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2015 NANFA Convention Recap

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#1 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:56 AM

Since I may have been one of the 1st to get back, I thought I'd kick-off a little recap thread.  It's nice to see photos and hear stories from other's perspective, so feel free to add yours in here as well.


My NANFA convention got kicked off on Wednesday.  Jared Burson, Matt & Seth DeLaVega drove from KY to OK, stopping at the Springfield MO Bass Pro on the way.  It was very impressive.




We arrived in Tehlaquah after about 14ish hours in the car together.  I will say, this was one of the best road trips I've had.  We all had a blast in the car and wasn't short on conversation.  After checking into the hotel, we were all hungry.  A quick Google search and there was no doubt on where we were eating that night.....


IMG_20150603_205016.jpg  IMG_20150603_213548.jpg

and it was amazing.



On Thursday the 4 of us went to a few creeks in the early part of the day.  We missed most of the check-in/demostration due to this.  We knew, however, that we wouldn't get a trip in on Sunday so we wanted to get in the water.  The Ozark area streams are beautiful and crystal clear.





These SRBD look a little like MRBD with all the spotting




We did make it back to see the big fish setup and a little more seining on the banks of the river.



Friday was the talks, banquet auction.

We had many terrific speakers and learned a lot about fish.



The banquet was Paddlefish, fried fish, and the side.  It was very tasty.



The auction was a huge success, thank you to all the great donors that brought items.  You really do not know how much it is appreciated.  The majority of NANFA's funds for our grant programs come from the auction/convention.


Isaac Szabo's prints were amazing, everyone wanted them



Friday night, there was a lot of hanging out and telling stories around the pool and other areas of the Hotel.




I spent too much time in the water and didn't take photos.  We did go out on the trips and the first two locations were great.  We saw a nice diversity of fish and after those 1st too locations, a smaller group, including myself, broke off to go hunt Red Shiners.  We did eventually find 2 small ones, but what was most interesting happened that night.  At one location the group stopped at, Brian Zimmerman and Evan Poellinger were sampling 2 small oxbow lake type features and caught many Golden Topminnows.  Nothing was really thought much about it at first. However, that night I was telling our host, Brandon about this and it appears they found an unknown location for them and that previously that fish was only known to a small location in the southeast OK.  Brandon was going to go back on Monday to confirm, but it appears out group helped in finding a new locality for this fish in Oklahoma.  


Sunday's was the trip home for us.


I personally had a great time at this convention.  As a person who has planned a convention, I know the work that goes into it.  Thinking that Brandon had to completely change the convention and pull it off in under a week is actually pretty amazing.  He did a great job and it was a huge success. A big Thank You! to Brandon for all his hard work.



 If you are a NANFA member and have never been to a convention, you should really consider it.  It isn't just about the fish, but about the people as well.  Through the conventions I have made friends that carry over outside of conventions and NANFA.  You're almost guaranteed a good time, and you'll make friends that will last.



Please feel free to add your own stories and photos here.

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
NANFA on Facebook


I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

#2 CCat

  • NANFA Member
  • Denver, CO

Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:36 AM

Thanks for the great writeup and photos... wish I could have joined you this year!

#3 Kazonak

  • NANFA Guest
  • College: Chattanooga TN | Home: Berrien Springs, MI

Posted 08 June 2015 - 10:21 AM

Nice underwater Photo! Beautify shot! What Camera do you use?

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 08 June 2015 - 11:47 AM

Seth and I had a great time, The water was beautiful, as were the fish.


A great big thanks to Brandon and everyone else who made this possible, especially when just a couple weeks ago it was looking impossible.


Thanks to everyone who helped out, donated items, and attended. You all made for another very successful convention.


I want to personally thank the "snorkel crew" for taking Seth out, and making his first time snorkeling a great experience.



Just briefly looking at a map, it appears that the golden topminnow site that was found is over 100 miles from the known range. This is a great example of how NANFA can help state and federal wildlife agencies improve their distributional data. It really demonstrates the bridge that NANFA builds between laymen and professionals.


I am sure I have a lot more to say, but am still a bit worn out from having too much fun.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#5 Chasmodes

  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 08 June 2015 - 12:44 PM

Great report...wished I could have been there.  I was a best man at a wedding this past weekend.  


Now I want a tank with a huge gar...  :biggrin:   I guess I need to hit that powerball!

Kevin Wilson

#6 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • Sebastian, FL

Posted 08 June 2015 - 01:54 PM

I'll put up a report in the microfishing section.  The hook & line guys and gals were well represented at this convention, so hopefully we'll get a few different reports from different perspectives.  It was great seeing everyone again!

