How to Prepare a Lake for Winter

Winters on a lake can be slow, but that is not to underestimate amount of activity that is occurring under the water.  Year round a lake supports the ecosystem with fish, plants, and a natural resource for wildlife and waterfowls.  By taking a few steps, this home for so many and your lake equipment will be safe.  In preparing your lake for winter, here are a few things to consider for the health of your lake.

Oxygen Levels

The most important things to remember in winter is preserving oxygen levels for the wildlife in your pond to thrive.  Fish’s metabolisms slow down significantly as they adapt to cooler temperatures.  Aquatic plants are also capable of adapting to cooler temperatures.  Root systems are often well protected in soil even if you notice leaves and stems to be browning.  In large lakes, oxygen levels in the water will be ample for fish and plant survival even if the surface of the lake has frozen over.  In most man made lakes or smaller natural lakes, a surface freeze could cause a problem in the depletion of dissolved oxygen levels.  The best way to maintain proper oxygen levels is by maintaining an opening in the surface of the ice through the use of sub surface aeration.  The air diffuser can be moved to a higher elevation in the water if you need a greater disturbance on the surface of the water which will help for the ice to not form over.  In addition, moving to a higher location will also not mix the temperature at the base of the water where fish tend to gather to stay warm. 

Floating Fountains

Depending on your location it might be best to remove any floating fountains.  If you anticipate a lake freeze, the agitation on the surface of the water might not be enough to stop a complete freeze.  It is best to preserve the pump on the floating fountain in this case by removing the it from the lake and place in a bucket of water indoors.  In area where your lake will not freeze over completely, due to the agitation of the surface of the water from your fountain, you can leave your fountain in the water.  In some cases, people choose to combine the efforts of their floating fountains with their sub surface aeration by aligning their floating fountain above their air diffuser.  This combination will work to keep an opening in the surface of the water and protect your floating fountain.

Sub Surface Aeration

As previously discussed, there are a few options of what to do with the your sub surface aeration system.  To keep an opening in the ice, you can move the air diffuser closer to the surface of the lake.  You can also utilize your sub surface aeration system to protect a floating fountain.  Sub surface aerators could also be utilized to protect other items in a lake like a dock or boat in the water. 

Now that you are protecting the oxygen levels, floating fountains, and sub surface aeration systems in your lake, you are ready for the season. While everything seems so serene, you will know that everything going on under the surface is being taken care of until spring starts teaming with life again.