How Do I Keep Heron from Eating My Fish?

Spring is on it’s way and when the warmer weather returns, so does the great blue heron. For most people getting the chance to see these majestic birds is something to enjoy. But, if you own koi, seeing one in your yard brings one question to mind. How do I keep Heron from eating my fish?

The blue heron as you probably know is a protected bird. So, as much as you might be tempted, you should not shoot them. But don’t worry. There are other ways to keep them from eating your beautiful koi.

Netting Your Pond

The most effective option to keep the birds at bay is to keep a net over your pond. This option is also the least popular for obvious reasons. For most of us covering your water feature takes away from its natural beauty. If you like to interact with your water feature, having a net restricts your ability to do that. Netting is necessary in fall to catch debris, but a pond just is not as inviting with a net over it year-round.

Fishing Line Barrier

Using fishing line across your pond can also help to deter Herons. You can place stakes around the outside of your pond, attach a fishing line, and run the line across the pond several feet above the water. Doing this makes it difficult for the birds to navigate the pond. Using fishing line is not as unsightly as netting, however some people still dislike the way it looks. This method is not guaranteed to keep the bird out for good.

Sonic Devices

You could also try a Yard Gard which is a device that can be plugged into an outlet or run on batteries. It puts off soundwaves that drive critters away. Much like a dog whistle, the animals can hear it but we can’t. The device has several different settings such as deer, raccoon, squirrel, etc. The Yard Gard is small and can be easily hidden. So, if you are looking for something that will not mar the beauty of your landscaping this might be a good option for you.


A newer method that is being used is a large aerator that disturbs the surface of the water. Some people believe this effectively hides the fish from the heron. The added benefit of an aerator is that it is also good for the health of your fish and your water quality. Some don’t like the idea of not being able to see under the water while the aerator is running. But it can be installed with a remote, so you can turn it off with the push of a button, enjoy watching your fish swim about, and then turn it back on while you are away.

Again, these methods are not guaranteed to permanently keep heron from eating your fish. They may deter the birds for a short period of time until they figure out a way around it, or they may not work at all unfortunately. The great blue heron belongs to nature and nature remains forever outside our control. It is always sad to lose beautiful fish that we have gotten attached to, or maybe even named. But, as with any other pet, they are not meant to be with us forever, so we must enjoy their friendship while we have it and make new friends when they are gone. There will always be more beautiful koi.

Catch you downstream.