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Old 05-11-2004, 06:07 PM
Oglomott Oglomott is offline
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How do fish get into man made lakes?

That is, how do fish get into man made lakes that are not fed by another water source, and are not purposely stocked?

My theory is that fish eggs get carried there and dropped by birds, but are there other ways?
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Old 05-11-2004, 06:36 PM
Aeschines Aeschines is offline
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Just a guess, but there could be a flood that carried fish or eggs there from another body of water.

Also, even if the lake is not "officially" stocked, people could throw fish in there.
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Old 05-11-2004, 06:47 PM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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I've always heard that birds poop the eggs into the lakes, which seconds your assumption.
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Old 05-11-2004, 06:58 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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There have been cases where weather phenomena have picked up eggs (the case that comes to mind involved a tornado and frog eggs) from one spot and eventually returning them to earth miles away.

If the lake receives storm sewers, there's no telling what's coming in that way.

If the lake is big enough to have boats, fish can be introduced when someone innocently pumps out their bilge from another lake.

More than once, people have illicitly introduced species into lakes, either accidentally or maliciously.

As for purposefully-stocked lakes, the fish come by tank trucks. They drop a large hose into the lake, open the drain valve on the tank and pour in the fish.
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:28 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflakes
I've always heard that birds poop the eggs into the lakes, which seconds your assumption.
No way could that happen. The eggs would be long dead and dissolved after passing through a bird. Dripping off a bird... it's possible.

Quote:
man made lakes that are not fed by another water source
I must admit I'm a little baffled by this. How do you get water to fill a lake without getting it from another source? Even if it fills with rain or ground water that is another water source.

I think you meant a water source free of fish/eggs... which would cut out irrigation water, and a lot of man-made lakes are irrigation reservoirs... so a good chunk of them are being filled with water already full of fish - even if an irrigation canal or pipe doesn't seem like a source of wild fish.

Illegal stocking happens all the time as well. A big recreational lake only a few minutes from my place has been stocked with crayfish (which are now breeding naturally) within the past few years. A little trout pond I used to fish in was stocked with yellow perch about 15 years ago. Sometimes it's somone who knows what they're doing trying to establish a population of a certain kind of fish 'cause he wants to, and other times it's ignorant people who "release" a pet fish back to nature to feel good inside themselves. There are even some religeous new year's customs of releasing fish into water bodies in a couple cultures. All the above are/were illegal for good reasons.
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:29 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oglomott
That is, how do fish get into man made lakes that are not fed by another water source, and are not purposely stocked?
These would be a distinct minority -- most man-made lakes are created by modifying an already-existing stream or wetland, and thus there is at least some exchange with an extant body of water. IIRC a pure hole-filled-with-water lake with no in- or out-flow would soon become stagnant.
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Old 05-11-2004, 07:48 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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I have to admit Iím having a hard time thinking of a lake that is not fed by a water source that is already full of fish.

Iím having a harder time thinking of a lake that doesnít have any overflow that would allow fish to travel into the lake form downstream.

Remember many fish will happily travel through shallow water as it flows over otherwise dry land during heavy storms. Hard to think of any lake that could be considered isolated.
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Old 05-11-2004, 08:04 PM
yabob yabob is offline
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Quote:
I have to admit Iím having a hard time thinking of a lake that is not fed by a water source that is already full of fish.
There are many fishless natural lakes. High alpine lakes fed by snowmelt. In many cases (such as in national parks), these have been stocked, which can lead to problems. I wouldn't doubt that there's some man made lakes fed by a snowmelt as well.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:25 PM
633squadron 633squadron is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yabob
There are many fishless natural lakes. High alpine lakes fed by snowmelt. In many cases (such as in national parks), these have been stocked, which can lead to problems. I wouldn't doubt that there's some man made lakes fed by a snowmelt as well.
Natural lakes in the Sierras have, in the past, been stocked by airplane! My guess is that most manmade lakes are deliberately, legally stocked and may be "privately" stocked at the same time.
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Old 05-11-2004, 10:27 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Come on people. You can't tell me that you have never seen a pond deep in the woods, not connected to anything and yet it has all kinds of species of fish in it. The property that I grew up on had several such ponds, never stocked and yet they all had fish in them. This was in Louisiana. Almost all, non manmade ponds near sea level have fish in them and the manmade ones will as well after several years. Many times, the fish will be something like bluegill that are almost never stocked. The fish are coming from somewhere. I was told that they were carried in birds mouths or possibly their feet from another source.
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Old 05-11-2004, 11:06 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
You can't tell me that you have never seen a pond deep in the woods, not connected to anything and yet it has all kinds of species of fish in it.
How can it not be connected to anything? Where doe the excess water go to when the pond fills up?
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Old 05-11-2004, 11:10 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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Well, on a friend's property in Kentucky there are several small ponds that fit that description, assuming that what you mean is that it isn't normally connected to any water source. During heavy rains, they'll flood and the runoff goes into nearby streams.

