As nasty as it looks, most of the water we pumped out was actually pretty clear. The fish are in a holding tank for a week or so while we refill the pond and let the water settle. You can see how clear the water was in the pic below.
We rescued this lone surviving frog from the skimmer box. There was another in there that was well past stinky! I feel badly for the frogs and don't understand how they manage to die over the winter, considering all the leaves and mulm they have to burrow under. I wonder if it would be possible to catch them in the fall and bring them inside? I wouldn't want to make a pet out of a wild frog, but I hate finding them dead in the spring.
Here's a view of the sparkly clean pebble beach as we started to refill the pond late yesterday afternoon. The birds love this part of our pond, because most of this area is only an inch or two deep. It's a nightmare to keep clean, but worth seeing the birds come in for a bath. The fish also love to play in this part and root around in the pebbles. Down at the far end of the pond the water is a little over 3 feet deep and it holds about 1,000 gallons. So the pond is filled today and the frog is back in one of his hiding spots. I'll wait till the weekend to put the fish back once the filter has been running for a while. The only time I add any chemicals to the pond is in the spring when we have to clean it out like this and then I use just a dechlorinator. The next step is to get some pond plants and some annuals to dress up the edge. It'll be pretty before long!