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Pond Observations


Blue Raider Bob
Go to solution Solved by AlabamaSpothunter,

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1 hour ago, AlabamaSpothunter said:

That water is beautiful, are you doing any fertilization of it?

 

All my reading says LGMs prefer the northern most portion of a lake with coves and bays facing south in terms of where to look for Spawning fish.

 

Then I hear one should try to find harder bottom areas within those areas, gravel, clay, etc. VS. muck or mud.    

 

Sounds like your fish are getting ready to spawn.  

     The water is tap water clear this time of year which causes a huge problem with algae. I have Chara and Filamentous algae blooms that create a pond choking effect. The current water color is caused by pond dye. The dye diminishes light penetration to a degree, but I'm still having major issues. When the water warms to 70 deg. I can use algaecide, which is effective but, it is toxic to Zooplankton. I have to treat small areas at a time to keep the food chain healthy.

     Fertilization begins about that time as well. Water soluble fertilizer creates the planktonic algae blooms that give the water a green look, feed the zooplankton, and further diminish sunlight penetration.

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7 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

     The water is tap water clear this time of year which causes a huge problem with algae. I have Chara and Filamentous algae blooms that create a pond choking effect. The current water color is caused by pond dye. The dye diminishes light penetration to a degree, but I'm still having major issues. When the water warms to 70 deg. I can use algaecide, which is effective but, it is toxic to Zooplankton. I have to treat small areas at a time to keep the food chain healthy.

     Fertilization begins about that time as well. Water soluble fertilizer creates the planktonic algae blooms that give the water a green look, feed the zooplankton, and further diminish sunlight penetration.

Right on, I think people assume ponds are easy, basically the exact opposite of reality.    

 

Somebody would have already grown the next WR LGM if it were easy.   

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  • 4 weeks later...

     Pond Observations are getting more difficult. Especially around the dock. Gigi has been here for three years and is usually pretty tolerant of me using her pond. However, once the nest started, she has developed an attitude. The first week of sitting, she would just glide back into the pond. The second week of sitting has seen her develop a stronger protective posture. She now hisses at me and stands her ground. Also, her guy Ralph, bull rushes from the water to the bank whenever I approach. Things may get pretty sticky in the coming week or two. Hatching should occur mid April.  It is becoming a test of wills. I want to use my dock but it's not as easy as it has been. Water temps have risen to upper 50's due to our current warming trend. This has caused much activity including the first voices of the Leopard Frogs. The wet weather creek is now populated by salamander larva, (Red Spotted Newt). Haven't seen Tiger Salamanders in several years.

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9 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

     Pond Observations are getting more difficult. Especially around the dock. Gigi has been here for three years and is usually pretty tolerant of me using her pond. However, once the nest started, she has developed an attitude. The first week of sitting, she would just glide back into the pond. The second week of sitting has seen her develop a stronger protective posture. She now hisses at me and stands her ground. Also, her guy Ralph, bull rushes from the water to the bank whenever I approach. Things may get pretty sticky in the coming week or two. Hatching should occur mid April.  It is becoming a test of wills. I want to use my dock but it's not as easy as it has been. Water temps have risen to upper 50's due to our current warming trend. This has caused much activity including the first voices of the Leopard Frogs. The wet weather creek is now populated by salamander larva, (Red Spotted Newt). Haven't seen Tiger Salamanders in several years.

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I have a spot I fish that gets loaded with Canada geese every spring. Let the male get in your face and get all like "I got this dear, you watch the kids" and just when he thinks he's scared you off bop him on the head with your rod, he might hiss and puff out his chest, but from then on he'll just back down to the nest and hiss next time he sees you. 

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  • 2 months later...

Bluegill are bedding and the Bass are getting active chasing the Bluegill, especially at feeding time. When the Bluegill begin to gather in large numbers under the feed, there will be an occasional explosion. The BG scatter and return shortly.  Molly, the turtle, sees me approach the dock and comes running.........well, actually I can't call that a run, but she does make her way to the dock to be hand fed. She has been here fours years now we have bonded. Not to the point of me actually letting her take food from my hand, but she would if I would let her. I just don't want her to clamp down on a finger and then I'd have to wait "till it thundered", before she would let go, if you believe that old woodsmen tale. I'm not takin' chances. I'll let her get within an inch but then the food gets dropped on her head! I chickin' out every time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

