Re: NANFA-- Collecting in Southern OH, 8/17/02 (long)

Robert Carillio (
Wed, 21 Aug 2002 19:02:13 -0500

Great trip report, Stephen! Sorry I could not attend, as I had every
intention until I had to do some work at the last minute!

> Hi All
> On 8/17/02 I had the pleasure of spending an excellent time collecting
> some of NANFA's best in Southern Ohio. On rather short notice, Mark
> put together a very interesting itinerary that included parts of the Mad
> River and Little Darby Creek. I very much enjoyed the '01 NANFA Convention
> in OH, and I was eager to see more of the waters in that part of the
> My daughter in Dayton, OH, flew me up for the weekend. She was well aware
> of my fish addiction, and provided me with a vehicle to go and meet with
> Binkley & Co. on what turned out to be a very pleasant Saturday.
> The day dawned with an overcast sky, threatening rain that never really
> developed. The sun did break through at times, but gray clouds pretty much
> had their way. Air temperature was in the 70s with a slight breeze. It was
> also Woodstock weekend, so magic was in the air. Ten of us, including Mark
> Binkley (Wooster, OH), Nick Zarlings (Cleveland, OH), Kathy Duffey
> (Cleveland, OH), first time collector Eric Massengill (Toledo, OH), Geoff
> Julie Kimber with their three boys Daniel, Noah, & Samuel (Lexington, KY),
> and I assembled at the Mad River.
> That first site of the day was near Urbana, OH, just off Route 68 on
> Lippencott Road. We were there only briefly, as several net pulls revealed
> very little. We saw...
> Brown trout (Salmo trutta)
> Crayfish
> Moving slightly north to where Sullivan Road crosses Mad River we waded in
> again....well, after a brief delay. I quickly became aware that the "wierd
> factor" that accompanies all good collecting trips in the South was in
> effect in OH as well. How it pans out is usually a question of attitude,
> not geography.
> Arriving at the bridge, which was bordered by corn fields, we discovered
> two freshly constructed parking lots on either side of the river. One
> simply had a "No Parking" sign. The other had a rather official looking
> sign that informed the reader that while the land was privately owned,
> access permission and parking passes could be obtained at the "Farm
> Unfortunately, no Farm Store was in sight...only corn fields. Just as we
> were discussing how we should proceed, an OH ranger pulled into the lot,
> blocking the drive with his vehicle. As he got out, looking a lot like
> Richard Dreyfuss, he seemed unsure of whether to be friendly or
> authoritative.
> After unsuccessfully trying to get a handle on just what sort of
> we were, he repeated most of what was written on the sign for us,
> emphasizing the part about the passes at the Farm Store. "Where is the
> Store?" Nick asked. "Right over there," he replied, gesturing behind him.
> We all stared blankly into the corn field. It took us another moment or
> to convince him that we really couldn't see it, before he helpfully
> mentioned that it was up the road about a mile at Route 68. Then, he
> further confused us by first stating, "I really don't enforce the laws
> around here," then asking to see the contents (there were none) of Geoff's
> collecting cooler.
> At this point, we discovered that Mark had locked his keys inside his
> wagon...with the motor running...very low on gas. Just when we thought we
> had found a way for the officer to really be of some assistance, he
> it was time for him to leave...and no, he had neither a spare coat hanger,
> nor a slim jim, etc. Pausing at the open door of his vehicle, he gave us
> his best ranger look and said, "If you see any violations, be sure to give
> me a call." We assured him that it would be foremost in our minds and
> goodbye.
> Mark is one of the most laid back guys I know, and I was quite impressed
> with his composure about the locked up keys. To me, that would have
> warranted a stomping fit at the very least. I felt fairly certain that I
> could get into his vehicle with a coat hanger, although many manufacturers
> of modern cars insist that they are pick proof, but nobody present could
> come up with one. In the meantime, we dutifully made the short ride to the
> Farm Store, picked up the required passes, and scored a coat hanger too.
