Spring And Your Pond: Be Ready For Predators!

Outdoor goldfish and koi pond

Did you know that Sunday, March 20th was the first day of spring in 2022? It was! Spring brings new growth and fresh colors, and it also awakens wildlife that has been hunkered down for the winter. 

While we love all animals, we want to make sure our fish are protected. Whether your fish are expensive, older and majestic, or small goldfish, we know that you love them! Here we are going to cover what has worked for us, what has worked for our friends and colleagues, and what doesn’t seem to help much at all when protecting our outdoor fish ponds from predators. 

What Has Worked For Us:

The Blue Man 

This silly-looking solution has been the thing that truly works. He is not at all the look that we are going for, but hear us out on the functionality and simplicity of this solution.

How-to Blue Man: 

  • We bought a Smart Plug and plugged it in an outlet near our backyard pond.
  • We synced it with a Smartphone (this is key). 
  • The Blue Man was plugged into the Smart Plug.
  • When the pond is unattended, The Blue Man is activated with the Smartphone. This is SO easy once it is set up!
  • When it’s time to enjoy the pond, we simply turn off The Blue Man, via the phone, before heading outside. 

The reason this works is that the movement is random. Herons or other predators are wise to stationary decoys. The randomness of The Blue Man actually deters them from coming near the pond. It really works!

Drawbacks to this solution: 

  • It doesn’t look great (that’s why we turn it off when in the backyard).
  • It will also scare other birds away that you may want at your pond. 

If you want to know where to purchase a Blue Man for yourself, a search of “inflatable tube man” will produce lots of options. And of course, he doesn’t have to be blue! However, if The Blue Man just isn’t for you, here are some other options.

Plant Cover

Did you know the pond should have 40% to 60% plant coverage for maximum filtration? Well, it should! The other benefit of plants is that if birds (or raccoons) can’t see the fish, they can’t eat the fish. 

Backyard ponds
Mother Nature makes the BEST filtration. Plants also beautify and deter predators.

Net Over The Pond

This does keep herons out, however, smaller birds may get stuck in it. Additionally, the look isn’t always the best. You may not always want a net over your backyard pond. 

Fish Cave

A fish cave for your fish to hide in is a must! This will not prevent all fish loss as a heron stays very still and the fish don’t realize they should be hiding in the cave—but it does help. 

Fishing Line

Drawing a fishing line taut around the edges of the pond can actually work pretty well. When a heron runs into it, it startles them, and they may give up the hunt.


Putting mats along the edges of the pond when going away for a while, in addition to plant coverage, works well. We even put these on each night to deter raccoons. It makes it harder to see the fish, and if they were to step out onto the mat they would fall in the water suddenly and we know they won’t like that! It also keeps herons from seeing into the water along the edges. ***Keep in mind we only do this overnight or when we are away because it is not the most beautiful sight!

Backyard pond mats
These anti-fatigue mats most people use on a garage floor are surprisingly useful for predator deterrents. We also put them right on top of the lily pads when there is a risk of hail.
Outdoor fish pond mats
Floating mats in action

What Has Worked For Our Friends & Colleagues

Powerful Aerator

This is great to turn on at night or use when you’re not at home. It makes the water ripple so the birds can’t see the fish! You can always turn it off while you’re out barbecuing by your backyard pond, but if the predators can’t see the fish, they can’t eat them! 


Another great thing about dogs! If the dog is loose in the yard, the predators will stay away. This is a great tactic, but you can’t leave your dog outside all the time.

Reflective Holographic Scarecrow Tape

This shiny ribbon blows in the wind and should scare off birds. We haven’t used this before so we’re not sure if it works, but it’s worth a try. 

Bird B Gone Pond Defender 

These are floating plastic pond grates that shouldn’t look too bad in the water. They are about 12 in. x 10 in. and you really only need enough to cover the edges of the pond. You can order them online and they would work well in conjunction with floating lettuce or hyacinth. Click HERE to check them out on Amazon.

Outdoor Goldfish pond floating grates
Bird B Gone floating pond grates

What HASN’T Worked Well

Fake Heron At The Pond

Real herons are extremely smart and figure this one out pretty quickly. In fact, in the early spring, it may bring them in. In theory, herons hunt alone, thus one heron by the pond should deter others. However, in the spring they have other things on their mind! We tried a decoy heron and within two days looked out to see a real heron trying to put the moves on our decoy!

Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler

These work better for raccoons, but both raccoons and herons can eventually figure these out if they are determined and don’t mind getting a little wet. It is usually people that bear the brunt of this clever surprise. 

Please consider taking steps to protect your fish before our neighboring animals SPRING to life!
Backyard pond heron
This is a photo of a heron at a client’s
property. These beautiful birds are slightly
less exciting to see when they are eating
your pond fish!

 Pro Tips:

Herons often arrive early in the morning or right before dusk. Keep an eye out for them. Let the dog out at or after dinnertime to scare them off. 

If you see a heron, even before it lands, scream, yell, and wave your arms like a crazy person. It will deter them from coming back. They don’t want to deal with that kind of crazy. Wouldn’t you like to see the video of us doing THAT!? 

If it is warm enough, eat dinner near your pond. It will help you deter them and it will bring down your stress levels.

How Else Can Colorado Pond Pros Help You?

We love our jobs and are excited to help you with your backyard water feature. We’ve got plenty of expertise on ponds, including outdoor fish ponds and pondless waterfalls, at the ready. Contact us today for help tending to your pond or installing a new one! 

And for more on caring for your backyard pond, check out our blogs High Winds and Your Backyard Water Feature and When Can I Start Feeding My Fish In The Spring?