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#484949 - 01/04/18 07:28 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
For some reason pictures on your last 2 posts are missing. Actually checking other posts and the photobucket fix seems to not be bringing photos in anymore... Others have this?


Edited by canyoncreek (01/04/18 07:30 PM)

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#484950 - 01/04/18 07:56 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
highflyer Offline


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#484952 - 01/04/18 08:04 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
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Loc: in the mountains
Ok good. I was gonna say, I haven't done anything different when posting them.
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#484953 - 01/04/18 08:08 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
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It is good to see an improvement in all parts of the aeration at 10,000ft. Keep up the good work.
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#484973 - 01/05/18 12:14 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
pictures are showing up at work but not at home. I have same browser and same plugins. I'll have to trouble shoot that some more.

Your pictures are awesome and the lack of snow indeed is eerie...

I was thinking about what you have succeeded in doing and it really is something that should be researched. Think about it, every year for a few thousand years if that lake was there, it froze over in the winter so that the majority of typical pond critters died. Then in 2018, for the first time there is a pond life cycle that extends through the winter.

Think of all the species from microscopic food chains to the tiny invertebrates, algae and on up from there that for the first time will have a life cycle that continues around the calendar! What will this do to the rest of the pond environment? What other plants might grow that couldn't grow before as they were waiting for an ingredient or a biological partner that helped them coexist but without which they could not exist? How do the organisms that survive or thrive change other plants/bugs/animals/fish in the local area around the pond? How does that change affect insects? How far does the effect travel beyond your pond? Think about it, the one pond in the whole area, at that altitude or similar altitudes, that has life year around!

It kind of blows your mind to think about it. It is kind of like dumping off a complex ecosystem (like a pond) on Mars, figuring out a way to keep it going in that environment (even via artificial means) and then seeing if the natural environment around it change/adapts.


Edited by canyoncreek (01/05/18 01:06 PM)

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#484974 - 01/05/18 12:35 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: canyoncreek]
Bocomo Online   content


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1152
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek

I was thinking about what you have succeeded in doing and it really is something that should be researched. Think about it, every year for a few thousand years if that lake was there, it froze over in the winter that the majority of typical pond critters died. Then in 2018, for the first time there is a pond life cycle that extends through the winter.

Think of all the species from microscopic food chains to the tiny invertebrates, algae and on up that for the first time will have a life cycle that continues around the calendar! What will this do to the rest of the pond environment? What other plants might grow that couldn't grow before as they were waiting for an ingredient or a biological partner that helped them coexist but without which they could not exist? How do the organisms that survive or thrive change other plants/bugs/animals/fish in the local area around the pond? How does that change affect insects? How far does the effect travel beyond your pond? Think about it, the one pond in the whole area, at that altitude or similar altitudes, that has life year around!

It kind of blows your mind to think about it. It is kind of like dumping off a complex ecosystem (like a pond) on Mars, figuring out a way to keep it going in that environment (even via artificial means) and then seeing if the natural environment around it changes/adapts.


Interesting points! Maybe Bill Cody could weigh in on the short and long term consequences of year-round oxygen on the micro- and macro-organismal levels over time.
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#484993 - 01/05/18 08:55 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: canyoncreek]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
pictures are showing up at work but not at home. I have same browser and same plugins. I'll have to trouble shoot that some more.

Your pictures are awesome and the lack of snow indeed is eerie...

I was thinking about what you have succeeded in doing and it really is something that should be researched. Think about it, every year for a few thousand years if that lake was there, it froze over in the winter so that the majority of typical pond critters died. Then in 2018, for the first time there is a pond life cycle that extends through the winter.

Think of all the species from microscopic food chains to the tiny invertebrates, algae and on up from there that for the first time will have a life cycle that continues around the calendar! What will this do to the rest of the pond environment? What other plants might grow that couldn't grow before as they were waiting for an ingredient or a biological partner that helped them coexist but without which they could not exist? How do the organisms that survive or thrive change other plants/bugs/animals/fish in the local area around the pond? How does that change affect insects? How far does the effect travel beyond your pond? Think about it, the one pond in the whole area, at that altitude or similar altitudes, that has life year around!

