Archive for the ‘News & Updates’ Category
While winter is still doing its last ‘hurrah’ across much of the USA, it’s just a very short time til spring-like weather is here to stay! While we’ve had a taste of warmer weather now and again, take heart – it won’t be long til freezing nights and blustery days have completely departed – now is the time for perparing your pond for spring.
As spring is officially here, there are a number of things that we can do to get our ponds ready for the coming year.
Plus, we had the whole winter to dream about what modifications we might want for our pond, and list them on our pond “to-do’ list.
What do you want to do?
Here are some suggestions that will benefit you, your fish, and the quality of your pond!
The fish in your pond are beginning to come out from their winter’s rest. Please keep in mind they are coming out of dormancy, and so just starting to become active – be gentle and considerate of the actions you take now during their transitional time.
Remember that fish eat less during winter, which can make them especially vulnerable to parasites and bacterial infections. To prevent parasites from making your fish sick, you should begin to treat your pond once the water begins to warm-up. Do it again when you are winterizing to ensure they’re parasite-free as they come out of hibernation.
Worrying about the accumulated sludge after this winter requires prudent action, as the premature use of bottom pumps, waterfalls, and other water helps, while moving the water, will seriously diminish the warm water at the bottom of your pond where your fish have been residing, forcing them to cope with immediate, colder water. That means go easy.. easy on your fish, especially as it relates to feeding and pond cleaning.
Is your water temp below 55ºF? It is wise to know the temperature of your pond; a pond water thermometer is a great investment! If the water temperature is below 55ºF, then it is better to wait until water temperature rises and your fish become more active before you resume feeding. It may be tempting to want to feed them now, but their metabolism is just gearing up, so they will not be eating much, and providing food which goes uneaten will contribute to waste as well as creates an increase in ammonia. This is especially true in the low oxygen conditions which exist in our ponds right now.
You can begin to feed your fish once the water temperature reaches at least 55ºF and stays there or above for at least two weeks, both day and night. The metabolic rate of fish is sluggish in the early spring, so go slow on the ramp up to regular feeding, and remember that the first food you feed them must be easy to digest.
Pond & Area Cleaning…
The area around your pond… pick up any storm or winter debris like branches and twigs; cut and remove any large tree limbs or move to an adjacent area to where you plan to submerge later. Rake up leaves and any blown-in litter.
As for cleaning, you might use a fine net skimmer to skim off any floating debris, and some very light vacuuming in any places where plant matter in your pond has died off during the winter, creating an eyesore. To maintain the water quality of your pond, simply remove decomposed plant matter as you can and temperatures permit. Don’t worry – as we move into the warmer weather, you can be more aggressive in your clean-up efforts without having to worry about disturbing the water layers.
That brings us to…
Sludge & Muck – Yuck! The all too familiar black sludge – if it is too thick, you best keep an eye on the creature of the black lagoon! Seriously, though, sludge buildup indicates that the pond is out of balance. At winter’s end, that black muck that accumulates in ponds and lakes is typically the result of the predominately anaerobic environment that is found at the bottom of most ponds, accentuated during the winter slow-down. As most things do not decompose well in an anaerobic environment, the muck layer grows, releasing phosphorous and other nutrients which, in turn, feed green plants, algae, and pond moss.
Worrying about getting rid of the accumulated sludge after winter requires cautious action, as premature use of bottom pumps, waterfalls, and other water helps – while moving the water – will seriously diminish the warm water at the bottom of your pond where your fish have been residing, forcing them to cope with immediate, colder water. Yes, the upper layers are beginning to warm, but care is necessary so as not to shock your fish with extreme temperature changes as a result of disturbing the layers in your water column.
There are a variety of sludge cleaners you can consider, and when doing so keep in mind that the pre-spring temperature of your pond is substantially cooler then it will be in summer, so be sure that the product you select is not just for summer use when the water is warmer. Another successful approach is the use of pond vacs – there are effective tools for cleaning sludge and muck from the pond floor. But remember, go cautiously this early in the season, or perhaps wait until the water is consistently warm and can handle disruption without issue to your dear fish!
