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NFC: Sunday Collecting in Kansas

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get out and collect for the first time
this season.  I was invited down to the southern part of the state by
fellow fish enthusiast Duane Morgan and he took me out to one of his
favorite collecting spots.  It was cold, windy and cloudy when I arrived
so the first thing we did was go get lunch!  After 'talkin fish' over a
pizza for an hour, we then headed back to the collection spot and got
busy.  I was hoping to find some Blackstripe Topminnows and this was a
spot where "morgan" had collected them often in the past.  Unfortunately,
it was probably too early in the season and the wrong time of day as we
had no luck netting any.  We did see what could have been some shooting
down the stream away from us, but we didn't have our seines or any helpers
so we just had to watch them go.  It was by NO means dissapointing however
as kicknetting in the riffles netted us several pairs of really nice...and
I mean NICE... Orangethroat darters.  The color was amazing and I'd put
them up against most of the Rainbows I've ever seen.  We also
("morgan" actually) netted one or two that were slightly different.  I
think they could be Fantails, but am not sure as once they went into the
tank, they went into hiding and it will take a few days for them to get
their courage up and show themselves.  At that point I will determine if
they are indeed Fantails or just a different morph. of the Orangethroats.
Being the first time out for me of the year, I was a bit rusty and
stiff.  I had to sit a couple of times while morgan kept working away.  We
both had the fever though and soon moved downstream to some large, but
shallow pools.  Morgan was working an edge when  I spotted the rings of
small shiners feeding at the surface.  We came together, laid our nets on
the bottom and made a "power rush" through the shallows, trapping the fry
up against the shore in a narrow area.  We came up with over a dozen young
shiners.  They are small, but I think there are as many as three species
involved.  Slim Minnow, Redfin Shiner and possibly Sand Shiner, only time
will tell though as they must grow a bit before positive ID.  Morgan and I
made a few coordinated passes, and he took several more on his own to
where in the end, we each ended up with a couple dozen of the young
fry.  Morgan and I had also collected some nice young crayfish which he
kept.  I don't know what species they are.

All in all, it was an enjoyable day as well as a successful one.  Morgan's
hospitality was impeccable and the collecting was great.  Next time, I get
to play the host in my part of the woods.  I'm already looking forward to

Luke McClurg