NANFA-- Louisiana collecting trip

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sun, 09 Apr 2000 18:37:50 EDT

I've been procrastinating a week but finally the tale comes out. My wife,
Ruth, and I were able to meet BG Granier and Bessie last Sunday in Port
Manchac, Louisiana, for a collecting trip. Ruth and I had been in Nawlins
for a long weekend, so driving out to Port Manchac, off of I-55 at the head
of Lake Ponchartrain, was easy. Too easy, in fact; we arrived early at a
boat launch area that had a sherrif's department substation. We were the
only non-pickup in the whole lot, parked by the entrance so that we wouldn't
miss BG. Within 5 minutes a deputy came roaring up to us in a pickup, with
the stark greeting "you have a problem?" Once he grudgingly figured out that
we weren't there to steal the 2 flatbed trucks parked in front of us he
pretended to ignore us. ("You inna heap-a trouble, boy!")

BG and Bessie arrived and we drove off down a local road, stopping at
several smallish sloughs where they ran under the road. If you've never
collected with BG, you've missed one of the best collecting tools
around--his throw hoop net, enabling collecting in areas difficult to
gracefully sample. Between the hoop and a standard dip net we collected
Lucania parva (Rainwater killifish), Heterandria formosa (Least killifish,
hadn't seen them for a while!), Fundulus chrysotus and Fundulus notti (and
Gambusia, of course!).

We decided to drive up into Washington Parish, near Bogalusa across the
Pearl River from Mississippi. The prize along here is welaka shiners
(Pteronotropis). Along Route 21 we stopped at Mills Creek, which looked like
a backed up drainage ditch at first glance. In a pool not much bigger than
most peoples' living rooms we collected an amazingly diverse group of fish
to my still-New England sensibility: Fundulus notti, F. chrysotus, Elassoma
zonatum (pygmy sunfish), Lepomis macrochirus (bluegill, of course), L.
megalotis (longear sunfish), L. punctatus (spotted sunfish), a juvenile
largemouth bass. This was all in about 10-15 minutes, the source of my

The last stop was Lees Creek, for welaka. The water was fairly high, and
welaka prefer water a meter or more deep. Sure enough, there was a large
school of them in a shaded pool about a meter deep. BG's hoop net was
devastating to them, we collected about 20 of them in several casts (I have
slides demonstrating the correct placement...). We also caught one rosyfin

Ruth and I then took off for Huntsville, 'bout 6 hours northeast. Ruth is
from New Hampshire, and had never seen this much southern Mississippi
before; Pearl River County is truly the empty quarter of Mississippi, making
Meridian or Laurel look like Manhattan(!).

I took a bucket of live fish home with me, too many in truth. The shiners
(4) didn't make it, but all 9 Heterandria made it fine. The F. notti arrived
OK, and seem to be thriving, while the F. chrysotus have been unhappy and
several died. So I have a Louisiana tank now with a pygmy sunfish, 9 least
"killifish", an F. notti (small) and a rainwater killifish, and the
chrysotus and larger notti joined another group of chrysotus in a large
tank. All of these actually take flake food now, although the pygmy sunfish
seemed very happy to be offered a small chunk of earthworm (kinda like my
darters in another tank).

BG is a great guy to go collecting with. And I would certainly have had
difficulty finding the creeks in Washington Parish without his guidance. Now
I realize that I have to go back with fewer time restraints, and also bring
better collecting gear.

So, the season has started.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

Get Your Private, Free Email at

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,