Blue Herons Stealing Fish from Pond---Help

geraldz7northtxMarch 16, 2008

Hello, I am Bird Watchers' Forum member from sometime back. Back now because I need some help. Or, my nephew needs help:

How to stop Great Blue Herons from 'stealing' Koi from his back yard pond.

Can anyone offer any advice/suggestions?



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Only 100% way is to put a net over the pond. Or go on guard duty 24 hours a day. Glenda

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 7:07PM
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thomba(z6a sw IN)

Search this forum for heron and then wade through the results. Net is best bet. Some folks put up trip lines as a heron will usually land a few feet away and walk to the edge. I witnessed this one morning in my own yard. Big and so ugly it was beautiful. He/she landed, looked around, then started a slow walk toward the water. I made sure it did not get that far. The rear view of 67 foot wing span itself was impressive.

I am leaving my fall/winter leaf netting on a little longer, was going to take it off today but changed my mind. I've lost fish in the past, 1 or 2 at a time. But water is 5+ feet at deepest. Once the water stirs from the bird the rest usually dive. You can tell 'cause they next feeding they usually hesitate, maybe for a few days.

Trip line (or 2 or 3) at right heigth (??) prevents them from walking into the pond. Plastic snake or owl might work but heron's figure this out, you would need to move them around periodically to prominent places. Motion detecting sprayer also is promoted to discourage herons but guests and pets might get wet. Bird netting is still best bet.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 8:14PM
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I have had the best luck with the fake floating alligator and the trip line made out of fishing line.

I place short pieces of rebar around the perimeter of the pond and string fishing line about 6 inches high through the rebar.

It has worked so far.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Pikecoe,thomba and 1sst:
Thanks for your feed back.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 10:05PM
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artsmall(westlake village)

I tried many approaches.Nothing works as well as a net 7 in
above the water.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 2:13AM
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keithw(Zone 8)

I used two scarecrow sprinklers for a few weeks to dissuade a blue heron from using my pond. They worked great. I saw him get zapped a few times by them myself. Haven't seen him since then.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:42AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I had a heron taking my fish even though I was only a few feet away. It always took my favorites. I tried many things to stop it and use multiple cures at different times. A net goes up in the fall and stays there until mid to late spring or until taro and other potted plants go into the water. Then I hook up the scarecrow which also takes care of the nighttime predators. I have a pair of metal herons that are moved occasionally. The net is stretched over the framework of the top of a gazebo. Sandy

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 6:10PM
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I live in Upstate South Carolina. Our blue heron only shows up during the winter. I have tried everything from playing loud music, playing a rock and roll moving Santa Claus. But the net is the only thing that works and I feel safe with it. It looks terrible. My question is what can I do to keep it from drooping in the water and catching my fish. We remove it when we think the heron has gone or the plants have grown.We always cover it again when we go on vacation during the summer. I have seen our heron tippy toe on the narrowest of a board that my husband has stapled the net to.Then he sits there waiting for something. Good luck.Gloria

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:07PM
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I use black netting anchored by edging rocks part of the year and "floating nets" once the floating plants "take off" in combination with depth (@ 40 inches in center) and hiding places for fish such as underneath planters raised on two ends by bricks.
Here's a re-post of what I posted @ a year ago:
About 5 years ago, I lost all my fish right after I cleaned out my frostbitten floating plants in late fall/early winter. I have a lot of herons in the area where I live and floating plants covering @ 1/2 - 2/3 of the pond surface seem to make my pond uninteresting to them. Now that we added a skimmer, I place floating plants in Nycon Floating Fish Barriers (see link below).
I use BLACK netting late fall-spring when it's too cold for floating plants. If I tuck it under some of the top rocks lining the edge of the pond, one can't see the netting till close to the pond. If I took the time to tuck it under ALL of the top rocks, it would look "natural." Also, my pond is @ 40 in deep in the center.

Here is a link that might be useful: SEE FIRST PICTURE-my pond with the floating plant holders

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 7:13PM
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Like most of the others, I'd go with the net. I used a trip line for a while, but I wasn't confident enough in it and decided on the net. You really can't see it that much, and many people who have looked at my pond don't even realize it's netted until I mention it. I also have a Scarecrow motion sensor, but I'm so confident with the net that I seldom use it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I made my pond deep, and placed a milk crate in the bottom, that way they had a place to hide. I then covered the top of the crate with my potted plants, that way the crate was hidden as well. Otherwise, I agree with the net, it just doesn't look as nice.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 10:57AM
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Check out this web site -! I bought a heron net and love it! have nets for every season.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Blue Herons are very territorial and when placed near your pond other Herons will avoid conflict and find a different pond to feast upon. Two caveats to the use of a decoy. First it must be regularly moved, since Herons are smart. Second, do not use it in Heron mating season-end of April-beginning of May, as it may look pretty good to a Blue heron searching for a mate.

Motion activated sprinkler scarecrows are also highly effective. The device senses motion and sprays a 3 second burst of water at the heron...just be careful to avoid getting sprayed yourself. Of course my lab triggers it just for fun.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 12:13PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Make sure your pond has a place for your fish to hide. Too many ponds are too shallow and too exposed. They are like feeding troughs for herons.

A deep pond with hiding places and lots of plant cover is much safer for your fish even though you may not see your fish as much.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I too had to go with a net after losing two koi.. the floating aligator didnt work for me.. anyone know where I can get a clear net?? I would like to swap the black one out for clear as I think it would look better.. I hate having to net the pond at all but I dont like losing koi either.. I checked and they look to only have black and their nets are a bit pricey too..

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:51PM
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i criss-cross some fish line across the pond, it doesnt look too bad. it sure beats the net for looks. so far so good

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:58PM
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Is this the net you have in mind? Glenda

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 8:32AM
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I have use the milk crate also and it works.I cut the handle area bigger for the fish and then out potted plants on top to hold it down.My daughter also gave me a koi tent.And that works well. LOL

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I have tryed many things. The blue heron decoy works very well. Along with a fiesty dog. I have cichlids in my pond and a heron loves them. The best thing I have used is a spring rat trap. One strike and they are gone. I know this is not very nice but to those of us who have witnessed a prize fish being swallowed alive, it does not seem so harsh. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:00PM
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prairie_bogger(6a (KS))

Wow Glenda! That is one of the least obtrusive nets I've ever seen. I was about to ask if your lilies grew through the net, when I realized they were growing UNDER the net. You really can hardly see it!

We have a farm pond that is about 300 yards away from the fish pond, and we see herons there quite often, so I know it's only a matter a time before we take a hit...


    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 3:21PM
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Yep that looks way better than my tore up black net I have over my pond now.. let me know where I can order one as I have looked everywhere for one that is not black.. Thanks Kevin

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:00PM
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love the rat trap idea!!! thanks

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 12:42AM
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