NANFA-- sc visitors and sweeten cove
Tue, 30 Jul 2002 01:20:57 EDT

last friday dustin and dan showed up a bit worn from a allnight snore session
and a brief crunch encounter with a drunken driver. i thank god they were not
hurt during a freeway accident. they have got to be the worse kind. downtown
atlanta. cars wizzing by. danger extreme.
after they arrived i gave them a quick tour of the ponds, aquariums and pools
and tried to get one of them to check the electric fence. i had just
installed it to keep the neighbor's big, fat, black lab from wallowing in my
killie pond. nice dog... but that pond is for fish only. seeing they would
not test it and being still a bit sleepy i gave it a quick swipe. my toes
tingled....sssszzzzz. kind of a funny smell too. we only had a few hours so i
picked a creek just down the road i play in from time to time collecting
plants and local fishes. called spring creek it flows from a spring fed lake
surrounded by rollercoasters, tilt a whirls and popcorn vendors. lake
winnie's inhabitants, massive carp, grow fat on the folks feeding them all
manner of fairground delights. well this lake drains out via the creek we
waded in. ive even done a bit of snorkeling there and still feel ok. actually
it is a decent little stretch. lots, lots and lots of life and decent
diversity. we hitched up their sc seine to tennessees 10' limit and proceeded
to make a couple runs under the bridge. we got stonerollers, white suckers,
blacknose dace, stripe shiners, bigeye chubbs, redbreast sunfish, rock bass,
mosquito fish, tn snub, redline and rainbow darters. sculpins, hog suckers,
bluntnose minnows and bass were all seen. all the standards for a decent
creek in urban chatt. kinda fun for a creek just 10 minutes from my home!
15 species all together... we probably could have got a few more by sticking
with it. black spotted topminnows, catfish, green sunnies... all im sure
reside here.
south chick with greater diversity was just a few miles away so we loaded up
and parked across the creek from hooters and gooney golf... the same location
we had tried in vain to seine a snail darter from with ed scott, stott,
ranger bob and myself back after the june(?) seinerama. the sun was pretty
intense but we worked our way back downstream and caught spotfin and steel
color shiners, a cute 4 or 5" longnose gar, river chubbs, a quick glimpse of
a banded darter til ol butter fingers dropped it :). i was hoping to catch
and show a log perch, dusky darter, riffle minnow and the fabled snail darter
but the early dawn, road crash encounter and zero sleep was upon the boys
from sc. the heat was intense so we cleaned up and got a meal at the local
middle eastern eatery which featured crinkle cut french fries and camel
riders pitas and hoagies. it was a nice jaunt but i wish they could have
stayed overnight where we could have traveled a bit and got in some clear
water for a bit of snorkling. i waved dustin and dan back southward after
dustin declined to jump in the cement pond for a quick looksee. i probably
explained how algae is actually used in some shampoos but my spiel is still
unconvincing to most. a comb just slides thru your hair after an hour or so
of algae hair filtering while snorkeling. smells funny after a day or two but
boy that shine is catchy. i headed to the shop and transfered some fish;
dace, stonerollers, big eyes and spotfins and meet up with the fellas
installing a dsl line to my studio system. wow... that is fast. 25 extra
bucks a month but blazing fast. good for the biz. bad if i get hooked on
surfing and downloading movies.
well im sure they made it back to atlanta for the ciclids gabberings and a
rendevous with steve and the rainbow fish quest. i got some rest and decided
to spend saturday exploring the sweeten cove region where i had planned the
teepee fisheree. i had scouted it a bit but wanted to snorkel and hit a few
more sites. my gazateer was well marked from the previous study and i
proceeded to a location under the freeway downstream a mile or two from a
awesome cave spring. i eased into the water and saw rainbow trout, yellow
perch, rainbow and snub darters, sculpin, creek chubbs, redhorse/suckers,
stonerollers, black nose/orange side dace, redbreast and crappie, hogsuckers,
n studfish. the neat part was seeing yellow perch again... the occurence
there were a school of them and they approached well within my viewing. the
water was fairly clear which was a great relief after being deprived during
the last outings. a spring ran into the creek proper and sent shivers thru me
as i entered its flow. the dace were here. the temp change in the water
created a cool mirage wavy effect as the waters mixed. pretty neat. i
wandered up and down the run a few times and got out to warm up. here is when
i found the studfish. big mama or papa took off and i got to studying the
shallow cobble filled minimal flow areas. little .5" studsters darted among
the rocks. the water was very warm... almost tepid. this is the kinda place i
always see these guys. i collected a few to try in the cement pond since it
stays warm in the shallows. it was good to see croppie too. and the rainbow
males were well marked. i walked back to the van and did a run up the big
fiery gizzard branch. as the elevation increased the water disappeared
beneath the cobble. i went back downstream and walked under the bridge where
a big pool lay. this was filled w/ dace, snubs, tiny minnows and sculpins...
