Over time, ponds will accumulate silt, fish waste and other impurities at the bottom. If they are allowed to get out of hand, these problems can cause a bad smell from the water, bacterial growth and even death of fish. A cleaning method called dredging is necessary to alleviate these problems. Dredging involves running a special bucket through the bottom of the pond to collect these waste materials. A homemade pond dredge can be made with the right materials and some time.
Remove one end of the 55-gallon steel drum. Use a barrel cutter to remove the end. If you don't have one available, use a reciprocating saw. Remove any sharp edges with a metal file.
Drill holes in the other end of the steel drum. Use a power drill and a 1/2-inch metal drill bit to do this. Space out the holes throughout the entire lid of the steel drum. Make sure the holes completely perforate the metal surface, so that water will be able to pass through. Drill 15 to 20 holes in this end.
Drill four equally spaced holes on the outside of the steel drum, near the open end of the barrel. Make the holes just large enough to accept the eyebolts. Insert the eyebolts into the holds, with the large eye outside of the barrel. Install the nut onto the eyebolt, on the inside of the drum. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nuts down. The eyebolts should be sticking out perpendicular to the outside of the barrel.
Cut four lengths of steel cable. Make them 10 to 15 yards longer than the length of your pond. Attach each cable to an eyebolt on the steel drum. Loop each cable through a heavy-duty carabiner, and secure it with a cable clamp. Use an adjustable wrench to secure the clamps tightly. The carabiners will allow you to quickly disconnect the barrel from the cables. Attach all four of the carabiners to the eyebolts.
Create a loop in the other end of each cable and secure it with a cable clamp. Use an adjustable wrench to tighten the clamp. Ensure that each loop is large enough to slide over the towing ball hitch of your truck or tractor. Attach the four cable ends to your truck or tractor.
Insert the steel drum into one end of the pond and allow it to sink. With a truck or tractor, slowly pull the drum to the other end of the pond, then completely out of the pond. Allow the water to drain from the drum. Dump the waste material in a designated area, and repeat the process.