Big koi question


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Is there a size of koi that the blue heron does not bother? Our lake in VA had several large grass carp that seemed immune to herons. Hoping that if you had big enough koi the heron could not eat them.
 
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addy1

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I have read where people say the heron will stab the big fish and just leave it, if to big to eat.
 
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we just had two heron attacks on club ponds. the ponders sent pictures. big fish with a white hole right at the base of the skull cap on top of the fish both times. when i visited matt mckann's former koi farm in delaware/new jersey, he showed me his breeding stock. there was a gorgous doitsu ochiba that he was preparing for delivery after selling the fish for 25000, and when he went to bag it he saw that the fish mouth had been punctured clean through by a heron. did you know that heron are worth 25000? at least that one was.
 
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While I was reading and watching video clips about Herons, I read and saw the following. Herons eat more than fish, watched a heron eat a whole duckling just Google it and you will see the video. I also saw a clip of a heron take a too large a fish, it just left it on the bank half dead.
 
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I have read where people say the heron will stab the big fish and just leave it, if to big to eat.
I have read the same 32" koi with holes through it and several others
 
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Our pond is designed so there is no approach for a heron to the pond. These birds usually land near a pond and walk to it. Pictures soon. Almost done. People use double fish lines, netting, floating alligator heads, and sprayers with motion sensors. You can also hang a narrow , tall mirror from a Shepard’s hook so the bird sees its reflection and thinks it’s another heron displaying territorial behavior. The Wind moves the mirror so it looks like ithe bird image moves independently. We also have changed our standard for water clarity so we don’t care if the water is a little turbid. It calms the fish and protects them from detection. Sone folks dye their water blue for similar reasons. Then there is the12 gauge shotgun with the accompanying $500,000 fine.
 

addy1

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Our pond is designed so there is no approach for a heron to the pond.
Mr heron has to walk up a heavily planted hill, or down a very steep rocky hill, or in a heavily planted bog, around a farm fence to reach the pond. All the obstruction has never stopped it.
 
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Thanks for all the input. I am developing a battle plan to deny the enemy access to our pond. Like all the suggestions. Viewed all the YouTube videos.
 
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Agree, with Addy1, if you don’t want to constantly be adjusting your battle plans a net well up off the pond is the only solution. The herons will figure everything else out.

Herons may prefer to walk up to a pond but they have no problem landing directly on the edge. Fishing line, motion sprinklers, decoys, noise makers, they will figure all that stuff out eventually.
 
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Mr heron has to walk up a heavily planted hill, or down a very steep rocky hill, or in a heavily planted bog, around a farm fence to reach the pond. All the obstruction has never stopped it.

Heron are smart. We have had member report that they mount two fish line strands on posts at 2 and 3 feet off the ground surrounding a 6000 gallon pond and the birds learn to step through the lines. If designed properly, a heron deterrent design works, but it must include masking, physical barriers, and a pond with depth. Dogs help and fences help. We have kept koi for 16 years near a major heron rookery and have yet to see one approach. The lake 100 feet from our pond sports one or two heron throughout the summer, and they leave us alone—-knock on wood. Just think though your design like a heron and it’s possible. The best examples of animal containment I’ve seen are zoos with giraffe held back because the ground has a 4 foot drop that they can’t physically walk over or the cattle road barriers in the western US in paved roads you can drive over but cattle can’t cross. That said even if you think like a river otter, the little killers will still take all your fish out just for fun.
 
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We had our first heron land in our yard this spring. We never thought it would happen because we are so enclosed by fences and trees - not much room to take off in a hurry. But there he was, standing in the edge of the pond. I was so sure we were done for, but oddly he never came back - that we saw. My husband saw him out the living room window and thought I had moved one of my fake herons into the pond. When he realized what he was seeing, he ran for his phone but got there just in time to see him take off.

We have natural ponds directly to the east and west of us and a rookery about 2 miles further east, so they fly overhead all day long. We've always thought the same thing - they won't land here - space is too small for them to feel comfortable. This is from last year, but you can see we are in a pretty tight landing space. He was standing right on the ledge in front of the waterfall, just gazing into the pond.

