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Muir Lake


Don Andersen

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Tim, Don or Mike:

Would there ever be consideration of cutting the weeds down in the late fall or as a measure to improve:

a) oxygen levels in the winter and

B) reduce the amount of plant matter decaying at the bottom which eventually leads to a shallower lake.

 

Would this measure lead to a big change in the ecology or the lake or a reduction in insect production?

I see the practice of happy salad cutting going on at many of the local cottage lakes and they seem to be OK. What is the monetary cost associated with cutting? Also, would cutting weeds down just lead to a worsening of the situation (ie. more and thicker happy salad growth)?

 

I haven't been to Muir in about a month and I fear going back. Star has been the choice as of late.

 

Why does a lake like Star have such minimal happy salad growth (even in the shallows with adequate light penetration) whereas Muir gets so much? There seems to be similiar temperatures in the two lakes as well.

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Andrew,

 

Muir is aerated, so cutting the weeds in the fall would have no effect on oxygen levels of water in the winter, and I haven't seen any evidence that weeds make a lake shallower.

 

The weeds are part of Muir Lake's ecology and have to do with the lake bottom and light penetration. We also don't know if the current happy salad situation is permanent or temporary. From what I understand the water has been at its current level for about 6 years and woud be about 4' higher in normal years. There are parts of Star lake (south and south west) that are quite weedy, these parts also hold a lot of fish.

 

I could see an argument for cutting weeds to make it easier to get around the lake, but cutting weeds just so people could fish the way they do in other lakes would probably be a mistake.The weeds provide shelter from birds and sunlight, they also provide ambush spots for fish and a habitat for trout food.

 

I am sure that FESA would listen to any proposal to change the happy salad situation at Muir, but you have to understand that we are a volunteer organization, getting projects done relies on people taking action. FESA's role is supporting that action. So if we had someone come up with a proposal that would detail exactly what they want done, with detailed costs, along with some research on how the change would affect the lake's ecology; then we (FESA) could go to the government and the county with a proposal. They would either accept or reject the proposal - remember FESA does not own the lake or the fish and we can't make changes in isolation.

 

In the meantime, I would suggest finding ways to adapt to Muir's new regime. There are a few people that I see out there just about every time I go, and they have no problem catching lots of fish.

 

In the last month I have had some very good action there, ranging from backswimmers, to flying ants and pmd's. I have caught fish on chironomids and catatonic leeches. Most of the good fishing has been in and around the weeds, casting to actively feeding fish. Some of the action has been truly amazing. But then again, I have adapted to the lake, developed new techniqus and tied up some flies to take advantage of the way fish are feeding. I have also had to learn new ways to fight fish once they get hooked and found that I have to be more agressive to keep the fish under control.

 

There are times that I want to just fish floating backswimmers on the surface when there are few fish to be had. That is a concious decision by me to fish in a certain way, even though it is not the most productive way to fish. I have to accept that I will not catch as many fish as I would with other techniques. This would be the same for any angler who is using the same techniques that 'worked' last year or this past spring but are not currently successful. It is really a choice not to catch more fish. I think that Muir Lake will change again next year, there may be more weeds, or even less. My role as an angler will be to assess the changes and adapt to them in order to keep catching fish.

 

I am going fishing at noon today and looking forward to it.

 

Cheers,

 

Tim

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Hatch Chaser,

 

Although I'm not positive, Muir doesn't seem to have an outflow. Therefore, the happy salad growth and the nutrient load realized from them stays within the water body. The nutrient load is important. From it all good things flow. Of course, there is a point where the nutrient load is too high resulting in algea blooms and the like. This could result in summer kills.

If the nutrient load gets too high, happy salad cutting is an option. The nutrient load captured by the weeds could be removed from the lake only if the weeds were removed completely from the water and banks.

happy salad growth in the case of Star maybe surpressed by:

1] the lack of nutrient load

2]bottom substrate

3]lack of the species of happy salad prevalent @ Muir.

I would expect that #1 are mostly likely.

 

I've had an opportunity for the past 5 years to fish some of the richest lakes this province contains. In each case, lots of weeds = lots of bugs = large fish. In some of these lakes the fish put on 2 lbs. +/annum.

 

What would be a neat excercise is measurement of water quality over time. Things like Nitrogen and Phosphates & TDS. I know that was a lack in information gathering over the past 35 years on Stauffer Creek.

 

There is a lot of places where the chemistry could be done. Samples would have to be gathered from various points on the lake. A liter/location would suffice. Examination of the background nutirents over time correlated to lake production of both weeds/bugs/fish could them be established. Such data would them be used in happy salad control measures. And like Tim says - watch the water levels - low water levels usually result in heavier happy salad growth as nutrient levels rise.

 

And I'm going to tie flies and dump the rain guage.

 

 

catch ya'

 

 

Don

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Thank you very much Tim and Don for your detailed and intelligent responses. I ask you guys these questions because I will be doing a presentation with the Old Timers Fishing Club and want to get my facts straight.

I see that in some ways we really aren't sure of what effects our adjustments on nature will have.

I agree Tim that we have to adapt to the situation in each lake and fish accordingly. This is what makes fly-fishing so darn intriquing and addicting.

 

Re: happy salad Growth Leading to Shallow Lakes: To clarify, what I meant is that when the weeds collapse to the bottom this results in the lake filling with sediments eventually becoming a bog and then drying up. I understood this to be the natural progression of any lake and maybe it is happening faster in Muir due to one of the many factors (higher nutrient contents, aerator or lack of outflow as mentioned by you and Don).

Having the aerator there may actually speed this process up (if in fact, it does accelerate happy salad growth). Of course, there could be more fertilizers from local farms being washed into Muir than at Star.

All I know is that everytime man starts to play with nature there is always some hidden and insidious side effect we can't control.

 

Thanks again for adding to my growing understanding of lake ecology! I will be out a Star tonight...go backswimmers and scuds, go!

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Thanks for all your interest in these areas, and the knowledge you give to us ! A lot of fisher people do not think of such things and by having these discussions it helps to inform us.

SO THANKS !!!! DON , TIM , HATCH CASER , RB and the others whom have loved the fish aspect of it and not just the catch of it....

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