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Family Fishfest


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#1 mattknepley

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 06:05 AM

Hey all! I've been kinda quiet lately, but have been up to fishy business all the same. Spent the last week and a half on a roadtrip/vacation with the wife and girls. I am lucky in that all three are not only quite indulgent of my finny interests, but are actually oftentimes accomplices to them! Here's a quick recap and some pics. As always, my photos are poor, my id's are suspect, and I only tell the truth! ;)

Our first stop for fish was at a really nice town park in Jackson, Missouri. The stream is Hubble Creek, and had a number of fishes in it, including a couple new lifers for me. Access was not only easy, but actually encouraged by steps to the creek.

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Hubble Creek, Jackson, MO

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Erin was looking a little road-raggedy after spending most of the day in the car but was more than game for chasing some fins!

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My first Rainbow Darter; Erin caught more of these than I did!

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A couple of my first Fantail Darters. I'd seen Carolina Fantails, but not these guys.

The next stop was Johnsons Shut-ins State Park. An absolute treasure, and FREE to enter. Be there when it opens at 8AM though; it's popular and limited to 100 cars. Massive snorkeling holes above and below the shut-in with the most delightfully people-conditioned Cyprinella. The shut-in itself is not netable or snorkelable, but I did see a guy catch a couple trout fishing in it. I can't describe a "shut in" to do it justice, and managed to leave my camera at the motel that day, so just Google it, I guess...

Behind our motel in Ironton, MO was Stout Creek. It contained several of the brightest orange-red sunfish I have ever seen, Dollars or Longears, don't know; Rainbow Darters, and this dude...
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It seems by range that it is more likely to be a Blackspotted Topminnow, but sure looks more like a Blackstripe Topminnow to me.

Have more to post from Missouri, as well as South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. But right now I have to attend to this thing called a "job", so will post more later.

Attached Images

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

#2 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 28 July 2016 - 09:23 AM

I think it's awesome that your family gets involved with you.  I can only hope that my kids desire to do this when they get a little older.  Can't wait to see more pics of your trips.


Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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KYCREEKS - KRWW - KWA



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

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861


#3 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 28 July 2016 - 11:01 AM

Looks like a good day with family. Glad to see a future NANFAn having fun.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#4 Casper

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:31 PM

I cannot tell the difference between Blackstripe and Blackspotted Topminnows with any kind of confidence.  For my needs they are the same critter. :)  Now that Broadstripe Topminnow would be a treat to see.

 

Been to both the Johnson Shut-Ins and Irontown.  You were certainly in a sweet spot.  Lots of neat sites to see in that SE corner of Missouri.  I stayed with Lance several years ago, exploring the region and made a DVD of that part of the trip.

 

Train them girls right and keep it FUN!  No better place to cool off during a sweltering Summer Road Trip.

 

I'm curious what sent you to the Show Me State, if it was the fishies?


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

#5 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:31 PM

Nice stable banks on that creek; no annoying trees to get in your way. 

And a Green sunfish in its NATURAL habitat?  I didn't think that was possible!


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#6 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:45 PM

Nice stable banks on that creek; no annoying trees to get in your way. 

And a Green sunfish in its NATURAL habitat?  I didn't think that was possible!

 

Sarcasm-Meme-2.jpg


Josh Blaylock - Central KY
NANFA on Facebook - NANFA on YouTube - NANFA on Google+

KYCREEKS - KRWW - KWA



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

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861


#7 mattknepley

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 08:24 PM

Nice stable banks on that creek; no annoying trees to get in your way. 
And a Green sunfish in its NATURAL habitat?  I didn't think that was possible!

I said "really nice", not "really pristine" or "really natural"... ;)
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#8 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 28 July 2016 - 08:41 PM

Good stuff Matt. It's always fun to visit a new area and see new fish, and it's great that it is a family affair for you guys. I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of the trip. Is snorkeling not allowed within the rocky shut-ins area or is it just not very feasible?



#9 mattknepley

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 08:53 PM

Our final fishy stop in the Show-Me State was Marble Creek in the Mark Twain National Forest. Seining and dipnetting just wasn't productive, so we did the NANFA Snorkel Posse proud and spent a few hours swimmin' with da fishes. New-to-me fishes here include Largescale Stoneroller and Logperch. Central Stonerollers, Smallmouth Bass, various Cyprinids and Lepomis were all present in good numbers. The Smallies and sunfishes were quite comfortable with we humans in their midst. Will post GoPro video of these fishes later. I managed to get a little bit of video before my card filled up. Probably what I enjoyed most about this stop was how much my wife LeDean loved snorkeling the Creek. She had snorkeled in the Caribbean a couple times, and playfully derided me for buying her a cheapie mask to use. Ha! Guess who the girls and I had to drag out of the water. Yup, LeDean. While I couldn't get her to admit that some of our freshwater fishes are as colorful as salts, she did allow that they were every bit as fascinating to watch. She even picks this as her favorite single event of the whole trip!

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Marble Creek upstream of our "put in". It was actually possible to snorkel several pools inbetween these rocks. Had to slither like a snake over some rocks to access some pools, but well worth the effort. The bass and sunfish reigned here.

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LeDean Cousteau in the deeper area we snorkeled.

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Even in the larger, deeper pool below the rocks pictured above there was a variety of creek-bottom topography, as this photo hints at. The deepest part of the hole we played in was about six feet deep. It can be seen in the background.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#10 mattknepley

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 09:05 PM

Isaac, this photo from ozarktrail.com begins to give you an answer as to what the rocky part of the shut-in is like. There are spots with much greater gradient than this.


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http://www.ozarktrai...-jsi2medium.jpg
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#11 mattknepley

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

Posted 28 July 2016 - 09:50 PM

Our next fishy stop was at my sister Stacey's house in North Sioux City, South Dakota. She and her husband Kevin live in a house right on the Missouri River. A steep scramble down the bank takes you to the deep, swirly, roiling side of their side the river. NOT water I wanted to enter, but was fascinated watching whirlpools train down the current before petering out or getting smashed by the current. Mooneyes seemed to like this part of the river, and weren't too tricky to catch. If you were Kevin...

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The West really starts to open up here, though subtly. I didn't really notice how much the scale of landscapes had changed until I viewed these pics.

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My oldest daughter, Kerry, sitting on the remains of a deck that used to hang out over the river. The flood of 2011 (I think that was the year) wiped it out. I have a very hard time imagining that much water; or that fishes can persevere through such flooding.

Across the river is Nebraska, where it is much tamer. This is where you take the boat and go swimming. Further upstream the scene switches; Nebraska has the rough current and South Dakota has the calm. Back and forth it goes. Didn't catch/see any fish in the river proper, but many unidentified fry were found in a pool in one of the dunes.

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Dunes, kith, and kin on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River.

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This residual pool was loaded with fry and frogs.

Behind Kev and Stace's house is a narrow boat channel. Among other things, it is home to Spotfin Shiners, Channel Catfish, Mooneyes, and a carp the locals claim is the infamous jumping Silver Carp. I didn't observe any jumping, but don't doubt the locals either.

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The only catfish to ever spike me in 40+ years of fishing. Bugger got me good; bled like crazy for a while. Not particularly painful, though.

While I was busy getting impaled by an Ictalurus, Erin and Stacey were going for a walk and checked out the boat ramp. Erin spotted several minnows which later proved to be Spotfin Shiners. Thanks to Kon, Mr. Hrabik and Co for an assist on the Cyprinid id.

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The fisherwomen.

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Spofins, another lifer for me.

Up next, Wisconsin!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#12 mattknepley

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

Posted 29 July 2016 - 06:01 AM

The next stop of any fishitude was Trempealeau National Wildlife Preserve just a little bit above LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Kerry and Erin stayed in South Dakota to spend more time with their aunt and uncle, which left LeDean and me several days of much needed "grown-up time". TNNP got off to a riotous start, too. A mutant Channel Cat of enormous proportions was terrorizing the local populous. Not only had it completely eradicated a bison herd that strayed too close to the Trempealeau River, but it had even eaten a couple-few tourists. As luck would have it, Moby Cat was prowling the river bank as we got to the preserve. Acting instinctively, and without concern for my personal safety, I leapt upon the behemoth's back and proceeded to dispatch it. Knives, fists, and teeth were to no avail. I really began to fear that I may lose this fight. Not even DLV's patented Nerve Pinch o' Death was working. In desperation, I began to relay unto this monster the state of the current American electoral process. Hilary-related news stunned it into submission, but Trump details finished the poor beast off. A grateful populous made me King of Trempealeau.

Normally I would expect some jealousy-fueled snarks to challenge this latest tale of my masculinity, but fortunately taxidermical sciences have progressed to the point where it is possible to preserve very large creatures in two or three hours. Rather than hiding in Ictalurid shame, the town chose to commemorate this chapter of its history by stuffing the fish and using it as a welcome sign. Of course, they insisted I have my picture taken with it for proof.

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Doubt me not, haters.

Things quieted down after that, and the wife and I were able to enjoy the area. The prairie was blooming and beautiful, and the waters held some color, too.

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My first Iowa Darters! Not exactly a challenge to net. Just the way I like my fish!

Picked up a couple others that I am still working on trying to id. Any suggestions? Trempealeau River, Wisconsin.

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Juvie "Rock Bass-esque" fish.

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Please help me with this turkey. It was one of the least cooperative fishes ever. This was the best pic I could manage. Any guesses?

Next stop, Michigan!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#13 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 29 July 2016 - 10:14 AM

Matt, nice to see that you are alright after that fight. Just wondering how hard it was to fillet?
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#14 dsuperman

dsuperman
  • NANFA Member

Posted 29 July 2016 - 10:19 AM

Sounds like a great family fishy trip! In Thailand they call that catfish "juvie !" Thanks for sharing.



