On Harvesting and Valuing Small Panfish

One of the pressing fish management challenges is to motivate fishermen and -women to harvest and value small panfish. In countless lakes across North America, these fish dominate the population, at least in the North (the South too, maybe, but I don’t know for certain). So let’s stay above the 45th parallel for now.

Here’s what we do. On our small research lake, Fish Fry Lake, which is 54 acre-feet of water, we harvest at least 6,000 fish annually, a mix of panfish and larger fish. We do this to cycle inflow phosphorus out of the water, to prevent HABs (harmful algae blooms). The fish are accumulators of phosphorus so we take them out of the system. It’s much more pleasant to catch panfish fish than it is to harvest aquatic vegetation, by the way! And even more so in connection with harvest of algae!

We target one- and two-year old bluegill, sunfish, and largemouth bass. These guys readily hit flies, and flies dressed up with a bit of GULP too. Again, goal is to harvest and remove phosphorus.

Success looks like fifteen kids catching 879 fish in four hours, or ten kids catching 634 fish in the same time, on different days, but similar settings. We catch all of these fish from shore or from walkable BioHaven floating islands, so we don’t need boats. In other words, the logistics are relatively simple.

We take the “keepers”, the one- and two-year old fish, and run the entire fish – including scales and guts – through a Kitchen-Aid grinder, turning it into fish hamburger. Yes, we have to cut the fish into grinder-size pieces, so there is an “operation” involved. Then we blend the fish burger with our wild game…which includes venison and elk trim, goose, duck, pheasant, and any other freezer burned game meat.

I tell you what, the result is a paleo food for our three canines that is “off the chart” from their perspective! They love it! This includes a seven-week-old yellow lab! Which makes me think, what the hell do they add to the kibble that currently functions as mainstay food for our beloved pets? I don’t care if its “made in China” or what, regular kibbles are a mystery. Anymore, it’s hard to convince our canines that kibbles are “food”!

There’s a movement today towards real food, and “health by diet,” has been around for some time. What with the current pandemic, the idea of health of water comes up frequently. After all, the mosquito, which vectors with unhealthy water, is easy to recognize as an agent of pandemic. So reach out. Contact us here at Floating Island International. We will support you towards truly healthy lifestyle! My promise!

Value and harvest panfish – they make wonderful paleo food, real food, for dogs and their humans while keeping the water free from mosquitoes and Harmful Algae Blooms