For those of you who read 3 Steps To Stock Your Connecticut Water Body on July 16, 2016 may have remembered that I ordered Grass Carp, but since it was a foreign species that has a voracious appetite for vegetation, that I needed an on-site inspection from a Connecticut State inspector.
Mindy came to inspect my lake without my knowledge. I believe that her sole job is to inspect water bodies for Connecticut, and I think she’s the only person that is tasked with this role. Needless to say she is extremely busy, particularly in the more seasonal months of the fall, spring and summer. She left me a voicemail about my culvert needing covering to prevent the grass carp from leaving my lake.
A culvert is a huge pipe. In the event of extremely heavy rainfall or melting snowfall, my lake flows through the culvert under a road onto my neighbors river. While they vary in diameter, mine was 29″ in diameter. I began my research into the solution to my problem. Mindy was nice enough to send me some sample culvert blockers that I could fabricate myself. All of these had one thing in common – the space between the barriers are 1 1/2 inches wide. This has been determined as the perfect amount of space to keep the fish in and allow water and debris out. A simple plug to the culvert is not a good idea unless you want a flood on your property. No bueno.
The ideas that Mindy sent me ranged from simple and ugly to nice and expensive. Those of you who know me know that I wanted something that was simple and cheap with an emphasis on the later. I decided to buy the materials and make one myself. This idea abruptly ended when I watched YouTube video and websites that discusses the proper way of bending PVC pipe. You either have to pack the pipe with sand and heat it gently or alternatively you can buy a PVC pipe bending kit for $300. My dreams were dashed by dozen of unusable PVC pipes with kinks on them. No bueno.
I then tried contacting the manufacturer of the PVC pipe bending kit to see if they had any clients who were large PVC fabricators. My thought was that I could contract out to them my item, and have them make it. I also called around to different PVC and plastic fabricators to see if anyone could make one. I could not believe that I was the first person with this problem. However, outside manufacturers were of little use. Most fabricators wanted to be able to make something on a large scale. Just the tooling would cost several thousand dollars not including the materials for my item. My most hopeful find was a fabricator out of Pennsylvania who offered to make a very beautiful one for around $300 including shipping. No bueno.
This is a good time to describe what my goals were. I wanted an elegant and a simple culvert blocker that cost less than $50 bucks. It had to be durable, maintenance free and not leech noxious materials into my lake (read: metal). I re-evaluated thoughts that I could build one and I took a trip to Home Depot to see what I could make. I’ve never gone to Home Depot without a shopping list. Unlike Felix, I do not unwind by going to a superstore (excluding Costco or BJs or course). I went to Home Depot with an open mind to see what I could mesh together. The first HD employee I ran into told me flat out to go to Bass Pro shops. I told him that if I wanted to buy a fishing pole or reel, that that would be the place to go, but for this, I was not so sure. He simply replied, those guys know fish, and have probably encountered this before. No bueno.
I settled on a pieces of 1/2″ PVC pipe. The difference between this and the PVC that I grew up with was this stuff was flexible. Think hula hoop. I get that this problem is not one that 99% of you will face, but in the off chance that it helps a single person, I’d be glad. The shopping list is below and cost $45 bucks! BUENO!
Whenever I go to HD, I think of what I need and create a shopping list. Inevitably, something comes up or you overlooked something. This was true of adding wheels to my chicken coop and while on our second trip to the hardware superstore, Felix and I told stories of how many times we visited HD on a single task. This was the first time that I did not need to return to the hardware store. Makes me think that creating a shopping list is unnecessary. This does NOT apply to groceries particularly if you have a wife that just gave birth to a child and has a serious addition problem with Hagen Daz ice cream.
Rather than describe the assembly in words, I will post photos of the assembly. Entire assembly took about two hours, and although I could have done it faster, I do not think I could have built it better.
My thoughts on the process on making this fish grate were pretty haphazard. From going into the hardware superstore without a plan, to actual building. To begin the process, for example, I knew the diameter of my culvert was 29″ This meant that I needed to figure out the circumference. Remembering from high school geometry that Circumference – 2(Pi)(radius) I calculated that the circumference would be about 91″. I cut this section of the pipe, added the adapter connectors and marched out to the culvert, confident about my math skills. Too big. I went back to my drawings and calculations and no matter what I did I could not figure out why my hoop was too big. Eventually, I gave up and cut about six inches off the end and reconnected it and voila, it fit perfectly. I thought this was a sign from the gods, and in the rest of the assembly, I never used a ruler (except to measure 1.5″ between the grates. I would eyeball where the red pipe and the white PVC pipe would go, and drill away with a hand drill. Not a single hole or bolt is misplaced! Bueno!
My next post about FISH will be after I get approval and buy the Grass Carp and place them in the lake. Or if that is uneventful, the next one will be about fishing bass and catfish out of the lake. I’m also considering stocking the lake with brown trout, but have to do research on compatibility with bass, catfish and grass carp.