Asked on May 13, 2013


Bonnie B
by Bonnie B
Does anyone know if it is at all possible that a Blue Heron or an Egret would be able to take "5" Koi at one time? Then come back the next day and take 4 more; the next day he/she/they took the remaining "3". Yes, after the first hit we tried to protect the pond even more than it already is. The pond is relatively well-covered with tree branches. I'm thinkin' the one of the roofers next door came and helped himself to our fish thinking that they were worth $$$. Any thoughts out there? They were so precious to us ~~ some being over 20-years old.
  71 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 13, 2013
    If the pond has "deep" or protected areas the fish may have the ability to hide from natural predators, however if they are somewhat "trained" to a feeding response. It would be fairly easy to attract them with some bait and net them out...I might give your local law enforcement a call. call it the missing fish caper.
  • Christina Norlin Christina Norlin on May 13, 2013
    Yes herons could definitely get the fish. Along with a host of other critters. Racoons are amazing fishingman! As stated before please give them a good deep concealed place to hide. Hope thar helps.
  • Patty Patty on May 13, 2013
    If some of the fish were 20 years old, I don't think it was a natural predator. Obviously they have had a place to hide for years.
  • Michelle Eliker Michelle Eliker on May 13, 2013
    Bonnie, I know people who have watched herons eat their koi (before they could stop them) and from then on the birds would come back daily to try and catch more. I have also had raccoons go "fishing" in my ponds and large koi are easy for them to catch because they are big and slow. Of course, never underestimate the sneakiness of humans.
  • L. Thompson L. Thompson on May 13, 2013
    I never could have fish in our small outdoor pond because of the herons. Yes, herons will find them. They have flown away when I have come out the front door. Sometimes I found the fish with pieces out of their sides. Gave up on the pond and the fish----an expensive loss. In my case it was not a cat or raccoon.
  • Yair Spolter Yair Spolter on May 13, 2013
    Hey there @Bonnie, I'm really sorry to hear about your fish and I hope you get to the bottom of this! But I want to say that it's great to see you back here on Hometalk.
  • Dameon Dameon on May 13, 2013
    Ditto to all of the above. Another deterrent that I'm currently using & seems to be effective is a small realistic alligator that I keep moving around in the pond. When it's time to feed I move'm so it's not always in the same position & algae build-up is kept to a minimum. Seems to keep the non bipedal critters away just fine considering my pond is right out in the open with only some submerged structures for cover & sun protection. Those Herons around here LOVE fishing in barrels when ever they get a chance but ain't so keen on being dinner for something else!
  • Jill Jill on May 13, 2013
    Heron or Egrets are not going to stop fishing even if the pond is deep and there is a hiding place for the fish. Same goes for raccoons. Cats on the other hand are a no. They won't go into the water. If you are going to restock your pond, I would advise you to put a metal screen over it. Build a secure frame for it, and make sure the holes in the wire are not too big, but big enough for food to get thru. Also make sure it's heavy gauge so that if the birds come back and try landing on it, it will hold their weight. Remember, it should be removable if needed, so don't bury it under objects surrounding the pond. Also, when putting screen over the pond make sure it's not sitting in the water, but several inches above.
  • Joanie J Joanie J on May 13, 2013
    I feel bad for you, I would feel really bad and sad if something got my fish.
  • Lindalumoore Lindalumoore on May 13, 2013
    Could be cats?
  • Pamela Walker Pamela Walker on May 13, 2013
    :( I am so sorry.... I would hate it if that happened to me. Wow 20 years old you must miss them so much :(
  • Herons land on ground then wade in. Running a small rope around the pond at about knee high will keep them out. Because of the way thier knees bend they can not step over it. For raccoons covering the pond with mesh only way to keep them out.
  • Lynne Sedgewick Lyon Lynne Sedgewick Lyon on May 14, 2013
    I have watched blue herons toss 12" trout down their throats from our pond. Even the kids have a hard time catching the fish, but the birds, not so much.
  • Barbara Foster Barbara Foster on May 14, 2013
    My neighbor has a Koi pond and yes, a blue heron can take them. He has installed a motion detector.
  • Mrstedy1 Mrstedy1 on May 14, 2013
    my neighbor had a koi pond, everyday for 2 weeks we saw beautiful herons visiting her backyard and never put 2 and 2 together. then we say the koi store truck and asked why she buying more. she said the birds had been having an expensive tasty lunch at her expense.
