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CFI Party

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#1 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 08:31 PM

Whites Creek Palooza June 28th 2014, Conservation Fisheries Party and Fundraiser


Folks arriving with a smatterings of rain and hints of sunshine.


...and then the rain really set in! An undeterred Bryce tuning up his camera.


Pat reaching for a watery photo opportunity.


Bryce and myself headed up to the riffle run. Nearly always the most action is found in these flowing, well oxygenated water.


Bryce pushing in on the Tangerines. At one point i counted over 13 Tangerines staggered behind him. Most were straw colored but i did find the big bull male, "King of the Run", bright handsome orange, but very wary from all the local commotion.


Thunder rumbles and the rain steady for 45 minutes or so. But underwater visibility maintained at about 4'. The water stayed a cool, comfortable 72.


My only decent fishy photo of the day, probably clicked during the returning sunshine. Either a Bluebreast or Wounded Darter. I do not see these often enough but with the Redlines that makes 3 species of Nothonotus i do believe. Most of the Darters were playing Peekaboo with Bryce and i.


Sunshine returned for a nice catered BBQ meal of pulled pork and beef bacon as Bryce called it and soon followed by the auction. Our host Steve was presented a beautiful, polished wood carving of a Longnose Gar. Bryce donated several framed photo prints of a Snail Darter, Tangerine and Longear and i several DVD copies of my MOAR adventure. A good bit of funds was raised for CFI's work. The day ended but music went into the night with songs by Steve, Kevin Leftwich, another fella with some play alongs with the Rough and Tumble folk duet. I was especially entranced by Kevin's songs. Check out this song "Factory Town" It tells a common story of the south.
A pleasant end to a wonderful day.


From the deck an early morning view of the mist rising from Whites Creek.


First up i took a walk and found these Leather Backs, Tawny Milk Caps and a few Chanterelles for breakfast.


Steve had me write in his journal the species we had observed. I don't think i missed anything counting 18. Bryce and i plan to return this summer. If we work it on a clear day and get into some of the deeper water we should be able to reach 30 species. The valley is very beautiful, steep and forested. This has been my second visit here and i am grateful to our hosts, Steve and Anne for sharing their home and property for a wonderful day.

#2 Guest_PLR_*

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 12:27 PM

Also saw rock bass and bluegill. Others reported longnose gar...

#3 Guest_trygon_*

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 08:50 PM

Hello, and welcome to the Whites Creek CFIpalooza.

It rained hard, but not for long...

...and no, we didn't have enough sense to get out of it.

Casper as most people see him.

A Bluebreast Darter, it was really amazing to see such a small fish balance that big rock on his head.

A Wounded Darter.

#4 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 01 July 2014 - 11:01 PM

Looks like it was a fun time. You guys are troopers snorkeling in the rain. Interesting to see 3 Nothonotus at one site. Good turtle photo Bryce, and nice colors on the wounded darter.

#5 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:59 PM

CFI has another fundraiser in the works.
An Island Party. "Don't lose your Marbled Darters" sez last year's shirts.
See their Facebook site. "Conservation Fisheries" for details.
It is an open invitation, 5 or 10 bucks and bring money for tasty food truck grub and beer.

I did a posting of the 2013 party and looking forward to attending again this year.
Fishing Canoeing Snorkeling Music Videos Hobknobing Bare Foot Dancing


It starts Friday night, August 1 at 5pm with camping and runs til Sunday.
Snorkeling is not so good, a bit murky. But a few miles upstream it can be spectacular at and above Wallen. I may cruise that way Friday or Sunday.

#6 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:28 PM


See above for details for this weekend.
I will snorkel near Wallen Friday and camp Friday night on the island. Stay at the party all day Saturday including camping Saturday night. Sunday Bryce, Rob and i will head upstream to the Wallen area for clear water snorkeling. This is going to be a fun time. Good opportunity to snorkel some wonder waters of Tennessee.

#7 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:33 PM

CFI Fish Fest 2014 Johns Island.

