What is in the Lake Treatments?

Marine Biochemists provide lake treatment for both of our lakes. Their specialty is providing sustainable solutions to enhance the beauty of the lake, improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce environmental impact. The health of the lakes and all living things in and around our lakes is a priority of the OFLPOA Board.

Marine Biochemists professionally manages our lake water quality, including weed/algae treatments, aeration systems, fountain, and consulting on lake water issues. This professional lake management company only uses government-approved products. The products currently used are far superior to more dangerous chemicals of the past. Applied by educated and trained professionals, these products are not harmful to fish, waterfowl. animals and, most importantly, people. In fact. products used on neighborhood lawns, driveways, and streets that flow into our lakes with every rain are more harmful to fish, waterfowl, animals, and people.

They also measure water oxygen levels for safety in applying these products. Prior to the installation of our aeration systems in 2019, they were often unable to treat our lakes for extended periods during the summer months. The aeration has solved this problem and helped improve our lake quality. The big reasons for our weed and algae challenges, like some other neighborhoods and small lakes/ponds, are slow sloping shallow shorelines, which are safer and help with erosion, and overall shallow depths throughout – no deeper than 9 feet and mostly between 7 to 8 feet.

In addition, we treat the lakes with bacterial treatments for the oversaturated nitrates and “muck” on the lake bottom. This is a monthly treatment (April through October) in conjunction/coordination with our algae/weed treatments.

Why is Aeration Turned off in the Winter?

There are three reasons for turning off the aeration in the winter:

  1. Safety is our first concern. The aeration system pushes air through the water. If we kept the system running in the winter it would make the ice on our lakes unstable and not suited to anyone safely being on the ice at any time.
  2. The most important time for aeration is in the summer months when conditions significantly reduce oxygen, causing harm to fish and increasing algae and weeds due to the inability to treat in low oxygen. We could aerate in the winter, and there are some benefits. However, we would need to move the diffusers that circulate air into shallow water to provide the fish population more safety from circulating the coldest water near the surface to the deeper water where they congregate. This action would increase the risk to people on the ice even further. Additionally, fish slow their activity, eating, and oxygen intake in winter, resulting in less impact from lower oxygen content than in summer.
  3. Canada Geese are attracted to the open water. Having open water year-round would significantly increase the goose population in Old Farm Lakes and the oversaturate nitrates in our lakes (and on our sidewalks). These are problems we would like to avoid.

In the winter, is walking or ice skating allowed on the lakes?

This is not an activity the Association endorses. If you choose to go out on the ice, you do so at your own risk. Each winter the Board posts signs around the lakes warning of the dangers of going onto the ice. All of the subdivision’s sump pumps and street drains empty into the lakes at numerous places. This warmer running water can weaken the ice above where it flows into the lakes. It is not obvious were all these inlets are located. Also, the ice should be very thick overall before anyone ventures out onto it and no one should ever go onto the ice alone.

OFL members should discuss this with every member of their household, especially children. Safety needs to be practiced at all times when around water, ice or no ice. Remember, if you, or a member of your household, choose to go out on the ice – you are doing so at your own risk.

Who has the right-of-way on subdivision sidewalks?

People walking always have the right-of-way. Sidewalk etiquette is important. Members are asked to be aware of others around them at all times and to be courteous and respectful to those you meet. The sidewalks need to be shared when passing others in either direction. They are standard width pedestrian sidewalks by design.

  • People on bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, scooters or running must yield to walkers and should not expect people walking to get out-of-the-way as they pass by in either direction
  • The person moving the fastest is to yield the sidewalk to walkers and go by without forcing the walker off the sidewalk
  • City law requires everyone to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks and to give an audible signal to announce themselves before overtaking and passing a pedestrian walking on a sidewalk
  • People walking pets need to be considerate of others

How far is it around the lakes?

For all you walkers, runners, cyclists, rollerbladers and trivia buffs:

  • The distance around Swan Lake is 1.02 miles
  • The distance around the edge of Fountain Lake is 1/4 of a mile
  • It is .9 miles on the Constitution Trail from Eddy Road to Hershey Road (1.8 miles round-trip)

People walking always have the right-of-way. Sidewalk etiquette is important. Members are asked to be aware of others around them at all times and to be courteous and respectful to those you meet. The sidewalks need to be shared when passing others in either direction. People walking pets need to be considerate of others.

Is a fishing license required to fish in the OFL lakes?

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, a fishing license is required for anyone 16 years of age or older. Anglers under 16 years of age, and persons declared legally disabled or blind, may fish without a license. While owners/tenants may fish in waters on their land without a license, this exemption does not apply to organizational lakes, such as those owned by OFLPOA.

The Association doesn’t check licenses but officers from the State Department of Natural Resources could do an inspection at any time. OFL members are expected to follow the Association fishing rules.

Is it safe to eat the fish from the OFL lakes?

The fish in the lakes have not been tested to see if they are safe for human consumption. The lakes are treated with chemicals to control algae, weeds and sediment. Testing the fish is very expensive. This is one of the main reasons fishing on our lakes is catch and release only. The Association pays to have the lakes stocked for the fishing enjoyment of all OFL homeowners and the stocked fish are not intended to be used as a food source.

Consuming the fish from the lakes is at your own risk and in violation of our catch and release policy.

Whose responsibility is it to enforce the fishing rules?

Every OFLPOA member has the right and responsibility to enforce the fishing rules to help protect this great asset for our subdivision. Non-members are most often the people violating our rules. They often don’t follow our catch and release policy, leave trash behind and can be intimidating to OFLPOA members (intentional, or not).

The Board asks members to help ensure the rules are followed. Don’t hesitate to question anyone you observe violating these rules. If you don’t recognize someone who is fishing, politely ask them if they are an OFLPOA member – it’s a good way to meet your neighbors. Most of our member fishermen appreciate enforcement of the rules. If you are uncomfortable doing so, please notify a Board member ASAP so the problem can be promptly addressed.

Are there any OFL fishing rules?

Yes, the following rules are closely enforced to ensure quality fishing for years to come:

  • Fishing is for OFLPOA members and guests ONLY
  • Guests MUST be accompanied at all times by an OFLPOA member
    (Please do not tell family and friends that are not OFLPOA members that they can fish in our lakes)
  • OFLPOA lakes are Catch and Release only, this allows us to preserve the fish population
    • Returning fish to the water immediately increases the probability they will live and remain healthy
    • Fish kept on a stringer or in containers, that are later released, often die
    • It is unknown if it is safe to eat fish from the lakes, consuming fish caught in OFLPOA lakes is at your own risk and in violation of our catch and release policy
  • Fishing is allowed from 5:00 am to 10:00 p.m. only, absolutely no fishing outside these hours
  • Fishing is with fishing poles only, no other methods are allowed
  • Clean up all litter – never leave trash around the lakes
  • Excess noise is not allowed, please be respectful of your neighbors
  • Stay on association property, there is no reason to go on neighbors’ private property while fishing on our lakes

Can I fish in the lakes?

Yes. Fishing is allowed in both lakes for OFLPOA members and their accompanied guests only. Good fishing exists in both lakes. But there is significant fishing pressure on the lakes so only good conservation practices by everyone will preserve continued fishing enjoyment for all.

Fishing rules are closely enforced to ensure quality fishing for years to come. All fishing at OFLPOA is catch and release only.