ponds, dams, trout and trees

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I'm trying to do some planning about building a couple of ponds. One pond rule is that you never plant trees or shrubs on the dam - the roots can provide a way for leaks to form. Another rule is that if you plan to raise trout, you need to try to keep the water cool by shading it: plant lots of shady trees on the south side.

    What if the dam is on the south side?

    So I'm trying to think of some things .... maybe some shade trees that spread really wide planted on the east and west sides? But what would be a good variety? Weeping willow?
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The weeping willows could be set right at the waters edge. They get about a 50 foot spread. Over 20 feet of all day shade because the limbs will be down to the water. I can't say about the trout. The only ones here are in fresh water streams created for the trout in private fishing for pay places. I think they buy the trout from hatcheries.
     

  3. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    You could plant some shallow-rooted woody species, assuming they would grow in your area. How much height do you need?
    20 feet?

    Some larger bamboo.
     
  4. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I would check in with any local Arborist and with your County Extension Service. I can tell you that the trout here who are raised always have fresh, running, cold water flowing through, and also that the Weeping Willow has a very short life for a tree.

    Could you consider any types of water plants for cover and shade? I would RUN from bamboo as fast as I could and be warned about Cattail should you consider it. IT will take over and fill your pond unless you dig it deep enough.

    Good luck with the project, it sounds like a lot of fun.

    LQ
     
  5. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    yeah, what quack said. trout like cold running water, like a mountain stream. they are not a pond fish. there are lake trout however i don't know anything about them.
     
  6. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    We keep rainbow trout in a man-made pond. The man who dug it for us also handled permit and design. It is spring and rain water fed. There is no inlet or outlet. The dirt dug up was spread around the pond to raise the edges above normal ground level. We'd have to have a huge amount of rain for the pond to raise above the edges and spill out. It does come up to normal ground level in the spring but there isn't enough clay above that to keep it that high. There isn't a lot of shade on the pond but it's very deep so the water stays cool.

    A friend has brook trout in his pond. If he's not careful about water level and oxygen he loses fish. Rainbows are hardier here than brookies.

    We chose a wet spot on our property. Our pond was dug with a Case 720 backhoe. It's 85' x 100' and kidney shaped. One end is 15' deep and the other 20' deep. The sides are steeply sloped to keep cattails from taking over.

    We put the first trout in the pond in May, 2003. They were four to five inches long. In May of 2004 about half were still alive and about 10" long. They were 12-14" late in the summer. In May 2004 we put 50 more four to five inch trout in the pond.

    Stocking our pond required a permit. The trout came from Soil & Water Conservation. We also have sunfish, minnows and hornpout. We used to have a lot of young frogs but the trout eat the pollywogs while they're hatching. We still have a lot of adult frogs. Water bugs found their way into the pond quickly. Wild ducks will occasionally spend a day in the pond as they're migrating. We seldom let our ducks in the pond now because they make such a mess.

    We feed a floating fish food. It takes just a few seconds for the trout to be jumping and swirling after the food once they hear it hit the water. They're vigorous feeders and look like piranas in a feeding frenzy. If you stand close to the edge the larger trout will get you wet from their big splashes. They're a lot of fun and cheap therapy at the end of a long day.

    Kids caught a few of the bigger fish last year and hurt them beyond saving so we ate them. We expect the oldest trout to be close to their 18-20" mature size this summer. We don't think they're going to reproduce naturally because of the steep slope of the pond. If the population drops we'll spend another $35 for 50 fish and replenish our entertainment.
     
  7. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Yes, but that's because you don't know what to do.

    What to do is to avoid the running bamboo that everyone knows about, and buy CLUMPING bamboo from a specialist nursery. Do a Google search on "clumping bamboo" first. There are varieties that will suit just about any need, and they won't take over. You can (depending on local climate) get anything up to bamboos that can be planted and will stay along a fenceline for an orchard, and grow a hedge four feet thick and eighty feet high.

    But again, avoid the RUNNING bamboo, and know the difference.

    Trout want cool well-aerated water though. In an earth dam (you call pond) it gets hot at the top, then cold very rapidly with depth. Lower gets stagnant, with no aeration to speak of. They'll get by with less than ideal conditions, but there are other fish which will do much better in still water.
     
