NANFA-L-- Collins River Collecting

matt ashton (ashtonmj2003 at
Thu, 6 Oct 2005 16:30:06 -0700 (PDT)

Got about an hour of free and more importantly fun time in yesterday before helping with the collecting demonstrations for my Ichthyology lab. We were sampling in the Collins River at a bridge just west of US Route 70S which goes towards Smithville, TN. I believe it was State Route 127 because it wasn't US Route 127. It is a fairly small stream at this locale maybe 30 feet in width, upstream consisting mostly of bedrook with rubble runs and gradient changes. Downstream of the bridge there is a gradient change and it is composed of clean gravel in current and sand and silt in the deeper runs. The overall diversity in this drainage isn't high, but there are regional and drainage endemics to the area which make it quite interesting. I was very enthusiastic knowing I should see Bloodfin Darter (Etheostoma sangiufluum) too after searching last week in another stream with no luck. I am completely enamored with the Nothonotus subgenus, especially having a large variety of them all
around me.

Began by snorkeling downstream of the bridge in a small gravel run/shoal and flipped rocks as i moved along upstream. It didn't take me more than 5 minutes to start seeing Bloodfins. I had my fun catching them in dipnets and putting them in a plastic bottle to look at, which a stray dog kept knocking over, and then needing to catch more. Most in this slower current were YOY to 1 year old fish. So I headed up to a nice swift shute with a scour hole under the bridge with some large rubble. Immediately I started seeing the larger Bloodfins under rocks some of which you could see the red in their fins just from the surface of the water. Along the current margins the darter community started to spread out going from Bloodfins, to Greensides, Faintails, to Cherry darters as the current dissapated. There was also a large school of Telescope shiners, Stonerollers, Big eye shiner, and a few Smallmouth bass, Redhorse, and Hog sucker.

Finally had to give up the fun and help out with the seining and shocking which proved a little less successful than I hoped it would be ... (a little less enthusiastic people helping out).

After about 30-45 minutes of kicking and shocking around we tallied up....


Striped Shiner

Rosyface Shiner

Telescope Shiner

Big Eye Shiner

Rosyside Dace

Smallmouth Bass

Rock Bass

Bloodfin Darter

Cherry Darter

Fantail Darter

Greenside Darter

and I believe a few Barcheek Darters or some form of the Catanotus subgenus

Matt Ashton

Tennessee Tech University

Cookeville, TN

Caney Fork Drainage
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