What’s Up With the Aggressive Fish in Candlewood Lake This Summer?
Are you one of the many who have been nipped by aggressive sunnies while you were swimming in Candlewood Lake recently? I'm usually worried about being bitten by something when I'm in salt water, but what the hell is going on in the biggest freshwater lake in Connecticut?
I'm in the "I Boat on Candlewood Lake, CT" group on Facebook, and fellow member Cindy asked the group "What's up with the sunnies this year? They are very aggressive! Anyone else experiencing this?" Yes, a lot of people actually. Numerous members of the group chimed in that not only have they been bitten, these aggressive Candlewood sunnies are targeting nipples. Are no toes, fingers, or nipples safe this summer? It seems, but what is making this happen?
It's been an incredibly dry summer, and the water level is way down. The sun doesn't just beat up vegetation on dry land, it also kills aquatic plants. Usually in August, fresh water lakes and ponds throughout Connecticut are thick with vegetation, but this dry summer? Not so much. Are the hungry sunnies mistaking our nipples for a delicious bug? Maybe.
There are many different species of panfish/sunfish, the most common are black basses, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappies, banded sunfish, true sunfish, green sunfish, bluegill, and pumpkinseed. Sunnies thrive in warm water that is between 82 and 90 degrees, and they are typically the top predators.
What you're seeing now in Candlewood Lake is a bunch of juvenile sunfish, and these youngsters are hungry. They're also not afraid of getting close to humans, lucky for them. The bluegill is considered the most palatable of the sunfish, but most of the others, besides largemouth bass, are too 'fishy' for us common folk. My advice? Don't bite back, they may try to take a nip, but they're too small to hurt you. You could always rent a pool.