On Feral Pond

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

A while back Fern received a question about our pond. Now, I didn’t want to do this post, but you see, being the loving husband that I am, and wanting to maintain harmony in the kingdom, here is my article about our pond.

When we moved here, we took our 10 acre pasture and divided it into four sections. Two of the sections had small ponds, one of them very small. We decided we needed water in one of the quarters that didn’t have a pond. You say, why didn’t we put a pond in the fourth pasture? We had other plans for it. Some day we hope it will provide feed for the animals, myself included. So it’s affectionate name is the garden pasture.

Back to the new pond pasture, which has evolved into a pig pasture, but this story is about the pond. Down the road from us, whom I will call a local man, is a local man that has assorted pieces of heavy machinery, construction type stuff. When he’s not doing a big job somewhere, he does local work for local folks at a reduced rate. I contacted him, he’s well known in the area, everybody uses him. I had used him earlier to do some fence row clearing for me and he seemed like a good, decent human being.

He brought out a backhoe, dug two five foot deep holes, maybe six feet long and two feet wide. He wanted to see what the composition of the soil and subsoil was. A few days later he came back, it was during the rainy season, and in his professional opinion, the land would support a good pond. A couple of days later he came back with a bulldozer, and I discovered that I should have put in bigger gates in our corral, because to get in the pasture he had to go through two 10 foot gates. It took him a good while to go through both of them. I have since learned that a 12 or 14 foot gate would have done a much better job. That is on my to-do list, way down the list.

Okay, back to the pond. He brought out his dozer, his surveying equipment, put a bunch of stakes in the ground, then he started scraping the topsoil off to one side. I didn’t know that topsoil was a valuable commodity, but at the end of the project, or right near it, he returned a portion of this topsoil back to where the empty pond now sits, so that vegetation and like would grow back. You ask, what’s like? Like is like. I’ll let you chew on that one for a while, not literally of course, but figuratively.

Well, I told this man that I wanted a deep pond. He asked why. I thought it was obvious. What I really wanted was more water, deeper and less surface area. But what I told him was I wanted to be able to hide a pick up truck in it if I needed to. Did you know there are people that don’t have a sense of humor? Oh well. It’s deep, it’s holds water, and it doesn’t take up much surface area. Now forget about the pickup truck, and what was the real purpose or purposes for the pond? The primary goal is for drinking water. Animals primarily, and humans if necessary. It’s also a secondary source of food for humans. That’s where the next part of the story becomes relevant. 

Well, we did some research about pond habitat, and we devised a plan. Stage one of this plan was to saturate the pond with minnows. But before we put the minnows in, we let the pond fill up with water. Yes, I’m a city boy, but I did know that the pond had to have water. Then we waited about six months, for various reasons, but the primary reason was because fish hatcheries only sell fish certain times of year. So, back to the minnows. Well, no, I’m going to go back to the pond. The real, real reason for waiting six months was to allow some type of natural vegetation to develop in the pond, that way the minnows would have something to eat. Actually, I expected most of the minnows to die, which would provide a natural decay and help start the natural cycle of the pond.

Now, a couple of months later, we stocked more minnows. You say, why minnows? Good question. They’re inexpensive, relatively speaking. In a good habitat they will reproduce quickly, and in stage two or three, wherever I am, that was the stage for introducing a couple of different varieties of fish, which needed something to eat. Wa-la! A breeding minnow population. You know that a minnow can get pretty big if you let it grow. Just imagine that the next time you’re eating a sardine packed in mustard, it’s just a minnow. You know, fish food.