The only predator who's ever taken fish from our pond was a skunk. He got two of our prettiest koi in two days - made dinner for himself right on the rocks next to the pond and left a pile of scales as his calling card.

August 1 2017.JPG
 
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Pictures would help and they will be forthcoming soon. Our pond sits next to our deck and porch, so that approach is undesirable for a heron but not impossible. That said the access to that side is so restricted that it is not an easy solution for heron. Then there is the dog who barks at anything that moves. Our back yard is surrounded by our fence, so the pond is at least 70 feet away and hard to observe from the lake. No heron has ever landed in our yard. The lake itself is stocked with bass, carp and crappies I think and offers a simpler food source in competition. The other three sides of the pond are equipped with plant sumps and the skimmer housing that holds a bird back at least three feet and are heavily planted obscuring the view at a herons eye level. The corners are blocked with an ornate oriental fence sittin on the pond wall, and the pond is elevated 18 inches above the outside ground. If the bird mounts the wall then the surface is 8 inches below his feet, and a heron cannot stab effectively below its feet too deeply. The pond walls are vertical and drop to about 30 inches below the surface. We maintain about 14 to 18 inches of turbidity, you can measure this with a Secchi disk, so the fish are obscured unless they surface. Then there are the two machine guns turrets, ....kidding.
 
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Agree, with Addy1, if you don’t want to constantly be adjusting your battle plans a net well up off the pond is the only solution. The herons will figure everything else out.

Herons may prefer to walk up to a pond but they have no problem landing directly on the edge. Fishing line, motion sprinklers, decoys, noise makers, they will figure all that stuff out eventually.

Agree, decoys eventually fail... all of them. Net the pond.
 

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We had our first heron land in our yard this spring. We never thought it would happen because we are so enclosed by fences and trees - not much room to take off in a hurry. But there he was, standing in the edge of the pond. I was so sure we were done for, but oddly he never came back - that we saw. My husband saw him out the living room window and thought I had moved one of my fake herons into the pond. When he realized what he was seeing, he ran for his phone but got there just in time to see him take off.

We have natural ponds directly to the east and west of us and a rookery about 2 miles further east, so they fly overhead all day long. We've always thought the same thing - they won't land here - space is too small for them to feel comfortable. This is from last year, but you can see we are in a pretty tight landing space. He was standing right on the ledge in front of the waterfall, just gazing into the pond.

The only predator who's ever taken fish from our pond was a skunk. He got two of our prettiest koi in two days - made dinner for himself right on the rocks next to the pond and left a pile of scales as his calling card.

View attachment 114308

People underestimate skunks. That was one of the predators who came for my pond. Deepness didn't matter. Always left the pond stinkier.
 

addy1

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Our pond sits next to our deck and porch, so that approach is undesirable for a heron
We were at a house, the pond snugged up tight to the house, a tight fence next to it, they have pictures of the heron eating one of their fish.
 
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Jhn

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All that stuff obviously works for you carolinaguy since they don’t come around at least that you have seen. Having your pond near your house and fences surrounding it and placed where it is not very will definitely cut down on heron visits.

My old pond occasionally got heron visitors, but in the 15 years or so I had that pond I could count on one hand the number of fish I lost to herons. That pond was up under some very tall trees against a 6’ tall privacy fence and was guarded by a large black labrador that spent most of her time out in the backyard. The current pond is out in the open a fence around it( required by law), so it is a smorgasbord for herons. They have figured a way through everything other than a net.

I’ve seen herons land directly in ponds, on a shelf, log in the pond, so needing to walk up to hunting grounds is just a myth. Water depth certainly helps predation, if the fish are smart enough to stay deep in the middle. Of course, fish aren’t, so although the heron can’t wade into the pond it patiently waits by the pond edge for the fish to wander over or regurgitates food into the pond to attract them over.

Just an fyi, @carolinaguy, it sounds like your heron foiling designs are quite effective.That being said, Herons can most certainly hunt below their feet effectively, I watch them in nature hunt off fallen trees, floating docks a foot above the water snagging fish. I see them doing that as often as I see them wading in the shallows.
 
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