Jump to content
Team9nine

Scoping out a new pond

Recommended Posts

Thought I might do a little something different in this report. I really enjoy fishing new bodies of water, and got to spend a couple hours walking the bank at a little 1.25 acre pond I had never fished before. Here's a few pics of some of the things I look for to help me understand what is going on in a body of water, and putting the pieces of the puzzle together quick (hopefully). BTW, I ended up catching 15 bass on this initial trip. Nothing big yet, but I now have a much better feel for this place.

 

First, the pond and my view when I walked up to it. About 1.25 acres, a little bluish in color suggesting a recent weed treatment. I didn't take a water temp, but the pond I was at yesterday had 91 degree surface temps, so well into summer and some of the highest temps we'll see all year. Today, we were again running between 90-94 degrees outside, but the clouds were building from storms to the west, and a breeze actually picked up.

 

IMG_1650.jpg.5567739ee99a3ab3a7cebc6420dee3ee.jpg

 

The first thing you'll notice is no weeds appearing in the shallows, at least nothing obvious. I had seen some patches from driving past this pond a couple weeks back, but there didn't appear to be any left when I arrived. I was soon to figure out why, though the bluish water color had already pretty much gave it away.

 

IMG_1640.jpg.167fc5d1248a2485b1c59f8b4012e916.jpg

 

Always look for tire marks indented into the bank, usually at a spot nearest the street. This is a sure sign of a pond that has been treated, and that observation quickly answered the question why it seemed the weeds were gone that I had previously seen, and why the water had the bluish tint.

 

Other things you want to pay attention to are everything you see in the shallows. Look for bluegills or other critters which are usually tight along the shorelines. You might see cruising bass, invertebrates, or who knows what else. Also pay attention to bottom conditons and slope of the bank. Walking around the pond, I quickly found the remnants of the bluegill spawning areas.

 

IMG_1630.jpg.e26ce3bd9a15bbf640a924e82a3fe185.jpg

 

These are always critical to know where they are located. For one, they will always been on slightly firmer bottom, usually sand or gravel. For another, they also tend to be on a little flats that project into the pond a ways. Yet a third reason is because bass will invariably cruise these areas even well after bluegill have left the nests, but especially more so when they are hanging in the area. I did catch two of the 15 bass from these type areas, one on the deep edge and another that was cruising through the nests.

 

IMG_1647.jpg.7c5e3dc9f4fccc30fda0f8a0e283f9f9.jpg

 

Drains are another thing you always want to pay attention to. They are usually the primary source of fresh water, and almost always hold bass in ponds. Another little key is that they will also almost always form either a hole or a flat. In this pic, and in this pond, all the drains formed flats with emergent weedgrowth. This is because of the incoming silt load. Still, these little projections act as ponts or bars, and give the shallow shoreline related bass something different to relate to.

 

More commonly, drains will create little holes or depressions from the force of the incoming water after storms. These areas can be killer for bass, one of the most regularly producing spots on a pond, especially right after a storm. Always well worth paying attention to.

 

IMG_1648.jpg.68a5c96ebf02cbb5649499ea05551c75.jpg

 

A little more walking revealed the presence of crawdad holes. Often these will have "chimneys" attached to them, though this one was located next to the community playground, and kids like to smash and stomp little chimneys, so they aren't always present. If you locate these though, there's a decent chance your pond has some crawdads in it from time to time for the bass to feed on. 

 

Another thing I didn't see in this pond but I have in many others in the area is greenish clams or mussels. These guys are a sign of clean water and more firmer bottom substrate. Usually you'll know about them because ponds that have the mussels also almost always have minks or otters. You'll find areas around the pond where all the shells get left along the bank, as these are the spots the critters take the mussels to open them up and feed on them, leaving the shells behind. Not seeing any in this pond suggests that the bottom might be a little less firmer than in the other ponds I frequent. 

