32 pound Thames Pike!!
Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:21 AM
Yes Lee, but since it has had more anglers fishing it over the past few years the bigger fish are coming out. 17lber last season for example and 15's / 16's already this year.
That old prime roach water of yours has now become a barbel water. ( Of course you knew that!) Betcha the roach will be back in force a few years down the line. Cycles.
Neglect certainly has a big bearing Steve, but hope you agree, so has fish handling and the awareness by Groups such as The Perchfishers, BS. Carp S etc.etc.
Of course I agree (As I did) that the warmer temperature cycles have a big bearing in growth promotion, when they are not comotose they are often eating.
Posted 24 October 2005 - 02:03 PM
For instance, cormorants decimated my roach and rudd at Wingham. In fact it's rare to catch either species now, especially roach. However, some huge rudd have been spotted. Whether they would have grown so big without the cormorants I don't know of course.
The biggest effect though was on the size and condition of the pike. As Graham pointed out cormorants are just another predator. The season after the cormorants arrived the condition of the pike deteriorated very markedly. Nature has found a balance again now. I've less pike than before but they're now back in tip-top condition, the manky ones probably having been eaten by their older sisters!
Other species such as tench and bream may have benefitted from the demise of the rudd, and more particularly the roach, due to less competition. However this effect would be less noticeable at a water such as Wingham due to its low stock density. On the other hand there would likely be a marked effect on overstocked commercials.
Graham, I agree with you that improved fish handling is highly likely to be a factor, and especially on waters fished by less experienced anglers. Additionally some fish, such as pike and perch, are particularly affected by poor handling, whilst species such as carp and tench are more robust. Of course it's guides such as yourself who can show first hand how fish should be handled.
However, fish of many species are growing bigger on waters that are rarely fished and thus where fish handling isn't a major issue. I therefore feel that the most important factor is likely to be something that affects all waters, such as warmer temperatures.
As I wrote, there are probably a lot of factors involved. For instance, to keep the post reasonably short I didn't mention another possible important one, that again effects nearly every water. This is the overuse of nitrates and phosphates that have greatly enriched our waterways. When I was a lad gravel pits were crystal clear and relatively barren and lifeless. Now they've full of weed and invertebrates for the fish to grow big on.
It's almost certainly no co-incidence that the surge in growth rates corresponds to the much greater use of such fertilisers, encouraged of course by the ridiculous farming policies of the EU. Thank goodness they're now gradually changing. However it'll take many years for these fertilisers to work their way through the system.
I wonder what will happen to the size of fish then? Will such high growth rates be a thing of the past? Or will other factors such as climate change prove even more important?
Edited by Steve Burke, 24 October 2005 - 03:31 PM.
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Posted 24 October 2005 - 08:37 PM
I wonder if the same factors that have enabled humans to live longer and become larger and taller over the past 50 years have a bearing on fish sizes?? Theres a thought?
Anyway. Another 2 barbel Virgins less today with fish of 11.2 /10.00 /9,4 and 8.1 coming from a Thames tributary.
This is my site for a few nice barbel pics if anyone fancies a look.
Posted 24 October 2005 - 10:52 PM
Speaking purely of the species that are common in the US (so nothing about roach, rudd, or some others)
- pike don't seem to tolerate long periods of warm water nor do walleye (almost identical to zander). We have none in this area and even close relatives like the various pickrel aren't common. Here is the state record.
Northern Pike Keith Gilliam 11 lb. 13 oz. 8/26/78 Lake James
- perch can survive but not really thrive. 6oz is a large one for me. We do have a state record for a fairly decent size fish but it is 15 years old now and the water is at the northern part of the state so several hundred miles north of me.
White Perch Bob G. Williams, Jr. 2 lb. 15 oz. 12/16/01 Falls of the Neuse Reservoir
Yellow Perch Evelyn G. Ethridge 2 lb. 9 oz. 2/8/90 Indiantown Creek
Even carp which you would think should thrive in this area don't seem to get nearly as large as the ones in more northerly (so cooler average temps) areas.
Not that things on the fishing scene are bleak, mind you. But just a note that global warming might have an effect but past a certain point, it may not be the one you expect.
Bear in mind here that we have mountainous areas in the western section of the state with cold water streams and all the trout records are from there.
North Carloina Fresh Water Fish Records
Posted 25 October 2005 - 12:31 AM
Steve,undoubtedly the run off of ferterlisers into our water system has enriched them.
Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:42 AM
As to the other preds, it seems to be mainly a matter of where they find conditions they like. Trout like moving cool water so the mountains are ideal. Pike seem to like cooler water so they take it where they find it.
Largemouth bass like warmer conditions and we grow them much larger than they do up north. The same applies to our three larger catfish species and the flathead, at least, is pure pred. Same with gar & bowfin which can tolerate almost anything as long as they have plenty of warm water during part of the year.