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NFC: collecting trip with DNR biologist
Yesterday morning I went collecting with Brant Fisher, the Indiana Department
of Natural Resources non-game aquatic life biologist. The main goal was to
collect some mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) for something Dave Neely is
working on. Brant said Ninevah Creek (southern edge of Johnson County,
central Indiana) just a couple miles from his office had lots of them.
One thing I learned quickly was I've been way too gently in kicking rocks
while collecting. Initially we saw nothing but plentiful insect larvae.
After about 20 minutes, we moved to much larger rocks and Brant was able to
getting them out one at a time. We also saw studfish and orange throat
darters. I brought back several including a couple males in full breeding
color for the Adopt-A-Tank I maintain in the public library.
We moved to a ditch a few miles to the east in search of grass pickerel for
me. Brant pulled out a back pack fish shocker. Interesting set up. Appears
to be a normal external frame back pack frame with the shocker mounted on
plywood and a shelf for the large battery below. There is a metal lead that
trails and what appears to be a mesh Ping-Pong paddle on a long paddle. Once
in the water, I flipped the on switch on the back and away we went. The
ditch was about 4' to 5' wide and maybe 18" deep, sometimes coming up to
riffles. Brant said that the grass pickerel would sense the electrical
charge and would run in front of us, which they did. Once they got to
riffles, they would stop.
I ended up with five specimens, including one that is about 9" and is too big
for my uses. Anyone in Indiana who wants it can come and get it.
He also shocked up a turtle, a Northern Hog Sucker, chub suckers and what
appeared to be a recently born grass pickerel.
Air temperature about 42*, water temperature unknown but ice in the ditch.
Luckily blue skies and sun to take the chill off.
Indianapolis, Indiana USA