Author Topic: Fish age vs length...  (Read 852 times)

Offline Waxthumb

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Fish age vs length...
« on: Feb 16, 2021, 08:17 AM »
Saw a comment on here somewhere with info about fish age vs length,it had many species listed.
I found it interesting and wanted to read it again...I tried searching quick but nothing.
Anyone have that info???

Offline eriksat1

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #1 on: Feb 16, 2021, 09:10 AM »
It varies greatly by location. North to south, cold climate vs warmer climate. Longer or shorter growing season.

Offline MC_angler

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #2 on: Feb 16, 2021, 09:42 AM »
It varies greatly by location. North to south, cold climate vs warmer climate. Longer or shorter growing season.

Exactly. And even lake by lake, depending on forage base, fishing pressure, etc

Offline slipperybob

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #3 on: Feb 16, 2021, 09:52 AM »
Also the gigantic growth dna that catfish typically has.  One catfish will just grow twice a fast and it will also grow into that monster size.
For more information read my MN nice journal

Offline cwavs1982

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #4 on: Feb 16, 2021, 10:09 AM »
This past link was one where a guy ages a fish.  It was in a video that was posted.

https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=377975.msg4090473#msg4090473
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Offline Gamalot

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #5 on: Feb 16, 2021, 10:17 AM »
I often wondered the same thing. I have a small lake where the pickerel never grow much over 18 inches but it is overloaded with them all in that size, 16-19". We never got one over 19 inches but the kids have a blast and easily catch a dozen or more every time we go. I have heard it said that to a degree, fish only grow to the size the body of water can sustain. In other local lakes we always catch much larger pickerel, up to 25 inches, but not nearly as many like in this one smaller lake.
If I agreed with you we would both be wrong!

Offline Waxthumb

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #6 on: Feb 16, 2021, 01:05 PM »
Thanks for the replies...watched the video very interesting.

Offline Light liner

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #7 on: Feb 16, 2021, 05:33 PM »
Interesting, I was told as a kid that a yellow perch has a stripe for every year of its age.
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Offline Waxthumb

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #8 on: Feb 17, 2021, 08:06 AM »
I did find this on google search...

According to some information recently compiled by officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, a six-inch black crappie that weighs 0.1 pounds will be, on average, 2.1 years old. A white crappie (distinguishable because it has five or six dorsal spines, compared to the black's seven or eight) of the same length and weight will be 1.9 years old.
A nine-inch black crappie that weighs 0.4 pounds will be 4.2 years old. A white crappie of that length will probably weigh 0.3 pounds and be 3.8 years old.
At fourteen inches, the typical black crappie weighs 1.7 pounds and will be 14.3 years old. A 14-inch white crappie will be 1.4 pounds and 9.1 years old.
And a 19-inch black crappie, like the one that stands as the state record fish It will have been swimming around for about 19 years.

Offline wirenut45

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #9 on: Feb 17, 2021, 02:39 PM »
wax, look on Walleye Message Central, a charter capt name JULS just posted a chart of fish age/length from canada to at least PA

Offline butcher

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #10 on: Feb 17, 2021, 02:54 PM »
Waxthumb - I just saw your post on the main forum. Not sure if you may have been referring to my post from a number of years ago, but I compiled some data from the biologists reports in the PA Fish Commission website that provided some data on ages and lengths of different species of fish. I think I have referenced this post in subsequent posts as well. I'm a numbers guy so I found the information absolutely fascinating. You can read my original post from 2015 here: https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=303405.msg3187957#msg3187957

As others on this thread commented, these numbers are specific to PA but I suspect you may see similar statistics in other states since the information was compiled over many samplings from many different PA waterways. The lakes themselves could also see different growth rates because of variations in habitats but again, I think the numbers are reasonably reliable even thought they are specific to PA.

Offline fishermantim

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #11 on: Feb 17, 2021, 04:55 PM »
You cannot control how a fish ages. It just grows old.

You can, however, control other aspects of its life.
More or less food, warm or cold water, more or less O2. More or less plant habitat...

