Nice report. Dustin and I are in the early stages of planning a Florida
trip, hopefully sometime this winter or early spring. We're going to try
and do some collecting with Doug. Maybe we can meet up with you as well.
To aid in reducing stress on the fish, we use a liberal dose of either
NovAqua or StressCoat. I have started transporting my fish in 15 gallon
rubbermaid containers. The additional surface area, when compared to
buckets, seems to help as well. The plastic lids are easy to drill a hole
in for an air line.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Allen Boatman [SMTP:Allen.Boatman_at_sdhc.k12.fl.us]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 1:07 PM
> To: nanfa-digest_at_aquaria.net
> Subject: NANFA-- Collecting on the St. John's River Plain
> My collection day started at about 12:30 on Saturday the seventh of
> September, 2002. My destination was the St. Johns River ( I will refer
> to this river from now on as SJR) , where it intersects SR 50 between
> Orlando (Christmas, Florida) and Titusville. There are three overpasses
> (small, short bridges) of SR 50 over the SJR. I will refer to these as
> Bridge one (the easternmost bridge), the next will be bridge two, and the
> next will be the westernmost bridge or number three. The target of this
> trip was a smaller Elassoma that can be found in the Orlando area.
> I stopped off at the first bridge and found nothing but gambusia and a
> ten-foot alligator. I talked to an airboat captain, and described to him
> what a Pygmy Sunfish is. He relayed to me that he had caught a few fish
> that met my description when he was netting for crayfish on the south side
> of bridge number three.
> I moved to bridge number three and tried both the southeast side and
> southwest side of that rivulet. I only caught gambusia and almost stepped
> on a small alligator.
> Upon swiping a few times on the northeast shore I caught a very nice
> looking male L. goodei. The next swipe brought me what I sought, a small,
> but mature Elassoma that appears to be evergladei, but I am not certain.
> It is smaller than some other Elassoma and I have worked with. I tried
> for 15 more minutes and caught only J. floridae and L. goodei.
> I caught the Elassoma next to an emerged swamp willow, and under a CARPET
> of salvinia, water lettuce, water hyacinth, and another type of invasive,
> floating stem plant. These plants were everywhere and made collecting a
> huge hassle. The salvinia was especially bad, because it was so fine; it
> was hard to separate the small salvinia ferns from fish, and other things.
> I moved to the northwest side of bridge three and caught a lot of
> plantssheesh. I also caught another male of the same Elassoma species
> that I had caught on the northeast side of the rivulet. (I ended up
> bringing home only one, where the other one is I have no idea?!) I also
> caught two other fish. One was a small catfish (~2.5) that I believe to
> be a bullhead based upon some of the conversation that I have seen on this
> list. (The adipose fin is separate from the caudal fin.) The other fish,
> besides these two, that I caught at this location was an Etheostoma (sp?)
> (swamp darter.) It didnt resemble fusiforme, as the body was much
> taller/deeper than fusiforme, but could have been olmstedti. It had a lot
> of green in the face and 8 blotches on its dorsal side from behind the
> head to the caudal peduncle. At about 3 inches, long it was the thickest
> darter that I ever caught in Central Florida, but the rest of the body was
> brown and tan blotches. In the same net was a nasty, huge leach that sort
> of oozed out of one of the net holes and collected itself in a huge pile
> on the ground. I helped it back into the water. I went back to my
> vehicle, about a hundred feet west of bridge number three, and on the
> south side of the road, and dipped my net in the road side drainage area
> that was flooded (thank God Florida is finally starting to recover from
> our 4 year drought.) I caught a very, very small catfish (about 3/4 of an
> inch long and about 1/8 of an inch tall.) It had 5 visible bands on its
> body starting from behind the head and finishing at the caudal peduncle.
> Almost like a bumble bee goby. It had a green bar on its gill plate, and
> an iridescent green J shaped marking running from its barbels, under its
> eye and ending just behind its eye. It was incredibly small. I would say
> it is probably a fry of the Armored catfish but I only say that because
> they are found sympatrically in the Saint Johns River.
> I finally moved from the third bridge to a trail/boat ramp at the second
> bridge. This is located on the northeast side of the bridge and is
> accessed by a dirt road about 100 ft long. It appears that this spot used
> to be dry all the way to the actual put in spot on the SJR, however, now
> the tire ruts and low spots were all flooded. Some spots were about 10
> feet in diameter and about 4 inches deep; some were just submerged pieces
> of road for giant, shallow bodies of water. The water, I would say, is
> over 80 degrees F. IT was turbid in some pools and clear in others. Of
> both types of water bodies, some had copious amounts of hair algae. I
> decided to start collecting in the large body of water and caught a small
> armored catfish, (Hoplosternum littorale?) that was about 3 inches, which
> I released. I also caught some killies with dark, numerous, vertical
> bars. They were about 2 inches long and were obviously Fundulus types,
> but more interesting and the contrast was too cool. I caught 3 different
> patterned Fundulus but from some that I have consulted, they are all
> different forms of Fundulus confluentis. I have never seen this fish
> before so, obviously, I was excited. While dragging net in this area I
> also caught some flagfish and another one of those micro sized catfish.
> Feeling the sun burning my neck, I decided to head home. I had only been
> out there for about 2.5 hours but it felt like about 6 hours. I recorded
> the location and some of the fish on film. (digital) Over the next 24
> hours I lost about 14 of 20 fish that I had collected. There are a few
> mistakes I can own up to. I added regular SJR water (cooler and more
> tannic) to the water bottle (5 gallon carboy) containing all the fish. I
> know better than this, but only had one container to keep the fish in.
> But some of the fish from the river died as well. I aerated the fish in a
> bucket from the time I arrived where I was staying in Titusville till I
> left the next day at 2 p.m. adding fresh water a couple of times from the
> water I collected with the fish, but that was stored in another container.
> I didnt let them fry or be in the sun at all. I am frustrated with
> catching nice fish and then killing some of them, thats all.
> A question on Collecting Ethics. I usually try to go easy on
> populations when collecting (I dont want to be greedy) but I usually end
> up with too few fish to do much with. I am sure there are some things I
> can do to make survival more of a reality for fish I collect. Any
> suggestions on that are very welcome. Your views on number of fish to
> take would be very welcome.
> Hope I didnt bore you all,
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/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
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/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
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/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page, http://www.nanfa.org