 

As for the fishing, covering the first half of the pond and fishing shallow produced just one 6" bass. I didn't see any bass cruising, and didn't miss any bites. I quickly found out though that there were quit a few weeds out a little deeper than what you could see. Water clarity was probably a foot and a half or two, and once my baits got out a ways, I was constantly pulling in this:

 

IMG_1596.jpg.81e87cd9ef06f37e1e01e339277ab2b7.jpg 

 

This is a type of chara or muskgrass, also called skunk weed in some places. It grows in short clumps along the bottom, usually on firmer bottom types, and has a very musky odor to it, especially when you crush it or rub it between your fingers. I started making longer casts looking for deeper water, as every short cast that went to the bottom brought in a little clump of this stuff, and what I found was once you got a bait out there a ways, you didn't hit any more chara. Knowing it also grows on firmer bottom, I started throwing as far as I could, well beyond the chara, and working my baits back along the bottom slowly. Suddenly I started catching fish.

 

IMG_1597.jpg.53ad48ab6cf63ca378fe4a90d1e1ffbe.jpg

 

So I found the bass using the deep weedline at the end of the chara. About half of my fish came out off this deep weededge, and the other half came right at or just inside the weedline. The nice thing about chara is that it is pretty crisp, so when my bait finally worked its way into the weedline, I could often tighten down and snap the bait free from the grass. This often elicited a strike from a bass, and accounted for the other half of the bass landed. 

 

In total, I picked off one cruiser sight fishing the bluegill bedding areas, 1 at the deep edge of a bedding area, a little runt just up in the shallows, and another holding outside a drain. The other 11 all came from the deep weededge as I just described. None of the bass were overly fat, and none of them were over 2 pounds. A couple looked a little thin like they might not have enough food. The above factors are usually a sign of an abundant bass population. When this happens, the bluegill are often rather large, but I didn't see anything too big cruising the shallows, so I'll need another trip to tease out a little more of the dynamics in this pond. 

 

For tackle, as always, I kept it simple for this first trip. It's always a combination of observation as much as it is catching, and I can usually manage to land enough fish with a small selection of plastics and a spinning rod to get a good idea of how I need to fish the pond in the future. Obviously, if I had walked up to giant weed or algae mats, I'd bring different gear the next time out, but those type conditions are usually rare around here since so many of these places are controlled by HOAs. 

 

IMG_0834.jpg.1343b5cd5ccc0b53c1e27e69e731373d.jpg  

 

Looking forward to getting back out to this one and seeing if I can find a few bigger bass next time. Still, 15 bass in just a couple hours is a good afternoon in my book, especially since this one is just one addition over from me and within easy walking distance. Hopefully this gives you a little insight into some of the things to consider when banking it at your local waters.

  • Like 14
  • Thanks 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great writeup, Brian.

 

I used to fish a similar pond in a development. About 2 acres.

No longer fish it as the residents must've gathered together 

and banned non-residents. There were people who would sneak

in, even cutting a fence for access. Ruined it for the rest of us.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wealth of info! These are things I see every day but presented here in a very beneficial way. The deep edge weedline has been my fish "factory" this summer, exception being the sudden bursts of bass chasing bait to the bank. Of course, it always happens as I'm just retrieving a long cast.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now this is my kind of fishing report! It offers great info on the water, fishing, and how you approach things. Wish more fishers would put together reports like this. Kudos.

 

The thin fish might be due to water temps, as well as competition.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, you'd mentioned a bit ago that you had found some bass inside the weedline in a pond. Are you still finding bass on the inside edge now, or are they outside?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Paul Roberts said:

Brian, you'd mentioned a bit ago that you had found some bass inside the weedline in a pond. Are you still finding bass on the inside edge now, or are they outside?

So that was a question I was going to pose to you. After a little more experimenting, what I believe is happening is a diel movement. Right at dark or just after, the fish come poking into the shallows and patrol the small stretch of water between the shoreline and the inside weedline. Max depth is 2’ in these areas, but even big fish (rel. speaking for pond fish) are doing this...and in good numbers (double or triple day time catch rate). Slim chance they are there earlier, but I doubt it because I don’t see them, I don’t spook them and I don’t catch them (again, random exceptions). 

