Monday, July 28, 2008

Never S.O.L…

The MAD Show hit the lake with tubes in tow. We decided to take one vehicle, which meant that we would need to load the tubes deflated and inflate at the shoreline. Well we get there and after a few pumps I hear a snap, crackle and pop. Then the pump goes dead. The top was taken off and as I tip the pump to one-side plastic pieces fell out. It was kaput.

Miles and miles away from a replacement, going back was not an option. We could shorebang the lake but that was not what we had planned. Looking at the pump and our deflated tubes we almost admitted that we might be S.O.L on this run.

“Never S.O.L.” We said taking the air tube out of the pump and filled the tubes up manually. Staying positive and keeping your wits about you is very important in stressful situations. A solution may be possible and complaining will only slow you down.

It took a bit longer but we both made it out there to catch some fish. Action was good early and the tubes made all the difference.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Me and Old Mr Snappy

Fishing a pond a while back and I came across Old Mr. Snappy. Well I reached in, pulled him out and told him a joke about a turtle and a rabbit. We just laughed and laughed. Good times!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Filamentous Algae

One of the most common aquatic weed problem in ponds is filamentous algae. Its presence can degrade water quality and recreational enjoyment. Excessive algae can cause an oxygen depletion leading to fish die-off when it decomposes in excessive amounts. Early and regular control measures will help reduce the problems associated with filamentous algae.

The Plant

Filamentous algae, also called "moss" or "pond scum," forms dense mats of hair like strands. Its growth begins on submerged objects on the pond bottom. As it grows, the algae gives off oxygen that becomes entrapped in the mat of strands. This gives it buoyancy and causes it to rise to the surface where it frequently covers large areas of the pond. Filamentous algae is often a persistent problem because it reproduces by plant fragments, spores and cell division.
Types of filamentous algae vary in texture and color. Microscopic examination is usually required to make an exact identification. Some of the more common forms are: Spirogyra is bright green and slimy to the touch; Cladophora has a cottony feel; and Pithophora is often referred to as "horse hair" algae because its coarse texture resembles that of horse hair and it may feel like steel wool.

Various methods of control are listed below and offer varying results depending on the characteristics of the lake and the species of algae. These methods are listed in order of least possible damage to the water system. The downside is that the least damaging methods are also the slowest to take affect. I recommend using chemical options as a last resort if at all.
Mechanical Control

Filamentous algae can be controlled by physically removing large floating clumps with a rake. This will prevent the algae from decomposing in the pond and consuming dissolved oxygen. Algae that has been removed can be piled for composting or used in a garden as mulch. This material dries quickly once out of water.

Steepening the sides of the pond to achieve a 3:1 slope will eliminate shallow water areas so that sunlight cannot reach bottom-growing algae. However, if the entire pond has filled in as a result of sedimentation or decaying vegetation, a dragline or dredge may be needed to deepen the pond.

I have also had some success in a few ponds with periodic increased water flow. The extra water movement breaks up the clumps and strands. Draining just a few CFS for a few hours can remove far more algae than you can rake in the same amount of time. The only downside here is that you may not have fresh water to re-supply your pond. Too much drainage will greatly hurt you in the long run so pumps and natural filters may be your only option here. Shoot me an e-mail if you have interest or knowledge in this arena.

Biological Control

Biological control involves disrupting plant growth by modifying the aquatic environment through natural manipulation, or it can mean introducing a living organism that is capable of controlling aquatic vegetation.

One method of biological control is maintaining a fertility level that fosters the development of a microscopic plant and animal population, which prevents sunlight penetration. This requires intense management and more time than the average pond owner may wish to devote to the pond. Sunlight penetration to the pond bottom where the algae begins to grow can also be reduced by introducing an inert dye (usually blue). I have never tried this option although a few private property managers swear by it. It also requires routine testing and maintenance with fertilizer or solutions.

The addition of triploid white amur (a vegetation-eating fish) as a biological control measure may have mixed results. Filamentous algae is not a preferred food, but will be eaten if no other vegetation is present. If other aquatic plants such as water milfoil or coontail are readily available, the filamentous algae may be ignored and continue to flourish.
Chemical Control

Copper Sulfate

Most species of algae can be controlled with very low concentrations of copper sulfate. It is available in crystalline nuggets the size of rock salt or as a finely ground "snow" grade (Figure 1). The recommended treatment rate is 2.7 pounds per acre-foot of water. [Acre-feet is a volume measurement of the pond. It is determined by multiplying average depth (feet) X surface area (acres). For more information on calculating measurements, consult Pond Measurements (Natural Resources Facts A-2), available from county offices of Ohio State University Extension.] When uniformly applied, this will result in a 1 part per million (ppm) concentration throughout the volume of the pond. For very hard water (more than 12 grains or 200 parts per million of hardness), this rate should be doubled.

The method of application will determine what size of copper sulfate crystals to purchase. The important principle to keep in mind is that actual contact of the copper sulfate with the algae is necessary in order to achieve satisfactory control. For best results, dissolve copper sulfate in water and spray it directly on floating algal mats or on the water surface above submerged algae. Finely ground, "snow grade" copper sulfate is best for this method as it dissolves easier. Mix the desired amount of copper sulfate with enough water to cover the area to be treated, and apply with a sprayer or bucket and dipper. Because copper is corrosive to galvanized metal, application equipment and mixing containers should be made of plastic or stainless steel.

In large ponds and when spray equipment is not available, it may be easier to treat with copper sulfate by placing the larger crystals of this chemical in a burlap bag and towing the bag through the water until all the crystals have been dissolved in the area to be treated.

