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Spring is in the air

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#16
Riprap
It was also cold and heavy dew this morning in King, but frost at this time end Sept, tells me that weather pattens have changed. Nice to see the dam with good growth. My Vlei Kurper in both tanks doing well and eating Goldfish food. Get me a call when you are ready for them as I plan to go and get more this coming weekend.
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BWG
#17
Thanks Peter.
There are too many young bass (yearlings +) in the pond and before we put in more Vlei Kurper I need to cull quite a few of these. Any suggestions for a "legal" home?
Going to give the mudbowl (Wriggleswade) another go tomorrow!
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#18
Riprap
Tyson K is looking to stock there dams at Hazeldean after the drought . Give us a call when Morgan and I can come and assist and I will arrange for Tyson to fetch.Also I think they will do fine in that dam as he had over 3 kilo fish there.What is left we dont know as it went very low over the drought.
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#19
Here is another start to a sustainable food chain:

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These juvenile Vlei Kurper have no idea that they will become the basis of a food chain. Man are they happy with warm water and food on demand. Thanks PeterH.
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#20
Your tank looks great and with the water temp correct they will grow fast.
I need to get a heater for my tank as we have now proof that for juvenile fish to treble their size in 6 to 7 months, the temp and food must be spot on, will find out from Pedro what he feed his on.
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#21
I was under the impression that largemouth mature at +/- 3 yrs of age and well over 300mm in length, but it would appear I was wrong. Herewith a pic of a small male no more than about 240mm fanning a nest in 10” of water in the pond. No matter what I did I could not deter him from his job and any mature Bluegill that can near the nest was viciously attacked!

[Image: 11102011.jpg]

Here is some interesting info from a study which confirms this:
"Sexual maturity of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is believed by some investigators to depend on size rather than on age (1). Most authors report a minimum total length of about 250 mm for sexually mature female northern largemouth bass (M. s. salmoides), noting that males may spawn at somewhat smaller sizes (1, 2). Chew (3) reported a similar minimum spawning size for the Florida subspecies, M. s. floridanus. Swingle and Smith (4) reported that largemouth bass weighing less than 140 g (corresponding to bass 220-230 mm in the present study) always failed to spawn in Alabama ponds. Clugston (5), who reared both subspecies in southern Florida, reported that Florida largemouth bass became sexually mature when they were 9 months old and 230-290 mm long. The northern subspecies was larger, but did not reach sexual maturity even after 16 months.

The appearance of bass fry in ponds near Stillwater, Oklahoma, containing only age I Florida or northern largemouth bass (length range, 122-175 mm) suggested that both subspecies may reproduce at total lengths 80 to 120 mm shorter than the generally accepted minimum length for sexual maturity. Although hatchery workers in Oklahoma have previously observed age I largemouth bass of similar size spawning in ponds (T. Inslee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Charles Wallace, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, personal communications), this occurrence has apparently not been reported before. Therefore, the objective of this study was to document sexual maturity of small age I largemouth bass."

About 10 days ago there was a big die off of mature bullfrogs in the pond – tens of them lay scattered all over, most of which were dismembered and ripped apart, from what I don’t know. Been keeping an eye to see if any other aquatic life affected and seems all ok. There are billions of tadpoles at different stages in the pond this year and they are making short work feasting on the carcasses.

[Image: 10102011.jpg]

Full moon today and conditions are perfect but there are already two different age groups of bass fingerlings and many nests with cocks on them!
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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BWG
#22
So many bullfrogs lying dead like that looks like the work of a cormorant...they catch the frog but find a bad taste due to the secretions of the frog,but the bullfrog is already mangled half to death...good food for the tadpoles..
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#23
Probably smurf, but there is only one cormorant that hangs around that area - maybe he must follow the same fate as that lone carp!
In years gone by there were a couple of them and I've never seen dead "mature" bullfrogs like this. Anyone know if an otter is partial to frogs?
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#24
The deafening noise of the frogs all serenading is amazing. Here is one colourful little critter responsible for the huge amount of tadpoles present this year. His colours might suggest that he his not that tasty.

