NANFA-- Borden Creek, AL, trip

Bruce Stallsmith (
Mon, 19 Apr 2004 18:45:47 -0400

This didn't work out as a NANFA trip, but I spent yesterday seining in
Borden Creek in the Bankhead National Forest in north 'bama. It was actually
a research trip, since I have permission to collect and keep burrhead
(Notropis asperifrons) and silverstripe (N. stilbius) shiners from the site
as a study to determine their reproductive cycles and (hopefully) food
habits. We had a big group: myself, my sweetie Ruth, a graduate student
doing the project, 2 undergrads, and 3 river divers I work with who were
curious about collecting fish in a small, clear creek (very different from
the Tennessee River!).

So I demonstrated to even more people the art of darter dancing, to chase
fish into a stationary seine net held in a riffle system. We quickly
collected our quota of 20 silverstripes but had to really dig to catch even
10 burrheads in 4 hours. That alone is a datum of sorts, that there are WAY
more silverstripes than burrheads in this stretch of riffles and pools.

We also caught other interesting fishes. Tuskaloosa darters are in spawning
coloration, with the males exhibiting the weirdest, deep turquoise on their
ventral side that I've ever seen, along with bright red tails. The
stonerollers are in season now too, and no one else in my group had ever
seen a fully tuberculate stoneroller male so that was fun to show off
stonerollers (still one of my fave minnows). None of them had ever seen a
longear sunfish in full color either, another impressive sight. And we
caught 2 half-grown Alabama hogsuckers as an example of very dedicated mouth

Other darters included muscadine, warrior, Mobile logperch and redspot (only
2 females of the latter, I would think they'd be in color now). We also
flushed some redhorse but they were only large flashes going by...

This will be a monthly trip, so I'll try to announce it next time if anyone
wants to join us. (Sorry Stott!)

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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