As a last response to the OP, though it probably isn't the answer in most cases, it could be a phenomenon such as the famous Maryland walking fish.
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Old 05-11-2004, 11:16 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
During heavy rains, they'll flood and the runoff goes into nearby streams.
Thatís what I figured had to happen. And the streams have fish and the fish swim upstream duirng raind.

Mystery solved.
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:23 AM
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There are also fish that will walk themselves to a nearby water body.
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:39 AM
Starguard Starguard is offline
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I always thought that Yokko the fish God would wave his magic wand over a large lake, do the sacred hula dance, and make all the fish we need appear
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  #16  
Old 05-12-2004, 02:37 AM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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There are some man-made lakes that do not contain fish nor would allow the passage of fish into them from either inlet or overflow. Tailings ponds have specific inlets and cannot allow overflow or there'll be big trouble; often they are built above-ground to prevent run off problems. Check out the last two pictures here.

There are also fishless natural lakes... I believe there are hundreds of not thousands in Ontario (which gets a lot of government money to stock them and modify the lake water chemistry for research). There are also all kinds of prairie sloughs and pothole/kettle lakes far from streams around these parts; we don't get enough rain for them to overflow, and they are either kept wet by that small amount of rain or are just in low enough depressions to be into the water table.

In university I spent a week camped out next to two mountain lakes on Vancouver Island; one draining into the other. Thing was that there was an elevation difference of several hundred feet while the lakes were only a short distance apart. The fish in the bottom couldn't have migrated up the waterfalls. Never the less we found sculpin in the upper lake (but no kokanee or cutthroat). There's no way a sculpin could get there without help... so rare overland transfers do happen from time to time.
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:43 AM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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There are many answers. Sometimes a fisherman will release a fish he caught elsewhere. Captive fish get released into a pond (remember the Asian Snakehead Fish?) Sometimes baitfish (minnows, shiners) are dumped at the end of a fishing outing. One of my favorite lakes was drastically changed with the release of threadfin shad into the lake. Shad are food for bass, but they compete with bluegill for very small crustaceans. Now the bluegill population is permanently crippled to support the bass population.
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:46 AM
Oglomott Oglomott is offline
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A few people mentioned walking type fish.

Yes, there are "walking catfish" around here. There was one walking down the sidewalk in front of my house a few weeks ago after a rainstorm. There are lots of man-dug lakes around where I live, I can only assume he came from one of them, and was headed to another one. Actually, walking is kind of a misnomer, they just kind of flop back and forth to move forward.

We see people parked at these lakes fishing all the time. My wife laughs, and says they're crazy, because there's no fish in there. I said if there weren't, nobody would fish there.

Ken (OP)
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Old 05-12-2004, 12:51 PM
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There are also fishless natural lakes.[/QUOTE]

I can attest to that fact. I have spent many hours fishing these types of lakes.

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Old 05-12-2004, 06:02 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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There's an area in Indiana that has dozens of "strip pits." That is, man-made lakes resulting from coal strip-mining. Several of them have thriving fish populations. One friend of mine, though, was having a bad day on one pit, when a Dept. of Natural Resources officer hailed him from the bank.

DNR: Catching anything?

Jake: No, not a thing.

DNR: I'm not surprised. This is an acid pit, and there's no fish here. You're wasting your time.

There are firms that sell fish, from fingerlings to huge catfish, to pond owners, and you can get anything you want.
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Old 05-12-2004, 10:41 PM
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Just to cover all bases there have been reports of it raining fish (&frogs).
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:48 PM
Revrezner Revrezner is offline
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Fish and Wildlife

In FL where I live the game fish and wildlife department adds fish to man-made body's of water. This it's to combat mosquitoes. Canals, lakes and man made body's off water are common here. They build long rows of channels of water with rows of soil. The fish eat the insect eggs and naturally controls the insects.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:57 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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The Northern Snakehead, a predatory Asian fish that has expanded into the Potomac, the Hudson Bay, Arkansas and other locations in the US. Per the US Geological Survey conclusions:

Quote:
Prior to being added to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act in October 2002, which banned import and interstate transport without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, snakeheads were sold in pet stores and in live food fish markets and some restaurants in several major U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, and St. Louis. Live specimens have been confiscated by authorities in Alabama, California, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Washington where possession of live snakeheads is illegal.