This is a good time to perform water testing so you know what actions, if any, will be necessary. As winter brings cold temperatures which slows the metabolisms of all creatures, winter lakes and ponds will have reduced rates of photosynthesis and respiration, resulting in a lowered oxygen content, a build-up of anaerobic bacteria (smells like rotten eggs), and that build-up of sludge in your pond.
If your pond needs a partial water change, this early in the season, target an 18-24% change. If your water appears to be a tea color or darker, that is likely due to tannin released from leaves or seeds which have fallen in the water, then a greater percent water change would be needed, but wait for warmer pond temperatures to minimize the chance of shock to your fish.
Be sure to use de-chlorinated water; do not use unfiltered tap water from your hose, as chlorine is toxic to most aquatic life, and can cause irritation, burns and even death to fish. If your only source of new water is tap water, you should get a chlorine/chloramine (ammonia based) neutralizer which makes tap water safe, as tap water is usually toxic to fish with the high levels of chlorine and ammonia in it. Tap water previously was treated simply with chlorine, but now chloramines are typically used, and unlike chlorine, chloramines do not evaporate. These treatments are good to keep our drinking water safe by getting rid of bacteria, but it does not differentiate between bad bacteria and good bacteria in your pond. You need to be sure to read the labels on the products you are considering, as with chlorine and ammonia removal agents, some compounds perform more than one action, you want to be aware of this so you do not over-apply any product. Also, remember that many ammonia removers are acids, so repeatedly adding them will cause your pH to drop. Carbon also can be used to bring down chlorine levels, as well as improve bacteria populations and help with sludge.
Continue with any aeration you had in place.
Filtration… very obvious and most important: make sure that your filtration system (if you use one) is hooked up and ready to go, do any necessary servicing now. Once water temps in your pond rise to around 55-60 degrees, start your filtration.
Predators… not usually on a pond “to-do” list, but predators can sure upset the apple cart in their quest for a tasty meal! Was your pond a popular spot for predatory pond birds last season? Or did a new family of raccoons move in lake-side? There are simple steps to address these ‘pesky’ issues before they require more aggressive measures.
- Get to know your local predators; if you need help, your local animal control unit should know of what animals that cause trouble in your area.
- Decrease the opportunities for plunder by deterring the predators that pose the greatest threat, using any combination of netting, decoys, repellents, alternate sources of food & water, pond depth changes and camouflage adjustments.
Once you have the necessary things handled, you can perhaps plan to do a little improvement!
You know how much you enjoy fishing on your pond or just relaxing near-by. Is there a waterfall or fountain that you’d like to add to your pond? Stock My Pond offers a sweet little fountain that will add some oxygen to your pond while making it a prettier, more relaxing place to be! The fountain is low cost to operate and offers several different and yet unique patterns. With only four main parts (motor, float, screen, and throat) it takes only a few minutes to assemble. It costs less than $.05 an hour to operate and offers six different spray patterns, and comes with a two-year warranty.
This fountain gives you an improvement in your fish, your pond and for you; it is sturdy, performs well, inexpensive to run, and has a good warranty.
What are you waiting for?
To order this fountain, or for more information, call Stock My Pond at (501) 676-3768.
As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to reflect on how blessed we are, and how fishing is a blessing!
During this season when we reflect on the goodness of the Lord, we can count our blessings and be sure to thank the Lord above for everything, including our home, our ponds, and lakes, and the benefit they are to our family and us.
Especially to our children.
Our children are the future of our families, and of our nation.
And while we count our blessings and reflect on this year as it is closing, we may find ourselves considering the future and what we wish for our children.
There is something we have right now that impacts our children’s positively.
Fishing is a gift that we can give to our children, and they will benefit from it their entire life.
Consider, if you will, just how blessed you are, being able to have your children fish! Seriously.. when you give it some thought, you’ll discover that with fishing, the blessings for our children are many. There is more than just what meets the eye when you watch your child reel in their first catch.
Teaching your child to fish gives them a life skill that provides food, and allows them to develop skills that build self-confidence, and improves with age. Fishing is one of the few types of nature-based recreation that scales our childhood, adolescence, adulthood and senior years.
