Pond Boss
Posted By: Fyfer123 Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/11/21 12:29 AM
Hello everyone,

I've decided to start a new thread on my 1 acre trout pond in Ontario, Canada, as I have a few new issues not relevant to my old threads. If you would like to read about my pond in general, I have a few threads about it on my account.

In my area, we have had a period of rapid temperature rise. We had 20C highs (88F) for two or three days, so the water in the shallows warmed up very quickly, enough so that large schools of small 6-8" bass were visible. We get warmer temperatures in the summer; it is just not usually this abrupt. This led to some odd observations which are worrisome.

Firstly, a relative of mine was removing some loose vegetation with a rake and noticed a 14" trout swimming sideways and weakly. Another trout was so weak he was able to nudge it with the rake without it being able to swim away fast enough. Clearly, these trout he saw are not well. What could be the cause of this? The water temps are still not that high, since 20C is not super hot, and the nights get down low enough to keep the water temperature at or below the optimal for trout. The bottom (14') should also be very cool, so I can't imagine water temperatures are the issue. Most trout seem healthy still, as I am getting more and more fish coming daily when I feed, and they are aggressive.

The second issue I noticed was a medium sized fish, 8-10", swimming in the shallows with the bass. It was red or dark brown in colour and had fins that noticeably went out to the side. I know it was not a trout or bass. I know that is a very un-detailed description, but could anyone point me towards what that could be? I hope it is not a carp or another problematic fish.

Finally, I culled as many bass as I could today. I wasn't able to get that many, but they are still lethargic with the cold water.[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Posted By: esshup Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/11/21 03:15 AM
Are there any Koi in the pond?

I think rapid water temp changes affects fish a lot more than we think.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/11/21 04:28 PM
There are no koi that I know about, but the bass were only added because someone bucket stocked without permission. That is why I am confident there might be other species of fish in the pond that I do not know about.

If there were to be koi or something else, is there a specific way I can target them? I fish lures and worms for bass and trout and have never caught another species.

Thanks.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 12:12 AM
Today, I noticed another sick looking fish. I will try to describe what it looked like best I can. If anyone can can indicate what could be the cause of this, it would be appreciated. I'm worried the fish are in trouble.

As I was feeding the trout, one larger one was swimming upside down / vertical right along the shoreline. It was seeking the shallowest water possible and was visibly struggling. If I had a net with me, I could've easily netted it. It was struggling to get away from me as I was following it along the shore. I would say it seemed very buoyant and could not seem to swim down. It also appeared to have a slightly bloated stomach.

The warmest the surface temperature was today was just under 14C (57F). I can't imagine that is too warm for trout, especially since the bottom would be much colder. Most fish are eating and seem normal.

Does anyone know what this could be and is it an indication of a greater problem?
Posted By: Augie Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 03:45 PM
From what you're describing it sounds like it could be whirling disease.

https://stopaquatichitchhikers.org/hitchhikers/others-whirling-disease/
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 04:06 PM
[Linked Image from awc-wpac.ca]

Thanks for the reply.

I think it might be whirling disease as well. What I noticed when I looked into it is how the stomach near the vent looms enlarged. This is what I noticed in the fish yesterday.

If it is in fact whirling disease, can anything be done, and now concerned should I be?

One other thought I had was that the fish might be full of eggs and that is causing issues. This is because, again, the stomach near the vent looked enlarged.

Any advice at all is appreciated.
Posted By: esshup Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 04:09 PM
From Cecil Baird:

All kinds of possible causes including overfeeding with too much feed in it's gut causing pressure and obstruction of the pneumatic duct and air bladder where excess air is released. Not all fish have this duct, but trout are one the few that do. Although his water is now 57 F. he may have been feeding in much colder water where digestion is much slower?

Also an overinflation of the swim bladder can be caused by an infection of the swim bladder caused by a virus or bacteria. And another possibility are gill parasites. If gill parasites are prolific enough to reduce oxygen intake, this can also open up the fish to an infection.

Sometimes over inflation of the swim bladder is associated with poor water quality, which opens up the fish to subsequent stress and infection. No idea how big the body of water is but, maybe too many trout for the body of water, and too much feed for that body of water?

Would be interesting to see what the ammonia levels are for that body of water. (He could probably pick up an API color test used for aquariums somewhere.) This early in the season the nitrification cycle can't always catch up with heavy feeding in a small body of water due to the earlier colder water temps.

Or it could be simple as a physical anomaly with that particular trout, and he will never see it with the other trout. I.e. neoplasm, which is a benign or cancerous growth messing with the swim bladder or pneumatic duct between the stomach and air bladder.

Hope his helps. Without a close examination by DVM specializing in fish it could be a lot of things. I'm just throwing out possible causes. If I was a betting man I would guess this or very few trout will have this problem
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 04:09 PM
One thing I should add is, it seems whirling disease is only present in Alberta and there are no known cases in my entire province, so it would be unlikely I would think that it could be that. The symptoms, though, seen very similar.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 07:27 PM
Originally Posted by Fyfer123
One thing I should add is, it seems whirling disease is only present in Alberta and there are no known cases in my entire province, so it would be unlikely I would think that it could be that. The symptoms, though, seen very similar.

IIRC, Whirling disease evolved with brown trout and they have immunity to the disease by and large. Also, in RBT, stocking sized trout are not likely to get lethal infections but when they are young fry and fingerlings are very susceptible. So it probably isn't whirling disease.

