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Swamp_Yankee

Small pond management?

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Just curious if anyone here has a small pond that they manage.  The rear of our property is basically a small valley where everything drains through, going north to south (from the hay farm down to my neighbor on the other side). The previous owner took what was basically swampland/a vernal pond and had an excavator dig it out to make it an actual pond about 25 years ago. He mounded up the spoils around the low side and put an 8" PVC drain in which drains to the south into the swamp on my neighbor's land. 

The result was this:

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These images were taken late summer/early fall-the first two with my cell phone the second two with a trail cam I had posted back there. As you can see it is getting kind of weedy/grassy around the edges. One of my fears is that it will slowly turn back into a swamp, but I do realize that the grasses/weeds do provide cover for fish, so any information on what to pull/what to leave would be great. Here are some facts about it:

 

  • Oblong shape - about 50' x 75'
  • Pond is about 300' from the house so aeration would potentially be big $$$
  • Average depth of 5' in the center, 3' as you get closer to the sides
  • Very shaded
  • Water is what I would describe as "tea colored" with a visibility of about 2'
  • Level stays fairly constant with water almost always even with top of drain pipe-I saw it drop about 3-4" below the top of the pipe last August/September
  • Water source seems to be mix of drainage from the fields and ground water (there is 25' hand dug well on the property up the hill from the pond-water level is fairly close)
  • Bottom is fairly mucky-when I was doing depth measurements (from my canoe) I found that if I stiffened the tape measure I could jam it down another 6-8" and when I pulled it up it had that "swamp gas" smell
  • This winter it probably froze 6" thick or more with no slushy or open spots

Given all of this, what can I do in order to manage this pond as a (relatively) mosquito free, fun fishing pond for my young (currently 3 and 6) daughters and their friends? Also, the long term goal is to make the clearing next to the pond a picnic/BBQ area with a grill, firepit, picnic table, etc... I don't really care what goes into the pond (sunnys, bass, catfish, carp) as long as it provides some fun for my girls. The previous owner said that he would catch fish elsewhere and throw them in but didn't really apply any thought to it. We haven't seen any signs of life beyond frogs, tadpoles, and one medium sized snapping turtle. Looking forward to learning a lot as a new pond owner and hopefully finding some ways to get more out of this little pond.

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Brian is away on a fishing trip right now, but I am sure he will have some insight for this when he returns! :up:

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33 minutes ago, BowhunterNJ said:

Brian is away on a fishing trip right now, but I am sure he will have some insight for this when he returns! :up:

:agree:

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I have a similar situation..

Pond is beautiful in the fall and winter but come late spring and summer it's a grassy mess.
I've been trying to figure out what to do.. some options ibe gathered from friends with ponds:

Windmill aerator /fountain (costs approx $2k)

Solar aerator (same cost- I rather do wind tho)

They make a dye for the water that blocks the sunlight from reaching the weeds in the water.. that helps cut down on the grass.

Also- catfish will make the pond very muddy.. if you want it cleaner I believe you should stay away from catfish.


My pond has no fish. Just frogs and turtles.
I believe it is spring fed and runoff fed.
Only difference is mine dries up alot in summer and when doing so the muddy edges are smelly.. not sure anything will help my issue so I have not decided what to do yet.
I think I need to dredge and go deeper but cost is too much for me at this time and it's not high priority.


Here's a few items/options I have been considering...none are cheap. Best option I think is the windmill.. I jistbworry about storms blowing trees into it and ruining the $1600+ windmill in the woods. And I also was wondering how deer would react if its swinging around in the wind. Buck of my life will be heading my way and my windmill will shift direction with a breeze and scare him lol.

Check out these products:
I may try the muck remover and pond dye next season just to see if it helps any..

https://www.livingwateraeration.com/wm12.html


https://shop.naturalwaterscapes.com/muck-remover-pellets-5-lbs/


https://www.thepondguy.com/product/pond-logic-pond-dye/pond-and-lake-pond-dye


Or this..Watch "My DIY Solar Pond Aeration at a Low Cost That works" on YouTube



https://www.watercheck.biz/products/bioverse-healthy-ponds-aquaspherepro-500-000-gallon-pond-cleaner?dfw_tracker=1543-444340221&gclid=CjwKCAjwgr3ZBRAAEiwAGVssndkJo9M2If4R0oUQVhMfezImT-BvQaOQL_moS20YExgEGuKiK4pFbhoC2vsQAvD_BwE



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6 minutes ago, JerseyJaysTaxidermy said:

I have a similar situation..

