Re: NANFA-- More of a trip report than a collection...

Roselawn Museum (
Mon, 29 Jul 2002 09:12:15 -0400

Nice report, Todd. I haven't pulled your memory card trick, but I have done
the same thing when I failed to bring extra batteries (only once). Now, I
keep a zip-lock containing extra cards and batteries with the camera at all

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA

At 12:33 AM 7/28/02 -0400, you wrote:
>I've been very inspired by recent writings about the "whole experience"
approach to our collections. And while tonight's activities yielded very
little in the ichthy-department... This is certainly a tale worthy of
telling, and even has a question or two for you fellow NANFAns.
>Today was my 6th aniversary to a VERY understanding and wonderful woman.
However, she was out of town to visit her grandma who'd recently had her
spouse pass on. We were all okay with this, but I was kinda itchy to
figure out what I would do this evening. After I'd done all the honey-do's
I was kinda bummed about how I would spend the day... It occured to me....
>I realized that I could meet a good friend of mine, Gary "The Botany King"
Haase, half way between our homes (we live 50 minutes away) down on the ol'
Muddy Maumee River and get him out observing that the native fish are just
as cool as the native plants. Our specializations complimented each other
very very well and made the whole trip much more fulfilling. I think in
the future, we just need to recruit another friend who's a herper and we'll
be all set :)
>The Mighty Maumee coughed up perhaps it's coolest animal on my first dip
in the emergent plants... A young of the year longnose gar which I think
impressed him greatly. What a cool animal. I wish that I have a picture
of that critter, however, I pulled out my digital camera, thought about it,
opened the flash card bay and screamed this horrible
"NooooOOOOOOOoooooOOOOooooOOO!" because I discovered that the card was
still sitting nice and comfy at home in the flash card reader. So we
enjoyed it for a few seconds longer and it was back in the drink for it.
The gar made it's little "looking around seeing what is going on" kind of
movements and then swam off. Gary was very impressed with the way it
"worked" and I was like "Awwww yeah.... You're looking at one of
evolution's finest there boy!" :)
>Onward we went. The darters were not in their usual homes which was
rather disappointing. Bluntnose minnows and Emerald Shiners are cool and
all, but they don't make much of an impression on anyone. I'm not sure if
it was the new seine (got a nylon one and I *hate* it) or just the heat of
the stream that had them elsewhere. At any rate, we began looking at
plants. All sorts of native emergents/wet soil species. Buttonbush,
Arrowhead, Rose Mallow. Oh yeah.... I'm going back to do some seed
collections. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to share my stock with other
regional NANFAns (I'm picky about genotype ;) so we can practice what we
preach in our gardens and landscaping too :)
>As we were walking along, I saw a very pronounced undercut maple. I was
like "Please have an Orangespot under there... Please!" The Muddy Maumee
again, yielded some of it's finest. It was a second year Orangespot which
had most of it's coloration in. At that point, Gary said "Uhhh... Why do
people grab fish off the reefs of the world?" Very cool animal, very cool
to send it back on its way :)
>(note: I'm not going to send out Ospots because I still don't feel right
collecting them with a seine. So please don't email me about getting some ;)
>Well, this area, while having yeilded it's finest, wasn't coughing up any
darters so I felt we should move on to another location that may have the
colder, more aerated water they like. And as we were walking out, we had
our visit with "The Man". Not just your usual Metropark fella... This was
the DNR, the gun carying type. And our activities were very very gray at
that point (even after all my musings this week about how I felt membership
cards were a bad idea because bad people were out there ;)
>Fortunately, I had enough sense to beat down the greed to take any fish
home (or mention NANFA ;). You see, I wasn't all that convinced that Gary
would really appreciate truckin through the water and I selfishly omitted
the fact that he should have at least a one day liscence to be out there
with me. I knew that we would "no take" from the water... But he still
should have had a liscence to even carry the gear around. The DNR guys
were quite impressed that I was out there showing a friend what cool
critters live in our waters, they were mainly concerned about it we take
fish as "bait". They of course asked to see my liscence because I admitted
that time to time, I collect bluntnose minnows and emerald shiners for
"bait" with a liscence. However, the question emerged to Gary. "And do
you have your liscence?"
>How do you folks handle this? It's very difficult to get people to go out
of thier element, get all wet and nasty to go look at some fish in the
wild. I had a very willing participant, but if I said "You're either going
to have to pay $15 or drive an hour to pay $5 to go do this." I doubt he
would have been out there to appreciate it. I generally demand that if
people want to go out a second time, they *need* to purchase a liscence (or
if it would work out, I buy their one day permit for them, which is a pain
because resident one days are difficult to find),. But how do you get them
hooked without making them pay first? It certainly makes it much easier to
explain if you don't have a bucket or any fish in your bucket (which we
experienced tonight). But still, I feel *I* should have been fined for not
telling him what he needed to do (which I discussed with the DNR fellows
and they were generally appreciative that I'd even thought that far).
>It all worked out and everyone was very happy in our parting, and the DNR
fellows were very polite and gracious. However, the encounter was beyond
stressful. I was sorry that Gary had to experience that.
>So we moved on to the next spot. Gary got to see his first Greenside
Darter and was ready to rip down his marine aquarium so he could keep
"blenny like" animals :) This side stream didn't yield much, mainly due to
the nasty deer flies. We saw a lot of bluntnose minnows, a young of the
year redhorse-like juvi, but that was about it. We were pushing on into
pools that I knew hosted other suckers (mainly I wanted to show him
Northern Hog Suckers) and see if there were any topminners in between the
walk, but the flies were so bad and he was already nervous about all the
rocks and stuff (which he didn't realize that every stream in Ohio was
completely caked in agri-runoff :) and breaking his ankle. The kingfishers
and woodpeckers were little consolation.
>So we turned back with the thought of "Oh man was that gar cool!"
>And with that, I conclude my trip report. Sorry there wasn't much more
diversity than what we saw. However, I think the actual species that we
did get to see spoke greatly to someone who thought that this river was
just another mud pile.... And I'm pretty sure he'll be buying his liscence
soon :)
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