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Help for a rookie in North Western Ohio.


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#1 TStyers

TStyers
  • NANFA Guest

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:59 PM

Hello everyone. I am brand spanking new to native species keeping.( but not fish keeping. Have kept tropical fish for over 25 years) I have a, cycled, 75 gallon tank that I would really like to keep natives in. From my reading I think I would like to have Orange spotted sunfish and if it makes sense daces and darters. I have been trying like crazy to find and catch the sunfish. I had one but never made it to the bucket! (so far I have only managed to collect two emerald shiners and a spot fin shiner.) I am in Northwestern Ohio and any help/ advice on collecting (upping my odds) Would be very much appreciated!  Thank you all for your time! - Tom


Edited by TStyers, 18 July 2019 - 01:10 PM.


#2 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
  • NANFA Member
  • Ohio

Posted 18 July 2019 - 02:42 PM

Hi Tom,

 

Welcome aboard! The key is time and patience. I live here in Central Ohio just N of Columbus and the river near my house has them in it, but it's time and patience to catch them. I wanted an O-spot but took a beautiful Northern Longear sunfish instead. I have over 25 darters, spotfins, a blunt nose minnow, a yellow bullhead catfish, a tiny bluegill and some crayfish. The river here is loaded with fish, but timing and patience is needed to catch THAT fish that you really want.

Try your larger creeks and rivers, especially rocky bottom rivers. The Olentangy near me is rock bottom and has an abundance of various sunfish.

 

Good collecting!

 

Chris M.



#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 18 July 2019 - 04:45 PM

Mark Binkley (Jonah's Aquarium) is up that way. Sometimes he is looking for a net hand. Might drop him an email and let him know your interest. He really is an expert on Ohio fish, and is quite handy with a net. You could learn a lot from him.  A NANFA convention would really be of value, but that is quite a few months away.

 

Maybe you could tell us what you are currently doing. Are you dip netting? Angling?


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#4 JasonL

JasonL
  • NANFA Member
  • Kentucky

Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:06 PM

First thing you need to do is get a copy of Brian Zimmerman's new Fishes of Ohio book if you can find it. I got mine from the Ohio Biological Survey website recently but I'm not sure if they're still sold out or not. It will tell you everything you need to know about any native Ohio fish including collection sites for any species including L. humilis A steal at $30 imo and I reference it quite a bit even here in KY where I live.

That said, I find orangespots here in western KY either dipnetting or micro fishing the backwaters, sloughs and flood plains of major rivers in my region including the Ohio and lower Tennessee River. The more turbid and shallow the better. I'm certain the Maumee River up your way has them but I've never been there myself.

Orangespots make a great aquarium fish. I've got several of them and they are fairly unaggressive for a Lepomis and have never messed with any of my darters or shiners I keep with them. Their small size allows you to keep all sorts of micros and you can actually have a pretty diverse tank if you so choose. You could put a bunch in a 75 if that's the direction your going.

Good luck!

#5 TStyers

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  • NANFA Guest

Posted 18 July 2019 - 06:17 PM

Well, I guess I found the secret for getting orange spot sunfish. Go to the same exact spot you have microfished 6 times in the heat, driving rain with 3 different types of bait and collected nothing, zero, nada .. Except this time take your 12 year old Grandson along, yeah we had 6 in the bucket in 20 minutes!

#6 TheNonEuclidean

TheNonEuclidean
  • NANFA Member
  • SC

Posted 19 July 2019 - 12:22 AM

Yep! Dumb luck has been my best friend in collecting natives...

#7 TStyers

TStyers
  • NANFA Guest

Posted 19 July 2019 - 08:52 AM

Mark Binkley (Jonah's Aquarium) is up that way. Sometimes he is looking for a net hand. Might drop him an email and let him know your interest. He really is an expert on Ohio fish, and is quite handy with a net. You could learn a lot from him.  A NANFA convention would really be of value, but that is quite a few months away.

 

Maybe you could tell us what you are currently doing. Are you dip netting? Angling?