  8. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    Thanks for the info, MaineFarmMom! We have a 50 x 100 pond that we plan to stock rainbow trout in this year. It was dug about 12' deep in the middle, in sand and gravel soil, and it has been full ever since. The lower depths are very cold throughout the summer. Can I ask how many trout you stocked initially?

    I agree with those who said that just shading won't be enough to keep the water cool enough for trout if there is no input from springs. If that is the case, you might want to try bass and bluegills or some other species that si tolerant of warm water.
     
  9. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    Well Don, not a very tactfull way to state your case :rolleyes: but anyhow. Very few CLUMPING bamboos are hardy in most of the United States. Don't know what its like in Australia but it actually gets pretty cold here. There are a few running varieties that will survive underground in the Northeast but no clumping types that I'm aware of. Certainly nothing that will shad a pond.

    [/QUOTE]Trout want cool well-aerated water though. In an earth dam (you call pond) it gets hot at the top, then cold very rapidly with depth. Lower gets stagnant, with no aeration to speak of. They'll get by with less than ideal conditions, but there are other fish which will do much better in still water.[/QUOTE]

    Once again, fish species and pond conditions are pretty different here than in sunny Australia. The biggest concern here where I live is making sure the snow and ice don't get so thick on the top of the pond to winterkill the fish from lack of oxygen. I think he can do fine with trout depending on the temperature of his water if it is stream water it needs to be pretty cool to keep trout happy, they like it cold with lots of oxygen. If its well water then he needs to find out what temperature it is out of the tap. I have a freind in colorado who has a pond with zero shade that he stocks with trout. the pond is fed from an artesian well with very cool water. Does fine in the San Luis Valley at 7500 feet without shade. Don't really know how the conditions compare to the Spokane area.
     
  10. Fonzie

    Fonzie Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked out www.pondboss.com ?? Those guys can answer all your questions quickly. One thing to be aware of with those Weeping Willows you're contemplating is that they are very "thirsty" trees. What I mean is that they like to drink alot of water so hopefully you have a reliable source of H2O for your pond.

    Good Luck
     
  11. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    "Though no bamboo is inherently bad, clumping bamboo is entirely good. The most popular clumping bamboo is called Fargesia (sounds like bark EASier), and the species now growing in the Weekend Edition garden is F. murielae, one of the most winter-hardy of the bamboos. You'll know clumping bamboos by their common names -- umbrella bamboo, fountain bamboo -- which describe their soft, delicate and slightly weeping habit.

    Congrats to you gardeners where winter lows can reach - 20° F; this culm's for you! But regrets to you hot-blooded types in the SE and the SW, where clumping bamboo will not flourish. Given that they're native to the high Himalayas, these plants are uncomfortable to the point of certain death in areas with long, hot summers."


    My thougts too Don.
    In Asia bamboos are wide spread in cool climes. I did your search and the first hit was the quote above. Its not correct though, I've seen clumping bamboos in the South doing just fine.
     
  12. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    We won't put trout in a pond unless there is at least one GPM flow into it. And that flow will be managed in such a way to make it so that it is dribbled from at least six feet high so it can contribute heavily to aeration.

    Bamboo, eh? I hadn't thought of that. How deep will the roots go?

    We're not being bashful about using running bamboo. We have tried to start it here a couple of times and it just won't take. We figure that if it starts to get out of hand, we can just surround the bamboo with some electric fence and put pigs in with it. I understand that they find bamboo to be very tasty!
     
  13. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've heard that you can plant bamboo inside a metal ring to keep it from spreading. Maybe sink an old 55 gallon drum and plant inside it.

    As far as fish goes, I would consult someone like a fish and game officer about the pond. There are species that will live very well together and may even re-produce in the pond as to avoid having to re-stock it.

    They will also know the rules about permits and such, to keep you from getting in trouble with the state. Here, with our pond fed by a spring with an outlet into a creek, which then flows into the river, we had to have a metal grate in the outlet to keep non-native fish from getting into the river.
     
  14. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    Editing this to correct the cost. We paid $50 for 35 fish.