     Finally caught the snapping turtle that has been residing in my pond. Well.....I caught a snapping turtle. It may or may not be the one responsible for pulling a gosling under, but it has been relocated just the same. It now lives in the Middle Fork Stones River in Rutherford County Tennessee. The picture is of the Middle Fork just below an old mill dam near Elam Rd. I used to fish above the mill dam when my kids were younger but the older gentleman that owned the land passed away and his heirs closed off access and restricted fishing. I do not blame them because the locals used to trespass and throw out litter. It always looked like a garbage dump. At least now it has regained its former beauty. Too bad so many people would just as soon trash a spot as take care of it. As you can see, not a bad place for the turtle to relocate.IMG_2420(1)Resize.thumb.jpg.50bca5c84b1200f93977bec8d6cfcc0c.jpg

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You are brave (a SNAPPER!) and kind (You took the snapper to turtle Heaven.), Bob. 

 

I was paddling a bog a few days ago and I just happened to look down and to my right and right where I was about to insert my paddle was a snapper a few inches under the surface. My beautiful carbon paddle might not be so pretty if I hadn't seen the critter. 

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I pity the fool who doesn't follow this thread! This thread has it all: drama, comedy, and life lessons. Here's video of me turning to look at the pitiful fools who don't read Pond Observations:

 

Mr T 80S GIF

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26 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

You are brave (a SNAPPER!) and kind (You took the snapper to turtle Heaven.), Bob. 

 

I was paddling a bog a few days ago and I just happened to look down and to my right and right where I was about to insert my paddle was a snapper a few inches under the surface. My beautiful carbon paddle might not be so pretty if I hadn't seen the critter. 

Haven not heaven. Turtle heaven is where Cajuns take them, a big stainless steel pot 

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     Gigi's bunch are feathered out and testing their wings. I included a picture taken 4-14 for comparison. The 4-14 picture shows Gigi guarding unhatched eggs that were very soon to hatch, compared to yesterday, a mere 8 weeks later when her brood is nearing the time when they can fly. Of course this is nothing compared to smaller birds such as Bluebirds who hatch in twelve days and fledge twelve days later, but is interesting to me just the same. It took so much longer to get our kids out of the nest! One other interesting thing to me is the parental duties, and this is a constant, Ralph stands guard all day while Gigi's and the youngin's feed. I never see him do anything other than stand his ground and watch over his charges. This is contrary to so many other species be it bird or mammal. Gigi is not in the first picture. It is Ralph and the babes. Just another of the many enigmas uncovered by pond observations.

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1 hour ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

It took so much longer to get our kids out of the nest!

 

^This^ has always interested me too. Our species is helpless for so long. Caribou calves are walking within seconds. We don't even toddle for months.

 

Thanks for the update!

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1 hour ago, ol'crickety said:

 

^This^ has always interested me too. Our species is helpless for so long. Caribou calves are walking within seconds. We don't even toddle for months.

 

Thanks for the update!

That’s know as r selected species vs k selected species in the biology world, don’t miss those days!! 
 

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  • 3 weeks later...

     Couple things I have found interesting about my ongoing pond observations. The first is the feeding habits of gamefish during a rain. Lately we have been having summer afternoon showers during the time I decompress on the dock. I have noticed that during a shower, when I toss out feed, there is a much greater lapse between the time the feed hits the water and the feeding activity begins compared to a non-rain afternoon. Example is on an average afternoon, the BG rise to the pellets within a few seconds this time of year. During a shower, it could take as long as a minute or more. Conclusions could be the BG just cannot see the surface as well when the water is disturbed. When the activity begins, they will feed normally until feed is consumed. We always associate soft rain with better fishing. This observation does not dispel or dispute this, but it does add one more layer to our quest for knowledge. 

     The second observation of note is the behavior of LM when the BG are feeding. I will often notice a LM enter the feeding zone of my BG when they are using the floating pellets. The LM will softly enter the area showing no signs of aggression. The BG get sort of comfortable with the presence and continue their feed. Often the LM will spend a considerable amount of time gently moving around before an attack. The movement scatters the BG but they will recover almost immediately and resume the feed. This also adds a layer to what we know about gamefish behavior that may be helpful when we are on the water, albeit this is a still water pond. LM behavior could be quite different and probably is, in a moving water or impoundment environment where school fish are the primary forage.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Observations and mysteries!

