I'm hoping for a little advice on our new .75 acre pond. The pond is in mid-Georgia, about 45 minutes east of ATL. Long of the short, we finished construction in December 2020, limed in February, hydroseeded in early March, stocked forage in mid to late March, and added LMB in early June. When we stocked the forage (at the recommendation of the aquatic service we used), the pond was about half-full (4-5 deep). Things were cranking right along, the boys were even starting to catch some small BG and catfish, ducks were arriving, and we even had a couple turtles show up. Life was good....
Then from mid-April through July we had zero rain, and the temps went up into the mid 90's (as they do here in GA). The pond has dropped about 2 feet from its peak, the banks are drying up, and I'm questioning whether or not the fish are surviving. We stocked 1,000 BG, 150 RES, 2,000 FHM, 2,000 GS, 50 CC and 50 LMB. We've fished it, but outside of one BG all we've caught are catfish. Hurricane Ida brought about 2-3 inches of rain (and raised the pond about 6" overall), but other than that, we've had no precipitation to speak of all year....
My question is if it's common for a new pond in this area of the country to take long to fill? There are no secondary water sources, it's watershed only, but in an area with a very high water table. During construction it had to be pumped every morning. I realize this is probably the dumbest question in the history of these forums. No rain = no pond. But we're coming up on 1 year since starting this project with nothing to show for it, and have maybe taken steps backward, IDK.
I'm contemplating a well, but don't know if that's the answer. Plus I'm afraid pulling up cold well water could kill what remaining fish I do have. Or I've considered hiring said aquatic service to professionally manage the pond for me. I'm really just kinda at a loss at this point.
Any thoughts, advice, or generally commentary is appreciated!
Last edited by Gafftopsail; 09/14/2103:44 PM. Reason: add pic
I'm not a pro and they will prolly be on later. From whatviv gathered on here it's pretty normal for a pond to go down faster than normal the 1st couple of years (mine did). Pretty sure they call it wicking. Evaporation will account for lot of it. You can take a bucket of water outside with no holes in it and on a warm day it will go down ½ n inch a day or so.
I think the pros will want more info, like size of watershed, how much rain is normal. Put in a measuring stake so you can monitor daily losses. The more information you can give the better. I think you'll just have to wait until you get enough rain to see what is going on but I can't see where a well would hurt, I wish I had one.
If you know that it is very common for you to go all summer with very little rain, high heat and humidity then a well is your friend. If you can run power to it and the costs of doing a stab well aren't too high then the advantage is you can fill when you want to. Ground water by you is probably closer to 60 degrees or higher temp year around? That cool water will be a welcome relief since most southern ponds struggle with keeping their water cool enough to maintain good oxygen levels. The pond boss Bob Lusk has taught us in his facebook live sessions that fish will prefer to suffer with lower oxygen than what they would prefer as long as they can hang out in cooler water. They'll go down into the poor quality water (oxygen wise) as long as they can keep their body temp where they prefer it. I think he referenced tagged bass in that experiment.
Ground water doesn't have a high oxygen content which won't matter if you have aeration as you can aerate the pond and the existing water will mix with the incoming well water. If you have power for a well then aeration would be easy to add. I would say aeration is really important in southern climate ponds especially where the existing water is the same water year around and little new water comes in from a creek, well, or from the sky. As it evaporates you also concentrate the other dissolved items that make up 'hardness'.
If you have access to ground water and no aeration just have it flow over some artificial steps, ledges or rocks to make it move and agitate and it will pick up air on the way in to the pond. Your pond looks beautiful and the grass next to it even more rich! Just needs a a few heavy rains and hoping they come your way soon.
I'm guessing well water temp is closer to 63-64 degrees. If the pond was not sealed then it is a groundwater pond and it will fluctuate in water level according to the water level in the ground. A well is a great idea, but make sure that you bounce the water over rocks or through a packed column to add O2 to the water and remove any harmful gasses that may be in it.
If your pond is a groundwater pond, then you must make sure that your well will pump water in faster than it will leak out. As an example, my groundwater pond, when the water table is low and I try to fill the pond, will leak out 18 GPM with the pond still 24+" shy of full pool.
When water temps climb, the majority of the fish in the pond will cut back on eating. Catfish like warm water, so they keep their appetite.
Thank you for the comments!! That makes me feel much better about my situation.
The watershed acreage that could potentially flow into the pond is appx 4-5 acres. However the pond is appx 1 mile from the road accessing our property, and it’s all downhill to the pond, so it could potentially be more.
The forecast is calling for rain for the next 8 days, so hopefully some relief is on the way.
I purchased an aerator system, I just haven’t installed it yet because the pond got so low. I may just bite the bullet and install a well, too. I don’t expect I’ll have to go too deep.
I’ll send a follow-up when we get this sucker full of water. Thanks!