this will eventually cure my turbidity problem. I have 5 hoop nets and I can get quite a few buddies to come help angle some out on a weekend. Likewise, I will try to upload a picture of my pond to show what I am currently working with. I appreciate the response and look forward to bringing back good news.

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519088 04/08/20 01:14 PM
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It may of been coincidence, but I trapped out, maybe, a couple hundred 4-5" crawdads out of my 1/4 acre pond last year and saw an imeadiate increase in visibility. My pond struggles with turbidity and I have no cats or carp to add to the problem. Do not underestimate the crawdad when it comes to muddying up the waters. Throw a trap out and see how many you get in a 24 our period. I could get 50 overnight if the trap was set in 2-3 foot of water. That's what told me I had too many. I use pellet fish food for bait twist tied in a sock.

I side thought...could you pump the pond empty and expect a quick refill from the spring? Start over in other words.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519090 04/08/20 01:41 PM
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I believe that's the way I would go. Pump it out and start over. You have God's know what in there now along with the muddy waters. Both would be good enough reasons.


The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716
Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
Quarter Acre #519094 04/08/20 03:27 PM
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Quarter Acre and RStringer I appreciate the responses my to issue. Pumping out the pond is way down on my totem pole of things I wanna do ha! That would honestly be my last resort option. But it will be something I look into if I am unable to resolve the issue.

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519098 04/08/20 06:05 PM
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Have you done any jar or bucket tests to see if the water will clear in a few days? Certainly try that, then also play around with the alum you can find in a small container in the walmart spice area. Maybe also try lime or gypsum.

One thought I have not seen discussed is how well the alum treatment will probably help even if you have bullheads and crayfish. I think it will help a lot, as the bottom of the pond will be coated with precipitate that will resettle again if stirred up. You can take a 5 gallon bucket of my water and watch it stay brown for a week. Add alum and it all settles to the bottom. Stir it all up and within an hour its all settled again.


Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
Redonthehead #519101 04/08/20 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Redonthehead
Have you done any jar or bucket tests to see if the water will clear in a few days? Certainly try that, then also play around with the alum you can find in a small container in the walmart spice area. Maybe also try lime or gypsum.

One thought I have not seen discussed is how well the alum treatment will probably help even if you have bullheads and crayfish. I think it will help a lot, as the bottom of the pond will be coated with precipitate that will resettle again if stirred up. You can take a 5 gallon bucket of my water and watch it stay brown for a week. Add alum and it all settles to the bottom. Stir it all up and within an hour its all settled again.
I'm not saying you should use alum right now, but if you did the clearer water might also make it easier for the LMB to target the trouble makers?


Bob


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Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519111 04/08/20 10:19 PM
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I had no idea that mud bugs could/would muddy a pond.


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
Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519125 04/09/20 10:23 AM
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Guys, I appreciate the responses. I have not done a jar/bucket test although I do plan on doing on beginning this afternoon. I myself did not believe crawfish would churn up enough mud to discolor the water in a 1 acre pond. We shall see. I have also spoken with LSU Ag and they aren't exactly sold on the catfish being the main culprit either. The biologist I spoke with said there are many ponds with a combo of LMB and Catfish and the water is clear. Like what most of you guys are responding, it may be a trail and error kind of thing in order to get the pond where I want it.

Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519138 04/09/20 04:25 PM
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Dense populations of crayfish absolutely can denude a pond of all algae and macrophytes and lead to turbidity issues - like QA I've had it happen to me [and a few clients] multiple times on a mini pond that lacked predators. Once they run out of algae/vegetation they forage the pond basin for, I assume, mayfly/dragonfly nymphs and uneaten pellets and can create significant turbidity issues.

Jar test is a good idea to perform now per others' advice. Collect two jars - place one in darkness [closet] and one in the light [windowsill]. The jar in the closet is meant to determine if your turbidity is due to planktonic algae bloom - if it clears and the one in the light doesn't, that's the origin of turbidity. If both clear up and silt drops to bottom of jar [which I strong suspect will occur] this means you have mechanical turbidity issues [an organism is stirring the pond bottom]. If neither clears up after a few weeks this means you have an ionic imbalance which can be treated in several ways, including alum/lime. I would STILL collect all suspect fish PRIOR to treating the pond with any amendments for lasting effects.

Take photos of your jar tests against a white background before and during the settling process and keep dates handy. We can review the results and consult you accordingly. Again, I'll bet my PB subscription on invasive fish species being the responsible party here, but it doesn't hurt to perform the experiment - all possible data is welcome so we can help you proceed.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519284 04/12/20 05:59 PM
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Attached is a photo 24 hours after I collected the Samples. The sample on the left is the water straight out of the pond. Untouched for 24 hours. The sample on the right was treated with a few small pieces of Sheetrock for my *Gypsum* because that’s what I had on hand and wasn’t going to the store. You can tell a clear difference. There is a small amount of clay particles on the bottom on the right jar. Maybe 1 cm high. You can also see some floating within the more clear jar. At least I can.

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Re: Muddy Water: Catfish or Clay?
WLBreaux #519298 04/12/20 07:51 PM
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Let your jar sit for a week or more and monitor it's clearing process. Take photos, date them, use white background. If turbidity doesn't drop in a few weeks you have an ionic imbalance that you can treat, but still, don't do anything until you declare war on the fish species that can cause turbidity FIRST. I'd make this my primary goal all season until you can't catch any more BH, Carp, or whatever else was washed in from the flood.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Linked Image from i1261.photobucket.com]



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