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New Fish at the Museum13-Dec-2010 Get You Hooked
Bluegill are popular game fish, caught with live bait, flies, pieces, corn, small crankbaits, spinners, American cheese pushed around a hook, maggots, or even a bare hook. They mostly bite on vibrant colors like orange, yellow, or red, chiefly at dawn and dusk. Some of the easiest baits to use for them are earthworms, live crickets, white bread, cheese, or a corn kernel. Another efficient bait would be redworms or waxworms just mostly worms. They are noted for seeking out underwater vegetation for cover; their natural diet consists largely of small invertebrates and very small fish. The Bluegill itself is also occasionally used as bait for larger game fish species such as blue catfish and largemouth bass. The bluegill is a schooling fish with schools of 20–30 individuals. These fish spawn in June in nests in the shallows. During this period males assume a very bold coloration, as they are guarding their nests. An interesting piece of their biology is that some males assume the coloration of the female fish so that the nest guarding males won't show aggression towards them. Then these "sneaker" males enter nests and spawn. Because of their size and the method of cooking them, bluegills are often called panfish.
Northern pike are most often olive green, shading into yellow to white along the belly. The flank is marked with short, light bar-like spots and there are a few to many dark spots on the fins. Sometimes the fins are reddish. Younger pike have yellow stripes along a green body, later the stripes divide into light spots and the body turns from green to olive green. The lower half of the gill cover lacks scales and they have large sensory pores on their head and on the underside of the lower jaw which are part of the lateral line system. Unlike the similar-looking and closely related muskellunge, the northern pike has light markings on a dark body background and fewer than six sensory pores on the underside of each side of the lower jaw.
Yellow perch is a species of perch found in the United States and Canada, where it is often referred to by the shortform perch. Yellow perch look similar to the European perch but are paler and more yellowish, with less red in the fins. They have 6-8 dark vertical bars on their sides. The yellow perch is in the same family as the walleye and sauger, but in a different family from the white perch. Yellow perch size can vary greatly between bodies of water, but adults are usually between 4-10 inches in length. The perch can live for up to 11 years, and older perch are often much larger than average; the maximum recorded length is 21.0 inches and the largest recorded weight is 4.2 lb. Large yellow perch are often called "jumbo perch". Yellow Perch are fairly easy to catch and are often caught while fishing for other species in which they share the same body of water. They are also an important source of food for larger species, and therefore many fishing lures are designed to look like yellow perch.
Muskellunge closely resemble other Esocids such as the northern pike and American pickerel in both appearance and behavior. Like other pikes, the body plan is typical of ambush predators with an elongate body, flat head and dorsal, pelvic and anal fins set far back on the body. Muskellunge attain lengths of 2.0 - 4.9 ft and weights of over 66 lb. The fish are a light silver, brown or green with dark vertical stripes on the flank, which may tend to break up into spots. In some cases, markings may be absent altogether, especially in fish from turbid waters. Muskellunge are found in oligotrophic and mesotrophic lakes and large rivers from northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota through the Great Lakes region, north into Canada, throughout most of the St Lawrence River drainage and northward throughout the upper Mississippi valley, although the species also extends as far south as Chattanooga in the Tennessee River valley.
Earth Day Safari
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Dino Dig Education Program