In the past few days, the lab crew conducted some interesting experiments on Lake Ontario to determine whether gobies will consume any of the “bottom fry” stage of Smallmouth Bass if the male is angled off the nest and quickly returned. They were able to get some amazing footage that provides the answer. We thought it was definitely worth sharing. For those that are interested, some additional information is provided below.
For several years, we’ve been investigating the relationship between the timing of bass spawning and the opening of bass season on Lake Ontario. As part of this research, we are also trying to better understand the potential impacts of gobies on bass that are still at different stages of spawning when the season opens. Gobies are often talked about as an “egg predator”, but much less is known about whether they will consume other early life stages of fish. The video associated with this post provides conclusive evidence that gobies will also quickly eat the “bottom fry” stage of Smallmouth Bass. This amazing footage shows several gobies striking and consuming bottom fry after the guarding male is angled off the nest. Another other interesting thing about this footage is that this large male was angled and released very quickly by an experienced angler, but the fish was not able to chase the gobies out of the nest when it first returned. Only after a few additional minutes of recovery was it able to protect the remaining bottom fry. During that time, several gobies were in the nest consuming the bottom fry. The last noteworthy point about this video is that it was taken 11 days after the current opening date of bass season.