  • Mrstedy1 Mrstedy1 on May 14, 2013
    so she was selling all of hers back and ending the beautiful koi pond before it got more expensive
  • Heidi Sullivan Heidi Sullivan on May 14, 2013
    We had large fir and cedar trees around our very deep pond and actually witnessed (unfortunately) a blue heron come in and pick off our koi and we had some pretty large ones. It was a very sad thing to watch. We were in the middle of a drought and we think that is what forced the birds to look for some easy picking.
  • Karen Campbell Karen Campbell on May 14, 2013
    I don't have a pond so this may be a really dumb suggestion - but could you cover it wil some soft window screen material until they "unlearn" where to fish. We bought some and wove it in and out of our deck spindles (to keep our blind dog from falling through) and it actually blended quite well.
  • Debby Boyle Debby Boyle on May 14, 2013
    Up here the raccoons eat the fish!
  • Kayren Johnson Kayren Johnson on May 14, 2013
    Recommend covering your pond with rabbit wire & heavy rocks placed around the edges, this should stop about any critter...unless its a person... but then you would have your answer.
  • Janet Pauly Janet Pauly on May 14, 2013
    My in-laws have a nice pond that they cover with bird netting - pulled tight. They lost quite a few fish till they discovered it. The netting keeps out the critters, lets in the sun and keeps the leaves from falling in. Hope you get to the bottom of things!
  • Susie Becony Susie Becony on May 14, 2013
    Herons!! One day we caught one trying to get our fish after it dropped two fish from somewhere else next to our pond so it could grab ours... Nasty birds!! Then it started coming bck everyday trying to get the ones it missed...
  • Nancy Blue Moon Nancy Blue Moon on May 14, 2013
    Cats are jumping into water..swimming around to catch big fish..dragging them out and eating them?? I don't think so..I'm saying Herons also..Good luck Bonnie!
  • Sandy Butzke Sandy Butzke on May 15, 2013
    If you put fish line zig zag across ponds, the birds will leave the fish alone. I have lost so many fish before I discovered this.
  • Chris' Water Gardens Chris' Water Gardens on May 15, 2013
    We have several ponds and build them for others and we have a lot of experience with fish loss. Blue herons are notorious for stealing fish. Once they find your pond, they will continue to return until their little fishing hole is empty. All of the above ideas are great ones, especially the fishing line and rope around the pond. We have also used fake heron decoys around the pond, as well as motion sensors. One product we have found to be the best is "The Scarecrow". It hooks to a garden hose and is motion activated to shoot an arc of water across the pond, scaring anything away (herons, raccoons, deer, cats, etc). As for raccoons, they can get large fish as well, but you will normally see remains around the pond. Also, they will not swim and will only wait on the side until something swims by to grab. Same goes for cats. We have had people steal them in the area, but in these cases, it's usually all at once and not spread over multiple days. I am terribly sorry for your loss. It is hard to lose any fish, but especially older ones that you've grown attached to. Good luck!
  • Sharon Downes Sharon Downes on May 15, 2013
    my neighbor was raising koi to sell and had a raccoon attack that pretty well cleaned out his ponds. they come in at night when no one's around and 'go fishing'. heron's would be during the day when you would be able to observe them. a person would come in at night also. so sounds like either a raccoon or a person if they are disappearing at night.
  • Yael Valencia Yael Valencia on May 15, 2013
    I am very sorry over you loss of fish But bringing it up in this forum has introduced so many good ideas on how to protect the fish. I have n 85 gallon tank and 3 koi i have had for 4 years. I am waiting till I have my own house to put them in a pond and I learned do much about how to protect them here. Thank you for sharing
  • Cleo C Cleo C on May 15, 2013
    A friend also told me about watching an eagle take her koi before she could do anything about it,,,, so it is absolutely possible from other big birds!
  • Cindy Cindy on May 16, 2013
    raccoons and or cats our neighbor had 4gone in one day put up a camera saw both looking for more fish the next night
  • CindyandGeorge Schaeffer CindyandGeorge Schaeffer on May 16, 2013
    I love Koi and am so sorry for your loss! I also love our beautiful Blue Herons, we cannot blame them for doing what comes naturally. Unfortunately the beautiful colors I "think" catch their eye. We have a canal full of Carp (a relative of the Koi) and the Herons are kept full on those.
