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Thanks Bill! I will file that away.


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I measured the water temperature in my creek today. Ice had formed on most of the waterway. In some open water with current the water temperature was 31.9 to 32F. All sorts of fish live in this creek and connected watershed streams. They evidently tolerate these winter water temperatures.


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The ice on my pond was 6" as of Saturday morning and after two cold days should be thicker now. We built and flooded our skating rink and shoveled off a good area. I fished Saturday and today and the rainbow fishing action was good. I caught a few rainbows each day but did not see any browns. It's interesting because in my thread from last winter I was having big trouble catching browns through the ice. Bill recommended stocking rainbows which I did. The rainbows are much more aggressive and have consistently ate more pellets than the browns and are getting big. It's interesting that the browns are so much harder to catch. I walked right above the aerator and the ice was solid. I will let it form for one more week and then turn it back on and see what happens.


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Originally Posted by FishinRod
At those temps you should get thick ice pretty quickly.

How about using your chainsaw to cut out a 4' x 4' square of ice above the aerator after you get good ice across the pond?

Then you might have happy trout and happy kids!


I think that's a good idea since I wonder if the bubbles will travel under the ice and weaken existing ice if they don't have a place to escape. Thanks for the reply.


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For starting an aerator under firm ice, I auger a hole above the aerator and turn in on. Air escapes through the hole and upwelling 39F water and bubbling action erodes the ice fairly quickly depending on ice thickness. .


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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
For starting an aerator under firm ice, I auger a hole above the aerator and turn in on. Air escapes through the hole and upwelling 39F water and bubbling action erodes the ice fairly quickly depending on ice thickness. .

I will make a hole above the aerator to avoid degrading ice quality. I'll leave the aerator off for the rest of the week and let the ice firm up more and then turn it on.


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Fyfer - you should see my post on aerating in similar conditions to you. I have my diffusers suspended from a pipe for the winter so as not to mix the entire water column. To minimize or possibly negate the effect of the aeration on ice quality you could easily build a floating frame that was attached to the pipe with the pipe in the center. Fix it so that the aeration plume comes up in the center of the floating frame. Voila, you have best of both worlds. You should be able to run aeration 24/7 in the winter and walk right up to the edge of your floating frame. I know a guy in MN that does this very thing. He can ice fish in his aeration hole. Of course being a Candadian I am sure you are well versed on ice safety, but full disclaimer anyway- make sure your installation is solid and working properly and ice is safe before you ever attempted walking anywhere near an aeration hole.


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Originally Posted by wbuffetjr
Fyfer - you should see my post on aerating in similar conditions to you. I have my diffusers suspended from a pipe for the winter so as not to mix the entire water column. To minimize or possibly negate the effect of the aeration on ice quality you could easily build a floating frame that was attached to the pipe with the pipe in the center. Fix it so that the aeration plume comes up in the center of the floating frame. Voila, you have best of both worlds. You should be able to run aeration 24/7 in the winter and walk right up to the edge of your floating frame. I know a guy in MN that does this very thing. He can ice fish in his aeration hole. Of course being a Candadian I am sure you are well versed on ice safety, but full disclaimer anyway- make sure your installation is solid and working properly and ice is safe before you ever attempted walking anywhere near an aeration hole.

This is a great idea and something I will definitely look into, thank you. I plan on turning on the aerator tomorrow and seeing how the ice reacts.


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I turned the aerator on yesterday and made a large opening in the ice where the bubbles were coming up and around that area to ensure as little bubbles as possible make it under the ice. I did it all with a hand auger and axe and it was definitely a lot of work (should have used a chainsaw as recommended). It was -10C (14F) out when I turned it on and made the hole, and ice around it was already melting just a couple hours later. My skating rink is still being maintained since the last big snowfall we had so we'll see if the aerator has any impact on the safe ice in that area of the pond. I didn't get a chance to fish this weekend, but it will be interesting to see if the aerator has any impact on where the fish are hanging out. Thanks again for all the help everyone.


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How far from the skating rink to the diffuser?


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Originally Posted by esshup
How far from the skating rink to the diffuser?

It is more than 100ft away at the closest edge.


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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Originally Posted by esshup
How far from the skating rink to the diffuser?