These external conditions/changes will affect a fish's growth/length.
Waters with the most advantageous conditions will produce larger fish.
Waters with less-than-ideal conditions can still produce big fish, but not many as they would tend to predate on each other to obtain the nutrients they require to sustain their size.
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Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #12 on: Feb 17, 2021, 05:28 PM »
Here are the numbers from the biologists for Lake Cascade in Idaho. This data is several years old- it seems like these high rates were a temporary thing when perch were reintroduced.



Offline MC_angler

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #13 on: Feb 17, 2021, 06:29 PM »
Here are the numbers from the biologists for Lake Cascade in Idaho. This data is several years old- it seems like these high rates were a temporary thing when perch were reintroduced.



That's a great illustration of the variation of length at age. Look at the 7 year olds. They range from about 225 to 350 mm , or 8.85 to 13.75 inches

That's a MASSIVE length range for perch all aged the same

Also, look at the 315-ish mm line.  A fish at that length, according to this data from Cascade, could be anywhere from 5 or 6 to 15 years old!!

Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #14 on: Feb 17, 2021, 06:59 PM »
Cascade perch are a phenomenon. They grew about as fast as farm raised perch the first years after reintroduction. I feel this is ending- we have not seen as many 15 inch+ fish in recent years, but it is still a thrill to see a 14 incher come up and slam your bait. The end state of perch lakes seems to be a lot of smaller perch, and Cascade has been that kind of fishery in the past. I have read about farming perch, and they can raise them to 1/4-1/3 lb eaters in 1 year. The biggest problem is over time, there gets to be a range of sizes, and the bigger ones eat the smaller ones, cutting down on the overall yield. If perch grew to 10lb I would not dare to swim in the lake.

Offline Waxthumb

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #15 on: Feb 18, 2021, 08:24 AM »
Waxthumb - I just saw your post on the main forum. Not sure if you may have been referring to my post from a number of years ago, but I compiled some data from the biologists reports in the PA Fish Commission website that provided some data on ages and lengths of different species of fish. I think I have referenced this post in subsequent posts as well. I'm a numbers guy so I found the information absolutely fascinating. You can read my original post from 2015 here: https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=303405.msg3187957#msg3187957

As others on this thread commented, these numbers are specific to PA but I suspect you may see similar statistics in other states since the information was compiled over many samplings from many different PA waterways. The lakes themselves could also see different growth rates because of variations in habitats but again, I think the numbers are reasonably reliable even thought they are specific to PA.

Thanks Butcher that's the post I was looking for!!!
I am from NW PA jus fyi
Thanks for everyones replies ...

Offline butcher

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #16 on: Feb 18, 2021, 09:08 AM »
Very glad I was able to assist Waxthumb. I'm also in PA but on the opposite end of the state from you (SE - just north of Philadelphia). This topic comes up from year to year and spawns some very good discussions (pun somewhat intended) so I have reposted the content a few times. There are two big items I took away from the data:

1. Regardless of the species of fish, it takes at least 15 years for a fish to reach trophy length in most waterways in PA. I suspect this is true in other states as well.

2. Age is usually the number 1 factor that determines whether a fish or game animal will reach trophy size. There are instances where relatively young fish and game animals will reach trophy size but in general, a fish or game animal can only reach its true potential size if it is able to live long enough to attain that size. Genetics, food, habitat and predation are also important factors but age is still the most important. If you assume a LM bass has exceptional genetics, lives in a place with good habitat, an abundance of quality food and very few predators, it will NEVER reach the ten pound mark if it is harvested when it it just five years old. The only way it reaches its potential is if it is released and allowed to live long enough to attain that size. This takes time. The same applies for other species of fish, deer, bear, etc.

Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #17 on: Feb 18, 2021, 09:38 AM »
That's a great illustration of the variation of length at age. Look at the 7 year olds. They range from about 225 to 350 mm , or 8.85 to 13.75 inches

That's a MASSIVE length range for perch all aged the same

Also, look at the 315-ish mm line.  A fish at that length, according to this data from Cascade, could be anywhere from 5 or 6 to 15 years old!!

