NANFA-- winter collecting in KY

geoff (
Sun, 29 Dec 2002 17:57:04 -0500

Just a note of fishing in the winter here.

I have been trying for weeks to collect a few stonerollers for my tanks. My
last stoneroller took the long leap to the floor in November. Shortly after
that, the hair algae went berserk.

In fact, I have noticed that I have much much more trouble with hair algae in
my cold tanks (45-50 degrees F) than I do with my warm water tanks (70
degrees F). Anyone else notice this?

Everytime I think of going fishing, it rains or gets cold or something. You'd
think it was winter or something.

Two weeks ago we went to Louisville KY and fished at the confluence of Floyd
Fork and Pope Lick creek. Don't ask me how it got its name, and if you know,
don't tell me. I don't want to know. I was first introduced to this
location by Steven Ellis who once lived in the Louisville area. there is a
nice park here and there is a nice little beach that the kids can play on and
catch fish from. My 2 youngest kids both like to swing the dipnet and get
mad if they don't catch anything.

It had been raining recently and the water was a bit higher than usual. There
is usually an island that has nice shallow and deep water habitats
surrounding it. This time, there was very little of the island left. What
little there was, was covered with brachiopods (KY state fossil). Julie and
I were distracted for a time stuffing our wader pockets full of intact,
complete fossilized shells.

Once we started fishing, we were able to collect some very very nice rainbow
darters. The males were just about as beautiful as I have ever seen them.
The females even had neat chevron patterns on their backs, like the males,
which made them easy to identify.

At this location, we collected rainbow darters, greenside darters, fantail
darters, common shiners, creek chub, bluegill, and largemouth bass. I only
found 2 stonerollerswhere I would normally find dozens to hundreds. I don't
know if the fish behave differently in winter as this is the first time I
have collected this late in the year. Any thoughts?

Today, still feeling the need for more stonerollers, I talked Julie into
fishing again. THis time, we went to Logan Creek near Stanford KY.
It was about 55 degrees air temp and sunny, so I could hardly resist.

Like most of the creeks around here, Logan creek is mostly limestone rock and
gravel. The part we can access is wide and fairly shallow, and some parts
of the creek are just large, flat sheets of rock, covered in slippery stuff.
in places, the sheets of rock have broken and formed short waterfalls full of
deep spots and boulders.

My oldest son decided to stay in the car, while my 2 younger boys (6 and 4)
came with us to the water.

The creek looked pretty very nice today. THe water was clear and fast moving,
but not too much higher than it was this summer. Julie and I made several
runs through the creek before I managed to take a big slide into the cold
water, ending our collecting.

We found some really large schools of mixed age common shiners, creek chub,
and blackspot shiners (? - can't find peterson's)

we also collected a couple dozen stonerollers (yeah!), adult greenside darters
in full color, some of the largest fantail darters I have ever seen, and some
nice orangethroat darters.

My middle son collected 3 creek chub he insisted on taking home. Oh well.

All in all, a nice day. The stonerollers are in the basement in an aerated
bucket warming up to the tropical temp of 50 degrees. I will leave them in
the bucket until tomorrow after work to allow them to warm slowly. Its hard
for me to tell the difference between 35 degree water and 50 degree water,
but I am sure the fish can tell, esp if I warm them up too fast.

This will probably be the last time I collect until spring. Now I'm just
taking care of the critters I have, trying to get a few species to breed in a
few months when it warms up.

Geoff Kimber
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