NANFA-L-- Conasauga River RedHorse Snorkel September 2004

Subject: NANFA-L-- Conasauga River RedHorse Snorkel September 2004
Prizma at
Date: Tue Sep 28 2004 - 17:18:58 CDT

Conasauga River RedHorse Snorkel September 2004
Before the season was out i wanted to get another snorkel in... and the
Conasauga is generally warmer than other local rivers and streams so it was a
good option. The water was pleasantly still cool and even comfortable with my
wetsuit on. Visibility was about 10' of which 5' was very clear. I counted at
least 27 species Saturday and returned Sunday and added 3 more.
Hurricane Ivan had been thru the week before and evidence of the raging
water was everywhere. The man's house where i parked was just 2' above the high
water mark and his home's floor was built 5' above the 100 year flood. He just
made it tho they had to leave the house at 2 in the morning because of the
rising water, wading knee deep to his truck. I understand the newly renovated
camping sites, culverts and parking areas higher upstream were stripped and
Nonetheless the conditions for this weekend were wonderful at the site i
selected. I spent the entire day in the water or hiking streamside studying the
carved out areas and finding pools of refuge filled w/ a variety of species.
Many of these will probably end up drying out providing food for raccoons and
birds. Nature can be pretty harsh. At one location i found hundreds of
Southern Studfish stranded in a pool all mouthing the surface of the water.
Feeding or gathering oxygen?
Species observed...
Stonerollers ( schools )
River RedHorse
Drum ( big! )
S. Studfish
Sunfish: BlueGill, RedBreast, LongEar, Green, Crappie ( single ) & Shadow
Shiners: Alabama, Blue, TriColor, BlackTail & Stripe ( lots of shiners
everywhere )
Darters: LogPerch, Bronze, BlackBanded, Speckled & Bridal
Catfish... some kind of BullHead? ( first time to see a bullhead while
snorkeling... he was in a drying pool )
Bass: Coosa & LargeMouth ( big largemouths... beautiful coosas )
Riffle Minnow ( w/ redish noses )
Buffalo ( first time to see these beasts! )
BlackTail RedHorse... noted in their caudal fin.
and an unknown minnow ( schooling ) and a couple darters.
there are many other species in the conasauga yet to be ided by me!
The next day i returned with my speargun. Downstream there was a 10' deep
pool where massive Drum and RedHorse and Buffalo were gathered. By the end of
the day i had speargunned 3) 16" River RedHorses. I returned home with them and
 scaled and gutted them. Wrapped them in aluminum foil and put them on the
grill for 20 minutes low heat. After they cooled i carefully deboned them. Lots
of bones... tiny multiple Y bones. Coby helped me at the end with tweezers
picking out all those tiny bones! Time consuming indeed. We took the pile of
gleaned flesh and added eggs, oil and seasoned stuffing making patties which
we fried slowly. Very good. I could feel the prickly bones when making the
patties but the cooking softened them to where we barely got any bones while
enjoying them. Next time i may try pressure cooking them which should also
soften the bones. The Conasauga is very beautiful, clear and clean and the
RedHorse tasted good even when unseasoned. Old timers use to catch them during
spawning runs but today few people have tried them. I probably saw a hundred over
the weekend, some were at least 2' long. I used Mettee's Alabama book to
properly ID them using color, length, dorsal and pelvic ray counts, scales, fin
shape and the lip diagram.
I also found a couple potential and interesting camping sites on private
property. Im currently tracking down the owners to seek permission to gather
there. The Conasauga is an awesome site and one of my favorite. An excellent
location to introduce someone to freshwater snorkeling as the water is generally
clear, warm in the summer and filled with unique, beautiful and interesting
fish. It was the first river i snorkeled and always fun to revisit.
If anyone is interested we could perhaps still get a trip in before the
season is out, mid to late October. Email me if interested.

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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:22 CST