Re: NANFA--Collecting in southern alabama

Bruce Stallsmith (
Thu, 03 May 2001 13:46:52 -0400

I didn't know that Ray Charles was into fish...

Rainbow shiners can be strangely difficult to catch even when there are
zillions of them present. The most efficient capture method I've
participated in was with Charley Grimes and John Olson when they joined me
on a safari to DeKalb County, AL. In the Little Willis Creek we started
catching them once we used a seine with _heavy_ bottom weighting, and
someone working as a kick-driver. We probably caught about 50 Rainbows,
along with 'bout 200 Coosa shiners, 10 Fundulus stellifer and 5 Coosa bass
(including a monster about 6" long).

I'm at Dauphin Island Sea Lab right now and just went to a seminar
presentation about the Cahaba River in the Birmingham, AL, area. Suburban
development is messing up the river as measured largely by changes in fish
community structure. The speaker, Ken Marion of the Univ. of Alabama in
Birmingham, referred to blackbanded darters, Percina nigrofasciata, as very
tolerant of turbid, low quality waters and presented an increase in their
numbers as symptomatic of degrading water quality. Has anyone else heard of
such a use of blackbanded darters? This is part of the creation of an Index
of Biotic Integrity (IBI) which has the advantage of simplicity (some
Senators actually understand it...). I have personal doubts about such
indices for methodological and statistical reasons, but I'll save that for
another rave.

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL

>That night Debbie and I drove well south of
>Montgomery, where we spent the night and awaited
>arrival of more friends from Mobile as we prepared to
>collect in the Lime Hills the next day. Early in the
>morning we headed north into hilly country and stopped
>at a stream with very clear water. As the four of us
>climbed down the hill to the stream we could see
>metallic blue dots darting to and fro in the stream.
>The male Notropis chrosomus were in breeding colors
>but not up on the nests yet. I measured the water
>temperature...a refreshingly cool 64... too cool for
>rainbow shiners to spawn, but warm enough for males to
>be in color. Several hours of intense seining
>resulted in a few fish for each of us. We also caught
>Fundulus stellifer, Etheostoma stigmaeum, Etheostoma
>whipplei, one I havent id'd yet, Percina
>nigrofasciata, rough shiners, creek chubsuckers,
>alabama hognoses, a Nocomis species Longear sunfish
>juveniles and Fundulus notatus. All in all a wonderful
>trip. Time to get back to work

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