Deterring the elusive pond wolf, or the mink, is a topic we typically speak about in the spring with our customers here in Morris County, NJ. After this first sentence I am sure you're asking why? Let me give you the "skinny" on how this works!
"The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and it's time to get that pond open and running! (Typically Mid March to the beginning of April) We arrive at your home to perform the annual pond cleaning and Esteban and Gabriel begin pumping the water out while preparing the holding tank to house your fish during our cleaning process. At first there are no signs of any fish, but hey we see this many times, they are hiding and will soon come out of their hiding spot so we can safely transfer them to their temporary holding tank. The water level in the pond is quickly dropping, we are looking for fish to net and transfer, nothing! The pond water is now down to about 8" of water and by now we would certainly see fish! Still NOTHING! We look around check all the crevices we are accustomed to fish hiding in and still NOTHING! There is not a sign of any fish and there are no carcass's , NOTHING!"
Many years ago this happened to us and we had no idea what had happened. We were stumped! We reached out to many in the industry and finally figured out what had happened, The Pond Wolf attacked the pond! At first we thought, this is crazy we don't have mink here! Surprise to us, WE DO!
Years after this, we saw this occur once or twice every two to three years, until the winter of of 2015-2016. This year alone we had 8 customers lose every fish in their ponds. Yes, all of them, not one left. By now you're probably think, what in the world am I going to do to keep this predator called a mink away from my fish.
How can a Mink do this?
Mink and Muskrats (they do this to) are extremely good hunters, swimmers, and very agile. Nothing will keep a mink out of your pond, nothing. We are just telling you this from experience. They will slide under a net, over or under an electric fence, and right into the hole in your ice you are keeping in it to keep your fish healthy for the winter. Once they find a food source, they don't stop taking from that food source until it's dried up. That means every single fish, and the mink doesn't care how big or small those fish happen to be. They come for one, drag it out of the hole in the ice, and bring it back to their den. They are food hoarders and will store their food for later use. Many times, a mink will ravage a pond within 24 hours, there will be nothing left.
We have also seen this only happen during the early winter to very early spring months. That's not to say it can't happen any other time of the year, we just haven't seen it.
What can you do to prevent the Mink attack?
Dye the pond! This is the only thing in past years we have found that has worked. Get yourself some black pond dye and dye the pond once a month. How is this going to help? I know it sounds ridiculous, right?
It helps by making the pond dark, which inhibits the mink or muskrat from seeing the fish. It must be done once a month during the winter as the dye does dissipate over time. Doing this does not guarantee a mink won't get your fish, but we have had amazing success deterring the mink just by adding dye to the pond.
How can A Frog's Dream Help?
Traditionally, we only recommended this to customers who have had the problem in the past. Due to the massive increase in mink invasions last year we are HIGHLY recommending everyone do it, just as a precaution. In an effort to make it easy for everyone we are offering two different services to help you keep the mink away this winter.
The first service is hands off for you and great for those who leave the state for the winter months. We call it our Winter Pond Care and MINK Prevention Package. We will visit your pond once a month from January through March. At each visit we will check the hole in the ice (shovel snow off to keep hole if necessary), check aeration function and deicer function, check fish if possible, and add a dose of dye for the Mink Prevention. Included in this is emergency aeration/pond deicer replacement. If at any time your aerator or deicer stops functioning we will come out and either fix or replace with no service call fees. (product replacement fees may apply)
The second service we are offering is for those who are more hands on. We will provide you with dye for your pond for the winter season, provide you with dosing instructions, and (this one is extremely important) you will be put into an email list and sent a reminder email every month to remind you to apply the dose of dye.
A Frog’s Dream Aquatic Services is offering this pond blog as a personal information source to our website visitors. Pond services are performed in Morris County New Jersey (NJ) Hunterdon County New Jersey (NJ) Somerset County (NJ) and Warren County (NJ).Waterfall ponds, Streams, and Fountains are all in our wheelhouse of talent. Explore our website for more ideas. Like our Facebook page for daily inspiration. Receive our newsletter for weekly pond tips.
