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Devastated By The Water Wolf


A few weeks ago a neighbor a few houses down from mine who has a nice koi pond asked me how the fish ( shabunkin fantails) in my ponds we’re doing. I replied that everything was fine. He replied that every fish in his pond was gone with no trace to be found. These were large fish and his pond had steep deep drop offs so bird or other common predator such as racoon or even coyotes were ruled out due to the mess they would make getting in and out and not all the fish would be caught by them. Then came to mind the theft of very expensive fish, the water being cold and the fish slow they would be easy to net and carry off. A few days ago I checked my ponds since the layer of ice was gone and to my horror there was not a fish to be found not a one! I was cleaned (around sixty fish) out completely! The only thing I later noticed was that a large Greenfrog was found dead in the water. When I netted it out I noticed bite marks in its bloody head. For a while my dogs seemed very interested in a hole entrance dug to get under my garden shed was it rabbit? or groundhog? or badger? Which all at one time or another I have seen gone into or out of that opening. Today just by chance, I saw what is known as the “Water Wolf” dash from a pile of pulled weeds in my garden to underneath my shed. What I saw was the only animal known to clean fish ponds out completely of fish without a trace and that animal was a MINK! All these years without a predator problem for neither me or my neighbor and within a few weeks everything was gone. Can do nothing about it since killing or trapping mink is illegal so we hope it will move to other surroundings since its food source is gone if so we can start over. Of course I have a sentiment towards these fish, my wife bought these fish so many years ago. She is gone and now they are too. Ouch! That hurts!

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I feel what you feel. Been there. I think it was neighbors who knew my coming and goings. All I have to this day is one fat comet..who I saved from being a feeder. Adding him a year later to the empty pond -Koi and nice shubunkins once were there.

I think loose,for you an electric fence would work if covering the whole pond in netting doesn't appeal to you.
Good luck- I'm sorry for your losses.

28 Feb, 2016


This is so heartbreaking! I hope the evil predator leaves ASAP!! Will you be adding new fish when it's left?

28 Feb, 2016


Oh no !!! that's awful so many fish :-( I know how you feel,slightly, we have regular visits from a heron but at least our fish can disappear to the depths of the pond to hide from him wereas a mink!, hope he moves on very quickly and you can restock your pond x

28 Feb, 2016


I am so sorry to read this, what an awful shock for you and your neighbour. It is dreadful to think that a mink can do this sort of damage so quickly.
Just awful.

28 Feb, 2016


Though it's nature as one often says but it is so cruel ! hope you sort things out and find a soulution to your problem and preditor soon .

28 Feb, 2016


Thank yo all for your comments. I view it as a natural occurence. My neighbor and I had a food source and the mink used it of course. There is a creek not too far from here and that's probably where their main territory is but they found a good hunting lodge underneath my shed. Well, I will turn something bad into something good by draining the ponds, getting most of the muck out and overgrown plants and starting over again. I'm a bit too old to do most of this so as soon as I get the help I'll get going on it. I still have a good count of frogs so I can still look forward to their territorial wrestling matches once things heat up. Though, I never realized how emotionally attached I got to those fish. I will start off replanting and restocking with a few small comets and see what happens as time passes.

28 Feb, 2016


Oh L'strife thats terrible, natures way or not I would be devastated if that happened here, we only have a few compared to the amount you have lost but some of them were put in the pond when our family were kids and then added to by the grandchildren so of course we are attached to them, I know its too late now but hope the darned Mink moves on asap.....

28 Feb, 2016


That's horrible. It happens round here with otters and herons - a neighbour lost all hers to otters a couple of years ago. Mink are not protected here but otters are.
It makes you hesitate to restock doesn't it - and you can't replace the sentimental value of the old ones.

28 Feb, 2016


Sorry to hear about your fish. They obviously meant a lot to you. I hope the minks will go away now that there's no food there for them.

28 Feb, 2016


I am very sorry to hear this Loosestrife2. That is lot of fish that pest got. I would also be devastated. I have seen a mink running around our property on Vancouver Island. But I do not have a pond. My neighbour down the hill has. I think they are after rabbits on our property which we have plenty . We also have resident owls which like to eat both (rabbit and mink) We live at the ocean edge and have many herons as well and they are a real problem for my neighbours with ponds.
I hope you will be able to restore your pond.

29 Feb, 2016


Oh that's terrible, so sorry to hear you've lost all your fish like that. I hope the mink move an and you can restock, but you can never replace the ones you were fond of.

29 Feb, 2016


Again thank you all for your comments. As I have known for some time, you are all the tops. Klahanie, you have given me an idea. Once I restock I will get a owl decoy or two and place it near the ponds as a deterrent.

29 Feb, 2016


I am so sorry to read about your loss, Loosestrife. My mother has a pond and she loves her fish. I can imagine how upset you must have been.

5 Mar, 2016


oh that's terrible!... so sorry for all your losses.
I have mink and otter near us...and raccoons too. I didn't put my goldies in the pond because of that and the fact that I couldn't make my pond deep enough to overwinter them, plus there's been some problem with "invasive species" ( I hate those terms) and didn't want to destroy any naturalized habitat should they escape into the stream. (or be carried there by a raccoon). I had a similar disaster with my city garden pond a few years back... Had removed 3 or 4 smaller fish to over winter with the nymphaea in a tank in my basement and that turned out to be a saving grace. That winter we had a freaky thaw freeze cycle and in late March we received almost 60 inches of snow and very cold temps for about 4 days, at a point in the year where it is usually thawing. I couldn't get out the door, nevermind get to the pond, for a few days..and when I finally did, I could not make a hole in the ice. I knew at that point that my fish had suffocated but there was nothing to be done...(not being as young as I used to be.) Coincidentally, I also put my loss count at 60 fish. one fish for every inch of snow!... out the pond when spring finally arrived was heartbreaking..all my little beauties...and some not so little beauties too..all gone. They became fertilizer sorry to say. The next pond had the 6 little fishes and they were happy until we moved up here. too much wildlife here about to risk them... but they died because I was unable to keep them properly. (in tanks in the basement)... not a good life for fishies.
Have seen raccoon and mink tracks near the stream and last summer we had a mink relative (fisher) come down the stream valley. Wish I could give you good advice on how to discourage them... I never had to, they just seemed to keep moving downstream. The only consistant predator that I've had has been cranes. ( I have only frogs left in my pond now and the pteradactyls are working on reducing their population.

21 Jun, 2016


They do look prehistoric in flight don't they Lori. I have restocked just one of the ponds with 6 comets and I must have had a female or two because a few weeks after placing them they were doing their mating run. My ponds are about 4 ft deep so they will overwinter ok. Each of my ponds have a bubbleizer which I keep running all year long which is good for a day like today-95F- or to keep an opening in the ice for winter. The mink seem to like the wintertime since the fish are slow and easy pickings from what I have been able to gather from other people in similar circumstances. Like yourself, my greenfrogs have the remainer of the ponds all too themselves.

21 Jun, 2016


Yes, a bubbler works very well keeping ponds open in the winter. My cousin has a large pond on his farm and he uses a windmill powered bubbler! I had the pond for a few years at that point and never needed it but as you know if one turns ones back...!
Glad your comets are breeding happily. stock will rebound very quickly. Just keep your eyes peeled for pteradactyls. I gather that the water wolf has moved on?

24 Jun, 2016


I think so, reason being that a see a good number of rabbits about.

25 Jun, 2016

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