Jump to content

Darter equipment

24 replies to this topic

#21 Guest_GreenRiverKY_*

  • Guests

Posted 19 November 2010 - 09:33 AM

You won't be sorry, it's perfect for the creeks we have around here and is very durable. It also doubles as a great landing net when you're wrasslin' bass. I learned long ago that if you can afford the best quality tool at first purchase you save money in the long run by not having to replace or repair cheaper made tools.

#22 Guest_JohnO_*

  • Guests

Posted 19 November 2010 - 10:24 PM

I haven't found the size of the stream to be the best indicator of what you'll find. Was in a fairly shallow creek last weekend, no more than 6" deep, maybe 4-6' across, just jam packed with redline and snubnose darters. I was finding two or three beautiful male redlines in each net. Often, the best areas are small shallow creeks that feed a large stream. After a couple of hours of nothing interesting in a large (20' across) creek, I found a huge bloodfin, a stonecat, and several large bluebreasts in a little stream that fed the big creek. The main ingredients to finding darters are patience, persistence, and a good map, though it helps to review any published material about your area for what might be there and what you want to avoid (endangered, threatened). Every area is a bit different, and you won't really know what's in there until you look. Some promising streams have yielded almost nothing, some unlikely streams will have very interesting finds.

Have noticed that the Nothonotus that I love to find seem to prefer mineral water - where I find them the most, I'll usually find geodes in the the creek or river bed, too. Probably why S KY is so thick with them.

Equipment - I never had much luck with a seine by myself. I use pool cleaning nets, because you can find them just about anywhere. Walmart pool nets used to be really good, but they changed the supplier and the current nets are a bit flimsy. Got a pool net, often called a leaf rake, at Lowes that had a particuarly thin frame, great for getting it down in shallow riffles, but also found that it bent easily if dragged across rocks. So I keep that for my shallow riffle net, use a couple of the old stout walmart nets for dragging as they're pretty rugged.

Also be sure any seine you use is fine mesh. Darters can get stuck in the heavier mesh seines. I had an umbrella net that I had to quit using for darters, because they would get stuck in its heavy mesh.

Other problem with a seine is, it's high profile. People notice it and think you're a fish poacher, especially Fish&Game people. A dipnet doesn't seem to draw much attention, and isn't subject to the same regulations. A well handled seine: one person to hold it and one to drive the fish, can sure rake in the fish, but about all I get is more volume. I don't seem to find darters with a seine that I can't also find with a dipnet and some patience and practice.

#23 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

Guest_Irate Mormon_*
  • Guests

Posted 20 November 2010 - 12:52 AM

Though I use something else, I agree.

Repent, Harlequin!

#24 Guest_Blinky_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:09 PM

OK, my first actual post here except for an intro. Consider this just an addition to what's been said, it's been years since I've collected and I'm no authority.

I found a simple 8" or 10" aquarium dipnet to be the best way to find darters in shallow water but it's only effective when they are active and feeding. I find a nice chute of fast water at the head of a riffle and place the net in a blocking position below it. Then I use my other hand to tease them out of the moss and rocks and herd them into the chute. I can't remember all the species I netted this way but fantails and tessellated were indeed the most common. You can sample different parts of the riffle the same way but the head is usually the most productive.

I thought I'd add that since it's very low impact on the habitat and doesn't create much by-catch. It wouldn't work at all for lots of species.

I think a trap net would work well in a narrow stream too as long as you monitor it closely, but I haven't used one that way. I don't like seine nets much. They're productive but it seems they can cause a fair amount of damage to the catch and the habitat unless you're extremely cautious. The ones you buy at the bait shop are pretty rough, I made my own from softer material.

After collecting a few years I became pretty sensitive about disturbing habitat. When i first started I was a bull in a china shop, I hate to think about all the damage I caused.

#25 Guest_fundulus_*

  • Guests

Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:46 PM

You're right that strategically placed aquarium nets should work to collect many species of darters. Seine nets aren't necessarily bad for the stream and fishes, but you have to spend more money ordering a cotton net from a supplier like Memphis Net & Twine. I really don't like the nylon/plastic seines cheaply available at most stores. You can up the ante and collect fish with a hand net while snorkeling, even better yet.

Reply to this topic


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users