Manchaug Pond Foundation

Spawning Fish Enjoy 2009 Waterlevel and Quiet Shores

Thanks to the efforts of MassWildlife, the Sutton Conservation Commission, MassDEP, etc. (and the MPA!) our fish are happy. Last year’s low waterlevel and fishkill are just an unpleasant memory.

This photo of bluegills guarding their nests was taken June 4th of this year…

… here is the same area today. Male bluegills swimming in small circles around and around the edge of their nests while females hang to the outer areas. Nesting areas like these are in the shallow quiet water along the shore in 1 to 3 feet of water.

With Manchaug Pond’s higher seasonal population and a large part of the shoreline protected, ideal habitat for spawning fish is common. 60% of the homes are summer camps/cottages with residents typically moving in for weekends after Memorial Day when warmer weather settles or after the children are out of school.

Favorable for nests is the gravelly bottom where males build the nests. Once ready, females move onto the nests depositing 40,000 or more eggs, and then males protect until the eggs hatch. Bluegills are able to lay eggs more than once a season and may do so a couple times until the water cools again in the fall. After hatching, bluegill fry (baby fish) will first feed on plankton, insects and worms later traveling in small schools. As I took this photo, a small bass (easy to spot with that black vertical line on the tail fin) was swimming through the colony – I assume waiting for dinner!

Also seen circling earlier this month and today, but not common on Manchaug is the boat with the royal blue cover hired by the engineering firm who was hired by the dam owner. As previously reported, they are mapping the lake – giving us the topography of the land under water.

Bathymetry: the measurement of depth of the water in the ocean, seas or lakes.

Our fish are happy with the depth of the water with no changes necessary, thank you!