Re: NANFA-- Cranberry Glade Lake

R. W. Wolff (
Tue, 20 Jun 2000 11:24:33 -0700

Genetics has allot to do with the size of bluegill. That is why it is
important to release the largest fish, and keep the average sized fish from
the area for the frying pan. Food and habitat have a role in the size as
well though, but it is a chicken and the egg situation. I am not sure if
the right conditions promote that more large bluegill live and reproduce, or
that this habitat make these traits kick in. In a reservoir near here in
the marsh, bluegills get huge, passing the 12 inch mark is common. Deep
water ( around here that is 8 feet) near shallow weed beds full of small
crustaceans and aquatic insects make them get big. Pumpkinseeds on the
other hand stay in the shallower ( 1-2 feet ) water well away from any
channels. Plenty of large predators, especially bowfin ( the one missing
part of the equation in man made stocked lakes around here full of small 6-7
inch gills) also help produce big gills. Bass generally don't eat gills
over 5 inches, because of the spines. Northern Pike and Bowfin will eat
these larger 5-7 inch fish, leaving those that reach 8 alone to grow big and
reproduce. Also yellow perch help thin the small bluegill population down
eliminating competition for food of growing fish. In turn the medium perch
are ate by the same predators that thin the medium gill population. I am
sure other species of fish play an important role in the system as well.
The most glaring difference in panfish size is the natural lakes , rivers,
marsh and swamp land that hold high varieties of all life, versus the pretty
manicured impoundments lines with sand and rocks that are full of water
skiers all day and stocked with just " game fish".
Many of these lakes had no cyprinids at all, and use of them as bait really
restricted to keep accidental introductions in check. What a mistake, these
lakes after getting "infected" with undesirables* are now better, but still
the clean sand bottom and other "pretty" features still do not produce the
kind of fish the marshes do. The water is also of lower quality, although
it is usually clear to blue / green in color. I am sure my personally bias
plays a part here, but I can't help but notice this. Another key factor is
the marsh has a low population, where as these lakes have high priced real
estate lining the shores. I'd rather look at pure "nature" than stare at
all the "pretty" houses when I am out trying to get away from it all.
* by undesirable introductions I am speaking mostly of fish that found there
way in via streams that were dammed to create these lakes, and generally
bait minnows which are native to the area anyway from local bait shops. Not
Oscars and tiger barbs, just to be clear about what I meant

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