Rob and i arrived a bit later than planned. After a brief chat with the Snorkel Boss they took rods to the river to try their luck. Crossing the creek to the channel had told me the recent rains had turned the water turbid but the sweltering midday heat sent me to the creek anyway...


Though i make signs for a living i tend to ignore most of them...


Turbidity was near as bad as behind my home, as illustrated by this photo.


But i did snatch a closeup of a tail. Do you know the specie? From your home Galaxy.


The children were eager to see what had come to the rock arena i assembled.


If you get close enough and don't stir the water up you can still get a good photo now and then.


Pat got in too and took me on a Marble quest, dipping deep and lifting flat rocks ever slowly. His eyes are keen and i only aimed my camera where he pointed. Lower left lies the newly exposed tiny darter. Found ONLY in a 7 mile stretch of the Little.


The boys had luck with a dipnet catching a Bluebreast and Whitetail. Tubing, snorkeling and netting critters these children were occupied the entire afternoon.


Rain was called for but the day was pretty and quite cool after my 2 hours in the river.


Rob and Peggy picking from the menu, choosing the Pulled Pork Parfait. I like the Pig's converted school bus with a mobile smoker on the rear. I went with Gumbo from Gonzo Gourmet's food truck and later a helping of his Mama's Hash Brown Cassarole.


Instead of my van as my planned habitat i took advantage of this stilted cabin. Comfortable and quiet.


The Bearded Wonders performing Duran Duran's Hungry Like the Wolf under the pavilion lights. The percussian solo was especially enjoyed. Plenty of cowbell.


Another Bearded Wonder, haloed by the aquatic light. Last year he was pulling tap on the Sweetwater Pale Ale keg.


The Seine Haul, wondering when the party lights will be turned off. They will have a lot to tell their fishy friends when returned to the river.


JR in the glow, sporting his new Joe Santore's Ashy Darter shirt.


The big screen displayed images of the day. Pat's snap of the Marbled, note the heart shaped caudal marking.


And a young Blotchside sporting the same distinct moth mark. :)


The rain finally came, cracking thunder overhead. But we were in comfort beneath the pavilion's roof watching the rain fall into the surrounding darkness. Eventually i headed for the flood stage cabin near midnight leaving many still chatting under the night lights. The next morning i found Rob asleep in his hastily hung hammock, sheltered from the night's rain.

The Little River rippled in our dreams and was to be lived tomorrow.

#8 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 09:58 AM

Sunday Walland Dam and Above

After a breakfast which lacked the yearned for Hillbilly Donuts i recalled from my last visit with Jeremy and gang, Rob and i met with Bryce at Walland Dam Sunday morning, several miles upstream of the CFI Fish Fest site and above several murky tributaries. It was wonderful to enter clear water again and this site has yielded many wonderful experiences in the past and today was no different. After a slippery wade to thigh deep water i layed at the edge of a wooded jam alongside a shallow riffle run. So many fish instantly in my facemask, it was great to see the flurry of activity in a healthy stretch of stream again. Darters were running in and out of the rocky crevases, the Redlines near black in the shadows but when darting into the sunlight quickly changed to their typical colors. The Redlines stayed wary for the most part, but a Bluebreast Darter soon tamed to my camera.


Walland Dam. The interesting areas to snorkel here are directly below the falls and to either of the two long riffle runs divided by the narrow island just downstream. Note the far culvert churning white foam high in the far distance.


A proud Bluebreast fully displaying for the female alongside.


Another confident pose.


A pointy nosed Redline checking out the activity. The redlines remained very wary of my camera easing closer and would soon dart away.


A Greenside entering the zone. All told in a matter of minutes i had 5 species of Darters visit the area i cleared. Snubs and Gilts rounding up the 3 to 5.


Quick shot of a Blotchside Logperch looking for a quick exit strategy. We spied many small juvenile Blotchies today, it must have been a good year for all Logperch regionally.


Sculpin in his crevice lair, awaiting prey. You can push your point and shot right on top of them.


Galactura, tuberculed and ready for love. He stayed with me for quite awhile as i crawled along the perimeter of the plunge pool. I have noted of late how these males do not seem to stake out an exact spawning crevice, but will often follow you for 20 or more yards.


