Fish Steal the Show Saturday at Koi Club’s 2011 Pond Tour

“The Whale,” a 13-year-old yellow Ogon carp, lives peacefully in an aquatic sanctuary in Renee and Gary Ottsman’s Redding backyard. He’s the oldest of 15 fish that share the landscaped, precision-filtered pond that Renee and Gary excavated two years ago, a project that propelled them from water gardeners to koi-keepers.

“The Whale,” center, in Renee and Gary Ottsman’s pond

You can see “The Whale” on his turf this Saturday when Renee and other koi aficionados, members of the Shasta Koi and Water Garden Club, open their homes for the 2011 Pond Tour.

Seven area ponds are open to the public, varying in size and design, from Renee and Gary’s 1,900-gallon raised, manicured water garden, to Tammy Cole’s 18,000-gallon lagoon, integrated into its natural surroundings.

No one will blame you if all you do on the tour is “ooh” and “ahh,” but the koi-curious can benefit from the collective experience of Koi Club members. Each has a different perspective on pond construction, filters and pumps, but they can also tell you the difference between Yamabuki, Asagi and Shusiu carp – just a few of the varieties classified by pattern and color. Landscape fanatics will have a great time, too. Many club members have detailed photo documentation of their pond construction.

The Ottsmans’ 1,900-gallon pond

But make no mistake. Koi-keeping is about the fish and it’s clearly addictive. “I want one of every kind,” said Renee, who frequents Hawaii’s Kodama Koi Farm online fish auctions. Take the tour this weekend and you might be hooked, too.

WIN A TICKET: The Shasta Koi and Water Garden Club has provided a 2011 Pond Tour ticket for readers. If you want it, be the first to comment on this story.

What: Shasta Koi and Water Garden Club 2011 Pond Tour

When: Saturday (June 25), 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Seven ponds in Redding and Anderson. Tour guidebook and directions provided with ticket purchase.

Tickets: $10, available at Axner Excavating, Sunset Koi, Jose Antonio’s, Linda’s Hallmark, Wyntour Gardens, Happy Valley Nursery, Vic Hannan Landscape, Shasta Feed, Mike’s Pools and Moore and the Red Bluff Garden Center.

For more information, call (530) 917-0930.

Adam Mankoski enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State weekend events to

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of


1 Responses »

  1. Koi fish are so beautiful! I can understand how they would be addictive!

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