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Windmill Aeration
#32151 06/06/02 01:56 PM
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How well does windmill aeration work? I'm curious to know if the low wind I get in the area will provide enough for the windmill to make it worth while. Average is probably less than 5 mph.

-Sean


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32152 06/12/02 08:12 AM
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The windmill systems I have seen advertised state that 5 mph is the minimum wind velocity required. I haven't installed any and also am very curious about other folks' experiences with them.

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32153 06/13/02 09:54 PM
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Sean, Fishman & others - Many of the popular windmills being sold today ($500-$800) produce a VERY SMALL(0.1-0.2cfm)amount of air at 5mph; watch a windmill produce bubbles in a low wind. Very small surface boil. Very few bubbles at that wind speed (depending on depth & type of diffuser)! Air flow is somewhat proportional to the wind speed. The windmill works at 5mph but barely. It also depends on the depth and water head pressure on the diffuser as to the minimal wind speed necessary for the windmill compressor to "generate" air. The 1 cfm produced at even a 20-25 mph wind is really not very much air when compared to a 1/4-1/3 hp ROTARY VANE compressor which produces 4-4.5cfm of air! That's 5.8-6.6 five-gallon buckets (29-33gal) of air every 1 minute (7.48 gal/cu.ft.)! This results in about 8-10 times larger and stronger boil than what the windmill can produce in the best wind. With 4X more air the diffuser can be LARGER and many more bubbles generated over the larger area which results in more water being entrained in the cylindrical-conical upward flow.
Diaphragm and piston compressors produce less air flow per hp than rotary vanes.
You can push air with the compressor 200-400 ft thru 1/2" pipe and farther 400-700ft thru 3/4" pipe and not have a lot of pressure drop. Larger pipe dia. is necesary for longer pipe "runs".

However, 1 cfm and less air volume delivered to a good membrane diffuser with very small holes is a LOT BETTER than nothing at circulating your pond' bottom water during summer stagnation.
Circulation moves low oxygen water out of the bottom and oxygenated water to the bottom where decomposers process the organic sediments; plus water with diss. oxygen prevents anoxic or septic conditions from forming on top of the bottom sediments & in deep water. Fish do not live where the Diss. oxygen is less than 3 parts per million they are uncomfortable at 4 ppm.
Any questions? I try to educate without bias.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32154 06/14/02 10:05 AM
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Bill,

Thanks for the information . . . looks good. I appreciate it.

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32155 06/14/02 01:30 PM
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Bill or anyone else who can help. I can't decide what to do! Everything I read about pond aeration talks about how beneficial it is. Is aeration really that beneficial? I have a three acre pond that is two years old. My goal, like anyone else on this sight, is to make it the best fishing pond possible. I started a fertility program this spring and have a good bloom going now. Visibility is aprox. 22 inches. Fish are growing great with bass fingerlings stocked at 1 inch long last July now 12 inches long weighing 1 lb. (some of you down south may be snickering but thats pretty good growth for south central Illinois) Catfish, bluegill and redear are also doing great. The pond was created by damming up two steep ravines in a wooded area. Water by the dam is 25ft deep and the depth going back both coves stays 20-15ft until each coves splits off into two smaller coves. Pond is basically U shaped with a wooded ridge separating both main coves. Shorelines are steep with water reaching three feet very quickly. Here are some question I have. How many diffusers will I need to aerate this pond? Will one compressor do the job? Will aeration help the fish grow faster and healthier? What kind of cost am I looking at to do it right. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds. \:\)

