The pH scale is a measure of the acid and base concentration of a solution. A pH of 7 is the neutral pH; furthermore, 0-7 is the acid range and 7-14 is the base or alkalinity range.
The presence of carbonates, bicarbonates and hydroxides dissolved in water is associated with its alkalinity. Were as, the presence of dissolved organic matter is more acidic in nature.
Fast growing fish are associated with alkaline waters;
similarly, slow growing fish are associated with acidic waters. Alkaline waters enhances the amount of aquatic foods and weed beds on the other hand, acidic waters curtails this production of aquatic foods and weed beds.
Acid rain can affect water to become too acidic for life causing both fish and insect kills. A spring snow melt can concentrate the acid in the bottom layer of the snow bank. When this last layer melts high concentrations
of acids are released into the watershed. This can be disastrous to aquatic life.
Local areas of a lake can vary in pH Serious bass fishermen frequently measure the water’s pH to rely upon where bass may be concentrated.
In general, I avoid the acidic lakes and streams in favor of the alkaline ones. Perhaps this explains why so many Pacific Northwest waters are poor producers of non sea running fish. They are nearly barren of
aquatic insect life. The abundant rainfall is so intense that these waters become soft and acidic, and the carbonates and alkaline elements have been depleted. The organic matter has concentrated in them. High desert waters favor alkalinity because less rainfall has not yet washed away the alkaline elements. Their weed bed growth and abundant insect life provides more ideal conditions for fast growing fish. I’m always amazed how a desert state like Nevada has such productive water. While the rainforest of the Oregon Coast has an abundance of waters that are nearly void of residential fish. If it wasn’t for anadromous fish many coastal streams would not have of fish life.
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