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Do Fry Survive Winter?
#512774 10/15/19 12:12 PM
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Walking the shoreline of my 8 acre pond yesterday I noticed a lot of small Blue Gill ranging in size from 1/2" to 3". I assume these are all fish that hatched in 2019.

I'm wondering what the survival rate is of these smaller fish over a NC winter. The pond is in the Piedmont area, just outside of Charlotte with an elevation of only 500 feet.


Steve Grasberger
Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512778 10/15/19 01:24 PM
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Do you have predators in the pond like bass, larger blue gill, crappie, etc? If so, what kind of populations.

I'm no expert on the matter, but larger fish will be a big factor in survival rates through a winter and those in the "know" will want some of that info.

Welcome to the forums, good to have you!


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512781 10/15/19 04:24 PM
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Most of the smaller fish will be taken by predation. Smaller fish in poor condition at onset of cold may die from starvation related health issues if eats hard to come by. Some actually grow during winter, even in central Missouri. The Piedmont is a milder setting so losses through depredation likely to be more important.

I have had ponds with low stocking densities and high forage abundance where bluegill doubled or even tripled in weight over winter. For some reason they can not realize the same rate of growth on feed under similar conditions.


Aquaculture
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Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512784 10/15/19 07:13 PM
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Actually, the smallest fish starve. There is predation to a point but fry and slightly larger, pretty much lose their entire buffet in winter.
Now I have to back up here and state this may not be true in warmer climates but throughout the central US-north, there just isn't a constant source of food for the smallest, late hatch size fish.
I should edit to say I agree with Jim :-))

Last edited by Snipe; 10/15/19 07:15 PM.

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Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512785 10/15/19 07:20 PM
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Also, Fry and fingerlings are 2 different classes of fish. 2-3" fingerlings stand a much higher chance of survival than 1/2" Fry.
Some people refer to small fish as fry long after that stage is passed-no biggie, just confusing sometimes..


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Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Jim Wetzel #512787 10/15/19 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: Jim Wetzel
Most of the smaller fish will be taken by predation. Smaller fish in poor condition at onset of cold may die from starvation related health issues if eats hard to come by. Some actually grow during winter, even in central Missouri. The Piedmont is a milder setting so losses through depredation likely to be more important.

I have had ponds with low stocking densities and high forage abundance where bluegill doubled or even tripled in weight over winter. For some reason they can not realize the same rate of growth on feed under similar conditions.


Now why is it that every time you drop by I end up feeling like I have been gifted with many more questions than answers? I totally mean that as a compliment as your posts are always very thought provoking.

Last edited by jpsdad; 10/15/19 08:26 PM.
Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512788 10/15/19 08:55 PM
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Fry overwinter just fine here in the South. I had tons of little CNBG very late last year, I think after mid November. I watched them grow into recognizable little bluegill. Didn't see any effects from our brief cold snaps.

All fry have a massive mortality rate due to predation (and cannibalism). That's why we love our bluegill, they make lots of fry.


4 acre pond 32 ft deep within East Texas (Livingston) timber ranch. Filled (to the top of an almost finished dam) by Hurricane Harvey 9/17. Stocked with FHM, CNBG, RES 10/17. Added 35lbs RSC 3/18. 400 N LMB fingerlings 6/18
Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512797 10/16/19 07:18 AM
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I also see large numbers of very small fish hugging the bank.

How many survive? Only the smart or the lucky! grin


John

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Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512821 10/16/19 04:13 PM
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Survival rate for yoy BG is , by necessity, very low. Winter is just one of the parts to total mortality rates. Certain hatchings (time frame) can also starve in spring if the right size and timing of food is not available. I don't recall seeing any hard numbers or data but my guess is among a year class of BG for year 1 total mortality is 99%.
















Re: Do Fry Survive Winter?
Steve Grasberger #512840 10/17/19 04:13 AM
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Lusk says that 95% of all fry are eaten before they reach 1 YOA.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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