NANFA-- Arkansas Ozark Gathering of Fisheads part 1

Fri, 23 May 2003 09:10:34 -0700 (PDT)

The Arkansas Ozarks Gathering of Fisheads May 17 2003.

Heavy rain and tornado watches on the day and nite
before the gathering caused high fast water at all of
the potential collecting/sampling sites .BUT...the
weatherman was saying only scattered showers in the
morning .
Meeting at the Hook Line and Sinker in Lead Hill on
the 17 th there were six of us with two more due in
and no rain at 9:00. Since The two missing were fish
and game people we thought they would find us and we
really wanted to get going before rain popped up .

The first scheduled site was at the old Lead Hill
ghost town bridge on Sugar Loaf Creek east.
Unfortunately the water was very high there so we hit
the hi way to an uphill section of Sugar Loaf Creek at
the state 14 bridge east of Lead Hill. The site was
workable but our fish and game partners didn't know
where we were .They had been 4 minutes behind us
.After checking some other sites they found us in
about 20 minutes .Good detectives .This section of the
creek is normally net able with only knee boots to
keep you dry and is very clear but today it was 3
times as deep and wide and very turbulent .We took a
onelaner dirt track at the west end of the bridge down
thru the woods to the creek.We kept the cars about 50
feet back .Russell Johnson AR --The Arkansas Roadside
Travelogue--, Jim Graham MI , Dave Hamerlien MI , Bob
McDonnell IN , Kevin Mouser MO and myself Bill Hoppe
AR started netting .Jim , Kevin and I were using kick
nets . Bob and Dave were using a Seine net .

Last year the lake level had been so high that this
area of the creek had been under maybe ten feet of
water all summer .When the water receded in the fall
it had left the creek covered in mud .Since then
Several flash floods had scoured much of the mud off
of the creeks rock bottom .I was interested to see how
the diversity of the creeks fishes had fared.

The start wasn't much more than crayfish and tadpoles
but soon we were getting Orangethroat , Rainbow and
stippled darters , Spotted topminnows , Banded
sculpins , SRB Dace and large gorgeous Northern
Studfish . Other young shiners were not IDed .Crayfish
included the Ozark and Ringed . YOY turtles of what I
call pond slider types were netted but not IDed .

The rest of the crew arrived and introduced themselves
and began sampling and helping .They were Brian
Wagner,State Nongame Aquatic Biologist , Mark Oliver ,
District Fish Biologist , Mrs Cecil Oliver and Josh a
6th grade student of Mrs Oliver .

I think it might have rained a little while we were
there but I don't think anyone paid much attention to
it .One notable fish missing here was the Slender
madtoms collected in other years .The Banded sculpin
young were very small . Maybe a late spawn for some
reason .We had places to go and fishes to see so we
hit the road for Crooked Creek at Yellville city park

Crooked Creek is a prime SM bass water that is much
larger than Sugar Loaf .It stretches for 80 winding
miles thru parts of 3 counties and has a lot of
diversity . Today it looked a little menacing . Much
deeper and muddied than when I normally collect here .
I advised to stay near the boat landing and shore
.Some of the high points included Kevin working with
6th grader Josh with a seine net .Josh seemed to
really get into this fish collecting thing ...And then
some discovered they were netting in a mostly
submerged patch of poison ivy .... And not to forget
Dave and Kevin working their seine net back to the
bank thru murky water when there was an explosion of
good size SM Bass leaping past their heads to escape
the net .
The fine mesh seine that Bob and Dave were working
picked up many YOY shiners which we didn't ID .In some
cases the murky water probably helped in netting fish
.The water depth kept us from working much of the
creek though . Additional species known to be in these
creeks were not collected . Probably due to limiting
weather / water conditions .

What we did collect/sample/net and release here
consisted of.........
Spotted topminnow , Northern studfish , Whitetail
shinner .Duskystripe shiner , Stoneroller , Northern
Hog Sucker , young Crappie , Longear , Bluegill , very
young Ozark bass ? , Smallmouth bass , Stippled darter
, Ozark crayfish , Ringed crayfish , YOY Softshell
turtles .

Since we had at least one more big site to go to we
decided to have a quick lunch in Yellville at a cafe .
Brian , Mark , Cecile and Josh had to depart for a
prior appointment at this time . There was much talk
of enjoying the outing and wanting to do this again
soon .Mark Oliver had fish to put in the district hq
display tank also . While we ate a heavy rain started
. It lifted as we finished lunch .We departed for
Harrison City Lake .

Bill Hoppe
Yellville Arkansas
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