It is more than 100ft away at the closest edge.

When I did a ice thickness test on my pond, the ice didn't change thickness until I was within 30 feet of the open water from the diffuser.


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Originally Posted by esshup
Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Originally Posted by esshup
How far from the skating rink to the diffuser?

It is more than 100ft away at the closest edge.

When I did a ice thickness test on my pond, the ice didn't change thickness until I was within 30 feet of the open water from the diffuser.

That is good to know. We are going to test it today to find out (spudding out and being cautious). It has created a larger open hole than I anticipated. It has been well below freezing all week but the aerator definitely created a lot of open water since it was turned on Sunday.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

I think we might put it on a timer since we really don't need that large of an open area.


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If you aren't going to get snow, shut it off until you do. Clear ice is o.k., as long as nobody walks on it.


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Originally Posted by esshup
If you aren't going to get snow, shut it off until you do. Clear ice is o.k., as long as nobody walks on it.

We get snow very consistently which is one of the reasons our ice is hard to maintain (very slushy usually). If we do plan on turning it on only a little bit per day, how many hours do you recommend?


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Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Originally Posted by esshup
If you aren't going to get snow, shut it off until you do. Clear ice is o.k., as long as nobody walks on it.

We get snow very consistently which is one of the reasons our ice is hard to maintain (very slushy usually). If we do plan on turning it on only a little bit per day, how many hours do you recommend?

I can't recommend a run time. It all depends on ambient temp. I tell my customers that they need to keep an area open that is equal to 10% of the total pond surface area. Most don't and don't have problems. I have calculated my area to be around 5%, but then again I am not really pushing the BOD of the pond. (Biochemical Oxygen Demand)

So my "run time" recommendation is "long enough to keep an area open that is 10% of the surface area of the pond".


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In the beginning, and based on your picture above of open water, I would run it long enough each day to produce an open water area 20 ft in diameter. That should do what you need for your quarry-like steep sided pond.


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Originally Posted by Bill Cody
In the beginning, and based on your picture above of open water, I would run it long enough each day to produce an open water area 20 ft in diameter. That should do what you need for your quarry-like steep sided pond.

Thank you for the advice. The hole is fully frozen over again since it's been cold and we put the aerator on a 3 hours off, 1 hour on timer. I think we'll have to make it come on a little more until we get less cold weather. We will aim for a 20ft diameter.


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Keep us updated on the winter aeration progress and fish survival of your pond.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 01/30/22 05:22 PM.

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Here is an update for everyone.

We tried running the aerator on a timer but the stopping and starting of the aerator caused condensation in the line to freeze and cause issues, so we are just running it full time now. Our ice is more than thick enough at this point in the winter, so having it run full time does not seem to be an issue. I was fishing about 30 feet or so from the edge of the open area and the ice was 14" thick.

I have not even seen a brown trout while I've been fishing. I've only seen and caught rainbows. I have no idea where the browns go in the winter but they become next to impossible to locate or catch. The rainbows seem very healthy and have lots of isopods in their stomachs which appear to be keeping them well fed. Any mixing of the water that the aerator is doing does not seem to be making the rainbows any less aggressive. I don't know how the (unwanted) bass are fairing though.

Thanks again for all of the advice.


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Fyfer, it's certainly possible that the browns, being more wary than rainbows, are avoiding your disturbance on the ice surface. Many years ago I stocked several browns and rainbows together in our pond. Although I caught many of the rainbows over the years, I never caught a brown. Those fish are long gone now.
Another possibility is the browns, being very piscivorous, may be filling up on those (unwanted) small bass and are just not hungry for something dangling from a scary hole in the ice.

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Originally Posted by 4CornersPuddle
Fyfer, it's certainly possible that the browns, being more wary than rainbows, are avoiding your disturbance on the ice surface. Many years ago I stocked several browns and rainbows together in our pond. Although I caught many of the rainbows over the years, I never caught a brown. Those fish are long gone now.
Another possibility is the browns, being very piscivorous, may be filling up on those (unwanted) small bass and are just not hungry for something dangling from a scary hole in the ice.

Thanks for your reply. Both are definitely possibilities. Browns in ponds are hard to catch in my experience, especially through the ice.


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