Re: NANFA--Banded Killy Conservation

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Fri, 21 May 2004 03:53:14 -0400

Native Fish Enthusiasts

I've always had a thing for Fundulus diaphanus ever since I used to get
them as a kid- usually as leftover bait minnows when my dad took us
fishing-in-Bull Run Marina many years ago. That used to be the place to
get them in northern Virginia then and who knows- maybe still.

In PA I used to get them in the stream below the spillway-in-Cranberry
Glade Lake (Somerset Co) in the early 80s up until the time I went into
the Air Force in 86. Also was catching Southern Redbelly Dace in the
same location.

As of the early 90s both the killies and dace disappeared. At first I
suspected environmental degradation but the lake remains healthy as ever
supporting some of the best game and pan fish as it did before and
aquatic plants like variable milfoil and vallisinera were still
thriving. My conclusion: the lake was never suitable for either Banded
Killifish or Southern Redbellies and the populations declined because
the PA Fish and Boat Commission was stocking the killies as forage fish
and the dace came as interlopers like many oddball species I've seen in
the tanks of local bait dealers. A change of stocking strategies or
suppliers (Golden Shiners are more common there now) and the Killies and
dace which may have been ill suited to reproduce in an acidic tannic
water lake were extirpated by attrition.

I have since found abundant banded killies in two other lakes- Keystone
(Westmoreland) and Yellow Creek (Indiana?) in the mid 1990s. My guess
is that these are stocked as well. At Keystone I was catching alot of
young ones in the spillway- they seem to wash over and accumulate there
like they did-in-Cranberry Lake.

Someday I will have to go back and see how they are doing- that is if I
can manage to get away from my busy life and obligations. And avoid that
park ranger who freaked out when he caugh a friend and I testing pH and
hardness. I can only imagine how he would have reacted had he seen our
bucket of killies sitting a few yards away. Never brought it to his
attention and dumped it afterward and went home empty handed never to
return since.

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