Bryce in the culvert's plunge pool holding steady in the white churning foam.


Rob after checking out the side stream. I always enjoy the look of aged concrete structures worn by years of river flow. Tennessee has many such sites.


Lunch break, Rob returning with deli sandwiches for both of us, myself too disturbing to others to enter the public deli in a wetsuit. Streambank picnic tables make for a great respite if you can wrest one from the biker cult gangs.


Bryce below the spanning bridge.




Mound Builder and glass fragment.


Fuzzy Warpaint but of most interest is this likely Streamline Chub, distant kin to the Stargazing Minnow of Chattanooga and the Riffle Minnow of the Conasauga. His spine line was defined with a near illuminescent thin red dashed line. Usually on the move typical for this species this individual was perched at rest on a stone.


Looking upstream. Much clearer than the sites of late, though it was still a bit reduced in visibility compared to my previous visits. Further upstream lies more clarity but less diversity and even further begins the madness of Gatlinburg.


Rob had left the water earlier, clad only in a chilly shorty, to try his hand at normal fishing. After another hour or more Bryce and i too had enough as his camera had locked and my batteries were near drained. I never checked the temps but figured it to be the low 70's. For me 3 days in a row spent submerged had worn me down. I'm getting old as a few years ago i would have stayed in til dark chasing shadows. All and all the best site for Bryce and i had been the dam downstream and probably i would have been content to stay there all day. Often though waders and splashers will arrive in mass and drive off the snorkelers.


A bit of River Booty along with a ring and wheat penny marked with my birthdate.


Star Bridge and the 3 of us dried off and ready to cruise for some Full Service BBQ alongside downtown Maryville.
The CFI gathering had been wonderful, a beautiful day and populated with interesting fishy folks while gathered at a scenic site along a beautiful river. Delicious food truck cuisine, local beers and genuine music made for a fine day and went well into the late evening. Seines, kayaks, canoes, fly rods, fishing poles, nets, waders and snorkels. I am surprised that more folks do not take the opportunity for such a unique outing. I suspect the ASIH meeting in Chattanooga pulled a few away but there should have been more of us regional NANFA members in attendance to take advantage of such a great opportunity. And Bryce, Rob and i made an additional enhancement of the weekend by spending the following day in clear, cool mountain water.

A list of the species seen by one or all of us.

Lamprey ( Slippery fast when Pat turned a stone. )
Gar ( Long or short perhaps spotted in the dam's turbulance by Bryce. )
Shad ( Running quick through the turbulance. )
Rainbow Trout ( Invasive but good to grill. )
Shiners: Whitetail, Tennessee, Striped, Warpaint, Mountain, Silver ( Many more with trained eyes i suspect, probably Telescopes for sure. We did see one lone Mountain Shiner, defined by his glowing blue head. Looked for more to no avail. )
Chubs: River, Bigeye, Blotched, Streamline ( A picture of a Blotched Chub would have been appreciated. They are quite handsome, but wary quick. )
Stonerollers ( Lots of really big ones traveling in grazing herds. )
Redhorse, Hogsuckers ( Plenty of little Horseys in the shallows but Bryce spied some big ones amongst the jumbo Hogsuckers in the deep pool below the riffle run. Many Redhorses must be identified in hand and i have yet to train my eye. )
Northern Studfish ( They were in the warm shallows just downstream of the dam and i saw them while wading by, defined by the distinct gold line along the center their back. When snorkeling you can get a crick in your neck craning for them. )
Sculpin ( The expert can tell us which of many it is. Perhaps another could tell them apart by taste. )
Sunfish: Smallmouth Bass, Rockbass, Redbreast, Bluegill ( Surely there were more species of Sunnies and Bass but we were tuned for the Darters generally. Sunfish are common enough in the shallows and jams of most Tennessee waters. Green, Longears, Crappie could likely be tracked down. )
Darters: Logperch, Blotchside Logperch, Redline, Bluebreast, Greenside, Banded, Gilt, Tangerine, Snubnose, Blueside, Marbled ( I have seen Snail Darters before and Sickle Darters were observed by Ed last time. Rainbows? )

No Madtoms or Catfish. No Drums or Buffalo or Carp. No Gambusia but i assume we could have chased down for Black Spotted or Striped Topminnows.
That makes 34 and with better skill, broadened focus and more time we could have gained another dozen easy enough i reckon. It's fun to count but even funner to simply enjoy.