[Image: 13102011-cropped.jpg]

As soon as the males have abandoned the latest nests and fry, going to do a big cull of smaller bass in the pond for relocation and replace with some big florida and northern specimens for the gene pool.
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#25
The same male from last week seen here hovering like a mother hen with his baby fry no more than 3mm long.

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Quite a few other males are guarding nests in the same area. Just offshore from them are tens of thousands of fry balls with males guarding and chasing the bluegill and other younger bass away. I still can’t get over the small size at which they are breeding!

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Herewith a close-up of one of the fry shoals – they differ from the bluegill and vlei kurper fry by the fact that they show a black glint on silver at certain angles in the son and also give themselves away by feeding on the surface at times. I know the males will eventually attack their own young but they are in very good nick for not feeding for a while.

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Now I know for next season, when the waterlillies bloom, the bass eggs hatch.

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I’m a bit concerned about water clarity. All of a sudden the water has cleaned up and this doesn’t bode well for food for the fry. Will need to go again at night and check on daphnia and other food concentrations alternatively maybe fertilization is in order.
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#26
Really nice to follow the development ...the water is very clear,but that should be good for the daphnia to breed in ....there seems to be lots of algae still.Interesting to see how many of those thousands of fry get to 30 cm long,not many,but that is a natural cycle where the breeding cycle is also be a source of food for the parent fish.
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BWG
#27
Although some males have abandoned their fry, there are new fry (like millions of glitter balls) with new daddies guarding them. A new batch of tadpoles also hatched – yesterday was new moon!!

Watched a male who is waiting on a nest for the female to spawn whilst she does victory laps around him every 5 minutes or so – TALK ABOUT TEASING! Then along comes a smallish crab and draws his attention away form the female. The crab just put up his pincers and gave him a klap every time he tried to nuzzle it away from the waiting nest. In desperation he would chew and voer up some weed and muck away from the nest in an apparent effort to entice the crab to go eat there rather. If you’ve seen a Jack Russell with his snout down a hole and his tail solid as a fluffy crowbar and at least two of the four legs have got quiver disease, then this was the same and I left him to his show of aggression – he is probably only about 350g anyway.

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I understood a new word today: Therapeutic – the satisfaction and relaxed mood that overwhelms one when watching thousands of fish at one time.
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#28
It’s hot as hell and DRY. The water level between the two ponds has now dropped to a level that the bigger fish can’t swim through anymore so they are once again isolated as they were for the last couple of years!
My biggest concern is the flat shallows that are harboring lots of fry and tadpoles are retreating rapidly which now exposes them to predation in the deeper weed beds!

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Nonetheless, they are still spawning and here is a new male guarding eggs on an old nest – full moon is two days time?

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The tad poles are developing legs and with the water temp being so hot in the shallows, there seems to be some mortality amongst them but they gorge on each other, so it’s good!

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My pup, Rastus, enjoys our trips to the pond where he gets a chance to chase fingerlings and cool off a little. We need rain soon………..

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[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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#29
hey riprap
Interesting as always
is this a newly stocked pond or are there some big bass in there too?
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"The man who persists in casting will succeed in catching" - Capiez
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#30
Hey Capiez.

The pond has been stocked since the late eighties and has been through a couple of droughts, heavy poaching and a couple of species in it's lifetime.
Naturally the fertility has declined and together with this the fishery as well. Have finally got on top of the unauthorised fishing and I'm trying to build it back to where it was in the past.

The biggest fish I've seen caught here over the years is a 900g bluegill and about a 2.8kg Northern largemouth - there are F1 florida x's in now as well but too many small bass. When conditions are right, I will be introducing some hawgs for fun! The hawgs have gone hook about!

How's the snakehead fishing going??
[Image: big_fish_eat_little_fish.jpg]
BIG FISH EAT LITTLE FISH....
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