The SFC meeting went well and i understand a bit over 100 folks attended. Several ichthyologists of note and their students spoke on a variety of fishy species along with a couple 20 minute talks of Crayfish and Freshwater Shrimp. Surprisingly Freshwater Shrimp use to be harvested commercially from the Mississippi River. I have only seen the small Grass / Glass Shrimp in my travels but some big ones are still out there.
Michael Wolfe and i set up a NANFA table and a 2nd the following day displaying signs, t-shirts, American Currents and assorted goods representing our association and in the process gathered a bit of funds for the treasury. To note we are getting low on most shirts and at this point only have a few sizes remaining for Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire and the NANFA Rainbow Darter shirts. Don't forget NANFA goods make great gifts during the upcoming holiday season. Those Big Muddy playing cards are great stocking stuffers.
Matt Wagner, Mississippi's non-game fish biologist, was an excellent host and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science was an ideal gathering site. They had a nice lecture theater that was comfortable and the Thursday night banquet of local BBQ was served in the aquarium gallery with the diners being surrounded by fish, dioramas, displays and the posters of SFC student projects.
Next year SFC will return to Chattanooga and the Tennessee Aquarium. The SFC folks are talking about including a Saturday field trip to the South Chickamauga Creek that flows behind my house. It would make for a good time to visit if the November cold does not set in too quickly. Snail Darters are on the species to see list.
I did not take any photos during the gathering and of course am now regretting not doing so.
The meeting ended after noon on Friday and after a bit of socializing and stowing our display and remaining goods several of us took a short drive north to a dam blocking the Pearl. Here are a few photos...
Lots of late afternoon fishermen were gathered below the dam and the adjoining boat launch. Usually i try a ask what they are catching and if they have any rough fish recipes to share but we immediately walked downriver kicking into our dipnets and shuffling about with a seine. A dried carcass of a catfish testified to his tight vice grip on prey or the hand of a noodler.
The dried beast tossed aside as waste. I never get tired of seeing Gar, prehistoric predators they be. His scaly armor was hollowed but rigid tight.
The seine gang looking on.
After an hour or so we returned to the parking lot's picnic table with our catch in tow as Michael broke out his pair of photo tanks. One of the cool new sees for me was this stark Naked Sand Darter. Translucent, the internal organs can be visible. They fold their fins sleek so they can slide beneath the sand, only their faces peering out.
A couple Silversides, to me a Brook above and an Inland below. The snout length is a identifying characteristic.
Peering into the Brook's eye.
The sun began to set, the sky purple, the air cooling and us hungry for local culinary fare.
Matt took us to the "Cock of the Walk", a catfish house set on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. This cheerful lady brought us a giant platter of Catfish mounded over fries and hushpuppies. To the long table she added pickled onions, slaw, and drinks all served in tin cups and on plates.
That ended the night for the seiners while Michael and i retreated to the Econo Lodge for rest and to ready for Saturday's planned plunge.