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#12465596 - 10/14/17 01:50 PM How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill)
dmunsie Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 2007
Reported elsewhere in the bass section, 1000's of Talapia with been sighted dead @ Fairfield and I was wondering how the Bluegills, Sunfish, etc, are holding up. Any reports? Thank you.
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#12466004 - 10/14/17 07:08 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
Laker One Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 11131
Loc: San Antonio TX
Last I heard Fairfiled was making a slight comeback. This was over a year ago. I have not seen any resent reports.

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#12466035 - 10/14/17 07:28 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3031
Loc: East Texas
I hate to hear that...but its no longer a surprise or unusual. That used to be a magical lake where you could catch huge freshwater reds and some of the largest bluegills I've ever seen outside of my ponds (lol).

Really sad to watch its demise.

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#12466039 - 10/14/17 07:32 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: Laker One]
Jon Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/11/01
Posts: 4670
Loc: Mesquite, TX
Originally Posted By: Laker One
Last I heard Fairfiled was making a slight comeback. This was over a year ago. I have not seen any resent reports.


If anyone would know, it would likely be Slab Xpress (Eric). I haven't seen him post on this board in a while and think he moved from Teague a while back but I bet he would know. I can't find any of his posts and lost his proper handle to send him a PM to ask. I think he's more likely to be on the crappie page now. He helped me a lot back in the day on how to find and catch those monster bluegill.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: roadtrip
In the south, pretty much any fish that doesn't get bigger than a pound or so is called a perch. For some reason, this drives some people crazy.


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#12466106 - 10/14/17 08:32 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: Meadowlark]
Jon Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/11/01
Posts: 4670
Loc: Mesquite, TX
Originally Posted By: Meadowlark
I hate to hear that...but its no longer a surprise or unusual. That used to be a magical lake where you could catch huge freshwater reds and some of the largest bluegills I've ever seen outside of my ponds (lol).

Really sad to watch its demise.


Yes, indeed. Magical is the exact word I used to describe it back when it was on fire. The magic will be completely gone when Big Brown closes down. You had to learn how to catch the big ones but once you figured it out, it was indeed magical.

You of all the people I can think of may be able to answer my question that I have been wondering about ever since that last gigantic huge fish kill in 2010 that ended the Redfish stocking. My theory was that the lack of that huge group of routinely stocked predator fish would be the deciding factor in messing up the balance that allowed the really large population of those monster coppernose BG as well as native BG and redear. I have side by side pics of native BG that were every bit as big as those monster almost mutant looking coppernose. And some huge redear as well.

Those fish kills had been going on for years and those monster BG always recovered but the redfish stocking had always continued.

I think what allowed those BG to get so big and numerous besides the year round almost steroid-like growth rate of the monsters was the prey by redfish on the tilapia fry and also their control of the bluegill fry that allowed the big ones to both pack on the calories but also have a control on the fry and medium size fish and related competition of the survivors. I think the redfish were part of the magic that made everything click along with that ragged edge of sometimes too much nutrient concentration in the water. The tilapia that grew up were not competition to the bluegill food, but their uncontrolled population increase could have out competed the bluegill for suitable spawning areas. Still would have been caused by the lack of redfish.

2 Things changed in late summer of 2010. The magnitude and physical size of the fish kill was massive compared to previous and the Redfish stocking stopped the following year. I'm quite convinced that there was enough survivors of the gene pool that produced those monster bluegills to have re-established. They always recovered before but not necessarily from that large of a kill.

I personally don't think the cast netters have made a dent in the tilapia population since then compared to what the redfish did. But I could be wrong about that.

Do you have an opinion about my theory?
I don't think the hayday of the monster sunfish catching ever recovered to it's previous level of magical after the kill of 2010 and the stopping of the redfish stocking in 2011. I can understand why the redfish stocking stopped and don't blame the people responsible for that decision.

I guess it won't matter after they close down the power plant because besides killing off the tilapia, it's also going to slow down the growth rate of the bluegill so it's really a mute point at this stage but would be curious to hear your take on it. I also guess it's true that nothing remains the same.

I hope to read your thoughts on the subject and hope things are going splendidly on Meadowlark Farm. cheers
_________________________
Originally Posted By: roadtrip
In the south, pretty much any fish that doesn't get bigger than a pound or so is called a perch. For some reason, this drives some people crazy.


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#12466258 - 10/14/17 11:03 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: Jon]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3031
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By: Jon


You of all the people I can think of may be able to answer my question that I have been wondering about ever since that last gigantic huge fish kill in 2010 that ended the Redfish stocking. My theory was that the lack of that huge group of routinely stocked predator fish would be the deciding factor in messing up the balance that allowed the really large population of those monster coppernose BG as well as native BG and redear. I have side by side pics of native BG that were every bit as big as those monster almost mutant looking coppernose. And some huge redear as well.


I think what allowed those BG to get so big and numerous besides the year round almost steroid-like growth rate of the monsters was the prey by redfish on the tilapia fry and also their control of the bluegill fry that allowed the big ones to both pack on the calories but also have a control on the fry and medium size fish and related competition of the survivors. I think the redfish were part of the magic that made everything click along with that ragged edge of sometimes too much nutrient concentration in the water. The tilapia that grew up were not competition to the bluegill food, but their uncontrolled population increase could have out competed the bluegill for suitable spawning areas. Still would have been caused by the lack of redfish.

...Do you have an opinion about my theory?




Jon,

Your theory is one I have proven myself beyond a shadow of doubt in my ponds. The Tilapia take predatory pressure off the bluegills...while at the same time provide high protein fry that the really big 'gills thrive on and reduced competition...a near perfect symbiosis.

