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Largies4Life

What's happening to these fish?

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Finally got out last night to a local pond down the road. As I was fishing the bank, I kept noticing all of these dead bluegills that were along the shorelines. The pond only gets to about 9 feet deep in the deepest part of the pond and there is a lot of muck/algae on the rocks and a lot of weeds out farther from shore. I talked to one local angler there and he thinks that the carp are taking over the pond. Could this be what's causing the bluegill to die off? They all seem to have had brown muck/algae on them as well indicating that they've been dead for a while? What else could be causing these fish to die off like this?

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Low oxygen levels would be my guess.

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It could be low oxygen or toxicity issues. If you call fish and game and report the fish kill they may come and check it out.

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only 9 feet of depth in a Wisconsin pond? 

 

Could be from ice 

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17 minutes ago, Mn_Moose said:

only 9 feet of depth in a Wisconsin pond? 

That's what the gentleman said that I talked to last night. He said he takes his little jon boat out that has a small Lowrence on it and the deepest he marked last year was 9 feet. I was thinking it was maybe just due to the frigid temps and then it got up to the 70's and then back down into the 40's now.

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Winter fish kill not uncommon in shallow northern ponds.  Doesn't have to freeze solid to the bottom.  Thick ice with prolonged snow cover will kill plant life, and the oxygen drops.

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How long has the ice been off?  Are you closer to ice out or the spawn?

 

I would assume you’re not close to the gills spawning but we have this same question raised every year here in Nebraska when crappie and bluegill are spawning. The consensus is that spawning takes a lot out of these fish and “some” die every year, but not enough to impact the population. 

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15 hours ago, Choporoz said:

Winter fish kill not uncommon in shallow northern ponds.  Doesn't have to freeze solid to the bottom.  Thick ice with prolonged snow cover will kill plant life, and the oxygen drops.

I wouldnt be surprised it if got up to 3 or more feet of ice with the -25 degree temps we had this year.

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7 hours ago, bassh8er said:

How long has the ice been off?  Are you closer to ice out or the spawn?

The ice went out on this pond about a month ago, but I wouldn't be surprised if it got another small layer of ice in the past month with all the temp fluctuations we've been having.

 

6 hours ago, Vilas15 said:

I wouldnt be surprised it if got up to 3 or more feet of ice with the -25 degree temps we had this year.

And with the pond only 9 feet deep at the deepest part, it could have led to a lot of fish dying off just due to the lack of oxygen/water that wasn't frozen.

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9 hours ago, bassh8er said:

How long has the ice been off?  Are you closer to ice out or the spawn?

 

I would assume you’re not close to the gills spawning but we have this same question raised every year here in Nebraska when crappie and bluegill are spawning. The consensus is that spawning takes a lot out of these fish and “some” die every year, but not enough to impact the population. 

We see the same thing here in Iowa.  When the spring temps are really up and down, it really stresses the bluegills.  I have been seeing some dead bluegills here as well, but at a 900 acre lake, that never has 'winter kill' problems.

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8 hours ago, Vilas15 said:

I wouldnt be surprised it if got up to 3 or more feet of ice with the -25 degree temps we had this year.

1/3rd of the water depth frozen at the deepest area means frozen near the bottom areas less then 4' deep....ice kill. Find another deeper pond or lake to fish.

Tom

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This is fairly common around PA whenever the ice lets out. Shallow ponds always have some winter kill. The fish might be covered in dirt/algae because they've been down in that stuff all winter long. 

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With all of the rain (crazy amounts around here) so early in the season I have heard can cause a fish kill.  I heard Lake Delavan had a fish kill because of this and was evident last week at a tournament- Bass and Bluegill floating all over.

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With the winter-kills I've seen, the fish don't remain on the surface for long. They rot and sink. Gotta be there pretty quickly after ice-out. A month after suggests this is not winter-kill. Re-icing would rarely cause winter-kill since once open, O2 can replenish pretty quickly. Something else is up.

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From the OP's statement it sounded like the bluegill were decaying and didn't mentioned any floaters.

Tom

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52 minutes ago, WRB said:

From the OP's statement it sounded like the bluegill were decaying and didn't mentioned any floaters.

Tom

I suppose I wasn't too specific in my original post. The bluegills were floating with all this brown muck on them like they've been there for weeks or something. I've never seen anything like it.

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When I've tracked ponds, I've had to be there right at ice-out. Otherwise, there may be little sign of winter-kill, or the extent of it. 

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