Monday, October 11, 2010

CDOW, fixin up some “Dead Water”

Here’s an update on a lake that I ice fished on last year and fell through. It was but one of the trips that could have been my last. It was also one of the times that a phone call to the local managing agency sent me astray.

“No one really fishes the big lake to the north.” The lady at the booth said when I called. “It has to be loaded with fish. I’ve seen some pretty big ones in there.”

Her statements were only partly true and had she ever actually discussed this with the wildlife officials, they would have stated the fact this water was nearly dead pool and the big fish that she was seeing was common carp. The water quality was so poor that I believe a pocket of gas had formed under the ice in limited areas. The gas weakened the ice and I fell right through up to my neck. Out of all the fishing that I undertake, ice fishing has to me the most dangerous. Below is a link to the previous article with a map of the lake being discussed.

Chemical treatment is my least favorite way of repairing a lake and I would prefer this lake be drained, restructured and then filled. I will spare you another four pages of biological rant but there may be a reason why this lake is dead pool and even once balanced, this lake runs the risk of dead pooling in another five years or so. To truly fix this problem the bottom of the lake needs to be completely redone.

However there are several other ponds close by and seepage may not allow this. Cost is a huge issue right now so the more expensive route would most likely not make it through the decision process. Nonetheless this less expensive and less natural method will work and there may be a chance that oxygen and PH levels balance themselves out. I’ll take a 50\50 shot over nothing at all. If this attempt fails maybe the CDOW will put ideas and money on the table to drain with the ultimate fix. A Mattsabasser can dream.

Here is the full insider e-mail from the CDOW


DENVER, Colo. — The Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks will use funds from a Fishing is Fun grant to improve the quality of sport fishing at Pelican Lake in St. Vrain State Park, beginning this week.

Pelican Lake, the largest pond at the park, previously offered anglers quality fishing for catchable trout, bass, sunfish, and other warm water fish (2002 DOW surveys). However intolerable oxygen and pH levels have prevented the DOW from stocking the lake with sport fish in recent years. The poor water quality conditions resulted in a large fish kill in 2006, killing virtually all sport fish with only a small number of catfish and common carp surviving. Net and electro fishing surveys performed in 2008 and 2010 have yielded 95% common carp.

In order to solve the water quality issues, an aeration system will be installed in May of 2011 which will substantially increase dissolved oxygen necessary to support a thriving fish community. The aeration system was primarily funded by a DOW Fishing is Fun Grant totaling $27,832.00. A cost-match totaling $7,000.00 was provided by St. Vrain State Park. Fishing Is Fun program funds come from federal excise taxes collected on the purchase of fishing equipment, boats, and motor boat fuels.

“St. Vrain State Park is an accessible and attractive destination for front range anglers,” said Larry Rogstad, Area Wildlife Manager, Boulder County. “This contribution from Fishing is Fun and state parks will improve the aquatic habitat and help create a quality fishery with public access for everyone to enjoy.”

To achieve the greatest benefit from the grant, a reclamation project took place early this week. This project used rotenone to kill off all fish currently present in the lake thereby allowing DOW biologists to start re-building the fishery from scratch once the aeration system is installed. Fish species scheduled to be stocked in spring of 2011 include channel catfish, largemouth bass, black crappie, and a small number of 10 inch rainbow trout.

Rotenone works by inhibiting a biochemical process in the fish cells, resulting in an inability of fish to use oxygen in the release of energy during normal body processes. Although rotenone detoxifies within a few weeks of the application, restocking of sport fish will not occur until the aeration system is installed.  Rotenone is non-toxic to birds, terrestrial species, and humans.

To learn more about Fishing is Fun, visit on the web at:


Savage said...

DO and PH levels are very important. I work as a waste water treatment plant operator and we constantly monitor PH and DO. What kind of airation system are they putting in?

Shoreman said...

Hey Matt. That is the exact reason I don't ice fish. We had a guy just up the road at Bear River two years ago fell in and Mel (Blog Cabin Angler) mentioned that a guy fell in up in Idaho. He wasn't as lucky as you and the guy at Bear River. Me, I prefer Terra Firma.