I thought some of y'all might be interested in the field trip that we had on Saturday June 22, 2019 at Grove Point in Proctor Creek inside the perimeter in Atlanta.
We met at about 10:00 am and briefed the participants on the basics of fish identification and provided some checklists and such. We had a variety of agencies represented including folks from the City of Atlanta. We also had a number of local citizens. We started with maybe 15 people.
- Gambusia - We saw 100s of these as we first approached the stream, including some truly huge females and the largest male that I have ever personally seen. We did not target this species or their habitat, but they were very abundant.
- White Sucker - These were fairly common in the 2-4 inch range. Most still had their juvenile "three spot" markings. We saw no large individuals, but that may have been due to our technique and number of people stomping around.
- Alabama Hogsucker - These were also fairly common, but at a smaller size. Lots of 1 inch individuals and only a few that were in the 3-4 inch range.
- Yellow Bullhead Catfish - Only caught one individual while stomping woody debris. Had him in the photo tank and could clearly see that he was not a snail bullhead and could also clearly see the white lower barbels. He was very dark, no doubt to match the substrate.
- Golden Shiner - I only positively identified one individual that was about 1 inch long, but the anal fin and lack of much other color was pretty distinctive. There were no doubt other individuals mixed in but they were not the dominant species.
- Bluefin Stoneroller - This was the dominant species. There were literally hundreds. We saw large herds, grazing the algae covered substrate in groups of 20-30 individuals. And they were in all kinds of smaller sizes. We did not see any terminal males or any individual over 4 inches. But we saw lots and lots 1 inch individuals and tons of 2-3 inch fish.
- Red Shiner - Breeding colors and tuberculate males were readily apparent. Again, we saw easily over 100 individuals of this species during the few hours we seined, and again we were not targeting them, just looking for diversity. In some cases, just walking the stream you could look down in the water and see 20 fish go by and 5 or 6 of them would be sky blue and purple. We had a hard time with humidity affecting our pictures, so they are not the best, but even still you can clearly see the tuberculed nose on the individual in the photo.
- White Crappie - We only caught the one 4 inch individual, but we were very excited, as I did not see this species listed in any of the previous reports. This was in the pool complex below the waterfall. Again, we had inexperienced seine handlers and only really made one pass through the pool, so there should be more there (hopefully exercising their piscivorous ways on red shiners).
- Bluegill Sunfish - We caught a half dozen or so in the 4 inch range in the pools below the falls. They were nicely colored up and healthy looking.
- Redbreast Sunfish - We saw fewer of these than Bluegill, and none were fired up as I have seem larger males, but they were nice looking. We had seen one perfectly formed sunfish nest close to where we entered the creek, but it was empty (no one defending). We also saw some "fit on your thumbnail" sized individuals in the weeds, but I cannot identify anything at that size other than just "sunfish".
- Blackbanded Darter - We got three of three different sizes in the first seine haul through a fast running channel. The largest was normal non-spawning size maybe four inches max. The next was only 3 and the third small... maybe only an inch and a half. We saw several more as by catch in other seine hauls. We could have likely gotten a couple dozen if we had stayed in their habitat, but we were all over the place with the public participants.