Educating your children about this sport brings environmental awareness into focus, cultivates rational thinking and enhances decision-making abilities. And the educational efforts that you do today ensures that our recreational fishers of tomorrow understand sustainable fishing practices.
Considering that physical activity has been declining in our youth, with electronic media and other sedentary pursuits having become so consuming, fishing helps stop this trend from having its destructive effects on your family.
Studies have shown that children continue to spend less and less time engaged in physical activity outside, placing them at risk for obesity and other detrimental health effects. Promoting enjoyment of the outdoor recreation of fishing, all through your child’s life offers them the prospect of a longer, healthier life.
Being outside and fishing is good for the soul, deterring electronic media preoccupation, as well as the anti-social and withdrawn behavior that often accompanies it. It helps you by offering your children something far more valuable than social media and video games. Fishing also provides benefits to our youth suffering from behavioral and mental health issues and reduces ADHD.
Fishing also teaches patience, perseverance, and development of motor skills.
Recreation fishing blesses your children by allowing them to interact with children and adults outside of their regular circle of friends, forming new acquaintances and beginning new friendships. Continuing to fish provides experience, which in turn allows our children the opportunity to talk about and demonstrate their knowledge of the sport, further increasing their self confidence.
If you are struggling with your child’s hyperactivity issues, take heart – studies have found that hyperactive children enjoy sitting quietly by the water for long periods of time. Interest in fishing has also proven to coax withdrawn children out of their shells, where they initiate their participation in the sport!
Should you have family members with disabilities, whether children or adults, they will typically enjoy family outings which provide companionship, interest, and challenge. Fishing in itself is recreational, and the therapeutic benefits help individuals with disabilities emotionally, intellectually and physically. Fishing rods and reels can be designed for folks with limited or no movement in their hands and arms, and there are specialty shops which make equipment specifically for the disabled. There are many charitable groups which excel in helping disabled persons to the shoreline with a reel, catching smiles along with the fish!
Fishing offers any participant the ability to unwind from the stress of everyday living – we do not forget that the relaxation that fishing provides is worth more than gold. The peace that we get when we are gone fishin’ and out in nature, enjoying the beauty of the Lord’s creation, is without measure. Enjoying the quiet on the lake sure goes a long way in contributing to goodwill towards all, as fishing is enjoyable whether or not one catches any fish!
During this time of the year when we reflect on the blessings of the good Lord, there are numerous benefits of fishing for which we should be thankful for, especially having the ability to fish. If you don’t yet have your pond, now is an excellent time to consider one. It’s a gift for your children and family, the gift of fishing at home.
If you already have a pond, that is another blessing to be thankful! And it is your responsibility to care and maintain your pond to the best of your ability.
One of the responsibilities of caring for our lakes is harvesting, and this is the time to do it – once the temperature dips below 50 degrees, fish just do not eat like they regularly do, and lose weight. So harvest as needed now, as the chilly days are upon us and the temperatures are dipping! Cooking a superb fish dinner during the holidays is another treasured memory to be created.
And is it true that fish are more likely to be caught when you are wearing a Santa hat? 🙂
We wish you the enjoyment of yet a few more days of fishing this year, a lifetime of fishing with your children, and a very Merry Christmas.
Thank you for your business, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year!
And oh yes, don’t forget, after the holidays are over, de-trim your Christmas tree and take it out to your pond – Christmas trees are excellent brush fish attractors!
To read more about the benefits of youth and recreational fishing, see these sources:
Information about fishing for the disabled:
Benefits of recreational fishing: selfgrowth.com/articles/what-are-the-benefits-of-fishing-to-your-health
Stock My Pond is running a special throughout the month of October 2017. Purchase a 1-acre pond package or order $1,000 in fish and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Digital Trail Camera.
A 1-acre pond package includes the following and is $999:
- 750 Bluegill
- 100 Red Ear
- 100 Hybrid Bluegill
- 200 Largemouth Bass
- 100 Crappie
- 10 LBS Minnows
- 300 (4-6″) Catfish
This promotion starts October 1, 2017. Call to place your fish orders at (501)676-3768, or book them online here.