One thing to remember, is that fish do not have a birth certificate. you either kill them and save the operculum, or cut and section a spine, and count the rings. I have done this, and talked to the pros that made this graph, and you can talk yourself into different answers looking at the same fish. There absolutely is a range of sizes at the same age, but part of what you see in that graph is the variation in estimated age for a given true age.
Big cascade perch are sometimes quite young- you can confirm that by the width of the rings in their operculum, by the misshapen bodies, and the fact that they were always packed to the gills with baby perch in winter. A perch on the other end of the growth curve for whatever reason (especially the male vs female difference) might be more than 10 years old.

Offline perch chacer

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #18 on: Feb 20, 2021, 08:35 PM »
This past link was one where a guy ages a fish.  It was in a video that was posted.

https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=377975.msg4090473#msg4090473
This video shows you a good method for determining the age a fish, it shows the growth rings.  Every year a fish develops another one, and the distance between them indicates how fast the fish grew for that particular year.  Great video.

Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #19 on: Feb 26, 2021, 09:25 AM »
I also had this in my archives:


A lot of the variation in size is the male/female difference. The growth rates in this study also seem pretty good to me- females averaging 10 inches by year 4.

Offline fishermantim

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #20 on: Feb 26, 2021, 12:53 PM »
I believe the only reliable method of gauging a fish's age is by scale examination.

Size is not a good method, as some fish grow in connection to external stimuli.
A good example (for comparison) is a goldfish.
They will grow in captivity in accordance to the size of their habitat.
A goldfish in a 10 gallon tank will not get bigger than around 6-8" long.
Take that same fish and put it in a farm pond and it might grow to 2-3' in length.
In both cases, if the food supply and water quality remain constant, the growth will be relative to the size of the habitat.
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Offline butcher

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #21 on: Feb 27, 2021, 08:55 AM »
I agree that the only certain way to age a fish is to sample scales or to use some other similar method. For fishermen, there are practical problems with these methods:

1. They take time.
2. They sometimes require special equipment that can’t be carried in the field easily.
3. The fish must be killed.

The purpose of statistics and studies like the ones in this thread is to provide fishermen with a quick, easy and non-lethal method of estimating a fish’s age. These charts aren’t exact but they give us a quick, general idea of how old a fish is so we can decide whether or not to keep it. Releasing older fish allows them to breed and pass on genetics that may allow their offspring to reach trophy sizes. It also allows others (and ourselves) the opportunity to catch those same fish in the future. If we’re lucky, those fish may be even bigger.

It’s certainly legal to keep those fish in most places and up to each of us to decide whether to harvest those fish or not. I think it’s important to understand how long it takes for those fish to reach that size so we can make an informed decision.

Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #22 on: Feb 27, 2021, 10:46 AM »
Our F&G biologists use this data, along with catch data, to set bag limits. They want to know what percent of fish are caught by anglers each year- for that, they tag hundreds, and measure the precent caught and reported by anglers. They also net fish by the thousands, and measure thousands, and age hundreds. There is a non- lethal way to age perch anyway, then clip and section a dorsal spine, and count rings under a microscope. What they watch is the population, but also the age classes. There can be too many large perch, to the point where survival of smaller perch is impacted.
In the lake I fish, there is not a special genetic that produces large fish. 15 years ago, perch were almost gone. They got fish from another lake, which was filled with stunted perch. They removed as many non-game predators as possible, and planted about 1 million perch in a 33000 acre lake. Those perch had easy pickings, and grew fast. In 5 years, they were jumbos. In 10 years, we broke the state record for perch multiple times. Unfortunately, we saw almost no perch under 12 inches. F&G net studies showed that the predominant predator was large perch. Since then, we have seen the number of large perch decline, and now we are seeing the lower size classes come back. F&G is trying to get people to accept the fact that the population will oscillate about a mean, but many feel that there is a way to hold the fishery at the high point that they all remember.
There are also those that believe that the only thing impacting the fishery is those other guys that keep too many fish. This can be measured, and for our lake, fishing is estimated at only 15% of overall mortality for keeper sized perch. If fishing mortality is not larger than that, limits would have little effect.
I suppose that places where there are many small bodies of water, it could be difficult to manage on a case by case basis, so I guess my only point would be that taking the experience on one body of water and making hard and fast rules for all bodies of water is not valid.

