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where are my fish?
#521909 05/30/20 11:50 AM
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i'm a new pond owner, and i can't find my fish. help!

here's what i've got:

- 20 acre feet of water
- 5 acres of surface
- two areas that are about 10 feet deep
- aeration pumps running in the deep areas
- summer water temperatures at the surface about 72 degrees
- summer clarity about 2 feet
- in winter it freezes
- i ran the aerators through the winter
- i'm up in the rocky mountains at 8,000 feet
- there are small plants growing on the bottom, and a little algae floating around

so, last october i got some fish:

- 110 count of LMB, 6"-8" in length
- 2200 count of BG, 3"-4" in length

i don't live up here full time, but i'm up about once a week - i never found any dead fish floating when the ice melted away. there is a spillover, and maybe they all died and floated down the spillover into the creek?

i can't seem to see any sign of the fish. i see bugs swimming around in the water, and that's about it.

is the density of fish so light that i'm just not finding them?

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #521915 05/30/20 05:28 PM
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Did it /has it winter killed before ? Did it freeze over completely and if so for how long ? What is the current water temp.?
















Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #521917 05/30/20 05:57 PM
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Here in Ontario Canada it has been a cold slow year. Our fish have just started to take to feed now and we only have a single shot for 2 sec. They can't clean that up in 30 minutes.

Cheers Don.


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7/8th of an acre, Perch only pond, Ontario, Canada.
Re: where are my fish?
ewest #521919 05/30/20 06:15 PM
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i don't have my temperature gauge setup yet - but i'm guessing the water is around low-mid 60s at the moment.

the pond froze all the way except for 1/4 acre was unfrozen due to one of the aerators running all winter. the second aerator had a problem and so it shutdown for most of the winter.

the pond had a layer of ice over it (except for that 1/4 acre) from december until march.

we've never had fish in the pond before, and so this was our first winter with fish. not sure what's normal.

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522002 06/01/20 06:59 PM
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anyone have any ideas on this?

when you first got your fish, how did you confirm that they were in there okay over the winter?

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522003 06/01/20 07:24 PM
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My bet is all the fish are in there just not warm enough yet. We have had another cold snap here and are just starting to see out fish again. Little to no minnow action and we normally see way more action. Our crayfish are just starting to show up so our water temp is about 25 days behind last year. Fish fry for fathers day will be a go this year. We have had cold years like this when we could not do a fish fry for Mothers day or fathers day.

That and 20 acres is a big pond for only that few of fish numbers. We did one acre and put in 400 yellow perch at the first stocking we are adding 75 rainbow trout this week.


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7/8th of an acre, Perch only pond, Ontario, Canada.
Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522005 06/01/20 08:02 PM
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prefetch, welcome to Pond Boss!


How many 'observation posts' do you have, and how much time are you spending just watching?

Also, are you doing any pellet fish feed? Bluegill take to that real quick. LMB, not so quickly, but once they get on, they don't get off.

Finally, I'm not sure what you ambient winter temps get down to, but some say that keeping aeration on during the winter can actually cool your water too much. I think water under ice is steady at 39 degrees or so, but if your aeration is blowing bubbles that are colder than that, it has an impact.


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."

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522037 06/02/20 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by prefetch
when you first got your fish, how did you confirm that they were in there okay over the winter?

I feel for you...There have been a few times I wish I could drain the pond just to see what's going on in there! And, I would have, but I don't have a holding tank big enough to store the water and refill it afterwards. LOL

I like Sunil's idea of feeding even though my fish don't feed real well...at least I know there in there.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522042 06/02/20 03:19 PM
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Welcome to PB!

This is like Christmas for me! A Brook Trout guy joined last week and this week another high elevation lake!! So much for 2020 being a bad year!

Like some said above maybe the water just needs to warm up some more. I am curious why you chose LMB/BG over trout?? IMO, I think trout would definitely handle your ice and water temps easier. Just curious....

Last edited by wbuffetjr; 06/02/20 03:24 PM.

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Re: where are my fish?
wbuffetjr #522048 06/02/20 06:25 PM
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thanks for the ideas. i ordered a fish finder and i'm gonna canoe around the lake with it and see if i can see anything. maybe the water just has to warm up a bit.

i don't feed them pellets, although i was given a bag of pellets and a few times i've thrown some handfuls in the water. didn't seem to do much.

i chose LMB and BG because they are fertile and will hopefully reproduce enough to create some kind of ecosystem. i didn't mention it, but i have maybe 30 trout in there as well, and even though they are fertile, i don't think they will reproduce because my understanding is that they need some kind of stream or something to reproduce.

my goal is to have a big pond that mostly just takes care of itself with respect to the fish population. i know that may take a few years, but that's my goal.

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522049 06/02/20 07:49 PM
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Trout hit feed very readily too.

Take some of the feed out in the canoe with you and drop anchor here and there and throw some pellets.


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."

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522052 06/03/20 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by prefetch
thanks for the ideas. i ordered a fish finder and i'm gonna canoe around the lake with it and see if i can see anything. maybe the water just has to warm up a bit.

i don't feed them pellets, although i was given a bag of pellets and a few times i've thrown some handfuls in the water. didn't seem to do much.

i chose LMB and BG because they are fertile and will hopefully reproduce enough to create some kind of ecosystem. i didn't mention it, but i have maybe 30 trout in there as well, and even though they are fertile, i don't think they will reproduce because my understanding is that they need some kind of stream or something to reproduce.

my goal is to have a big pond that mostly just takes care of itself with respect to the fish population. i know that may take a few years, but that's my goal.

I understand. If you end up stocking any more fish maybe consider some Brook Trout. They can handle the cold water no problem AND they are the one trout that will reproduce in a pond. Good luck locating your fish! It's great to have another high elevation member here!