Thank you for the ideas, Matt! I finally got my Orange spot sunfish last evening. We "micro-fished" with tiny hooks and bits of redworm. I have yet to attempt collecting any Daces or Darters, frankly, I am unsure of where to even try locally. I will continue to research and learn. I will reach out to others for advice and mentoring. Thank you  for the feedback!



#8 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
  • NANFA Member
  • Ohio

Posted 19 July 2019 - 01:56 PM

So far, all of the Daces I have caught(Western blacknose and southern redbelly) have been in smaller, slower moving creeks in deeper holes. Darters on the other hand(at least rainbow, fantail, greenside, Johnny and banded) seem to prefer shallow rock bottom riffles areas. In the Olentangy river here at my house it's the perfect place for darters and various sunfish. Lots of shallow rocky riffles. When I wade, I literally scared over a hundred  various darters within 300 feet of wading. This was last faII. Never have caught any dace in this river, but the small 5' wide creek at my father's house has a bunch of the WBND in it and I've caught southern redbellies in it too.

 

Glad you and your grandson had a good time and were successful. Good bonding time wading the river and catching fish together.



#9 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 19 July 2019 - 02:05 PM

As Jason mentioned Brian's book is awesome. In my opinion, it is the absolute best book out there for nerds like us. It's very welcoming to the amateur fish enthusiast. Each species account not only has everything you would normally expect from a field guide or "Fishes of" book, but also has some unique features. The most valuable is probably " Best sites", where it names streams where you have a high probability of finding a given species. There is also a chapter on observing and collecting native fish.

 

 Every Ohio fish nerd needs a copy, and nerds from the rest of the country ought to get one too.

 

Logperch, blackside, sand, johnny, greenside, and orangethroat darters should all be local to you. Rainbow and fantail darters are pretty close if not local, not sure exactly where in northwest Ohio you are.

 

The only dace in your area are blacknose, but there are quite a few nice shiners and minnows up your way.  Some notable species are redfin shiner, spotfin shiner, and emerald shiner. Bluntnose minnows and central stonerollers would be a challenge NOT to find.

 

So these fish and more are in your area. The trick now is to learn what type of habitat each prefers. Bluntnose minnows and central stonerollers for example just don't care, you'll find them everywhere. You can find johnny, greenside and orangethroat darters in small streams. You can find johnny, and greenside darters in large streams, but you will almost never find an orangethroat anywhere but a small headwater stream in Ohio. Now in some places, Oklahoma comes to mind, orangethroat darters occupy large streams. Obviously sand darters need sand, but they also prefer bigger water. You really won't see them too much outside the main stem of the Maumee in northwest Ohio.  Most darters like riffles, but not all. Sand darters, johnny darters and blackside darters have different habitat preferences. The sand darter is the obvious exception. Johnny darters prefer sandy areas adjacent to riffles. Blacksides would rather be hunkered down in a root wad in a sluggish area. Just scratching the surface here.

 

 So depending on the habitat preference and habits of your target species you can choose your sampling method. Microfishing is perfect for OSS, and probably the only legal way to collect them. Kind of a grayish area there. Dipnetting works great in small streams and in vegetation. Dipnets also work well in larger streams if you set up downstream of a rock and flip it. Hopefully chasing whomever is home into your net. You can't beat a seine in larger water. Minnows and shiners and other quick fish are much easier to collect with a seine. Each method has various techniques. Honestly, writing this is reminding me of how much there really is to learn about something that appears so basic. Again just scratching the surface.

 

Laws. Important to educate yourself on these. I expect since you are microfishing  for OSS, you have a handle on that already.

 

This native fish thing really adds another dimension to fish keeping. I hope this helps a bit.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#10 TStyers

TStyers
  • NANFA Guest

Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:24 PM

Thank you all for the advice! I will continue to educate myself. A lot to learn but I sure am enjoying it!

#11 mattknepley

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

Posted 20 July 2019 - 08:07 PM

I will second the suggestions to get Zimmerman's book.  Everything Jason and DLV said is spot on.  If you're wanting to study up, that book'll larn ya quick. 


Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."



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