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Adventures Of Natureman

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#1 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:56 AM

This summer I've been scouring the countryside for fish flowers and anything else nice and neat - finding the hidden secrets of central Illinois ;) A few times I’ve wondered out of state but mostly it's been solo and typically local. I’ve completely slacked on posting fishy trip reports as they’ve occurred so I’ll slim down the multi topic shenanigans into one with all my adventures as I begin sifting through summertime photos.

Ohio/Michigan Extravaganza

Several weeks ago Todd so cordially invited me to his birthday bash for a fish and flowers weekend extravaganza. I made the 5.5 hour trip to Todd’s house to arrive at a friday night department party filled with awesome people and great laughs.

Day 1: Saturday morning, Todd led the way to Ann Harbor to host a program for kids at a retention pond behind an apartment complex. Todd and Jeremy sampled for a bit before turning the gears to what was living out of the water. For an urban retention pond, the flower lineup was impressive in my eyes.


Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Largemouth (Micropterus salmoides)
Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus)
Hybrid Sunfish (macrochirus x cyanellus & macrochirus x gibbosus)

We ate lunch and headed to a nature preserve. Awesome place.

Explorer Todd

Northern Ribbon Snake

Bushy St Johnswort

Soon after we proceeded to a stream not far away. I didn’t bring my waders because it was blasting hot in Illinois all week, not in Ohio. Thank god Todd had some on hand. It was considerably mild that weekend. For those that know me would agree, hell must freeze over before I’d go on an endeavor with waders, a shirt on, and long pants…that day, waders, long pants, and a shirt, all day. It was cold and quite pleasant. Uland could even had taken pictures of me that day :D


This was my first experience seeing northern longears; very neat compared to what I have at home. I think Todd took a photo of the really nice one, awesome looking fish. The chubsuckers we got were very small and seemed surprisingly fragile.

Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta)
Central Mudminnow (Umbra limi)
Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus)
Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
Northern Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis peltastes)
Warmouth Sunfish (Lepomis gulosus)
Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus)

Central Mudminnow

Grass Pickerel: with a leach on its mouth.

Norther Longear Sunfish

That night during story time I tried feeding Todd homemade blackberry wine for a birthday present, in turn, he fed me blackberry cobbler, with walnuts. It was absolutely delicious, and so was the benadryl induced coma since I’m allergic to nuts. The cobbler was so good I’d do it again 8)

Day 2: Sunday morning we took a walk through Kitty Todd until it got warm enough to get wet.


I had no words for what I saw…blew my mind that that much diversity existed in a single place all flowering at that given moment.


Grass Pink Orchid

Orange Fringed Orchid

Round-leaved Sundew
The rest can be viewed here: Ohio/Michigan Set

We then went to a cottage on a pot & kettle lake. Being my first time at a natural lake, I was quite impressed.


It even had it’s own spring and skunk cabbage seep!


We intended to snorkel, but between that particular days wind and boat traffic, the water was slightly murky around the shore. We did get quite a bit during our sample. I’m sure I’m missing things. Todd will have to chime in and verify what we got. I’ve slept since then and don’t remember what all those silver jobbies were from either lake.

Blackchin Shiner (Notropis heterodon)
Blacknose Shiner (Notropis heterolepis)
Logperch (Percina caprodes)
Iowa Darter (Etheostoma exile)
Least Darter (Etheostoma microperca)
Pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus)
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Redear (Lepomis microlophus)
Largemouth (Micropterus salmoides)
Brook/Rainbow Trout

Jury still may be out for what exactly those juvenile trout were. I’d be eager to go back when the spring is really churning in hopes of evicting some adults. Here's Todd's topic on it: Brook or Rainbow?
Overcast and drizzle plagued us with less than optimal photo conditions. I did salvage a few photos.

Pumpkinseed Sunfish
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1090.jpg

Iowa Darter
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1070.jpg

I met some awesome people, saw some mind blowing things, and brought back 750 pictures worth in Ohio/Michigan memories. I’d like to thank Todd and his wife for their hospitality, showing me around, and putting up with me all weekend. This trip was amazing!

