NANFA-- SC collecting on June 7 & 8
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 18:34:42 EDT

On Friday, June 7th, Dustin Smith, Dan Hagley and I headed out after work
for a collecting warm-up in preparation for a full day of collecting on
Saturday. We headed out towards Lancaster, SC making our first stop at SSR
39 and N. Branch Wildcat Creek. This spot had a very low water level with
very little flow. There were pools scattered around with much fish activity.
There were some very interesting rock formations here with sizes ranging
from small pebbles to large jagged boulders. Not a very good site for
dipnetting although we did get a few shiners this way. We decided to use the
small seine in some of the larger pools and see what turned up. We wound up
with the following fish:

(Site 060702-1)
Bluehead Chub - Nocomis leptocephalus
Highfin Shiner - Notropis altipinnis
Dusky Shiner - N. cummingsae
Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi
Redbreast Sunfish - Lepomis auritus
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus

Since we only had limited time and there was so much fish activity, we vowed
to return the next day. Our next stop was the South Branch Wildcat Creek on
the same road. This site was much different from the last. The bottom was
firm sand with some rocks scattered around. Here the water was deeper, the
stream wider and, while slow, it was flowing. We seined in the large pools
here and got one of the most beautiful Redbreast I've ever seen. Dan took it
back to Riverbanks to put on display. The list from this spot is as follows:

(Site 060702-2)
Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi
Redbreast Sunfish - Lepomis auritus
Highfin Shiner - Notropis altipinnis
Dusky Shiner - N. cummingsae
Bluehead Chub - Nocomis leptocephalus
Fieryblack Shiner - Cyprinella pyrrhomelas

We quickly loaded up and moved on. Our next stop was the Lynches River at
Hwy. 265. This spot had a lot of granite riprap around the edges, probably
because of the bridge way overhead. We could see small fish swimming in the
current and in small pools. There was also a large pool, practically a small
pond, caused by the riprap blocking the river flow. In this pool we could
see many large fish swimming around. We got the large seine out for the big
pool and used the small one in the current and little pools. From this spot
we got the following:

(Site 060702-3)
Fieryblack Shiner - Cyprinella pyrrhomelas
Greenfin Shiner - C. chloristia
Highfin Shiner - Notropis altipinnis
Dusky Shiner - N. cummingsae
Sandbar Shiner - N. scepticus
Bluehead Chub - Nocomis leptocephalus
Brook Silverside - Labidesthes sicculus
Bluegill - Lepomis macrochirus
Brassy Jumprock - Scartomyzon spp.
Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides
Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi
Piedmont Darter - Percina crassa
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki

By now the sun was starting to get low so we figured we had time for one
more spot. We headed down river a little ways to where Hwy. 903 crossed the
river. This area did not look as inviting as the last, especially after the
sight we saw as we walked down beside the bridge. There, in a small white
car parked under the bridge, was a rather large man and woman with a very
bothered look on their face. It appeared the woman was pulling her pants up.
Well, it was Friday night! If that happened to be anyone reading
this...."We're very sorry to have disturbed you". If not, then we probably
should have brought some of the mammal guys from the zoo. Bet they have
never seen anything like that! Someone may need to document these "wildlife
activities". Anyway, we hustled on by and hit the water, while they left.
Much of the water here was muddy with no flow. The bottom was muddy with a
few sandy spots scattered around. We got these fish:

(Site 060702-4)
Chain Pickerel - Esox niger
Bluegill - Lepomis macrochirus
Redbreast Sunfish - L. auritus
Dusky Shiner - L. marginatus
Sandbar Shiner - Notropis scepticus
Unidentified Shiner - Cyprinella spp.
Piedmont Darter - Percina crassa

We decided to call it a day, especially after the mentally disturbing sight
we had seen to start with here. Hopefully we could still get a good night's
sleep without any nightmares and we did need to be ready for an early start
on Saturday.

Early Saturday morning, June 8th, our little group left Columbia and headed
down towards Bennettsville to meet John Patterson from just outside of
Raleigh, NC. We met at Burger King (our good luck meeting place) ate a
little breakfast and discussed what fish we wanted to catch. After doing
this we headed to our first spot of the day. This was Paul Wallace Lake on
the outskirts of Bennettsville. We got here, climbed into our waders and
broke out the seines. The water was very clear. Well, as clear as tannin
stained water can be. The bottom was firm in most spots although there was
the occasional silty spot or hole to be wary of. Anyway, we proceeded to
pull up many nice fish from this area. Here is what we got:

(Site 060802-1)
Blackbanded Sunfish - Enneacanthus chaetodon
Bluespotted Sunfish - E. gloriosus
Banded Sunfish - E. obesus
Dollar Sunfish - Lepomis marginatus
Bluegill - L. macrochirus
Warmouth - L. gulosus
Flier - Centrarchus macropterus
Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus
Chain Pickerel - Esox niger
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki
Lined Topminnow - Fundulus lineolatus
Taillight Shiner - Notropis maculatus

