Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Just Where Do 100 Baby Catfish Go?
The fish in the picture is a nicely pregnant warmouth perch, a member of the sunfish family. I caught this little girl in a tiny creek about as wide as your sofa.
There were also bluegills caught that day...it's a post back in the archives...probably May or June. Anyway, I kept them alive and let them go in my small pond. On subsequent trips, I caught more and released them into the pond also.
Even earlier, in October of 2004, I visited a fish hatchery in Waldo. Where's Waldo? ...Near Starke, but not as far as Two Egg, FL.
At Shongaloo Fish Farm, I bought 100 young channel catfish for $20.00.
I drove home with my big plastic bag of swirly, baby catfish, floated the bag to allow water temps to blend, and then opened the bag and set them free. For weeks, I faithfully tossed "Catfish Chow" pellets into the water, but I never saw anything except very happy minnows.
"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you it's yours, if it doesn't, it never was."
Remember that sappy saying from the 70's? Well, my catfish must not have been mine, because leaving the bag was the last time I saw any of them.
The bluegills and warmouth perch ( We lump them under the term "Bream", pronounced "Brim") prospered. They got bigger and I know they spawned, because I am pulling up tiny baby bream when I pull the nasty Chara algae out of the pond.
I like to stand on my tiny dock and throw bread to the bream. They are very competitive and really smack the surface as they go for the bread bits. I was doing this yesterday when, lo and behold, a single catfish about one foot long swam into the mix of bream! This solo catfish swam back and forth calmly eating bread that sank past the bream.
I couldn't believe it. I had almost decided they were some kind of homing catfish that had migrated back to the fish farm.
Now, if I can just find the other 99...
Posted by R.Powers at 7:45 PM