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Aerators off in Clear Lake draws plenty of opinions

“In winter aeration, you can actually do more damage by turning them on mid-winter."

Posted: Feb. 21, 2019 8:54 PM
Updated: Feb. 22, 2019 3:09 PM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa- Craig Kramer of Dyersville spent most of Thursday looking for the perfect place to fish on Clear Lake.
“We caught a little perch so far and a few other small perches,” he said.
But since he isn’t from the area, he didn’t know there is an aerator on the part of Clear Lake he started drilling holes in. He feels aerators are vital to keeping fish alive during the winter months and questions why it isn’t on.
“It’s a decision that doesn’t make anyone happy,” said Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Scott Grummer.
Grummer is the one who makes that tough call. He explained that it was made in late December because of the mild start to the winter. The lake didn’t freeze or get snow on it until late January.
“When you get that think blanket of snow that starts in November and doesn’t leave until March that’s when we have dissolved oxygen issues,” said Grummer.
Scott said no one could have predicted how brutal the winter would be following the mild start but he doesn’t regret his decision. It’s too late to turn them back on now anyway.
“In winter aeration, you can actually do more damage by turning them on mid-winter,” Grummer said. “You can either run them from the start and don’t stop or you can run them and stop. It’s not something you can turn off and on.”
But being an experienced fisher, Kramer said they should have never been turned off in the first place.
“I know there’s a lake over in Delaware County I go fishing and they shut their aerator off a few years back and it made a huge difference,” he said.
Grummer said this is the first time they have turned the aerators off in nearly a decade. He said with the tens of millions of dollars the city and state has put in to restoring Clear Lake that should also give the local body of water some resilience.

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