#9 littlen

  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:13 AM

Thanks for another great report, Casper. You take "living vicariously though you" to a whole new level! Bluebreasts are seeking their way to being my next favorite darter. Their interactions in captivity with Redlines are just as interesting. Usually one ignores the other. But if either is displaying, sure enough the other [species] is usually there to investigate.
Nick L.

#10 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:26 AM

Good stuff. Looks like it was a great time. Nice bluebreast and whitetail shots!

#11 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 10:08 AM

Very cool stuff. I love looking at your underwater photos.

#12 Casper

  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 10 July 2015 - 03:58 PM

The season is now.


Tomorrow, July 11, CFI and Steve are hosting another party at Whites Creek north of Spring City, TN.  Unfotunately i will not attend as the Snorkel Boss has me on the cool Conasauga on the predicted hot day.


However on August 1, also a Saturday, CFI and gang will be hosting another fundraiser, the renamed "MarbleFest" is now the "Little River Festival" and still at the same beautiful location, River John's Island near Maryville, TN.


This is an awesome event with lots of watery activities including music and socializing into the night.  The photos from last year give you a good idea of the day's affairs.


I plan on camping again this year and then snorkeling upstream in the clearer headwaters of the Little River all day Sunday.  A great opportunity to experience, a fine organization to support and like minded folks in attendance to dance with.

Edited by Casper, 10 July 2015 - 04:05 PM.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#13 trygon

  • NANFA Member
  • Knoxville, Tennessee

Posted 12 July 2015 - 04:39 PM

I'm planning on being there.
Bryce Gibson
There are sharks in every ocean...except Billy Ocean.

#14 Casper

  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 28 July 2015 - 05:48 PM

This Weekend.


Be There.  Get Wet.  Stay Cool.  Drink Regional Beer.  Eat Truck Food.  See Fish.  Hear Fish Tales.  Hobnob with Fishheads.  Listen to Hillbilly Mountain Music.  Dance Barefoot.  Camp.  Sleep.  Dream.  Wake and Snorkel the Mighty Little River.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#15 Casper

  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 03 August 2015 - 04:23 PM

Wonderful 2 days.



Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#16 Casper

  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 26 June 2018 - 12:05 PM


2 more festivals are in the works.

Contact CFI for details.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#17 ShadetreeIchthyologist

  • Regional Rep
  • Charleston SC

Posted 26 June 2018 - 09:22 PM

Casper - see you at the little river come the end of July. I was planning on going to whites creek but I've got to help move a good friend, plus I doubt they would have let me drink my monies worth of beer. I'll probably be snorkeling or seineing though when I get done moving so not a total loss for the weekend.
"Amateurs can potentially make valuable contributions to our knowledge of fishes". - Etnier and Starnes

#18 Irate Mormon

Irate Mormon
  • NANFA Member
  • Crooked Creek, Mississippi

Posted 29 June 2018 - 06:45 PM

"Amateurs can potentially make valuable contributions to our knowledge of fishes". - Etnier and Starnes


Not if they can't collect in TN waters, they can't.

-The member currently known as Irate Mormon

#19 mattknepley

  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 29 June 2018 - 08:46 PM

Hence "potentially". :)
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#20 Casper

  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 11 July 2018 - 10:35 AM

Next CFI event is July 28, a Saturday, right along the Little River.  I have attended this a few times and hope to again.

Music, fishy socializing, seining, aquariums, food trucks.

If it's too hot the river is right there to cool off.

Generally the water is not clear enough to snorkel, perhaps a grope snorkel session, but the next day, Sunday i will head upstream to a favored site.

I may camp or i may stay at my brothers nearby.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

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