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NFC: New Fishy Observations

Well, the weather being favorable, I did what any native fish guy 
should be doing in the Spring.  A few people responded to my last 
post and wanted this or that fish, so I set out to collect some.  My 
first destination was an unnamed stream in south Mississippi 
where I hoped to collect some flagfin shiners.  The water was much 
higher than in times past due to heavy rainfall this year (makes up 
for the two years of dry weather), but it looked collectable.  This 
particular creek is typical signipinnis habitat - dark stained and full 
of tape grass.  Normally I can simply take a swipe at the grass and 
pull up several nice signipinnis.  Not so this time!   I made several 
attempts with my dipnet and came up empty.  Finally I spotted 
several dark shapes hovering near a submerged stump.  A quick 
swoosh, and in half a heartbeat I realized that the net was teeming 
with welaka!  At least 20 in one netful.  Now, I wasn't totally 
surprised to find welaka there, as BG and I had set out on a quest 
to find this spot last year, but were forced to conclude that for 
whatever reason the welaka were not to be found.  I had previously 
sampled this stream twice and come up with plenty of flagfins but 
no bluenose.  Neither did BG and I find any.  But during a later trip 
that same year, I netted a juvenile that looked very much like the 
fish in question, and had that ID confirmed at the museum - it was 
a teeny tiny bluenose.  

But this year, two dipnets provided me with about 3 dozen welaka.  
Not a bad bonus, but I still didn't have any flagfins.  A similar 
stream about a mile down the road (BG will remember it as the 
notti spot) also disappointed me.  Well, I really needed those 
flagfins, so, even though it was not in my original itinerary, I drove 
down to Angie (across the LA state line) to what we call the "trash" 
creek.  There being no animal carcasses of recent deposition, I 
waded on in.  Now, this spot has produced year after year, and I 
knew I would not be disappointed.  But I was skunked again!  Not 
one fish did I find.  I was at least pleased to see that the golden 
club (a really awesome emergent plant which reminds me of Hosta) 
was growing quite well.  I made an abortive attempt to uproot a 
small specimen, and resolved to return another day with a shovel.  I 
REALLY want a couple of those plants!

Well, anyway, I was 0 for 3, and stopped at one spot just before 
crossing back into MS, where I finally hit the jackpot.  No adults, 
but hordes of juvenile signipinnis and the attendant cherryfins 
(Lythrurus roseipinnis, which seem to be found always with 
Pteronotropis spp.).

Thus satisfied, I had one more stop to make - you guessed it, 
Westville Creek.  A couple of people had graciously offered to send 
me some silverjaw minnows (Ericymba buccata), which I declined 
as I had not really given any real effort to collecting them.  Now, it 
happened that I was looking for E. stygmaeum (for Klaus) this 
time, but I was delighted to net 3 buccata (VERY COOL FISH!), as 
well as a couple of Notropis longirostris (common in that drainage, 
but an interesting minnow).  The stygmaeum were showing more 
color than last time, and I kept about a dozen, included two colorful 
males.  I also lucked upon a big-@ss logperch, and a blackside 
darter.  To top it all off I packed out three nice, solid pieces of 
driftwood, suitable for a 20-30 gallon tank.  Not a bad day at all.  I 
found everything I was looking for, and then some.

So, those of you who wanted fish, look for them next week.  I'm 
shipping Monday.  And BG, I did see sheriff one-eye, but he didn't 
bother me today :-)


Jackson, MS
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk,
my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if 
I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem
quite so funny.