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Moss/Scum on Fishing Pond

Discussion in 'Pond Management' started by iteech, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. iteech

    iteech Shebasser

    Hey, there's so many knowledgeable fishermen here...and I have a question. I fish at a couple little private ponds--both maybe two acres--and normally I have good luck with lots of nice bass and big 'gills, and a few big cats. :p But recently there has been a tremendous cover of heavy scummy moss on the ponds--making it almost impossible to fish. Can't find a "hole" that the bait/lure will sink through--and if you do, you pull up POUNDS of the stuff with your retrieve. :( (Weedless stuff is useless too). It's really ruined some good fishing. Both my ponds are now about 75% covered, and I've never seen that--in the past, it tends to be 20% or so and quickly dissipates. What causes this? Can anything be done to lessen the moss? It is a terrible disappointment, and seems to be getting worse...will it go away with cooler temps? Is there any way to successfully fish in that thick goo?? Any wisdom will be VERY appreciated! :confused:
  2. There are a lot of questions in that post.;)
    First of all the biggest problem that is causing your overgrown pond this year versus prior years is probably the higher than normal water temps. The moss/alga or whichever it is will die off as fall comes along.

    There are different kinds of weed growth that can occur but it sounds like from your post of coming up with a big glob that it is filamentous alga, which is the worst kind. About the only way to fish around it is with scum frogs and light worms/senkos. Even then it is still a major pain.

    As far as controlling the growth there are a few folks on here who have offered some knowledgeable input in the past and I will not insult myself by trying to be one of them.:D

  3. katfish

    katfish Cats are where it's at!

    The weed growth is probably from warm summer with little rain and a fertile pond (often with runoff from fertilized farm land)

    Control of the weeds is often expensive and time consuming. Aeration pumps or chemicals such as copper sulfate can be used.

    My best advice is to fish when the weed growth allows and be happy to have access to such a good fishery.
  4. They say barely straw also helps,this late in the season I would not worry much.It will go away soon ;)
  5. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    Have you tried a Moss Mouse or a Scum Frog? What about a weightless or Texas rigged (with the weight pegged) floating worm, tube, toad/frog, or creature bait? You can drag these across the top ever so slowly... and then WHAM! This is definitely a very exciting way to catch bass :) The bass will definitely break through that top layer of muck in pursuit of your bait. :B You can also "Punch" through the thick stuff by texas rigging with a heavier weight than normal. A dropshot setup would work well too. To avoid catching the weeds on the way down, you can texas rig your plastics with the dropshot rig.
    Good luck to you!
  6. I have a pond and so do most of my neighbors. I'd seriously look into a light algaecide spray, too much at once and the remaining oxygen will be used up in the process. The scum indicates an oxygen deficiency, which will make the fish inactive, even if you could get to them. For extreme measures a sump pump with a 4ft intake taken from the pond and shot back into the pond can be used for a couple days to turn the pond and induce new 02. This will cause immediately provide 02 to the fish and dramatically hinder new algae from growing.

    In the long term, you need to consider an aerator (much better than a fountain), some lilly pads to shade, some bog plants for shade (algae needs direct sunlight).
  7. iteech

    iteech Shebasser

    everything has been very informative. I appreciate your help. I never heard of a scum frog or moss mouse, but tonight I buy both! Neither of the ponds belong to me, they are both in housing sections where I have kin and friends--and permission!--and neither of the plat management boards have any money for scum control. They didn't even know they SHOULD control it, 'till I talked to them! Hopefully the ponds will "right" themselves as the weather gets cooler, 'cause they are both the sweetest little holes, and I'd hate to see them ruined. I also did not know it robs 02--no WONDER they have been so flippin' slow lately! Neither pond is aerated or shaded either, so I guess nature will have to work hard to make sure they survive...I'm sure keepin' MY fingers crossed. Thanks Reel Lady, you were especially helpful, and I always feel good when you chime in, the guys vastly outnumber (but NOT outfish!!) us... :D :D :D
  8. I have a curious question. If photosynthesis gives off oxygen wouldn't the plants provide more oxygen rather than depleting it?:confused:

    I understand the aeration to put more oxygen in the water but I have always thought that lakes/ponds with weed growth had a higher oxygen level than those without.
  9. Reel Lady

    Reel Lady Dreams DO come true!