  • Linda Hinchey Linda Hinchey on May 16, 2013
    I found the perfect solution to cats and herons eating the fish out of my pond... It also works with cats using my garden as a litter box, raccoon in my corn, crows out of my blueberries, deer... etc. My answer is a motion detecting water spray. It detects motion from anything, even robbers, and sends a powerful jet of spray which rotates back and forth to send them away. Just type in "motion activated spray" in your search engine and they have a number of different brands.
  • Vicki Croak Vicki Croak on May 16, 2013
    Another possibility is raccoons. They come down to wash up & enjoy a little sushi during bath time. Strong possibility if you have raccoons in the area.
  • Pamela Misch Riestenberg Pamela Misch Riestenberg on May 16, 2013
    yes just 2 days ago a blue heron was perched on my front porch awning. Apparently it just had breakfast from my pond. I had over 17 fish in my pond and now I am down to 5. This was awful. I scared it away but. It until I discovered it was well fed. Stinks because some of the fish were years old that my husband and I have raised from babies. If anyone knows how to deter them besides getting rid of my pond, I would love to know. One of the fish was named Day Three because my niece won it at a festival last year and it was one of three to survive before we,put it in our pond. I have to find a replacement fish before she comes back over. She always checks on her fish when at my house.
  • Cindy Rossman French Cindy Rossman French on May 16, 2013
    I live in the inner city in the same house I grew up in. Never had even seen an Egret or Heron in our area. There is not a natural body of water within miles of my home. One day last summer I found my favorite fish lying next to our pond. I had never lost fish before so I guessed that it might have jumped out and couldn't get back in as I had actually witnessed this happening once and ran out to put the fish back in the pond. It had no visible wounds so I had nothing else to go on. The next day we found that some fish were missing and were thinking someone might have taken them. Then a neighbor told us he had seen a big bird come into our yard and pointed out that it was sitting on a roof at the end of our street. We looked at it and were stunned to find it was a huge Herron! That day we took several bamboo poles and placed them around the pond at 2-3 foot intervals. Then we tied fishing line to each to form a barrier around the pond as well as across the pond. Then we tied some old CD's to the line so they would spin in the breeze. It wasn't so bold that it blocked the view of the pond, and at night it was actually very pretty with the reflective light from the CD's dancing around the yard. A few days later we actually caught it at the side of our pond and chased it away, it was trying to figure out how to get past this line but we got there before it got any fish. From that point we never saw it again and had no obvious missing fish. We kept it up the rest of the year and plan to put it up again soon. Many of our fish are over 15 years old and it would break my heart to lose them. Good Luck!
  • Ahrisha Lesher Ahrisha Lesher on May 17, 2013
    My neighbor has a beautiful big pond and he had to make a covering for it from 1" square wire fencing. He molded it so that it covers the whole pond like a big bubble so the heron cannot reach through the holes and go fishing.
  • Pamela Misch Riestenberg Pamela Misch Riestenberg on May 18, 2013
    i went to buy more fish yesterday and spoke with the man who owns a nursery by me and he said instead of covering your pond, put a 6imch piece of black drainage tube in the bottom of your pond as an escape for the fish to hide. This way no animal can get not it, the raccoons cannot reach into it from end to end and the Heron cannot get to the fish. I am doing this as soon as I clean my pond. Also cut slits into the tubing for better water flow
  • Amanda B Amanda B on May 26, 2013
    I have a small pond and either egrets, herons or raccoons can get to my fish, but they haven't in almost 10 years...I believe I should thank my dogs for this, they are wonderful dogs with people but just let something come into my yard and it's theirs if it doesn't move fast enough. I have sight hounds!
  • Judy T Judy T on May 27, 2013
    I, too have lost many a koi to a blue heron. I purchased deer netting and keep it stretched across the pond. It does the trick!
  • CindyandGeorge Schaeffer CindyandGeorge Schaeffer on May 27, 2013
    Amanda B. I think dogs are the answer! I've always wanted a pond and feel pretty sure my 3 Jack Russells would do the job!
  • Kay Greer Kay Greer on May 28, 2013
    I started out with 4 koi and ended up w one..then I saw a great horned owl sitting on a electrical poll in my back yard late at night.sure now he was the theif!