It isn't widely known but big 'gills like to eat small fry and Tilapia provide an unlimited supply. One other thing they did on Fairfield was strip algae off the water weeds/ plants thereby killing many of them and opening up feeding areas for the 'gills.

I was most interested in your comments on the size of the native bluegills you found there. Not at all surprised, but I hadn't caught any of those natives, just coppernose there. When the food conditions are right, I've found natives will equal the coppernose in growth...but it seems the coppernose are more tolerant of imperfect conditions.

While I'm rambling, the blue Tilapia there at Fairfield were/are very different from the Mozambique that I stock in my ponds. The Mozambique Tilapia is very catchable in my ponds and this time of year, we harvest many pounds of them for the freezers. Stunningly delicious! The blue Tilapia, on the other hand, were virtually uncatchable except with netting.

I've tried to obtain a source for redfish fry hoping to mimic somewhat the Fairfield magic, but have never found one. My water gets too cold in winter anyway but it would have been fun to try. Instead, a thriving population of Florida, native, and F1 bass provides the predation needed to grow spectacular bluegills in conjunction with Tilapia.

Fairfield will always be a special place in my memory, but sadly it seems to be only a memory.

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#12466309 - 10/15/17 05:31 AM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: Laker One]
banker-always fishing Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 41627
Loc: Universal City Tx.
Originally Posted By: Laker One
Last I heard Fairfiled was making a slight comeback. This was over a year ago. I have not seen any resent reports.





Plus #1. Heard the same. Other than that I have not seen any current reports! noidea
_________________________


IGFA World Record Rio Grande Cichlid. Lake Dunlap.

John 3:16


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#12466621 - 10/15/17 12:52 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
Jon Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/11/01
Posts: 4670
Loc: Mesquite, TX
Meadowlark, I have a couple pics buried somewhere of a few of the big natives but would take a level 4 diagnostic to find them. To be clear, the huge majority of the monsters were coppernose. The big natives of equilavent size were rare but they were there. Huge red ear as well but also on a much more limited basis. Coppernose was far and away the most abundant of the huge sunfish. Like you said sadly only a memory now. Thanks for the reply.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: roadtrip
In the south, pretty much any fish that doesn't get bigger than a pound or so is called a perch. For some reason, this drives some people crazy.


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#12468373 - 10/17/17 12:28 AM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
doctorxring Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 788
Loc: The Republic of Texas
.

This is the latest study data on Fairfield by TPWD on 2016 - 2017

https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/lake_survey/pwd_rp_t3200_1290_2016.pdf


.
_________________________

Happiness is a trophy sunfish



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#12473953 - 10/21/17 03:38 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
SLABXPRESS Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 1970
Loc: Teague/Lewisville, Texas
Last reports I had were:
The Largemouth are doing very well.
Occasional decent Bluegill are caught, but no "big" ones.
Tilapia are still thriving.
Channel Cats are decent, but not in numbers like they used to be.

Now, the big news is that the plant will be shutting down soon. It was officially announced a week or two ago. Don't recall the exact timeline, but I think it will be in the next couple of years. Not sure what that will do specifically to the bluegill population, but I would suspect it will continue to be a good Largemouth and Catfish fishery. Might even turn into a decent crappie lake. wink
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#12474014 - 10/21/17 05:03 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: SLABXPRESS]
Jon Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 10/11/01
Posts: 4670
Loc: Mesquite, TX
Originally Posted By: SLABXPRESS
Last reports I had were:
The Largemouth are doing very well.
Occasional decent Bluegill are caught, but no "big" ones.
Tilapia are still thriving.
Channel Cats are decent, but not in numbers like they used to be.

Now, the big news is that the plant will be shutting down soon. It was officially announced a week or two ago. Don't recall the exact timeline, but I think it will be in the next couple of years. Not sure what that will do specifically to the bluegill population, but I would suspect it will continue to be a good Largemouth and Catfish fishery. Might even turn into a decent crappie lake. wink

Hey Eric! Thanks for the update. I still thank you for teaching me the ropes on how to find and catch the big ones. There was some magic stuff going on for a while there and we ate more bluegills than crappie for several years of that hot action. How are your girls and are you still coaching?

_________________________
Originally Posted By: roadtrip
In the south, pretty much any fish that doesn't get bigger than a pound or so is called a perch. For some reason, this drives some people crazy.


Top
#12474694 - 10/22/17 10:07 AM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: dmunsie]
Gitter Done Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 10692
Loc: San Antonio Tx.
Good thread!

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#12475382 - 10/22/17 10:49 PM Re: How's Fairfield Doing? (Talapia Fish Kill) [Re: Jon]
SLABXPRESS Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/17/02
Posts: 1970
Loc: Teague/Lewisville, Texas
Originally Posted By: Jon
Originally Posted By: SLABXPRESS
Last reports I had were:
The Largemouth are doing very well.
Occasional decent Bluegill are caught, but no "big" ones.
Tilapia are still thriving.
Channel Cats are decent, but not in numbers like they used to be.

Now, the big news is that the plant will be shutting down soon. It was officially announced a week or two ago. Don't recall the exact timeline, but I think it will be in the next couple of years. Not sure what that will do specifically to the bluegill population, but I would suspect it will continue to be a good Largemouth and Catfish fishery. Might even turn into a decent crappie lake. wink

Hey Eric! Thanks for the update. I still thank you for teaching me the ropes on how to find and catch the big ones. There was some magic stuff going on for a while there and we ate more bluegills than crappie for several years of that hot action. How are your girls and are you still coaching?



Don't coach any more. Girls are grown. lol!
Relocated to The Colony last August, but still have our place in Teague.
Hope to be fishing a LOT more next year, after I'm vesting in retirement.
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