Offline butcher

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #23 on: Feb 27, 2021, 01:50 PM »
Thanks for sharing badger. In this case, it appears the state replaced one problem with another. In your post you said “They removed as many non-game predators as possible...” This is a mistake.

Large predators are a very important part of any ecosystem. They limit population growth in prey species and keep the ecosystem in balance. In this case, it appears there were no large predators to stop the over abundance of perch. The perch then became a virtual apex predator in that body of water. For a few years, the population surges and the perch get bigger but eventually, there’s not enough forage to go around so the big perch cannibalize the smaller ones at an unnatural rate. This means many big perch currently but also very few smaller perch in future years.

Eventually the big perch die and the overall population crashes. Eventually, the population could rebound somewhat but if the previous generations of perch over-foraged the lake’s natural prey species, there may not be enough food to go around which will lead to a large population of old, stunted perch.

The easiest way to deal with this problem is to reintroduce large predators like bass, catfish, pickerel, pike, walleye, etc. These fish will eat the smaller perch which will reduce the population but it will also ensure a healthy population balance of the perch where there will be sustainable numbers of fish in different size and age ranges. This will eventually lead to a stable population.

Offline badger132

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Re: Fish age vs length...
« Reply #24 on: Feb 27, 2021, 02:32 PM »
Thanks for sharing badger. In this case, it appears the state replaced one problem with another. In your post you said “They removed as many non-game predators as possible...” This is a mistake.

Large predators are a very important part of any ecosystem. They limit population growth in prey species and keep the ecosystem in balance. In this case, it appears there were no large predators to stop the over abundance of perch. The perch then became a virtual apex predator in that body of water. For a few years, the population surges and the perch get bigger but eventually, there’s not enough forage to go around so the big perch cannibalize the smaller ones at an unnatural rate. This means many big perch currently but also very few smaller perch in future years.

Eventually the big perch die and the overall population crashes. Eventually, the population could rebound somewhat but if the previous generations of perch over-foraged the lake’s natural prey species, there may not be enough food to go around which will lead to a large population of old, stunted perch.

The easiest way to deal with this problem is to reintroduce large predators like bass, catfish, pickerel, pike, walleye, etc. These fish will eat the smaller perch which will reduce the population but it will also ensure a healthy population balance of the perch where there will be sustainable numbers of fish in different size and age ranges. This will eventually lead to a stable population.

Not quite what happened- the perch crashed in the early 2000's. The cause was determined to be large numbers of Northern Pikeminnow. There were also trout and bass in the lake, and between all of them, they ate all the minnows.

They reduced the Pikeminnow, and restocked the perch. The perch did abnormally well, and the growth rates were well above normal, resulting in well above normal mature perch.

The big perch reduced the number of minnows, until we had a scarcity of perch refilling this "predator class"

The big perch class, since it was not being adequately refilled, decreased from 2015 until 2020

The small perch class has increased from then until now, and the number of 10-12 inch "eater" perch is almost as good as it was in the '80s.

The feedback is as you say- predators and prey keep each other in balance, but the lag in the system makes it prone to oscillations. I agree with the management plan the state has- there are enough game species that make effective predators, there is no reason to saddle a valued perch fishery to support a fish people throw on the bank. They would really prefer the primary predator to be people- you can manage their effect through bag and size limits.
What they can not do is hold the fishery at the 2015 "optimum" point. We only got there by having an excess of food, and letting the perch feed on an abundance of minnows from the time they are 2 years old. Eventually, you end up with either so many predatory perch they eat all the fry, or so many small perch the supply of bloodworms and other small food is not enough to let them grow fast. Perch are prolific, and eventually there will be so many small ones they have to work for food like any other lakes. Larger than average perch seem to occur when they are out of balance with the food- it happens in the Dakotas when those potholes increase in size a lot, and increase the amount of food. It also happens when there is a crash in population, and the perch start over with a large amount of food per perch.

 



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