  • Pamela Misch Riestenberg Pamela Misch Riestenberg on May 28, 2013
    well cleaned the pond and ll was well for two dys. Then lost to more fish. Put the dring tubing in the bottom and the babies go in it but my to blue shibunkin did not and no thy re gone also. I think I will search or other later natives. Maybe the deer netting someone suggested . I know Ai am not getting any new fish this year. Stinks....
  • Shirley H Shirley H on May 28, 2013
    I put old clay drain pipe in about 18" sections in my pond for the fish to hide;bad problem where I live w/raccoons & 'possums.
  • Amanda B Amanda B on Jun 03, 2013
    I still think a good hunting dog is the answer, don't get me wrong...I have lost fish due to them jumping out, but never to a thief be it winged, two or four legged.
  • Cindy Rossman French Cindy Rossman French on Jun 07, 2013
    We saw a heron a few days ago flying over our neighborhood. It hasn't seen our pond yet and so hasn't come fishing in my yard. We will be resorting to what worked for us last year. We took several fiberglass rods (about 3 ft tall) and placed them about 2 feet apart all around the perimeter of the pond. We then took heavy gauge fishing line and tied it from one rod to another at 2 different heights all around the pond. We also strung the line across the pond. Then we used several old CD's and tied them to the line strung between each of the rods. The CD's spin with the slightest breeze and at night they reflect every bit of light available in an amazing "disco ball" fashion. It really doesn't detract from the view of the pond and is actually a pretty cool look. The constant motion even keeps the neighbors cats from coming into our yard to drink from the pond!
  • Carole curtis Carole curtis on Jun 07, 2013
    possibly they could, but might be racoons also. Herons/Egrets are sole feeders. If there is another bird there, they will not invade. When I had my pond, we had a lifesize heron that we put into the ground close to the pond. You do have to move it every 3 days or so. We used to watch herons sitting on top of neighbors garage just waiting for them to go inside away from their large pond. Good luck
  • Pamela Misch Riestenberg Pamela Misch Riestenberg on Jun 12, 2013
    Decided to cover the pond with duck weed and watermill . Making it harder to spot the fish we have lost. S far so good, except the fish keep eating the plants. Good thing we have a friend with a farm pond who is willing to give it to us. He is trying to rid his pond of it.
  • Martha B Martha B on Aug 30, 2014
    We covered our pond with bird netting the day we received the fish four years ago. So far, no missing fish.
  • Linda Bonnes Linda Bonnes on Aug 31, 2014
    Yes Herons and Egrets appreciate your thoughtfulness in providing breakfast free of charge! My mother had a large pond with plenty of koi and thought how cool it was to see a gorgeous waterfowl standing in it. She turned to me and told me it was there and then her next words were "oh no you're not doing that...not my koi!" as it quickly swallowed up her 12" koi effortlessly. She then sat outside with a bb gun for 2 weeks until we were able to stock the pond with enough vegetation to provide them with some protection. She was distressed to find that he communicated free lunch to his friends. Then it was a bunch of rednecks on the patio with bb guns. No lie. I had to serve food to the amatuer posse. They argued that the birds were gaining on them and the one who missed most wouldn't get to eat themselves. Long story but her pond of a decade was essentially decimated within a week. The covering and restocking took longer and the birds decided that food was getting short and decided to go for better pickings but the bb guns earned a permanent spot near the garden door.
  • Opal Opal on Sep 02, 2014
    I'm sorry for your loss. A place to hide (pipe like) and a cover (grate) is about all you can do when it comes to natures scavengers and hunters. Maybe a bell or other noise maker would be helpful to scare off predators.
  • The Chirping Frog The Chirping Frog on Sep 30, 2014
    Yes, highly possible..... my grandmother called the cops on the neighbor boy (and mistreated the poor kid for years) because she blamed him for stealing her fish..... all the while I'm noticing a large bird sitting on her back fence right next to the pond.... yeah... that boy stole her fish!
  • Lisa Steenson Lisa Steenson on Dec 15, 2014
    Racoons took my koi. Little banditos.
  • Orchidmg Orchidmg on Dec 15, 2014
    I'm sorry that happened! Koi are beautiful fish and have a long history with meaning. If you end up getting more, could you put up motion sensored lights that might deter people from stealing them? If it's birds taking them, I don't know how to stop them. Maybe talk to the people that sell the Koi for options.