Highlights of the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Trail Camera include:
- Wireless Control/Image Transfer with App
- GPS Geotagging
- 14MP Resolution
- Hyper PIR Motion Sensor with 60′ Range
- .03-sec Motion Trigger Speed
- 48-LED Invisible Infrared Flash – 80′
- Field Scan 2X time-Lapse Mode
- HD 720p Video with Sound
- Records to SD/SDHC Cards up to 32GB
- Runs on 4-12 AA Batteries
Capture photos and videos of wildlife or trespassers with the brown Trophy Cam HD Aggressor Wireless Digital Trail Camera from Bushnell. Its wireless connectivity allows you to transfer images to your smartphone and change settings remotely via the free iOS or Android app. Additionally, benefit from BPS geotagging and daily monitoring with location updates.
Registration for the Pond Boss VII Conference & Expo is open! From Oct 12 through Oct 14, 2017, join the Pond Boss Family at beautiful La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa in Montgomery, Texas. From the Pond Boss Fishing tournament to Saturday night’s Banquet Dinner and silent auction, Pond Boss VII won’t disappoint. Come and learn the latest techniques for managing your private waters, from pond construction to wildlife management.
How to Register
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Pond Pro Series – Limited Space – for our pond professionals
Landon Wiet, Aquafix- State of the Microbial Union: Science-based frontiers of microbe
management in ponds and lake. Value-added products for your business
Chris Blood, Texas Hunter Products- Feeding Programs: Best Practices for growing BIG fish
Ken Hale, Boatcycle Manufacturing- Tilapia, Its Place in Ponds Today: How people are using these fish in pond practices
Steven Bardin, Texas Pro Lake Management- Social Media in the Private Fisheries world: How to grow and connect with your audience
Dr. Bruce Condello, www.bigbluegill.com- Value-added Client ideas: Off the dock ideas
Dr. Claude Boyd, Auburn University- It’s Complicated: Basic water chemistry, how it
affects biology, and how these elements come together
Patrick Goodwin, Vertex Water Features- Research on the Effectiveness of Aeration: Databased evaluation of aeration.
Friday, October 13, 2017
It All Starts With Water: Absorb how water behaves, explained from the perspective of
seasoned professionals who work with the wet stuff every day.
Bob Lusk, Pond Boss Magazine- Water and Its Majesty: Simple substance, big facts
Dr. Claude Boyd, Auburn University- Water Chemistry for Pondmeisters: What you need to know about your water to make good decisions
Landon Wiet, Aquafix- Analyzing Algae, Beneficial Microbes for Dummies: Cleansing water the natural way
The In’s and Out’s of Pond Construction: So, you’re thinking about building a Pond?
From plans to pitfalls to fulfilling your dreams, listen as these experts take you through the
process. Case studies and real world projects dominate this session.
Mike Otto, Otto’s Dirt Service- Dirt and Water: Getting down and dirty with pond planning
Michael Gray, Gray’s Construction- The Long Odds of Short Cuts: Digging smarter to finish strong
Todd Watts, Pond Boss Subscriber- High-Wattage Pond: Designing and Building the Perfect Ohio Bass Fishing Lake
Dave Sefton, Dave Sefton Excavating- Designing Waterfowl Havens: Building great habitats for our feathered friends
Pond Management 101: Okay, you have a dream…and you have some water. Take notes as these experts create your roadmap of successful pond management fundamentals that are sure to lead you from Point A to Point Z.
Paul Dorsett, SOLitude Lake Management- Hey, How Do I Stock My Pond?: Helpful hints
for stocking new water
Steven Bardin, Texas Pro Lake Management- Mastering a Pond Plan: Planning beyond the moment, learning how to adjust strategies for your master plan
Greg Grimes, Aquatic Environmental Services- Big Things From Small Ponds: Yes, you
can accomplish big feats in small waters and satiate your appetite
Scott Tucker, Clearwater Lakes and Ponds- Pond Life Down Under: State of the Union in
Wade In: A Deeper Look at Managing Your Waters: The finer points of fisheries
management, growing big fish, and science-based strategies.