 

Thoughts? Any on water observations on your end to concur with? It has repeated consistently now on 2 separate ponds. Outside this evening window, most everything is deep weedline related except for the treated ponds that have little to no weedgrowth.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow awesome write up Brian! There’s a ton of useful information here. I hope we can get more of these in the future! 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write up with the pictures to show exactly what you are referring to.

Does not matter if its a small pond or a huge lake these tips are things that we should all be looking for on our own bodies of water.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Team9nine said:

So that was a question I was going to pose to you. After a little more experimenting, what I believe is happening is a diel movement. Right at dark or just after, the fish come poking into the shallows and patrol the small stretch of water between the shoreline and the inside weedline. Max depth is 2’ in these areas, but even big fish (rel. speaking for pond fish) are doing this...and in good numbers (double or triple day time catch rate). Slim chance they are there earlier, but I doubt it because I don’t see them, I don’t spook them and I don’t catch them (again, random exceptions). 

 

Thoughts? Any on water observations on your end to concur with? It has repeated consistently now on 2 separate ponds. Outside this evening window, most everything is deep weedline related except for the treated ponds that have little to no weedgrowth.

One thing is for certain, there is a reason to be there, and that has to do with food (being outside the spawn) and with such high water temps.

 

So... outside of the treated pond, how dense is the vegetation? Is it all Chara? Or milfoil/coontail?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No milfoil or coontail in any of these ponds, and very limited Chara with the one exception. Most is with shoreline related algae clumps or some type of submerged pondweed that only grows to the edge of the shoreline drop. Once past that, there is almost nothing beyond, and I rarely catch fish out there, to the degree I no longer even throw out far. Get 20’ outside the weedline and you’ve gone far enough. Most of the activity is from the deep weed-edge in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see. The shoreline is probably the safe haven for eating-sized bluegills. If some can get big enough to counter most of the bass, though, those individuals can then roam open water, and possibly get bigger yet.

 

I have a few ponds like this, where nearly all the activity is along the shorelines. On one, I watched as a couple DPW techs pull a gill net from pond center. It contained one crappie. I have estimated 50-60 adult bass are in the pond.

 

In your ponds, with those temperatures, early morning could be wild.

 

Since you are in such a heat wave, just for curiosity sake, if you have any ponds with dense vegetation, give them a shot. I'm guessing the results will be different.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Team9nine / Brian

 

That is a great post with very useful information.  Thank you.

 

Ed/senile1

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job of scouting the pond. I believe I have seen someone fish this pond on Youtube and a local resident who was a bit drunk started telling them they owned the pond (pretty sure they were full of themselves) and needed to leave.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Made a second trip to this pond under hot, calm and sunny conditions to see what was going on. Bass were still deep (relative) on the outside edge of the musk grass and biting ‘Ned.’ Only got an hour in or just over, but picked up 7 bass. Lake looked like it had received another treatment as it was dyed blue.

 

Working on a new in-depth ‘scoping’ post. Hope to have it posted by the weekend. In the meantime, a few of the 7 from the return trip.

 

4FF4AD2E-2D73-4369-8745-E624F366982B.jpeg.a0cefb90bde9c3f256625a2d33c6f3ed.jpeg

 

38F8F992-A20D-4C16-AF00-C437D5D73D09.jpeg.b40895e1fab78733a25786304cddba06.jpeg

 

32D13A97-5D46-4929-82DC-B459A4D69FED.jpeg.3f75c775810efc568d0aaea6e6bb73e2.jpeg

 

B22DFDC8-D65E-4C72-879C-7E23E7CE31EF.jpeg.02ebb327ddecd3d00f4529386ddc693f.jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Team9nine said:

Lake looked like it had received another treatment as it was dyed blue.

What’s your take on spraying lakes? This past winter we moved to a very shallow private lake. The weeds get sprayed 5-6 times a year. I briefly live on this lake 10 years ago and the weeds almost choked off the whole lake. Now it’s more open, there’s still weeds but they don’t make it so you need an air boat to get around.

