About 6-8 months ago I quit feeding the fish off the end of the dock. There was a combination of reasons but mostly, it was hard keeping the raccoons out of the feed. I put the food inside metal trash cans but they could easily remove the lid. So I put a concrete block on the lid and they figured out that they could tip over the whole thing. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when they removed the lid and must have pitched it in the water. Anyway, it was nowhere to be found so I guessed they dunked it. The other things were that we seemed to be attracting too many turtles. I wasn’t too concerned when it was just the vege type turtles but occasionally one of those nasty, long neck soft shell guys would show. They’re meat eaters and I wasn’t too keen on having them in the vicinity. They kept stealing my bait when I was fishing for bass and we actually hooked one – what a mess. So I quit feeding the fish and popped a couple turtles with my pellet gun. That solved the problem. It made for better swimming all summer long.
But the downside is that you can no longer catch huge bream easily off the dock. And you can no longer catch even bait size bream or shiners. This is the time of year when it’s really comfortable sitting on the dock with a big ole shiner under a float, searching out bass while I read a new mystery novel and watch the wildlife. So when Nancy went to Utah last week I bought a bag of feed. I figured I would try putting them inside a cabinet on the dock and then put a box in front of the door to slow down the critters.
As I always did, I threw out a couple of handfuls of food off the dock. Nothing. Not a splash, not a swirl; no sign of a fish. Ditto the next 4 days. I’m guessing the fish had just gone off to greener pastures. On the fifth day, a splash and a swirl. Not much but a promising sign. I stayed with the handful or two every day and within the next five days it looked like piranha feeding – exactly how it was before I stopped. So I don’t know whether the food brought them back or if they were there all the time and it just took a few days for them to get used to surface food again. It also brought back the turtles. So far only the vege type. What I noticed about that is how well turtles can hear. I always figured they didn’t have much in the way of ears but as soon as the bream start splashing after the food, I spot turtles heading over from all the way across the lake. Within a very few minutes they’re come all that way and are in there gobbling and competing.
My plan is to keep feeding them daily to create my own little bait pool and an occasional fried bream (bluegill) sandwich,