what happened to my commuter pond...

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by dflett68, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    looking for thoughts: last year i discovered a little group of ponds right along the road i take to and from work which is on a flood plain and populated with the kind of fish you'd expect to get distributed by a flood from local farm ponds: lmb, pumpkinseed, bullhead, crappie, etc. i started prospecting it sometime in march or april last year with a spinning rod and once i found fish i started stopping each day on my way to and from work and taking a few casts with the fly rod. i had success virtually every stop until it got choked with weeds in the summer.

    sometime in the fall i noticed one morning that a TON of the weeds which had choked up the ponds were piled up on the shores, and then for a few mornings in a row i noticed a small group of bait fishers working the ponds on my way to work. didn't think much of it but i wondered whether all those weeds were somehow dredged cause it seemed really odd the way they showed up overnight and seemed to coincide with the presence of the same group of people showing up and fishing every day for several days. with the weeds gone i gave it another try but had zero success.

    i've been looking forward to this time of the spring to enjoy this spot again, but as i've driven by it leading up to april i've noticed that the water color doesn't look quite right. i've been taking a few casts coming and going for about two weeks now, with both a little spinner and fly gear, and have seen zero signs of fish. maybe its still a touch early, but i have a cruddy feeling that something catastrophic happened to these ponds. the color seems a little off, and while i still see signs of beaver and otter work, ducks, redwinged blackbirds, and signs of insect life - there's no sign of fish. anybody have any thoughts? is it possible someone dredged the ponds and killed off the fish in the process, or that they've been poisoned? there were no floods this year, and the kinds of fish in these ponds are pretty robust.
  2. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,264
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,739 / 0
    This is exactly the same situation I've come across in the farm ponds I fish. I've heard of other ponds and lakes in The Willamette Valley going the same route.

    Once bountiful warmwater fisheries suddenly have no fish.

    My theory is the chemicals farmers use on their fields eventually end up in the lakes, ponds and sloughs. These chemicals kill the fish.

    It's just a theory but all I have. So far, I've lost three warmwater fisheries that once held bluegill, crappie, LMB... and carp. The carp have even disappeared.

    I figure all the chemicals used on the farm lands must go somewhere and over time, the stuff ends up where I fish. Not much you can do about it. I'm not sure the fisheries will ever return to what they were.
  3. constructeur Active Member

    Posts: 1,520
    Seattle, Wa
    Ratings: +412 / 0
    There's a variety of ways people remove milfoil and other invasive plants, and it sounds like that's what happened last Summer. I have no idea why the water color changed and the fishing died down though.

    Was it possible that those ponds were on private property and the farmer wanted the fish killed off? Were the fisherman possibly farm hands? Maybe the county killed it off to avoid those fish making it to the river during a flood? Did you inadvertently show the local whack em' stack em' crew that there was something in there to fish for by your frequent stops?
  4. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    the only problem with this for me is that these ponds get fed by the large river they adjoin, from underground as far as i can tell. if the fish died off in one season because of introduced toxins, i would expect to notice dead fish, especially since i pass it twice a day and stop and look at it closely often. no floods this year also makes me skeptical of a large/sudden influx of toxins. of course it's right by the road in a rural area where lots of jerky people dump and do other unsavory things, so there's a real possibility somebody just tossed something toxic in there. i've also noticed signs of illegal trapping at these ponds, i assume for the beavers and/or otters, so maybe there's been some kind of concerted poaching of fish going on too. i don't know. what i wonder about most is the phenomena of all those piled up weeds on the banks. that seemed like human activity but i can't think of a reason to do it unless it was a by-product of somebody dredging the whole thing with a net - which would explain the weeds and the absence of fish.

    still hoping that any day now i'll toss my little mepps in there and get a bump and things will turn out to be normal.
  5. McNasty Canyon Lurker

    Posts: 1,067
    Somewhere Near Selah, WA
    Ratings: +465 / 1
    sorry to hear about your pond. i have a secret lil pond that has been just about destroyed this year too. its connected to a bunch of off limits lakes and a canal, and in the spring all the big bass, im talkin 5 to 8 pounders, all migrate up to this one pond thats open and make beds all around the bank. but recently some construction projects have torn it apart. pretty bummed, also hooked my first 4 carp last year in the same pond.
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,264
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,739 / 0
    I never found any dead fish... nor alive fish. I'm not sure what else other than chemicals on the fields could effect a number of different valley lakes miles and miles away from each other. The only constant is the fact that they are farm lakes in farm lands.

    One was a slough fed by a stream and The Willamette River. It should be noted that the number of trout in The Willamette drastically drops as the river moves through The Valley. There are many trout in the upper river beyond the farm lands. But the further downstream where the river is bordered on farm lands on both sides, the number of trout is minimal.
  7. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 601
    snohomish
    Ratings: +197 / 0
    you're probably right. hopefully they come back eventually. on to the next as yet undiscovered treasure.