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TN microfishing + snubnose ID help


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#1 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:36 PM

Got the itch last week so I took Friday off and hit the road with Lance Merry.  We drove down to north central TN and started fishing around noon.  First spot was a tributary of the Green River in KY, but we were just south the border in TN.

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Sampling data showed elegant madtoms here, but we couldn't them.  However, we were very happy to see an active chub mound that had Tennessee shiners and scarlet shiners spawning on it.  Redtail chubs are the local Nocomis species.  We saw a few in deeper pools, but they seemed to be done with the mound.

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I rigged up a Tanago hook with a piece of locally sourced earthworm.  It didn't take long to catch a male scarlet shiner.

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Followed by a male Tennessee shiner.  I'll be replacing my lifelist photos for both of these species with these new ones.

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Lance can't resist photographing an active chub mound, so he put on his mask and snorkel and got to work.  I'm honestly not sure why his ass was in the air.  Maybe it needs to breathe too?

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While Lance was taking photos, I poked around in the riffle and found some orangefin darters.  This one isn't bad, but I caught a spectacular "super male" that came off the hook before I could snap a photo.  Bummer!

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Once Lance was done, I took a turn using my waterproof point and shoot camera.  My photos aren't bad, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Lance's.

 

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We packed up and drove across the stream in my Subaru.  It made me a bit nervous but we came through the other side no problem.  However, we didn't make it down the road very far because of these two guys.  And I do mean guys, because they were both males!!  grin.gif

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Our next spot was about 5 miles upstream where the bottom switches from gravel to slab bedrock.  This is a location where I've previously tried, and failed, to catch blackfin suckers.  Once again I saw a few and even had one nibble my bait, but when I tried to set the hook, there was no fish on the end of my line.  My only consolation catch was this boss rainbow darter.

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#2 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:41 PM

Next we headed south to a stream that was stocked with redeye bass back in the 1940's.  I forget the name, but I think some NANFA folks have gone there in the past.  The population is doing quite well, because Lance and I had no problem catching them.  The teal colors are pretty weird looking for a bass.  The internets say that typical adult size is 0.5 lbs, which agrees with what we saw.
 
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A little ways downstream was a waterfall, and we hoped to catch a lunker bass out of the plunge pool, but we only found rock bass.
 
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Good old goggle eyes.  When no one else is biting, you always come through.
 
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We stayed the night in a motel and continued our journey south the next morning.  The first stream we tried didn't have very good access, but I scrambled down to try it anyway.
 
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Lance had no desire to bushwack through the poison ivy like I did.  Thank God I'm immune to it (for now).

 

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After some difficulties finding a worm to use as bait I was able to catch my target here, a male cherry darter.

 

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I also caught this shiner.  It looks like a juvenile striped shiner.

 

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#3 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:47 PM

Next we went to a public boat launch on the Barren Fork.  I found darters in the pools next to one of the bridge pilings.

 

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My first catch was an unimpressive fringed darter.  At least I'm 99% sure it's a fringed darter.  The other possibility is the very rare barrens darter, but from what I read they only inhabit the furthest upper reaches of the tributaries in this area.  The theory is that they are able to out-compete fringed darters once the stream depth is below a few inches. 
 
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There were plenty of cherry darters at this spot as well.  I was using tiny earthworms that we would dig up at each site we went to.  They worked much better than store bought redworms.
 
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Further south we crossed into the Duck River drainage, which is one of the most biodiverse rivers in the country.  Lance wanted to get his hands on a colored up flame chub to photograph, so that was our top priority.  Unfortunately, I could only find boring ones.  We were still happy to see them though.
 
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There were plenty of other fish at this spot.  The rosyside dace were looking good.
 
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I'm pretty sure this darter is a saffron, but I'm not 100% sure.  Let's call this snubnose darter #1.
 
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#4 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

Our last fishing spot was just upstream of Rutledge Falls, also in the Duck drainage.  Before we fished we walked down to the waterfall to take a look.  We don't have these in Illinois!

 

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We were again looking for colorful flame chubs, but at this spot we couldn't find any, colored up or not.  I caught a few darters that I haven't been able to ID.  Hopefully someone on here can point me in the right direction.

 

Snubnose darter #2.

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Snubnose darter #3.

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Snubnose darter #4.

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Rosyside dace were looking good at this spot as well.  This was the last fish of the trip.

 

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We were anxiously watching the weather forecast because a big line of thunderstorms was fast approaching.  We decided to cut our trip short because the streams were likely to be blown out if it rained hard.  We had about an hour before the rain started, so we drove a few minutes over to another waterfall.

 

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Lance is a big fan of aquatic plants, so he thoroughly enjoyed this spot.

 

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The first set of falls was man-made, but further downstream we found some natural falls.  It was a nice end to the trip.

