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Skillet

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Our pond is dangerously low this year. Is anyone else having this problem?

I was up there checking trail cameras yesterday, and it's currently about a foot and a half lower than it is in this picture. The entire far end is dry.

The end closest to the camera is supposed to be about 9 feet deep. It's not even close to that now.

I'm wondering if there's a hole in the berm (can't find any), or if somehow a hole in the clay at the bottom.

Originally, we wanted it 12-15 feet deep, but our friend who dug it said he hit a vein of gravel, and had to stop at 9.

I normally wouldn't care about it being low, but it's getting late in the year, and I'm worried about the fish.

We have a lot of perch in there, as well as my wife's 7 koi, and a big common carp.

They've all been in there a few years, but we have never headed into fall / winter with water anything near this low.

I am debating netting the koi / carp out soon, and giving them to someone with a safer pond.

Input appreciated.

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"Who the son sets free, is free indeed"  John 8:36

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Just now, Lawdwaz said:

I just thought of something else, do you know Don Shaw up the road from you?  Maybe check with him.   He was a fish farmer for years and has ponds close to you.  

Yes, Don is a great friend.

He gave us the koi. His ponds are in a lot better shape.

He'd probably take them back.

We'd miss feeding them, but I don't want to see them all die over winter. 

"Who the son sets free, is free indeed"  John 8:36

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Look for muskrat holes in the earthen dam. That’s one likely factor. Did you have any large trees on the earthen dam that died over the last few years? There is a reason that you don’t keep trees growing on an earthen embankment, and that is because when they die and start to rot, their roots become pathways for water to leak out of a manmade lake or pond.  
 

Those would be the first two things I would look at. Is this a groundwater pond or is there another water source?  Lined or unlined? 

"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Anonymous 

 

https://www.troutscapes.com

https://nativefishcoalition.org/national-board

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I see the water clarity is not very good. Is that normal or more recent?  How large is the one carp?  They can really stir up the bottom and cause that turbidity. We never suggest carp for small ponds for that reason, but the carp didn’t cause your water volume issues. I’m happy to help. This is what we do, build ponds, wetlands and restore rivers. 

"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Anonymous 

 

https://www.troutscapes.com

https://nativefishcoalition.org/national-board

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10 minutes ago, Bucksnbows said:

Look for muskrat holes in the earthen dam. That’s one likely factor. Did you have any large trees on the earthen dam that died over the last few years? There is a reason that you don’t keep trees growing on an earthen embankment, and that is because when they die and start to rot, their roots become pathways for water to leak out of a manmade lake or pond.  
 

Those would be the first two things I would look at. Is this a groundwater pond or is there another water source?  Lined or unlined? 

I can't find any muskrat holes, and have never seen a muskrat up there.

There was a large black walnut just behind the berm, that was cut 3 years ago.

I'm pretty sure it's just a groundwater pond. It's in a nice basin on the side hill , and it catches a ton of runoff. 

It's unlined. 

"Who the son sets free, is free indeed"  John 8:36

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7 minutes ago, Bucksnbows said:

I see the water clarity is not very good. Is that normal or more recent?  How large is the one carp?  They can really stir up the bottom and cause that turbidity. We never suggest carp for small ponds for that reason, but the carp didn’t cause your water volume issues. I’m happy to help. This is what we do, build ponds, wetlands and restore rivers. 

It was very clear before we put the koi in. The common carp is about 20- 22".

Is the muddy water bad? I thought it would help keep the heron from spearing all the little fish.

"Who the son sets free, is free indeed"  John 8:36

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1 minute ago, Skillet said:

I can't find any muskrat holes, and have never seen a muskrat up there.

There was a large black walnut just behind the berm, that was cut 3 years ago.

I'm pretty sure it's just a groundwater pond. It's in a nice basin on the side hill , and it catches a ton of runoff. 

It's unlined. 

That walnut tree’s roots might be the culprit. Bentonite around the area it was located might help assuming water is flowing through the rotted roots. Any noticeable wet spots on the back of the dam that aren’t normal?

"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Anonymous 

 

https://www.troutscapes.com

https://nativefishcoalition.org/national-board

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1 minute ago, Skillet said:

It was very clear before we put the koi in. The common carp is about 20- 22".

Is the muddy water bad? I thought it would help keep the heron from spearing all the little fish.

Muddy water is muddy water. A separate issue from volume, of course. I see a lack of a wetland bench for aquatic plants. Those plants filter water clarity and create places for macro invertebrates to live which are fish food. Herons will always take some fish. If they become a problem, consider putting out one or two blue heron decoys around the edge of the pond and moving them from time to time. Herons are very territorial and don’t like a fight, so they often move on or don’t land at all if they see other herons at a pond.

"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Anonymous 

 

https://www.troutscapes.com

https://nativefishcoalition.org/national-board

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I would be somewhat concerned of the gravel you found which made you stop when digging. Or possible tree roots. For the dirty water i am thinking you have something going on in the bottom or sides possibly. Not that you want to, but a 6500gal truck costs about 500$. Just filled my pool. Its fall and you shouldn't be losing any water at this point. A fellow Dog/Deer Tracker in Canadice has a 1-2 yr old pond in Canadice and his full top the brim. 

Im no pond expert though 

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My little pond (maybe 1/8 acre x 8 ft deep) is still amazingly high.  About 6 years ago, and maybe (15) years after I first dug it with a pond scoop on my 1951 Ford 8n tractor, it dried up completely after a severe drought that summer. 
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I had dug the pond in the lowest spot on our farm during another drought summer.  (15) years later, when it dried completely, I scooped out all the sediment, that had built up in the bottom over the years, with my 4wd loader tractor.  I added that muck to the backstop mound behind my rifle range.
 

I dug down a couple feet deeper into the clay, with the larger bucket on that loader tractor.  Bluegills had gotten into it on their own (may have swam in from the creek during a high water event, or been brought in by ducks) several years after I first dug it.  Of course the herons, coons, and snapping turtles got them all as it dried up. 

Apparently, they did so again, because I noticed the water almost boiling with them, when I mowed the banks a few weeks ago, tossing lots of insects into the water.  
 

 I might try try to catch a largemouth or two and toss it in there to fatten up on those stunted bluegills over the winter.  I had transferred one into there from Lake Ontario, the first time I saw the bluegill “forage” base.  I caught it again in the pond multiple times over a couple years.

The most comical time was during the early September Goose season.   I walked back there in full camo, with my shotgun in one hand and my fishing rod in the other. 
 

I found no geese back in the pond, but there was a doe and fawn enjoying the cool water.  The doe had no clue what I was. She charged at me multiple times, snorting and pawing at the ground. 
 

She continued her false charges, as I started casting a jig for the bass.  She kept it up until I hooked it, and it started splashing and thrashing around on top of the water.

She finally realized that I was “not to be messed with”.  Only then did she high-tail it into the bushes with her fawn.

I can only assume that the camo/coveralls, that had been hanging out in my barn all year, completely blocked her sense of smell and her eyesight was so poor that she was totally clueless and probably thought that I was just another “odd looking” deer or something.  
 

 

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