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Collecting in Ocala

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#1 BigWillyTheWonka

  • NANFA Guest
  • Florida

Posted 25 July 2022 - 01:54 PM

Hello. I just moved to the Ocala area. I have no idea where to even begin to look for some species that I'd like to observe in the wild.

I'm looking for any pygmy sunfish species, Lucania goodei (bluefin killifish), Pteronotropis welaka (bluenose shiner), Pteronotropis signipinnis (flagfin shiner), or Pteronotropis metallicus (metallic shiner). Any tips or help pointing me in the right direction would be very greatly appreciated.

Edited by BigWillyTheWonka, 25 July 2022 - 01:55 PM.

#2 lilyea

  • NANFA Member
  • Peace River Watershed, Central Florida, USA

Posted 26 July 2022 - 11:23 AM

Please remember that P. welaka are designated as threatened in Florida (not federally listed) which affects the rules regarding collection.  I have collected throughout central Florida, however it has been quite some time since I have collected in the Ocala area so I don't have any specific sites to share.  You should be able to find L. goodei around the edges of slow moving ponds (in similar locations to where you would find Fundulus chrysotus).

#3 Doug_Dame

  • NANFA Member

Posted 15 August 2022 - 12:32 AM

re Pt welaka, Bruce's "affects the rules regarding collection" means "you can't collect (or harass) those in Florida." They are not common. Pt signipinnis is common in the right habitat, but you have to be at least as far west as the Apalachicola River, an hour or more west of Tallahassee. 


But Pt metallicus is local to the Ocala area. Mostly found in clear running water. An excellent location for those is Alexander Springs Creek, at the CR-445 bridge, approx 10 miles south of Astor Park (SR-40.) From your list, that site also has Lucania goodei, and, in the shallow areas near the shore, pygmy sunfish. And pygmy madtoms, bluespotted sunfish, etc.


A little further north, you have the Ocala National Forest. Some of the "prairies" there have very nice Fundulus lineolatus when they're wet, especially Hopkins Prairie. Which also have F. chrysotus and sometimes if you are lucky, F rubrifrons. 


LOTS of water in the Ocala area, a good mixture of ponds, prairies, creeks, rivers, and even springs. You can't get access to all the likely spots of course, but there's lots of options. The national forest land is nice, because other than the major spring heads, you can collect pretty much anywhere you find water. (With your fishing license, of course.) You did say you wanted "to observe" ... swimming/snorkeling at most of the springheads is permitted, there may be a small daily use/entrance fee.


I'd recommend:

* Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida - An Identification Guide and Atlas - Robins et al, 2018

* DeLorme Florida Atlas & Gazetteer.


This time of year, be especially careful about heat buildup in any buckets or containers you put any "keepers" into. Take lots of water, and monitor your temperatures too.


If you go as far east as Lake George, be careful, that area is known for having big gators. 



Doug Dame

Floridian now back in Florida

#4 FabianBigge

  • NANFA Guest
  • Southern Ohio

Posted 08 November 2022 - 02:18 AM

That was extremely helpful. Thank you so much!

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