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Shorty Offline OP
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I suspect a few of my smallmouth may have pulled off a small spawn last spring. I have caught two 5" SMB in the last few weeks that are noticably smaller than any of the pellet trained fish I turned loose last year. My initial SMB stocking in October of 2011 was 20 fish in the 5-8" range, most were 5-6" with just two or three fish in the 7-8" range. Fast forward eight months to June of 2012 where I caught several chunky SMB in the 10" to 11-1/2" range.

Here is an article from Bill Cody that I pulled off a google search. Thank you Bill and thank you ewest for your contribution to the article. There is a lot of good information there.

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/smallmouth-spawning.html

Quote:
Newer information indicates size, rather than age, determines when smallmouths reach sexual maturity. Males often spawn the first time at a size of 7.5" to 10" and females at 10" to 12" (Wallus and Simon 2008)


So, did my SMB pull off a spawn last spring? I think they might have.



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Keep in mind that when a pond is first stocked ( or when a species of fish is first stocked into a previously stocked pond - assuming survival) they will try to fill the pond with their kind ASAP. Its a survival mechanism at the species level.
















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Shorty Offline OP
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Very true Eric, I just "assumed" that the fish from my initial stocking were simply not large enough to pull off a spawn last spring, it appears I may have been wrong about that. The date stamp on this photo is July 1st, 2012. The rod handle is exactly 11-5/8" long.




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I've seen SMB as small as 8" spawn.

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Spawning is a more of a function of age vs. size isn't it? I.e. an 8 inch smb in some waters may be the same age as a 16 inch fish in others.


If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.






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Age , size , condition and environment all play a part. No question that SMB in the pic can spawn
















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I have very limited SMB spawning structure in my 1/4 acre pond. One good area and maybe two other small areas they might spawn at. If they need beds 30 ft apart I may only have jut one pair spawning every year unless they take turns. Reproduction this early just kind of caught me off guard, I may have to re-evalutate my management plan.

Last edited by Shorty; 04/29/13 11:25 AM.


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Steve...My SMB last year made beds on the bare clay near my dock. I don't know if there was any successful recruitment, but the SMB hovered around the bed for 10-14 days. While I doubt SMB spawning on bare clay is highly successful, I have proof they at least make an effort.


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My smaller SMB will have to try and spawn on clay if they feel the urge to. I am still surprised they pulled off a spawn last spring.



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Originally Posted By: Shorty
My smaller SMB will have to try and spawn on clay if they feel the urge to. I am still surprised they pulled off a spawn last spring.

Back when I was a young smallmouth I wouldn't have hesitated to try to spawn on clay.
Now that I'm an old bigmouth, I'm a little more particular.

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Originally Posted By: Yolk Sac
Originally Posted By: Shorty
My smaller SMB will have to try and spawn on clay if they feel the urge to. I am still surprised they pulled off a spawn last spring.

Back when I was a young smallmouth I wouldn't have hesitated to try to spawn on clay.
Now that I'm an old bigmouth, I'm a little more particular.


laugh laugh laugh


I hear you! grin



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If they do spawn at a smaller size will their young's genetics be hampered of reaching great size potential because the parents were of a young/smaller size?

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Hard to say given the nature vs. nurture debate, neither one occurs in a vacuum. Even with awesome genetics a fish may never reach it's size potential if there is too much competition and not enough forage go around. Even with bad genetics fish may grow to large sizes with a lot of forage present and little competition.

Let's pretend that everything is equal with a lot of forage and very little competition, then genetics may play some sort of role in aggressive non-choosy eating behavior where the offspring of some may fair much better than others that are less agressive more choosy eaters.

To me the answer is not clear cut but your more aggressive less choosy eaters will likely do better in most situations, but they may also be more prone to becomeing a prey item at a smaller sizes and not be able pass their genes along. As Bill Cody would say "it depends..."




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Originally Posted By: fish n chips
If they do spawn at a smaller size will their young's genetics be hampered of reaching great size potential because the parents were of a young/smaller size?


If I am reading this correctly, you are asserting that because a SMB is on the small size it will pass on different genetics to their offspring than a larger SMB would? If this is the case, size of a parent of any species of animal has nothing to do with the genetics they pass on. Whether it is a SMB spawning at 8" at button buck breeding a doe or a 13 year old boy getting lucky, the genes they would pass on at their young age would be the exact same genes they would pass on once they are fully mature.

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Thanks Shorty and CJ....

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Interesting pictures of a 10-11" SMB that I caught tonight, must be getting close to time.






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Definitely a female smallie. They will definitely spawn at the 10" length. Great pictures.


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