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.
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.
I rigged up a Tanago hook with a piece of locally sourced earthworm. It didn't take long to catch a male scarlet shiner.
Followed by a male Tennessee shiner. I'll be replacing my lifelist photos for both of these species with these new ones.
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?
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!
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.
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!!
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.