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Old 07-25-2022, 07:43 PM   #1
Winilyme
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Default Fish Nests

We have a relatively small swim area - maybe 14' x 20' - before we drop off into deep water. Most of this space is relatively sandy/pebbly...comfortable for kids and adults. Every year fish build a fish nest within this area though always in the past it's been 15 or so feet away from the prime swim area. This year however one fish built her nest right smack dab in the center of this area. The nerve. So, it seems for two months +/-, there the nest has sat with Mommy fish hovering above it.

Mommy fish is pretty protective so sure enough, when we get anywhere near the nest, she comes swimming over to bump or nibble our legs/feet. Mommy and Daddy humans don't really like the feel of that and we can't blame visiting friends and family from not liking it either. It might as well be a great white shark. So, until the baby fishies hatch and fledge their pebbly nest, we generally swim off the dock.

Having that nest there is also annoying since I like to rake the bottom early in the year. Of course, Mommy human won't let me get anywhere near the poor little Mommy fish. My wife is also protective.

What to do? We'll wait it out but it seems to me that in the past, the fishies have hatched and left their nests well before now. I mean, we're nearly half way through the swimming season for Pete's sake. In a comical moment, I considered that Mommy fish had her eggs eaten but doesn't know it and there she'll hover for years on end waiting for her little fishies to hatch.

My questions for the forum:

1. Is anyone else out there similarly obsessed with a situation like this? I admit, it seems to be rather innocuous. It is a lake after all.
2. When do these fish build their nests? I can't recall when I first saw it.
3. When will these babies finally hatch and fledge? I mean, they're missing the summer season. Sorry, not being a fisherman, I haven't a clue what type of fish this is other than it looks to be about five/six inches long.
4. Is there anything that can be done to prevent the Mommy fishies of the future from building their nests right in our little swim area?

Thanks for your feedback.
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Old 07-25-2022, 09:37 PM   #2
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At this time of year it just sunfish I believe. Bass spawn in May/June. with bass itís the male that stays and protects the nest.
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Old 07-25-2022, 11:19 PM   #3
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Leave them alone. Next year you'll have lots of panfish. Or, at least, something for the kids to watch, catch, and release. The fish owned that spot before you did. (Actually, you have never owned it--state property)
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Old 07-26-2022, 09:19 AM   #4
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I'm with Descant. We were "forced" to stop using one of our screen doors for a while--there was an active bird nest directly above it. We should think of the lake as a lake--it's imperfect and we have to share it with wildlife, but that's it's beauty.
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Old 07-27-2022, 08:30 AM   #5
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We actually get a kick out of it when fish nibble our toes.
We ignore the nests and swim where we want
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Old 07-27-2022, 10:46 AM   #6
Winilyme
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Thanks y'all.

I anticipated the comments and I have no intention to do anything but leave this Mommy fish and her nest alone. Still, I was hoping for ideas on how to discourage future fish from building nests in this particular area.

There are these things called Lakemats (https://www.lakemat.com/lakemat-pro/) that are designed to prevent weed growth. While weed growth isn't our problem, I'm sure they'd prevent fish from building nests in our little swim area. I would set one or two in place in early spring. But, they're costly and I have no idea regarding durability. Maybe a simple tarp weighed down by two-bys would do the trick.

Ironically, I myself encouraged the fish nesting. When we bought, this 'swim area' was just a bunch of six inch or so rocks. Not a comfortable place to walk or congregate at all. That first two summers, I removed all of those rocks by hand which left the current pebbly bottom that the fish like.

I suppose we'll continue as we have for the last seven years and just hope for the best. I may even install an underwater sign with arrows pointing left and right advising that our neighbors have more hospitable nest building sites.
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Old 07-27-2022, 11:08 AM   #7
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I think the best deterrent is just using the area, though, of course, timing might not work out.

I applaud you being kind to Mama and the fam.

Sent from my SM-G990U1 using Tapatalk
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Old 07-30-2022, 06:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winilyme View Post
Of course, Mommy human won't let me get anywhere near the poor little Mommy fish. My wife is also protective.
Does your wife know about this other woman you're hanging out with?
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Old 07-30-2022, 10:31 PM   #9
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It's OK. She's catch and release.
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Old 07-30-2022, 10:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post
Does your wife know about this other woman you're hanging out with?
Unfortunately,yes, and itís created quite a fishure in our marriage.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:35 AM   #11
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Question Might a Decoy Work?

I’m not into fishing, but might a decoy predator work to keep the nesting fish away? I’ve never minded the little sunfish nibbles, but I think we now have the dreaded rock bass. These red-eyed devils are a bit bigger and more aggressive.
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Old 08-06-2022, 11:39 AM   #12
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Default Rock Bass?

If itís a Rock Bass nest (probably is that close to shore) just destroy it!

Dan
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Old 08-06-2022, 12:05 PM   #13
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The fish finally departed it's nest early this week. I did a bit of research after SAB1 suggested it was a sunfish. I think I agree based on the fact that bass (and rock bass) seem to spawn at a lower water temperature and earlier timeframe. Seems the sunfish reuse the nest multiple times during the spawning season which is the peak summer months. I called it a Mommy fish in my opening post but I've learned that its the Daddy sunfish that hovers over the nest to protect and maintain it.

I love the idea of a decoy. A heron came to mind as a possibility but I'm wondering what their primary in-water predators are??? A turtle perhaps? Should be easy to find one of those to place in the water.

Ideas???
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