What kind of fish did we introduce? Of course, channel catfish, along with hybrid bluegill and redear sun perch, whatever those are. You say, that’s it? Yes, that’s it. We fed these fish some dog food a few times. I know some people buy Purina floating fish food, but dog food floats, too. It’s cheaper than catfood for the catfish. How did all of those fish do? Not a clue. But, the following year, we put the same combination of fish in the pond again. Minnows, catfish, hybrid bluegill and redear sun perch. Now, I know there are fish in that pond, because a big, great egret visits it on a regular basis. Or it used to, anyway. Did you know it’s against the law in my state to shoot an egret that’s eating my fish? Things will change when I become king. Those fish sounds yummy, don’t they? No, I’m not talking about the minnows packed in mustard, I’m talking about fried catfish, and it does sound good, doesn’t it? Just today I had fried chicken with a sourdough batter and it was delicious. You say, this is a story about a pond, what does a chicken have to do with it? Well, it doesn’t, but I have not caught one fish out of that pond in five years. Not one. But this is a story about the pond. Forget the fish. We’ve had a real wet year, so it’s full. When we had goats in there the goats liked it. Now we have pigs in there and they really like it. I guess I would classify it as a good pond. It’s deep enough to put a pickup truck in. The local guy still doesn’t see humor in my stupidity, but he tolerates me since I pay him in cash.

Now, the person that asked about the pond? Here is your answer in detail. Tomorrow my wife will not ask me to do a pond story. No, honestly, I hope this answered some of the questions that you had. Our pond is a good investment, and provides water for the animals which is critical. And there are fish in the pond, because every now and then you’ll see one. Now I’ve checked one more thing off of my list of things to do. 

We’ll talk more later, Frank
 

16 thoughts on “On Feral Pond

  1. We have an older, shallow pond that has lily pads too, SFG. We leave them there since they are edible and may one day be a needed food source. This new pond has not had any lily pads come up in it, but I hadn't connected that to it's depth. Interesting. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  2. I deep pond also helps with vegetation control. Our ponds sides were pushed in by cattle. Now we have lily pads growing where the water isn't very deep. Now, we have to have our pond redone so that we can actually fish in it without hooking a lily pad. Luckily we have other water sources for the cattle so that once we get this pond redone, they won't ruin it again.

  3. Mesquite, good question. Why no fish in five years? Fishing takes a little bit of time and we have just not scheduled the time to go fishing. But, they're there, I hope. Check with your county extension agent about ponds and pond management. They are an excellent resource.Frank

  4. Everett, I bet if you were to put your pick up in that big pond it would cover more than the hubcaps. What you have has to be an interesting experience. Thank you for sharing.Frank

  5. Leigh, rainwater catchment is very important. We started the idea somewhere back four or five years ago, and someday in the near future, I hope it materializes. But as you know, many states are taxing rainwater catchment. That just shows you how desperate our government is. I have a septic tank, but I still pay for sewage treatment. That's the way it is. Frank

  6. Tewshooz, if the first law suit is successful, then the government will just repackage it and do it again. They will keep doing it until they get exactly what they want. Remember, evil has time on it's side. Thank you for your comment.Frank

  7. we live on an Island in the middle of a great big pond, Atlantic Ocean. We catch the fish from the shore or go chase them around in their house. Closest we can come here ON the Island to a catfish, is what is known locally as a Bullhead. Black, about 8-10\”, three head spines and a couple feelers. Love your pond. The one on my piece of dirt will only hide the wheels up to the hubcaps of my pickup!

  8. Very interesting post and I love seeing the pigs. A pond is on our wishlist, but at the moment we're working on an enlarged rainwater catchment, but for the same reasons.

  9. If the EPA has its way with its new policy, they will tell you what you can and can't do with that pond. Lets hope the lawsuit to stop them will be successful.

  10. Frank, and Fern,My husband and I get your humor totally!!! Having multiple water sources on your property is part of being prepared for your family and animals, and the icing on the cake…..your pond is stocked with fish. We can tell both you and Fern were thinking long term. As for redear sun fish perch, we've never had it but heard it's really good eating when you use buttermilk, and flour mixed with cornmeal batter to coat them in before frying. We fish for bass and trout. Yes, were the crazy people who go out in the winter with snow and temperatures in the 20's-30's to fish for trout and enjoy being out in mother nature. The fish is used for food, we freeze it for future meals, and the innards along with the heads(from cleaning) are used in the garden as fertilizer. Thank you for sharing another great post!Sandy and Bulldog Man

  11. Thanks so much for this post. I'm on a learning curve for pond management and I appreciate your information. Sorry for this next question, but why no fish in five years? I'm finding my fish got smart and just hold the bait in their mouth to test if a hook will be set. So, when time comes and I need to rely on this food source, I have a couple of fish traps on standby.Mesquite

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