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Smell your way to Bedding Blue Gills

 

I grew up summers living on the lake during the summer vacations and weekends during school months. I slept next to the window 70 ft away from the lake edge. During times when I awoke during the late spring and summer days I would be hit with that particular scent… those same times I would notice bedding gills sometimes many hundreds in numbers spawning in the shallows in front of our sea wall.

 

The lake was near eutrophic in identity with muck approaching several feet in thickness… our cottage shore line was kept free of muck by constant swimming and boating use as well as maintenance with raking. The bluegills apparently loved it bedding on the firm sand bottom. So through the years I always associated the smell with spawning gills … but never knew the reason.

 

Recently through some digging and research I learned it is a pheromone released by male and female bluegills to attract others to the colony to spawn. 

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Very cool memory Slip and interesting observations.I once read in a book (wish i could recall which one ) where the Author said the smell of bedding Bluegills smelled something akin to Cucumbers. I read that long ago and have noticed what he meant many times.

kind of like cucumbers, but to me more of honey dew melon or ripe water melon.  i cant smell very well any more but can still smell it in the bottoms when the thousands of beds get going.  most of the time you can find them by the bubbles, floating grass and the oil slick they create while spawning.

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