Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In the Pen

This year when GG did some minor restocking of the pond (a few bream and catfish were added) we realized that many of the new small fish were going to be prime prey for the abundance of bass in the pond. It was obvious that in the future we would need to provide some protection for newly stocked fingerlings until they could grow large enough to have a good chance at survival. Of course any such arrangement would require monitoring and feeding them on a regular basis.

We decided to test some various pen/cage arrangements for future use. The first we have installed is an open-topped pen made of hardware cloth on the edge of the pond.
It is placed in an area that gets some shading during much of the day and where there is easy access. The pen has met with varying degrees of success.

We frequently place smaller fish (caught by various means) in the pen. Once in the pen, however, many of the fish have disappeared. Initially we thought perhaps many escaped under the bottom of the wire where it did not properly seat on the bottom of the pond. We made some modifications and believe we have solved that issue, but we still lose fish from time to time. Perhaps some natural predator (turtles, birds, or perhaps a snake) is sometimes raiding the pen for a fast sushi buffet.

It is obvious that this type of pen will not be satisfactory for protecting restocking fish in the future and we will probably go with some type of closed cage.

Despite the issues with the pen it has been a success in other ways. The pen is not very large and has a limited amount of vegetation so it provides a good view of the fish. It is somewhat like having an outdoor aquarium. It was in the pen that we first spotted the truly large tadpoles and we were able to watch them evolve into frogs in their natural habitat. Also, youngsters love to try to catch fish and tadpoles from the pond with the hand-held nets and they rush to the pen with their catches.

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Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.