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#104780 - 01/11/08 01:20 PM trout behavior
ML Smith Offline
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Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Lexington, Virginia
I was down at my pond the other day, doing some maintenance -- mostly spot treating for algae. For some reason, my pond has been having some significant algae growth the past two winters -- both FA and chara.
Anyway, when I was using some GreenClean for FA in the back cove on my pond, I stopped and did a double-take. This rainbow was just hanging out in a very shallow, exposed area. After almost a full minute, and it still hadn't moved, I snapped this picture.

I waited a bit long, and when it still didn't spook, I got a bit closer and used the short telephoto on my camera.

The fish didn't appear sick or listless -- more like it was sleeping. So, I pushed my luck, and came around to the very head of the cove and down to almost water level and snapped this shot.

Well, the auto-flash went off -- and that woke him up! Had I been able to snap a picture even one half-second later, all it would have shown was a swirl of black silt!
It's nice little unusual events like this that keep pond maintenance interesting. -- Mike S.

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#104781 - 01/11/08 01:27 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: ML Smith]
dave in el dorado ca Offline
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Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
cool shots ML. maybe you dont know it, but you could be the "fish whisperer".
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#104784 - 01/11/08 02:20 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: dave in el dorado ca]
ML Smith Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Lexington, Virginia
"fish whisperer" LOL!

Dave,
Wish I had a picture of the time when I drifted too close to a sunning grass carp. The grass carp just about went air borne and my canoe almost became a submarine.
By the way, this rainbow was about 16"-17". I had stocked 45 8" brookies in this back cove in November and was feeding them there because it was deep (some protection from the great blue heron), and it was well away from the "chow" area for the big rainbows. But it only took about a week or so for the larger rainbows to figure out what was going on, and they started bullying the little brookies away from the pellets. Maybe this rainbow was doing his best impersonation of an 8" brookie and waiting for a hand-out. -- Mike

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#104798 - 01/11/08 05:39 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: ML Smith]
dave in el dorado ca Offline
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Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3261
Loc: el dorado ca
how big were the RT when you stocked them?....sorry.....i remember you posting about it, but cant remember.

at 16-17" i'll bet they're alot of fun on light tackle.

how are the brookies doing growthwise?

i didnt do it this year, but my pond would be a great put and take fall/winter/spring trout home. maybe next year.
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#104800 - 01/11/08 06:09 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: dave in el dorado ca]
n8ly Offline
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Registered: 04/10/06
Posts: 2505
Loc: peoria
Trout had a big decision to make and was deep in thought!
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#104811 - 01/11/08 08:59 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: n8ly]
ML Smith Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Lexington, Virginia
When I stock rainbows (and West Virginia "goldens"), I try to get a 10"-12" fish. They're pretty easy to haul, and at that size escape most predation.

The brookies went in on November 16. The biggest were a bit over 9" -- and largest I've taken thus far was just under 10 1/2" So, some growth, but not a lot.

Was down at the pond late this afternoon and decided not to feed. There was a fair number of midges hatching (air. temp about 58 today) -- and even hatchery raised trout can figure pretty quickly out what midges are! Great fun just to watch them feed on natural insects. But I do have to wonder about the amount of energy they expend to capture such tiny little flies.

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#104813 - 01/11/08 10:15 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: ML Smith]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5680
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
Mike,

Those are some pretty neat photos.

One thing that really stands out on your trout is the red stripe. I was down at my pond about noontime today, after the very heavy overnight rain, and then the really brilliant sunshine starting mid-morning. At noon-time, my water was in the mid-40s.

I threw in a few feed pellets to try and view the trout. They responded quickly.

We've been under ice for the past couple of weeks. I put in a line and pulled out one rainbow. Mine are very brownish-gold on top, very white on the bottom, with virtually no red/rainbow in the middle like yours. My goldens have also lost their red stripe. They are now very yellow/gold on top, and very white on the bottom. The gold just fades to white down their sides.

I guess our air temperature is a few degrees cooler than yours, and since I'm watershed fed, my water kind of follows the air temp. No midges up here today.

But, it seems that when anything interesting falls on the water, the trout like to check it out. Mine seem to be anything but lethargic, even when part of the pond is frozen. They just seem to be smart enough to recognize hooks and lines.

I'll be passing right past your place next Friday morning and again on Saturday evening. I'm planning on attending the WV Aquaculture forum in Charleston. ( Aquaculture Forum in Charleston) You're welcome to ride along. They should have some pretty good fish treats to sample.

Ken

(I stopped by Joe G's house last week. He has two new "fish arrows" and is waiting for your grass carp to get active.)
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#104816 - 01/11/08 11:00 PM Re: trout behavior [Re: catmandoo]
ML Smith Offline
Lunker

Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Lexington, Virginia
Hi, Ken --
Wish I could join you for that WV Aquaculture Forum, but I'll be up in the DC area at least part of next weekend. Sure wish you could stop by and visit -- I'd love to show you the pond. I'm just about a mile ("as the crow flies") from the junction of I-81 and I-64. If my schedule changes, I'll drop you an e-mail and see what we can schedule.

I turned off my aeration system during our cold snap, and briefly had about 90-95% ice cover. But less than an inch, and it was crystal clear ice. The trout remained very active ... especially when I walked up to their usual feeding area. Thought a couple of them might hurt themselves the way they charged up at the ice cover!

There seem to be a lot of variables when it comes to the coloration, spotting, etc. of trout. I don't feel very qualified to weigh in on it, but can offer a few opinions. I think diet and/or commercial feed are very important -- currently I'm using a 40% protein/ 12% fat pellet. But I want to switch back to a 42% / 16% feed I was using (alas, my local Co-op switched feeds on me).

Water chemistry plays a part, too; my pond is very clear, but the water is also very, very "hard" -- lots of calcium and minerals. But the nutrients seem to be pretty much bound up in the chara ... which seems to provide habitat to a lot of little nymphs and aquatic insects.

While I do use commercial feed (feeding greatest amounts from Oct. to early December, and again from late Feb. to early May) the trout also seem to adapt very well to the natural food available. Almost any rainbow I keep over 15" or so usually has pink to orange-pink flesh.

And I have to say that the hatchery I buy most of my trout from (Casta-Line Hatchery just one county north of here) really does a great job. Bryan Plemmons, the manager, is very conscientious about the quality of the stock he maintains. I keep forgetting, but I want to ask him one of these days what particular strains of trout he is using. From what little reading I've been able to do (plus a lot of searching on the USGS web site), there's a surprisingly large number of native and domesticated strains of rainbows out there [note to self ... may have to start a thread on that topic some day!]. Not as many domestic strains of brooks and browns.

So, in brief, there are a lot of variables that got into coloration. But I would really like to hear Cecil's take on this topic as well.

Regarding variation in hatchery rainbows, I think that extends to State trout hatchery programs, too. I know I've caught hatchery rainbows in a number of eastern states that were, well, let's just say "not too attractive." But I've caught hatchery raised rainbows and Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat in Colorado that were actually beautiful fish -- fins and all.

So, Ken, looks like maybe you started a new thread!

Hope to see you next weekend, but if we miss connections -- have a great trip and hope the Forum is a good one. -- Mike

p.s Say Hi to Joe G for me

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