From here we had a good little ride to get to the next spot. This was the
crossing of Hwy. 401 over the Lynches River. This is located neat Lamar, SC.
We headed into the water, finding a good sandy bottom here. Many shiners
could be seen swimming around over the sand. The flow was strong but not
strong enough to cause difficulty walking or seining. While we were out in
the water, an older couple came kayaking through and asked what we were
fishing for. We showed them some of the shiners that we had caught and told
them about many of the smaller attractive native non-game fish. They seemed
genuinely interested and said they would start looking for these on their
kayak trips. This is what we found here:

(Site 060802-2)
Dollar Sunfish - Lepomis marginatus
Bluegill - L. macrochirus
Pumpkinseed - L .gibbosus
Redbreast Sunfish - L. auritus
Largemouth Bass - Micropterus salmoides
Banded Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma zonatum
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki
Taillight Shiner - Notropis maculatus
Coastal Shiner - N. petersoni
Fieryblack Shiner - Cyprinella pyyrhomelas
Whitefin Shiner - C. nivea
Greenfin Shiner - C. chloristia
Brook Silversides - Labidesthes sicculus
Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi
Unidentified Shad

After we finished up here, it was time to grab a bite to eat. We stopped at
a little convenience store in Lamar. Here a pleasant young lady took our
order for pizza. When the pizzas arrived at our table we were amazed at the
amount of toppings on the pizza. You couldn't pick up a slice without
spilling beef, sausage, bacon, mushrooms or green peppers all over the place.
We will definitely stop by here again! After eating, we contemplated taking
naps but eventually decided we had too many sites yet to visit to go to
sleep. Our next stop was just out of the Lamar town limits at Newman Swamp
on Hwy. 401 heading north. We didn't spend much time hear. The place was
heavily vegetated with a soft bottom. A beaver dam had backed the water up
into the trees on one side of the road and the other side had so much
vegetation that you couldn't see where the water started. We didn't find
very much here while dipnetting, although we probably could have had we spent
more time. We were still full from lunch and easily distracted with talk of
moving on to better sites. We did find a few fish here:

(Site 060802-3)
Banded Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma zonatum
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus
Eastern Mudminnow - Umbra pygmaea
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki

We jumped in our vehicles and headed down the road for a few minutes. Just
down the road was a spot called Sparrow Swamp. This spot was not as
vegetated as the last but it was still very muddy. It was a much deeper spot
and we couldn't sample much here. A few fish were found, but not the
diversity we had hoped for. This is what we found:

(Site 060802-4)
Banded Pygmy Sunfish - Elassoma zonatum
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus
Redfin Pickerel - Esox americanus
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki

It was now getting later in the day so we decided to make a long run back to
North Branch Wildcat Creek, where we had been the previous day. The memories
of the traumatic event that occurred the day before were still fresh in our
minds so we decided to take a different route there. After a long ride we
finally arrived at the spot. We pulled off of the road and decided that,
since the water was low and the bottom firm and rocky, we would just wear
shoes and/or flip-flops. With Dustin leading the way we headed down. Almost
instantly after entering the creek, Dustin yells "Oh s*_at_%!" and comes
running back past Dan and me. "There was a Water Moccasin back there and it
was swimming straight at me" he says. Dan and I hadn't moved, we were still
trying to keep from laughing too hard. If you have ever seen anyone run
through a creek with a slick rocky bottom while wearing flip-flops, you would
understand. We looked around for a bit and, not seeing anything even
resembling a snake, headed on to the fish. We, as we had done the day
before, used the smaller seine with pretty good success. John "if I can see
it, I can catch it" Patterson, did a pretty good job using his dipnet as
well. We some nice fish from this spot again and a few that we had not found
the day before. Most pools had at least a couple of Bluehead Chubs, in full
breeding form, in them. It was pretty cool to just watch them swimming
around. At times, Dan would chase them under a rock and grab them by hand.
Here is what we found:

(Site 060802-5)
Redfin Pickerel - Esox americanus
Pirate Perch - Aphrododerus sayanus
Eastern Mosquitofish - Gambusia holbrooki
Tessellated Darter - Etheostoma olmstedi
Redbreast Sunfish - Lepomis auritus
Pumpkinseed - L. gibbosus
Margined Madtom - Noturus insignus
Dusky Shiner - Notropis cummingsae
Bluehead Chub - Nocomis leptocephalus

With the shadows getting longer, we decided to call it a day. John had a
good four hour drive ahead of him, Dustin had to do some work around the
house before a Father-in-law visit the next day and Dan and I had to drop
some fish off by the zoo. We loaded our equipment up, said our good-byes and
hit the road. For our trips, both days, we had really nice weather. Sunny
and relatively mild with a breeze for most of the day. Couldn't ask for
better collecting weather. Maybe next weekend we can head out to find some
Christmas Darters. Details to follow.
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