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Over-winter forage thoughts


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#1 mattknepley

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:14 AM

Fall finally got to SC and soon enough our version of winter will settle in. For my 100g stock pond this will mean several inches of ice from mid-winter to early spring. Naturally, forage for the pond's denizens will be harder to come by.

Last year, I tried some of Jenny K's glassworms. They kick glutteus maximus and cite of patronyms! Their performance was phenomenal. Several times I punched through the ice and stuck my go-pro in the pond to check things out. The glassworms were always found throughout the entire water column, and alive and healthy. Come spring ice-out, I had some seriously fat 'n happy darters, bbanded sunfish, and Tadpole Madtoms. I can not recommend those critters (or their purveyor) highly enough. If you have the ability to keep them cold, or to freeze them for later use, these things are fantastic live chow for overwintering.

Here's the thing; now that cooler/safer collecting weather is here, I am contemplating revamping the stock in the stock pond. The madtoms are now in their own pond, and if I can't come up with more Blackbandeds (preferably from the same source, which is doubtful) I will seriously consider whatever Providence puts in my seine. There is a good chance it will be something smaller than the previous fish and they may not have mouths big enough to make good use of the glassworms. My y.o.y. Blackbanded most likely won't be able to eat them if the glassworms are as large as I am remembering. So, what else makes for good, hands-off small fish overwinter chow? I know their nutritional needs go down in the winter, but given how fat and sassy Jenny's worms had my guys, I can't help but think boosting the feed availability over the winter would be good for my li'l bbanded and any other smaller mouths.

Hopefully Jenny will chime in on the size of these midges, or the ability of fish to "crash and shred" them. Maybe I'm concerned over nothing. At any rate, my madtoms and adult bbanded are definitely ordering some.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#2 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 07:14 PM

Scuds if you have a good place to collect them. They are too pricey on line as they are sold mostly as cultures. Don't blackworms do well in refrigerators? So how about in your situation? I know little about them.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#3 mattknepley

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 07:46 AM

Scuds are intriguing. I don't know if there is a good spot near me for collecting them. Will have to dig up the old threads here on their preferred habitat if no one can name names of good spots. Never thought about the blackworms. Was the debate over how healthy/unhealthy they are for fishes ever settled?
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#4 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 07:04 PM

Scuds seem to be everywhere. Vegetation is better, and spring heads with lots of watercress seem to be loaded. Small streams, ditches and springs hold the highest concentrations. I think Dustin does or used to use a lot of blackworms. Ask him. I don't recall a debate over blackworms. Maybe tubifex? Maybe old blackworms that have survived refrigeration for a long time have very little nutrition left.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#5 gerald

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:04 PM

Blackworms (and other fat + protein rich worms) can be a problem for some mostly-vegetarian fishes (certain African Cichlids and Loricariids especially) if they're allowed to gorge on worms rather than feeding them a mostly-veg based diet with small amounts of worms as a supplement.  Otherwise, healthy blackworms are a healthy fish food.  There, debate is settled.  (But don't feed your fish them pale grey half-dead/rotten blackworms).  But they wont be much use to fish smaller than 1".  Moina and Ceriodaphnia are good winter food for those 1/4" to 1" fish that cant eat worms.  (They're also food for glassworms).  


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#6 mattknepley

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 07:31 AM

Thanks, guys. Will see if I can turn up a few scuds and daphni-types. Might try a few blackworms. The Blackbanded looks to be right at one inch in length so the worms might work well, actually, so long as I don't add smaller fish to the pond.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#7 az9

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 07:49 AM

You know, not the same thing, but I overwinter up to 500 lbs. of trout in a small 1/10th acre pond where there is no way there is enough natural feed for them. This  is northern Indiana, and the pond can get up to 18 inches of ice, although I leave a small area open with a diffuser to prevent any low oxygen issues. They came out of winter just find and don't even look like they've lost weight. I don't feed them all winter.



#8 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 04:41 PM

You know, not the same thing, but I overwinter up to 500 lbs. of trout in a small 1/10th acre pond where there is no way there is enough natural feed for them. This  is northern Indiana, and the pond can get up to 18 inches of ice, although I leave a small area open with a diffuser to prevent any low oxygen issues. They came out of winter just find and don't even look like they've lost weight. I don't feed them all winter.

Good point. The activity level drops, the metabolism drops, and the need for feed drops. Adding too much forage will probably be overkill. If the glassworms work, sounds like the ticket. AZ9's trout are a cold water fish and still have higher requirements in the winter than most native fish, but are doing fine on little forage.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#9 mattknepley

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 05:50 AM

Good points, I knew their nutritional needs would drop, but not that much. Might stick with just glassworms after all.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#10 gerald

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 11:13 AM

Matt - I've got some pretty good Cerio/Moina density in a couple of my outdoor plant tubs.  Can mail you some if you want.  When the surface freezes, bug density drops and the survivors muddle around in the leaf litter at the bottom.


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel





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