    It's funny that you ask that question about Photosynthesis... You see, Rob, Zach and I had that as an ongoing debate that lasted almost a year.. all about aquatic plants and whether they give off or use oxygen! And here is what we learned....
    Yes, photosynthesis does add oxygen to the water, as oxygen is released from the plant during the actual process of converting the sunlight into it's food... aka.. photosynthesis.
    But... here is the catch....At night, while there is NO sun, the plant still requires energy. Energy which is needed by the plant FOR photosynthesis. Therefore, the plant, at night, is actually using oxygen for it's own benefit.
    As it turned out.. Rob was right, Zach and I were wrong. Rob said all along that plants consume oxygen. Zach and I said NO WAY... lol.. well, we were wrong :eek:
  10. I had never heard that explanation either, Marcia. I guess we did not learn everything we needed in high school biology.:rolleyes:
  11. I took advantage of the good ole Internet to find supporting data. Well, what Marcia explained is true according to the Wisconsin DNR data below.
    Here is a link to a more detailed description of the process from that Wisconsin DNR site.
  12. Bass_Hawg

    Bass_Hawg Certified Hawg Master

    I had a honey hole just like you were describing with a lot of Algae growth. The fish do love the algae and it provides a lot of cover for the fish but when it is matted up like it is on top it is no longer producing and excreting Oxygen. What happens is the Algae growth is from the bottom of the pond and then it gets matted at the top. Eventually it shades it self from the sun and partially dies. When this happens the Matted top part is released from its bottom and the matted stuff just sits there unattached to the bottom. This is where the problem really gets started. It starts to use up a lot of oxygen in the water to decompose the matted gunk. When this happens the Oxygen level in the pond goes down and down and down. Next bad thing to happen is the matted stuff that was on top is now decomposing and will eventually sink in tiny particles similar to silt and rest on the bottom of the pond. Year after year of this and your 10 foot deep pond is suddenly only 3 or 4 feet deep and this caused more oxygen issues as the bottom is coved in silt and the top has mats of Algae. To fix it when it gets to this point is very very very costly. Usually 2 sometimes 3 times of the original cost of the pond.

    I sure hated to see this pond I fished start down this path. The owners of the pond were even more devastated. Good luck!

    My .02

    Oh Yea I would grab a 1 oz Jig and pig and start punching through the mats.
  13. I will throw in what little I have learned about pond management this year, since I had a new pond dug last fall and ran into the same issue in the springtime with the algae/slimy gunk on top of the pond. (it coevered nearly 1/3 of my 1 acre pond this past spring, and had me pretty upset since the pond is in front of my house, looked pretty bad as friends and family came over, first thing you see is this slimy mess of a pond)

    The cause of this growth is sunlight getting through the water and causing the algae growth on the bottom of the pond, as the days go by the growth on the bottom begins to break away and float to the top, causing the matted messy gunk you have on the top of your pond.. So alot has to do with the depth of the pond, clearity of the pond, the heat, and the chemicals that have gotten into the ponds from fertilizers and run off.

    When I first ran into this in the spring, my pond management guys told me to try and get off what I can using either a rake to drag it in or a skimmer net like those used ito skim the top of swimming pools to get what I can off the top ( less to sink to the bottom as it dies off). They then had me use a couple different algacides including a liquid form of copper sulfate to start killing off the algae. This worked well in killing the algae , as in about 24 hours it started turning brown and dying, you then have to wait for a good rain to come and sink the dead decomposing algae back to the bottom, thus building the undesireable silt in the bottom of the pond. They then had me add the Crystal Blue dye to the pond which helps in blocking the suns ultraviolet rays and keeps the algae from regrowing. This has worked wonders.... They recommend that I spray about two gallons of the Copper sulfate mix around the edge of the pond about once a month to continue in helping fight with algae growth. You do also have to periodically re add the dye to the pond as it washes out over time. This year I have put the dye in 3 times (around $40 a pop) not bad if it keeps the algae down. I ahve also used two jugs of the copper sulfate concentrate which makes like 15 gallons of mix. If I was you I would let nature take its course this fall and the algae will decompose, then have the plat management groups look at putting the dye in the ponds this upcoming spring, and keeping the dye in there regularly, it makes for a much better looking pond and fishing.

    I did have my dye wash out and after about a week the algae started appearing again... I went out the next day and bought more dye, I now always keep an extra gallon on hand, and after every large rain I check the water and insure its still blue.

