> Hello FishHeads...
> I hope everyone had a long relaxing weekend. It's nice to get an extended
> break every once in a while!
> After the Paint Rock trip on Saturday the family and i decided to head South
> to the Little River which starts on top of a flat mountain ( Lookout Mtn? )
> below Chattanooga and eventually cascades off to Weiss Lake ( created by TVA
> ). Dave Neely told me to check below the falls for greater diversity and my
> first experience there was very rewarded. I saw many of the same species that
> i encounter in the Conasauga. The prime male Tri-Color Shiners were stunning
> with their blue heads with gleaming white tubercules. They seem to glow as
> they dash about in the strongest current. You really have to hold onto the
> biggest rock to experience these guys. ( J.R.... they may possibly be Alabama
> Shiners... it's tough to tell from Etnier's book without having a dead one in
> my hand! ) I also saw BlackTail Shiners which are easy enough to ID. Also
> possibly Blue Shiners but not in the color/beauty that is claimed.
> As for darters... i had never seen so many Log Perch. i was constantly coming
> across cluster colonys of 3, 4 or 5. I noticed some having the red band on
> the dorsal so i presume they were Mobile Log Perch. They were generally
> tolerant of my presense as long as i did not chase them. They will often come
> up and investigate my stirrings. They are really cute the way they nose over
> stones looking for edibles. I also viewed quite a few Black Banded Darters
> which somewhat resemble the Duskys and Bridal / Muscadine Darters of which i
> think i saw also ( Muscadines ). They seem to glide or hover in mid water
> column among wood and large rocks. I believe i saw Bronzes but they did not
> look exactly like those at the Conasauga ( ? ). Hum. Suprisingly i did not
> see any Redlines or Rainbows... and i dont think they are found there. ? I
> have to look at Scott's book again.
> I saw a couple of S Studfish in the shallows along the bank. Rarely can you
> approach close to one of these. I have not had the opportunity to get close
> to one in full breeding colors. i hope to one day but they often get in water
> only 6" deep to do their thing.
> I saw several large Red Horses... with cowboys... i mean with red fins. They
> say they are good eating and i bought a spear gun last year for that
> reason... but when you carry weapons and nets the fish folk seem to know what
> you have in mind! It is much more peaceful just to walch and wonder. You can
> see where the Red Horses munch on the rocks. They leave little quarter size
> marks on them. You can hear them often before you see them... crunch, crunch,
> pop, snap. Much like the Parrot fish of the Carribean.
> Flocks of StoneRollers. Many big Spotted ( ? ) Bass. One was maybe 2' long.
> Massive. A dark, large Blue Gill was guarding a nest and as i gently moved my
> finger to the nest's substrate he persisted in pecking at me. I did not see
> ang eggs or larva tho so he must have been setting up shop. Red Breast Sun
> Fish a plenty, of which some were quite pretty. Big, clunky Drums. And my
> first viewing of the streamlined and elegant Channel Cats. Unlike the typical
> catfish you see someone holding in a Polaroid on a Bait Shop's wall. Quite
> different. They were skittish and would not allow me to approach them. Some
> kind of Chubb or Riffle Minnow. and perhaps the most stunning viewing... i
> was floating quietly along side an old scruffy Redhorse and looked beyond to
> see 3 and then 4 massive Gar maybe 5' long, hovering mid water. They were
> just at the edge of my visibility... about 7" away. I felt like i was among
> Dinosaurs. What Beasts. Masters of Ambush i reckon. As i approached them they
> continued to ease away maintaining the distance between them and i. Aweome.
> Spotted Gar i believe.
> That wrapped up my underwater day and we loaded up and crossed the mountain
> back to Fort Payne ( hometown for those singing fellas that go by the name
> Alabama ) and got a fine genuine mexican meal in the sock capital of the
> Im ready for another trip back! Who wants to go :)
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