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Decline in numbers of freshwater panfish?

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Anyone notice that some of the more accessible/pressured freshwater locations are starting to show signs of depleted panfish stocks? Even sunfish, yellow perch, and crappie. There's one or two less pressured spots I visit that still fish well. But the more pressured spots that I hit either during my lunch break, or near the house for a short after work outing are really starting to look bleak. I'm probably more apt to catch a regular game fish (lg mouth bass, pickerel, etc) than one of these panfish. I enjoy taking the 3 wt fly rod out for a spin on occasion...So what gives with this?

 

 

Edited by albacized
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1 hour ago, albacized said:

Anyone notice that some of the more accessible/pressured freshwater locations are starting to show signs of depleted panfish stocks? Even sunfish, yellow perch, and crappie. There's one or two less pressured spots I visit that still fish well. But the more pressured spots that I hit either during my lunch break, or near the house for a short after work outing are really starting to look bleak. I'm probably more apt to catch a regular game fish (lg mouth bass, pickerel, etc) than one of these panfish. I enjoy taking the 3 wt fly rod out for a spin on occasion...So what gives with this?

 

 

Most likely people are leaving with white buckets filled with them. 

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14 hours ago, z-man said:

Most likely people are leaving with white buckets filled with them. 

^^^^

Sad but extremely true.

 

A couple of sections of a river that runs thru my area, which used to hold good numbers of perch, sunfish and crappie are pretty much empty. No speculation, but factual because I've witnessed three different groups fish for hours with either a bucker of cooler in tow.

one cooler guy brings his family to help.

 

I have to resist the urge to explain that there isn't an inexhaustible supply of fish off of that bridge, and I let them fish for hours anyway.

 

Luckily I have a kayak and plenty of places where there is very limited shore access and plenty of fish to go around.

 

What gets me going is the fact that I explained to one couple that the fish in those waters were considered "contaminated" and I would NEVER eat a fish from there, even if I was paid to.

They ignored me and kept on fishing.

 

Maybe when they have kids with 3 arms, legs or ears and no lips or eyelids they'll consider my warning? 

 

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!
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20 mins ago, FishermanTim said:

^^^^

Sad but extremely true.

 

A couple of sections of a river that runs thru my area, which used to hold good numbers of perch, sunfish and crappie are pretty much empty. No speculation, but factual because I've witnessed three different groups fish for hours with either a bucker of cooler in tow.

one cooler guy brings his family to help.

 

I have to resist the urge to explain that there isn't an inexhaustible supply of fish off of that bridge, and I let them fish for hours anyway.

 

Luckily I have a kayak and plenty of places where there is very limited shore access and plenty of fish to go around.

 

What gets me going is the fact that I explained to one couple that the fish in those waters were considered "contaminated" and I would NEVER eat a fish from there, even if I was paid to.

They ignored me and kept on fishing.

 

Maybe when they have kids with 3 arms, legs or ears and no lips or eyelids they'll consider my warning? 

 

That’s what I see too. They fish worms on a bobber and everything they catch goes in the bucket to take home while the worm containers, drinks and food wrappers get left on the ground. 

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You might be onto something, but I'm not sure it's necessary from overfishing?

I grew up in central Ma and there was a small pond right across the street from our home.  No one ever fished it.   It was the bluegill capital of the world! Loaded with huge bluegills. Spawning season was crazy, with beds all along the shore.

That's where I cut my teeth as a kid fly fishing.  Beautiful fat fish.

It was an excellent crappie pond too.  That was in the early to mid 60s.

 

I still visit the pond a few times a year. Walk along the shore, looking into the waters I fished as a kid. Kind of depressing, because I rarely see anything.  A few tiny pumpkinseed here and there, but that's it.  To this day no one really fishes there because access is a problem since parking is residents only.

 

So what happened?  I suspect water quality may have contributed. Not as clear as I recall. But something happened.

The Sultan of Sluggo

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My 2c.....I haven't noticed a decline in panfish populations.  Striper population: yes.  Bluefish population: yes.  XL-sized black sea bass: yes.  (you get the point).

 

But FW panfish don't seem to be overfished at all - at least where I'm fishing.

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I've seen productive carp spots collapse on a month when swarmed by meat fishermen, no reason panfish couldn't be eradicated as quickly. The easy targets go in the bucket, the rest scatter from the pressure.

Massachusetts EPO:

1-800-632-8075

 

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10 mins ago, Running Ape said:

And I’ve seen more people from locals to kids to immigrants keeping fish. It’s trendy to catch and keep again.

Probably because the price of food is so high? I’d keep some panfish too if my local waters weren’t so polluted. 

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1 hour ago, ermghoti said:

I've seen productive carp spots collapse on a month when swarmed by meat fishermen, no reason panfish couldn't be eradicated as quickly. The easy targets go in the bucket, the rest scatter from the pressure.

Green Hill Park in Worcester has a fairly large pond which used to be filthy with carp. Large German carp. 

 

The city had carp tournaments there each Memorial Day, with all the carp being released. Otherwise the fish were left relatively unmolested.

They were discovered in the early 70s, and were all but wiped out.

The Sultan of Sluggo

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17 mins ago, Richard_the_Aughth said:

Just my own speculation but I find it hard to believe a few groups of people can put such a dent in panfish populations. I'd put my money on water quality degradation. 

I agree.  When I drive by ponds these days I rarely see anyone fishing.

The Sultan of Sluggo

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48 mins ago, Richard_the_Aughth said:

Just my own speculation but I find it hard to believe a few groups of people can put such a dent in panfish populations. I'd put my money on water quality degradation. 

Sunfish and bass can survive in just a tiny mud puddle or drainage ditch. The water quality would need to be extremely bad for it to effect them. 

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