We have made posts previously about the widespread misinformation that’s out there about the viability of coppernose bluegill for Tennessee ponds. Some online sources advise pond owners that coppernose won’t live in ponds north of I-40; one fish farm in the state tells all of its customers that coppernose won’t survive our winters, anywhere in the state (nevermind that they just happen to raise only northern bluegill). There is scant scientific literature on the cold tolerance of coppernose, but there was a study done at Louisiana State University in the late 1980’s (we looked recently online and could not track it down) that claimed that coppernose experience significant physiological distress when the water temperature drops into the fifties.
We’ve posted numerous photos of coppernose between 1.5 and 2 pounds that have been caught from Tennessee ponds we manage. For those of you not convinced, we took a short video two days ago at one of our coppernose ponds at our hatchery; this pond has only one species of fish in it, that being coppernose bluegill. Every fish in this pond is directly descended from brood stock we caught ourselves in the St. Johns River in Florida in 2015 and 2016. The water temperature on the day in question was 9.3 degrees Celsius, or 48.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The video was filmed on January 16, 2019 – we didn’t get dozens of fish on camera while we were filming underwater, but near the end of the video we filmed from above water so you could see how many fish were feeding. We didn’t edit the clip so you can see for yourself the water temperature as it was registered on our YSI ProODO optical DO meter, followed by hundreds of coppernose feeding briskly. (Fast-forward to the end if you don’t want to watch six minutes of one or two bluegill at a time.) See if these look like fish that can’t hack our winters: