With the cold of winter quickly freezing over many favorite fishing holes, pond owners may be wondering how to keep their waters aerated during the cold months to prevent fishkill.
Diffusers are a simple way to keep part of the pond open year-round and prevent the water from stagnating under a thick sheet of ice. The diffusers, which are submerged, pump oxygen into the water and create movement in the water to melt the ice in that area. Open water also is warmed more efficiently by direct sunlight, which will help keep water temperatures from dipping too low.
When water hits the surface, it becomes cooled and sinks to the bottom, causing temperature layering. In deeper water, more warm water is pushed to the top, which can cause cooler, heavier water to spread throughout a larger portion of the pond and bring down the overall temperature of the water. This can put a lot of stress on warm-weather fish such as bass, catfish and crappie. In the winter, you’ll want to keep the aerator in about 5 feet of water to keep the water from becoming super-chilled in this way. This also helps keep water open near the shore in case someone falls in. Pond Boss Magazine also recommends at least 25 percent of the pond being 10 feet or deeper to keep oxygen levels up during the winter. In the summer and fall months, the aerator would go in deeper water to allow for more water turnover.
Deeper lakes or ponds usually don’t need much help, as they will have a lot more dissolved oxygen in them, and ponds with natural hot springs or a lot of water movement also usually do well during the winter.