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#551461 08/17/22 09:37 AM
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Glad I found this site. Read through a few things and figured I would just ask the HOW?

We have a family farm that has a 1/2 pond that was put in roughly 25 years ago. Originally was 10 foot deep in the middle. Was stocked and had fish for a few years. It might be 6-7 feet in the middle now with lots of silt on the edges. Last time I checked was 10 years ago when we tried an aerator in the pond and stocked again. Aerator motor went out and that plan didn't work. It was 7 foot in middle then. No fish in it that we know of now. It has a small spring that runs into it. We are in Iowa and it is clay based soil.

My father is looking at possibly having someone come in and take out the silt. From what I can gather. Draining it and starting over would probably be best. In a perfect world he would rather not break the dike and drain. Dike is the road used for farmer that rents from us in spring and fall. I do know of a person that has long excavator that does a lot of work on the Mississippi river. Is it possible to have an excavator clean out the pond without draining? New idea I have from this forum is pumping out water. Main concern is doing it the correct way so the pond has a longer shelf life for pond for fishing and family.

I'm not sure if we could go deeper than the 10 foot? Not sure how that is determined?

Let me know other variables we should be looking at. I have no idea, but it seems like I've found a great place for information.

I've got one photo attached. Tried to get a better one, but it must be the wrong type of file.

Thanks in Advance!

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Home Farm Google Earth photo.jpg (35.89 KB, 69 downloads)
Last edited by BBQ Justin; 08/17/22 09:51 AM.
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Welcome BBQJustin!

You can pump out the water and hopefully let the pond basin dry out to where you can excavate a lot of the silt out, however, you may have troubles with rain if it prohibits you from working with earth-moving equipment.

If you were to use an excavator with a long boom, you could get out some of the muck, but not all of it as the reach probably wouldn't get to the center (assuming the shape of the 1/2 acre pond is circular).


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."

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If there are no fish, then draining or drying the pond is by far the best way to perform your renovation.

A long-reach excavator would also work, but they are expensive and if the operator is scooping in water, you have only poor indicators that you are about to break through the clay bottom.

You say the pond is fed by a spring. Does it also get some surface run-off from the waterway that is at about 6:00 on your photo?

If you could divert the water supply from all sources, then you could pump the pond dry and renovate much more efficiently. (However, it will still takes lots of time, since the muck will have to be worked and allowed to dry.)

If you do have good clay soils, then you should be able to deepen the pond to whatever level your budget allows - even if you go through the original seal. Dig about 1-2 feet past your desired final depth and stockpile some good clay in your pond basin. Dig out any sand patches or channels. Then re-seal your pond in 6" lifts of moistened clay.

Then add a fishing dock, swimming platform, fish structure, etc. before you break your water diversion and allow your pond to re-fill.

Good luck on your project!

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P.S. If you post some pics of your next final product from a big BBQ, I am sure we will all enjoy some virtual tasty feast fixings!

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Welcome to PB posting. Good luck with the renovation !
















1 member likes this: BBQ Justin
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Even with a long reach excavator, you will definitely want to pump out the water, so that the operator can see what he is doing and will be able to clean it out completely, with the water in it he will get a portion of the muck out and the rest will be stirred up into a silty liquid that you will never be able to get anywhere near all of it out of your pond. jmo
And, make sure to offer the operator of the equipment a big old plate of BBQ ribs or something,, he will do a much better and faster job for you, dont ask me how I know,, you might offer him a beer or two about quitting time, most operators like that!

Last edited by gehajake; 08/17/22 12:10 PM.

All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
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Justin, would it be possible/feasible to dig a new pond just above it. Cleaning out an old pond is tough. First, pump it dry or break the dam and then hope for no rain.


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.

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Thanks for all the replies. Exactly what I'm looking for is knowledge from people that know more than I do.

The water way to the south I've always wanted to enlarge the pond and dig that out. So that could be a possibility of a new location. I'm open to all ideas.

BBQ and beer are always good for new and old friends.

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I've literally just completed a similar project, albeit for a different reason. We drained and renovated our 1/2 acre pond to eliminate a trash fish population that migrated in during a flood as well as reconfigure aeration. Common carp had created a turbidity problem that was being exacerbated by our aeration system, we found the diffusers had created little volcanic looking spouts of silt around them over a couple years since the flood. Turbidity collapsed the food chain and forage base = worthless mudhole..

With a cheapo 2" pump, running it while we were around the house (evenings and weekend) it took a couple good solid weeks to drain.. Would have gone faster had I adapted a larger tank to the pump, but just never did it. Surprisingly the pump actually sucked out a darn good bit of the silt during the drain process. The rest took several weeks to dry enough to get a tractor in there, the drought here in the south helped some I'm sure. It was still pretty sloppy, but as long as we dug out to the clay pack and didnt try to run off through the slop (about 18-20" deep) we didnt have a problem doing it with the FEL.

Blocked the diffusers up about 18-20" off the bottom and started refilling.. About 2ft from full pool now and new fish will de livered next week. Not a horrible process, just gotta be deliberate and patient.

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