Publications – Science

Low seasonal oxygen levels often cause fish kills. Chumming fish with oxygen, creating an oasis of oxygen enriched water, attracts fish better than food. Fish will not eat or move much when suffocating in oxygen poor water summer or winter…when “the bite” slows down.

In intensive aquaculture, fish farmers add high concentrations of oxygen 30 minutes before feeding continuously to 2 hours after feeding every day. Why? Because in an artificial environment of very high oxygen concentrations their fish will eat more, grow much larger and grow quicker by manipulating the dissolved oxygen before and after feeding.

July 31, 2015

Oxygenation systems could explain larger catches at Thurmond Lake

By Bill Baab, Fishing Editor, June 13, 2015

http://m.chronicle.augusta.com/sports/outdoors/fishing/2015-06-18/baab-oxygenation-system-could-explain-larger-catches-thurmond#gsc.tab=0

As fishing page editor for more than 30 years, I get to see the results of most bass tournaments held on Thurmond Lake.

One trend to which I had no answer, until earlier this week, was seeing five-fish catches totaling 25 pounds and a bit more. Just five years ago, the average five-fish catch was 15 or so pounds.

So why are the fish getting bigger?

John Biagi, Chief of Fisheries feels the oxygenation system operated in the Modoc area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the hot summer months when oxygen depletion is a problem could be a part of the answer.

“That system created new quality habitat for most species of fish, including largemouths,” he said.

[Digestion requires large amounts of oxygen, fish eat less when deprived of oxygen (the bite slows down in the Dog Days of summer, tight?

The multi-million dollar oxygen system built by the Army Corp of Engineers at Thurmond Lake insures plenty of oxygen every summer. Summer environment oxygen deprivation is no longer a predictable summer problem and fish eat when they can breaths.

Chumming baitfish and game fish with an oasis of high dissolved oxygen is a win-win situation in the summer for fish and fishermen.]

July 15, 2015

Al’s Angling Adventures

Flathead Fishing Tips And Tricks

Summertime is catfishing time. Whether you fish from a $20,000 bass boat or a lawn chair, the catfish action can be hot and fast-paced as any summer fishing venture. The key is to be inventive.

Keith Warren, host of television’s “The Texas Angler” and “Hunting & Outdoor Adventures,” has tried it all when it comes to catfish. He thinks being inventive is what separates a fisherman from a catfisherman. Borrowing from his wealth of bass fishing knowledge… Warren is a firm believer in chumming for flatheads.

Chum Techniques – O2 Chumming?

Most catfish chum consists of soured grain or fish parts. A Texas man, however, has developed a technique involving chumming with oxygen.

Check this out. In more than 30 years of research, Texas wildlife officials have found that low levels of dissolved oxygen kills more fish in Texas waters than any other single cause. The potential for fish mortality increases dramatically during the summer months when rising water temperatures contribute to lower oxygen levels.

David Kinser of Anahuac, Texas, has a unique insight into this phenomenon that can benefit anglers. Kinser has spent more than two decades creating and modifying human life support systems for the medical field and has developed an uncanny understanding of the links between oxygen, life, and death.

Kinser, who owns Oxygenation Systems of Texas, has garnered quite a reputation among live bait enthusiasts and bass tournament anglers for his “Oxygen Edge” fish and bait oxygenation system.

Instead of relying on standard aeration to keep bait or tournament fish alive, Kinser’s system involves supercharging the water with pure oxygen.

“Standard aeration systems draw from the air, which is composed of 21 percent oxygen. Factor in that many units only achieve 65 to 80 percent efficiency and it becomes obvious what happens when water temperatures start to heat up. The fish start to die because they’re not getting enough oxygen,” Kinser said.

Building on the success of his Oxygen Edge system, Kinser is set to release a new product that is designed to “chum” fish with oxygen. Kinser said this new unit is similar to his Oxygen Edge, but it contains some technical modifications and a long hose to allow chumming in deep water to create what Kinser calls a “Dissolved Oxygen Chum Line.”

The concept, while seemingly contrived, was actually born by accident while installing an oxygen system at a bait camp on the Bolivar Peninsula.

“This guy had a big aerator running to a big tank full of mullet. All of the mullet were severely stressed with red noses and they were on top of the water, gasping. After the oxygen system was on for a short while, the fish calmed down and were all gathered directly over the oxygen stone,” Kinser said. “That’s what first got me to thinking about creating an oxygen chumming system.”

“This is going to be something that you have to use during the extremely hot months,” said Kinser, “when there is little oxygen in the water and around structure where fish are. You’re going to use it just like you would regular chum.”

“The only difference is that fish need oxygen more immediately than they need food. That’s why fish stay in a certain part of the water column during summer–that’s where the oxygen is. Fish seek and stay where oxygen is,” he added.

How much oxygen will it take to draw in fish? In a pond it’s easy to see how it might work, but in an area as large as the Gulf, the perspective broadens tremendously.

