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 I have often been amazed at the many adaptations that nature has made for the survival of individuals and species alike. One of these that is really interesting to me is the Coppernose Bluegill's color in dark tannic stained waters. I've fished these type of waters my entire life from growing up as a kid in Louisiana and my years living in the Carolinas and extreme southeastern Virginia.....The dark waters derive from the acid seeping from thousands of Cypress trees and their decaying needles which are a staple on the black waters. Many of these regions have never been disturbed existing for hundreds of years back to the days of the native Indian tribes and beyond.....Take for example the "Pocomoke" river in eastern Maryland which is Indian for black water......or the thousands of acres covered by the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and south into northeastern North Carolina.....Santee Cooper lakes are 170,000 acres of lakes and canals that are considered by many as tannic down in South Carolina.....Not only have the fish adapted to the lower oxygen conditions associated with the swamps but they have ultimately adapted their color markings in these regions to ensure their ability to not become a prey item as easily and also be able to catch food and raise their young.

 

How many of you fish tannic waters and do you also find that your bluegill are very dark in these areas......

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Absolutely correct....stress will cause a BG to change colors dramatically.

Appreciate the confirmation Tony.....

Some more dark specimens from the tannic depths....

A Dark Knight...

This is an aerial view in which you see the impact of salinity over the years. For trees that can live for hundreds and even thousands of years by some accounts, they fall victim to the salinity but form tremendous structure in these areas.......I'm never very far from standing and downed cypress when I catch big gills in our region.....Colonies of Coppernose roam these shallows and really like the sand and clay regions for nesting similar to the one pcitured.

Big dark monsters like this one will pile up in these regions and reward the studied angler....

Old Cypress like this are a reminder of the great fishing and stand to mark these fertile areas for a note taker like I am.....

Bill Dance talked about light penetration impacting fish colors during his show today......He referenced catching fish deep during colder weather thus less light penetration so the fish become somewhat pale.....I wonder if the same is true for the very dark waters in the tannic swamp......it would seem that less light would penetrate the very dark waters.......

Jeffrey tannic waters are harder to fish due to light penitration. Although the water is tannic the color of dark tea its easier to fish than muddy waters at least in my opinion. Muddy is water you can't see your lure in about 2 inches of water. I have fished it in Michigan and Canada. A live bait fisherman will fair much better than a plain lure fisherman cause the fish uses an extra sense the sense of smell to help locate his pray. It's kinda funny you came up with this question when you did, I have been writing some stuff on colors and fish I was going to start to post (Does Color Really Matter). Starting with clear water than going to stained and then muddy.

Look forward to your upcoming posts Dick......I totally agree on the muddy water observation........two things slow my fishing in local swamps.....low water temperatures and finally muddy water after high run-off.......My local rivers recover normally in just a few days but it's rarely worth going right after a run-off event......

 Wow I scrolled thru read the comments but most of all I was just awed by the pics! Thanks for posting them Beautiful fish!

Thanks Lee.......the all black gills are neat looking fish but I've always wanted to figure out why it happens....

Tannic water doesn't mean dirty or zero visibility....it's clean dark waters with lower light penetration as you can see in this release picture above....

A nice tannic water Copper.....

The average size in many of these waters is between 9 to 11 inches......

So Dark...

Through all my research and in depth reading....my belief is that it is most likely a result of lower light penetration even in the months that the fish spend very shallow........I also believe this is why you can catch fish in very sunny conditions where that condition may hurt an angler in clearer water......

Ready to see what the tannic waters will relinquish in 2013....

Fish like these are a luxury of the tidal waters in North Carolina....

It's hard to sleep at night knowing that triple digit days are ahead on the fish counter......

Jeffrey,  I think I see a difference in the shape of the head of some of these big copper nose gills, Male and female like the dolphin fish in the ocean?  The one that caught my eye is the one you captioned "swamp toad 2011" Male with that big hump on his head?

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