#15 Doug_Dame

Doug_Dame
  • NANFA Member

Posted 29 July 2016 - 02:13 PM

The next stop of any fishitude was Trempealeau National Wildlife Preserve just a little bit above LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Kerry and Erin stayed in South Dakota to spend more time with their aunt and uncle, which left LeDean and me several days of much needed "grown-up time". TNNP got off to a riotous start, too. A mutant Channel Cat of enormous proportions was terrorizing the local populous. Not only had it completely eradicated a bison herd that strayed too close to the Trempealeau River, but it had even eaten a couple-few tourists. As luck would have it, Moby Cat was prowling the river bank as we got to the preserve. Acting instinctively, and without concern for my personal safety, I leapt upon the behemoth's back and proceeded to dispatch it. Knives, fists, and teeth were to no avail. I really began to fear that I may lose this fight. Not even DLV's patented Nerve Pinch o' Death was working. In desperation, I began to relay unto this monster the state of the current American electoral process. Hilary-related news stunned it into submission, but Trump details finished the poor beast off. A grateful populous made me King of Trempealeau.

Normally I would expect some jealousy-fueled snarks to challenge this latest tale of my masculinity, but fortunately taxidermical sciences have progressed to the point where it is possible to preserve very large creatures in two or three hours. Rather than hiding in Ictalurid shame, the town chose to commemorate this chapter of its history by stuffing the fish and using it as a welcome sign. Of course, they insisted I have my picture taken with it for proof.

Doubt me not, haters.
 

We are extremely lucky to have an accomplished warrior & hero of your caliber in our midst. ("Still in our midst," actually.)

 

You need to get one of Casper's decal packs so that other monuments erected in honor of your deeds can also celebrate NANFA.


Doug Dame

Floridian now back in Florida
 


#16 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 29 July 2016 - 09:08 PM

Great report and awesome to get the family involved too!


Kevin Wilson


#17 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 29 July 2016 - 09:50 PM

I wish you would have let me know when you were in Wisconsin, Trempealeau is only a half hour from me and my family has a fishing cottage there. Beautiful area. The fish you ID'd as an Iowa Darter is in fact a Mud Darter, one of my local favorites. The Rock Bass-esque fish is a plain old Rock Bass, and the last fish looks most like a Creek Chub, which are sometimes found in that lower stretch of the Trempealeau where a few tributary creeks come in. Next time you are in the area let me know, I'd love to get out and look at fish with you!


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#18 mattknepley

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

Posted 30 July 2016 - 05:09 AM

Thanks, everybody.

Todd; fileting was easy, so much room between skin and bone, but very time consuming. Kevin, it is indeed a gift to have the family along. Dsuperman, today Trempeuleau, tomorrow Thailand! Doug, not a bad idea at all.

Yeahson, I wish I'd known that, too. The next time I'm in any of these areas I'd like to contact NANFA locals for some fish chasing. I was surprised to realize that I have at least one NANFA contact in every state we traveled, save SD! Thanks for the correction on my Iowa Darter. I had wondered about it being a Muddie, not sure now what criteria I was using to make it an "Iowa". Thanks also for the help with that juvie Rock Bass and possible/probable Creek Chub. Creek Chubs have been throwing me for a loop if they aren't right in my backyard lately. Mostly on body shape; at home they are pretty much a Bluehead Chub with a black spot. They just look different to me in other places...
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#19 mattknepley

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

Posted 30 July 2016 - 06:21 AM

Michigan!

This is my wife's home state, and one I've added to my "adopted home" list; even though I've only been there three times! Spent time in both the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula, but only got to sample in the Lower. (I did, however, snorkel briefly in Lake Michigan in the U.P.!)

Got to get into the Black River near Gaylord. Beautiful country, and a few new lifers for me here, too.

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A couple different Black River streamscapes.

Was super-excited to find Brook Stickleback; I've never seen any type of stickleback before, so this was a real treat.

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Nest Builders!

Found two dace species, Longnose and Blacknose. The latter was a lifer.

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Blacknose

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Longnose

Another treat was finding sculpin; they remind me of crick stompin' as a kid and I don't see them too often as a grown-up in SC! (Yeah, me a grown-up. That's a good one!) I'm pretty sure they were Slimy Sculpin, which would be a lifer. Have a jillion photos, many of which are good enough that one would not suspect me to be the photographer. Would really love some input on my Slimy id, I'm going mostly on dorsal fins and pectoral counts.

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I have several pics that are much more in focus, but don't necessarily show the dorsals I was using as my main id factor (along with range) any better.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#20 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 30 July 2016 - 11:21 AM

The top spotfin looks like a red shiner. Could that be possible or is the body shape just really distorted in the photo?


The member formerly known as Skipjack




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