and a couple rock bass. not much diversity and the pool ran a risk of drying
out if the seasons extreme dryness continues. im sure some flow was occuring
under the cobble as the water was very cool. i hiked downstream skipping over
pools, cobble, trash, willow grass and ended up at a stagnant, dank stretch
adjoining the freeway. going backback upstream i found and lay in a nice area
where i observed the land waters of the sculpins and snails. i collected some
large clumps of water moss which i will try in my various aquariums. it
seemed to thrive in the low light sheltered by large overhanging trees.
i loaded back up and headed just across the way to a spring surrounded by an
electric fence and cattle. lush w/ millfoil and swarms of mosquito fish the
stream eased. hundreds of sunfish and bass lay just off the vegatative mats i
reckon waiting for a gambusia or insect to leave the protective cover. ive
never seen so many sunfish. and big too. including 1.5' bass. im suprised it
could support so many. a few topminnows skittered along the surface too. the
water was nearly opaque tho and looked murky, mucky, suck off your boots.
this is the kind of place i bet flame chubbs use to live in. now its a
shrubby cow pasture with too many nutrients and no shade. once i bet it was
clear, gentle and wide riffley.
i then headed into sweeten sweden cove proper... it is a geographicaly
distinct cove and has a creek flowing out from its midst. i had found a
really nice, crisp and fish laden spring on a previous look around but when i
arrived at the bridge the water was chocolate milk. i stopped on the bridge
and looked to the spring head. there was a man on a backhoe running back and
forth on the banks edge. boy. gee. i just sat there, stunned, disappointed
and saddened. he acknowledged me and i decided to pull in. i had meet his
daughter during the pre scout and they had a welcome sign posted at the
spring. rather inviting and appreciated had been the site for in most cases
you are greeted with a keep out, move on sign. well he stopped his backhoeing
and i began my chatt and expressed my concern mindfully. we spent the next
couple hours together and was joined with his son of twelve years old. with
his ok i entered the springs clear outflow and collected and showed them the
various stunning tn snubs, breeding orange side dace, stonerollers and
mollygobs... aka sculpins. he took me downstream to a "blue hole" where the
water welled up from sand dancingd some 10' deep. when we arrived it was silt
laden and 3' deep. he assured me it "use" to be crystal clear and well over
your head. he later showed me another blue hole which was stagnant and green.
this he said flows about 9 months of the year but being we are in a drought
was still. some cave divers had entered it some time ago and found a massive
underground lake to the ne beneath a corn field which had blind fish and
white crayfish. this was truly a unique area, once upon a time. i let his boy
try out my mask in the "former" blue hole and he was all excited chasing the
snubs and sculpins with my little dipnets. i actually had a lot of fun with
his son as we planted the dipnet and tried to catch diversity in the riffles.
plenty of sculpins and dace... i was hoping to pull up and show a redline or
rainbow male darter. they assured me that the creek was always clear except
for the activity he was doing. i will head back later for another look. such
a pretty place but my concerns of man's impact grow with each experience. i
tried to express and educate my views and experience to him and he was
certainly amazed at the diversity of the life from the spring. i urged him to
be a wholesome caretaker and lush planter of vegatation of his spring. such a
fine spot... i would give so much to be in that position and responsibility.
he is a good man but as is so many times we do not understand consequenses
and long term results to our actions even if they intended well. i will get
back there again for another look and visit and discussion. he asked me where
he could get his boy the snorkel gear and wetsuit so the appreciation is
planted and joy and concern were expressed.
well... shoot. i decided to head back homeward but stop at the little
sequatchie where a much more massive impact was occuring. a pipeline
crossing... actually, actually burrowing under the river itself, to route a
major gas line. extreme activity has taken place along this route. the total
stripping of vegatation... a red scar has run up over the mountain and beyond
my view allowing massive red silt flows to sweep over part of the keeners
farm... the folks who allowed access to us during the seinerama and provided
us w/ fresh eggs and shitake mushrooms. human expansion and endless activity.
even tho we are learning, more careful or impact continues with every
expansion, home, road and shopping center. how much silt will lay on the
fresh clean gravel. how big a rain will wash it away or bring new layers.
which species will survive? which will disappear? will i get to visit the
past when i die. i would love to see the world before we touched it. i saw
fish... but now how many do i not see.
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