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#543298 01/22/22 11:33 AM
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 31
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OP Offline
Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 31
Likes: 4
Thanks for the forum! We screwed up our little pond, but are enjoying the journey. Intention is a recreation pond for swimming, fishing and paddleboat. We love just sitting and watching the water, too.

Dug Feb. '21 in NW Indiana clay, we intended an excavated pond in a flooded hayfield. There is 2' slope across the field, and we intended topwater level at the low end grade. Water source is drainage tile 4' below grade. We contracted for a 1/2 acre triangular footprint pond with an island in the rear corner. The contractor hit wet shale sand at 8' below grade, so he packed 2' of clay back over the sand and built up the sides instead of digging deeper. The result is 8' deep with topwater at grade of the high end of the field. There is a berm surrounding all but the upper end, with a simple 12" overflow pipe through the berm. There was no base dug for a dam, because it was just going to be a hole in the ground when we started. When the berm around 3 sides was raised, it was raised with topsoil, atop the existing hayfield topsoil. The field outside the berm is still flooded, plus now the yard up to my shed is flooded if the pond is full. We were clueless, to say the least, and the contractor/weather issues are yet another story.

Lessons learned so far:
1. Dig a TEST PIT !!!
2. Get a detailed design planned by a pro!!
3. Put all of the details in the contract!!
4. Field tiles are perforated, so they can drain a pond nearly as well as they can fill it.
5. Even packed, clay-heavy topsoil seeps through the root zone.
6. Beware messing with the water table!

Repair plan so far (advice appreciated):
1. Lower outlet pipe to prevent flooding the shed. Correct some minor slope issues in the yard.
2. Plug the field tile beneath the berm.
3. Dig a sump into the field tile outside the berm.
4. Install solar sump pump from tile sump over the berm into the pond.

At that point, I hope the field is drained and we have outflow from the overflow pipe. Any remaining seepage will likely be through the berm's stacked topsoil. This is also where we intend to look into digging deeper and doing some sealing. Ideally, I want some deeper holes for the fish.

Water conditions: There are 2 aerator diffusers for circulation. Disk visibility is around 20", pH 7.8, no excess nutrients, and no other adverse water test conditions. Algae are growing on all surfaces, but not aggressively. There are 2' FA curtains hanging from the dock floats. Before fish were added, there were lots of toadpoles, tadpoles, and a good Leopard Frog population. Max. water temp last Summer was 85F. Banks are unmown grass, with cattails sneaking into many places. We floated some water hyacinth and water lettuce, and there are 6 potted water lilies. I added bacteria/ barleystraw treatments in May and October, and plan another for this Spring. Avg depth is 6', 4/10 acre surface area.

As far a fish go, one section of bank is rockpiled, and another section is graveled, with assorted cover copiously applied in the rear of the pond. Front side was left clear of cover to allow for lap swimming. I started with 10# FHM, 100 RES, 100 BG, 100HBG, 200 CCF(5") all in May. I fed twice daily with a mix of Optima, Aquamax and catfish chow until water temp dropped to 50F. In Oct. the HBG were 7" and CCF were 15" (sorry, no weights). I witnessed frye from both bream and minnows. In Oct. also I added 5# FHM, 25 LMB (2"), 100 CCF(5"). Beginning this Spring I plan to remove the large catfish and return any bream, while continuing to feed. Fishery goal is harvested catfish, with large enough bream and bass to make them fun.

Waiting for the thaw...
Cheers, -Hirsch

Last edited by Hirsch56; 01/22/22 11:36 AM.

"Live your life so that when you sing your death song, you will die like a hero who is going home with no shame to meet the Creator and your family." - Tecumseh; April 9, 1809
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As regards the flooding outside of your pond berm. Any chance the construction work on your pond damaged some of your drain tiles adjacent to the tiles connected to the pond?

Even if they didn't hit any tiles while digging, the traffic could have displaced some of the old clay field tiles (if that is what you have).

Can you partially drain your pond (siphon or pump) without stressing your fish this spring? That might give you some more "intel" before spending money on your fixes.

Good luck on your project!

Joined: Jan 2022
Posts: 31
Likes: 4
OP Offline
Joined: Jan 2022
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Thanks for the suggestion. The pond was dug in frozen ground, so I'm thinking the equipment was well-supported in the surrounding fields. The tiles flowed freely to fill it as soon as the thaw came.
Cheers, -Hirsch

Last edited by Hirsch56; 01/23/22 11:34 AM.

"Live your life so that when you sing your death song, you will die like a hero who is going home with no shame to meet the Creator and your family." - Tecumseh; April 9, 1809
Joined: Apr 2002
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Looks like you have a good remedy plan to me! Need to lower the water level. The sump makes sense as well. You'll want to deal with moving water from rainfall as well.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...

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