  • Kay Greer Kay Greer on Dec 17, 2014
    We had 5 koi.When we were down to one we found out an owl was the thief!!
  • Lisa L. Lisa L. on Jan 07, 2015
    We had a heron stealing our koi here in Oklahoma! We've had a lit of animals in the yard this year! Mostly because it's a water supply and we've been so dry the past few years ! We put copper piping 3' tall space 6' apart around the pond and tied fishing line to one pipe and crisscrossed till it was around and across the pond!:). Herons like to walk into water but now they can't walk in or go under!!:). You don't notice it being there after a while and we put a decoration on top of the pipe to cover the hole!! Hope this helps!!
  • L. Thompson L. Thompson on Jan 08, 2015
    We gave up. One or more Great Blue Herons were eating the fish. I replaced the pond with a concrete fountain.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Jan 08, 2015
    The birds are for sure eating them. Blue Herons love those fish, you could put a mesh screen over the pond, It does discourage the birds. But if the pond is easy to see from the sky the birds will still try.
  • Johnsonsnest Johnsonsnest on Jun 04, 2015
    Greetings, birds like koi, and raccoons find them especially yummy too. Mesh screen should help for both diners.
  • Gloria DiBenedetto Gloria DiBenedetto on Mar 04, 2016
    Our big dog was the protector of our backyard. He got old as dogs do and died at age 16 leaving our paradise unprotected. We had a visiting egret who came by for breakfast. He ate one or two a day from my small pond. My neighbor's cats would eat them too, but they would just take a bite and leave them to die. What a terrible surprise. We have a motion activated sprinkler and another dog now. Problem solved.
  • Laura Laeycs Laura Laeycs on Mar 07, 2016
    How about covering the pond with chicken wire, you can still enjoy the fish, while the birds, and other animals stay out of it.
  • Paige Paige on May 09, 2016
    You need to put a wire of some type over the top of these and attach it to the ground. Once they smell them or hear your water moving they are fair game for the birds and little critters who are hungry. Sorry this happened :(
  • Sharon Sharon on May 09, 2016
    String fishing line around the pond. The birds will try to walk forward and once they hit the line, they cannot figure out how to go over it and will leave the pond alone.
  • Brenda Jo Remen Brenda Jo Remen on Jul 07, 2016
    A blue Herron can carry away enormous fish, and they will come back over and over until every fish is gone. I had butterfly koi ($$$$) and most are gone. We see him come and run him off, but it's illegal to kill one. If anyone knows a SURE way to be rid of a Herron, please let me knlw
  • Dona Dona on Jul 08, 2016
    It' most likely a raccoon. They are notorious scavengers and eat anything.
  • Shi7079970 Shi7079970 on Jul 08, 2016
    My neighbor had to put a net over her pond because of the herion eating her kio
  • Pat Pat on Jul 17, 2016
    Since you have a heavily treed area, I wouldn't rule out raccoons also! But yes herons will definetly be able to carry off a good size koi! Most pond suppliers carry pond netting that you stretch across the surface of your pond. It can be used above or below water level.
  • Zuz345178 Zuz345178 on Jul 23, 2016
    Absolutely! We had our pond raided in one night. Both heron and raccoon came to feast and ate our entire stock. Our youngest daughter was devastated, so we restocked and covered the pond with netting. After that the fish wasn't entirely safe, some still managed to get fished out, but it did curb the efforts of the thieves.
  • Polly Fuller Polly Fuller on Jul 24, 2016
    Yes, a blue heron ate all my fish, some large. caught him in the act. if you get a blue heron statue and move it around once and a while, it usually works to deter others
  • Adele Kurtz Adele Kurtz on Aug 11, 2016
    I buy the black bird netting -- start at one end of the pond concentrating on the edges,. then around the other side. Stake it around 4 inches or more above water and don't make it too easy to figure out. Mine is a maze that zig zags over & under & around. Blue Heron are smart, patient, cautious. They can watch for hours up in the trees, then very slowly approach and wade in. The decoy heron is a joke I fell for too. We had to outwit them until they gave up.
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on May 16, 2023

    Yes, it's what they do! Protect your fish!!

  • Yes, herons can do that. So sorry!

  • Mogie Mogie on May 16, 2023

    Cover the pond with some sort of netting. You can always install a security camera so you can keep an eye on the pond and most security cameras have night vision so you can see anything at night also.