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#484461 - 12/22/17 10:30 AM Finding dead fish under ice
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
Iím located in west central Ohio and have had ice covering my one year old 3/4 acre pond for 2-3 weeks now. The recent warm up has opened up the edges some and I broke up some bigger spots along the edge. I noticed today that about 7-8 large hybrid bluegill were floating under ice. Is it acceptable to expect to lose some fish during periods of ice? I have aeration that was installed this fall but shut it off once water got colder. I only have deep aeration and pond is around 13 feet deep and averages 8 foot probably. What I read On Here was that ponds should be ok in Ohio with that depth and shallow water aeration not needed. Was wondering if I should run a line this spring to the shallow end for winter aeration and leave it run if needed or maybe some dead loss is expected.
Thanks for any help.
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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#484496 - 12/22/17 10:18 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12446
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
It is not normal but not unusual for several larger fish to die at early ice cover. We can assume deaths were not due to low DO and not a typical winter kill. My first guess at cause of deaths was due to fall or late summer angling and mishandling of the fish. Mishandling of fish stresses them most often by removing the protective slime coat which commonly leads to cold water fungus. Onset of cold water makes it harder for the fish to recover from angling stressors and other stressors. Cooling of water and crowding of fish results in lowering the amount of available fish foods; both can act as stressors. The cold water season is usually the hardest of all seasons for the fishes.

We have to remember a few other things. Age of the HBG that may have normal life span of 4-7yrs. . Fish do not live forever. Older fish do not have the health vitality of younger fish. Sometimes the life span of some fish is relatively short and can be shortened due to added stressor/s. An example would be pnemonia in granparents. Rapid onset of cold water and strong winds can quickly strongly mix the pond and create lower than 39F water which acts as an added stressor. As long as you only lost a few fish and not high numbers such as 50-80, I would not be overly concerned. I assume there are numerous other large HBG that survive and you lost only a few of the weakest individuals.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/22/17 10:27 PM)
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#484498 - 12/22/17 11:45 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: Bill Cody]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5086
Loc: SE Kansas
The age that fish live to is a good thing to remember and be reminded of Bill.

In a mostly catch and release pond with minimal harvest, they all have to die some time.

None of us get out of this world alive (at least in a physical sense). Guess it applies to fish also.
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#484521 - 12/23/17 03:59 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12446
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
snrub - Live span of fish can vary widely depending of specie, diet, crowding, water quality, average water temperatures (north vs south) and probably other factors.
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#484524 - 12/23/17 04:46 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
ewest Online   content
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19488
Loc: Miss.
Where did you get the HBG?
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#484526 - 12/23/17 04:53 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5588
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Xraytrapper,

I see that you just dug your pond about a year ago. When did you stock your fish and how big were they at time of stocking?


Edited by Bill D. (12/23/17 04:53 PM)
Edit Reason: Typo
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#484535 - 12/23/17 08:19 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
I stocked the pond this spring. I got the HBG from Shelby fish farm. I stocked some various sizes. I believe 200 2-4" and 75 4-6"and 6-8" combined, not sure on how many of each. I have fed them all summer high protein zieglers pellets. There should also be plenty of GSH and FHM for them to eat this winter. Also have YP , RES and 12 small HSB . I believe I only found one RES dead.

Bill, I did catch some this late fall so maybe the handling stressed them like you suggested and also it did cool off quick this year. Hope that is all I find dead.
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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#484536 - 12/23/17 08:34 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
One more thing, we were thinking of doing some ice fishing for the YP. Is it ok to do that or will that stress the YP? I always thought that would be fine to do but don't want to kill any of them also. I didn't think I handled the HBG badly. I try not to hold them by the body and just lip them. But who knows. Thanks for the advice.
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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#484539 - 12/23/17 10:33 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12446
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Several factors likely contributed to death of a few most vulnerable individuals. In a fish pond expect annual natural mortality even if the pond is not fished. As the pond reaches 4-6 years old start to expect at least 15% and more like up to 25%+ of the oldest adult fish to die of natural causes. Thus if there are 50 per acre large oldest fish in a pond you can an expect 25% to even 40% of them (abt 20 or more) to die each year. You likely will not see any visual evidence of oldest fish dying. Harvesting some of them is considered by some as wise management.

I would not hesitate ice fishing for some of the willing biters. It is a good way to do a small sampling of the fishes. Biting fish suggest they are active in the cold water and can tolerate a reasonable amount of handling. Howerver for the first ice season, I would limit or restrain catches to a hour or two for each of a few angling sessions. Do not "over do it" despite if fish are biting well so as to not stress a high percentage of your most active fish. Winter ice angling may stress fish more than angling in water 55F to 65F. IMO allow the fishery to mature for 2 to 3 yrs before using a high amount of fishing pressure and harvest.