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32156 06/14/02 09:20 PM
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Backwater G-Man - PART 1. Part 2 next time. It's getting past bed time. Simple question; but complex answer; at least to answer it with informative detail.
Completely circulating a long narrow pond with fingers is more of a problem than circulating a basiclly round or square pond that tapers down into a basic roundish basin. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Your question, "IS AERATION REALLY THAT BENEFICIAL?". It must be good that's why everything you read praises it. You will find little or nothing saying aeration is bad. A few exceptions can occur in very special rare situations.
Every pond owner that I've sold an aerator to or convinced to circulate their pond with air injection aeration has only good things to say about doing it. None will give up their bottom injection "aerator" and none will go back to not circulating their pond. So the answer is definately YES, especially to the overal health of the pond and bottom sediments. This overall general healthy condition translates into a larger fish carrying capacity of the pond (more & bigger fish). NOTE: Air injection has to be done correctly with some basic knowledge because some ill-informed pondowners have had bad first time experiences and even killed fish after installing a bottom injector due to being unaware of the basics of aeration and just proceeding "blindly".
The larger fish carrying capacity after aeration is basiclly due to the pond's ability to produce more food for the fish which is due to enlarging the space/area for fish food production by providing oxygen to bottom sediments which would have otherwise had no DO.
It's kind of like asking if oxygen is beneficial to your lower leg? Without disolved oxygen (DO) in your blood, your lower leg will quickly start to have bad things happen to it. The same thing basically happens to the living things in the deep water, bottom sediments when the DO is exhausted from respiration of the bottom dwelling invertebrates/critters. DO is not naturally replaced or replenished at the deeper mud water interface when the circulation stops during summer stagnation (ie. below the thermocline). This happens every summer to most every pond/lake in the northern hemisphere that is not a year round, trout type lake(oligotrophic- those with very low nutrient budgets).
Next time: PART 2 Excerpts from Elmer Hedlund's article in Pond Boss Sept/Oct 1995 - Three Keys to a Healthy Pond, pH, fertility and oxygen necessary for success.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32157 06/15/02 07:35 AM
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A couple observations on aeration:

* Aerators come in a variety of body designs and prices.

* Any aerator system is better than nothing. In most fishing ponds, the Field Advisory Staff recommends the bottom-diffuser style.

* The late Elmer Hedlund, who helped design and distribute his own aerator system, once ran some figures for me. . . I'll do my best to recollect here.

. . . A one-third horsepower motor, in a one-acre pond, with a max depth of 10 feet will keep a sizable area totally ice-free during a Wisconsin winter.

. . . In the summer, it will help your pond use nature's cleansing agents -- sunlight and oxygen -- to break up the nutrients that otherwise would accumulate in the pond basin as "muck."

. . . If memory serves, Hedlund's unit, running 24/7, year-round, would cost $18 a month to operate.

Anybody have more recent figures?

Mark McDonald
Editor, Pond Boss

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32158 06/16/02 10:59 PM
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PART 2: Is Aeration Really That Beneficial?
In part 2, I am going to provide some quotes from an article that was in Pond Boss Mag. Sept/Oct 1995 written by Elmer Hedlund (deceased) who owned Hedlund Aquaculture in Wisconsin. Preface: When I mention oxygen in this note I mean oxygen from air or plants that is dissolved in the water. Elmer sold insurance for a living and loved fishing & raising fish. He built several large ponds or small lakes. One was 30 acres. He studied & talked to many experts around the country about aquaculture and raising fish. In one of his small lakes, on an island, he built a stream that had the flow powered by one of his aerators. In this stream he had walleyes spawn successfully!
According to Elmer, oxygen is the most misunderstood factor to many pond owners. Widespread opinion is that oxygen is usually only a problem during winter when there could be a fish kill. Note, fish kills are common in northern ponds/lakes that have extended snow cover. However in the south and north, fish kills can also be common in the summer. These fish kills are due to water without dissolved oxygen from the deepest pond areas getting rapidly yet naturally brought to the surface (turnover) where it degrades the top water enough to suffocate fish.

Elmer says "A healthy pond must have oxygen at all levels throughout the year. The lack of oxygen on the bottom of ponds & lakes is causing them to fill up with dead plant matter, and these bodies of water are slowly dying through a process called eutrophication". "This natural but destructive process can be prevented and reversed by providing an ever-present supply of oxygen to the botttom of the pond or lake". Elmer developed a innovative diffuser that he powered by different air compressors depending on pond depth. These diffusers pumped large volumes of water off the bottom to the surface.

Next he explains what the pond bottom is like when it has oxygen all the time.
"In most parts of North Amer. millions of insects lay eggs on each acre of water. These eggs go to the bottom and if the oxygen is present the eggs hatch. The larvae come with their mouths in gear. Most of the larvae will feed on the plant matter." Elmer means dead plant matter of all kinds. This includes plants that grow and die in the pond and dead plant materials that get blown or washed into the pond. However this also includes dead animals usu. invertebrates called zooplankton that grow and die in large quantities in the water column..
He goes on to say "Other insect larvae are carnivorous and eat one another. But they all provide food for the fish. At the same time they consume much of the dead plant matter - which serves to deepen the pond. If fish are present most of the insects are eaten off the bottom of the pond, others are eaten as they come to the surface. But enough insects survive to replentish the population."

