Keeping A Pond Open?

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Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby twsnow18 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:20 pm

I have a cattle pond that a guy lets me hunt and it can be very very good, but it freezes super easy. It's 2 feet deep tops and very stagnant, it's 5 yards wide by 50 yards long, loaded with cat tails. I scouted it last Tuesday evening and it was loaded with 200+ birds, I went to hunt it Thursday morning and from that one 25 degree over night temp it froze enough for ALL of the birds to leave. LAME

The commercial ice eaters are too spendy, no way will I spend $800 on one. Am I SOL? One problem is that the closest outlet would be the ranch hand's house 400 yards away. If anyone has any ideas let me know, if someone can help me keep it open they are more than welcome to come hunt. I think it has the potential to be good all season.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby fetch21 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:43 pm

How thick did it freeze in that one night? Can't imagine it was too much in just one night. Able to just show up and bust it open?

Might be tough to keep open without running any power to it. I have a couple of ideas... most of which are just off the cuff here so not sure how legit they are. One thing that might work for a while (until the serious cold sets in) is just cover it with a tarp. Guess the cat tails could be a problem here, but if you have any part of it that doesn't have them I'd try this for sure. The ideal method here would take a little work, but not much. Don't set the tarp right on the water, you'll want to put some stakes on each side so that your tarp is elevated just above water level. If it's truly only 5 yards wide you should be able to get a couple of long rectangular tarps and make this work.

you could also get a couple of those quiver magnets that guys use for ripples in their decoy spreads and go put them in the water the night before. Assuming that batteries will last for 6-8 hours (I have no clue if they will) it would create ripples which will definitely keep a heavy freeze from setting in. That would only cost you the price of a few AA batteries.

Supposed to get warmer late this week so I'm guessing you won't have a problem until another cold front moves in.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby Fsbirdhouse » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:42 pm

12 Volt car battery/Marine battery and electric troll motor.
Or submersible electric pump discharging across surface.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby twsnow18 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:32 pm

Thanks for the ideas and responses fellas. It only froze a couple millimeters thick, which really surprised me that the birds would leave so quickly. Couple more questions. How come the tarps? And would you suspend the tarps just a couple inches above the water?

As far as the trolling motor, that's a good idea as well. Do you think a full battery would keep that trolling motor going all night long?

I don't know much about the submersible pumps or have one.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby fetch21 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:46 pm

My idea on the tarps is just a guess based on another internet forum... I've never done it. I just found something online saying that covering water keeps it from freezing a bit compared to leaving it open, which seems to make sense. Don't know to what extent it would help in regards to temperature. It said to "hover" just above the water level, not to lay anything on the surface. They were talking about covering water troughs for animals, but i think it would work for what you're looking to do as well. My guess is that if it's just barely cold enough to make any ice on open water then covering it would probably solve your issue. But once it gets down to the teens consistently I'm sure it will still freeze if covered.

Personally if it were me I would either try my other suggestion (the quiver magnets to keep the surface moving) or else if it's just forming a skim of ice I'd just show up and break it. I have hunted ponds before that had 3-4 inches of ice on them. We used an axe to cut open a hole the size of a swimming pool, and the birds POURED in. That was a lot of work... took 3 of us about an hour to cut the ice open and then slide the pieces under the ice shelves to clear the hole. But the place you're talking about could obviously be busted open just by walking through it so I would try that and see if the birds still want to use it before investing in any products to keep it open. It might actually be a good thing that the birds aren't using it overnight now. If they were roosting on it you could screw it up by hunting it consistently. If they have found another place to roost and are still flying by this area you could probably pull them in without busting their roost... best possible scenario.

You might try posting on a state forum from someplace that consistently gets colder temps... like MT or ND. Those boys probably deal with this more than we do and might have some better ideas.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby twsnow18 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Alright, that makes sense. Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it. I'll check it out Thursday, and go from there.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby waveslider » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:07 pm

Find someone with a generator and a pump. The farmer don't have much use for them right now. All you need to do is keep the water moving and a pump spraying out over the water will keep it open as long as its not wicked cold. The biggest problem is the size of the gas tank for the generator. I guarantee the farmer you spoke of has just the pump you need mounted on the back of a flatbed somewhere in the yard.

That's how we kept them open in Missouri when it got cold.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby Slidellduckhunter » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:16 pm

To simplify what waveslider said you could also go for the gasoline engine powered pump which will avoid the genset but you are still faced with a limited fuel supply and you have to buy suction hose. AMT Pump (from Pennsylvania) makes a 12 volt 2" submersible pump but it's over $1,000 and you have to buy a discharge hose. AMT also make a 12 volt 3/4" 1/8HP (9 amp) bronze marine pump that costs about $300 online (free shipping), it doesn't have a lot of flow (17 gallons per minute) but it may move enough water in your relatively small area and the pump is very small, weighs only 7lbs. 9 amps will last about 5-6 hours on a 100 Ah battery (with taking reserve and this high of amp draw into consideration). Really anything to keep the water circulating or moving on top. However...I saw in the latest DU magazine a new product called the Ice Blaster made by Kasco Marine. KM currently makes 120 & 240 volt de-icers but the Ice Blaster runs on 12 volts. They say it will operate for 5 1/2 hours on a full charged marine battery. Here is a YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sMKrtle6V4. The bad part is the price, this baby is about $600. My profession is pumping applications and pump product management, will be glad to answer any more questions.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby waveslider » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:08 pm

All true, however by my experience at least it seems like the 120v electric pumps are more efficient and support a longer run time when used in conjunction with a generator than the gas powered pumps that you see a lot of the time. In any event, all you really need to do is keep the water moving....The colder it is.....the more water you need to keep moving.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby casey_714 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:44 pm

Fill it with booze!
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby twsnow18 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:49 pm

http://www.marineengine.com/products/ac ... in=1144760

You guys think a couple of these will do the job? They are 12v and only pull a 6 amp draw so I could hook them right up to a couple 6volt golf cart batteries or some deep cycles. 2000gph isn't a ton but I think if I can figure out a way for them to spray the water across the surface it would be decent down to 20 degrees.

Any experience/opinions?
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby Slidellduckhunter » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:24 pm

The bilge pump is definitely worth a shot, 2000 gph should suffice but waveslider is right, the colder the temps the more water you need to move or rather the faster you need to move it. You're likely to have too much water to try and circulate the entire pond so spraying the surface is probably your best bet, just reduce your discharge down to a flat nozzle and that should work. The bilge pump appears inexpensive enough to try it. One thing to watch out for is to not make sure the pump is not left in the water not running for any appreciable length of time because if it freezes the plastic will crack right off the bat. If out of the water be sure to shake out as much water as you can so the impeller is not damaged by freezing (I would think it would drain out on its own). One more thing, be sure that the pump is not sitting directly on the dirt bottom of the pond as it may clog - sit it in a shallow bucket or on a board. Using a fully charged 100 amp deep cycle marine battery you probably have roughly 6-7 hours run time.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby twsnow18 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:44 am

Ok. Yeah anything under 20 degrees I think I will kind of be screwed without some serious displacement but I'll give it a try and let you guys know how this goes. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby attk64 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:56 pm

I have a 155 gallon per minute gas water pump that could be used to de-ice rather quickly in the morning before a hunt
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Re: Keeping A Pond Open?

Postby drakz » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:44 pm

I have a trick...bust it in big junks use a rake to push it aside and get rid of the ice elsewhere...then load the pond up with quiver pucks and butts and shoot em up...its worked for me...
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