Edited by Bill Cody (12/24/17 10:48 AM)
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#484555 - 12/24/17 08:04 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
Thanks for the advice BIll. I usually only caught 10-12 fish at a time when fishing this year. I also definitely plan on harvesting fish and that is main reason for the YP. Looks like another deep freeze coming for at least the ten day forecast. Guess we may have a chance for the ice fishing. Lets just hope no more dead ones show up...
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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#485138 - 01/11/18 12:58 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
update...
A friend and I did some ice fishing on Monday morning. Ice thickness was 8-10". We tried multiple depths and areas of structure and bare bottom. Tried some live minnows with no luck also. We could not find any YP but did catch around 10-15 HBG of varying sizes. The fish appeared to be healthy and still had pretty good thickness to them. I also managed to catch the elusive RES.
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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#485139 - 01/11/18 01:18 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
I also didn't notice anymore dead fish under the ice compared to the number that was there earlier.
_________________________
.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#485141 - 01/11/18 06:58 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
wbuffetjr Offline


Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 834
Loc: in the mountains
Originally Posted By: xraytrapper
update...
A friend and I did some ice fishing on Monday morning. Ice thickness was 8-10". We tried multiple depths and areas of structure and bare bottom. Tried some live minnows with no luck also. We could not find any YP but did catch around 10-15 HBG of varying sizes. The fish appeared to be healthy and still had pretty good thickness to them. I also managed to catch the elusive RES.


Need pics next time!!
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#485148 - 01/11/18 11:06 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
ewest Online   content
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19488
Loc: Miss.
YP are more cold tolerant than either RES or HBG. YP have been shown to eat a lot of small BG when the cold of winter slows down the BG.
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#485167 - 01/11/18 11:24 PM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
xraytrapper Offline


Registered: 06/21/16
Posts: 105
Loc: west central ohio
here are some pics. the one HBG had a funny looking head. anyone have any ice fishing tips for catching those YP? maybe they just weren't hungry that day. we will try again next week.


Attachments
file (34).jpg (96 downloads)
file (35).jpg (120 downloads)
file (36).jpg (108 downloads)

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.75 acre pond dug in September 2016. YP, HBG, HSB, SMB, and RES.

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#485177 - 01/12/18 09:51 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1931
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
From what I understand they like bright, still, and stinky in the winter. I would guess they normally hunt in near darkness in the winter due to snow cover and that is where the warmer water is. Appeal to their behavior and you may get better luck. Also I noticed that in the winter the schools are tighter, so it may take some time for the schools to come across your bait.

That's all I've got, and I am no ice fisherman. Nor do I want to be.
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#485179 - 01/12/18 10:10 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Matzilla Offline


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 336
Loc: Iowa
YP will usually be the most active mid day fish...they roam flats, eat just about anything, and cover large spans of water when roaming for food. They're typically curious by nature and can be caught on larger baits than what you'd typically use for smaller panfish - spoons, rattle spoons, lipless cranks, jigging raps, etc. YP are easier to catch on late ice as they put a serious feed bag on prepping for spawn. Once you locate a school they're typically easy to catch. If the school sees one fish eating, it'll trigger many others to feed typically.
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1.25 acre southeast Iowa pond
LMB, BG, YP, WE, HSB, RES, BCP

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#485182 - 01/12/18 10:51 AM Re: Finding dead fish under ice [Re: xraytrapper]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12446
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Also try this. If you feed pellets often the fish are used to eating at that time of day and will be most active around that time. If targeting YP start with the bait within 6" of the bottom. Water clarity plays a big role in how far YP will rise to take a bait. With cloudier water they will not see the bait until it is within water visibility range.

Matzilla's description of YP habiats is good for YP in larger bodies of water. However in ponds around 0.3 to 1 acre there is not much area for the YP to roam so finding them is not too difficult. Again, water clarity will play a big role in how far the YP can see the bait. My ice fishing experience for YP is they are usually willing to bite if they can see the bait and it is especially true if the YP are common to abundant. YP if possible feed frequently during winter to enhance development of the eggs that will be laid soon after ice out. I have seen YP egg ribbons 2-3 days after the last ice left the pond, but this is not commonly when 1 YP eggs are seen. Usually they wait to release eggs until the water is around 47-50F which is often 2 to 3 weeks after ice out.


Edited by Bill Cody (01/12/18 10:53 AM)
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