Last edited by wbuffetjr; 06/03/20 05:54 AM.

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Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522058 06/03/20 09:15 AM
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There is no way they all died in winter.
Sounds like what you need is a fisherman!

Re: where are my fish?
Journeyman #522063 06/03/20 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Journeyman
There is no way they all died in winter.

I wish I could say the same about my lake. Our lake lost every fish in the lake to winterkill for almost 20 years straight.


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Re: where are my fish?
wbuffetjr #522079 06/04/20 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wbuffetjr
Originally Posted by Journeyman
There is no way they all died in winter.

I wish I could say the same about my lake. Our lake lost every fish in the lake to winterkill for almost 20 years straight.

High elevation for me is when I hunt out of my tree stand, that's probably why it went right over my head. I was only thinking of winter freeze. Always learning here!

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522097 06/04/20 01:23 PM
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thanks guys - i'll wait for things to warm up a bit. the temps (air temp) are in the high 60s, low 70s - so the water temp should be getting close to that soon.

maybe i'll look at brook trout to add in. it'd be nice to try and have some active fish for all seasons.

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Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522099 06/04/20 01:53 PM
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Prefetch - One thing that really has been a vital tool in my quest to get fish to survive the winter has been a dissolved oxygen meter. Some folks will say it is unnecessary, but I don't see how I could manage my lake without one. It sucks because the meters are not cheap. To me, trying to understand what's going on without knowing where the oxygen is at is like feeling around in a dark room. I still don't always understand exactly what is happening up there, but I at least have a much clearer picture. That's just my experience though.


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Re: where are my fish?
wbuffetjr #522114 06/05/20 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wbuffetjr
Prefetch - One thing that really has been a vital tool in my quest to get fish to survive the winter has been a dissolved oxygen meter. Some folks will say it is unnecessary, but I don't see how I could manage my lake without one. It sucks because the meters are not cheap. To me, trying to understand what's going on without knowing where the oxygen is at is like feeling around in a dark room. I still don't always understand exactly what is happening up there, but I at least have a much clearer picture. That's just my experience though.

i actually bought one last year. that's what prompted me to get the two aerators that i have. i remember the oxygen readings were around 5 or 6 ppm. i did a reading last week and it was just below 7.

my understanding is that these are okay levels. what kind of levels are you reading?

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522122 06/05/20 07:17 AM
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Did you take any readings this winter under the ice at all?

My water used to be really bad. When I first started I had something like 2 ppm at 6' and 0 PPM below 8' - it's 22' deep at depest. It got a little better each year and this spring has been my best ever. This past winter I was getting .8 PPM under the ice. Somehow, luckily, my fish found a place to survive.

Last edited by wbuffetjr; 06/05/20 07:18 AM.

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Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522274 06/09/20 11:19 AM
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i never took readings under the ice. i'll do that next winter for sure.

i did recently just take the current temperature, and it's way lower than i thought: 52 degrees. maybe it's just too cold for the fish to do anything yet.

i also checked my pH level and it was about 7ish, which i believe is good. also, no nitrates or nitrites detected, which i think is good.

so i guess i'll just wait for warmer weather...

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522287 06/09/20 04:13 PM
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In my ponds in Western PA, you won't see much activity, if any, when the water temps are 52 degrees. Although, a few degrees warmer and I'll have fish hitting feed. Plus, this is kind of into the summer months, so the light cycles should push for more activity, I think.


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."

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522297 06/09/20 09:55 PM
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prefetch, your pond is up high for Utah. I've lived in Logan, Salt Lake City, and Kamas. These places were not nearly 8000 feet above sea level, despite the state's license plate moniker of "Life Elevated".

Where is your place? Utah has some rather beautiful high country.

You have what I'd call a cool water pond. You may find it more suitable for fish that prefer cooler water. Yellow Perch YP come to mind. Any of the trouts could do well, possible better than bass and bluegills.

Our pond is considered cool water; YP and trout do okay; bass LMB and bluegills BG are able to prosper, partly because I don't aerate in summer so there is a warmer water refuge in the top 2 feet of the pond. Our pond fills from irrigation water drawn from a trout stream. That cold water sits on the bottom for the perch and trout; the sun heats the upper layer for the bass and sunfish. Our grass carp spend all their days at the surface.

Trout aficionados are few on this forum. Maybe you'll be able to join the ranks of us who keep trout alive year round.

Re: where are my fish?
4CornersPuddle #522535 06/15/20 12:13 PM
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the pond is in wasatch county up in the mountains. my pond averages about 5 feet depth, and so it gets surprisingly warm at the end of the summer - i was recording a 74 degrees 2 feet from the surface last year.

last week i did a run with the fish finder, and it looks like there are fish in the deep parts (10 feet and 15 feet) near the aerators, and the temps had risen up to 57 degrees at the surface.

i think i just need to add some habitat (cinder blocks w/ trees cemented into them) and maybe add some more fish (LMB, BG and brook trout) and be patient.

Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522635 06/16/20 08:41 PM
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The diffuser that ran all winter, where was it placed in the pond (water depth)? Since those fish are a warmer water species than trout, and if it was in the deepest part of the pond, you might have super cooled the water and possibly killed some or all of the fish.

I agree with Sunil though, at 52°F water temp there isn't much activity from those species.

Please keep us updated!


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: where are my fish?
prefetch #522925 06/26/20 01:09 AM
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update - i caught two little (3") BG fish last weekend. :-)

temperature is now in the high 60s, and the fish are jumping at sunset trying to get bugs on the water surface.

i'm having 50 nine inch LMB and 1,000 eight inch BG delivered on saturday.

one thing i noticed is that my cattail plants aren't growing at all. i think my elevation is too high. i'm going to try transplanting some grasses from a nearby beaver pond.

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