Some snakeheads living in natural waters of the U.S. may have been released by aquarium hobbyists or those hoping to establish a local food resource. Also, some cultures practice "prayer animal release", a faith-based activity in which individuals purchase, then release, an animal (fish, amphibian, reptile, or bird) to earn merits with a deity.
https://www2.usgs.gov/faq/categories/9787/3000%20

Blame the gods!
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:41 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmiiikkkeee View Post
No way could that happen. The eggs would be long dead and dissolved after passing through a bird.
I wouldn't rule it out so quickly - in general, birds have a pretty fast digestive transit - which is why so many plants use them successfully to distribute seeds.

Now, fish eggs are not seeds of course, but there are examples of fish eggs that are quite tolerant of other difficult conditions such as dehydration. Like the colonisation of islands by animals surviving on floating debris - It only has to succeed once in a million cases, against the odds, to still be a reality.

Last edited by Mangetout; 05-17-2017 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:12 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetbridge View Post
Quote:
There are also fishless natural lakes.
I can attest to that fact. I have spent many hours fishing these types of lakes.

Indeed ... fish are complete extinct in the State of Oregon ...
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:18 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
I wouldn't rule it out so quickly
Mayhaps he's changed his mind in the 13 years since he posted that.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:32 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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OK. I wouldn't rule it out so slowly.

Dammit zombie threads.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:33 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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I once had this large plastic container that I used to mix up soil for carnivorous plants, and over time it filled with rain water. I glanced in it once and noticed it moving around and somehow it had been colonized by ostrocods. Don't know if the eggs were in one or the soil components or were brought in by birds.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:41 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Mayhaps he's changed his mind in the 13 years since he posted that.

Nope, still haven't changed my mind. You have to keep in mind that seeds are specifically adapted to pass through a given animals digestive system and the conditions encountered there; so they may have physical characteristics making them difficult to mechanically crush and thick "skins" resistant to acid and digestive enzymes for example.

While there are some species of fish whose eggs are hardier than others, they are typically adapted to be resistant to environmental conditions encountered where they evolved. Those eggs may be resistant to desiccation, higher salinity, or limited amounts of freezing or low oxygen environments. I'm not aware of any fish species whose eggs are adapted to resist the mechanical grinding of a birds crop and the chemical digestive process they'd be exposed to after being eaten.

Many species of animals seek out fish eggs as a food source because they are so nutritious and digestible. Resistance or toughness in fish eggs is usually with respect to a few parameters, not all of them.
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Old 05-17-2017, 01:19 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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The idea that I have heard isn't that it comes from birds swallowing them and pooping them out but simply because the eggs can stick to their feet, bodies or beak and then get redeposited in another place.

I stand by my original statement as well. In the Deep South, you can dig something like a brand new farm pond in a pasture that isn't connected to anything else and you WILL have fish in it within a few months to a year. Many of them aren't the types of fish that people stock either. They range from small minnows to sunfish. Bass and catfish (including undesirable mudcats) will show up a little later along with frogs and snakes. Something is putting them there and birds are one of the only explanations that makes sense.
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Old 05-18-2017, 03:03 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by mmmiiikkkeee View Post
Nope, still haven't changed my mind. You have to keep in mind that seeds are specifically adapted to pass through a given animals digestive system and the conditions encountered there; so they may have physical characteristics making them difficult to mechanically crush and thick "skins" resistant to acid and digestive enzymes for example.

While there are some species of fish whose eggs are hardier than others, they are typically adapted to be resistant to environmental conditions encountered where they evolved. Those eggs may be resistant to desiccation, higher salinity, or limited amounts of freezing or low oxygen environments. I'm not aware of any fish species whose eggs are adapted to resist the mechanical grinding of a birds crop and the chemical digestive process they'd be exposed to after being eaten.

Many species of animals seek out fish eggs as a food source because they are so nutritious and digestible. Resistance or toughness in fish eggs is usually with respect to a few parameters, not all of them.
I'm not saying that I think it's likely, or anywhere near the most common scenario - but I do think it's probably just about possible under the freakishly right combination of circumstances (which could, I suppose, include such things as health factors in the bird, preventing its digestion from working optimally). Given enough variables and enough rolls of the dice, even the most unlikely outcomes can occasionally pop up.

There's a lot of quite sensible discussion on the topic here, including a reference to a published paper which claims to have observed viable fish eggs collected from bird feces

Last edited by Mangetout; 05-18-2017 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 05-18-2017, 02:43 PM
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How do fish get into man-made lakes?

"Practice, man, practice."
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