It kind of blows your mind to think about it. It is kind of like dumping off a complex ecosystem (like a pond) on Mars, figuring out a way to keep it going in that environment (even via artificial means) and then seeing if the natural environment around it change/adapts.


Thanks Canyon!

I had never really thought about it like that. I guess most of the time I have just been so focused on getting the fish to live, the solar system, etc. I hadn't ever really considered some of the other more intricate results. I think about the lake and what is going on up there every single day and every day I think how interesting it is. You just added even more to ponder.

Only thing I would add is that not all the pond critters died every year. It SEEMS to be only the trout. The fatheads, leeches, scuds, etc are always there every year. Up to this point it has basically been like an extremely well established giant forage pond.

I just wish I already lived there so I could really dig into it like it deserves.
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#485012 - 01/06/18 09:05 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
Can you expand on the list of critters that can winter over in those conditions? I think I saw a picture in an old post of dead crayfish? So fathead minnows can survive, any other type of baitfish? Snails? You say scuds? How about water insects like water boatmen or similar swimming bugs? I'd be curious to see if any panfish or yellow perch could survive now that you can hopefully keep the lake from freezing over.

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#485022 - 01/07/18 04:33 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Canyon - There is a lot that survives. Leeches, Scuds, Tiger Salamanders, Fatheads, water boatman and LOTS of other "bugs" that I cannot identify. I will start taking pics of them.

When I say leeches, I mean lots of them. It grosses some folks out. Hoping the fish handle the leech problem. This is what the shoreline looks like if you walk around at night with a flashlight.


I caught some sort of aquatic frog up there under a piece of plywood by the cabin, but have never actually seen one in the lake.

I haven't seen any snails, but not saying they aren't there.

There are no other minnows besides fatheads.

The tiger salamanders really interest me. There are lots of them and they do not ever seem to leave the water. In the past years you could see them coming up to the waters surface and gulping air. Didn't really see them doing that this past Summer. We have caught them in the pond and their gills are gone. At that point I thought they left the water. I have posted this pic before but here it is for reference.


My goal for the lake is to grow trophy Brook Trout so I don't want to stock any fish that would compete with them. Brookies do have a tendency to overpopulate and to help me with harvest I do plan on stocking a few tiger trout (sterile hybrid) later on.
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#485076 - 01/09/18 02:19 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Talk about a journey that never ends...... After this last post I did a substantial amount of reading on Tiger Salamanders. Several sources indicated that the salamanders almost never reproduce in ponds that contain fish. It will be interesting to see if the salamanders eventually move on once the fish consistently survive through Winter. If so, that would be just one of the "ripples" this project creates and that ripple would in turn create others. Pretty neat.

Here is the pic from today. Draining the line and closing off one of the singles is having the desired effect!

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#485080 - 01/09/18 04:07 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
Wow, you need to create a resale market for those leeches. Those are prime specimens and look very hardy!!

I've tried to find a way to either keep them in captivity to reproduce or to find a local swamp, marsh, lake, stream that would have them where I could trap them. Striking out on all counts. It must be that only certain places have them and they don't breed well in captivity?

or, in the same vein as your tiger salamander research, maybe ALL places would have them providing you had zero fish! Yours look particularly healthy and happy. I wonder how the big bait wholesalers (say in Wisconsin where a big outfit feeds most of the midwest singlehandedly) keeps enough leeches in stock..

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#485104 - 01/09/18 11:40 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
4CornersPuddle Offline


Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 241
Loc: southwest Colorado
wbuffetjr, my observations while fishing many high country lakes in Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming is that if large leeches are abundant, and if tiger salamanders are common in a lake, the fishing will be no good whatsoever.

The only exception that I can recall is a shallow, mid-elevation lake near Daniel, Wyoming in the Wind River range that has lots of those larval tiger salamanders called "water dogs" and a thriving population of arctic grayling. I've float tubed the lake, fly rodding for grayling and dip netting water dogs. Fun!

We have the terrestrial form, the black and yellow guys, of the tiger salamanders living on our property, but have never seen a single larval form in our pond. I don't expect they'd survive for long with all the hungry mouths in our BOW.

