NANFA-- im back... and looking for trouble!
Thu, 24 May 2001 21:00:33 EDT

hi everyone.
im back to see, hear and share what has been going on!
the spring has been good in se tennessee... lasting long. flowers are still
in bloom. water has warmed enough to snorkle. ive been able to wander central
alabama and see species unknown to me. my son and i were able to rendevous w/
bg in centreville alabama and snorkle w/ rainbow shiners itching to spawn.
for the first time i witnessed spawning mounds created by illusive blue head
chubbs. clean gravel mounds just downstream of riffle runs. pretty cool.
rainbows are stunning but even more blasting were ones i viewed in ft payne 2
weeks later. they were blazing! each one seemed to carry unique color and
pattern marking where as the ones in centreville were more uniform. the
rainbows were among honcho pastel spectrumed striped shiners and hornyheaded
stonerollers working pits in the clean gravel. both species were moving
stones w/ their mouths deepening the pits. the rainbows were flickering
about. upstream was a mass of hoover hog suckers settled w/ their heads to
the stream flow. sunfish were dashing thru the activity. i snapped some
photos w/ bg's underwater camera he has let me play with but they in no way
equal the reality of the day. i will give it another shot this weekend when
some of the tn valley nanfa fellas meet up at the paint rock. also a great
last sunday i was able to see for the first time rosyfin shiners beautifully
marked w/ vertical irregular banding, red fins and a silver headed mass of
intricate tuberculations. quite striking. just in a little ditch of a creek
flowing thru chattanooga neighborhoods. also seen were war paint shiners and
several species of darters. all in a flow i could barely submerge in.
a week ago i was able to go along w/ ed scott and some tva folks to survey a
section of the french broad for snail darters. we came up w/ about 2 dozen
using a 24' siene, 1 electro shocker and about 7 humans. lampreys, madtoms
and red line, snubs and banded darters were common. the redlines being very
intense in coloration. snorkling was minimal cause of low visibility but i
did get to watch a small group of redlines frolick in a area. a blue breast
also crossed my path. it is so much fun to settle in a spot and see what
happens. after a minute or so they tend to ignore you and go about their
business defending sites, chasing one another, flipping stones. pretty cool.
we finally got moved into the new homestead and it sure is nice. sleeping w/
the windows open. no sirens blarring, nor boom boxes rattling the windows.
now we sleep to hoot owls, bull frogs and distant frieght trains. the cement
pond is developing healthfully. all last year initial planting have returned
this spring w/ vigor. cattails, arrowheads, rushes, iris, parrot grass,
hibiscus, mint, lillies... all thriving. every creek or backwater i hit
supplies a new plant to try. most of the fish seem to have survived the 3 day
freeze over as well as one of two little sliders. black spotted topminnows
skeeter across the surface. bg's longnose gar lurks along the vegatative
edge. redbreasted and longears flash over the gravel. minnows whirl in balls
of fins. my goal is to get it clear enough to snorkle in. i picked up a big
nearly new swimming pool pump and sand filter for cheap which i will install
later this summer. i also plan on building a 5' tall waterfall w/ a stepped
flow down creek run... hopefully creating an area for spawning activity.
get out and get wet!
ive got my cabin for the ohio get together. i think it is gonna be a special
place and lots of fun. i really like the idea of it being in a rustic
setting. the last 3 years have been downtown. im ready for some full moon
howling country style. the activities and speakers planned are interesting.
im really keen on attending the aquaria background construction techniques as
well as rob's lighting talks. i would like to arrive a few days early and
visit mark binkley north ways and also see pat's well water flow aquarium
setup described in a older ac. do a little pre-exploration in those new
parts. get into some clear water before everyone mucks it up! :)
off i go... its late! i hope to see yall later this summer!

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