> Returning to Mark and his Honda (still quietly idling), I set about
> employing long dormant street skills.
> The car door had thick, close-fitting molding at the top with a channel
> that tends to divert coat hangers down into a side channel, and away from
> the lock. Using our fingers (not without a few pinches), we created enough
> of a gap at the top for Nick to insert the beveled edge of his tire tool
> a prop while I inched the coat hanger toward the lock button. It did have
> enough material to grasp for a very patient person, but the Honda may have
> ran out of gas before I succeeded that way. We opted instead for the door
> handle. I enlarged the loop, and was actually able to pull out the handle
> quite a ways. It just wouldn't quite spring the lock.
> Just then, Geoff brought me one of those shiny, collapsible fishing rods.
> With that, I could barely reach the electric window button. After a couple
> of bumps, the window slid down, and Mr. Binkley's ride was restored to
> With the wierd factor safely behind us, we got down to the business of
> collecting fishes. However, for the rest of the day everyone kept asking,
> "Got your keys, Mark?"
> The Mad River was very nice. The water clarity and temperature would have
> been ideal for snorkeling, but I was already enjoying conversing with the
> OH gang so I opted for the waders instead. Nick had a brand new seine that
> he and I put to immediate use working one bank while Mark and Eric worked
> the other. The Kimber family took the opposite direction on the stream to
> better be able to herd their three little boys while they collected. Kathy
> searched the stream for amphibians and also helped chase shiners into our
> waiting nets. In spite of it being his first time out, Eric caught on
> quickly and really seemed to enjoy it.
> The stream had a gentle current with clear water running through shallow
> pools and over widely scattered riffles. The bottom alternated between
> and moss-covered pebbles with some areas of solid stone beneath it. The
> vegetation grew all the way down into the water on both banks, providing
> cover for many sculpins and large creek chubs. Some of the sculpins were
> among the largest I've seen. Submerged mats of plants appeared here and
> there, swaying in the current, providing shelter for yet more sculpins.
> Nick gathered several of these, some more than once. He practiced an
> unintentional catch & release program when his bucket overturned in the
> water.
> Mark has excellent ID skills and it's a good thing, because one fish we
> encountered soon and often was the state endangered tonguetied minnow. The
> Richard Dreyfuss ranger had assured us that the tonguetied minnow lived
> elsewhere, but Mark knew better. I knew that this fish lacked an
> illustration in the Peterson Field Guide, so I made sure we got several
> good shots of it, including detail of the unusual mouth.
> Taking photos proved to be another slight adventure, because the flash
> element on my camera had failed right after my last trip and still wasn't
> fixed. The overcast conditions made it impossible to take some shots, and
> required moving to better lighted spots in the stream for others. Still, I
> was quite pleased with what we managed, and most fishes repeated often
> enough that we didn't miss many. At that location we
> collected/observed/jacked:
> Honda Accord (Accordus elongatus) (-;
> Mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi)
> Toungetied minnow (Exoglossum laurae) - Ohio endangered
> Rainbow darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)
> Johnny darter (E. nigrum)
> Creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)
> Redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus)
> White sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
> Northern hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans)
> Blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)
> Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
> Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)
> Brown trout (S. trutta)
> Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
> Silver shiner (Notropis photogenis)
> Heading SE from this location, we stopped where the Little Darby Creek
> under Route 29 near Mechanicsville, OH. A huge drainage pipe beneath the
> highway belied the size of the tiny, weed-choked stream running through
> Observing it from above, as Kathy decided to do, it was hard to imagine
> that many fishes lived there. Wrong! We had to ram the seine up under the
> overgrown banks and stomp down the weeds to find them, but when we did, we
> hauled in huge white suckers, creek chubs, and hoardes of sculpins. We
> found orangethroat darters (the target fish), but only females.