On a another note ... that's a good mess of LMB. How you like them to eat?
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 08:47 PM
Thank you to esshup and Cecil for the very helpful advice.

It seems like, although the symptoms looked like whirling disease, it is not that. I don't know how to tell if it is overfeeding or not. I am throwing two large jars full of food per night. The fish are aggressively eating immediately when pellets are thrown. I will post a picture later of the size of the jars.

One thing is that the fish has been spotted twice right where I am feeding, so maybe it is due to feeding? How could I tell if I am overfeeding? 80 10-12" browns were added in the fall and 80 8-10" were added three years ago in the fall. Very few original fish are remaining, to my knowledge. I don't think the pond is at over capacity.

Water quality is something I will look into. The clarity is down this year. We usually have clear water in the spring, but it is murky this year. A pH test kit is coming this week. I'm not sure if that is useful for this situation or not?

Thanks again, everyone.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 08:49 PM
Thanks for clearing that up, jpsdad. Those are small bass 6-8" only. I either remove the head and pan fry with or without flower or fillet and use the fillets for frying or other cooking. These small bass from my pond taste very good, even with the skin on, scales removed. The flesh is mild. It is not as good as trout, in my opinion, but still very good. One thing I noticed is that the bass smell terrible when cleaning. Trout and other fish I clean do not have a smell like that at all.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/12/21 09:47 PM
For reference, I am feeding two of these standard mason jars daily all in the late evening. Is it too much?[img]https://i.imgur.com/lf2pxkn_d.webp?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium/[img]
Posted By: esshup Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 04:51 AM
Stop feeding for a week to two weeks see if there is a change when you start feeding again. i.e. if the fish that have the problem aren't visible until you feed, then you should be able to see if there is a difference. Or if you can see the fish with the problems, see if the problems go away once you stop feeding.
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 01:28 PM
Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Thanks for clearing that up, jpsdad. Those are small bass 6-8" only. I either remove the head and pan fry with or without flower or fillet and use the fillets for frying or other cooking. These small bass from my pond taste very good, even with the skin on, scales removed. The flesh is mild. It is not as good as trout, in my opinion, but still very good.

I'm glad you are enjoying them and yes I like them also. So there's a tip I wanted to share with you about deboning trout that I learned on the web researching grass pickerel. The subject angler of the article described how he would remove the bones ... pin bones and all. After pan frying, he would let them cool down a bit, remove the dorsal and anal fins, and then turn them belly up in one hand. It was then just a matter of gripping the backbone between his thumb and forefinger gently pulling the bones free of the fish. So I tried this with trout and to my amazement and my bride's delight ... I deboned the trout just like that. See the pic below.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

OK. So now I have an interest in understand if this method might be effect on LMB and Lepomis. Preliminary results are negative with BG but this may in part be because of the small sizes I harvest. I've been releasing the larger ones and keeping them between 4 and 5 1/2 inches. Meanwhile, doing my best to keep the LMB population up (something not so easy to do because others harvesting or not exercising care when they catch them). So I haven't tried it on LMB but the one's you are catching are just the right size to try this on. If you don't mind, could you try the method on one or two pan-fried LMB and let me know how it worked?

Quote
One thing I noticed is that the bass smell terrible when cleaning. Trout and other fish I clean do not have a smell like that at all

This isn't uncommon, especially in ponds. It's not limited to just Centrarchids and I can vouch that CC can have stinking guts too. When the fish is big enough, I often filet a fish without opening the cavity. I do this by starting in the middle of the fish (just behind the rib cage). The knife can be inserted parallel with the backbones all the way through. Then just filet to the end of the tail like one normally would. The second part involves rotating the fish with the back facing you. Cut down to the rib cage parallel with the dorsal fins and then separate the filet from the ribs. So the last step is to remove the skin. Especially, on large CC this is very nose friendly way to get the meat off. smile Its also much easier than skinning them first.

Attached File
Boneless Trout.jpg  (134 downloads)
Posted By: jpsdad Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 01:47 PM
Originally Posted by Fyfer123
Hello everyone,


The second issue I noticed was a medium sized fish, 8-10", swimming in the shallows with the bass. It was red or dark brown in colour and had fins that noticeably went out to the side. I know it was not a trout or bass. I know that is a very un-detailed description, but could anyone point me towards what that could be? I hope it is not a carp or another problematic fish.

Do you guys have brown bullheads up there? I only suggest that because of the fins going noticeably out to the sides. If the fins seem to be located at the base of the fish, that's a good place to start. If you see it again, try catching it on an earthworm. Just let it lay on bottom. Cut bait is good too. It seems you have a neighbor who isn't so neighborly. Sure hope you don't have bullheads.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 10:36 PM
I'll give that a try on the bass. It sounds like a smart idea.

In terms of the smell, that's a good idea. I assume all the sent comes from the gut cavity. They really so smell so much worse than the trout from my pond.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 10:37 PM
I am debating what to do, as only one or two fish seem ill, and I want to feed while the water is a good temperature so the fish can grow. I haven't fed in two days, but I might start again. I'm hoping it's an isolated issue to a few fish.
Posted By: Fyfer123 Re: Sick Trout and Fish ID - 04/13/21 10:39 PM
We have bullheads, but this one looked too long and skinny to be one.

The neighbor has bucket stocked multiple times without me knowing, and he does not really listen when we tell him not to. Unfortunately, even if he doesn't do it again, the fish are already in there, and he doesn't know what they are.
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