Here is the most important part of his article in regard to benefits of keeping oxygen in the water at the bottom, "If the oxygen disappears for even one hour the eggs and larvae die, but a plentiful supply of oxygen will enable the lake to produce up to 1,000 pounds of fish food per acre per year. Aerobic bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplakton and other minute organisms provide an enormous supply of food for the fish in the pond." Without oxygen in the deep water and at the bottom of your pond none of these critters are present. In another article Elmer says that "when all the organisms die it takes a long time to re-establish the living ecosystem at the bottom of the pond". Scientists call the critters that live in & on the pond sediments PROCESSORS because as Elmer says they "eat" or breakdown the dead organic materials into the basic chemicals -earth to earth, dust to dust, kind of thing.
Elmer also fertilized his ponds/lakes. He put fertilizer water in the boil of his aerators and let the currents distribute the nutrients in the water.
You can find out fairly simply if your pond has lost its oxygen on the bottom.
Take your pond's temperature. Measure the water temp. at the surface. Then measure the temperature at or near the bottom. If the temperature is 10 degrees F cooler on the bottom than on the top your oxygen is probably absent. There are exceptions to this example but 9 out of ten times it will be accurate for small ponds esp. if your water visibility is less than 4 feet of depth. The only way to be really positive is to measure the dissolved oxygen in the bottom water. You can buy an oxygen test kit at a good aquarium/pet store. Collect some water near the pond's bottom with a weighted jug and stopper with string atached. Sink the jug, pull the string/stopper, bring the jug to the surface and test the water for oxygen. This will give you a rough idea of how much is in your water.

Basically all ponds lose the oxygen on the bottom soon after the pond stratifies into temperature layers in the spring. As oxygen is lost, harmful decompositional gasses start to increase. These harmful gasses also help to eliminate beneficial living organisms/critters in the deeper waters. In the north usually by Memorial Day oxygen is gone at the bottom from all non-aerated ponds. I've conducted oxygen tests on ponds where the air injection aerator is shut off after a complete mixing. The oxygen at the bottom declines each day until it is back to zero after seven days. It doesn't take long to lose the oxygen at the bottom of the pond during the summer. WITH OXYGEN GONE EVERYTHING DIES IN AND ON THE BOTTOM IN THE DEEP ZONE.
So to answer your question "Is aeration really that beneficial? YES, if you want to keep the bottom of your pond "alive" with critters who provide tremendous amounts of fish food and at the same time digest and quickly break down ALL the dead material that settles to the bottom.
This is especially true if you fertilize your pond because the "bloom" reduces the depth to which sunlight penetrates thus reducing how deep oxygen is produced in the water. The fertilization-bloom also produces LOTS of organic material that settles to the pond bottom each season.
Oxygen is only in the shallow, warmer, upper layer where light is penetrating and the water is mixing. A shallow depth of oxygen production reduces or eliminates the amount of oxygen in the deeper zone. This translates into a smaller "bank account" of dissolved oxygen in the overall pond. This puts the pond in a delicate oxygen balance which results in less room for error in situations where oxygen becomes critical. Fish kills can happen easily in these situations because of the low oxygen amounts in the deeper waters. Whenever the pond turns over quickly - fish die. Note: YOU DON'T SEE ALL THE MILLIONS OF BUGS THAT DIE WHEN OXYGEN IS LOST ON THE POND'S BOTTOM EVERY SUMMER! But you know it has happened when the sediments turn BLACK or see black muck on your boat anchor. For the most part, nothing lives in the deoxygenated, septic, black conditions. Oxygen loss at the bottom can be prevented by circulating fresh water from the top to the bottom by air injection at the bottom. This note was compiled by Bill Cody the Pond Doctor.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32159 06/18/02 07:21 AM
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Bill,

Thanks for the great information. You did an excellant job explaining the benefits of aeration. I will start saving today for an aeration system for the pond. Hopefully my wife will understand. She already thinks I'm crazy. :rolleyes:

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32160 06/20/02 09:34 PM
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Backwater G-Man: Good aeration can be done for a pond up to 1-2 acre depending on shape for $380-$480 (one maybe 2 diffusers). You have to do a do-it-your-self system. You have to build your own diffusers and scrounge or buy the other parts and pieces yourself; take some time and put it together so it works correctly, but it can be done and takes a little time once you have some basic knowledge.
Basic or main cost is a rotary vane compressor @ $325-$330. Alternative way, spend $900-$1200 for a package system.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32161 06/22/02 12:39 PM
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Bill,
Are any do-it-yourself aeration system plans available?