#7 Guest_Hero Green_*

Guest_Hero Green_*
  • Guests

Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:42 PM

Some of you may have heard of the Snorkelmeister... well if you were at the convention, you might have seen him... he will snorkel anywhere there is clear water... 


By a road...



... even ON the road!



But don't let that man near your gar!


#8 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:48 PM

Spent most of my convention face down in the cold Ozark waters...


In downtown Tahlequah we four darters and dace.



And saw this cajun orangethroat... at least she must be cajun right?  She sure love herself some crawfish!



The Orangethroats were congregating...



Do fantails qualify as grumpy fish?



Later that afternoon we went to Spring Creek and saw some interesting stuff, including this blonde colored sculpin... which seems weird, but look at the substrate.



and some cardinal shiners...



and sunburst darters



and that was just the first day!

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#9 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:56 PM

On Saturday we headed out to the confluence of Saline and Little Saline Creeks.


More cardinal shiners...



more fantail darters



more blonde sculpin



a new one for me... snorkeling with madtoms



we ended our day at Beatty Creek, where we say more Orangethroats, even saw a short battle between a couple of males!



and we ended by seeing this monster in a backwater... absolutely the largest studfish I have ever seen!  And notice that all the sunfish are running away and he has turned to face us and fight back.



Y'all should have been there!

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#10 trygon

  • NANFA Member
  • Knoxville, Tennessee

Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:30 PM

Very nice Michael, I wish I could've made it.

Bryce Gibson
There are sharks in every ocean...except Billy Ocean.

#11 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • Marble Falls, AR

Posted 08 June 2015 - 09:53 PM

Isaac and i are wonderfully pleased with your photos Michael.  We are now enjoying the waters of DogPatch USA.  More to come later...Casper and Isaac via Isaac's login.

Great Photos!

#12 Chasmodes

  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 09 June 2015 - 08:41 AM

Thanks guys for sharing your pics...very cool stuff.  Nothing short of amazing to me.

Kevin Wilson

#13 fundulus

  • Global Moderator

Posted 09 June 2015 - 10:26 AM

I have to admit, I've never seen Casper come close to being run over by a large truck while in the water.....

Bruce Stallsmith, Huntsville, Alabama, US of A

#14 don212

  • NANFA Member

Posted 10 June 2015 - 07:03 PM

you can never tell what casper will be up to , i take it he hand caught that gar.

#15 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 10 June 2015 - 09:56 PM

Looks like the trip was a great success! Wish I could've been there, I'll definitely make it to NH next year though :).
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#16 FirstChAoS

  • Regional Rep

Posted 11 June 2015 - 12:07 AM

Looks like the trip was a great success! Wish I could've been there, I'll definitely make it to NH next year though :).


I look forward to seeing you their. NANFA will finally reach the fourth corner of the lower fourty eight and we will get to explore a marine environment whose species are starting to change with the climate. It's a time of discovery as new fish are reaching our shores each year for the last couple years, 

#17 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:13 AM

Very nice photos Michael.  For those of you reading these recaps, if you haven't been to a convention, you really don't know what fun you're missing out on.

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
NANFA on Facebook


I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

#18 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:45 AM

Thanks Josh. Any update on your citizen scientist discovery? Did Brandon's crew get out there to confirm and take vouchers?
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#19 Mrfipp

  • NANFA Guest
  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 11 June 2015 - 11:49 AM

I don't have the capability to add photos at the moment, but I do offer a different perspective for those who read this and have not ever been to a convention. I'll probably add another post or edit this one with pictures later (or you can find me on fb or Instagram.)

I only recently learned of and joined NANFA. I spent the first 30 years of my life crawling through tide pools and getting in the ocean every chance I had. I recently (3 years ago, roughly) relocated to Texas from the Central Coast of California, just south of San Simeon. I've kept aquariums most of my life, largely tropical fresh and reef. That being said, native freshwater fish for anything besides angling purposes are fairly new to me. So is crawling around in creeks. The conference happened to be close to me and I knew I'd not find a better learning opportunity for seining, dipnetting, and general fish observation in creeks.

I was not let down. I did not meet everyone there, but talked to a good percentage of them. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. I brought a younger cousin with me and his reception and exposure to fish was great. This really is a good group of people, with a streak of fish nerdism on par with my own. I'm not a professional anything having to do with fish, and although many who attended are, I did not feel a gap between us. You simply can not know too little or too few people to show up at a convention and have a good time.

I highly recommend that if you're on the fence about going to a convention, prepare to go to the next one. Grab yourself some quick drying backpacking pants or a pair of swim trunks and a snorkel mask and camera. You'll want water shoes. The rest is optional.

See you at the next one!
There's something fishy about this place...

#20 FishGuyJosh

  • Regional Rep

Posted 12 June 2015 - 11:11 AM

Here's a few from the view of the Cali Crew...












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