Wish I coulda' hung out with you on that trip. Did you get a chance to take
any pix? Just a little south, and a little over a hundred miles east of
there is the area that Bill Hoppe is inviting us to next spring, so save
your maps. Getting some cardinal shiners would be worth the side run for
me. Who knows? The clarity of the water may even attract that ol' gilled
critter just north of me. (-:
Steven A. Ellis
At 07:16 PM 6/7/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Hi. I had a week off from work and got the okay from the boss (Deb) to do a
>fish expedition for several days so I shot down to southwest Missouri. By
>my standards it was a quick trip (less that 12 hours). I left early Friday
>morning and by 3:30 that afternoon I was checking out fish spots.
>I snorkeled four different rivers - Big Sugar Creek (Neosho drainage), Flat
>Creek (White River drainage), Niangua River, and the Gasconade. Big Sugar
>Creek had great visibility and it was full of Cardinal Shiners including
>some still in full breeding colors. What really struck me was the absence
>of Common or Striped Shiners. It seems like any river you go to in the east
>if full of one of these species or its cousins. The Cardinal Shiner seemed
>to be the most common fish. There were also lots of Northern Studfish, some
>with some good colors.
>The second day I drove to Flat Creek and on the way hit the upper part of
>the Spring River where I found Arkansas Darters and I believe a Least
>Darter. Flat Creek was full of Duskystripe Shiners, but most didn't have
>too much color. I found a Yoke Darter and a couple of Ozark Madtoms. There
>were tons of Rainbow and Greenside Darters and Logperch. When I got further
>down stream I found White-tailed Shiners. After hitting this creek I went
>northwest through the hills and came upon a very beautiful spring. There
>was water running off the limestone cliffs into it and the water was crystal
>clear (the clearest I've ever been in). It was a absolutely wonderful spot.
>It was full of Southern Redbellied Dace, Duskystripe Shiners, stonerollers,
>sunfish, bass, Rainbow Darters, logperch, sculpins, and Ozark Shiners.
>Next I hit the Niangua River and worked my way downstream. As soon as I
>jumped in I observed a Bluestripe Darter working the edge of the water
>willows. The Bleeding Shiners and Ozark Shiners were still spawning over
>gravel piles and it was wonderful to just float and observe them. I looked
>like crazy for a Niangua Darter, but like his cousin the Arrow Darter I was
>unsuccessful. I did manage to get some Missouri Saddlebacked Darters
>though, so I was happy to see two of the three Missouri endemic darters.
>Finally I snorkeled the Gasconade, but I struggled to find clear water.
>Oddly enough it seemed to get clearer down stream (in the Mark Twain
>National Forest) and here I got to observe Missouri Saddled and Gilt
>Darters. I also saw two more Bluestripe Darters.
>Altogether it was a good spur of the moment trip. Not as good as Tennessee,
>but not bad. I was struck by the abundance of Southern Redbellied Dace and
>I even came across them in the larger rivers. The other thing that struck
>me was the nice country in the extreme southwest corner of the state
>(McDonald county). If there is a right was to do agriculture this has got
>to be pretty close. There were fields of tall grass used for hay and this
>appeared to be the dominant form of agriculture. There were cattle but they
>didn't seem to graze the land to death. There was an abundance of
>Dickcissels and Eastern Meadowlarks and a lot of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers
>in the open country. Very nice.
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