Pond is beautiful in the fall and winter but come late spring and summer it's a grassy mess.
I've been trying to figure out what to do.. some options ibe gathered from friends with ponds:
 

 

I'm learning a lot here:

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php 

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I spoke with a state fishery biologist over the winter about ways to improve lakes and aquatic management, and basically he said that droughts and draining lakes are a fishery biologists favorite tool......he said it "resets" the aquatic ecosystem back to a "young" stage.  Your pond sounds like it has reached its life expectancy and would probably benefit from being "reset".  Small ponds probably could be "reset" every 10-15 yrs, where as properly managed larger lakes  could be brought back to life every 25-30 yrs.

 

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The biologist I spoke with cited what droughts do to the massive lakes in states such as Texas.  The lakes go bone dry, invasive aquatic vegetation dies off, the lakes fill back up with water, native vegetation grows back, and fish populations flourish in the following years.  Pond managers like a fresh start with a young pond and when fish are stocked, they know exactly what species are in there, age classes, how many, etc etc.  The downside is, people don't like to look at the big mud pit while the lake system is resetting itself.  A pond manager would be best to consult but I would imagine a pond should be "reset" every 10-15 yrs, and lakes should be reset every 20-25 yrs.  Obviously, there is no lake management here in NJ when we have WMA lakes basically being eutrophied, choked out by invasive weeds, and becoming swamps.

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I wonder if that is why they drained Prospertown Lake by Great Adventure a few years ago.  They also did it at Lake Topenemus years ago in Freehold.  I can't recall Turkey Swamp Lake every being drained growing up, although algae and whatnot was never really an issue there.

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37 minutes ago, BowhunterNJ said:

I wonder if that is why they drained Prospertown Lake by Great Adventure a few years ago.  They also did it at Lake Topenemus years ago in Freehold.  I can't recall Turkey Swamp Lake every being drained growing up, although algae and whatnot was never really an issue there.

In my home town we would drain draw our 50 acre lake every other year by a couple feet from November to February as a way to control undesireable vegetation.  The idea being that some of these plants wouldn't tolerate freezing temperatures

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48 minutes ago, BowhunterNJ said:

I wonder if that is why they drained Prospertown Lake by Great Adventure a few years ago.  They also did it at Lake Topenemus years ago in Freehold.  I can't recall Turkey Swamp Lake every being drained growing up, although algae and whatnot was never really an issue there.

My pal mentioned Prospertown and that was a result of the dam failure.....it was dry for approximately 1.5 yrs.....now it's been 4-5 yrs and fishing is at its best there, with chunky, healthy 2 - 3 lb bass being caught regularly. I been meaning to put the yak in there!

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Posted (edited)

Do you guys remember that "Monster" bass they removed from Prospertown during the drawdown ?

Edited by FLDBRED-BDC

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In my opinion, your definitely going to need water movement and air. Your best bet would be an air pump. Since you dont have electricity close, I have installed them before with direct burial line for easily 300' and more on some projects. Once the DB line is at the water edge you switch over to 3/8 weighted tubing which would run to your diffusers. Having the air in the pond will be a significant step in the right direction. The air will promote nitrification, so alot of debris in the pond will begin to break down.  If the debris is feet thick, you may want to consider dredging. As far as the algae and grasses that are currently there, they can be treated by a category 5 certified applicator. The results are very good. Having an air pump for treatment purposes is also a benefit as dissolved oxygen can be a concern and an air pump helps increase DO.You may also be interested in applying through the njdep for a grass carp permit. I'd be happy to help you more if your interested and could size a pump for you, let me know.

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In both ponds the blue dye would help to an extent but not be a complete solution. In my experience the muck buster pellets sold by numerous companies work but are highly localized to where they are put..since most of them are concentrated bacteria, it is hard to say what additional benefits they may have elsewhere in the pond, but the noticeable results are pretty much within a small local area of where the pellets are used. I don't think they are worth the money and really aren't a reliable substitute for an airpump. 

