North Fork Edisto River Collections -- July 22, 2002

After visiting this creek on July 19th, Dustin and I had decided we needed to sample more spots along its run. We picked two spots from our map and, along with Dan Hagley from Riverbanks Zoo, headed out after work.

The first spot looked really inviting but was very deep. We weren't able to sample as well or as far as we had planned. The current was strong and the water was clear, deceptively clear as Dustin soon had the water break over the top of his waders. Brrrrrr, it was least that's what he said. Anyhoo, we spent about 15 minutes here and decided to move on. These are the few fish that we found:

Site # 072202-1 Black Creek / North Fork Edisto drainage

Dusky Shiner (Notropis cummingsae)
Spotted Sunfish (Lepomis punctatus)
Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata)

Just downstream, but within sight, from this spot was a privately owned picnic/recreation area complete with sliding board, rope swing and diving board out over the creek. Would have been nice to be able to use it because we were having one of our normal South Carolina summer days.

From this spot, we headed back upstream to a spot closer to the original sampling site from several days earlier. This place turned out to be almost as nice of a spot as our original one. Again, we had a strong flow and the water was hip to chest deep. The water was very clear with a little tannin-stain, and the bottom was very sandy. Vegetation was all around, both on the bank and in the water. Dustin went in over his waders again, only this time it wasn't just a splash. Dan and I both had "over the wader" episodes here, though nothing as dramatic as Dustin. We caught a large chain pickerel, which Dan wanted to keep to put on display at the zoo. Luckily, he had a scientific collection permit which allowed this since pickerel are considered gamefish here in SC. We collected the following fish at this site:

Site # 072202-2 Black Creek / North Fork Edisto drainage

Lined Topminnow (Fundulus lineolatus)
Chain Pickerel (Esox niger)
Dollar Sunfish (Lepomis marginatus)
Red Breast Sunfish (L. auritus)
Spotted Sunfish (L. punctatus)
Blackbanded Sunfish (Enneacanthus chaetodon)
Everglade Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei)
Banded Pygmy Sunfish E. zonatum)
Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
Blackbanded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata)
Savannah Darter (Etheostoma fricksium)
Tessellated Darter (E. olmstedi)
Swamp Darter (E.fusiforme)
Sawcheek Darter (E.serrifer)
Yellow Bullhead (Ameiurus natalis)
Margined Madtom (Noturus insignus)
Speckled Madtom (Noturus leptacanthus)
Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Pirate Perch (Aphrododerus sayanus)

The savannah darters were extremely abundant here. They were probably the most common fish that we found at this spot. We also found many speckled madtoms. Several types of salamanders and crayfish were found as well as many water insects. The one strange thing was there were no shiners of any kind found. Could be that we just missed them because we had found them previously both up and downstream of this area.

It was getting dark, probably near 8:30pm, when we finally decided to leave. As we were loading our equipment, a young family was preparing to paddle upstream and floatfish their way back down. What a peaceful way to end a day. With plenty of water flow, even with the drought we're having, the clarity of the water and ample width and depth, this would be a great stream to canoe sometime. Any takers?.

If anyone wants more specific directions to these spots, contact me off list and I will provide them. Be sure to refer to the Site #.

Chip Rinehart
West Columbia, SC