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Big Fish at the Abandoned Quarry
Juha - 6/15/2013 9:00 PM
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Big Fish at the Abandoned Quarryp { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }
Just the other day, being that it was particularly warm and sunny that morning, some friends and I got together to go for a swim at an abandoned quarry nearby. The quarry had filled up with ground water ages ago, when digging for stone ended there. The place is perfect for swimming because the water is clear and warm, and hardly anyone ever goes there, so we have the pond all to ourselves most of the time.

When we got to the quarry, we spotted the silhouettes of a shoal of about seven surprisingly large fish in the small pond at the bottom. Looking at them from the top of the stony cliff at the edge of the quarry, they looked like hugely oversized breams. Exited at this discovery, I got out my mask and snorkel and underwater camera to get pictures of the giant fish in the tiny pond.
So, I spent the afternoon splashing (or rather, trying not to splash) in the water, attempting to get the perfect shot of the shoal of giant mystery fish. Eventually, having swam their swims, my friends grew tired of waiting for me, and I had to give up the search. While the really large fish eluded me this time, I did get some fair shots of some smaller ones.
I identified the fish as common rudds. The species is easily confused with the roach or the bream, and I had a bit of a hard time myself, figuring out which species they were. However, the rudd is most easily identified by its beautiful, bright-red fins, and that’s what gave it away in the end. However, it is rare for a rudd to grow up to a foot long in the cold waters of Finland, yet I would estimate that the ones I saw were closer to two feet long.
So how did it come to pass, that a quarry with no connection to any other body of water, holds a population of over-sized fish? I interviewed some locals, and apparently someone has introduced some fish to the virgin pond decades earlier. The story is that some local youngsters had simply carried the fish there in buckets, maybe sometime in the 1980’s. Apparently they have grown and reproduced there ever since.
Since there have never been predators in the pond, and nobody fishes there, the rudds have been allowed to grow old and unusually large. A rudd is known to live up to twenty years old in the wild, and like most fish they grow in size their whole lives. The monster-sized ones I saw at the quarry were definately much larger than normal, so I got to wondering: could it be possible that there are still some of the original individuals alive in the tiny pond, brought there by some kids decades earlier.