Native Wild Caught: Opinions And Advice

BettaBallet

Hey y'all, in my state it's legal to catch and keep fish from the wild, but the DNR in some areas farm native fish to sell to aquarists and fishers. The most common reason for keeping these wild caught fish here is for bait.

I'm not getting a native set up any time soon, but I thought it would be interesting to hear from Fishlore on this topic. Personally, I have no interest in anything that gets big, but minnows have always been interesting to me (as pets, not bait!). I've seen some species out in the field that I have never been able to identify using information online however, so I'm hesitant to catch something I might not be able to provide an adequate environment for. Wild minnows can be stunningly beautiful though!

Do you have experience keeping wild caught minnows, especially around the Midwest? What opinions or advice do you have about keeping or even breeding wild caught fish in general, from minnows to bass?
 

Seasoldier

HI & welcome to Fishlore. I can't really help you on keeping wild caught minnows but I have a garden pond with wild caught European Tench in it & I think the trick is to mimic their wild environment as closely as you possibly can ( the same principle for success with all fish really), so test the water they come from for parameters & try to match them as closely as possible in your tank / pond, look at the surroundings you get them from & match the water flow if you can i.e. do they come from fast flowing well oxygenated streams or are they from quiet enclosed lakes / ponds? Try to take some local native aquatic plant life for them & you can also spend some time observing what they feed on in the wild & provide a similar diet for them, this all supposes that when you say 'wild caught' you will actually be doing the catching?
 

BettaBallet

HI & welcome to Fishlore. I can't really help you on keeping wild caught minnows but I have a garden pond with wild caught European Tench in it & I think the trick is to mimic their wild environment as closely as you possibly can ( the same principle for success with all fish really), so test the water they come from for parameters & try to match them as closely as possible in your tank / pond, look at the surroundings you get them from & match the water flow if you can i.e. do they come from fast flowing well oxygenated streams or are they from quiet enclosed lakes / ponds? Try to take some local native aquatic plant life for them & you can also spend some time observing what they feed on in the wild & provide a similar diet for them, this all supposes that when you say 'wild caught' you will actually be doing the catching?

Makes sense! I imagine there would be some risk of bringing in fish that have parasites as well, or other things that might be swimming around in the "wild" water, but I'm not sure how wild fish would take to medication. I've heard some fish can be more resistant than others! I'd definitely want to do lots of field and online research before bringing in any kind of pet like that myself
 

goldface

When you say minnows at a bait store, first thing that comes to mind are Fathead minnows. Rosy Reds are a color morph of Fatheads, their wild counterpart, and usually found in feeder tanks at fish stores. Size is relative, but a fully grown one gets much larger than you'd think. Fully grown, healthy ones in a nice-sized group do look nice, in my opinion.

Then there are shiners that might be sold universally under the broad nomenclature minnow. Golden shiners can get quite large. I've caught shoals of them that were 7"-8" long. They can grow even larger. Rainbow shiners are pretty and stay a lot smaller. Even in North America, there is enough diversity that it'd be difficult to exactly say what species of fish you've come across. A clear, focused pic as well as location would help tremendously in identifying the species.

As far as wild-caught fish, I have no problems with it. I'd rather have wild-caught specimens than farm-raised. That's for sure.
 

BettaBallet

When you say minnows at a bait store, first thing that comes to mind are Fathead minnows. Rosy Reds are a color morph of Fatheads, their wild counterpart, and usually found in feeder tanks at fish stores. Size is relative, but a fully grown one gets much larger than you'd think. Fully grown, healthy ones in a nice-sized group do look nice, in my opinion.

Then there are shiners that might be sold universally under the broad nomenclature minnow. Golden shiners can get quite large. I've caught shoals of them that were 7"-8" long. They can grow even larger. Rainbow shiners are pretty and stay a lot smaller. Even in North America, there is enough diversity that it'd be difficult to exactly say what species of fish you've come across. A clear, focused pic as well as location would help tremendously in identifying the species.

As far as wild-caught fish, I have no problems with it. I'd rather have wild-caught specimens than farm-raised. That's for sure.

Thanks for the info! When I do end up getting wild fish I will definitely be taking pictures of them first, my friend just informed me that the fish I was thinking about in my op here was actually a stickle back and not a minnow at all lol no wonder I couldn't find it online! Would wild caught be generally more robust or ethical than farmed in your opinion?
 

goldface

Thanks for the info! When I do end up getting wild fish I will definitely be taking pictures of them first, my friend just informed me that the fish I was thinking about in my op here was actually a stickle back and not a minnow at all lol no wonder I couldn't find it online! Would wild caught be generally more robust or ethical than farmed in your opinion?
To be frank, ethical concerns are the last thing on my mind when it comes to this hobby. We're all hypocrites, regardless of which side of the fence we're on. I prefer wild-caught, because I believe they're more robust. Well, at least in many cases they are, in my opinion.
 

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