Sulphur Lake Aeration Report 2003-2004
David Jackson, Ed Kolodychuk
Lake aeration is a fishery enhancement technique used to maintain dissolved oxygen levels in eutrophic lakes prone to winterkill. Ten stocked lakes that are susceptible to winterkill are aerated annually in the Northwest Region. These otherwise seasonal fisheries (May - October) provide year round multi-age class fisheries to anglers in areas that have limited angling opportunities. The objective of lake aeration is to annually sustain dissolved oxygen levels in these lakes at or above 3.0 mg/l. Maintaining the dissolved oxygen at this level or higher ensures the survival of trout throughout the winter (Fast 1994).
The Alberta Forest Service built the campsite in 1971 and Fish and Wildlife Division of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development began stocking fish in 1958 with moderate success. A beaver dam that controlled the lake level, washed out in 1978. By the spring of 1980, the water levels had dropped 1.3 meters. A water control structure was proposed to retain the recreation value of the lake. In the winter of 1983, a sheet pile weir was built at a cost of just under $80,000.
Aeration of Sulphur Lake began in 1989-90 due to occasional winterkill. Several aeration techniques have been used with varying degrees of success. Aqua tubing was used from 1989-90 to 92-93, point release from 1993-94 and 1995-96, and mechanical surface aeration from 1996-97 to present. Mechanical surface aeration has been the most successful aeration technique, that the ACA has used, for over wintering populations of stocked trout. Details on these aeration techniques and results can be acquired from the Alberta Conservation Association.
The Lake Enhancement Program (Lake Aeration), of which Sulphur Lake is a part of, continues to be a highly successful project providing year round multi-age class fisheries to anglers in areas that have limited angling opportunities.