Fish · Lake

Bass-ically We Need A Well

I got the best view I have ever had of the fish nests last weekend.

DSC_9754fish nests

There was no sign of the fish, but two weeks ago fish were busy guarding their nests.

DSC_9502smallmouth bass

I think they are Smallmouth Bass, but I find it very hard to identify from charts when looking down into the water. I really know very little about fish, but I did find that Smallmouth bass make nests that look like this and they are this shape.

DSC_9490smallmouth bass

They seem to have some mottling on them, although you can only see this when the light shines in just the right place.

DSC_9501smallmouth bass

Their fins looked quite blue at times, but it was hard to capture that with the camera.

The males guard the nest for about 10 days, which would explain why there were no fish there two weeks later. The females lay between 2,000 and 16,000 eggs, depending on the size of the female. The males are smaller than the females and are 8-15 inches long, which would be about the size of the these fish. They build saucer-shaped nests in sand or gravel, anywhere between 2-20 feet of water. There is only about 2 feet of water where these nests are built. Apparently they build their nests with the protection of a boulder, overhead limb, log, stump or bank nearby and that fits with where these are. Eggs hatch between 4-10 days and the young are only 0.2 inches in length. The male guards the young for a few days, until they leave the nest to find their own way in the world.


One encouraging thing that I read is that Bass are an environment indicator species and healthy Bass indicates that the water quality is good. However, we have been a little concerned this year by some algae that we have not seen before and it seems others are seeing it too. I read that there is an outbreak of blue-green algae in the Rideau System and that it is in the process of testing to see how toxic it is. Unfortunately boiling, chlorination or ultraviolet light treatment cannot remove the toxins released by blue-green algae. The toxins can affect the liver and the brain. Advice is that recreational sport usage is safe provided you are not going through a bloom. Algae blooms do degrade with time and toxin will eventually be diluted into the body of the water, but I am not sure how we would know when the water is safe again.


That is a concern given that we use lake water for washing in the bathroom and our water intake is quite close to the algae. It is hard to find an ideal spot for water intake because it is so shallow close to the cottage. Maybe the time has come to see about putting in a well.



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