Lake Aeration in Jackson, Georgia

outdoor water solutions

Aeration and lake liming are two lake improvements that generate the least amount of enthusiasm from clients. Unlike fishing stocking where there’s instant gratification of seeing 10,000 bluegill go into the lake, seeing 800 meters of weighted airline sink into the lake is a big let down. However, subtle improvements are the difference between phenomenal fisheries and mediocre ones.

Today’s job was an aeration installation in Jackson, GA. Aeration installations are simple to install but they take lots of prep work to make for a smooth day. Outdoor Water Solutions is the company we used for this client. They provided AES with a detailed project map of where each bottom diffuser is to be dropped as well as the amount of air line.

The Parts

outdoor water solutions
This is the cabinet which houses the air compressor to produce the aeration in the lake.
pond management
The tubing comes in large spools for big jobs while for smaller jobs they come in 100 meter boxes. The tubing is weighted so it sinks to the bottom.
bottom diffused aeration
These are the diffusers that go on the lake bottom and produce the fine bubbles.
pond management
The pores on the membrane are extremely fine to produce the small bubbles.

The Installation

Pond aeration
Aeration systems only require PVC glue, teflon tape, and hose clamps.
pond management
Josh is putting the last few turns on a diffuser before it gets dropped.
pond aeration
We use PVC glue with a barbed connector but as extra insurance we secure a hose clamp to the diffuser.
pond management
Lots of logistics were required to make today go smooth. With the amount of diffuser stations and tubing things could go sideways quickly.
pond management
Deploying the diffuser stations requires care because too much pressure on the diffuser stems can cause cracking. We use PVC glue and clamps to secure all air lines but great care is still used.

The Worst Case

This particular client has a lot invested in the fishery both in time and money. Aeration systems prevent summer fish kills among other things. They also help break up bottom muck, reduce foul odors, and limit the amount of biting insects. If your lake water resembled a bowl of pea soup last summer, an aeration system is something that should be seriously considered.

Below is a client that had four years worth of management invested in his lake. He sent us these horrific pictures of his lake one summer morning. This is why we aerate lakes.

Threadfin Shad
These are dead threadfin shad.
bluegill
This shoreline was where the bulk of the bluegill washed up. This client loves to fly fish for big bluegill. Seeing crows and buzzards fly off with your dead 1 lb bluegill cuts deep.
big bass
A front loader full of stud 4-6 lb largemouth.

The reason this lake experienced a fish kill was because the lake flipped. There was a period of cloudy rainy weather during the heat of the summer. Oxygen levels crashed and the fish had nothing to consume. Call the office this spring before it’s too late for your pond.

 

 

 

 

Winterize your lake or pond

With winter fast approaching, many of our managed lake see a dramatic change in weed density and water clarity.  Just like your Bermuda lawn, most aquatic weeds will turn brown and go dormant for the winter.  Most weeds will seem to be completely gone, but we know from experience that the roots and seeds are quietly biding their time until the sunlight increases and the water temperatures rise. And just like your lawn, treating the young shoots of the aquatic weeds is the easiest way to control them as opposed to letting the weeds become deeply rooted again.

Lake owners will also see the clarity of their lakes increase, sometimes dramatically, during the winter.  Why is that? As the water cools, the natural cycle of phytoplankton is halted, thus clearing the water or its summertime green or brownish color. With this cooling comes slower growth for all animals in the lake, as their bodies try to conserve energy through the winter.   As fishes metabolism slows, you should slow down the rate at which you provide supplemental feeding with your fish feeders to bluegill and/or catfish.

Fish feeders this time of year need to be set for a mid-afternoon feeding and shut down by the time the water temps are consistently in the low 50’s. Now if you feeding cool water fish such as trout, then keep them running.  Just keep in mind you want the fish to consume all of the food in around five minutes. Once turned off. Break down the components of the feeder and clean them well.  Apply lubrication to moving parts.  Thoroughly clean the solar panel.  Put your batteries on a load tester to make sure they are ready for next spring.  Never leave a feeder shutdown for the winter with food in it. Fish food sitting in a feeder that is shut down will lead to corrosion problems.

Winter is also the best time of the year to place fish habitat.  In our work, it is common to find lakes with a lack of protective cover.  This is critical to promote bluegill recruitment which will improve the growth rates of your largemouth bass. You can cut trees and sink them near spawning beds.   Next month, collect all the Christmas trees from your neighbors and sink them in less than 4 feet of water where small fish spend their time.  Also, increase fishing hot spots with placement of trees out in deeper water.

Old ponds that may have sediment buildup can use some dredging.  A silted in pond is not good habitat for spawning and may lead to a muddy lake.  It facilitates aquatic weed and algae growth. Dredging it out means draining the lake and there is no better time to drain the lake for the fish than when cool.

What else could I do this winter for my lake? If you experienced aquatic weeds in the warmer months, stocking grass carp this winter will give your lake a jump-start on the spring growth.

  • The best long-term control of the submersed weeds is stocking grass carp.
  • Grass carp are very effective in controlling submersed grasses and can eat up to 5 times their body weight in one day.

Installing a bottom diffused aeration system can prevent winter turnover fish kills and add beneficial oxygen to the water body.  Aeration systems have also been proven to reduce nutrient levels in the water, stunting weed growth.  Although not a aesthetically pleasing as a fountain, bottom diffused aeration adds more oxygen and actually takes less electricity to operate.

Just because winter is here and normal fishing slows down, you can add rainbow trout to your lake for added action in the winter months.  Trout are cold water fish and are very aggressive in the colder months, and are good tasting and easy to catch.  Supplemental feeding with a fish feeder is recommended for trout.

So don’t give your lake the cold shoulder this winter,  pick a project that will increase your enjoyment of the lake!