It wasn't long before we called for the one diving-mask-sans-snorkel that we had, and the real fish nuts showed their true stripes by first trying to just put their heads under, and finally lying right down in the water to get a better look. Our dedication to the endeavor was further proven by the fact that this was done while holding our breath due to the lack of snorkel. Once you get all the way into the water, waders are pretty well defeated, so they were jettisoned in favor of full contact with the rather comfortable water.
We were intrigued with this spawning phenomenon when carefully viewing it from below the surface of the water through the diving mask. This presents a whole different perspective on these animals. Who says you have to travel thousands of miles away to witness nature's beauty?! On the contrary, in this crowded portion of the state, these fish are still doing what they have been doing for generation after generation in spite of how technologically dependent the world has become! Well, that is just what I thought after seeing this! It was some kind of experience, for at least a few minutes, to be a guest in their home. Though completely enthralled, I finally had to come up for air. Next time we'll remember the snorkel!
As we seined the entire pool with one sweep, the catch was bountiful as the net, when pulled to the surface, was shimmering with colorful breeding central stonerollers and common shiners all of which were very large in size. The male stonerollers were festooned with black, gold and orange and felt like sandpaper, their bodies covered with nuptial tubercles. The common shiners were anything but common, with crimson fins and pink and red across their flanks. As we watched the fishes on their nests, we also observed male and female rainbow darters apparently spawning right along side the minnows in the clean gravel substrate. Nearby the several pit nests, we also captured giant creek chubs with salmon pink sides and stout horns (tubercles) along their heads. With the creek chubs, in deeper water, we also found white suckers with tubercles on their anal and caudal fins and a wide blackish band running along their sides. The riprap rocks on the opposite bank yielded bluntnose minnows, male and female. The males were in their full dress black, apparently guarding and enticing mates into their nests. It was a treat to find these fishes in such clear water where they could be observed from above and below the surface, and we were fortunate enough to capture on film several catches of the day.