“The envelope drifts with the current, and fish can detect 1/10 of 1 part per million oxygen change. Offshore anglers in particular know that chumming creates an oil slick that spreads way out and draws in fish. The only difference is that oxygen is invisible, but it spreads much the same,” Kinser said.

Kinser’s confidence in his new product isn’t just based on personal observations and hypothesis either. He has a couple of aces in the hole already.

“Some of the top anglers on the Crappie USA tournament started using a prototype back in 1997 and did very well with it. Also, at a sports show, I met a commercial diver who uses oxygen bubbles to increase his buoyancy while underwater. He said he has major problems keeping fish away from him while diving. They’re drawn to the oxygen like a magnet,” Kinser said.

And what do I think about the idea of chumming fish with dissolved oxygen?

I think it sounds crazy enough to work. (For more information contact David Kinser at Oxygenation Systems of Texas at 409-267-6458).

Oxygenation system could explain larger catches at Thurmond Lake

By Bill Baab, Fishing Editor, Thursday June 18, 2015

http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/outdoors/fishing/2015-06-18/oxygenation-system-could-explain-larger-catcher-thurmond-lake

As fishing page editor for more than 30 years, I get to see the results of most bass tournaments held on Thurmond Lake.

One trend to which I had no answer, until earlier this week, was seeing five-fish catches totaling 25 pounds and a bit more. Just five years ago, the average five-fish catch was 15 or so pounds.

So why are the fish getting bigger?

Biagi feels the oxygenation system operated in the Modoc area by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the hot summer months when oxygen depletion is a problem could be a part of the answer.

“That [oxygen] system created new quality habitat for most species of fish, including largemouths,” he said.

Clarks Hill Stripers Finding A More Oxygen-Rich Thermocline

A new oxygen system on Clarks Hill is making for better striper water.      [Chumming Stripers with Pure 100% Oxygen]

Originally published in the August 2013 issue of GON https://www.gon.com/article.php?id=3447

Clark Hill’s Oxygenation System Helping Stripers

Deep-water reservoirs, like Clarks Hill, share a common problem. In the heat of the summer the water sets up in layers called thermoclines. Warm water is less dense than cool water, and the cooler layer tends to sink while leaving the warm water on top.

Stripers prefer the cool water and will move to it, but this deeper water is typically deficient in DO (dissolved oxygen) making it less than optimal for the fish. Herein lies the problem of supporting healthy striper populations in deep-water reservoirs during the summer.

At Clarks Hill, the Corps of Engineers worked out a solution that appears to be having a positive impact on the situation. About 5 miles upstream from the Strom Thurmond Dam, near Modoc, the corps suspended a series of nine oxygen lines at varying depths through a stretch of the lake.

During the summer, [100%] oxygen gas is supplied to these lines, and the oxygen is released along the length of the lines through small openings.

The concept can be thought of as a large aerator much like you would find in a household aquarium. The system is simple but apparently effective. The lines were put in place in 2011, and over the last three years the schedule has been as follows:

Year       Oxygen Start        Oxygen End

2011       June 8                   Oct. 13

2012       June 4                   Oct. 10

2013       May 28                  TBD

The oxygen tubes are placed upstream of the dam to allow for a longer stretch of improved oxygen levels as the current moves downstream. The South Carolina DNR is conducting tagging and tracking studies to better understand the impact of the projects, but, if you ask local anglers, they’ll give the corps high marks. The striper population seems to be thriving, and there is still plenty of action even in the heat of the summer.

Chumming Stripers in the summer with a man-made oasis of 100% oxygen rich water attracts and consolidates gamefish…

Chumming fish with pure 100% compressed oxygen in the winter – why an artificial oxygen rich oasis underwater works so good every winter.

 Oxygen and fish behaviour

Stéphan G. Reebs, Université de Moncton, Canada  2009        www.howfishbehave.ca  # 15

Winterkill

In northern lakes, whole fish populations are sometimes wiped out during the winter. Following a fierce winter, very few fishes are found alive in the lake. Such massive die-offs – called winterkill – take place when the surface of the lake gets covered by ice, with snow on top. The ice isolates the water from the air, while the snow screens the aquatic plants from much of the already short daylight, curtailing photosynthesis.

Oxygen eventually runs out, and the fishes start to die. They cannot use aquatic surface respiration or unrestricted air-breathing because of the ice.

They are reduced to gathering around air bubbles trapped underneath the ice, as witnessed in the field by John Magnuson and his team from the University of Wisconsin.25 But this, obviously, can only be a short-term measure. The fish’s only hope for long-term survival – beside physiological adaptations such as the use of anaerobic metabolism, see below – is to congregate near the mouths of inflowing tributaries that discharge well-oxygenated water (if the current is strong enough, ice does not form over the stream, and oxygen can diffuse into it). Such streams, unfortunately, cannot always be found, hence the winterkill.