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32162 07/27/02 07:44 AM
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I put up a Koender Windmill approxiamately 2 months ago for my 1 acre pond and it has worked beautifully at cleaning up the pond. Additionally it generaqtes plenty of conversation.
good luck

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32163 07/28/02 06:50 AM
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Pond Doc,

Thank you for taking the time to explain the benefits of pond aeration. Your post certainly, in my opinion, answered the question of whether aeration is beneficial but, like all your posts, I usually come away with the appetite for wanting to know more. Such is the case here again. When you find the time, could you give an opinion on the following two questions.

During the planning/construction phase of a pond, are there any pitfalls to avoid that would hinder the efficiency of a pond aeration system once the unit is installed?

Secondly, is too much of a good thing bad when it comes to aeration? In other words, can you over aerate a pond?

Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

Russ

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32164 07/29/02 06:23 PM
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RUSS - From Pond Doc: I'll try to cover most of the points regarding your two questions.
1. Pitfalls in pond design that hinder bottom air injection for aeration or mixing. A. Pond Shape & Basin Design. Now keep in mind that I am talking about the best THEORETICAL ideas for aeration/mixing water and not about the best designs for fish production and fishing or scenery/aesthetics.
The aeration surface "boil" or upwelling that occurs from bottom aeration is an outward circular flow pattern. The movement of this boil and how far it reaches outward depends on it's strength which is dependent on how big the diffuser is and how much air is put into the diffuser. More & bigger obviously produces more.
B. A 2 feet dia. diffuser receiving 3-4 cfm will produce surface currents that can travel upto 100 feet away from the center before dissipating. Wind can also extend the "reach" of the boil. Thus, for optimum efficiency from the boil and best circulation from one diffuser the pond should be round with the sides slopping down to a funnel. The more embayments, backwater areas or bends in the shoreline the more diffusers that will be needed to cause circulations or mixing into those "secluded or isolated " areas. Big ponds (>2 acre) usually need more than one diffuser. Larger hp & more air producing compressors are often necessary to get GOOD circulation in the larger elaborately shaped ponds. (I have a 3/4 ac pond that has 3 diffusers run from one 1/4hp compressor.Two of the smaller diffusers are in "finger areas" away from the main basin. I run this aerator 3.5 to 4 hrs/day which produces good mixing in all areas). Running more time would be necessary to circulate more water in a larger pond.)
C. An island deflects the flow & prevents water currents from reaching back side areas. Ponds with islands usu. require four diffusers; one on each side for proper water circulation.

2. Within reason, you cannot over aerate unless you turn your pond into a food processor (too violent of circulation). This is the method used by sewage treatment plants. Too strong of currents will resuspend light fluffy sediments and create cloudy water conditions. But once you have the water mixed or old oxygen poor water replaced with "new" water with oxygen in it, I see no need to continue mixing. Shut the compressor off. Mixing should be resumed or restarted when the water looses enough oxygen that all the bottom oxygen "breathing bugs" begin to get uncomfortable and start needing more oxygen for survival and daily activities. Usually in many ponds this is once a day. To error on the safe side, we often recommend mixing twice a day & splitting the overall time into two run periods; morning and evening. (We have never tested w/ oxygen meter and temperature sensor which way is best. I can make a strong case either way. The tests are future homework).
Ponds with small or under sized circulators may have to run 24hrs to get one complete mixing & water/oxygen renewal across the entire botom.

NOTE: A round pond is not the best shape for growing the most amounts of natural fish food and fish. Lots of shoreline and shallow structure - weed filled littoral areas do this best (production areas), but they hinder circulation currents from aeration. Can't have both very easily.
Bill Cody-Pondoc


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32165 07/30/02 08:13 PM
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Here's a twist: I'd like to aerate my 1/2 acre pond but I want to ice-skate in the winter (SW Michigan). Can I put an aerator toward one side of the pond and have the whole pond healthy from an oxygenation/circulation standpoint but also have most of it freeze over during a good winter? Recommendations on size of compressor?

ps Bill you're a great resource!


Marty
Re: Windmill Aeration
#32166 02/02/03 09:16 PM
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have looked on web for rotary vane compresser, didn't have much luck. would appreciate some help on finding where to purchase one. thank you


i only wanted to have some fun
Re: Windmill Aeration
#32167 02/03/03 08:32 AM
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Rotary Vane Compressor? Are you talking about a whole windmill setup or just the compressor? I got my windmill set up from Mike Robinson at Keystone Hatcheries (www.keystonehatcheries.com) Also check out the Pond Guy (www.thepondguy.com)
Jim Gennon at Malibu Water has been helpful in giving me input on a wind/solar combination system. (www.malibuwater.com) Good luck.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32168 02/03/03 12:02 PM
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Just about everyone is using Gast vane compressors. You need to look at what kind of diffuser you're buying for best performance. Size, if they suspend or sit on the bottom, durability, ease of cleaning, bubble size, and water turnover rates should be compared. You can spend about $50-$450 on each diffuser. Price is usually comparable to benefits. the Mix Air brand is designed for wastewater treatment where the maximum oxygenation is needed. Their water turnover rates are incredible and university tested. fishmgr@hotmail.com

