This past Saturday (May 8) I took a trip down to Chattanooga, TN for a
little snorkeling with the Snorkelmeister himself, Casper Cox. Upon my
arrival I got a tour of the grounds, including the "Big Cement Pond". That
was way cool! Lots of fish, lots of plants, nice waterfall. Everybody
should have one in the back yard!
Our first stop of the day was a nice little stream that Casper said had
dried up a few years ago. In spite of that, there were quite a few fish
there. The water was beautifully clear and cool enough that our wetsuits
felt good. We started upstream of a bridge and slowly worked our way down
through some riffles, tree snags and a nice deep (~ 12') pool. That is
where I got my first sight of yellow perch.
N. Chickamauga Creek:
Redhorse (unidentified species)
Another Sucker (unidentified)
Longnose Gar (BIG!)
Black Crappie (including 1 with a black stripe down its face)
Black Snubnose Darter
Our next stop was where Soddy Creek runs into Chickamauga Lake (TN River).
The lake water was kinda warm and a little murky. Didn't see much there
except a few sunfish and LM bass. As we worked our way up into some flowing
water, we could feel, and even see (!), the difference as the water got
cooler. Logperch everywhere! There were also a few rainbow darter males
displaying to each other, trying to impress the females on the sidelines.
The water was pretty shallow down near the lake, so Casper went upstream a
ways and found a nice pool and run below a small cascade. Lots of very
skinny LM bass and we saw a pair of SM bass preparing a nest.
White Sucker (dead)
Black Snubnose Darter
Redline Darter (females only)
Our next stop, Falling Water Creek, was not as clear as we had hoped, but
Casper stuck his head in anyway. The only thing new was a striped shiner,
so we left pretty quick. He knew of another spot he wanted to check out and
light was fading fast.
We ended up down in GA a little way, where we checked out a trib. of
Chattanooga Creek (I don't remember the name). There were some kids fishing
from the bridge there and we could see some suckers. Casper had seen dusky
darters there in the past, but the area had gotten very silty and slow. We
got in anyway and saw a few sunfish and suckers. By that time it was about
too dark under the trees to see much in the water, so we packed up and left.
After a fine supper with Casper and his elder daughter-in-a local eatin'
establishment, I had to hit the road for home. Overall, a very fine day of
clear water, cool fish, and excellent company! Thanks, Casper!
"The power of humans to degrade the natural world is awesome; the
capability to reconstitute it later is mythical."
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