And, BTW, have you entertained adding grayling to your future brook trout lake? What a wonderful combination those two salmonids would be!

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#485125 - 01/10/18 12:35 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Canyon - I have the lower end of my spillway lined with really big boulders. Several pools form here and there. ALL of the pools are usually filled with so many leeches they look like bowls of black spaghetti. Maybe I can fund my retirement by selling leeches! Lol Once my fish wipe out all my leeches there are plenty of other surrounding water holes with no fish and leeches to spare.

4Corners - Your experience with those high country lakes mirrors what I read and I guess makes sense if you think about it. I haven't considered grayling, but I had considered Artic Char. The Char concern me though since it seems possible they could reproduce in the lake.
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#485126 - 01/10/18 12:55 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
Wb.jr, why is char reproduction an issue? You now (with the possibility of no winter kill) can have your pick of predators that you could stock that would eat the Char fry and young ones could you not? Say a few NP, pickerel, musky, or even walleye?

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#485127 - 01/10/18 12:57 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
[Canyon - I have the lower end of my spillway lined with really big boulders. Several pools form here and there. ALL of the pools are usually filled with so many leeches they look like bowls of black spaghetti. Maybe I can fund my retirement by selling leeches! Lol Once my fish wipe out all my leeches there are plenty of other surrounding water holes with no fish and leeches to spare. ]

Wow, you are sitting on a gold mine! Just would have to connect with someone who has the bait routes and the shipping and retail part figured out. Can't imagine having that much bait at your fingertips smile smile


Edited by canyoncreek (01/10/18 12:58 PM)

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#485128 - 01/10/18 01:29 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: canyoncreek]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
Wb.jr, why is char reproduction an issue? You now (with the possibility of no winter kill) can have your pick of predators that you could stock that would eat the Char fry and young ones could you not? Say a few NP, pickerel, musky, or even walleye?


Recent article in the PB magazine got me thinking about setting measurable goals.

I could be wrong, but here is my line of thinking. Trophy Brookies is my goal. Char would be cool and nice to have the variety as far as eating them goes, but I don't really care about them. I LOVE brook trout and an 8-10lb'er is my ultimate goal. Secondary goal is lots of fresh fish to feed the family. 3rd-ary goal would be large/trophy tiger trout or splake.

IMHO, it seems the most sure fire way to grow trophy brookies is to have 100% control over any brook trout predators, hence the sterile tiger trout or splake. Tiger Musky is another possible option and also sterile, but I think they get so big they could eventually eat bigger brookies than what I would want removed. I don't want to have a guessing game going on with any other possible predators that could be reproducing especially if they don't taste good smile. Reproducing predators just seems like a big possible complication and not worth the risk.

If I am going to have to stay on top of harvesting and want to be eating fish, I only want to be harvesting the brookies. To me there is no better tasting fish!


Now I know TRUE trophy fishing might mean reduced catch rates and I am fine with that. We have plenty of other fishing options out there where the kids can catch all the fish they can handle.
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#485131 - 01/10/18 04:26 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
Sounds like another important factor for your future predators besides reproduction is to think about predator gape size to protect your brook trout goals. Consider HSB as an apex predator where you control numbers by stocking or catching them and they would control fish only up to a certain size (baitfish size).

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#485137 - 01/10/18 08:53 PM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
Bocomo Online   content


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 1152
Loc: Boone County, MO (pond)
Do you anticipate having a reproducing population of brook trout in there?
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#485140 - 01/11/18 06:57 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: Bocomo]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: Bocomo
Do you anticipate having a reproducing population of brook trout in there?


Yes I do. If they do not find suitable habitat in the pond then I plan on building spawning boxes for them (also a PB magazine article!).
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#485677 - 01/30/18 11:00 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Well here comes a pretty sad update.

No hole open since Jan 10th. Started to worry there was a problem. Buddy went up Jan 28th and condensation in the main 1" air line is frozen up and the line is plugged. Compressor has been blowing off the pressure relief valve for who knows how long. He tried pouring some alcohol down the line and accidentally filled up the compressor with alcohol and left it like that. When the system came on the next day it either tripped the breaker, blew up or burned down. Maybe some combination of the three. No visibility to the solar system now so just best guesses.

