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Hi,

Just purchased 9 acres upon which sits a 1.5 acre pond. Well I'm told it is 1.5 acres but I haven't tried confirming that yet. The pond was built in 1965. The previous owner is an older lady in her 70s and I don't think she's done anything to the pond other than enjoy it. She said the pond used to hold many large bass but she didn't think there were any fish left and she wasn't sure why. There's a lot of frogs and turtles I do know that. I did try fishing it a bit but no luck and didn't see any fish while doing so. Where do I start? Is there someone I can hire to come do a "survey" or something and tell me what I should do? I'm in Central Ohio.

Thanks!

[Linked Image]

Last edited by ccarse; 09/27/21 10:22 PM.
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Welcome to the Forum! Maybe one of the pros can tell you who can do a electro shock survey in your area. For now I would keep fishing and put out a minnow trap. Also you might want to figure out how deep it is. If it is real shallow you might of had a fish kill.


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That is a beautiful pond, ccarse!

I can't imagine that pond could easily go from large bass to fishless. It might not have a good, balanced population at this time, but truly fishless would imply some large problem in the pond's history.

The worst thing would be that the pond was almost completely filled with silt and muck. (It does NOT look like that from the photo.)

Have you been out in the boat? Do you have a depth sounder? If not, just stick the oar in the water at several points - starting from the water inlet and working your way towards the dam. If the oar won't reach, then get a few more readings with your anchor rope.

If your pond water is of good quality, then there are experts here that can help you fix literally any problem with your pond.

If the condition and depth of your pond looks good, then I would recommend that you send a PM to esshup. He has a pond management business in Indiana. (You can also click on the link to his business www.hoosierpondpros.com)

I don't know if you are in his service area, but if you are not, I am pretty sure he could recommend someone in your area. He can also help you determine if you need to gather some more information, and probably estimate your costs for an electro-shock survey if you reach that point.

Congratulations on your new property and pond!


P.S. I think I am in full agreement with the two young men in your picture hoping that the pond will some day be brimming with fish!

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ccarse, welcome to the forum! You can try Jones fish for a survey, but I would just call and ask for a price first. Maybe Bill Cody will chime in, he's in Malinta, OH.


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Thanks all. We've been on the boat but didn't have a depth sounder. I ordered a Garmin Striker Cast GPS to make a contour map of the lake with. I thought you guys might like these images of the original plans for the pond that the previous owner gave me. Can I have some sort of water test done to make sure there aren't some sort of toxins or something killing the fish? Also, any tips on placing the minnow trap? What should I use for bait? Any place in particular I should place it?

[Linked Image][Linked Image]

Last edited by ccarse; 09/28/21 07:07 PM.
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Here's an arial view of the pond. You can also see the island from this view.
[Linked Image]

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One other question... there are large snapping turtles in the pond. Could this be what ate all of the fish?

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Turtles did not cause the fish loss. Turtles basically only eat dead, sick, weak or almost dead fish. Turtles are basically clean up or cleaner crews and not basically predator killers.

Do the old original plans specify a maximum depth and depth of the upper areas? Compare those depths to the current depths. This might allow you to calculate how much muck accumulated each year.

Without knowing or seeing the pond, I suspect that summer fish kills or winter fish kills or both types of fish kills have occurred because the pond is surrounded heavily by trees and the annual deposits of leaves from those trees takes it toll and contributes way too many leaves that decay and fill the pond basin with decomposition that robs oxygen from the water and periodically suffocated the fish during the last several years. Lots of trees closely surrounding a small pond causes it to age, degrade, and fill in much faster.

If your goal for the pond is to do what the previous owner did as do nothing to the pond other than enjoy it, then all is well. If you want it to produce a quality fishery then there will be numerous challenges ahead some will likely be pretty costly. Firstly the maximum depth should be determined. 2. see if you can probe the bottom in the upper areas to determine the depth of the sediment. 3. All the trees surrounding the pond are heavily contributing to its current degraded condition. It will no doubt soon begin to produce huge amounts of plant growth. The previous owner could have had a pond company come in before the sale and chemicalize all the excessive plant growth. Be prepared do deal with that possibility next spring. A consultant will want to come in and install costly aeration to minimize fish kills. Aeration system will slow the aging but IMO the damage has been measureable and should be significantly mediated.

