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Lake Zones

A lake can be sectioned into large portions known as "lake zones". These zones are not easily defined and indeed are very generalized in comparison to geographic features such as break lines, channels and flats.
The three main zones of a lake are:

1- Littoral Zone. The lakes littoral zone is the area around the lake edges where sunlight penetrates to a depth where aquatic plant life (water weed and phytoplankton) are no longer present. The aquatic weed and phytoplankton are the basis of the aquatic foodchain which supports the most diverse life forms ranging from aquatic plant life, zeoplankton, crustacean and fish.

Lake Zones

2- Pelagic Zone. The centre of a large lake basin is not dissimilar to the middle of an ocean. Water depths are great and there is no significant structure near the water surface. Aquatic life is adapted to suspending or floating on or near the surface of the lake. Small plankton build up significant numbers to create the base of another foodchain with ultimately larger fish species at the top.

3- Benthic Zone. Only a few organisms are capable of premanent residency in this zone. Due to lack of oxygen and light at these depths the aquatic weed and fish life are non existent. There are some organisms that assist in the decomposition of dead matter that finds its way down to these dark depths.

Water Level Fluctuations

South East Queensland has seasonal weather patterns that are generally predicatable such as wet and dry seasons, as in many other parts of Australia. Impoundments were built as important water storage facilites for rural or domestic use. As consumers, we have regular patterns of water consumption, water levels are controlled or manipulated by the water board who monitor and distibute the resource accordingly. A dams water level will rise and fall periodically over a season and in some instances it may remain static for several months or years.
The volume of influx (water coming into the catchment) versus consumption (water being taken out by consumers) affects mainly the littoral zone. The lakes littoral zone is the most transient of all three zones, the area around the lakes edges ebbs to and fro with water levels significantly altering fish habits.

The littoral zone is seldom static due to changing water levels, and it is this major factor that reflects how anglers fish a dam. Basically many impoundments will fish differently in high water conditions and in low conditions.

Copyright© 2000 Garry Fitzgerald. Sweetwater Fishing Australia