I don't like to eat fish. Not freshwater fish, not saltwater fish, not shellfish. Anything that swims in the water tastes terrible to me.
Lots of people don't believe me. Or they think I'm exaggerating. I don't know why. "You just haven't had fresh fish," or, "You just haven't had good fish." "Not even shrimp?" "Not even lobster?" You could just as easily replace seafood with rancid meat. "You just haven't had good rancid meat," or "Not even rancid T-bone?" Do people do that with other foods? "You just haven't had fresh lima beans..."
Oh, I've tasted fresh fish. I've tasted good fish. Pan fried, batter dipped, broiled, baked... it just tastes awful. I have to guess that since there are many others in the same boat (is that a pun?), that there must be a gene that says, "seafood BAD!"
As such, I also don't really like fishing. So why then, was I so eager to stock our pond with fish?
To be honest, I really don't know. It just seems right, I guess. A pond without fish is like a woodland without birds.
I love the frogs. They're kind of underdogs these days. (Underfrogs?) They have a hard time finding habitat, and I'm glad we can provide it. But at the same time, frogs alone don't make a healthy ecosystem. So now they've got some competition.
Added to the mix were:
25 channel catfish (including a few albino)
15 largemouth bass
25 hybrid bluegills
2 triploid grass carp
2 scoops of fathead minnows
The grass carp are interesting. They are herbivores, and they're used to keep vegetation down. They eat three times their weight in vegetation per day. Since our pond is rife with cattails, algae and other aquatic plants, a couple of these should keep it under control. They are a non-native species from Asia, and in Ohio it's only legal to buy and sell sterile triploid grass carp. I might add a couple more later, but I wanted to start small. I don't want them to clear all the vegetation.
The bass are the predators. The fish farm folks recommended I release the bass and minnows at one end of the pond, and the rest of the fish at the other end. That way the bass could fill up on minnows and let the other fish find good hiding places. It's hard to believe these guys are that voracious, since they're not much bigger than the other fish, but apparently they eat everything in sight.
The minnows didn't fare too well. Not because of the bass, but just the trip home and the transition from cold water to warm water. I took my time letting the water adjust, but about half of them didn't make it.
Most of the other fish were pretty stressed too I think. It was quite a change from the icy water in their tanks to the shallows of our pond. But eventually everybody swam away.
(While I was getting them acclimated to their new home, I saw what I'm guessing was a bullfrog froglet. It had legs but still had a good sized tail. It was also the size of a VW Microbus.)
I have to guess that the albino catfish are not going to last long. High visibility is okay for tropical birds, but advertising your whereabouts to bass, heron, foxes and whoever else wants to eat you is probably not a great survival tactic. And to think that the fish farm normally charges more for them.
In any case, it should be interesting to see how this all turns out. Especially when August rolls around and half the water is gone. I understocked quite a bit compared to the size it is now, so hopefully it'll work out. Otherwise, it's back to the frogs I guess. They've still got the "marsh" in any case...