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Bluegill spawning colonies
#536928 06/24/21 07:14 PM
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So for the first time since I built my newest pond in late 2018, my bluegill are using one of the spawning beds I put in. I put in 3, and this is the only one they are using. It is 1 1/2” road base.

[Linked Image from ]
[Linked Image from ]
[Linked Image from ]

https://youtu.be/jmVumikJBTA

One of the ones they are not using is 3/4 inch road base. The 3rd one is a little deeper and I can’t remember what I used. Since the one active bed was so crowded, I grabbed my backhoe and a couple of yards of 1 1/2 inch road base and added it to a different part of the pond. I was rewarded today with 3 new nests.

[Linked Image from ]

It is great to see what is working and what isn’t. I’m still working on weed control. Grass carp went in this spring, but it is a long term solution. I’m getting a pretty decent arm workout raking.


Brad
1.5 acre pond with LMB, BG, BCP, CC, FHM and lots of crayfish, unknown type. .5 acre pond with FHM and GSF. 12 acre irrigation reservoir that I don't know what to do with. New pond, roughly 1.5 acres. Pond Boss Subscriber.
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Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536930 06/24/21 07:27 PM
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Very cool pics. Interesting to see that, while the finer stuff is deeper, they prefer the coarser stuff that's more shallow. I guess depth matters more than the rock size.


"In the age of information, ignorance is a choice." - Donny Miller
Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536939 06/24/21 09:33 PM
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Put a bunch of pea gravel in the pond at the depth where they are spawning now and next year tell us which size they prefer.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536950 06/25/21 10:11 AM
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You are focusing only on rock size ? They avoid dense weed material near by (like FA) and locations where silt washes in. Depth is also important as is available sunlight.

Here are a few pics of BG/RES beds (last is a RES bed) as an example of how to make them. Depth range of those shown is from 18 inches to 3 ft.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]



Yes BG will spawn where they can but obviously have preferences. The main reason to add gravel is not initial spawning but survival of the eggs and yoy for the first few days. See below. It is a numbers/weight matter. The more #s that survive for a while longer adds numbers and weight to the forage base.

Role of Male Parental Care in Survival of
Larval Bluegills
MARK B. BAIN AND LOUIS A. HELFRICH
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Science�
Virginia Polytechinc Institute and State U niversity
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Abstract
Mortality of larval bluegills Lepomis macrochirus from predation was measured in 56 nests
guarded by males and 21 nests from which the male guard was removed. Mortality was s ignificantly greater in unguarded nests(median= 68%)than in guardian nests (median= 14%).Fish
traps placed in unguarded nests captured significantly more predators than traps placed in
guarded nests. Bluegills( 3-12 cm total length)w ere the most abundant nest predators Pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus (7� -11 cm),largemouth bass M icropterus salmoides(4- 5 cm),and whitefin
shiners Notropis niveus(5 -6 cm) also were nest predators. Nest preparation by male bluegills
exposed coarse gravel( 8-32 mm diameter)and pebbles(3 2-64 mm) in nest substrate and removed particles smaller than 2 mm. Particles larger than 8 mm provided suitable interstitial
space to accommodate bluegill larvae. Survival of larvae was directly correlated with the proportion
of coarse substrate in the nest.



BG nest site selection article in the new In-Fisherman issue by SDSU student Quinton Phelps and our own Professor Dave Willis.

In this lake every BG nest site had a substrata of small gravel despite the availability of sand , rock and muck at other locations. No other habitat characteristic seemed to be a critical factor that influenced in nest location. It is good to know that this forum was on top of this 14 mths prior to In-Fisherman. Cutting edge !! - right .

Here is more


Our data from
Virginia implicated juvenile bluegills as the major
predators on bluegill larvae, followed in importance
by pumpkinseed. Dominey (1981)
drew the same conclusions from a New York....


In addition to direct protection afforded larval
bluegills by nest-guarding males, nest preparation
by the male parent influenced survival
of larvae in Lake Caroline. The availability of
suitable nesting substrate has been recognized
as a major factor affecting reproductive success
of centrarchid fishes (Breder 1936; Kramer and
Smith 1962; Muncy et al. 1979).

In laboratory observationss,
coarse particles provided suitable interstitial
space to accommodate yolk-sac bluegill larvae.
That coarse substrate may function as protective
shelter for larvae was supported by field
data: ....


Although
other factors undoubtedly influence
mortality of tested larvae, our data suggest that
predation, particularly intraspecific predation
(cannibalism), can be a major cause of early
bluegill mortality.