    Hope this helps...
  14. iteech

    iteech Shebasser

    Cat 'n' Crappie, thanks so much--that was so helpful. I printed this out and I will give it to the plat management guys (my cousin is one of them). Now you didn't mention one thing that I'm still worried about, with all the chemicals you have to put in the water--does it affect the fish? Do they still thrive even with the copper sulfate and the blue-water stuff?? That's our main concern, of course--both these precious little ponds will give you 5-6 bass over 2 lbs, a couple cats over 5, and a dozen "slab" 'gills in three hours, on a good evening. That's too darn sweet to threaten...even though I realize the moss is hurting them too. I guess it's a precarious balance. I went to the biggest pond last night (still very covered with goo) and spent almost two hours--then left almost in tears. Not a bite--not one. That's unheard of in this very active little pond. I saw not a ripple, not a 'bump'. Usually there are dozens of swirls and feeding-splashes, and lots of jumping. I had a terrifying thought that they are all dead...I suppose they are only inactive, but it made me want to sob. I called my cousin and yelled at him as soon as I got home, and he said well get me some info! So this will be helpful...thanks again...if this pond doesn't come back this fall, I will mourn the death of a loved one!!
  15. bronzebackyac

    bronzebackyac Crick Smallie Fisherman

    My uncle puts copper sulfate in his pond about every year and It still has great fish in it. I just caught a fish ohio largemouth on an ultralight out of it a couple weeks ago. The gill keep getting bigger each year too. Just don't use too much.
  16. Reel Man

    Reel Man Member

    iteech- It sounds like there is too much scum in your pond but I have to tell you when I go to a lake and see a bay with a little scum and heavy weeds in it I get excited. I have caught my best fish in these bays. Buzzbaits and Sizmic Toads are the ticket for getting bass out of these areas. If the scum is as thick as you describe I throw a toad on the top and work it slow. If the scum has openings in it I will throw a buzz bait and keep my rod tip high to minimize hang ups. I am starting to experiment with punching through the mat to catch the fish hanging out there. During the day the mat provides shade as long as the oxygen content is high enough for the fish. In the evenings I'm sure the fish will venture to the edges and open areas. Good luck to your cousin in getting this under control. If it were me though I would hope for just a little scum and heavy weeds in certain areas.
  17. Do you fertilize your lawn? If you do - stop. If your neighbors do you might want to ask them kindly to lower the treatments.

    Do you mow directly down to your pond? If you do - stop. All that is doing is adding unwanted nutrients into the water, along with dying grass sucking up oxygen, and further allowing nutrients to wash in rather than being taken up by the grass.

    How much direct sunlight does the pond get, are there any trees? - If there aren't and it is getting direct sunlight there is one of the biggest sources of your problem. Plant some trees. I'm not saying a forest, and yeah you get hung up in them from time to time but this will help alot.

    Treat the ecosystem not the symptom/result!!!! While Copper sulfate will work post application you will be doing that once or twice a year for the rest of your ownership of the pond. Treating the root of the problem is for the most part a one time thing. It will save you $$$ and time.

    An aerator can't hurt either that is for sure.
  18. Reel Man

    Reel Man Member

    Ashtonmj- Great thought process. It's always good to look for a cure not an alleviation.
  19. BornToFish

    BornToFish Smallmouth Rule

    I'm with ReelMan on this. I love fishing slop!
  20. iteech

    iteech Shebasser

    Well it's great fishing the slop if they're BITING, I reckon. I did get a sizemic frog, a moss mouse, and a scum frog. I tried them all till my arm was so sore I couldn't toss 'em anymore. Nuthin'. I have a feeling (hopehopehope) they will turn back on when the weather gets cooler, and some of the scum sinks or dies. Like I said, I keep having nightmares they are all asphyxiated, though I did not see even one floater. I love that little pond so much, foot for foot, it is the most productive place I've ever fished. Y'all have been awesomely helpful. I have told most of the folks whose houses "round" the pond about whoaing-back on fertilizer, and don't mow so flippin' close to the water. They are all so nice and and they seem eager to preserve the pond's output, even though pretty much none of them know anything about pond maintenance. But they are willing to cooperate, so that's nice. I'm going to try again tomorrow evening...we've had several nice cool days, I got my fingers crossed!
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