Subject: NANFA-L-- Snorkeling Weekend
From: Bob Culler (rangerbob-in-optidynamic.com)
Date: Thu Aug 26 2004 - 09:04:56 CDT
Casper and I had a load of fun this past weekend. We me met in Knoxville,
TN-in-the new CFI facility, where we got a tour. Then it was on to Ed
He gave us a quick tour of the grounds (lots of stacks of lumber, some
naturalized landscaping, and an ancient log house) before supper. Later, we
watched a video on chiles (another passion of mine) and another that Ed
filmed while on a trip to Wisconsin to obtain lake sturgeon eggs. Man, that
was amazing! Huge (4'-6') fish swimming over each other in a spawning
frenzy-in-the base of a dam. The video showed the biologists catching the
fish, stripping milt and eggs, and fertilizing the eggs before their trip
down south. They are hatched and reared-in-4 different federal hatcheries
before stocking in the lower French Broad River in November.
The next morning we all loaded up for a trip to the French Broad below
Douglas Dam for a hodgepodge of activity. There were folks looking for mtn.
madtoms for a restocking effort (I don't remember where), folks looking for
spiny river snails that had been restocked-in-that spot, and folks doing a
snorkel survey of the snail darter population in the river. Of course
Casper and I spent most of the morning in the water looking for snail
darters. We probably saw over a hundred in a quarter-mile stretch, with
lots of juveniles in the mix. In addition to snail darters, we saw several
other cool fish, including spotfin shiners, threadfin and gizzard shad,
huge drum, and some very large carp. I almost grabbed one carp by the tail
and went for a ride!
Late in the afternoon Casper and I picked up our respective vehicles and
headed for the Smokies. We went to Cataloochee Cove to meet up with the
Asheville (NC) Mushroom Club for their summer foray. After a night of rain
we spent most of Saturday looking for mushrooms or looking-in-the herd of
elk feeding in the cove.
Sunday morning we packed up our tents and headed for the Little Pigeon
River-in-Greenbriar. The water beautifully clear when we got there. Later,
though, all the folks tubing and generally playing in the water kinda
mucked things up a little. In about 6 hrs. of snorkeling we saw 17 species
of fish and 1 very cool hellbender! The hellbender was actually discovered
by another snorkeler who was there with his family.
Water temp. was about 68 F, air temp about 80F, visibility about 10'. We saw:
unidentified redhorse (black?)
TN snubnose darter
The darters were large and several were in pretty good color. The saffrons
were beautiful, but definitely not in their full glory.
After a quick supper and some note-taking, Casper and I headed off toward
home. All in all, a very nice weekend.
Holston R. Drainage
"The power of humans to degrade the natural world is awesome; the
capability to reconstitute it later is mythical."
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: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 12:24:23 CDT