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The Big Suck

Today I want to blog about a little project some of our fisheries staffed did at Victoria Springs State Recreation Area (SRA), recently.  To give you a little background, I have to tell you about duckweed, a small aquatic plant.

Christian Fischer [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Duckweed is a common aquatic plant on some Nebraska waters, it is a small plant that floats on the surface.  It is NOT an algae, it actually has leaves and small roots.  Typically, duckweed grows on small waters that are at least somewhat protected from the wind.  Duckweed floats on the surface and is never abundant on waters that are windswept.  However, on small waters, sometimes duckweed can “bloom” to the point where it literally covers the surface of a waterbody.  Now that is not a problem for fish or other aquatic critters, but it can be considered unsightly and may inhibit some water users.

The pond at Victoria Springs SRA has had an abundance of duckweed for as long as I can remember.  As a kid, my family would occasionally meet my Gramps Roth at Victoria Springs for a picnic and some fishing, and even back in those days the pond was usually covered with duckweed.  I discovered that it did not make any difference, a popper could be fished right in the duckweed and bass and bluegills would suck it right off the duckweed-covered surface.

Recently, the Victoria Springs pond looked something like this, and we hoped to clean that up a bit.

Photo and video by Jared Lorensen. Thanks, Jared.

That was accomplished by simply pumping water from the surface, skimming and pumping the duckweed off.  Something like this:

Here is what one section of the pond looked like before,

Jared Lorensen photo.

and after.

Jared Lorensen photo.

Now duckweed can quickly re-grow and re-populate, so I suspect pumping/skimming projects might need to be repeated on occasion.  However, there is no doubt that the pumping was successful and the pond looked better.  I also am betting it might be easier to catch some fish with less duckweed being present.

If you have never had a chance to take a little detour to Victoria Springs SRA, you have to some time!  It is a beautiful spot in the middle of the state; take your fishing pole, you just might dry a couple off while you are there.

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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