Does Your Lake Take a Holiday?Does Your Lake Take a Holiday? As we move into the throes of winter, make sure your lake is healthy. Here's how.
By Bob Lusk
Here we are, on the backside of fall, headed to winter, nature's time to rest. Hardwood trees lose their leaves, sap falls. Native grass goes dormant. Bears hibernate and men watch football each weekend, between hunting trips. Does your mini-pond rest? In many ways, it does. Fish are cold blooded animals, meaning their metabolism rates are influenced by the temperature of their environment. Even cold water fish slow down in cold water. Warmwater fish almost go dormant...heavy on the word "almost".
Water changes with temperature. Its affinity for oxygen increases as it gets colder. Colder water is denser than warmer water.
Many plant species take some time off. They either die back or go dormant and sink.
Dominant strains of plankton take a rest.. .or die off and sink to the bottom.
Your pond changes for winter. It still does what it does, but to a much lesser extent. Water processes waste much more slowly. But, it receives less waste, too.
That doesn't mean your fish won't eat. They do, but they eat much less often. Besides, if you've done your job and they've done theirs, their bodies have enough fat to metabolize over the winter, plus an abundance of slow moving food whenever they need it.
So, what can you do while your pond yawns?
Improve habitat. Add structure or cover.
Go through all your equipment and maintain it. Be sure equipment that might have water is drained, so as not to freeze. Check pumps and hoses. Maintain your aeration systems, fish feeders, boats, docks. Take time to look through all your manuals to ensure the life of all that pond stuff you've acquired over the years.
As we move into the throes of winter, make sure your water is healthy. Have the chemistry analyzed, do your fall fish surveys and set the stage for the next season of your pond's life. If ponds in your part of the country tends toward winterkill, take steps now to prevent it.
After all, just because you have a holiday, it doesn't mean your pond will.
Reprinted with permission from Pond Boss Magazine
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