NANFA-- East tx 8-31-02 (not too long)

John Bongiovanni (
Sun, 01 Sep 2002 14:39:05 -0500

My brother Ray and I went collecting Saturday August 31, 2002. The
following report is rather long and my first NANFA report. Sorry no
pictures, I hope to get a nice digital camera soon. Photos of my tank
are here
<> .

Butler Creek
- East of the bridge on county rd 1131 Found one Fundulus notatus with
sever fungal infections.
Conditions - water was cool 78-80?F. Silt bottom at least 18" deep.
Thick stands of saw grass in the stream. Visibility 3" only. Moved west
of the bridge - silt bottom gave way to solid clay bottom 4" deep in
places. Initially difficulty instituting good seining technique was had
due to snags and leaves in the water. As we worked west the the seine
was easier to handle. A shorter seine would be appropriate in the
future. Our seine was a 15' which was rolled up as needed. We rarely
rolled out more than 8'. We recovered:
White Crappie,
Pirate Perch,
Blackspot Shiner,
Gambusia affinis
Fundulus notatus
Blue gill
Green sunfish

We left Butler creek and moved north along lake Palestine (east of
Tyler, Tx) and noted a small no-name creek crossing FM 2661 about two
miles north of Butler Creek. We turned around to give it a look-see. The
first thing we saw of note was a very large Argiope aurantia (green
garden spider) that was entombing a lizard it had caught in its web. The
lizard was 8" inches snout to tail and was probably an Anole. The lizard
was fighting but was not going anywhere! We also noted a big brown/black
spider perched on a leaf overhanging the water. It looked to be waiting
for a meal. It was tempting to wait and watch but we had fish to sample.
The flow was very limited but very clear on a sandy bottom. Due to the
time of the year the flow was very low. The concrete culvert had three
passages under the road. The first was all dried up with mud. The second
had just a trickle coming out. and the third had a nice steady flow. It
was the middle flow we sampled first. Small emergent plants and grasses
lined the edges of this stream not much wider than the dip net we used.
(12"). The first sweep with our dip net rewarded us with

Eleostoma gracile
Black bullhead cats 1-2"
G. affinis

We decided to sample in the pool under the bridge since the fish were
somewhat captive with nowhere to go. We recovered:
Grass Pickerel
Spotted Sunfish
Golden Shiners
East of the bridge we collected more golden shiners some quite large.

We moved on to a small concrete ditch with clear fast moving water. The
source seems to be a from a Kelly Springfield holding tank or effluent
treatment tank. This flows along hwy 31, 2 miles west of Tyler, downhill
for about a 1/4 mile before joining a branch of Indian Creek emerging
from a culvert. In the concrete ditch we noted a healthy population of
gambusia. In some opportunistic grass stands growing from the cracks in
the concrete we netted some juvenile Black Bullhead catfish. As the
water from the ditch meets the water crossing under hwy 31 there is a
zone of clear water. We approached carefully, we could see F. notatus,
gambusia and male Bluegill waiting for insect larvae and other food
items to come rolling down the ditch. They were all lined up facing the
flow. We also found some blackspot shiners.

Our goal was to move to Mud creek
east of Tyler to get F. chrysotus and F. blairae. We were not able to
get easy access to mud creek so we crossed caney creek and found come of
the common Gambusia and Blackstripe Topminnows. A grass pickerel
collected appeared to have a nice sized tumor growing on its side.
Paralleling the stream is a pasture for cattle and hay production and
wondered if the runoff might have restricted the number of fish found
and caused the tumor on the fish.

Moving onto the public boat ramp at the confluence of Mud Creek and L.
Tyler East we were getting hot, we stunk after spending the day wading
in the murkey E. Texas creeks. We had scratches all over our arms & Legs
from blackberry bushes and other "agressive" flora. We were looking
forward to closing out the day with some easy sampling, stretching the
15' seine out and letting it do its stuff. On either side of the boat
ramp are sand and mud bottoms. The water is not much more than waste
high nearly across the lake at that point. Close to shore are large
stands of Elodea, pondweed, lillypads, milfoil, parrotsfeather,
Hornwort, Chara. To collect in the plants we shortened the seine to
about 8' and tuned it on itslayed horizontalparallel to the water. It
was pulled taut. With the weighted end as the leading edge we skimmed
the net along the tops of the plants. Using this technique we collected
F. blairae, F. chrysotus, F. notatus and G. affinis.

We took the net into the deeper water and sampled what was out there.
Naturally, tons of sunfish were present, also inland silversides were
briefly observed as they "died of fright".
Finally we went home to enjoy a couple on nice steaks, bake potatoes,
and in honor of our day, Shiner Bock Beer!
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