#2 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:47 AM

It looks like you've been having all kinds of fun, Lance! Those orchid shots are especially nice. I really need to do some exploring in Yankee territory one of these days.

I'm afraid your snake is actually Thamnophis sirtalis (common gartersnake), not T. sauritus. T. sauritus will have unpatterned oak brown flanks below the lateral stripe; both of the ribbons (T. sauritus and T. proximus) have much reduced pattern between the stripes and lack the Nerodia-like dark labial marks (one old-time herper I knew called that pattern "granddaddy mouth" and taught it to kids as a field character to distinguish Nerodia from cottonmouths). The proportions are a bit off too; ribbons have tiny heads.

Edited by Newt, 06 August 2009 - 09:48 AM.

#3 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 03:43 PM

Thanks Nathan!
Garter it is. Some of those snakes kill me on ids. I don't have my snake eyes yet.

#4 Guest_blakemarkwell_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:01 PM

Great report and most importantly, looks like you enjoyed yourself. I agree with Nathan, those orchid shots are awesome but of course I love anything with a black background ;) . Makes the flowers pop and that is a cute little garter as well!


#5 Guest_Uland_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:03 PM

That looks like a darn good time guys.
I'm glad you had fun and thanks for posting.

#6 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:12 PM

Pretty danged awesome, Lance. You're welcome any time!

You should see it right now... The Liatris is just SICK.

Attached File  liatris.jpg   78.2KB   9 downloads

Went out and listed 11 species of orchids last Saturday (not all in bloom). Finally got a purple fringed orchid in Lucas County.

Attached File  Purple_Fringed_Orchid.jpg   64.14KB   4 downloads

Attached File  Purple_Fringed_Orchid_Macro.jpg   57.96KB   1 downloads

Also had a little fun with a club-spur orchid that'll look like this in a macro...

Attached File  Club_Spur_Orchid.jpg   56.38KB   1 downloads

But it's actually - this - big....

Attached File  Club-Spur_Orange-Fringed_sm.jpg   125.3KB   1 downloads

Or is it that the orange-fringed are that big? I dunno.

More soon. Also picked up Canada lily while down in southern Ohio last week getting rained OUT. 1,000 miles for 1 replicate = no fun!


#7 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:08 AM

Oh my Todd, that amazing. It's like austin powers and mini me. I'm so jealous. Seems like over there there's a new party blooming every weekend.

Great report and most importantly, looks like you enjoyed yourself. I agree with Nathan, those orchid shots are awesome but of course I love anything with a black background ;) . Makes the flowers pop and that is a cute little garter as well!

Thanks Blake. I really got a kick out of the grass pinks shots - already printed off a few for the portfolio. That is most important. I think I learned more that weekend than I did all last year, class included.

Jeremy lost me in the woods over that garter. He was following me with some distance, turned around and back and I was gone. Really I was crawling around with my amateur snake skills trying to corner that stinker.

Edited by natureman187, 07 August 2009 - 12:10 AM.

#8 Guest_BTDarters_*

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:08 PM

Lance, Todd,

Those are great photos and it looks like you guys had a great time! Nature's cool, ain't it?


#9 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:26 PM

Thanks guys!

Did I mention our department pays full tuition and a $15,000 stipend for masters students (with all students receiving full support)? <very evil grin>


#10 Guest_threegoldfish_*

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:48 PM

all[/u] students receiving full support)? <very evil grin>

Wow. You wouldn't happen to have a campus closer to DC, would you? :D

#11 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 11:48 PM

Quest for the Orangespotted Sunfish

I decided one day after a long day of mowing I wanted to reward myself by viewing my favorite sunnies of all time before it was too late in the year, the Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis). Since it’s significant work catching them in the seine, I decided to dust off the fishing gear. To my surprise, I found I’d previously depleted all my secret weapons and of course in my inevitable wisdom, never restocked, so the quest for the elusive orangespotted sunfish begins.

