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Fish Barriers, Risks, Feeding, and Other Information

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Whether you plan to observe the fish in your pond, manage them intensively, or leave them to eat, there are steps you can take to protect them.
Make certain that any outlets on your pond are effectively screened to prevent the fish from escaping.  Carp will try to escape upstream or downstream in as little as a inch of water depth.  But screening a pond is risky.  Never use chicken wire, hardware cloth or any screen with a square pattern that will easily clog up.  A proper barrier is made from rods spaced one and a half inch apart, parallel to the surface of the water and extending to the bottom of and a few inches above the surface (but not so far as to completely restrict flow if the barrier gets pugged).  The greatest concern is for high water floods during periodic storms- the time you will not want to venture outside to clean a barrier.  If you have installed a fish barrier, you must follow a regular program of screen cleaning, or else you run the risk of blockage.  In a sudden flood, water could breach the dam if the outlet is plugged up.  It's never worth risking losing the dam to save a few fish.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Carp most often stay in schools that cruise the shoreline, moving around the entire pond.  They won't stay in one or two coves, they will find the weeds wherever they are.  You don't need to spread them around the pond when you stock them because they spread out on their own.  Some pond owners worry about overstocking, but if you use the stocking rate calculations we provide, this is unlikey.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
If you ever run out of weeds, you can feed carp with a commercial pelletized fish food at a local feed store or pet supply, or just put grass clippings in the pond.  Floating foods are probably best.  Feed at the same location daily, preferably at the same hour.

Barriers from the VA DGIF packet on their website
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Please visit the VADGIF website for more information on pond managment (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/pondmanagement/).
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protectin has a nice publication on pond and weed management at this website: http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/water/lakes/Caring_for_Our_Lakes.pdf

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 
  • How long will the fish live in my pond?  The State of VA says 6-8 years on average.  I have known customers who have their fish for 15 years and others who replace them every few years.  I have had people who had otters decimate their fish population in the winter, or have fish kills from low oxygen in the summer.  
  • The most common way to lose carp is to have a lot of water flowing through, but not have a fish barrier.  Carp will go out with flowing water (upstream or downstream).  Every pond if different, so call me and we can discuss yours.
  • How long will Carp effectively reduce weeds?  They don't eat much when the water is cold, below 50-55 degrees.  After they are 6 years old, their metabolilsm slows and they eat less.  So I usually recommend resocking after 5-8 years, if they are over 30 inches,or if the weed population seems like its expanding.
  • People also ask when they will see a difference in their pond.  That all depends on how weedy it is and how active the ifish are.  Normally you should not expect to notice a big difference in the first several months. 
  • These carp eat about 3 pounds of weed for every pound of flesh they have.  SO if you hae a ton of weeds, that could take just a few carp a fair amount of time to catch up.

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