     Mid-summer in year five of the pond and I continue to be amazed by the evolution. First off, unfortunately, I am having a severe algae issue. The air diffuser runs constantly but algae has created an unsightly and unfishable situation. Algae issues are caused by an overabundance of nutrients but to create an algae bloom, it is recommended to fertilize every couple of weeks until bloom is achieved, then repeat every few week throughout the warm weather. This repeated behavior, along with fish waste and droppings, has created a nutrient overload that has caused an algae explosion. Since there is no inlet, or outlet, the nutrients remain and accumulate. The fertilization has stopped but the natural nutrient process continues.

     How to combat? There are three ways recommended by University publications. First off, outside nutrient introduction ceases, then the first strategy is mechanical removal with an algae rake. This worked very well before the algae got out of hand, but is unreasonable at this stage.

     2nd option is chemical application which also works very well but has damaging and long lasting side effects. The chemicals of choice contain copper in a water soluble form that is sprayed directly on the algae, along with a dry copper mixture that is broadcast on the algae with the intention of sinking to the bottom to inhibit growth. Both of these methods are effective BUT they are fatal to invertebrates. I see populations of dead snails all over the floating algae clumps as well as the total absence of leaches since the copper program began. The poisoning effect of the copper is not the answer in a pond that desires a complete and natural ecosystem. Also, since copper is an element, it does not dissolve and dissipate. Only time will tell if the toxic water will allow a repopulation of this level of the food chain.

     3rd Option is the introduction of herbaceous fish. This has been tried before with mixed results. The Asian Grass Carp will indeed feed on aquatic plants, but they also quickly learn that the fish feeder is a much more attractive option. They compete with the BG for the fish pellets and are very adept at quickly consuming the majority. The other issue with the Grass Carp are the Otters that migrate up and down the creek every winter. The Otters can and do catch the Carp, which can be expensive to replace.

     My plan for next year will be option three with no more nutrient introduction There is no choice if I want a natural environment instead of an antiseptic situation that would clash with my ideals.

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The mysteries mentioned are as follows.

     The perimeter of the pond in year five is showing an abundance  of water loving plants that I did not introduce. These are various types of Cattails, willows, and reeds, and rushes. There is no inlet into this pond so how did these plants find their way and become established. There is a wet weather creek near the pond that the turtles and Otters use, but water cannot transfer between the creek and the pond. This question also can be used for the fauna that inhabit the pond. How did the frogs, turtles, and otters find the pond? Mentioned earlier, there is no water inlet and the pond is not visible from the wet weather creek, yet I have viewed at least four different species of aquatic turtles, (Red Eared Slider, Bog, Spiny Softshell, and Common Snapping). Frog species include but are not limited to Bullfrog, Greenfrog, Leopard Frog, Cricket Frog, and Spring Peeper. Mammal species include River Otters and Beaver. What was the line in the baseball movie Field of Dreams, (Build it and They Will Come)?

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Finally, 

     Mid-summer observations of the fish. Water temp yesterday at 7:00 PM was 86.7 and the larger BG were not interested in feeding. This has been the norm for the past couple of weeks. Some of the larger BG will take the feed but mostly it is the juveniles that aggressively use the feed. When the little ones are attacking and breaking off usable portions of the pellets, the LM begin to show interest. They average three assaults in the 30 minutes an evening I spend decompressing, and I am happy to share that I witnesses my first confirmed successful attack. While I have witnessed dozens of blow-ups during feeding time, it happens so fast that confirmation of success has been impossible. However two days ago after a violent explosion, (the LM frequently leave the water), a four inch BG was seen slowly leaving the point of impact. A few minutes later the unfortunate BG was seen upside down slowly swimming just under the surface. It was not attacked again while I enjoyed my dock time so its fate is unknown, BUT, it showed me that not only will the LM engulf their prey, they will also ram, and wound their prey. For those concerned, Molly the Red Eared Slider still has her appetite! This is her fourth year here. She gets so aggressive reaching for my hand that she sticks her neck out as far as she can even though I'm dropping pellets on the water all around her. I'm even dropping them on her head, and she's still reaching for my hand. She got no more sense that a pond turtle.

Molly The Turtle (002).jpg

This is the wet weather creek used by the migrating creatures throughout the year. It connects vast amounts of tillable land, as well as cattle farms, and three farm ponds. It dries up in the summer only to run from fall through winter, and into early summer. I have dug out and lined a small pond where it enters my property that keeps water year round. It is full of various types of fish that enter from the farm pond overflows. My horses and goats use it as an additional watering hole. My pond is to the right just over the embankment lined with trees.

