July To October 2012

July To October 2012

The 4 months that have passed since the last article haven't really seen much in the way of happening around the Decoy Pond. The Stonewort (Chara) that had filled the pond last summer and made angling difficult has not returned, a blessing in one respect as all of the water column is free to fish, but on the downside, less for the fish to spawn on as they had done so last year. Martin Moore, our fish supplier, had always said that the Stonewort would die out and be replaced by something else, and how right he was. The duckweed this year has been very heavy over the surface of the pond. The little rain and especially lack of wind to keep the water surface moving has made the conditions ideal for this tiny little plant. September saw some efforts to try and skim off some of the weed using a pump and basic skimmer. Although this did work to a point, the amount of weed collected relative to the water pumped through the skimmer was rather poor. The idea needed further investigation in the future. In the meantime, the club had borrowed a long shallow net from Martin Moore to tackle the duckweed which proved to be a little more efficient in gathering up the plant. Thanks to Dave Pearce for his efforts on the first Sunday morning, in which 4 sweeps of the net ended up with 16 barrow loads of duckweed being dumped once the small fry and larger fish had been picked out from each haul. Plenty of small Rudd were caught in the net along with a rather nice 10" Crucian, grown on from the first stocking back in 2010. A fortnight later saw a second attempt, this time from peg 12. The wind that had been around had pushed the weed to the bottom end of the pond, so efforts would be concentrated here this time. Thanks to Dave, Bob, Lee & Debbie for their help on this occasion. Four or five passes were again made and each heavy net full was sorted through for small fish etc. This produced two small pike along with small Bream, Rudd and Crucians from previous spawnings. Some rather large Great Diving Beetles turned up as well which was nice to see. Another electrofishing session is planned for the late autumn along with a netting to remove any more pike and to assess the fish stocks. The larger Rudd that had been stocked originally and grown on were not being seen anymore since the floods, especially of bright sunny days when they would normally be up near the surface of the water. Consensus generally, was that a good few had been lost to the floods, although given the amount of fry within the pond over the summer, there must have been some mature individuals left to produce these young.

Some 35 to 40 barrow loads of duckweed were removed from the pond over the two sessions and formed a rather large pile initially but shrunk somewhat as it dried out. Some of the more breezy days saw what was left spread over the water surface once again, although in a much thinner layer, and with the general temperature gradually dropping, its growth almost stopped.

Mid October provided some heavy rainfall causing the rivers to flood and requiring the temporary fence to be put across potential escape routes for fish should the pond become flooded. In the first instance, the flood waters didn't breach the banks of the pond, with the second lot of floods also not entering although very much closer.

In one respect, if the floods had reached across the pond, then any remaining duckweed might have been taken away, saving any more efforts in removing it by hand.

One pair of Egyptian Geese have returned to the decoy pond over the last month, potentially to nest again along with the odd Coot that has found its way back. Time will tell if the Swans and geese will return after having their nests washed out twice last year by high water levels.

The end of October has seen the water level in the pond return to its normal height due to the amount of rain and high river levels. Consents have come through for another electrofishingand netting session to allow use to assess stocks after the floods. Keep an eye on the website for dates.