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a REALLY blue orangethroat darter from central Illinois


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#1 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:52 AM

Yesterday I visited my parents near Chillicothe, IL and sampled the creek that I grew up playing in.  I was a little worried the orangethroats would be past their prime, but they were still fired up and doing territorial things.  I wanted a better photo for my lifelist album, so I caught a few on hook & line first.  Definitely a huge improvement over what I had before!  The charcoal black on the upper half of the flank is interesting.

 

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For the remainder of the time I used my perfect dip net.  I'm pretty good at microfishing, but the net is a lot faster, haha.  The number of orangethroat darters in every sweep was impressive.

 

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Western blacknose dace were abundant in the deeper pools, and the males were colored up.

 

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Also abundant were central stonerollers.  Creek chubs were less common, and they were usually tucked up in roots and overhanging vegetation.

 

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In years past, southern redbelly dace have been one of the most common species.  However, on this visit they were nearly impossible to find.  I only caught one, a female.  I looked hard but couldn't find a male for the life of me.  I wonder... are they the most sensitive species in this creek?  The upper half of this drainage is agricultural land (corn and soy), which gets good doses of liquid manure and herbicides and pesticides every year.  Could something have wiped out 90% of the SRBD but left the orangethroat darters and other species untouched?

 

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One of the last fish I caught really blew me away.  I present to you the BLUEST orangethroat darter I've ever seen.  Even the tail is blue!  There is a tiny streak of red in the anal fin and two little streaks in the tail.  I don't think it's a hybrid with rainbow darter though.  My hunch is that his color producing genes are just turned up to eleven and a little bit of red snuck into those fins.

 

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For comparison here is another colored up orangethroat.  This is what I'm used to seeing.

 

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#2 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:55 AM

Here are a few bonus scenery and non-fish shots.

 

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#3 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:29 AM

Wow, those are some beautiful fish Ben.  Nice catches.  Cool scenery shots too!


Kevin Wilson


#4 taldridge0321

taldridge0321
  • NANFA Member
  • Catawba Watershed, Waxhaw, North Carolina

Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:30 AM

Nice catch, I'm jealous. 



#5 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 09 April 2017 - 11:07 AM

Wow, those orangethroats are beautiful (especially that blue one)! Good stuff, Ben.



#6 mattknepley

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

Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:53 PM

Dag yo! That's some sweet catch! You can almost see the first darter thinking, "Isn't this kid EVER going to grow up?"

For the record, I hope he doesn't! :)
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#7 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:58 PM

Awesome looking darter!!!!
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#8 az9

az9
  • NANFA Member

Posted 09 April 2017 - 03:06 PM

Beautiful fish that rival any tropical fish. 


Edited by az9, 09 April 2017 - 03:06 PM.


#9 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:16 AM

Thanks guys!



#10 Casper

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

Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:31 AM

Where are the parents?

Photographically. :)


Edited by Casper, 10 April 2017 - 12:16 PM.

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

#11 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:40 AM

Yesterday I visited my parents near Chillicothe, IL



#12 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 10 April 2017 - 04:15 PM

Where are the parents?

Photographically. :)

 

Back at the house, because playing in creeks is apparently just for kids.



#13 az9

az9
  • NANFA Member

Posted 13 April 2017 - 11:06 AM

Where are the parents?

Photographically. :)

 

Fish are more important than parents.  :biggrin:

 

My wife says fish are more important than her too!  [-X



#14 Bulldarter

Bulldarter
  • NANFA Guest
  • NoVa

Posted 24 April 2017 - 09:23 PM

Absolutely gorgeous orangethroats





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