One application of copper sulfate is unlikely to provide season-long control. Re-treatment may be necessary at 3-4 week intervals.

There are no water-use restrictions associated with the use of copper sulfate. When applied at the proper rate, the water may be used immediately for swimming, drinking, fishing, irrigation and livestock. However, since copper sulfate has a metallic odor, pond owners may want to suspend drinking, swimming and livestock watering uses for 12 hours.

Copper Chelate

Copper is also available in a chelated, or buffered, formulation, which is manufactured as a liquid or granule. This provides some advantages during application. The liquid form needs only to be mixed with water and sprayed out over the pond surface; there are no crystals to dissolve. The granular formulation consists of a clay granule impregnated with copper chelate. As the granule breaks down, the copper is released into the water. This formulation is especially useful when spot treatment is desirable. Granules are best suited for application early in the growing season because of the time required (2-3 weeks) for them to dissolve and release the chemical. There are no water-use restrictions associated with either formulation of copper chelate.
Special Precautions

Fish are extremely sensitive to Hydrothol 191. To reduce the hazard of a fish kill, start application at the shoreline and move outward so that fish can escape from treated areas. Select another product if fish toxicity is a concern.

Copper sulfate is corrosive to galvanized containers. Therefore, the solution should be mixed in wooden, earthenware, plastic, stainless steel or copper-lined containers. If a sprayer is not available, you may broadcast the solution with a plastic watering can or bucket and dipper.
If the algae is so abundant that it covers more than half of the total pond surface, a complete treatment may result in an oxygen depletion and fish kill. This hazard is greatest during very hot, overcast weather. When these conditions exist, treat only half the pond and wait 10-14 days before treating the other half.

Copper compounds applied at the recommended rates are lethal to fish eggs and some species of newly hatched fish. These materials should not be applied during spawning periods, unless it is desirable to destroy the eggs and the new hatch.


Lembi, C. A., S. W. O'Neal and D. F. Spencer. 1985. Pithophora. Aquatics 7:4, p. 8-9, 22.

Additional Pond Management Information

Pond Measurements; Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet A2.

Controlling Filamentous Algae in Ponds; Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet A3.

Chemical Control of Aquatic Weeds; Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet A4.

Ohio Pond Management. Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 374.

Controlling Weeds in Ohio Ponds. 41-minute videotape. VT50.

Visit your county office of Ohio State University Extension for copies of these resources.

This publication contains pesticide recommendations that are subject to change at any time. These recommendations are provided only as a guide. It is always the pesticide applicator's responsibility, by law, to read and follow all current label directions for the specific pesticide being used. Due to constantly changing labels and product registration, some of the recommendations given in this publication may no longer be legal by the time you read them. If any information in these recommendations disagrees with the label, the recommendation must be disregarded. No endorsement is intended for products mentioned, nor is criticism meant for products not mentioned. The author assumes no liability resulting from the use of these recommendations.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sun Factor Follow up: a little "I told you so"

People still look at me strange when I fish in the summer wearing my hooded sweatshirt pulled over my baseball cap. “Aren’t you hot?!?” is what I read from their faces. A few people have actually pointed.

What they may not understand is something that sounds a bit like a conspiracy mixed with some universal truth. The sun is hot and sunscreen does not work anywhere near as well as you think it does. This is not the first article you may read on this subject by bonified scientists that confirm what I have been telling anglers for years.

(shameless self promotional article link re-post...can you believe this article was rejected so many times that I quit sending it out?)

Excerpt from article:

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington-based research group and habitual gadfly to the business world, has found that 4 out of 5 of the nearly 1,000 sunscreen lotions analyzed offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain harmful chemicals. The biggest offenders, the EWG said, are the industry leaders: Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena.
Sunscreens do not offer blanket protection from the sun and do little to prevent the most deadly form of skin cancer; reliance on them instead of, say, a hat and protective clothing, might be contributing to skin cancer; and the Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue any safety standards, mysteriously sitting on a set of recommendations drafted 30 years ago.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cooler of Goodness

ColoradoCasters promotes better fishing in Colorado and some of our viewers have expressed an extreme disgust over the “cooler of death” pictures often tossed up on the fishing forums. Fishing for some is not what it is for others. I am not the person to draw the line and start judging people’s actions out there on the water. But in an effort to balance the scales against the fish takers and the trash leavers, I offer “Cooler of Goodness”.


See? You can leave with a full cooler, catch fish and still have a good time. But as you see here, there isn’t any fish going home with me. Taking fish is not necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be a good thing if populations of that species are getting too crowded. Some species need to be thinned out often (like perch and crappie) to keep the prolific breeding from doing harm. But yeah…a sink full of bloody dead fish is not my idea of “sportsmanship”. In my view, these are the same guys that put that trophy elk on the hood of their truck so they can watch little kids cry as they roll down the highway. It also creates a bit of negativity for the sport by conservation groups. Don't give them more fodder for their cause by posting your pics of pillage.


Of course, I actually caught fish. But some fish are just too pretty to end up in a sink or a cooler. Putting big fish back is key to preserving the quality of fishing in Colorado. If you absolutely have to take something from the lake…why not take some trash? There’s no limit on refuse and there seems to be quite a bit of it at the lakes these days.

P.S. A quality fish fillet and a shot of the final product served attractively on a plate is a completely different matter in my view. There is a lot of skill and maybe even a bit of artwork in creating a masterful dish. Not everyone agrees with this view but for me a work of art is much more pleasing to the eye than looking at a mess of dead fish.