Just to add a bit of my own-
I had really hoped to collect some variagate darters and red bellied dace.
I had visited Mark last May and we caught variagate darters at the
confluence of the little darby and the big darby creeks. This was pretty
much on the way home, so we decided to try it.
Mark had recommended a park along the way for variagates, but when we got
there, the paths to the water were a bit long for the kids, so we went on
downstream to where Mark and I collected last year.
It is utterly amazing how much change can occur in a little over a year.
Mark and I had collected during a period of high water. It seems to have
been very dry in S Ohio recently because the little darby was *much* lower
than it was previously. A flock of canada geese with 2 domestic geese have
moved into the creek, along with the acompanying droppings. Variagate
darters seem to prefer living in the lee of large rock in deeper water.
Julie and I seined all spots meeting this description, along with various
We were disappointed in our quest for variagates. The best spots were
inhabited by some really large greenside darters. We also caught large
mouth bass, rock bass, green sunfish, striped shiner, stone rollers, and
fundulus notatus. I was pretty disappointed to miss out on variagates, and
even more disappointed in how few species were in the the creek compared to
last year. I think that the water quality is still good, when you get away
from the geese, but the water was pretty warm and slow flowing.
I looked up my post from last year. If you're interested:
I realized reading the earlier post that this was my first collecting trip
in the east. It was interesting to re-read the post and remember the time.
While the family and I were loading up in the van, Mark showed up to say hi.
He seems to be a good judge of character, because he knew right where to
find us. I told Mark how the creek had changed and he geraciously offered
to take me to the place he suggested inthe first place. Julie agreed,
because the park has a really nice playground which the kids would
Mark and I went to the creek (Big Darby) and began seining. the creek was
much nicer than the little darby. After a few attempts, we came up with 2
female variagate darters. THis is nice, because I have 1 male here at home.
we also collected greenside darters, striped shiners, hog suckers,
bluebreast(? is that right, Mark?) darters, two stone cats and one brindled
madtom. I kept the stonecats. One has gone to my brother in law with a 300
gallon tank. The other will go when it is big enough. We also caught a
brindled madtom, but it flipped out of Mark's hand just as he was putting it
into my bucket.
After a while, we quit looking too closely at the fish because we were
looking for specifc critters.
As it was getting dark, and I thought I was getting near the patience limit
of my family, we looked in vain for tippicanoe darters. I had hoped to find
these fish just for a look as they are state endangered in OH.
We head back to the cars after this. On the way up the hill, Julie called
me and informed me that we had indeed reached the patience limit of the
I have to say that I once again learned more seining techniques from Mark.
Nothing secret, just good techniques for different environments.
We left the Darby around dark and I forgot how long a 4 hour drive is if you
start it at 9 pm.
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