by Trent Lewis, FPC
I’m not sure about you, but I would rather sweat in the summer than bundle up in the winter. The sweet smell of deet is comforting. Swatting mosquitos is therapeutic. Warm humid mornings are peaceful. I love the warmth of summer versus the stinging numbness of cold, wet fingers and feet when having to do aquatic work in the winter.
I have family that lives in the mountains of Colorado. There are two types of people that live in Colorado – the ones that survive summer to enjoy the winter activities and the ones that survive the winter to enjoy the summer activities. As a Texas boy, I feel I’m a person that survives Texas’ mild winters to enjoy the heat and humidity of Texas summers.
But you say, “Wait – the reason you like summer is because that’s your busy season in stream, wetland, pond and lake management. No wonder you like it so much – it’s when you make your hay.” While this is true, we are equally as busy in the winter months – we’re just busy doing other things. Here are some things you should be doing this winter to prepare for your pond or lake’s warm season…
- Creating, modifying, amending and tweaking your 2016 lake management plan. This doesn’t include just fisheries management, but weed and water quality management too.
- Pull your fountains and aerators and have them inspected, serviced and maintained.
- Supplemental fish stocking. Winter is a great time to stock fish – temperatures are cool, fish stress less and hatchery availability is more diverse.
- Trout stocking. Turn your pond or lake into a winter fishing destination by stocking trout. Plus, it adds to your forage base when they start to die out in the spring due to warmer water temperatures. It’s a win-win!
- Pond and lake mapping. In the winter, submerged vegetation doesn’t interfere with sonar data collection. Map in the winter so you can plan for the summer.
- Lake drawdown. Exposing littoral vegetation to the harsh cold elements can be an effective strategy for controlling early-growth weeds in the spring. Additionally, planting cool weather grass like rye can enhance littoral areas when the water comes back up in the spring.
- Emergent vegetation removal. Do you have areas of cattails, bulrush, switchgrass or other vegetation that grew up this summer and needs to be cut down and removed? Winter is a great time for that.
- Dock repair, maintenance and additions. Now’s a great time to power wash the dock. If you have a floating, modular dock you can think about adding on to it or changing its configuration.
- Dredging. Remove the sediment that’s accumulated over the years. Increasing your pond or lake’s capacity is one of the best ways to improve water quality.
Most importantly – don’t wait until winter is here to get out to your pond or lake – fall is a great time to get back on your pond and lake and enjoy your management efforts from the spring and summer months. If you did it right, your pond’s weeds are managed, the spawn was productive, your fish are well fed and your water quality is at its peak. Before you know it, winter will be here and so will the holidays, so enjoy the time you have to spend with family and friends at your pond.
Happy early Thanksgiving – it’s only 19 days away – and we have so much to be thankful for this year! God bless!