Re: NANFA-- Lots and lots of snorkeling.

Roselawn Museum (
Mon, 11 Jun 2001 13:57:36 -0400

Hi Mark

Nice report! I finally tried snorkeling for the 1st time this past
Saturday. What a rush! My stepson Jonathan & I went up to Talking Rock
Creek (between Canton & Jasper, GA). Their were still some effects from
earlier rain. The underwater visibility was six feet or less, but good
enough for me to see the fish. From others' descriptions, I thought I was
prepared for the experience. Wrong! After a few minutes of getting used to
the equipment, I started upstream. Even without my glasses, I could see
better than I expected. There was enough current for me to have to pull
myself along with rocks on the bottom. I was amazed, first of all, at how
the bottom is constantly in motion, just like the water. Very cool. At
first, I didn't see any fish. As I neared the 1st riffle, I began to find
them in groups. It was very difficult to keep my grip to hold my position
in very strong water, but well worth the effort. I marveled at God's design
of the bodies of the fishes! Unlike me, they held their position
effortlessly. I was surprised at how well they tolerated my presence. I
guess I stayed under for about 15 minutes crawling upstream. When I reached
a point where the water got too shallow, I stood up to walk (at least I
tried to!). I guess I had gotten so fascinated underwater that it affected
my balance, and I had trouble walking for a minute or two. Is that typical?
Anyway, I went about half a mile upstream before I started back down. Going
downstream was even more of a treat. It was the closest thing to flying I
could have imagined. When I got to the riffles, I forced my self to hang on
in the very strongest current so that I could look over the edge
underwater. There were the darters. How they sit there motionless in water
that strong is beyond me. Only the limitations of my body temperature and
approaching nightfall ended my day. Otherwise, I might still be out there!
I have thought of little else since then. I guess I'm hooked now. Thanks to
Casper Cox for nudging me into this awesome new world.

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA

At 07:43 PM 6/10/01 -0500, you wrote:
>I've been like a caged animal waiting to do some serious snorkeling, so I
>went three days in a row.
>On Friday I hit the upper Pomme de Terre River and it was predator city.
>There was as small but rather deep pool beneath a culvert that was shooting
>water into the pool. I swear that the small fishes were out numbered by the
>things that wanted to eat them. Black Bullheads were constantly poking
>about the rocks, I saw a snapping turtle about 5 feet away from me, came
>face to face with a very large bowfin and a longnose gar. In addition there
>were all kinds of Largemouth Bass, and Bluegills in the pool. Hiding or
>cowering about the rocks were a handful of Rainbow and Iowa Darters. In the
>shallower water there were a lot of Blackchinned Shiners and a few Least
>Darters and Banded Killifish.
>After checking out this pool I drove another 10 miles or so to the east
>practically to the headwaters of the Pomme de Terre were it is a very small
>stream connecting a couple of lakes. Just above the lake it was entering it
>formed a pool maybe 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. I've never seen so many
>bowfins in my life. There had to be at least a dozen of them in the pool.
>It seemed everywhere I turned there was one staring me in the face. At one
>point I had three checking me out at the same time. There were also tons of
>Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, and Pumpkinseeds. There was one Black Crappie
>and several Northern Pike. I was kind of a spooky place to snorkel as the
>strong current rippled and waved long weeds and bunches of algae were all
>these fish were lurking. Small fish were abundant, Blackchinned Shiners
>were the most common minnow, and Rainbow Darters and Logperch were all over
>the place. Least Darters were very common in the sandy stretches and there
>were a few Iowa Darters and Johnny Darters. More into the lake there were a
>lot of Banded Killifish cruising the shallows.
>On Saturday I hit bigger water with the Ottertail River coming out of Rush
>Lake. The water was clear and there were tons of fish. The best fish was a
>Troutperch that was very cooperative. I didn't realize they were such a
>translucent fish. Bluntnose Minnows and Logperch and Blackside Darters were
>abundant. There were also at least half a dozen hybrid Logperch and
>Blacksides (either that or we have Blotchsided Logperch in northern
>Minnesota). Gamefish were everywhere including Northern Pike, Yellow Perch,
>Largemouth Bass, and Bluegill Sunfish.
>I snorkeled up river into the lake until I lost my nerve when the water got
>deep and dark. Going out into the lake I surprised to see Blackside Darters
>well into the lake in sandy habitat.
>Finally I snorkeled in a chain of lakes connected by a crystal clear sandy
>streams at Glendalough State Park near Battle Lake. The pools of the stream
>were filled with clouds of sunfish of all sizes, logperch, and all kinds of
>shiners. The most interesting part for me was snorkeling out to and through
>the bullrushes well out into the lake. The rushes were in 4 to 8 feet of
>water and formed a nursery for small sunfish and minnows. The edges of the
>rushes were patrolled by Rock Bass, Bluegills, Largemouth Bass, and Black
>Crappies. Northern Pike were working there way through the rushes
>themselves. It was a very pleasant experience to slowly cruise face down
>through the area and see this ever changing panorama of life. A lot of the
>bluegills had dug out nests and were defending them against other fish, and
>were hesitant to leave even as I approached.
>I know I've forgotten much of what I saw and I've gotten too long with the
>message already. It was just such a good time,
>Mark Otnes
>Fargo ND

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