Archive for the ‘Off Season’ Category

Lake Population Increases . . .

Monday, February 13th, 2012

. . . for a day, at least.  Sunday February 12th was a bitterly cold day, but that did not seem to deter the ice fishermen who came to compete in the annual Lake Fairlee Ice Fishing Derby.

Fishing on Lake Fairlee

Bob houses populated the lake over the weekend.  The competition technically begins at one minute after midnight, and some intrepid souls were hard at work at east by 2:30am.  According to the Valley News (LINK), over 200 people participated.

You can see the smoke coming from the chimneys

There were multiple winners in each of several categories.  See the article above for details.

The Eagles Have Landed

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

During ice fishing season fishermen sometimes leave unwanted fish on the ice after they leave (for reasons which we do not understand).  This year they attracted a veritable flock of bald eagles, and a quick-shot member photographer captured these images.

We are told that there were five birds in all.  In the summer we frequently see one, or maybe two, of them.

Thanks to Gordon Kerr who took these shots from Passumpsuc Point looking southeast across the lake.

The Ice is In!

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

And the fishermen are going to . . . work?

Pressure on the Dam in the Spring

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Last summer we posted some photos of the dam that maintains the level of Lake Fairlee as part of a report on its condition.  Those photos were taken after a dry week in August, when there was little water flowing over the dam.  In mid April we had occasion to take more photos, at a time of significant rain and snow melt.  Although these pictures were not taken from exactly the same places (not possible, it turns out) they clearly show the marked contrast in conditions.

NOTE: You can click on the photos below for a larger image.

The first two photos show the southern portion of the dam (spillway) looking from the west (downstream).

Above taken in summer, below in the spring thaw.


The following photos look at the longer, northern portion of the dam.  The walkway to the house is high and dry.

In the second photo water is coursing over the top of the walkway.


The final photos are looking towards the house from the south.  The spillway portion of the dam is on the left.  These illustrate the difference in the water levels.

The water appears to be more than a foot higher in the second photo.


What these photos cannot completely convey is the volume of the water coming out of the lake, the continuous loud sound, and the stress this must be putting on our dam.

Spring is coming to the Lake

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Near the mouth of Middlebrook

The ice is beginning to go out and the birds are arriving.  Besides the geese and ducks there are red-winged blackbirds and at least one blue heron.  This was taken 0n April 11th.

Plans for Summer 2011

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Over the winter we have been thinking about what our milfoil program next summer might look like.  We prepared the following narrative for our  State grant-in-aid application.  Any plans made this early are necessarily educated guesses at best, subject to revision when we see how much Eurasian milfoil we find growing when the ice is gone.

Also our possible funding shortage (see this post) might constrain what we can afford to do.

Project Description

Lake Fairlee is a medium sized lake, surrounded by the three towns of Fairlee, Thetford, and West Fairlee.  The Lake Fairlee Association is a not for profit membership corporation created to “preserve, protect, and enhance the distinctive ecology and natural resources of Lake Fairlee and its surrounding watershed.”  The Association works in partnership with the applicant Town of Thetford to manage the milfoil control program.

In 2010 we were granted a permit to treat the affected areas with the herbicide triclopyr, as part of a five-year plan.  The results were very satisfactory, with substantially all of the growing milfoil killed.  Nonetheless we do not know how much regrowth to expect this season.  Because there were mature well developed beds of milfoil, there may be rootstock that was not killed by last year’s herbicide treatment, from which new plants might appear.

With the help of our consultant, Lycott, Inc., our plan this summer will be intensive inspection and rapid response.  We will begin with a thorough survey of the entire lake early in the growing season.  Where there are isolated plants, they will be picked.  Where there are larger growths, they will be marked and a crew scheduled to return and pull them.  And if there is extensive growth, we will deploy benthic barriers.

In addition Lycott will conduct a third “scientific” survey in the late summer as required by our permit.

Education and Prevention

For four years the Lake Fairlee Association has developed and operated a greeter program at the State boat access.  It is our belief that prevention of the spread of E. milfoil is of paramount importance.  This is our most effective way of combating the transport of nuisance species in and out of our lake.

This year we hope to significantly increase the number of hours that the boat ramp will be attended, extending both the daily hours and the days covered.  We will employ three greeters, and hope to have a greeter present about 70 hours per week through July and August, and perhaps slightly fewer hours before and after, beginning Memorial Day weekend and lasting into mid September. We will try to schedule more coverage during the early morning and late afternoon hours preferred by many fishermen.

Each year we gain more experience hiring people with the requisite qualifications, and training and equipping them to do the job well.  We will improve our record keeping, including gathering more demographic information about those with whom we speak.  We will continue to explore the possibility of a boat washing station convenient to the launch. Other educational activities that we will continue include:

  • We will continue to use our ‘blog’ for education and outreach.
  • We will increase our participation in events that train the public in identifying E. milfoil and other invasive species and properly removing them.
  • We will raise public awareness of the threat milfoil poses to Vermont lakes and what can be done to impede its spread.  We will make presentations to the towns and to interested groups about the milfoil threat and what we can do about it.
  • We will continue to publish a periodic newsletter, which will include information about milfoil and our control program.
  • We will engage the public generally and enlist volunteers to monitor milfoil introduction and spread.


Again this year we will not employ our own divers.  Instead we will contract with Lycott, who will provide the personnel and equipment to conduct the surveys and the milfoil control activities.  Volunteers will search the lake for new milfoil growth.  Our only employees will be our greeters.

The End of the Season

Monday, October 4th, 2010

It has been over 120 days since we treated the lake with the herbicide triclopyr. The report of the scientific survey of the lake, which will detail the results, will be available later this month. It will mention that there is some new milfoil growth, occurring mostly on decaying stems of dying or dead plants. It is our hope that none of this new growth will take root. In any case we will not know for sure how successful our treatment has been until next spring.

The warning signs around the lake have been taken down

At the Board meeting in late September we discussed how we could keep milfoil from returning and other invasives from being introduced into the lake. We intend to expand our greeter program next year, to have someone at the boat ramp many more hours per week. We will explore the possibility of having a wash station somewhere nearby, where each boater can conveniently wash down his/her boat, trailer, and motor before entering the lake. Finally we intend to work with other lakes to lobby the State to require boaters traveling between waterbodies to clean and inspect their equipment.

Also at that meeting we accepted Libby Chapin’s resignation from the Lake Fairlee Association Board.  We did so with sadness, regret, and with more than a little gratitude for her tireless work on behalf of the Lake.  Libby has been the driving force behind the greeter program, and has championed the cause of riparian buffers.  As secretary for the past few years she has conscientiously reported the minutes of our meetings.  She says that although she will be leaving the Board  her commitment to the lake is undiminished.  She will be missed.

Can this be spring?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

It is March 17th and the ice is already going out!

Winter Fun on Lake Fairlee

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

We are enjoying a few days of “January thaw” on the lake.  Here is a group that came to fish but has found time for other things.

IMG_7835 (2)

Click here to see them before I asked that they line up for the photo. Do you recognize anyone?

Fishing on the lake in winter

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
Fishing in a light rain . . .

Fishing in a light rain . . .

. . . and in a moderate snow

. . . and in a moderate snow.