Dustin Smith, Dick Norwood and his daughter Emily, Dan Hagley (from
Riverbanks Zoo), Ed (a guy that works with Dustin whose last name I can't
recall), my daughter Stephanie, and I went out collecting Friday
afternoon (May 24). Our main target was to get some Elassoma boehlkei for
the zoo's species maintenance program. We were hoping to find some new
locations for them so that we didn't over collect from the
spot we usually visit. Our first stop was at Scape Ore Swamp at Hwy 34. We
were denied access from one side of the road but, the landowner from the
other side, upon hearing the man tell us no, says "y'all can go on down from
my side. I don't mind". I think he and the other guy are feuding.....lol.
We thanked him and promised to stop by on our way out to show him some of the
fish we were looking for. He also told us there was a 7 or 8 ft gator down
there from time to time. Thankfully, we didn't see it. At this spot we
found these fish:
Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus) the most attractive I've ever seen
Mud Sunfish (Acantharcus pomotis)
Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus)
Blackbanded Sunfish (Enneacanthus chaetodon)(juv)
Banded Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma zonatum)
Pirate Perch (Aphrododerus sayanus)(juv)
Swampfish (Chologaster cornuta)(juv)
Sawcheek Darter (Etheostoma serrifer)
Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus)
Eastern Mudminnow (Umbra pygmaea)

We left this spot and, after showing the landowner the fish and thanking him
for the accesss, he told us of another spot we should try. Dustin and I have
it marked for a visit at a later date. Our main goal here was to get Mud
Sunfish for a few people that had requested some. Also, I should note, was
the large number of juvenile swampfish we found. At times we had two or
three in one dip.

From here we went to a spot on Big Pine Tree Creek, upstream of our normal
spot. Here the current was very fast and the water deep so we didn't find
very much. Our only specimens here were a Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) and a
Margined Madtom (Noturus insignus). So, we headed on to the next spot.

This site is a small tributary of Big Pine Tree Creek. There was much
roadside litter here but it was still a better site than the previous one.
This is what we found:
Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei)
Ironcolor Shiner (Notropis chalybaeus)
Chain Pickerel (Esox niger)
Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus)
Mud Sunfish (Acantharchus pomotis)
Sawcheek Darter (Etheostoma serrifer)
Eastern Mudminnow (Umbra pygmaea)
Pirate Perch (Aphrododerus sayanus)

We left this spot, mainly because we still had not found any E.boehlkei and
Dan needed some for the zoo. He was like a kid in a toy store. He was
keeping both types of pickerel, Bluespotted Sunfish, Lined Topminnows and was
really getting into the collecting. We may wind up having a new NANFA
member. I let him look at my new AC and he really enjoyed it. Anyway, we
went down to the spot at Big Pine Tree Creek at Hwy 34 where we always find
E.boehlkei. This is what we found:
Carolina Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma boehlkei)
Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus)
Eastern Mudminnow (Umbra pygmaea)
Bluespotted Sunfish (Enneacanthus gloriosus)
Pirate Perch (Aphrododerus sayanus)
Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus)
Swampfish (Chologaster cornuta)
Flier (Centrarchus macropterus)
Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)

After we left, Dan, who was riding with me, was talking about some of the
fish he would like to have at the zoo and mentioned Bowfin. I told him I had
one and would give it to them. We arranged for me to take it to them the
next day (Saturday). Stephanie and I took my Bowfin to Dan at the zoo the
next day. He took us in and showed us around, behind the scenes. While we
were there he fed their Pacific Giant Octopus and let Steph touch it or
should I say let it touch her. He then took us into the Galapagos Tortoise
exhibit and let Steph rub the big ones neck. He spent alot of time showing
her around and she was having a ball. Stephanie and I spent about 4 hrs
there. He gave me some free zoo passes to use and said he would like to go
with us again sometime. Sounds like we've got him hooked!

Monday (Memorial Day), I went with Fritz Rohde. We had initially planned on
going towards Canadys and looking for Bannerfin Shiners (Cyprinella leedsi)
in the Edisto River but changed our plans and decided to initially look for
Broadtail Madtoms (Noturus spp.) in the South Fork Edisto. Fritz's backpack
shocker wasn't working, a fact we didn't discover until we got to the second
spot. We kind of suspected this but weren't sure at the first site. Anyway,
we put the canoe in at the public boat ramp on the South Fork Edisto at hwy
39 around 8:30am. From there we paddeled upstream for about a quarter mile
(seemed alot farther). We tried to shock on various settings but didn't get
anything other than Grass shrimp. We finally decided to seine down stream,
kick seine and toss seine. This is what we got:
Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata)
Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi)
Sailfin Shiner (Pteronotropis hypselopterus)
Dusky Shiner (Notropis cummingsae)
Coastal Shiner (Notropis petersoni)
Bannerfin Shiner (Cyprinella leedsi)
Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoedus emeiliae)
Chain Pickerel (Esox niger)
Redfin Pickerel (Esox americanus)
Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Margined Madtom (Noturus insignus)

Fritz was glad to find the Bannerfin Shiner (we only got one and it was a
female) but was dissapointed that we didn't get at least one Broadtail
Madtom. From here we headed to the North Fork Edisto at hwy 3. There wasn't
much to be found here. We discovered the shocker wasn't working when we
couldn't stun Gambusia at the ramp. It seemed like they just laughed at us.
They must have thought we were training them to go through the hoop. This is
what we found here:
Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata)
Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi)
Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Margined Madtom (Noturus insignus)

We headed on to our last spot from here. It was at Bull Swamp Creek on a
side road off of SSR 73. There was some road construction going on nearby,
but the side we sampled was clear and had a good sandy bottom in most areas.
Here we got the following:
Dusky Shiner (Notropis cummingsae)
Coastal Shiner (Notropis petersoni)
Pugnose Minnow (Opsopoedus emeiliae)
Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata)
Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi)
Margined Madtom (Noturus insignus)

The Bannerfin Shiner from the first site, while it was nice looking, was
larger than I had expected and all of the shiners, at the last spot, were
pretty good sized for those types. I told Fritz of our trip on Friday and,
when I told him about all the swampfish, he said he wished he had told us
sooner that he had some people who want some to try and breed. He thinks the
small ones would adjust to captivity better. Guess that means we'll be going
back sometime...I showed him the site on the map and told him which side to
go down on. We did have a pretty good time, even though we didn't get the
stuff he wanted. I brought home some Sailfin and Dusky Shiners along with one
Pugnose Minnow and a couple of Blackbanded Darters. We were surprised that we
didn't find any type of sunfish, a fact Fritz mentioned quite a few times.
Luckily, we didn't see any snakes or gators either.

Chip Rinehart
South Carolina