An insight into our background and the beginnings of The Blue Lake Dye Co-Operative.
Hello and welcome to our Pro Blue+ Lake Dye website.
Let me tell you my back ground and why I started making liquid lake dye for the UK market.
In 1998 I took over the running of 100 acres of ex gravel pits in the Nene valley for the purpose of angling and conservation, after years of working in engineering processes it was great to get back outdoors in the countryside, lots of hard graft followed in all weathers using skills learnt growing up on a busy working farm.
All 4 pits were established, mixed depths and very weedy waters, during those 2 years I used Casaron G weed killer coated grit, it worked its magic on the treated areas, but a year later the EU banned it.
After moving counties, the second site i developed a deep large windswept pit was again a very weedy water around the shallow margins, we had the back breaking job of dropping a 5’ metal triangle weed rake into the lake using a boat, which was attached to a 60m thick rope, then we dragged the rake in over and over with my 4×4, by heck it was tough work.
A couple of years later I was chatting away to a fella from the E.A an ex angler who mentioned a lake his friends looked after, they were using one or two brands of potato crop weed killers, these included ‘Diquat’ if used cautiously it would kill your weed off. So after using my chemicals license to buy Diquat based liquids over 3 years I tried the weed killer out with mixed effects. Yes it killed off the sub surface weeds, but; the fish didn’t like it with reduced feeding and weight loss and it killed off the lakes eco system if you used too much quantity. For me using Diquat was a tricky balancing act with the weather, sometimes you put a dose in one of the lakes and it cleared all the weed then another time it didn’t, so you put more in which reduced the lakes life cycle, it wasn’t the right solution for a long term happy eco system.
After more back breaking weed raking by hand I thought sod this, so after watching one in action at a friends sailing/fishing lake I had a weed cutter boat in to do the work. Yes it did the job cutting 4-5’ down but in clear clarity waters it just grows back.
With the rise of lake dye powders being manufactured in Asia/India for the use of treating golf course ponds/lakes across America eventually they found there way to the UK, so skip forward 10 years here i was trying blue dyes in various lakes, something i learnt back then take a good look at the products small print as there strength ratios are massively different, there are now dozens of online providers on the inter web selling blue this and black that but when you look at there concentration most are 1 litre treats 40,000-120,000 lake litres max which may sound great for a pond but when you wish to treat a 1-100+ acre pit you need a stronger product.
I tried many companies liquid dyes with no problems whatsoever some lasted longer than others and i also tried the pva dissolving powdered sachets, in my experience they work better once your lake water temps have warmed up enough to dissolve the sachets and lump of dye powder fully. But when I tried them in March into April they drifted into the windward margins and sat on the bottom like big blobs of toothpaste so after the lakes didn’t go as blue as I expected i gave up on them, a tip that came to me off another lake owner some years later if you wish to put the pva dye sachets into your water while the water temps are still below 14oC put the sachets into a bucket of boiling water until they are now liquid then pour into your lake.
I was using blue dye liquids from various sources their prices varied wildly depending who you were dealing with from one month to another. Now in my book that’s not right, it’s one price for the same product full stop to every customer. So when its being offered at half price in my mind alarm bells ring is the strength what it should be.
So I decided to make the dye for myself to use across the 100 acre site I have been developing for many years now, to save time, money and dye mixes I befriended a couple of former dye experts who kindly shared there knowledge and contacts I needed to produce an eco friendly non hazardous food grade dye, that would keep its stability within the water course for as long as possible.
And after lots of testing I settled on what we have today the Pro Blue lake dye which is doing the job satisfactory with no environmental concerns. I explain to people who don’t know, all lake dye liquids dissolve from its concentrated form into your chosen water, it is dispersed from the lake bottom to the surface. Many a folk who try lake dyes buy someone’s product and find it looks well to start with, but within weeks its vanished or sank to the bottom, others have to keep topping up each month to keep the filter strong enough to do the job.
In my mind if the lake dye is made correct in the first place with the right amount of dry powders it will last 2-3 months if the correct quantity is used.
One thing lead to another and here we are, we have just grown the business through the Covid years, things are looking great with adverts going into watersport and fishing magazines with online promos and some charity giveaways. My aim is to keep it a one man business with the least amount of costs to keep the price down.
I have built a mixing barn with container store on a bit of spare land so there is no third party rent to cover in the costs. I use 2nd hand pure water containers along side new ones, preferring to use clear containers so I can see how full each container is, i over fill each tub by 1/2 litre.
Most of my customers comment how dark the neat dye is and how strong it is, to me its the norm. Every batch I make myself, every batch I make it the best I can. As I sell each batch off to a variety of venues I record which batch there order came from.
A lot of folk leave putting treatment in too late, partly because they don’t want to spend the money (I understand that), if you let your sub surface weeds grow out of control taking a pot luck with the weather from the spring to the summer months. Then you only have yourself to blame if you can not sail that boat or pull that water skier correctly or swim unhindered or fish effectively.
From a conservation point of view putting in a human grade food dye which in testing shows no ill effect or signs of problems too animals you are preventing the chances of an algae bloom which can kill off all your pond life in one night of low oxygen depletion that is the main reason why I continue to use it on the waters I control, the blue filter you add to your water prevents the red orange and yellow side of the suns light spectrum from reaching the depths which therefore slows down photosynthesis.
Another point I would like to make is unlike other lake dye providers, I don’t advocate the benefits of preventing all weed growth. You want a happy eco system within your waters so the organisms flourish which helps sustain a healthy natural balance.
There are more and more folk using lake dye each year, nature conservation areas and parks are using them, a high percentage of inland watersport venues use them. Hundreds of golf course use them and the more pro active fisheries across the UK use them in their water management control and long may that continue.
While we are on the subject, I promote using just enough lake dye to work and not going blitzing a water with way way too much. One; it’s a waste of money and two; finding a balance for your water is the key.
After a couple of years you will find what amounts are right for your venue, I give out some ideas some order less some order more. But it goes without saying, if you don’t have enough blue lake dye in your water column throughout the Mar-Sept months the weed will keep growing. Also a lot of customers leave their first treatments until late April or May, in shallower venues that is too late the weed is growing off the lake bed by then. Once it is growing at a steady rate throughout May/June it is hard to slow that growth rate without upsetting the natural balance, so my advise is add your first dye filter treatment as early as you can in March-April.
Any advice or queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org