NANFA Board of Directors

Fritz pausing for a photo while performing some research

Fritz Rohde

Wilmington, NC

Fritz Rohde is a biologist with the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Division where he splits his time among several saltwater ventures. His real research interests, however, lie in the freshwater realm. He has co-authored a book on the freshwater fishes of the eastern seaboard and is the primary author and photographer for "Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina" released in 2009. In his spare time, he has described a few species and co-hosted the 2007 NANFA convention in Greensboro, NC. His interests in NANFA include seeing the high quality of AC maintained, keep continuing good relations with local DNRs and academia, opening dialogue with members, and keeping up the standards set at the annual meetings.

Brian with his daughter on the Kokosing River, March 20, 2011

Brian Zimmerman
Vice President
Gambier, OH

I have been interested in North American Native Fish for almost my whole life. My father has photos of me playing in a stream when I was 2 years old. My parents got me interested in reading by getting me fish books because I had no interest in reading otherwise. By the time I was in middle school I knew I wanted to work with fish and by high school it was definitely natives. While still in high school I began breeding fish in aquariums and built a 1/4 acre wetland just to breed my own grass pickerel in my parents backyard. I then went to college at Heidelberg University in Tiffin Ohio where I double majored in water resources and environmental biology. Also while there I started Zimmerman's Fish and began selling native fish to other enthusiasts. I then moved on to Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green Ohio where I got a masters in Aquatic Ecology and completed my thesis on a study of Redside Dace with the help of the NANFA conservation grant. I have still yet to find a permanent job since completing my masters degree but have had some interesting temporary positions with a couple of consulting companies and the Ohio Division of Wildlife. While working for ODW I revamped their fish ID webpage so that it included descriptions and photos of all Ohio fish species. Apparently I impressed them enough with my work there because after that temporary position ended I was asked to work on a project through Ohio State University funded by ODW to revise the well known (at least to fish people) book Fishes of Ohio by M.B. Trautman. Hopefully I will be working on this project for several year to come and eventually provide a nice new publication for our membership and other native fish enthusiast.

Michael Wolfe
Secretary, Board Chair

Statham, GA

I really believe in the NANFA mission statement. It shows a natural progression that people go through. Many people come to NANFA for only the first thing "appreciation... of the continent's native fishes." Appreciation can mean angling, it can mean aquarium husbandry, it can even mean, "hey, look at that pretty little fish my three year old just caught." That's how I got into natives. I had aquariums and my daughter wanted one of her own. And 'Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin' had just come out. And living in Alabama I bought it out of curiosity. Soon I was in a local stream with a couple of little kids seining up "bait". After the initial exposure and appreciation, I moved on to the "study... of the continent's native fishes." This didn't mean a formal education. But it does mean an intellectual curiosity that's been acted upon, invested in, and never fully sated. And I think there are more people out there, willing to act on that curiosity if we show them how to see first-hand the "continent's native fishes" in their native habitat. And that's when people begin to value the fish, and the habitat enough to be interested in the "conservation of the continent's native fishes."

Michael with his official NANFA collecting shirt at Williamson Swamp Creek

Tom Watson
Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, Aquarium Society Liaison

Federal Way, WA

I first became involved in fishkeeping when, at ten years old, I was given three homemade 45 gallon aquariums. The catch was that I had to transport them the mile and a half from a friend's house to my own. Because I feared I would be told no if I asked permission to bring them home, I carried them there without assistance, a process that took most of three days. Later that summer, I caught six brown bullhead babies in Lake Washington and transported them home in a paper cup. They immediately killed all of my tropicals.

I joined NANFA in 1999. Recently, I completed the scanning and indexing of all issues of American Currents from 1972 to the present. These issues are now available on a two-CD set. While there are no fish collecting opportunities here in the State of Washington, I occasionally take some time for collecting when on business trips in states where it is legal.

My vocation is that of a "jack of all trades" for a large corporation where I help to develop and deploy manufacturing and procurement strategies. I have served on the Boards of two non-profit organizations and was president of "For the Children of the World" for six years.

I am deeply interested in the preservation of native fish species and the habitat that nurtures them. I firmly believe that informed hobbyists can contribute as much toward this goal as fisheries professionals. It has always been my experience that diversity in knowledge, education, and background brings strength to any organization. If you read through the past issues of American Currents, it becomes clear that that is where NANFA has excelled. It is important that NANFA continues to support initiatives that will encourage the same diversity in the future.

Tom in front of an Invertebrate tank with native snails and Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus shufeldti)

Josh doing some NANFA outreach

Josh Blaylock
Richmond, KY

Growing up in Southeastern Kentucky, I spent a lot of time in creeks, streams, and mountains.  Fishing in the waterways and hiking the mountains gave me a great love for my state.  My enjoyment of nature and Kentucky came together around 2008 when I found NANFA while researching native fish aquariums.  My love for natives has grown over the years.  The more I read and researched the deeper appreciation I have for our native fishes.  Outreach, education, and protection have been a priority for me.  These priorities lead me to the Kentucky Regional Representative for NANFA in 2012, and now to the board of directors.  I am also a member of Kentucky Waterways Alliance & Kentucky River Watershed Watch.  In 2011 I started my own webpage,, which is dedicated to the beauty, diversity, and conservation of the waterways within Kentucky.  I strive to continue outreach and education about native fishes, as this is the way to get others to care and get involved in their protection.

Derek Wheaton
Knoxville, TN

Scott Schlueter
Fabius, NY


Member Services

Bruce Stallsmith
NANFA Research Grant Chair

Huntsville, AL

Bruce (right) with Steven Ellis during a regional gathering at the Sipsey River, AL.

Michael Wolfe
Regional Outreach Coordinator

Statham, GA

Michael checking out the fishes of Little Rose Creek.

Read more about the Regional
Representative Program


Konrad Schmidt & Fritz Rohde
American Currents Co-Editors

St. Paul, MN & Wilmington, NC

In the water with Konrad and Fritz

Read more about American Currents

Bob Muller
Breeders Award Program Chair

Royal Oak, MI

Bob at the 2002 NANFA Convention.

Read more about the Breeder Awards Program

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