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Bob, thank you for your detailed accounts. A pond has been my lifelong dream. I assume that I'll never own one, but at least I get to walk the pond journey alongside you thanks for your generous chronicling. 

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Not the same but when I built my companies new operations center we had to include a pond to offset the impermeable ground we paved/rocked. 

 

We are only in year 3 and it took 1 year for the frogs and turtles to move in, 2 years to get geese and in this 3rd year we started getting cat tails and other plants we didnt plant along with nutria and a curious beaver. Like you no other water has access as we are at the top of elevation for quite a ways away. I'm guessing some were carried over on the nutria and/or beaver that came from a flooded stream about 1000ft away. Other than that the cat tails could come from their flying seeds but not sure on the rest. 

 

Love these Pond Observations. 

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7 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

Bob, thank you for your detailed accounts. A pond has been my lifelong dream. I assume that I'll never own one, but at least I get to walk the pond journey alongside you thanks for your generous chronicling. 

Thanks Katie!

 

It was a lifelong dream for me too but due to raising kids and just life in general, I was only able to complete it five years ago even though I have owned the land for over 25 years. Don't assume you will never achieve your dream. With all the ponds in your area, one may become available. If you are able to get a pond then it would be my dream to build you a dock of your design no matter how complex. We could do it! If I didn't live so far, I would have already started digging you one!

    One last picture.......this keeps me from melting during my daily decompressing!

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16 minutes ago, Functional said:

Not the same but when I built my companies new operations center we had to include a pond to offset the impermeable ground we paved/rocked. 

 

We are only in year 3 and it took 1 year for the frogs and turtles to move in, 2 years to get geese and in this 3rd year we started getting cat tails and other plants we didnt plant along with nutria and a curious beaver. Like you no other water has access as we are at the top of elevation for quite a ways away. I'm guessing some were carried over on the nutria and/or beaver that came from a flooded stream about 1000ft away. Other than that the cat tails could come from their flying seeds but not sure on the rest. 

 

Love these Pond Observations. 

Are you having algae issues? Are you responsible for the ponds upkeep? Let me know what you do or do not do to maintain your pond please. Did you introduce fish?

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I never tire of admiring that ceiling. I would never design my dock. I would defer to the Dock Master (TM). 

 

Just now, Blue Raider Bob said:

Did you introduce fish?

 

I wondered the same thing.

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1 minute ago, ol'crickety said:

I never tire of admiring that ceiling. I would never design my dock. I would defer to the Dock Master (TM). 

 

I wondered the same thing.

In the four years of the dock, (it was built in April of the following year), the ceiling has weathered and also been the home of Eastern Phoebe's every year, and countless mud wasps. I liked it better new but we all age. I can scrape the nests away but it is still dirty. The wood is Canadian Spruce from Way North Guys neck of the woods.

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7 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

Are you having algae issues? Are you responsible for the ponds upkeep? Let me know what you do or do not do to maintain your pond please. Did you introduce fish?

We've had no algae issues to date. I asked the civil engineers that when we were designing the pond and they said as long as it was kept densely planted it would control any algae for it. The pond is about 8 acres and we spent $75k in plants back in 2019 dollars. No fish were introduced....senior management vetoed my petition on that one. Feared all the guys on their lunch break would be on the sides with their fishing rods...already had to kick one of our guys out who put a few trail cams in our undeveloped 20 acres. 

 

Aside from what I said I dont know much about pond management BUT you should look into planted fish tanks. A significantly smaller scale than what you have but the principles are very similar. At the end of the day it comes down to balancing nutrients, consumers (plants) and light. When you have an overabundance of light and nutrients you get algae. Since you cant control sun and you have fish and uneaten food adding nutrients (even if you dont fertilize) along with leaching nutrients from the soil you really should add plants. There are species that are more nutrient hungry than others which may be a better choice if you dont want to kill your views or get too dense with plants in your pond. Also to keep in mind there are plants that are root feeders (pull nutrients from the soil) and stem feeders which pull nutrients from the water column. You should have a variety of both ideally.  

 

In aquariums, there are no fish that will eat the type of algae that blooms from a nutrient/light abundance. I dont know much about grass carp but only way I'd add one is if you get a fast growing aquatic plant to control the algae and need the grass carp to control those plants. 

 

From your posts you seem to know a lot if not most of this but I think its worth a dive in. I believe there is a lot you can apply to your pond. 

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