 

The bass and pike population seem pretty good with plenty of monsters in here. Pan fish I don’t know as I don’t fish them. There’s a number of panfish anglers out here. 

 

Spraying lakes came up on another forum and the consensus was it’s horrible and will do nothing but destroy the lake. The 10 years I’ve known this lake the fishing has remained the same and the weeds are still present but not over taking the whole lake. 

 

What’s your experience with lakes being sprayed? I’m not trying to hijack your thread, I can start a new one if you’d like. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like most questions, “it depends” seems like the best short answer. In your example, it sounds like the appropriate thing to do. There are lots of scientific studies that now support the idea that between 10-40% weed coverage is close to ideal on most lakes. You can have greater percentages underwater and be fine, but more than 40% surface coverage becomes a nuisance and can also be bad for the fishery in general. The trick is being able to maintain that balance, often not easy on smaller lakes.

 

One of the biggest spraying concerns is around timing and volume. If you kill off too many weeds too quick, that can lead to short term oxygen deprivation, and even fish kills, especially in hot weather conditions. The smaller the lake, the harder this is to manage.

 

In general, I’m not opposed to spraying or treating lakes as long as there is a good management plan in place that only treats problem areas and that leaves some vegetation in place. I’ve fished plenty of smaller lakes over the years that have received constant treatments in one form or another, and that maintained healthy fisheries.

 

By and large, they (spraying/treating) don’t negatively affect the fish population if done properly. Lots of misunderstanding and fear mongering by anglers in this regard. On the other hand, overzealous HOAs and nuking lakes “just because” or because someone wants a swimming pool and not a lake, I am very much opposed to. Fish can and will survive, but maintaining good fisheries in those cases can be a challenge, and probably hurts more lakes from a fisheries standpoint than it helps.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Like most questions, “it depends” seems like the best short answer. In your example, it sounds like the appropriate thing to do. There are lots of scientific studies that now support the idea that between 10-40% weed coverage is close to ideal on most lakes. You can have greater percentages underwater and be fine, but more than 40% surface coverage becomes a nuisance and can also be bad for the fishery in general. The trick is being able to maintain that balance, often not easy on smaller lakes.

 

One of the biggest spraying concerns is around timing and volume. If you kill off too many weeds too quick, that can lead to short term oxygen deprivation, and even fish kills, especially in hot weather conditions. The smaller the lake, the harder this is to manage.

 

In general, I’m not opposed to spraying or treating lakes as long as there is a good management plan in place that only treats problem areas and that leaves some vegetation in place. I’ve fished plenty of smaller lakes over the years that have received constant treatments in one form or another, and that maintained healthy fisheries.

 

By and large, they (spraying/treating) don’t negatively affect the fish population if done properly. Lots of misunderstanding and fear mongering by anglers in this regard. On the other hand, overzealous HOAs and nuking lakes “just because” or because someone wants a swimming pool and not a lake, I am very much opposed to. Fish can and will survive, but maintaining good fisheries in those cases can be a challenge, and probably hurts more lakes from a fisheries standpoint than it helps.

I don’t know a thing about lake management and I haven’t watched them spray the lake, but it appears that the areas undeveloped aren’t treated along with shallow areas that are too shallow for boat traffic. 

 

I’m glad I asked you about this, because you’re right there’s a ton of fear mongering going on, it’s sometimes hard to sift through all the BS. Thanks again Brian! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/25/2019 at 4:13 PM, Team9nine said:

No milfoil or coontail in any of these ponds, and very limited Chara with the one exception. Most is with shoreline related algae clumps or some type of submerged pondweed that only grows to the edge of the shoreline drop. Once past that, there is almost nothing beyond, and I rarely catch fish out there, to the degree I no longer even throw out far. Get 20’ outside the weedline and you’ve gone far enough. Most of the activity is from the deep weed-edge in.

Reread this thread after seeing your new one. I've got an different take on this thought. In late summer/fall I've found a lot of activity "offshore" using moving baits like lipless and small blades in mid water column. Wind seems to be a key component. Doesn't seem to work on calm days.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing poles

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing reels

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×
×
  • Create New...