> After we finished there, the Kimber family departed to begin a leisurely
> return to KY, and Eric took off for Toledo, intending to join the OH fish
> clan on future outings. At that location we collected/observed:
> Mottled sculpin (C. bairdi)
> Blacknose dace (R. atratulus)
> White sucker (C. commersoni)
> Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
> Bluegill (L. macrochirus)
> Stoneroller (C. anomalum)
> Creek chub (S. atromaculatus)
> Orangethroat darter (Etheostoma spectabile)
> The remaining four of us took off to another place on the Little Darby
> Irwin, OH, at the corner of Route 161 and Axe Handle Road. The stream was
> much wider and considerably deeper at this point, running under a
> picturesque wooden covered bridge. The scene was quite tranquil despite
> whiff of the neighboring cattle & hog farm. I was not tempted to snorkel!
> The bottom was mostly mud, some very hard to withdraw from, which turned
> the water brown in no time. Nevertheless, we encountered 25 species of
> fishes. Kathy (aka The Frog Chick) steered us away from a gathering of
> American toad tadpoles.
> The current did not appear too strong until we tried pulling the seine
> against it in deep water. After a full day, I was starting to fade a bit.
> Nick came to the rescue and took over my side of the seine, freeing me up
> to take some of the best pix of the day. The sun made a long appearance
> through the broken cloud cover, and that helped as well. We
> observed/collected:
> Green and American toad tadpoles
> Golden redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)
> Northern hogsucker (H. nigricans)
> White sucker (C. commersoni)
> Rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris)
> Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
> Longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)
> Bluegill (L. macrochirus)
> Stoneroller (C. anomalum)
> Creek chub (S. atromaculatus)
> Brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus)
> Banded darter (Etheostoma zonale)
> Greenside darter (E. blennioides)
> Rainbow darter (E. caeruleum)
> Johnny darter (E. nigrum)
> Orangethroat darter (E. spectabile)
> Stonecat (Noturus flavus)
> Yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis)
> Blackstripe topminnow (Fundulus notatus)
> Bluntnose minnow (Pimephales notatus)
> Spotfin shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)
> Striped shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)
> Rosefin shiner (Lythrurus ardens)
> Sand shiner (Notropis ludibundus) or mimic shiner (N. volucellus)
> Silver shiner (N. photogenis) This one, Nick had previously IDd as a
> rosyface shiner (N. rubellus), but Mark overturned his verdict based on
> size and fin alignment. Survey says...silver shiner! Sorry, Nick, you
> but we have some great parting gifts for you. (-:
> Finally, needing to meet up with my family back in Dayton, I reluctantly
> said goodbye to my OH friends and drove off into the sunset. Thanks to
> Binkley for putting it all together, and to the rest of the OH folks for
> making it happen. When these people come to the South, I gotta' remember
> treat 'em really good!
> The next day, I was scheduled to fly back to Atlanta, but through some
> unusual circumstances, I found myself driving home instead. After passing
> over several very inviting streams in Northern KY, I could stand it no
> longer. I had to stop and see what was there. Since all I had with me was
> makeshift dip net, I chose a shallow, heavily vegetated stretch of Eagle
> Creek (River?) one mile north of Sadieville, KY, under I-75. It was nearly
> dark by the time I got my gear on and made it down to the stream. I used
> the last rays of the sun and the rising of a 3/4 moon until I was totally
> guessing about everything. I had to wait until I got back in the light to
> see what I caught. I collected/observed:
> Fantail darters (Etheostoma flabellare)
> Orangethroat darter - males this time (E. spectabile)
> Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) This was really bad news. According to the
> distribution maps, they are not supposed to be there!
> Longear sunfish (L. megalotis)
> Bluegill (L. macrochirus)
> Rosefin shiner, juvenile (L. ardens)
> Yellow bullhead (A. natalis)
> And, as always, another shiner I haven't yet IDd.
> Special thanks to Fritz Rohde, Wayne Starnes, & Bob Jenkins for ID help.
> Respectfully submitted to the OH NANFA Region,
> Steven A. Ellis
> (back home in..)
> Kennesaw, GA

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/"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,