Fish Facts and Fallacies

The mucous on a fish’s body serves to protect it from diseases and reduces friction between the water and the fish’s body. A fish that is to be released should be handled gently, preferably by the lower jaw, to avoid mucous loss. The angler should also wet his hands before touching the fish.

Although a fish does not have external ears, sound vibrations are transmitted to inner ears and the air bladder. The lateral line which extends down a fish’s side is used to detect lowfrequency vibrations and aids in avoiding collisions and capturing prey.

Fish have nostrils used to smell, and a catfish’s barbels are used to taste. Catfish also have venomous glands associated with their dorsal and pectoral spines.

Fish have a poorly developed nervous system as compared to man. Rather than feel pain, a hooked fish senses only discomfort.

Fish cannot regulate their body temperature. They become less active in cold water because their body temperature matches that of their surroundings.

Fish do not have eyelids, but they “sleep” by hovering in place in open water, on the bottom or near an object.

The age of a fish can be determined by examining a scale or certain bones. A ten-year-old fish would be considered a “senior citizen” in Kansas. Most fish here live no longer than 6-8 years.

Fish do not gain access to a pond on birds’ feet or in birds’, bodies. Fish eggs die quickly when dry and would not survive even a short flight. Eggs that are eaten are quickly digested. Fish are introduced into ponds by someone or from nearby creeks or ponds that have flooded.

There are more than 20,000 fish species on earth. Of the 142 species inhabiting Kansas waters only 29 are regularly caught by anglers and only 19 are commonly harvested.