Return to the Little July 3.
It has been over a month since i laid in the water here and i was curious what was going on after all the previous activities i had observed. The water was very comfortable at 74 degrees and i was never chilled wearing my 2-3 wetsuit. The river was a good bit lower and the visibility reduced to only about 6'. There was much activity downstream as i drove along the highway with cars parked and waders, splashers, jumpers, tubers and paddlers taking advantage of the July 4 holiday. Being such a busy weekend if one would return on a quiet weekday i would think the river would be much clearer, but nonetheless, and i do desire maximum clarity, it was a wonderful day for me.
I stayed in one shallow area over an hour just observing the various species as they came to visit. Bigeye Chubs and i think Streamline Chubs were common in the flowing pool area, feeding together along the sandy substrate. A Blueside Darter came into any area i cleared and was unconcerned with my close camera work. A month or so before his sides would have been a metallic foil blue. Several big male River Chubs stayed close by but their tubercules had faded away and their nests were covered with a thin layer of delicate fluffy silt. A trio of young Blotchside Logperch worked the cobbled run alongside to no concern. Stonerollers and Striped Shiners rounded out the general population with a few Whitetails and Warpaints passing through.
Puppy dog eyed Bigeye Chubs and either a Streamline or Slender Chub.
The mystery Chub feeding alongside a Blotchside Loggie.
Confident Blueside Darter, lacking his spawning vertical bars of blue, but i can see a hint of them!
The Water Willow was flowering, having grown tall and thick while holding the cobbled substrate tight. The lush green patches bordered several runs, creating islands along the river's edge and breaking up the quiet flow. In May i was able to work my way into one nice long run where i had seen all the proud Redline Darters, but today the river was too low to belly crawl up the run more than a few feet. I only saw a few smaller Redlines and they were generally elusive hiding under stones but the Snubnoses were out in force. A few Bandeds, Greensides and Bluebreasts poked about too.
Waterwillow, i never tire of seeing the lush growths of this plant.
I following the flow downstream and found a Smallmouth Bass dead, lodged between a pair of stones. Though i could see no wounds he had probably succumbed to a catch and release upstream. After a few photos i laid the Bass on the edge of a washed stone, perhaps an easy meal for a Great Blue Heron. l checked out the area below the 2nd bridge but my battery started flashing low so i worked my way back upstream to the bridge and my stashed batteries.
Yawning Redhorse. It was kinda lethargic but i could see no obvious wounds. I took advantage of the close opportunity and snapped several photos.
Looking upstream over a flatten River Chub mound and illustrating the degree of turbidity on this sunny day. About 6' was the best clarity and it seemed to vary somewhat throughout the day, i suspect from the activities upstream and the few paddler floater groups who drifted and tumbled by.
After installing my second battery i decided to snorkel upstream, something i had not done on any of the prior 3 days of May. Seeing the distant riffle run was inviting so i worked my way up the left side of the river and then crossed over to the right at the end of the long riffle flow. Settling into an eddy i noticed several Blotchsides to my side. At first they arched their backs, raising their heads as they eyed me warily but soon returned to unconcerned feeding when i settled into a comfortable vantage position. At one point 7 more Loggies from further upstream paraded behind me in a single file line, when i looked as to why a big Bass appeared to be tailing them. I never saw any regular Logperch today nor recall any from this May. It is obvious the Blotchsides dominate this section of the Little River.
Nubby nosed Blotchside Loggie with River Chubs attending.
A clean cobbled run favored by the stone flippers. Bass nor silt are their friend.
Crawling further up the right side and pushing my mask into the brisk flow i came face to face with a handsome male Tangerine that generally tolerated my ever advancing camera lens. This was a prize male and he was actively feeding along with two smaller Tangerines in the River Weed that carpeted the run. Some of the larger Blotchside Logperch were also working the run further downstream and i was determined to capture both the biggest Tangerine and Blotchside in the same frame.
Tangerine Collage, color corrected. The same Tangerine but one appears skinny? Note the markings on the side which confirms they are the same individual. Playing with sliders and adjusting variables is a tricky business but it does cut the green haze of the turbid water. Often i had stirred up sand which marred many of the photos either with streaks or particles depending on the exposure length. Of the many, many photos taken these were the two best.
Tangerine Darter and Blotchside Logperch, the attempted best of the blurred pairings before the battery faded away.
With the 2nd battery exhausted i still had not achieved a nice image of the desired pairing. However with the afternoon being well past 4 and having been in the water for 5 hours continuous i decided against retrieving a 3rd battery. I was content, hungry and eager to return to my Brother's home and partake in his trio of smoked meats, Pork, Beef and Chicken accompanied with the fixin's reciped by our wives, my two daughters and their visiting friend. A fine day indeed.