I hand-fed a buncha wild fish! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I hand-fed a buncha wild fish!

Pretty crawdad I caught.

A larva thing I found under a rock. I think it's a damselfly larva.
We're about half a mile from a section of the San Gabriel park that's usually called Blue Hole. I went down there to go fishing, but I really didn't catch anything. Stuff kept biting the wrong part of the hook. I ended up standing in the river with a handful of bait, and all these little shiner fish were darting around me. After about fifteen-ish minutes, a sunfish swam between my feet. I thought maybe I could lure them in to feed by offering some food, so I was just putting bits of food in the water. When the sunfish came back, I just kept my hand in the water to see if maybe they would come after the food in my hand.
Note: I had two raw jumbo shrimp tails for bait.
I kept putting shrimp on the hook and offering it to the sunfish, but the shiners were stealing it. I had the shrimp in my other hand, and next thing I knew there were shiners gobbling on it. And guess what came next? A sunfish. Then another and another.

And then this gorgeous male orangespot sunfish showed up.

I think the duller ones are the female orangespot sunnies, but there may be a few green sunfish. I'm not sure.
The little goldy-silver critters are the shiners. I caught one in a ziplock bag, and it was a blacktail shiner. I'm not sure if there are any others, but I think they're mostly blacktails.

Few pretties. Oh, and that's my foot, so I'll just leave it up to your imagination how much twisting I did to get a decent shot of those two greenish ones.
I'm just gonna give you some random pics:

Here I was petting them with one finger, and they didn't seem to care.

I did this for about thirty minutes (painful, as I was bending over), and there was a decent-sized rainbow trout about three feet away. I was really low on food by then, so I just tossed him a bit of food and got out of the water before I broke my neck bending over.

Later, I spotted a bunch of nice dark fish swimming in this pool of water:

I'd managed to find a severed crawdad tail, so I tried that. Turns out shiners love crawdad.

REALLY love crawdad.

I only manged to lure a couple of half-dollar-sized baby sunfish over, none of the big ones. Here, any clue what these are?

Spot the crawdad in the pic below!

I kind of ran out of food, so I dropped the mostly-stripped exoskeleton in there. Look what popped out!

Crawdads are cannibals, as you can plainly see.

Later, I'm going back with a bunch more shrimp. I'm also gonna take a step stool and wear my swimsuit so I can just sit in the middle of the river until a trout comes up and I can say I hand-fed a trout!

Last edited by Betta132; 05-07-2014 at 12:21 AM. Reason: Note.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 12:59 AM
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How fun! Thank you for sharing!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 05-07-2014, 01:07 AM
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Oh man, that looks like fun
When I go fishing with family, I have much more fun just watching the fish. Freshwater is mainly just cat fish, sometimes turtles
Salt water, I've seen lots of small shrimp and once the water was full of huge schools of about 1" fry.
I love fish watching.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-25-2014, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Did this again today. I found a dead crawdad and a good spot, and I had about two dozen sunnies crowded around. There were a couple of big Rio Grande cichlids watching me, plus a few trouts, but I was kind of hunched into a little ball and my back got tired before I could get the shy ones over.
This works better if you have something fearless like minnows or shiners that will come over and eat. Apparently the fish in general are more confident when they see something else eating, plus the commotion attracts other fish.
If you happen to find a dead crawdad, break it open and then just sit with your hand in the water and the crawdad in your hand. The further down you can get your hand, the better. Helps if you stay relaxed, or at least keep your arm relaxed... I think they can tell if you tense your arm up, and it makes them nervous. Also, twitching the food slightly can help get their attention.
Raw shrimp and fish also work well. Native things probably work best, as they recognize the smell, but anything smelly and seafood-like should get attention. I plan to try a bit of raw bacon next.
Fish in order of how easy it is to get them over, easiest to hardest:
Young sunfish (2-3")
Larger sunfish (3-4")
Adult sunfish (4" up, depending on species)
Baby Rio Grandes (2-ish")
Medium Rio Grandes (3-5")
The fish below are ones I haven't fed, but they've shown interest
Adult Rio Grandes (Over 5". Any over 6" or so are old and therefore very cautious)
Baby trout (3-4")
Medium trout will watch, but they don't really approach. Would probably take a while to get them to come over.

Minnows would probably be easy, but I haven't tried.
Not sure if this would work on crayfish. I'll need to find one and test it.

In conclusion: get tasty food and sit perfectly still, and you can get most things to come eat out of your hand.

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