The ground is still squishy with water saturation from snow and rain and the grass; well it’s still brown waiting for warmer days to start becoming green again. Of course that is nice to see green grass but that also means back to mowing the yard.
Same with the pond plants, without sunlight under the ice and snow they’ve become dead and brown too waiting for the sun and warmer temperatures to begin another cycle of life for themselves and providing food and shelter for insects above and below the water’s surface.
It is always an awesome sight being able to see the water once again as the ice melted back little by little each day being able to see more and more water and looking for signs of life. I think the first thing I saw was algae, one of the thousands of species of cold water algae. But no worries as it will disappear in time as the water warms up. Yes we’ll see algae again, it is a process of life for the pond and when the pond water is at a certain temp we’ll open our tool box to keep it under control.
Back to spring and the ice melting showing a clean, clear fresh pond to start a new chapter of life at the pond. But with life there can be death after such a hard winter and some ponds have had worse issues than others. For instance heading out to do some ice fishing and after the hole was cut in the ice is an awful smell or dead fish coming up through the hole. The smell is from the buildup of toxic gasses trapped under the ice and could be prevented by keeping a hole in the ice over the winter months. As for the dead fish popping up through the ice this would be a fish kill. It can happen at any time even when the ice is off the pond and the pond naturally flips or also called turn over.
We’ve been lucky over the year with no actual fish kill but have a fish die after the winter ice has gone. Same this year we had a few fish die. This is called survival of the fittest or at least that is what I’ve been going with since it can affect large and small fish. Same thing happened this year but with more research and talking with the experts we find that when winter sets in and the water cools down the fish become lethargic sort of hibernating until the water warms up again. During this time they don’t move around much, don’t eat much and just wait until the water perks them back up again.
During this down time, not eating and being active the slime coating on the fish become less and less. This is also their protective coating, but diminishes as the winter drags on. To the point of either being gone or very thin that will allow viruses to attack the fish and it seems this has happened to a few of our fish and size didn’t matter.
So how did your pond make out this winter? Are you planning to do anything different this year? Like add plants, remove plants, what about aeration or treating with beneficial bacteria’s?. We try to do something new each year and watch the results.
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