Protecting your Pond Fish from Predators
The most common predators of pond fish are heron, mink and raccoon. In a single setting these predators can wipe out a large fishpond if left undisturbed. Typically, there will be no noticeable sign that the heron was present, unless you happen to see it raiding your pond. It feeds primarily at sunrise and sunset. The raccoon on the other hand, typically, will leave fish remains; the fish skeleton or head. If a raccoon is hungry enough, it is hard to deter and you may need to remove the raccoon from your property.
How can you keep predators away from your pond fish?
· Netting is the most effective method in keeping the predators out of the pond, but not very attractive and can make simple maintenance difficult to manage.
· Providing hiding places using rocks or purchasing a screen tunnel for the fish is another deterrent – but the fish need to be under the hiding place when the predator attacks.
· Placing a fake heron near the pond works if you consistently move it on a daily basis.
· Erecting a series of stakes 12” in height around the pond and attaching fish line can also be very effective, but can be dangerous if someone is walking around the pond and stumbles on the fish line.
· One final deterrent is a Scarecrow. It is motion activated and is hooked up to the water hose and sprays water on the predator when it is approaching. Next to netting the pond, we have found the Scarecrow to be the second most effective method of deterring predators.
If a predator has raided your pond, you will find your fish to be extremely skittish, stay in hiding and often will not come up for feedings. It often takes two to six weeks for your fish to feel safe again.