Solder, nymph hooks, blades…propane. Finally I tracked down all I needed, grabbed the needle torch, and started the assembly line. Turned on the radio, mixed a drink, and fired up the torch - welcome to an evening in the nerd dome of a handyman. Big boy tools got replaced by precision tools. The workbench had turned into a craft bench. Anyone like vinyl paint? The dreaded vinyl paint came in handy to cover my rusty soldering skills, at least the fumes led me to believe.


White primer, two coats of orange, white eyes, black pupils, and clear coat done for the unveiling of the finished product.

And with the prize:

One of my places of interest was a third mile stretch in between a set of 3 dams below the local lake. I was checked for a valid fishing license here for the first time ever. I was the only one checked. From what I gathered there was a complaint. Weird, I hadn’t moved in three hours. The local herd of bank dwelling trash of the earth at that popular location MUST have been jealous of my floating bucketful of 3 inch beauties. He made me wade all the way back up to shore so I made him sift through my packet of multi state fishing licenses…from the past 3 years. Pictured is below the middle dam, not the most productive for the target specie, but the most photogenic of the three.

Those little suckers loved to fling off the hook while attempting the simple airborne grab. After watching the biggest most beautiful males repeatedly fling off into the watery world of ‘not my bucket’ I decided to cut out the step of handling them. It soon turned into a smooth, hands free, two second procedure of hooked and safely freed in my bucket. Then, and only then I would handle and gawk at them. The reward? An entire day in cool knee deep water catching dozens of the most beautiful 3 inch sunfish the midwest has to offer at a site totally uncovered myself, on something completely fabricated myself, with a huge smile on my face the whole time.

Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis)

The photo tank got heavy abuse that day and with the perfect lighting I somehow managed to get from the tailgate of the truck, cut and paste, my shots required no editing to satisfy my standards. I took pictures in three batches throughout the day and it’s quite obvious. The later in the day, the more glare I had on the backdrop.

Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1684.jpg
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1705.jpg
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1862.jpg

Juvenile Male
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1673.jpg

http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1184.jpg

Have to have a mug.
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1239.jpg

And when I hook the world record orangespotted sunfish (or flathead) it always gets away ;)
One benefit to unintentionally detempering hooks…fish that have no prayer of getting landed on super ultra light equipment bends the hook and it can be bent right back.

Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis)

http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1221.jpg

#12 Guest_Casper Cox_*

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 07:53 AM

A wonderful adventure. I much enjoy the way you write, the photos and your witty attitude.
Keep them posted.
Im off to a North Georgia adventure in 5 minutes.

#13 Guest_panfisherteen_*

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 12:19 PM

now thats UL fishing :cool: those are some pretty little fish, well done =D>

#14 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 04:35 PM

Vahry nice-ah, Lance. That does work well. I had figured ice flies might even be too big, but I guess not. Did you tip them with wax worms or anything?


#15 Guest_BTDarters_*

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 04:43 PM


That's such a great story and pics! You really have a way with words, and with the camera! Wow! Thanks for sharing!


#16 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 05:46 PM

A wonderful adventure. I much enjoy the way you write, the photos and your witty attitude.
Keep them posted.
Im off to a North Georgia adventure in 5 minutes.

Ohhhh Casper, keep us updated. Looking forward to the read.

Todd, I'm tipping them with night crawlers. Waxys aren't very durable and seem to induce fish feeding. I've tried smaller things before with a larger bycatch ratio...bullhead minnows and logperch are pains to hook.

panfisherteen, it's ultra light to the extreme :D I'd really enjoy using even lighter equipment but have yet to find what I'm looking for - it doesn't seem to be popular ;) If you run across something let me know!

Thanks for the kinds words Brian!

