Paul Cooper answers a reader’s question regarding liming carp lakes.
Sorry to disturb you. I read your great article on the Angling Lines website about Winter Carp Lake Maintenance and want to pick your brain about the liming. The venue I run is very similar in size and all the reasons you list for liming are the same reasons why I want to lime mine.
I have just taken it over in the last 18 months and keen this winter to improve the fishery after years of no fishery management at all.
The main question I want to ask you is how long you would leave the area that has been limed angler free? I know that lime increases pH- have you found this “knocks the fish off” potentially too? Due to the pH effects I might split it into thirds just to be extra cautious and lime the lake over three occasions. Basically it is a day ticket venue I run and I do not want to lime an area, and then have people fish those swims but not stand a chance of catching. I would rather close some swims off for a few weeks to let it recover. Would you advise that?
Thanks for your time.’
I am glad to see that you are considering liming your lake.
Firstly the reason I lime my lake is not about changing the PH but to break down and rejuvenate the silt. My lake is quite silty and when I took it over there was lots of areas in the lake where the silt was dead and smelly. After 4 years of liming there are no areas in the lake where the silt is in anyway stagnant. Liming breaks down the silt and also deepens the lake. The silt is now alive, with all sorts of invertebrates and pond life, which has improved the weights of all of the fish in the lake. I initially had a problem with fish lice and leaches but the liming has killed off the lice and reduced the amount of leaches that you find on the carp.
In reply to closing the water after liming:
* I would lime the 1st third of the lake towards the end of December (that is as long as the lake is not frozen) and if you want to lime again, do this 6 to 8 weeks after the 1st liming. Do not lime the final third this winter.
* The other alternative is do one liming but increase the number of bags that you apply.
* This December I shall be putting around 15 bags of hydrated lime into around just over a third of my lake and that will do for 12 months. Just one liming only this winter. The lime disperses to other parts of the lake anyway, as a result of wind motion on the water surface, but the main concentration will be where you initially spread the it. Next year I will lime a different third of the lake and the year after the last third.
* The initial liming could cause the fish to move away to another part of the lake but generally return within a couple of weeks. I have even seen fish feeding straight after a liming on the limed area. My advice would be to close that section for at least 2 weeks or until you can see that the lime has started to work and sunk into the silt.
If your lake is a gravel pit you will need to consider if you need to lime the lake as with no silt for the lime to work on, it could drastically effect your PH, and could cause excessive weed growth. If you are in doubt it is worth looking at the Bruno Broughton web page https://www.anglersnet.co.uk/authors/bruno09.htm
I hope this helps.