IF it were my pond I would start investigating cost of draining, removing all the muck and some trees and restating the entire pond. 60 years surrounded by trees causes lots of damage to a shallow smaller pond. In lakes the trees are not as big of a problem due to water surface water volume ratio. Maybe resize current pond to a smaller pond what would be less expensive than to maintain than the original size. A rebirth. The aeration is an investment and will be beneficial in the old or rebuilt pond. Building a new smaller pond away from tree leaf deposition zone may be a cheaper better option that has a high quality fishery than rebuilding the current 1.5 acres. The old pond could be used to produce lots of forage foods for the new smaller pond. Fish kills might only happen occasionally in the old pond which is not a bad thing for the purpose of a forage fish pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/28/21 09:03 PM.

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^^^^ What he said!

I wouldn't spend money on water testing, electrofishing, etc until you make a hard decision on what direction to take with the pond. Even pushing the reset button will require the removal of the trees - any heavy equipment brought in that drives over the roots of the trees has a high probability of killing them within the next 5 years. If the decision is to de muck the pond, removing the trees will make it easier for the equipment to access the pond, which equates to less $$ spent on time detouring around them during the clean-out process.


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If I'm reading the plans correctly I think it shows the deepest spot as 15 or 16'. The previous owner said she thought the deepest spot when it was dug was 18'. I'm going to go tomorrow and gather depths.

How many trees can a 1.5 acre pond sustain? I don't need a world class fishery but I'd like to be able to go out and catch a few. I'd hate to cut down ALL of the trees surrounding the pond but would definitely be willing to selectively remove many/most of them.

Bill Cody, when you say to probe the "upper areas" is that the area closest the dam or the area closest the inflow?

I was hoping I wouldn't have to drain/dredge the pond but it's something I'm willing to do if it needs done. The way that I see it is the pond has been enjoyed for 56 years and I'm willing to do the work to make sure it can be enjoyed for another 50+ years.

Last edited by ccarse; 09/29/21 07:21 PM.
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ccarse - It will be very interesting to see what the current depth readings are down near the dam. Probe the upper areas zone. I was referring to the inflow area and about 1/2 way toward the dam. It is helpful to know the average depths of the inlet end of the pond. These depths will help provide an idea of how much muck has accumulated in the last 50 years. I would make a pond map and mark the spots that you measure depth. I would think a 6 or 7ft long PVC pipe would be long enough to feel for most of the bottom depths.

The upper most layer of bottom silt / muck is often very light and fluffy. Just a plain piece of pipe or end of pole will sink through the light fluffy layer and you will not be able to feel or recognize the surface of this light, unconsolidated silt when you reach it with the probe end. Some sort of pipe end disk will make it easier to better feel it when you probe for the depth of the surface of the bottom material.
Try to think of a way to put some sort of disk or thin plate on the end of the probing pipe. My first idea is to put a wooden plug such as a 1" to 2" long cross section of a tree limb cut to fit into the end of the PVC pipe. Use a screw through the PVC into wood to hold the wooden plug in place. Then screw a can lid or stiffer plastic lid onto the end of the wooden plug. Mark the PVC pipe with 1ft increments so you can recognize the depth measurement. This probing tool will help you determine many of the current average depths of the pond.

A thick layer of undecomposed leaves on the bottom will be easily to feel the top part of the bottom materials. The thickest layer of bottom leaves could be in the deepest dam area because organics in deepest layer decompose least amount each year due to the dissolved oxygen is lost quickest there each summer. The deeper main large area dam basin is,,, the better the chance the pond has for producing a year round decent fishery. Bottom aeration might be the best way to stabilize the pond's year round water quality going forward.

Tree numbers per acre? I have no idea. I do know that the more tree leaves that sink into a pond each year the shorter the life of the pond becomes. Ponds age by filling in with organics until the pond trends toward a wetland and then again full of wet mucky stuff. Some with ponds in woods tell me their pond gets up to1ft of leaf layer each year.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 09/29/21 08:40 PM.