Bruce Condello, www.bigbluegill.com- Inside the Pond, but Outside the Box: Using
unconventional methods to pursue your pond passions
Dr. Michael Masser, Texas A&M Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences Dept.- History of Trophy
Bass Management: From then, until now, growing giant bass.
Wes Neal, Mississippi State University- Empirically Speaking: Science-based pond
Bob Lusk, Bob Lusk Outdoors- Non-Traditional Stocking Strategies: Hits and misses on
the way to trophy fish.
Marty Stone; Keynote Address
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Wildlife Management and Attracting Wildlife: Start scouting out the best spot to mount
your outdoor camera. We’ll be sharing tips and strategies for attracting wildlife, waterfowl
and songbirds…plus a little bit about the bee’s knees.
Bill Benton, Outdoor Properties LLC- The Business of Owning Recreational Land: How to
enjoy and appreciating asset
Dan Van Schaik, Integrated Wildlife Management Company- Attracting Wildlife: Wildlife-friendly habitat improvements
Jim Willis, Wildlife Habitat Federation- Habitat Rehab: Giving back to depleted land
Alvin Dean, Brazos Valley Beekeepers- The Bees Knees, It’s not so hard to do: Valuable knowledge about bees and their impact on your property
Aeration: Moving your water to clean it.
Patrick Goodwin, Vertex Water Features- Nothing but the facts: Aeration Research
Liz Edgerton, Kasco Marine- Get your water to movin’: Different Methods of Aeration
John Redd, Outdoor Water Solution- Off the Grid: Using alternative energy sources for aeration
Luke Keeton, Keeton Industries- Microbes: The many facets of beneficial microbes
The Underwater Salad Bar: Aquatic plants – what we want, what we need and how to hedge your strategies for a healthy balance.
Dr. Michael Masser, Texas A&M University Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences Dept.- Methods of Adjusting your Aquatic Plants: Identification, Methods and Healthy protocol of managing your underwater salad bar
Dr. Bruce Richards, Weedoo- Exotic Shoreline Vegetation: Identification and management
Paul Westcott, Lonza- Herbicide Update: Wise about herbicides
Dr. Dan Roelke, Texas A&M University Wildlife and Fisheries Science Dept- Killer Algae: It’s here, now what?
Ken Hale, Boatcycle- Tilapia: From algae to fish tacos
Pimp Out Your Pond: Amenities: Preview the latest toys, joys and creative touches from the experts that can transform your watering hole to the perfect oasis. Add a little bling to make your lake sparkle.
Greg Grimes, Aquatic Environmental Services- Enhancements above the waterline: Ways to enjoy your pond setting
Ty Kleeb, Pig Patrol- Showing Your Work: Revealing your mysteries of the deep and how to catch your big fish
Andy Benson, Mossback Fish Habitat- Rehabing and Renovation: Reviving habitat and improving non-productive pond areas
Nate Herman, Herman Brothers Lake and Land Management- Livin’ the Lake Life: All the fun and games you can have around your pond
The phones lines are down for Stock My Pond. We are working with AT&T to fix the situation but it’s taking longer than we anticipated.
If you need to reach us please use this alternate number – 501-676-2686.
Thank you for your patience.
“All I need is the air that I breathe” may just be an old song by The Hollies, but if your fish are singing it to you, and you better listen!
We’re halfway through these blistering hot, dry days of July and August when ponds most often suffer oxygen depletion which causes fish populations to drop.
If your pond is experiencing fish die-off, you can almost bet it is from oxygen depletion, as a lack of dissolved oxygen is the most common cause of fish kills in ponds.
When trying to determine if your pond has sufficient aeration, it can be a simple as seeing your fish at the surface in the morning, gulping for air. Morning is the time when there is the lowest amount of dissolved oxygen, as photosynthesis (photo = light and synthesis = make) does not operate at night, so it will be most obvious in the morning if this condition exists. If you see your fish gasping for air, or if your fish are not consuming their pellet feed, the problem is acute and must be addressed immediately.