Here's the real bad news. While he was there he got another DO reading. We were at 3.5 PPM and the water temp was 33.5 degrees. He measured in ~4' of water. He said he dropped the probe until it hit the bottom and then pulled it up 6" or so. All I can hope is that he produced an extremely low reading by dropping the probe into the sediment. Maybe he still had the end of the probe in the sediment or by dropping it he stirred up some sediment which led to the low numbers.

Good news is I have a plan for a temporary fix! We will see if I can get it executed from 1,700 miles away.



Edited by wbuffetjr (01/30/18 01:51 PM)
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#485680 - 01/30/18 11:52 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
Dam'dWaters Online   content


Registered: 10/05/17
Posts: 101
Loc: Iowa
Best of luck with your temporary fix. Sorry I don't have any advice, but sure have enjoyed following this project and trust you'll find a solution to bring things back.
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#486116 - 02/14/18 08:42 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Well, I am admitting defeat for this Winter. We have been scrambling around like crazy trying to patch in a fix with no luck. Buddy has been up three more times now. Had to call in favors to get him multiple rides up there. Blew up another Gast pump on the frozen line even after alcohol which was another fiasco. Swapped in a Thomas 2660 that I had and spliced it into the airline for the American Eagle windmill only to find that line was plugged with frozen condensation as well. A quart of alcohol only helped for a few days and then it started freezing up again. Been running the Thomas 15 hours per day for a week, blowing off a lot of wasted air while the alcohol worked through the frozen line. Like I said now the line is freezing back up and there have been zero signs of a hole opening in the ice. Another buddy is going up to his cabin this week and I am going to have him unplug the Thomas pump. No sense in putting the wear and tear on the batteries and/or blowing up that pump as well.

This Winter has been a huge learning experience. Discovered I have unknowingly been battling condensation with the big windmill which has been killing aeration output from that unit. Live and Learn. Should be an easy fix this Summer to redo the airlines and dump all condensation out into the lake in deep water.

Buddy measured DO the last two times he was up. In one week it dropped from 3.3 PPM to 3.0 PPM. I am usually a very optimistic guy, but I am counting the fish as dead at this point. Probably 6 more weeks until ice even begins to open up, possibly longer. IMO, their only chance for survival is the Koenders windmill. It has consistently had a hole open. Maybe some fish can find it and hang out there till April.

current pic


cool pic while my buddy was up there. Probably had another one foot or more of new snow since this pic.
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#486118 - 02/14/18 09:38 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 344
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Sorry to hear about your struggles. Hang in there pard.
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#486121 - 02/14/18 10:57 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 1860
Loc: West Michigan
Can you give us a little more info on the procedures used when alcohol didn't work? I'm not sure how alcohol didn't work or how you had so much moisture that it continued to plug the lines?

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#486122 - 02/14/18 11:46 AM Re: 8 acre pond at 10,000' - lots of aeration ?s [Re: wbuffetjr]
wbuffetjr Online   content


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 847
Loc: in the mountains
Dr. Luke - Thank you!

Canyon - I can do a relatively accurate job of monitoring the line pressure by watching the AMPs drawn by the pump. That information is reported by the remote monitoring system for the solar. When we first started the Thomas 2660 the pump was drawing 12.6 amps and pushing 40 PSI. We installed a valve in the line and manually adjusted the pressure down to 20 PSI by opening the valve and bleeding off the air. (I figured that would keep us safe if the line froze up again). Then he poured a quart of alcohol down the line. Over the next couple days the AMPs got down to the low 9s and even high 8s. I was very encouraged. Unfortunately, the AMPs only stayed at that level for a couple days. Then they started creeping back up. Today they are back to the low 12s. The only conclusion I can draw is the line cleared or partially cleared but is filling back up again.

Like I said above, zero indication of any aeration in the snow cover on the lake. The ice was 2' thick the last time he augured a hole to measure DO. No idea how long it would take aeration to eat through 2' of ice and at this point it really doesn't matter. At 12+ AMPs I think we might ruin the Thomas pump pretty quick.

This would have been a VERY easy problem to avoid/fix at any point this Summer if I had only known we would be battling condensation like this.
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