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Bluespar/Speckled darter


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#1 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:40 PM

Sorry for the lead-on.  No pics, yet.

Was hoping to get some photos and video of either of those guys next week when I'm in their neck of the woods while they are all fired up and possibly still breeding.  I've seen them sporadically in Copper Creek, VA and other parts of the Clinch system but in no great abundance.  I was hoping someone might share any known locations in SW Virginia or NW N. Carolina.  PM's are welcome if you'd rather not share publicly.  Much appreciated.

 


Nick L.

#2 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 21 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

I'd recommend that you get a hold of Derek Wheaton. He knows VA well, and I remember he got some nice photos of them a year or two ago. I don't think he's on the forum much, so you'll probably have better luck reaching him through facebook or email.

#3 Yeahson421

Yeahson421
  • NANFA Member
  • Driftless Region - SE MN

Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:05 AM

I was going to say the same thing Isaac did. I got to see some last summer, and they are a beautiful fish. I'm excited to see some pictures from 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 

 


#4 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:34 AM

Thanks Isaac.  He was my first thought but I haven't seen him online here in a long while.  I'm not on Facebook, but I think I have his contact at VDGIF.  I'll try him there.  If anyone happens to see him on another form of social media, please let him know I'm looking for him.

Thanks.


Nick L.

#5 Yeahson421

Yeahson421
  • NANFA Member
  • Driftless Region - SE MN

Posted 21 April 2017 - 02:12 PM

He no longer works at VDGIF, he is now with CFI. I talk to him pretty regularly, if you send me your email I can forward it to him.


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 

 


#6 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 23 April 2017 - 05:00 PM

NC has only a couple records, from the French Broad basin many decades ago.  It's considered extirpated in NC.


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


#7 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 24 April 2017 - 06:33 PM

Thanks for the tip Gerald. I planned on staying mostly in VA unless there was a thick pocket of them somewhere in NC. I know if went a little further west into TN I could drown in them but that is further than I really want to go. I'd also like to get some pics of other Va guys within an hour or so of where I'll be staying--probably around the Bristol area. Might dip into the New as well.
Nick L.

#8 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 03 May 2017 - 07:21 AM

I'll do the write-up now since I haven't uploaded the pics to my computer but I will post them ASAP.  Short version: success.  

 

The Clinch was the target once again as it is THE BEST river to sample in Virginia.  Unfortunately the water level was high in the river itself, (and most major tributaries) were very turbid and chocolaty.  There was no underwater photographs or video taken.  With the sun's assistance, visibility was a foot at best.  That, coupled with the high discharge made collecting and any photography efforts a no-go.  The weather was perfect most of the time: upper 70's, low 80's.  A quick downpour came through but didn't seem to affect the already poor water conditions.  Water temp was in the mid to upper 60's.

 

Males and females alike were found along the edges in slower water on sand bottoms in larger streams.  A spring-fed stream was located that was average of 6 to 7" deep and roughly 6' across.  It was crystal clear and had a soft, crushed shale substrate.  They were everywhere in that particular stream.  Oddly enough, in a 100 foot stretch and with minimal effort ~20 were netted in 10 minutes.  All breeding males.  Even more odd, the males at the spring-fed site were 100% fired up and in full, electric blue breeding colors.  Whereas the males at the first site were pale and washed out.  It was even suggested that perhaps they had already spawned.  Looking back, it was likely the water conditions in the murky, larger stream, vs the shallow, clear stream.

 

A lot of the other usual suspects were found; ripe female Redlines, along with good looking males.  A decent amount of juvenile Bluebreasts, both sexes.  Few Gilts, although in the higher flow and slightly deeper water preference they were out of reach in most areas.  Same with Tangerines (which were not seen).  Snubnose, Greenside, and a few Bandeds made an appearance.  An adorable, quarter sized Map turtle along with a mortally wounded water snake were the only herps seen.  But it must have been the peak of Tiger Swallowtail season as they were as thick as smoke.  Other oddballs were a few longnose gar, and small Pumpkinseed sunnies.


Nick L.

#9 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 04 May 2017 - 03:34 AM

Congrats on your success. Can't wait to see the pics!!
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#10 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 04 May 2017 - 02:12 PM

Congrats Nick!  Me too, can't wait :)


Kevin Wilson


#11 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:06 AM

I have them loaded on the computer---and for those of you who post multiple pictures for trip reports, what is the best/fastest/easiest way to reduce the resolution?  Thanks.


Nick L.

#12 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 06 May 2017 - 09:36 AM

Photoscape (free download) has a "batch processor" that allows you to reduce the size, adjust contrast, color balance, etc. of many jpgs at once.


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


#13 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 06 May 2017 - 01:12 PM

Thanks for the tip, Gerald! 


Nick L.

#14 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:46 PM

So let's get the grim stuff out of the way first.  This is the injured watersnake that we found hanging on to about 2% of her life.  As you can see, there are some undeveloped, rotten eggs hanging out of her.  She was assisted into the afterlife.  

 

Attached File  bluesparP1000351.jpg   229.88KB   0 downloads

 

This poor gar was likely the result of someones feeling of it being a "trash fish".  It was found many yards from the bank.

 

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It was promising to see such signs posted, but I have a feeling they are highly disregarded. 

 

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This little Map turtle likely enjoyed the warmth of my hand as it was a cool day.  A very cute little fella.

 

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A cool suspension bridge going over the Clinch.

 

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Part 2 up next.....

 

 


Nick L.

#15 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 08 May 2017 - 09:03 PM

The female Redlines were very ripe....

 

Attached File  bluesparP1000375.jpg   200.89KB   0 downloads

 

Fired up males were just as abundant....

 

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Saw a few Banded darters, the males were still looking sharp.

 

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A standard looking Gilt.  (I say standard like I'm not impressed.  I am.  Gilts are awesome).

 

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The men-of-the-hour.  I didn't think I was going to find anything so I only had my point and shoot with me.  So apologies for not having a better [photo tank] pictures.

 

Kind of hard to see, but this is the more faded/washed out coloration of a male from the first sight where the water was much higher and murky.

 

Attached File  bluesparP1000361.jpg   215.06KB   0 downloads

 

Here is what the males looked like from the spring fed, shallow, clear stream a few miles down the river.

 

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Said stream...

 

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Nick L.

#16 Kanus

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  • Board of Directors

Posted 08 May 2017 - 09:13 PM

Heeeeeeeeey glad you found them! That's about as pretty as I've ever seen them! Definitely a joy to behold! Thanks for sharing!


Derek Wheaton

On a mountain overlooking the North Fork Roanoke River on one side, the New River Valley on the other, and a few minutes away from the James River watershed...the good life...

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#17 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
  • NANFA Member
  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 09 May 2017 - 03:25 AM

Wow, those are nice. The blue spars are really sharp.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#18 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 09 May 2017 - 07:51 AM

Great pics and report, and beautiful darters all of the, but especially those bluespars.  Wow!!!


Kevin Wilson


#19 mattknepley

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

Posted 09 May 2017 - 02:11 PM

Fantastic stuff. Gorgeous fish. These may be fightin' words in present company, but as nice as those Redlines are, they still only the third sweetest darter up there! I'm jealous of your adventure!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#20 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:48 AM

TBH, what the Redlines lack in "take-my-breath-away-handsome'ness" (copyright pending) compared to the Bluespar/Speckleds, Tangerines, Candy darters, and so-on, they make up for in personality and pizzazz.  

 

That metallic blue is incomparable, though!


Nick L.




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