Gasping fish are a good indicator that oxygen is low, as oxygen is vital to fish, and integral to the ecological processes that keep water inhabitable to aquatic life – both fish and plants. And the factors that add oxygen to your pond water – wind, rain, and waves – they all help, but sometimes oxygen depletion threatens, and it is up to you to stop this thief in its tracks.
Weather is often a direct cause of depleted oxygen, but too hot of temperatures and low water levels are not the only culprits! Yes, oxygen depletion typically occurs when water levels are low, during drought conditions. But rainy and cloudy weather with reduced daylight means less photosynthesis, which means lower levels of oxygen production from plants, which in turn means less oxygen available to your fish on the following day. High winds can do it too, racing across shallow ponds, causing a mixing of the low oxygen water throughout the pond, even more toxic to your fish when dense blooms of algae are present. On the other hand, when there is a case of algae death, you’ll see a change in color from green to gray or brown, with a loss of oxidation within one to two days. As summer weather conditions considerably deviate from those beautiful, spring days with moderate temperatures where easy-going, single celled algae thrive – it’s time to put on your cape and guard your pond against the evils of oxygen depletion!
As August arrives and mid-summer thrives, water warms and so retains less oxygen than cooler water. Consider this: fish are cold-blooded, and they have a rise in metabolic rate when water temperatures rise, which in turn spurs the need for oxygen at the same time that less oxygen is available! So it is a double whammy right about now, as fish often are not getting their oxygen needs met!
This is even more likely when ponds are overstocked, that being too many pounds of fish per surface area of water. It is important to examine the ratio of pounds of fish to the available surface area of water. Knowing surface area is the key element in good pond management, affecting not only determination of adequate aeration for your fish but also impacting many other areas including fish stocking and harvest, herbicide, chemical, fertilization, and alkalinity applications. It is critical that the initial effort is made to correctly measure surface area. Should a pond be of irregular proportions, it can be plotted and broken into a variety of geometric shapes, such as circles, rectangles, triangles and ellipses, then simply apply the proper geometric formula(s) to compute surface area. You can get your formulas from most high school geometry books, or see the links below on measurement procedures. Measure out your pond en masse, or do it in pieces, by feet, then compute the surface area of your pond in acres. Tip: there are 43,560 square feet in an acre.
Once you determine your pond’s surface area, then you can use a rule of thumb that your total pounds of resident fish should not exceed 1,000 pounds per surface acre. Even close to this puts your pond in line to experience oxygen depletion. And don’t talk yourself out of this concern when you have a deep pond, as the water column may stratify, with the upper, warmer layers saturated with oxygen, and the deeper levels depleted of oxygen. This can stress fish and cause a drop in population.
Once you have a good estimate as to the surface area of your pond, you need to estimate your fish population. You know what you stocked and what you’ve taken out so far. To estimate the pounds of fish, simply catch a few fish and weigh them. Multiply your average weight by the estimated number of fish in your pond and you can now compare your pounds of finned friends to the available surface area with confidence. Alternatively, you can shoreline seine, but this is best done during June. If your resident fish population exceeds the recommended population, you have a perfect reason to go fishin’!
But before you’re sauntering off with your reel, you still need to get more oxygen into your pond. And you know, it’s not just your fish that need the oxygen, either! Oxygen is needed for aerobic digestion of algae, ammonia, and nitrates. Plus oxygen is vital in the bacterial decomposition of fish waste, debris and many types of organic matter. The whole pond ecosystem depends on oxygen. It’s time to swing into action!
Aeration is the best way to halt oxygen deprivation. To increase oxygen levels, pond water must be brought into contact with air.
If you have a motorboat, a quick and efficient fix is to back your trailer into shallow water or lodge your boat and allow the motor to run in place, thus aerating the water and saving your fish. You’re a hero! The prop will function to aerate the water as long as it is stationary; if you are cruising around the pond, then the prop is pushing the boat, not the water, which results in substantially less oxygen absorption.
Another way to aerate is to use a pump, but remember to position the intake a good two to three feet below the surface. Alternately, you can pull water from near the surface and spray it back across the pond. There are many types of pumps and aeration systems to help you combat even the murkiest water and pond muck via submerged and surface equipment, but take care to consider the pros and cons of each approach, to see what best addresses your situation. For example, when extreme masses of anaerobic material are present, as toxic hydrogen sulfates may escape and poison your fish, you must continue with caution and knowledge to properly handle your particular situation.