#17 Guest_panfisherteen_*

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 05:50 PM

you would like this article then:
I might try using some ice fishing jigs i have tipped with gulp waxies for catching pumpkinseeds in the near future

#18 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:37 AM

Local Outings

My local outings have been quite simple, on the down low, mainly solo, and to the point. Without any epic issues to speak of, I don’t have any massive stories to go along. I did get some quality photos worth sharing and a bunch more knowledge to pack away in the noggin. I treated myself to all new seines this summer. I got enough help one day to try out the two new bag seines…the 10 foot bagger is a small stream Cyprinella slaughterer. I was so impressed with what it produced even though it’s actually a split instead of a bag.

Watershed 1:
One of the more photogenic sites on the muddy giant.

Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis)

Spotfin Shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)

Redfin Shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis)

Orangethroat Darter (Etheostoma spectabile)

Slenderhead Darter (Percina phoxocephala)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1478.jpg

Streamside flora:
Whorled Milkweed

Watershed 2:
Several outings occurred here throughout the summer. I was a bit disappointed with my favorite site in all of Illinois. It appeared all the rocks were turned over at my favorite riffle the first time I arrived. I think someone did some serious darter collecting. I had a hard time producing any darter. So I scouted out another more secluded site and pulled up the usual goldmine. I also had no idea how eager massive Cyprinella were to get out of my bucket. One trip, I went to photograph and didn’t have any of the four collected. I doubted they would fit in my small photo tank anyway, now I would never know.

http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1930.jpg

It’s nice to now own a vehicle not bound by pavement.

Only thing I failed to get was sand darters. The bluebreast slabs had me preoccupied.

Bluebreast Darter (Etheostoma camurum)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2001.jpg
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1736.jpg
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1749.jpg

Steelcolored Shiner (Cyprinella whipplei)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2464.jpg
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1346.jpg

Brindled Madtom (Noturus miurus) Now I know the dorsal spine is just as nasty as the sides. My thumb got stuck and caught on fire…then disappeared for about 30 minutes.
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1409.jpg

Bigeye Chub (Hybopsis amblops)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1645.jpg

Goldeye maybe?
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2458.jpg

Wavy-rayed Lampmussel? Only shell I found all day.

Riverside flora:
Obedient Plant
Tall Bellflower

Bruce, does this count as a shirt sighting? ;)

Can’t have a successful day without a Queen Snake sighting!

I assumed our canoe trip here was just a fish outing until I discovered our pull out point had a prairie restoration...orchids!

And just when you think you’re nerdy, this gets in front of you - life size Star Wars storm trooper helmet peering out a hatchback...I felt better about myself 8)

Watershed 3:
Central Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) I was sooooo looking forward to more of these but I got rained on….again.
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1604.jpg

Gives the mobile fish photo lab a whole new definition, Lance stile.

And when a consistent rustle in the jungle of shrubbery occurs arms distance from the mobile photo lab, the chirping bigfoot really just wants the field setup moved 5 feet, somewhere.
Song Sparrow!

Watershed 4:
I doubt I will ever go here again due to it’s physical attributes lacking everything but mud and branches, but the species lineup was intense. Repeated seine hauls yielded a bullhead, stonecat, slenderhead darter, orangespotted sunfish, and hogsucker. When does that happen? I was shocked such a slow soft prairie stream could support so many stonecats and hognoses.


Stonecat (Noturus flavus)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1905.jpg

Grass Pickerel (Esox americanus)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2394.jpg

Northern Hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1900.jpg

White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2440.jpg

Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2309.jpg

Ironcolor Shiner (Notropis chalybaeus)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 2370.jpg

Suckermouth Minnow (Phenacobius mirabilis)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1977.jpg

Spotfin Shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)
http://gallery.nanfa...icture 1926.jpg

Raided a coon pile for you musselheads to id.


Edited by Michael Wolfe, 01 April 2015 - 07:24 PM.

#19 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:58 PM

Bruce, does this count as a shirt sighting?

Yeah, it does, we need all we can get!

#20 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:48 PM

Man, great pics!

The first one is a wavy-rayed, as you suspected. The second picture - pistolgrip, mapleleaf, wabash pigtoe, corbicula (in front), pimpleback.


Edited by farmertodd, 25 August 2009 - 06:48 PM.

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