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What are these gars eating?

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#1 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:43 PM

I was exploring a new area today and found what appears to be an abandoned gravel pit maybe 4-5 acres in size. It's filled in with water. The bottom appears to be just sand, although it's very much blackwater despite minimal appearance of fallen wood or leaves. Trees were cut back pretty far so there wasn't much leaf fall.

There isn't much in the way of vegetation either. Just random clumps of filamentous green algae, fairly spaced out at a small patch every 5-10 feet. There were only a few individual vascular plants in the whole lake.

Random scooping of a dipnet as deep as I could reach produced about 20 pond snails, 4365676 water boatmen, a few dragonfly nymphs, and 5 small longnose gar (.75-1.5 inches). After searching close to half the total coastline I saw a few Gambusia in a little school, but there were not more than 8 of them.

What are the gars living on? Since there was no apparent connection to other water, I have to assume they were spawned here, so there must be adults somewhere. Is it likely that there are larger fish in the deep water, even with no apparent photosynthesis going on?

#2 Guest_Uland_*

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 02:56 PM

I'm not sure where you're from but at this time of year, I'd guess you were seeing young Esox (Pike/Pickerel) and not Gar.

You have algae, insects and Gambusia. What more could a young Esox (or Gar for that matter) need? Adults would be fine with eating juvenile fish as well.

#3 Guest_dafrimpster_*

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:07 PM

Around here gravel pits are REALLY deep. I would guess you just scratched the surface of this environment.

#4 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:33 PM

This was 20 miles south of Summerville, SC.

I do think the lake was very deep, but it seems like the surface should provide some indication of the food source. It seemed really odd to see hardly any plants. Most ponds, rivers, even mud puddles here are swarming with Gambusia. It's rare to approach any body of water and not see the surface ripple with them. I walked about a quarter mile around this place and only saw the one school. Maybe that's evidence they're being eaten.

After a bit of research I do believe what I netted was Esox, not Lepisosteus. Thanks for that.

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