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2 hours ago, FLDBRED-BDC said:

Do you guys remember that "Monster" bass they removed from Prospertown during the drawdown ?

We all thought there wud b a state record in there, but the crew that did the transplanting of fish to Colliers mills said there were mostly dinks, with a handful of 2-4 lbers n a few 5lbers as lunkers.....when I asked where were the "Monsters", they said the poor tanic water quality is not fertile enough to sustain for monster bass. 

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10 hours ago, Bonefreak said:

We all thought there wud b a state record in there, but the crew that did the transplanting of fish to Colliers mills said there were mostly dinks, with a handful of 2-4 lbers n a few 5lbers as lunkers.....when I asked where were the "Monsters", they said the poor tanic water quality is not fertile enough to sustain for monster bass. 

Yeah i remember they said there was 2 that would have broke the record but that's only hear-say. With out seeing them or at least pictures it's hard to believe. 

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As many of my posts on this lake that I have fished for some 30 years. I have seen it in good years to a point of unfishable come Summer, to spots where you could fish from Shore and boat. It got very little pressure at times to Secret Pressures by regulars. In short, The Township let it go due to funding till a local support has shown an interest and made improvements and some mistakes mostly again due to funding. The Lake reached a point it could not be ignored anymore. so with enough paperwork and back and forth to redo Lake Superior they Drained it did improvements to the Road Bank  ( DAM ) where the Outfall is located. Did the usual fish take out & put back? The weeds died BUT no improvements were made to the depth of the lake  ( Dredging )  So it Remains very shallow with a few Holes

To those familiar with the Lake where the outfall is they are putting a Bridge across it so people don't have to walk out on the road to access the Dam to Fish. Plus a lot of other improvements have been made A outdoor Theater Pedal boats and more. It once was a problem with Bucket sitters but that has been corrected. ( ICE )  

 

 

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Lots of good ideas here-thanks all.  I have so many other projects around here I may not do much with the pond this year, but I've got a lot more knowledge than I started with for sure.  I figure I have a few options.  One would be to draw it down in late summer/early fall by removing the vertical portion of the drain pipe which would drop the water level by 3'.  This way I could easily rake out the muck and pull/rake the vegetation.  Then at least I'd be starting fresh once it filled back up and I could go with a fish that will tolerate low DO like a brown bullhead catfish.

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Sidenote-does anyone know if you can purchase fish from the state hatchery in Hackettstown?  It seems that not many hatcheries raise brown bullheads but Hackettstown does.  I'll call them tomorrow but I figured I'd ask to see if anyone here knew.

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Not sure but in do know my buddy told me his catfish pond is filthy compared to his bass pond. Catfish stir up the mud. Not sure if you want clear water or not.

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7 hours ago, JerseyJaysTaxidermy said:

Not sure but in do know my buddy told me his catfish pond is filthy compared to his bass pond. Catfish stir up the mud. Not sure if you want clear water or not.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

I'm willing to give it a shot.  The reality is that its never going to be a bass pond because it's just not deep enough.  From what I've read even if I aerate, etc...chances are any other type of fish will die over the winter.  If it turns out to be a mess I can always just drain it again and start over.  

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Posted (edited)

Went to work today cleaning up the banks, raking some of the muck out of the shallows, and pulling out aquatic plants:

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I want to try to keep the banks trimmed short going forward-any tips on how to do it without making a mess in the water?  Its tough to see but on the far side I pulled an actual woody/thorny bush that looks like it had started on the bank and then extended its root system into the water.  The grass I'm going to have to pull by hand.  I'm planning on putting an old canoe in and throwing the stuff inside as I pull it.  

I freaked out when my rake caught this on the end of a stick I pulled out of the bottom:

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My first thought was that it was eggs and that I had killed an entire generation of fish that I didn't even know that I had!  Fortunately I found on Google images that it was just a bryozoan which is kind of like an aquatic moss.  Apparently their presence indicates good water quality, so that's a plus.  I'm definitely going to go full steam ahead on the plan to stock with minnows, killfish, and brown bullheads since they should be able to thrive in the environment as it is.  

Edited by Swamp_Yankee
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