AQUATIC PLANNING GUIDE
Planning an aquatic habitat is basically a three step process:
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to go?
- How much effort do you wish to invest?
WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
This is the foundation of your success. Aquatic systems can be very complex; thus, overlooking important details can come back to haunt you in the future. We often describe this process as looking for the poison needle in the haystack. The "poison" may not kill your habitat, but it can cause chronic "illness". Many owners of lakes and streams are not even aware they have problems until they see a professionally designed habitat. Continual application of chemicals and mechanical treatment of your lake or stream are symptoms of this design deficiency syndrome. Once you see a professionally designed habitat with larger, healthier fish, fewer weeds, clearer water and enhanced aesthetics, you will realize just what you have been missing or could have.
A clear understanding of what your resources are to begin with will build a solid foundation for the best possible design. Please consider the following list of topics when contemplating your lake or stream project. You may not have all of the exact answers to start with, but do the best you can, then you will be able to write us and convey your situation much more clearly.
NOTE: If your site does not have an existing pond, collect information from a nearby pond. This will tell us the natural tendencies of your site. Click here for a printable version of this page so you can answer as many of these questions as possible when you talk to us.
- Do you have a photo/video of your lake, stream or site? This is very valuable in the process. A set of photos taken each season or change of water appearance is best.
- Where is your lake located? At what elevation?
- What sort of bottom does your lake have, i.e.: mud, sand, rock? Tell us roughly what proportion of each type of substrate. If mud is present, what color is it? Does the mud have an odor? How deep is the mud?
- Is the land flat around the lake, or sloped? How steep? What aspect does it face?
- What do you have for a water source, i.e.: springs, creek, rain, wells etc.?
- What is your general water chemistry? Click here* for instructions to determine this quickly and easily. (* a new window will open)
- If it is a spring or creek, what temperature and volume does it produce in summer and winter? (You can use relative terms; we can interpret.) Is the water supply cold, cool, or warm? Would it fill a garden hose, 2" pipe, 12" culvert etc.?
- Does a stream flow directly into your lake, or is water diverted from a stream?
- Do you have an idea of the water temperature of the pond in summer at the surface and in the deeper areas? Even general descriptions are helpful here, such as: "It's warm enough to swim in." "It gets as warm as a bath tub." "It's a bit cool for swimming" etc. How thick is the ice in winter? Does the snow get deep?
- Can you describe the general shape of the pond, including the lay of the bottom of the pond? Is a small portion deep, or is most of it deep?
- What direction do the prevailing winds come from in summer and winter?
- Are there any aquatic plant species present? If so, can you send photos of the aquatic plants. How much of the pond bottom is covered in vegetation?
- Roughly how old is the lake?
- Can you tell us a bit about the history of any fish in your lake: species, sizes etc.?
- Add any other comments you might think relevant.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?
Now we get to the section that is more fun for land owners. You get to tell us what YOU want! The description you developed above will give us the parameters we need to consider to produce your dream lake or stream. They tell us what can be possible.
In this phase, don't let your goals be limited by preconceived notions of what you think your habitat can produce. Let the fish and our experience show you what is possible. With the correct habitat design and the right type of fish, you will be astounded at the possibilities. As mentioned earlier, we have a wealth of knowledge in stretching the limits of suitable habitats for cold water trout and salmon. So many people let their notions limit what they can have. Dream a little about what you want and we can do the rest. Just because your lake gets warm at times does not mean you have to settle for warmwater game fish. We blend science with practical experience to develop creative solutions for challenges in marginal habitats.
Here are a few of the standard goals we have helped people attain. Remember there are always trade offs. Prioritizing your goals will give you the best results.
- I want clear water
- I want trophy size fish
- I want bigger fish in my stream
- I want my pond to be completely natural
- I want the kids to have a clean place to swim
- I want make my lakefront property beautiful and valuable
- I want to make a great investment in waterfront real esate
- I want to cool my home while warming the water in my natural swimming pond
- I want a clear swimming pond and beach that's much cheaper than a pool
- I want to avoid potentially hazardous chemicals and expensive additives
- I want a lake / pond that belongs in the pages of a fly-fishing calendar
- I want a small pond in my yard, that is very easy to maintain
- I don't want to worry about maintaining an aquatic habitat
- I want a lake with large areas free of aquatic plants
- I want to water livestock or irrigate from my lake
- I want to be able to land my float plane on my lake
- I want my property value to rise significantly
- I want to buy land, build a lake or pond and make a profit when I sell
- I want to be able to use my lake for emergency fire suppression
- I want to build a private refuge for a sensitive species of wild fish
HOW MUCH EFFORT DO YOU WISH TO INVEST?
This is where you decide exactly what you want. From an analysis of all of the information you have provided, we can give you an idea of what we offer at various levels of assistance in your project. We can almost always provide immediate results with only a few hours of energy invested in your project. With more time, we provide solutions that only professionals, who have dedicated a lifetime to studying aquatic systems, can develop. A sound investment in professional advice usually results in much greater savings in maintenance and construction costs, as well as the highest quality design and finished project. Every dollar invested in proper planning and design, will come back to you several fold in enhanced property value, enjoyment and value over the life of your lake, pond or stream.
SPRING CREEK ACADEMY OF LAKE POND & STREAM BUILDING
Read these educational pages that will assist your quest for natural waters. This site is designed to help you think and understand waters to prioritize your goals.
LINK TO US
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We look forward to discussing bringing your water to life!