Ice fishing shelters are to be removed off all lakes in Area B as of yesterday, March 15th, and with that the Killarney Lake Action Committee is planning on turning up their bubbler head aeration system next weekend on March 23rd.

Killarney Mayor, Janice Smith, says it's important for all residents and visitors to Killarney Lake to recognize the danger of more open water once the system gets turned up to the full 10 lines, which include 60 micro-bubbler heads, just south of the town's water treatment plant.

"Certainly, everyone knows that once there is movement of water it's going to rot away the ice faster," she says, "and I think everybody knows with the season that we've had with all the mild temperatures, there is ice there but how good the ice is nobody really knows."

"So, I really want everybody to be very cautious moving forward if they're on the lake."

Mayor Smith was out walking Friday morning and saw just a handful of ice fishing shacks still on Killarney Lake.  She says the municipality does allow ice fishing shacks to be stored for a brief amount of time at the boat launch at Kerry Park, however with the warming temperatures and the moving water the ice will be compromised, especially for vehicles that are travelling on the ice. So, anglers need to move their shacks off as soon as possible.

Over the winter months, the Killarney Lake Action Committee, tapers the field down to 2 lines that run adjacent to the shoreline nearest the water treatment plant, to minimize the amount of open water for safety's sake.  However, for best results in the effort to curb blue-green algae blooms in the summer it's best to open the system up fully as soon as possible.

The lake committee is very pleased with the results of the aeration field over the past 5 years.  "This will be the 6th summer of our aeration field," shares committee chair, Betty Sawatzky.  "The fish are happy, and they're well fed!  The lake has a wealth of freshwater shrimp and bugs, and clams and other critters so there is plenty of food for our fish population."

"We saw a bloom at the end of summer last year but when you look at the hot, hot summer we had with very little rain, we were still very impressed with how the aeration helped the lake as a whole," continues Sawatzky. "You only need to see the amount of recreation on the lake, and the campgrounds that are full all summer long, to see the benefits of the system! And we haven't had a beach closure since we started.  As a committee, we're excited to see how this summer will be. Each summer the lake does better, and we're expecting to see an even better summer this year!"

"I think we can all agree the aeration system has really benefited the lake," says Mayor Smith. "At times the algal blooms are there, but they're minimal and later in the summer season.  They're not a severe as they were in the past.  So, it is doing something," she adds, "and we want it to work to its best ability so if that means turning them up right now so that there's lots of oxygen in that water right now, and there's as much water movement right now, then we need to turn it up!"

"The sooner the bubbler heads are turned up to full capacity, the more open water and the more oxygen that is being allowed into the lake water.  Spawning season is here for the fish population and in that, fish become voracious eaters, consuming more nutrients. It's a win-win-win for the lake, the fish and the ecosystem as a whole," adds Sawatzky.