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george Offline OP
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I will greatly appreciate comments and discussion about bluegills, since it seems to be the forage of choice for raising pond bass:

1Why coppernose instead of native bluegills?
2.How can you tell the difference?
3.I assume they interbreed what about their offspring are they hybrid sterile?

Our pond has a healthy bluegill population from original stocking of coppernose fingerlings, followed by adult coppernose bluegill, per Bob Lusk recommendation. Grandsons supplemented hundreds of natives from a neighbors pond.

The bass dont seem to care should I?

Thanks in advance,
george

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There is some other information on coppernose bgill under other topics on this forum. But lets consolidate it here under a better topic..
(FYI - see heading: Types Of Fish To Choose, topics: Coppernose bluegill on Sept 03,02 and What's the Difference between Bluegill and Coppernose on Jul 07,02.)

Although not an expert on coppernose, I will begin with:
ADVANTAGES
1. They grow larger and since they get larger they probably grow a little faster than 'regular' bgills. I'm not sure how much larger. What is the max size of coppernose? Bob L. says he has as of 2000 seen 20 two pounders. Pondmeisters POST your measurements of your biggest coppernose and/or 'regular' bgill. Cecil B. has produced a 9" 'regular' bgill weighing 14 oz; and mounted others that are up to 12" long. He will add something more on size of 'regular' northern bgill in a post below.

FYI: Using a "fish length/weight calculation program" it says the 12" bgill (Cecil's below - next post) should ideally weigh 1.61 lbs or 19 oz. whereas Bob's 2 pounders (32 oz) should be 12.8" long. Notice the big weight difference of 13 ounces for just an extra 0.8" in length. Some of this 13 oz weight difference could be in egg mass or body fat. Once bgill get to be in the 12" range the weight really increases with each extra inch of length.
Using the same program above, a one pound bgill should be around 10.3" long.

2. Coppernose are more prolific than 'regular' bgills.
I don't know how much more prolific. Coppernose are said to spawn longer into fall than reg. bgill which accounts for more offspring.

3. Depending on your standards, they are more colorful than 'regular' bgill. Quote from Bob Lusk "Raising Trophy Bass" - "Coppernose bgill wear a brighter costume than its cousins around the country,..... Their tails are bronze color, almost golden. Mature spawning males have a lavender stripe across their nose, with a copper color band just uunderneath, above the mouth. Colorful vertical bars adorn the sides. Gorgeous." Others say the copper band is above the eye (on forehead) and most prominent during breeding season.
"Bass Farmer from Lonoke AK") says coppernose have orange margins to their fins, (probably most noticable on the anal and dorsl fins).
Coppernose have fewer but wider vertical bars on the body than the regular bgill.
Coppernose have 12 soft dorsal fin rays as compared to reg. bgill which have 11 soft dorsal fin rays.

DISADVANTGES
1. They do not live in water with ice cover and get lethargic and may die at temps lower than 50 deg F..
2. If you don't want bgill or only a few bgill in your pond then the prolific nature would be a disadvantage.


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I have harvested "regular" northern gills from my pond at 11 inches and over a pound. I recently caught a released a 9.0 inch measured w/ a board (so it may have been 9.5 with a tape measure) inch bluegill that weight an honest 14 ounces (weighed on a commercial produce/meat scale) that was purchased originally from a fish farm as a pellet trained fish.

As a fish taxidermist I have mounted "regular" northern bluegills to 12 inches out of one particular local lake, but I have never seen one larger than that.

I hope this helps.


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I think that another advantage of coopernose is that they seem to put up a better fight than native bluegills. This may be due to their aggressive nature and fast growth rates. They get mighty fat in a hurry. They are also a beautiful fish. Even though my main focus is bass, there's nothing better than going after bedding coopernose with a fly rod.


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Thanks much for the above responses especially IDing the coppernose gills.
Ill do further research on the pond later this week as a follow-up. Perhaps some N.E. Texas pondmeisters can help me on idendtification of our native bluegills.

We also have red ear sunfish that I may be confusing with the regular bgills.

I continue most interested in their spawning habits.
Do they crossbreed and if so do the offspring possess the hybrid vigor as per the F-1 florida bass mix?

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They do cross breed, but I can't honestly tell you they exhibit hybrid vigor. In some areas of the country, coppernose outcompete their native cousins, and vice versa in other areas. In north Texas, coppernose seem to dominate in many situations, but equally share waters of other environments. Honestly, I haven't taken time to study these factors, but I definitely have seen better growth and spawning rates by coppernose compared with natives in Texas, but scoot very far into Oklahoma, and things change. Natives rule the roost much farther north than Oklahoma City.
By the way, when coppernose cross with native bluegill, the result is an intergrade, not a hybrid. An intergrade results when different strains of the same species breed. A hybrid is the consequence of different species crossing.


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