 

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If you can help with the snubnose darter IDs, please say which number (#1, #2, #3, #4) you're talking about.  I'm pretty sure I got the cherry darters correct, so I didn't include them as ones I need help with.  Thanks ahead of time!



#5 BenCantrell

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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 03:23 PM

I found this range map in Phylogenetic and Coalescent Strategies of Species Delimitation in Snubnose Darters (Percidae: Etheostoma) by Harrington & Near, 2011.  So far I'm looking at E. planasaxatile and E. duryi as possible contenders.

 

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#6 mattknepley

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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:11 PM

I don't know my duryi from my planasxatile, but I know a good trip report when I see one! Great pictures, Ben. (Well, except maybe for that one featuring Lance's snorkeling exhaust manifold.) Looks like a great time. That teal on a bass is pretty different, huh?
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#7 gerald

gerald
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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:29 PM

Great shots and write-up!  Can't help with snubby-ID (NC has only one, barely) but the "poison ivy" i see looks like box elder maple.  Their leaves are very similar, but arranged opposite in the maple and alternate in P.I.  Box elder can have either 3 or 5 leaflets per leaf; P.I. always has 3. Of course real poison ivy might be under the box elder.


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


#8 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:36 PM

Thanks guys.  Yeah, the poison ivy was closer to the ground.  Probably can't make it out in that photo.



#9 Josh Blaylock

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 07:59 AM

What year was that range map from?  I think some of those have been split again.  A couple years back, Brian and I found 2-3 different snubnose species in the same location, in KY.


Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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#10 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:27 AM

It's from 2011.  I've dug through a lot of old sampling data, but it's not doing much good.  I see E. planasaxatile, duryi, simoterum, and etnieri at the least.  But you're right, there have probably been multiple splits and lumps over the years, and maybe it's not settled yet.  Are there any newer publications?



#11 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
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  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 25 May 2017 - 10:48 AM

Nice catch Ben!!


Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#12 Dustin

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 12:43 PM

Unfortunately, most of the folks that are really competent with that area, especially the snubs, like Todd Crail, Matt Ashton, Dave Neely, etc., no longer frequent the forum.  If you have their email addresses, I would suggest that route.  If you don't, let me know and I will get them for you.  We could speculate, but it would be just that.  For what it's worth, I agree that number 1 is a saffron darter.  I'm not sure I have ever seen numbers 3 and 4 and I have been all over that area.  


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC


#13 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 25 May 2017 - 03:50 PM

I don't know my duryi from my planasxatile, but I know a good trip report when I see one! Great pictures, Ben. (Well, except maybe for that one featuring Lance's snorkeling exhaust manifold.) Looks like a great time. That teal on a bass is pretty different, huh?

 

I second Matt's comment.  Great report and pics, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

I caught a musky in PA in a large sized creek that had teal fins.  I'd never seen anything like it before and have not since.  Unfortunately, we were wading and our cameras weren't waterproof or digital back then, so no pics.  That is one fish out of three others that I wish that I had a picture of, it was spectacular.

 

Every other musky that I've ever caught in MD or PA had orange fins.  Anyone have an idea what causes weird coloration like this?  Diet perhaps?


Kevin Wilson


#14 Matt DeLaVega

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  • Ohio

Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:14 PM

Is it just me, or do those rosyside dace seem to have even bigger mouths than more northern populations?

 

Looks like a great trip!


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#15 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:29 PM

I found those big mouths interesting as well.  Here's one from VA near the TN border from a few years ago.  Very different looking fish.

 

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#16 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:33 PM

Glad it wasn't just me. Those are certainly different looking than our Ohio population. The second one in your first post is a beast!


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#17 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • Peoria, IL, Illinois River drainage

Posted 25 May 2017 - 04:35 PM

I saw the red color in the water and thought I had found the biggest flame chubs ever. :(



#18 mattknepley

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

Posted 26 May 2017 - 06:05 AM

Glad it wasn't just me. Those are certainly different looking than our Ohio population. The second one in your first post is a beast!

Agreed! I've never seen 'em in person, but thought those first guys looked "bassy". Funny how the subtle differences in populations can make the same fish look so different. Although it's hard to call the increased snout length/mouth size subtle, the rest of the body shape is the same, yet different. Funny how oftentimes our minds paste together variations in color more easily than variations in shape.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#19 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 07:00 AM

Clinostomus salmoides :biggrin: Largemouth dace.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#20 zooxanthellae

zooxanthellae
  • NANFA Member
  • North Carolina

Posted 26 May 2017 - 07:13 PM

Very cool, I always enjoy your trip reports Ben! While I can't help you on the ID's, I immediately thought, "there is no way that is a rosey side" when I saw the pic. Looks quite different from our NC RSD -- interesting!





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