This was really weird. There were about 500 little Catfish in the very shallow water at the edge of the frozen lake. Most of them were not alive but they all had their heads sticking out looking up to the sky. The whole pile was wiggling and squishing because new fish were squirming out from between the others and jumping up on top of the fish head platform. Around the Catfish platform was a moat of hundreds of beached silver minnows.
It’s mysterious and difficult to Google because of the massive amount of information about fishing but this is what I think is happening: The top foot or so of the lake is frozen. This little patch on the edge melted first and so if there was any pressure under the ice it would escape here carrying with it anything not nailed down: lots of little fish. Then somehow the fish must have been trapped here in shallow water and there are so many of them they ran out of oxygen in the water so they struggled to sip oxygen from the surface of the water. And then there’s just nowhere to go and they all suffocate.
If this is what’s happening, some of them might be OK as more of the ice melts. But it was curious that none of 200 ducks hanging around were not interested. I wonder if there was something else wrong with them to make the ducks uninterested.
Have you ever seen this? What do you think is going on?
These fish have whiskers, but they are not vibrisae like cats whiskers that are so touch sensitive that they are used for sonar. Fish whiskers are barbels, they are touch sensitive, but they have a lot of olfactory sensors and taste buds on them. Fish use barbel whiskers to taste their way around. These fish live down where its dark and muddy where there is not much light. Animals like this often have visual cortexes (I sort of love and hate that they are called that even in animals who aren’t using vision to visualize the world) that are informed by their most sensitive body parts. This Catfish tastes the world.