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Goldfish are tough!

Ryan W

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“disclaimer- I mention processing game fish and using live fish as bait during this post. If this upsets you, I apologize in advance”

I was just browsing an ice-fishing forum I’m a member of and the topic of using fresh-caught live bait for tip-ups came up. Then a forum member posted this picture of a goldfish he caught while jigging for bluegill in a marina off Saginaw Bay here in Michigan a few seasons ago. I’m in Michigan also and we can use any legally caught fish (as long as it’s in season and legal size) as bait so lots of us will use small bluegill (2”-3”) and small perch (3”-6”) for live bait. As in most states, goldfish are strictly forbidden for use as fishing bait. The poster was using a very small jig tipped with either a maggot or a wax worm. I saw this picture and immediately thought of the questions Cory gets about overwintering goldfish/koi outside. Well, as long as the water column doesn’t freeze solid, I think they can handle it! A low powered sponge filter for air exchange is all I believe would be needed.

It also reminds me of how resilient and prolific goldfish can be. I don’t see any hook wounds on this big guy so I don’t think he was used as bait back in the day but rather released into the wild by its former owner. It’s also a reminder for everyone to NOT release their fishy ex-friends into natural water ways! That goldfish will live “forever” in that marina.

I’m an avid ice-angler and you’d be surprised how cold tolerant northern US species can be in cold weather. Along those lines, I’ve caught crappie that have been frozen solid on the ice for roughly 5 hours. I thaw them in a sink of water before filleting (filleting frozen fish sucks). When they thaw, they will reanimate and it’s the weirdest phenomenon one can experience with fish. You think you just have thawed fish but you look in the sink to see half a dozen 11” crappie swimming live and well in your sink! Non-tropical freshwater fish are tough.

Just a neat anecdote I felt like sharing with everyone! (I censored the original users face to provide them as much anonymity as possible)


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gold fish are tough. in 9th grade science class a million years ago the teacher had us freeze goldfish in liquid nitrogen.  they froze, and thawed out, and were just fine. well, until someone dropped the frozen fish. that one did not recover from being frozen. all the kings men couldnt put humpty goldfish back together again.

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