Should you discover you have an emergency situation, you can put together a paddlewheel to run off the PTO of a farm tractor. The paddlewheel is used to break up the water into droplets which absorb oxygen from the air.
So the next time you hear The Hollies’ winsome tune, give a thought to your fish! Don’t wait until they’re gasping at the surface.
- Oxygen Depletion in Farm Ponds
- Managing Fish Ponds During Drought
- Texas Farm Ponds: Stocking, Assessment, and Management Recommendations
- Water Quality Concerns for Ponds
- Managing South Dakota Ponds for Fish and Wildlife: Pond Ecology, Chapter 1, Page 2 and Summerkill, Page 4
- Pond Surface Area Measurement
- Calculating Area & Volume of Ponds & Tanks
- Low Oxygen and Pond Aeration
- Recommended aeration equipment & systems
- Aerating Old Ponds
- Caution is high with bulk anaerobic matter & resulting hydrogen sulfide escape with aeration
- Paddlewheel Aerator Design
Heat From Summer Months Stress Fish in Your Ponds
Ponds, especially small ones, are entering most stressful months of the season. Carefully monitor changes in water color or odor. Closely watch fish behavior such as gulping at the surface. Quick, corrective action could prevent harmful effects to fish.
Professor Billy J. Higginbotham and Asst. Professor Todd Sink with the Texas A&M AGRILIFE Extension Service has found small ponds intensively managed for catfish are most susceptible to die-offs. Other common causes are large quantities of vegetation, heavily fed ponds, or sudden die-off of dense phytoplankton. Here are questions they ask to help frantic pond owners:
1) When did fish start dying and how long have they been dying?
This helps determine if the incident was rapid or prolonged. Rapid fish loss typically occurs from oxygen depletion, lasts a few hours, and mortality ends. Chronic or prolonged events span days or weeks and stem from disease or parasite symptoms. Exposure to pesticides or herbicides may cause rapid or chronic mortality, depending on the dose of chemical in the water column.
2) How many fish have died and what size are they?
Loss of a single or small number of fish is not considered a die-off. Biologists define a fish-kill as mass mortality involving 10-percent or more of the entire population of a single or multiple species. It’s disappointing to lose a big bass or catfish, but some occur from natural causes or old age. This may occur during stressful times such as spawning or low oxygen levels during hot summer months. Small fish are less mobile and more susceptible to localized, rapidly changing environmental conditions. Heavy rain runoff may alter pH or cause a turnover. Although they require less oxygen, small fish are more sensitive to depletions.
3) How many different species are dying?
If one or more species is dying, you probably are faced with a water quality problem. If only one species is affected, it may be a disease. If there is only one species in the pond and you experience a die-off, you’ll need more information for a diagnosis.
4) Have pesticides or herbicides been used or introduced into the pond?
Pasture spraying could wash-in with rain. Cattle treated with insecticides could wade into the pond. If these sources are suspected, determine if such products had been applied within 250 to 500 feet of the pond four to seven days prior to the last rain. If you recently treated a large area of aquatic vegetation, oxygen depletion from plant decomposition could be the culprit.
5) How big is the pond?
Learn the surface acreage of your pond. It’s valuable information for many management projects. Measuring tools are available on Google Earth and similar sites. The professors point out, excessive depth does not make up for a small surface area when it comes to fish production. In fact, excessive depth can cause a fish kill. Deep lakes stratify with distinct temperature zones during summer months. Warm, upper areas contain oxygen. Cold, deep areas are void of oxygen. If a rapid destratification or turnover is triggered by specific weather events or heavy, cold rain, a fish kill may occur.
6) Was there a water color change?
A change in color and oxygen depletion is common. Ponds can go from light green or clear to a brown, coffee color. Such action signifies phytoplankton loss and a corresponding drop in oxygen. This often occurs when extended periods of cloud cover prevent direct sunlight from reaching the pond.