2/9/2017 09:56:00 am
We are in Kingston NY. Had a mink attach a few years ago in the summer. Thought someone was stealing the fish. Bought a game camera but no pics of anything bad. Came by again in mid Jan during the day. Caught the devil on my game camera. Trying now to trap it. Took all the small fish, tore up the face of one large, 20+ inches who died a few days ago. The other large one (almost 20 years old) had his her face badly scratched as well. Not sure it will survive. Pond is netted with bird netting and held to the perimeter with rocks, but he still managed to get in. No koi until the mink is trapped. Will buy some cheap fish for bait and keep trying to trap
6/23/2018 12:35:50 pm
Hi Frank. We've lost five koi in the past three weeks. Thought we were dealing with heron, which has been the case before, but when we fortified the pond with heron deterrents that worked previously we still kept losing fish. I contacted Clay and he gave me the sad news about this new predator, the mink. Our latest effort includes a lattice barricade across the entire pond, covered with netting and surrounded by large rocks around the perimeter so that there are no gaping spaces. Just put it in place last night and my three remaining koi are still swimming around happily. Fingers crossed it will continue to work. Good luck!
2/9/2017 10:01:31 am
1/18/2018 10:01:36 am
My parents installed a koi pond this past summer, in Indiana. About three weeks after the pond was winterized, they realized the koi were gone. We found koi scales on the bottom of the pond and knew something killed the koi. They hired a trapper and the trapper was able to capture two mink. I was reading the information on your site and you said to dye the water to help prevent the mink from seeing the koi. Does your company sell this dye?
1/19/2018 11:19:56 am
2/9/2019 04:33:45 pm
I lost 10 koi to a mink , I net my pond and now have two traps and he has not come back . I have four or five big koi left . Is their anything more I can do or any products that I can get? Was thinking sonar , can’t find one that plugs in or you can keep outside in the winter. Thanks !!
2/10/2019 03:24:55 pm
8/5/2019 03:17:33 pm
Hi. I am planning to dyes my pond black with 1 1/2-2 dose per month this winter -early spring as I have had all 11 of my 8 year old fish taken in 1 night in early spring 3 years ago. My question is will it kill my dormant waterlilit's and other pond plants by dyeing pond during winter.?
8/5/2019 03:43:03 pm
Joni- What a great question!
8/7/2019 09:50:42 am
Perfect. I do plan on keeping the dye till may 1st then do a 80% water change using my chlorine filter to add water. Thanks so much
8/17/2020 08:46:11 pm
Im happy to say that the black dye double dose worked for me againt the minks during Nov - April. And it did not harm any of my plants. 1 large water change removed the dye in May. Thank you fòr this great article that helped me so much.
8/17/2020 08:26:59 pm
Hi. Just reading about putting black dye in our pond to deter the mink. We just discovered 2 of them in our pond and they have eaten all but 3 of our fish. Does the black die make it so you cannot see the fish? Also, where can we purchase the dye. We live in Boulder Colorado.
8/17/2020 08:50:27 pm
No you wont be able to see your fish . You can see them when they come to surfice to eat. I only needed to use it from Nov to April which was my danger month though. By May , the dye disipates with water change You can get black pond dye on amazon or ebay. Look for concentrated ones
12/24/2020 01:05:26 pm
We took a different approach. Since our koi pond had an irregular shape it made it almost impossible to put up a physical barrier to keep mink and other predators out. So we decided to put the fish in a confined environment. I bought an 8’ piece of 18” diameter plastic culvert pipe. I made mesh screens for each end that can slip in from the top. When the fish start going dormant, we round them up and put them in the culvert pipe and close up the ends. Worked great the first year! For the second year we did a slight re-model and added skylights (screens) to the top so that we could see the fish and they would have a little daylight. Total cost was about $120 and a few hours of my time. We store the pipe in the backyard during the summer months.
1/13/2022 10:59:43 am
Todd I would be interested in seeing photos of how you did that. All of my koi have been killed 3 times now and I am deflated and desperate to see what others are doing.
3/17/2021 04:49:21 pm
Dye is an interesting idea. Here' our tale of woe...
6/20/2022 08:02:46 pm
Will a pond alarm work to rid mink? It’s motion sensitive and is fairly load.
6/20/2022 08:47:02 pm
Doubt a pond alarm will work. A mink can enter and exit a pond without making a wave, once in the water they are like a fish, just quicker and more agile.
8/24/2022 06:29:47 pm
We converted a spring fed, circular 500 gal. cement cattle trough to being a koi pond. It is above ground with twenty inch high walls.We have racoons and herons. Ten years ago a pair of minks slaughtered half of my fifty young quail in their holding pen. The shipment had been housed there its second day and night. Morning was a dissaterous shock.
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Over the last 18 years, Clay has been involved in landscaping and aquascaping, which led him to his passion, POND BUILDING and opening A Frog’s Dream in 2006. His true passion is to create works of art for others to enjoy and marvel at in the privacy of their own backyards.