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5 gallon bucket lid works great for what you are describing Bill!


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Ccarse, I use fish food in my traps but you can try bread or maybe dry dog or cat food. I would probably set the trap near some brush or other type of cover if you have any, but I would also move it around some.


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2 tips for the minnow trap. 1) I have had very little success when using a black minnow trap. I have had great success when using the galvanized or silver minnow traps 2) Place the minnow in shallow water, using bread, dry cat or dog food, or commercial fish food if you are feeding the fish in the pond but more importantly have the openings of the trap parallel to the shore, vs. going from shallow to deep water. I have caught minnows in that galvanized trap, with no bait in the trap as long as the openings are parallel to the shore.

Please let us know how it goes!


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Originally Posted by esshup
2 tips for the minnow trap. 1) I have had very little success when using a black minnow trap. I have had great success when using the galvanized or silver minnow traps 2) Place the minnow in shallow water, using bread, dry cat or dog food, or commercial fish food if you are feeding the fish in the pond but more importantly have the openings of the trap parallel to the shore, vs. going from shallow to deep water. I have caught minnows in that galvanized trap, with no bait in the trap as long as the openings are parallel to the shore.

Please let us know how it goes!
Esshup, before I bought my black minnow trap I read on here somewhere to get the black ones and if you get a galvanized one to spray paint it black. I have to say I haven't been that impressed with how many minnows I've been catching with it. I guess I will get a galvanized one and try it. lol!


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I picked up a galvanized one at the store today. In the next day or two I hope to make it over and put them out and see which one catches more.


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+1 on the galvanized one- way out fishes the black one

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[Linked Image]

I made this map of the depths. On average the depths are 1-2’ deeper than what the map shows, not sure why. Deepest spots we’re in the 11’ range. There are minnows in the pond. Waiting on my trap to see what kind. I could feel at least two feet of muck everywhere I probed.

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One thing I noticed last night was that most of the largest trees surrounding the pond are white pines. I’m assuming these pose much less of a problem since they don’t produce as much leaf litter as deciduous trees? I’ll definitely be removing most of the plant life that’s around the edge of the pond. Ordered a walk behind brush hog which should make that a lot easier.

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+100 - galvanized is the way to go.


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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I'm no pro, and it might help to clean it out but I wouldn't think you would have to clean it out.


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Success of fish traps. A misunderstanding or misconception has evolved. The discussion or comments regarding black vs galvanized fish traps was not meant to imply that black or dark colored fish traps were a poor choice. The main point was black rubber coated fish traps tended to collect fewer small fish compared to wire mesh traps. IMO it is the rubber coating of the wire some how results in gathering fewer small fish. If you take two plain wire mesh traps one new shiny wire and one painted black or drab color such as brown, dark green or blend of dark colors or even drap weathered galvanized finish,,,, the darker painted or weathered darken finish of wire trap will almost always catch more fish than the new shiny wire trap or the black rubber coated trap. It is the rubber coating and or shiny wire mesh that tends to be the problem. Probably the rubber coating allows the small fish to more trap shy. Some member here on the PB forum was going to run a test using different traps such as color and rubber coatings. I do not remember seeing any of the results.

A couple PB forum members mentioned burning the rubber off the fish trap and it then caught more fish. Thus less visible wire mesh and a darker drab burnt color.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 10/01/21 02:29 PM.

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Yup Bill
When I said the galvanized one out fishes the black one I misspoke….. black rubber coated was what I should have said….. thanks for the correction

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So yet another twist. I was sure thinking about black vs silver. I think my black one is rubberized.


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Originally Posted by ccarse
[Linked Image]

I made this map of the depths. On average the depths are 1-2’ deeper than what the map shows, not sure why. Deepest spots we’re in the 11’ range. There are minnows in the pond. Waiting on my trap to see what kind. I could feel at least two feet of muck everywhere I probed.


Two feet of muck, boo!

Deepest spots at 11', yay!

Keep working on the fish evaluation.

In addition to the traps, keep trying to catch fish on the rod. Your bad day of fishing, might have just been a bad day. With the season and weather changes, hopefully you can get a good fishing day and sample some larger fish.

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