NANFA-- Too Cool!

Todd Crail (
Sat, 13 Sep 2003 23:47:13 -0400

Greetings NANFAns... Today my wife and I decided to take a road trip back
down to the Auglaize River I reported on a few weeks ago. Well, actually we
went to see some old friends, but you know how it gets when you get that
"fishes in the eye" look :)

The river was back to normal pool. I don't remember this from being a kid,
but oh man do I have a spot to snorkel now! And only an hour and some away
with good friends and family at the destination. Wetsuit for Christmas,
awwww yeah!

The day started out a bit rough. We had stopped at the Dairy Queen in Lima
for their very tasty footlong hotdogs (I had a dream about them last night,
that was kind of the inspiration ;). While waiting in line, a sandhill's
hornet (yellow jacket) got up under my shirt and gave his business end a
real work out on my lil' right side love handle. Very not cool. They had
this awesome ointment there, I should have written down the name of it. It
came in a little dropper bottle, and the stings that I knew I had and made
application to are very cool and calm right now. However the other one in
my belt line that I missed is all fire and burn. Ugh. That's one native
critter I could really do without.

"Nature is dirty, and it bites and it stings, and it makes me sneeze and
gives me rashes and makes me itch, and I want it paved over immediately!!!!"

We visited with our friends then and I showed them some pictures of the
diversity they'd been walking around while fishing for smallmouth and
catfish on the Auglaize. I couldn't convince Shane to go along yet, but
we'll get him out there. Especially after what we saw today!

We first stopped at the Fort Amanda memorial park where a battle in the War
of 1812 was fought. The fort was on top of a moraine, which the river has
cut through... Not sure which way it was flowing when it did (probably
glacial outwash), but it left a fantastically rocky, sandy, gravelly stream
bed when it did. And I can not believe how quickly it's gone back clear
after the chocolate milk I observed a week ago. Wow.

So we did some minimal seining. The fishes were in wonderful color as
opposed to the washed out color I normally see up in the Maumee proper. I
took a few shots... The hogsucker and logperch were impressive. I can't
wait to get in there with some hard core seiners. Blackstrip topminnows
were abundant, and I'm sure there were Norturids among the waterwillow
clusters. We kinda got stopped short on the fish tho.... We got interested
in mussels... And then we got _REAL_ interested in mussels.

We were going along, looking at empty valves, pointing out some live ones...
And then it appeared. One flashing it's lure! And then another one! And
then another species!

In case you're not up to speed on mussels... Some species have developed
"lures" that look like minnows, bugs, crayfish, etc to get fish to bite at
them. Some are really incredible. The bite triggers a spawn response,
where the female blows a load of glochidia (larval mussels) into the fish's
face, where they latch on to the gills and sometimes the pelvic fins or
scales. This is how mussels have evolved to get their offspring back
_upstream_. They're semiparasitic in that they infect the fish, but from
what I understand, they don't do much to the fish except hitch a ride.
Within days or weeks, they drop off and begin the next phase of life.

Here's a good starting link to read up on mussel reproductive biology:
Definately check out that video if you have broadband. Heck check it out if
you don't! :)

OR... You can go to
and look at the pictures labelled "lureX.jpg". They were shot above the
surface of the water, so they're not crystal clear... But I think you can
get the idea. This situation screamed for more material possessions. Now I
feel I need a housing for the camera, and another camera that can do
video... Oh that'll need a housing too hehheh. Watching them in living
motion was just incredible.

These are the critters we observed today. I have no idea the species or
anything. We didn't want to disturb them. There were some abandoned valves
that looked sorta like them... I was going to snap some shots of them, but
the mosquitos were just too overwhelming and with wife in company... It was
_time to go_ :) So the fish list was short, but in definate need of more
observation. There were huge undercut rootwads, which based on experiences
at the next site (which was severely degraded due to a dam)... They'll host
bonanzas of northern longear and orangespots (Hey Binks... When you wanna
go? ;)

Oh, I also threw in a picture of the pike we caught the other night. Pic
turned out well... I remember it being a lot larger than that tho ;)

Okay... Have to go to work tomorrow. Will play again soon!


It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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