Re: Windmill Aeration
#32169 02/03/03 12:24 PM
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I've found the best prices for Rotary Vane Gast compressors from Stoney Creek Equipment Company in Grant, Michigan. The have a web site @

WWW.STONEYCREEKEQUIP.COM

As far as the post regarding aeration in winter, and icefishing/iceskating, I have been doing that on my .62 acre pond this winter. In winter I change out to a smaller compressor and change from two airlines to just one that has a diffuser located in only about 6 feet of water on one side of the pond.

As long as I give this area of the pond wide berth I am fine. You can test it by approaching with an ice spud and periodically drilling a hole. However, be aware it depends on air temps as the hole will get become larger in diameter with higher temps and the thickness of the ice will be less farther away from the hole at higher temps. At really severe cold temps I have actually gotten right up to the edge of the hole after extensive testing, but I would not recommend it.

In summer I change out compressors to a 1/4 hp rotary vane compressor disconnect the winter line, and connect two permanet airlines to two separate diffusers. No moving around of diffusers etc. I just change out compressors connect or disconnect airlines.

I hope this helps.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






Re: Windmill Aeration
#32170 02/03/03 07:38 PM
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I want to provide some deatils to Tom N's post of Feb 3,03. ""Rotary vane compressor? Are you talking about a whole windmill setup or just the compressor?""
We have two types of air compression systems here. Rotary vane consists of a motor that on the rotating shaft has a flywheel rotor mounted off center in a cylinder. The flywheel has 4 slots and use 4 hard carbon vanes that insert into the slots. As the flywheel rotates the vanes push outward to the cylinder wall and trap air and push it out the outlet; thus rotary vane.
WINDMILL. Almost all windmills generate air by the blades or fan moving a DIAPHRAGM on the end of a shaft up and down. Diaphragm moving up and down with the assistance of a check valve can compresses air.
With each system using the same amount of energy, the rotary vane mechanism produces quite a bit more air volume (but with less pressure) than the diaphragm mechanism.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32171 02/04/03 07:56 AM
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Bill Cody, thanks for explanation...I'm learning bit by bit!


THOMAS R. NESHEK
Re: Windmill Aeration
#32172 02/04/03 10:37 AM
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Marty - we have a Koenders (windmill, not electric) aerator on a 3-acre pond, one on a 7-acre pond, and three on a 20-acre pond. We ice fish, and the kids skate and play, on the ponds given South Dakota winters. Obviously, stay away from the open holes, and in a warm year like this, we're always VERY careful about checking before we venture onto the ice.

Hope this helps a little.

Dave Willis


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32173 02/05/03 07:00 PM
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Dave,

"Warm year like this?" What do you call warm? Highs in the teens?

We are having a cold winter farther east here in northern Indiana.


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32174 02/06/03 10:02 AM
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OK, you got me! It was -2 F at noon today!! I'm getting too old for that.

Seriously, though, this has been a mild winter for us. It's been cold the past couple of weeks, but until mid-January, folks couln't even drive their vehicles on the ice for ice fishing. Primarily, we've been dry (no snow on the ground until the last week or so). When it's dry (brown), we can often see highs in the 40s, as long as one of the those big Arctic highs doesn't drop down here.

I was fishing this past weekend on one of the public lakes south of town, and we had about 12-13 inches of ice. I was fishing one of the Nebraska Sandhill lakes during the middle of last week, and they had about 5-7 inches.

So, would you accept a "moderately mild" winter?

Dave


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Re: Windmill Aeration
#32175 02/06/03 10:58 AM
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this is a reply for David and Cecil. I agree that it has been a very mild year. We had temps in the 40's as little as a week ago. Snow just arrived this week. So yes it has been mild as far a us here in the North. In response to the person earlier we tell some of our customers that if you are interested in ice skating and or fishing on your ponds then you can turn them off. But be sure that the ice is safe before you let anyone else on them. You might want to open a hole above the diffuser once you decide that you want to turn them on again, this eliminates creating a mound on the ice and opens the water faster.
Hope this helps
the pond critic

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