Winter Oxygen and Your Fish

By Dr. Dave Willis

Winterkill involves a set of circumstances in which dissolved oxygen in water is depleted under ice during winter.

In reality, winterkill actually is a result of respiration being greater than photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants take sunlight as an energy source, and use it to combine carbon dioxide and water to make simple sugars. It just so happens that a by-product of this photosynthesis is oxygen. Respiration is the opposite process by which animals and plants use oxygen to “burn” simple sugars in their bodies, and release energy needed for life. Carbon dioxide and water are byproducts of this process, which then can in turn be “re-used” in photosynthesis!

During winter in your pond or lake, photosynthesis still occurs, but typically at a much lower rate than summer. Algae (microscopic green plants which produce much of the oxygen in your pond or lake) are still present, but typically at lower abundances than summer. So, some oxygen is still being released into the water column by plants and algae, even during cold months. Respiration of zooplankton, fish, plants, and especially bacteria that are decomposing waste products, all continue under ice.

Winterkill is more likely to occur in shallower ponds or lakes, the longer the ice cover lasts, the more snow is on top of ice, and the more productive that particular water body is. Let’s take these topics one at a time.

Shallower ponds or lakes are more at risk for oxygen depletion because they contain less water volume and therefore hold less total dissolved oxygen. A deeper pond or lake has more water volume, and it takes longer for respiration of plants, animals, and bacteria to use up the available supply of dissolved oxygen in the water underneath ice.

Long periods of ice cover cause problems, of course, because the longer a pond is covered, the longer that respiration (use of oxygen) is likely occurring at a greater rate than photosynthesis (production of oxygen). So, a Kansas lake that has 6 weeks of ice cover is not nearly as vulnerable to winterkill as a Minnesota lake with ice cover from late October through early April. Depths greater than 25 feet have shown no further benefits to fish populations. So, as we move further north, more water volume is needed to help avoid winterkill.

Snow cover has considerable influence on dissolved oxygen levels. Clear ice transmits sunlight rather well, allowing photosynthesis to occur in water below. However, even a couple of inches of snow can nearly eliminate sunlight penetration into a pond or lake.

Reference: Barton. B.A. and B.R. Taylor. 1996. Oxygen Requirements of Fishes in Northern Alberta Rivers with a General Review of the Adverse Effects of Low Dissolved Oxygen. Water Quality Research Journal of Canada 31(2): 361-410.

Dr. David W. Willis is a professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, South Dakota State University in Brookings. We thank Pond Boss magazine www.pondboss.com for permission to reprint this article.

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Transmitters help track Thurmond Lake Stripers

http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/outdoors/rob-pavey/2013-05-03/transmitters-help-track-thurmond-lake-stripers

By Rob Pavey / Outdoors Editor/ Saturday May 3, 2013

For the fourth consecutive year, scientist are using surgically implants transmitters to spy on Thurmond Lake stripers during warm weather months. “This year, we tagged an additional 36 striped bass.” said research biologist Jason Bettinger of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, whose team tagged similar numbers of fish in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The study… is part of an effort to see how fish respond to an $11.3 million oxygen injection system that can artificially improve water quality in the lower lake when hot weather elevated water temperature and lowers dissolved oxygen levels.

Typically, when the hot weather hits, stripe bass migrate upstream toward the colder waters found in the Russell Dam tailrace, where they are also vulnerable to being killed during the operation of Russell Dam’s pumped storage “reversible” turbines. The Corps of Engineers built the oxygen plant near Modoc, S.C., as a mitigation project to offset the impact of fish kills at Russell Dam.

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Biologist evaluate success of fish-saving oxygen system at Lake Thurmond

By Rob Pavey / Outdoors Editor/ Saturday September 11, 2011

The idea was to determine whether the Corps of Engineers’ new oxygen injection system is fulfilling its mission of keeping sportfish at the lake’s lower end even during hot weather. “We’re seeing a lot of people trolling, and some surface feeding activity too,” the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources scientist said. “We’re also finding a lot of our tagged fish.” The oxygen system was designed to provide oxygenated habitat at the other end of the lake. “… we’re also seeing tagged fish that normally would be upstream, that are hanging around down here.” Anglers are also tuned in to the oxygen system and plenty of fish have been caught in that vicinity.

“Whenever I’m out during the day, they’re running the thing like crazy, and with all the bubbles it looks like a giant hot tub,” said William Sasser, a professional guide who uses the area frequently. “It’s not like a little mist of bubbles. You absolutely can’t miss it.”

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Oxygen change killing [stripers] fish at Thurmond Lake

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/08/11/met_543971.shtml

By Rob Pavey | Staff Writer l Tuesday, August 11, 2009

“Striped bass trapped in a collapsing layer of oxygenated water continued to die at Thurmond Lake during the weekend, according to biologists monitoring the phenomenon.”