NANFA-- Little River, AL, trip

Bruce Stallsmith (
Tue, 28 May 2002 23:08:13 -0400

It wouldn't be Memorial Day weekend locally without a group collecting trip,
and sure enough three of us got together on Sat., May 25, along the Little
River in Cherokee County, AL. Steven Ellis, Casper "Fins" Cox and myself met
at the Little River Canyon Mouth national park in the morning. I got hung up
in "Super Yard Sale" or whatever traffic for 45 minutes along Highway 11 in
nearby Collinsville, AL; this is the annual mega yard sale that stretches
along this highway for some ungodly length of Highway 11 ("Lee Highway" to
those who read the signs...).

Anyway, once we rendezvoused in the parking lot we entertained picnickers
with Steven and Casper putting on their wetsuits; even more entertaining was
me trying to put on one of Casper's extra suits which didn't quite work
since I'm about 4 inches taller and I still have linebacker thighs. With
that we hiked up along the river to a beautiful clear pool and the others
started a leisurely snorkel circuit while I waded around in the water and
watched fishes in the shallows. This must be about the only place where you
can sit in knee-deep water and watch colored-up blue shiners (a Threatened
species) chase bronze and greenbreast darters around your ankles.

Steven's daughter and her family joined us as we rested from several hours
of drifting around and staring at fish (netting/collecting is illegal but
fishing is legal...). So, I met 3 of Steven's grandchildren(!). We left the
park to collect fish from the river just downstream from the park. Where we
used to park along Route 273 is now blocked off as part of a gated community
(in Cherokee County?!? the cancer know as Atlanta seems to be spreading) but
we found access through a vacant yard. An hour of seining and slipping
around on the rocks yielded only 3 species--Alabama shiners, Blue shiners
and bronze darters. We very carefully sorted out the Blue shiners and Steven
and Casper kept some of the others.

All told, we caught or observed 20 species of fish:
Longperch (Percina caprodes)
Bronze darter (P. palmaris)
Blackbanded darter (P. nigrofasciata)
Greenbreast darter (Etheostoma jordani)
Speckled darter (Eth. stigmaeum)
Alabama shiner (Cyprinella callistia)
Blue shiner (C. caerulea)
Tricolor shiner (C. trichroistia)
Largescale stoneroller (Campostoma oliogolepis)
Southern studfish (Fundulus stellifer)
Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
Redeye bass (M. coosae)
Bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus)
Longear sunfish (L. megalotis)
Redbreast sunfish (L. auritus)
Alabama shad (Alosa alabamae)
Golden redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)
Freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)
Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus)
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

Strange, but none of us saw any Dambusia in the river... and more organized
seining at our second spot would probably have added species. This was a fun
day along a drop-dead beautiful river that runs through a protected
21-mile-long canyon and has the crystal-clear water to prove it. So I finish
this prequel to Casper's rainbow shiner homage; see ya later!

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A
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