Small spring-fed trout pond

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Mike N
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Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Mike N »

In the never-ending project that I call a cabin, we had a good freshwater spring on the hillside between the two bass ponds, so my buddy and I put in a third, small pond for trout over the last two evenings. Here are a few photos. It’s already starting to fill and this is the dry season here.

I’ll add a thousand or so minnows and crayfish and tadpoles now, and then stock it in the spring when the forage is established. I’ll probably cement a few old pine trees in 5 gallon cement buckets and drop them in for cover.





Last edited by Mike N on Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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john elder
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Hey, if you can’t go to the fish, bring the fish to you! Thats going to be really nice this time next year, mike!
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Add a few Brookies.

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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by reelsmith. »

Lookin' good !

Please post more pictures as it progresses.

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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by RAM »

No liner? Soil looks permeable. Maybe I didn’t look closely enough.

Bad Bob

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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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RAM wrote:No liner? Soil looks permeable. Maybe I didn’t look closely enough.

Bad Bob
No liner needed in this or the other two older ponds. What you see is clay soil that compacts tightly. It’s found just under the layers of topsoil and shale rock. That’s why there are so many surface springs— the rainwater can’t get past the clay. The abundance of clay is another reason there were so many brick refractories in this area of Northern West Virginia/Western Pennsylvania.

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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Mike N »

reelsmith. wrote:Lookin' good !

Please post more pictures as it progresses.

Dean.
The old way of providing submerged cover for forage fish while limiting things that could snag your line is to put old pine trees in 5 gallon buckets full of rocks and use galvanized wire to secure the trees to the bucket handle. I’ll put 2-3 of these on the bottom before the pond fills.




Of course, a fish plaque in a nearby tree announces the pond.


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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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The idea is to get this new pond to match the existing pond (second photo below) on the opposite side of the cabin. Recall that I posted photos of this second pond when the yellow pond lillies were in bloom this spring. It’s stocked with bluegill, large mouth bass and channel catfish.

The original pond I built in 1995 is in the background of the first picture with its small treated-lumber fishing dock that is still standing.


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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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I always pre-stock the pond with two types of forage minnows (fathead and rosey red), tadpoles (grown bullfrogs will hop back home to the fish hatchery) and some crayfish and freshwater clams. I’ve always used Zetts Fish Farm in Drifting, PA. They have a great catalog.



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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Thanks Mike!
BB

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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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I put together some forage fish structures from old milk crates and small baskets loaded with a few large stones and held together with zip ties.

As you can see, the pond has risen about 16” over the weekend and the springs are running nicely into the basin. The clay dirt particulates will settle out and the water should clear in a few weeks as the level reaches the exit spillway pipe. Muddy water caused by suspended clay particles can sometimes be corrected by spreading broken bales of high quality hay or barley straw in the water around the shoreline. Acids formed during plant decay can cause clay particles to settle, but that should not be necessary here.



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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Grass came right up on the new pond dam. No rain predicted in the next week or so, and I’ll post another picture when pond is full.

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Reeltyme

Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Reeltyme »

Mike,
The grass looks great. It is very important it takes a good root to hold the soil in place until the weeds can get started!

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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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I thought I would be posting an update sooner, but we have had the driest fall here in decades. Well, after some rain this weekend, we are within 2’ of the spillway outlet pipe.




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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by roycestearns »

Outstanding ... thanks for sharing this!

You know, you are following in the footsteps of your collecting focus. First Charles created a trout pond behind the Equinox, stocked it with trout and created a marketing plan. Then he and brother Franklin figured out how to create the Equinox pond and the rest is history.




Reeltyme

Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Reeltyme »

Hi Mike!
Just checking on your pond. Are you over the spillway yet? Winter is right around the corner and I was hoping to hear that your pond was over flowing with water and trout!
Randy McConnell
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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Reeltyme wrote:Hi Mike!
Just checking on your pond. Are you over the spillway yet? Winter is right around the corner and I was hoping to hear that your pond was over flowing with water and trout!
Randy McConnell
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Randy- here are two photos I took this evening. The springs are flowing and the pond is full, but I think the water level needs to be about 12” higher. Probably for aesthetics the overflow pipe needs to be torn out this spring and replaced with a 6”-9” limestone rip rap spillway for a more natural look like the other two ponds. The best time to check for leaks is when there is a few inches of snow; any escaping water along the base of the dam is easily detected against the snow.

I’m not a big fan of piped spillways, but I deferred to my excavator since pipes are standard for highway ponds, etc. However, with smaller pipes the winter ice often heaves the pipe and water sometimes leaks under it which lowers the pond level. Plus, nature doesn’t put pipes in ponds, obviously. I’m going to wait until the March thaw to redo the spillway and stock the pond. Thanks for your interest. More photos this spring.

Mike N


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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Mike N »

12/15/19

Spring water really start to clear up and pond should be ready for a stocking in March.

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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Beautiful, Mike!
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Reeltyme »

Mike, are you going with rainbows? Brookies I believe, wouldn’t do so well in the summer months and browns, although they get big, are a little dull. Just an opinion. It’s really starting to take shape and looks great! A little jealous here.
Regards,
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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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Reeltyme wrote:Mike, are you going with rainbows? Brookies I believe, wouldn’t do so well in the summer months and browns, although they get big, are a little dull. Just an opinion. It’s really starting to take shape and looks great! A little jealous here.
Regards,
Randy McConnell

Randy- Brownies are the most tolerant of warmer summer water, followed by Rainbow trout, so definitely a mix of those in this small pond, maybe 30+30+10 Brookies to catch and eat in early April to late May. Mostly 8-10” and feed them well. Some may last to August since there won’t be any bass in that pond to treat them like a sushi bar. At $300 or so total, that’s less than a Meek Horton No. 3.




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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Mike N »

Well, I said back in my November post that the first nice day in March I was going to remove the pipe from the spillway and replace it with river rock and rip/rap limestone to allow the spring water to exit the pond. I just wanted the more natural look of rock vs. plastic pipe. The small wooden bridge below the pond allows easy access over the exit spillway ditch which empties 2 of the 3 ponds.

It was a crisp, sunny day so here’s what the small trout pond spillway looks like now. The water should have time to clear up before the trout stocking at the end of the month (assuming the trout hatchery is not on shutdown):




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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

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It’s coming along nicely, Mike! I like the idea its wide open for casting a fly...a few cattails and you are good!
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Wayne B. »

Your whole property looks like a great place to "Social Distance"! I am always impressed when I see pictures of your house and surrounding property. You have created quite a rural WV oasis.
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Mike N
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Re: Small spring-fed trout pond

Post by Mike N »

john elder wrote:...a few cattails and you are good!
I agree, John. My plan is to transplant about a dozen of the yellow lilies from an older pond (below). They will spread over time along the bank.

In fact, when I first planted them in the more mature pond, the nursery sent bulbs with instructions to just “throw them into the water near the pond bank and they will attach themselves.” Three years or so later you have the photo below. Besides the fact that the lilies bloom a bright yellow every spring, I chose them because cattails require shallow water and I usually cut my ponds banks very steeply with no shallows.



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