First, I'd like to complement the board, the people that keep it running, and it's patrons for cultivating what appears to be a respectable community of like-minded individuals. I've learned a lot already from the numerous guides and posts about native fish keeping. Thank you for being here and open to inquiring minds. As a terminal hobbyist, I've navigated quite a few toxic, dysfunctional forums over the years.
Growing up in rural Kentucky resulted in a becoming a lifelong fisherman and admirer of the great outdoors. I've kept various pets from my early teens to now (32) - reptiles, fish, small mammals, dogs, cats. With the exception of man's best friend, I find myself returning to fish keeping. I'm currently about 7 months into a successful 75g freshwater community (corydoras, danios, cichlids) and have kept FW invert tanks, brackish, blackwater, planted high tech to fake plants and no tech, from community to aggressive species - just about everything short of straight saltwater or those ridiculous custom tanks seen on tv.
On a fishing trip during the summer, after reeling in a bright orange and neon blue, feisty male longear, something dangerous began occuring...
I started thinking about how cool it would be to keep, observe, and interact with the same longears, redears and pumpkinseeds I've been catching for years!
Now that some time has passed and the idea remains, there's another motivation that has emerged:
My father passed away just over a year ago; fishing was where we bonded and has made it a lot different for me now. We fished together often, even after I moved away, got married, started a career. I do still enjoy fishing, I just haven't acclimated to the change fully- the memories are very strong and the silence of nature is somehow even more silent.
When I think about my dad, I think about fishing and vice versa. Keeping some of those same fish dad and I used to catch when I was a kiddo would be sort of a memorial to him, to the skills and lessons imparted to me and the many happy memories.
A positive note: I now organize my mother, sister, and I to go on day fishing trips like dad and I used to. We went to his favorite little lake on the anniversary of his passing this year (and had an awesome day reminiscing and catching more fish than I ever remember coming out of those waters with perfect weather).
I didn't plan on getting soft and emotional - is this what happens as you get older?
Time to digress...
I'm off to the internet to see how unprepared I would be for such a venture; imagine my surprise to discover most of the native fish I'd be interested in keeping are easier to keep than most of the fish I've kept in the past. Sunfish for sure, madtoms, darters, maybe even a logperch or two.
I've got the equipment and means to keep native fishes, now I need to plan out stocking and setup. I'm also flirting with the idea of catching/trapping my preferred specimens - still need to research the legality and feasibility of that.
Now that that's out - thank you for having me and a gratuitous thank you to anyone that actually read my short story. I look forward to picking some brains and filling my own!