Professors Higginbotham and Sink remind when a pond exceeds its carrying capacity for fish during summer months, the stage is set for a die-off. Why in summer months? Because warm water cannot hold as much oxygen as cool water. Fish require higher oxygen this time of year because their metabolism increases as water temperatures rise. Oxygen levels show lowest readings at daylight. This is the best time to check for piping or fish gulping at the surface. Here are other conditions that cause oxygen depletion:
- Successive, hot, still, cloudy days reduce photosynthesis and oxygen production.
- Overfeeding or excess fertilizing prompts nutrient decomposition.
How do you correct low oxygen?
- Reduce fish volume below 1,000-pounds of fish per acre.
- Have an emergency aeration plan. Back a boat on a trailer into the pond. Run the motor in a fixed position to circulate water and increase oxygen.
- Add fresh Well water, but aerate it well before it enters the pond.
- Circulate water with a pump. It’s important to intake water from the surface and spray outflow over the surface. Don’t draft from the bottom.
- Add bottom diffused aeration systems to prevent stratification.
Let’s make a plan to prevent these potential events in your pond.
Source: Bob Lusk Outdoors
How High Summer Temps Toll Impact Big Fish
During summer months, we hear reports of big bass dying from stress of landing and handling in warm temperatures. One lake recently had heavy weekend fishing pressure with catches to 10 pounds,10 ounces. The following day, the ranch manager found two floating carcasses. Even though turtles had consumed part of one, remains still weighed over eight pounds. The second tipped scales near seven pounds. There were no other dead fish to suggest a damaging water quality event. Years ago, I watched a companion land an eight and one-quarter pounder in August temperatures. He never removed her from the water and executed quick release. Sadly, she rolled on her side and didn’t survive extended efforts at resuscitation. At least the grand lady holds a place of honor in his den.
We understand your frustration. You followed a successful plan and invested five or more years growing eight to 10-pound hulks. It’s time to celebrate by catching and admiring a few. Safely savoring that moment requires a little patience this time of year. Keep in mind; eight to 10-pound bass are entering senior citizen age. The average life expectancy of a largemouth is 10-years. Those fish could be six to eight years old. Imagine yanking them from a shaded, cool 10-foot depth to a shocking near 90-degree surface temperature. That’s stress! Like leaving air-conditioned comfort and getting in a sweltering car. Some of us relate when recalling that mowing the lawn at age 65 isn’t as easy as it was at 35.
From now through fall is a stressful time for fish. Please follow these hot weather handling tips:
- Use barbless hooks.
- Fish early morning and late afternoon to sundown. Working a topwater on a moon-lit night is exciting.
- Land and release fish quickly. Keep them in the water while unhooking. Please don’t hold them for extended periods to photograph. A bass can live out of water about as long as we can hold our breath.
- Soft plastic baits are popular this time of year. If one swallows the hook, cut the line and leave it. Surprisingly, body chemistry will erode the hook and cause less injury than attempted removal.
- Don’t hold big bass horizontally by the jaw. It could break the jaw. If holding horizontally, place your hand under their stomach to support weight.
Harvested fish should be placed in a cooler with ice. They will not survive current surface water on a stringer or in a live well.
Source: Bob Lusk Outdoors
The heat of summer means a pond stocking slow down, where we suspend fish and pond stocking deliveries. Transporting fish during the heat of summer can lead to fish kill. You won’t find any deliveries to feed stores during July and August, it’s just too hot.
Pond stocking is a seasonable business. You won’t find deliveries during the heat of the summer (traditionally July & August), or during the winter months (Dec-Jan).
Deliveries and updates to our website and Facebook page will start back up again in August. Look for schedules on the website starting in August, with deliveries Sept – November.
Want to know when we start back up? Sign up for our FREE newsletter here. We’ll send you an email with the latest schedules twice a month.
In the meantime, you can check out articles on our Facebook page and website about caring for your pond and fish. We partner with some of the best in the industry including Bob Lusk (aka the Pond Boss) and Outdoor Water Solutions.
Have a question for us? Send us an email or give us a call. If we’re a bit slower in responding, it’s because we’re out fishing.