And more

New to this forum, but let me put my 2 cents in. Have been placing gravel to enhance spawning for warmwater fish, mostly Bream/Bass for 25 years and this is what I have observed: A. Bream prefer gravel as a spawning substrate. Why gravel?? Gravel allows for water to circulate throughout the egg mass as the guardian male fans the nest. This in turn carries the oxygen necessary for the survival of the individual eggs. Better circulation = better hatch from each nest = better fisheries dynamics. Washed pea gravel is probably best, but also the most expensive. Washed river rock #57 grade is also good and less costly. Washed rounded rock allows for better circulation. Sand, "white" rock, lime rock all tend to "lock up" and restrict the circulation of water/oxygen to the bottom of the egg mass necessary for egg survival in that part of the egg mass.
B. Thickness of the layer of spawning gravel will thin or "pancake" out after several years and eventually becomes useless. The mechanical action of fanning the beds makes the gravel migrate out over time. Counter this by boxing in the gravel with 1x12 inch cypress boards, filling in the outside of the boards with dirt. Looks like a shaved off pitcher's mound with gravel recessed in the ground. Dirt shoulders keep the hooks from snagging as easily.
C. Avoid sloping ground, level sites have the greatest use.
D. Dispurse the sites according to depth and aspect to allow for greater overall use throughout the spawning season.
E. Avoid locating sites adjacent to incoming streams, or tribs, they end up being silted in.
Just my 2 cents, hope this helps.FS.

And more

Gravel based spawning beds may ultimately be somewhat better than other substrates because gravel (coarser particles) results in a higher percentage of swim-up fry. The fish don't realize this but they probably instinctively know this.

Last edited by ewest; 06/25/21 10:35 AM.















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Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536954 06/25/21 06:28 PM
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The beds my BG are currently using are 12 to 18 inches deep. Size doesn’t seem as important, as there are a couple new beds in my swim beach. It is very fine material, sub 1/8 inch. The deeper bed I built isn’t seeing any activity, but despite me trying to clean it off, it has a lot of weeds and FA on and around it now.

Pea gravel is really hard to find and can be very expensive in this part of the world. I’ll see what I can come up with. Road base, which is crushed rock with fines, I can get for free, which is why I used it.


Brad
1.5 acre pond with LMB, BG, BCP, CC, FHM and lots of crayfish, unknown type. .5 acre pond with FHM and GSF. 12 acre irrigation reservoir that I don't know what to do with. New pond, roughly 1.5 acres. Pond Boss Subscriber.
Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536963 06/25/21 10:03 PM
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Road base on top of old carpet is working for my 'gills down here, too, Brad. Some smaller males are using the east side of my 1/4 acre pond. A larger, approximately 10" bull, has his redd on the west side. These are all in about 18" of water.

I've got spawning bed at other spots around the pond, some in this water depth and some in water up to 3' deep. I can't see any activity at these other locations. All the spots that I've developed are old carpet covered with 1" to 5" of road base. Most of my bigger BG, about 8 to 10 males in the 9 1/2" to 11" range, have not built their redds yet. They're still goofing off around the dock, munching on mealworms. They certainly are Not supressing the spawning activity of the 6" males, as I had hoped.

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Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #536969 06/26/21 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by 4CP
Most of my bigger BG, about 8 to 10 males in the 9 1/2" to 11" range, have not built their redds yet. They're still goofing off around the dock, munching on mealworms.

4CP, I recall that you mentioned that your BG turned their nose up at feed but cherished mealworms. So this post got me to wondering if you are growing the mealworms to feed to your BG. If so, it makes this all the more interesting. Pound for pound terrestrial insects are among the most energy dense organisms. This is mostly because they have relatively low live moisture content. But as for food, very, very, dense in protein, lipids, and modest proportions of carbs make them really great food for fish like BG. If you are growing them, I would be very interested in reading of your experience with them.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
jpsdad #537041 06/28/21 08:59 AM
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jpsdad, I'm sorry to say I am not growing the mealworms; I'm buying them 10 pounds at a time off Amazon. And unfortunately, their country of origin is listed as China.

As an aside, one shipment we got last year had many freeze dried cockroaches mixed in with the mealworms. The tiger trout TT we have singled out the roaches. The trout would eat only an occasional mealworm, but crashed the BGs' feeding frenzy for the bigger roach morsels.

In my spare time (haha, there's precious little of that, right) I might investigate growing my own mealworms. If I had a surplus, I could freeze a quantity for future feedings.

I'm considering building a "backyard tilapia" setup. I've been reading the two connected websites www.lakewaytilapia.com and www.backyardtilapia.com. If anyone here has read and can comment on the detailed info posted on these two sites, please jump in. We prolly should start another thread if that discussion takes off.

Last edited by 4CornersPuddle; 06/28/21 09:08 AM. Reason: additional info
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Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #537061 06/28/21 04:24 PM
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Start a new thread on the TP 4CP. I'll need to reacquaint with the sites but can also link you to more info as well.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Bluegill spawning colonies
Brad346 #537077 06/28/21 11:09 PM
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So the new gravel bed is getting more popular.

[Linked Image from ]

I have a few trout in there too. They are very feed trained. Every time I walk by my feed container, they come cruising.

https://i.imgur.com/NVKO1Bg.mp4


Brad
1.5 acre pond with LMB, BG, BCP, CC, FHM and lots of crayfish, unknown type. .5 acre pond with FHM and GSF. 12 acre irrigation reservoir that I don't know what to do with. New pond, roughly 1.5 acres. Pond Boss Subscriber.

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