The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Teleost Tuesday: Harbor Fishes Part 2, Juveniles

Posted by Wells Reserve Contributor | June 19, 2007

Spanning over the subtidal zone, harbor docks make convenient places to see fish in their natural setting. And fussing with fishing gear isn’t even necessary.

The best time to see fish at a harbor setting is often late spring when juveniles of different species are schooling under the wooden docks. Fish can be seen gathering in large schools numbering in the hundreds. The harbor not only provides protective cover from predators, such as birds, it also has relatively consistent water quality. Relatively that is, since the harbor’s water quality does change quite drastically depending on the phase of tide. But it can be much more habitable compared to the upper portions of the estuary, as far as most fish are concerned.

These upper areas are prone to drain to shallower depths (often emptying) and any remaining standing water can have temperatures too high and dissolved oxygen levels far too low to support fish life.

High tide is an ideal time to go to the harbor to see these stunning schools of juvenile fish. The thin, silvery segments, often swimming in synchronization, are mesmerizing. At Wells Harbor I have seen schools of Atlantic silversides, American sand lance, pollock, and threespine sticklebacks.

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