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Shiner and sunfish ID help - southern Kentucky

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#1 kunzend

  • NANFA Guest
  • Utica, KY

Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:29 PM

Hello - Im new to the forum. My son and I have begun trying to work our way through a life list of species found in Kentucky. We canoed Drakes Creek last weekend near Bowling Green, KY a few miles upstream from its confluence with Barren River. After taking these photos and reviewing at home I realized they may not contain the detail needed to identify the shiner, but thought it was worth a try to ask anyway.
I am using the Peterson field guide. I suspect either a Silver or Emerald shiner and a longear or orange spotted sunfish hybrid. Am I on the right track?
Thanks in advance - any advice on this post and references/ tips for future ID would be greatly appreciated. If identified these would be our 16th and 17th species found together. Really having fun with this.

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Edited by kunzend, 12 August 2019 - 07:31 PM.

#2 JasonL

  • NANFA Member
  • Kentucky

Posted 12 August 2019 - 11:16 PM

The sunfish is a central longear (L. megalotis) and not a hybrid. I wouldn't disagree with Silver shiner (N. photogenis) and they are fairly common in the watershed you fished.

You already have a Petersons which is an excellent start for reference materials. Since your just starting out, I would also suggest the newly released Fishes of Ohio book by Daniel Rice and Brian Zimmerman. It's actually a good reference for Kentucky fishes since the species of the two states overlap quite a bit. I use it frequently here in KY. It's a easy read with excellent pictures and field ID pearls. Not real expensive either. There's not really a (recent) similar reference specifically for KY I have found.

Have fun. If you make it a little further west of the Lakes area here in KY send me a PM and I'll put you on some spots that can really build up your life list in short order. . Kentucky is blessed with great fish diversity. Good luck.

#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:51 AM

Welcome. I agree with Jason on longear, and the shiner looks more like a silver to me than it does emerald. The lack of  detached scales on your hand also suggests that your fish is not an emerald. That being said, I am not very good with shiner ID's and there appears to be 9 Notropis possible in the Barren watershed. http://fishmap.org/watershed/05110002.html (Maybe there are only 8, as rosyface are listed as well as highland shiner. Highland were fairly recently split from rosyface, so I assume that all Barren river rosyface are now considered highland shiner. JASON?) Bottom line, I believe you have a silver shiner, but for an accurate life list, that may not be enough for you. I would suggest a photo of the top of the head to be certain.


In the future, I would suggest you get a photo tank. There are several options for this, but I like to suggest https://www.tenkarabum.com/3x5-photo-tank.html You may already be familiar with this site, I see your "Kebari" type fly.


 Another good reference for Kentucky is "The Fishes of Tennessee"  This link should work to download the online version. https://www.research...es_of_Tennessee


http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/18006-nanfacon2020-columbia-south-carolina/#entry152935 The 2020 convention would be a fantastic event for you and your son to attend. It's earlier in the year than most have been (to try to catch fish in prime spawning color), so it may not coincide with your son's spring break, but if you can swing it, GO. The educational aspects justify missing a couple days of school in my opinion.


Good luck on the new adventure!

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#4 JasonL

  • NANFA Member
  • Kentucky

Posted 13 August 2019 - 08:28 AM

Yeah I would also suggest downloading the Fishes of Tennessee book asap. It's free and I actually use that quite a bit too.

Also if you go to the KDFWR website you can find a fish species list by county with links to pics. It's under the wildlife tab and it's a pretty cool feature. It's in need of an update but it's good enough for our purposes most of the time.

So actually between your Petersons, Fishes of Tennessee and the KDFWR website you should be in pretty good shape for KY identifications at minimal expense.

Enjoy and don't be shy about posting your findings here on the forum.

#5 kunzend

  • NANFA Guest
  • Utica, KY

Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:00 AM

Thank you all for the help and references. Great info. Im going to order a photo tank. The 2020 convention sounds like a great event too. And Jason yes I may message you about some other nearby areas in KY to check out.
Thanks again.

#6 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
  • NANFA Member
  • Ohio

Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:59 AM

Definitely a silver shiner. I have caught a bunch of them here in Central Ohio.


Chris m.

#7 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
  • Board of Directors
  • Central Kentucky

Posted 14 August 2019 - 01:35 PM

I'm going to vote for Silver Shiner also.

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

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