NANFA-- speaking of darters

geoff (
Sun, 6 Apr 2003 22:27:41 -0400

I have been waiting for Mark to post the full species list of our trip last
weekend, but it hasn't made it. Must have overloaded him with too many
fish at once.

Anyway, Saturday I went back with my family to one of our collecting sites
from last weekend. We drove the 50 miles to science hill KY and to Fishing
creek. This is in the Cumberland drainage and contains more Tennessee-type
fish than KY. Additionally, the water is clean and clear and begging for a
NANFAN with a snorkel. At this location, there is a nice deep hole that
would make an excellent swimming hole. All of this once the water warms up.

We parked and ferried the kids across the creek on my back. I can hardly
wait until they get big enough to cross on their own, but it may be a while
in this creek at this stage. At one point, Julie took a dive into the
creek. She bruised her knee and we lost the seine of fish, but she stayed
dry, so we got to keep fishing.

While Julie and I seined, the boys threw rocks and fished with a rod and
reel. Someday, they will realize that the two activities are mutually

In this creek, we collected redline darters, rainbow darters, TN snubnosed
darters, stonecats, stonerollers, striped shiners, and a couple of other
shiners I didn't bother to ID.

The stonecats were a big surprise. Mark and I did not find any last week.
Yesterday we found them under a large rock in the swift current. They were
huge! The larger was about 8" and the smaller was about 6". I know they
get up to 12", but it was still amazing. The odd thing to me was that they
did not erect their spined fins, which made it much harder to pick them up
than bullheads are. I kept on worrying that their limpness was a ruse
designed to get me to pick them up so they could sting me. It seems that
this was not their intent as I was able to pick both of them up without
pain. Their eyes also seemed pretty rudimentary, at least compared to
bullheads. The eyes were kind of white and milky. It did not look like
they were that useful.

Mark and I caught very few TN snubnosed darters last week, and I also caught
few this week. I did however, catch a huge male, which I returned to father
future generations. He looked like he was too big to travel well.

I also collected some really nice flat black rocks and a really nice piece
of pre-waterlogged driftwood.

Anyway - a very nice place that I look forward to visiting often this year,
especially as the temps warm up and the swimming hole becomes more inviting.

Geoff Kimber
Lexington, KY
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