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NFC: RE: fish behavior at dams, trip report

Neat experience you shared.

I call it swarming, and any and all your conjectures could be the
cause, mating, attracting pray (bug hatch you mentioned).  Biological
conditions can cause swarms too... oxygen level depleted in deeper
water can push fish up causing them to swarm at the surface.   I think
the Mating colors noted by red on Creek Chubs indicates they could be
looking for suitable breeding ground upstream (shallows, suitable
areas).  The rest maybe feed?  Whichever the cause, swarming happens
all the time in the wild, and by a great many different organisms,
breeding and feeding being the top causes :).  Your story brought back
fond collecting memories of swarms I've experienced.

It seems to me a case of being in the right place at the right time.
Awesome wasn't it?

Thanks for the story I enjoyed reading it!


Sachs Systems Aquaculture
1185 Thompson Bailey Road
St. Augustine FL  32084

PHONE:  (904) 824 - 6308
ICQ  :  4216428
EMAIL:  Mailto:Deano at AquacultureStore_com
web  :  http://www.AquacultureStore.com

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-nfc at actwin_com [mailto:owner-nfc at actwin_com]On Behalf Of
CEFCHURCH at aol_com
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 12:18 PM
To: nfc at actwin_com
Subject: NFC: fish behavior at dams, trip report

On the trip back from turkey hunting May 1, I stopped at a small river
central Indiana to see what I could see.  I had visited the site once
about a
year ago and found crayfish with a bluish tint to them.  There is a
small dam
completely across the river.  From the top of the dam to water level
below is
about six feet.  There was water going over but probably less than
normal due
to record dry conditions since the first of the year.

The first thing noticed was the tremendous number, diversity and sizes
fish gathered below the dam:  several turtles, catfish, bass, sunfish,
minnows and unidentified fish that kept trying to leap up over the
dam, often
getting about three feet up.  None were observed making it.  My
hunting buddy
and I decided to drive to his house about 30 miles away and grab

We got back to the site about 90 minutes later and observed the
catfish and
the turtles were gone.  Using bee moth larvae on a small hook, I
started catching the fish trying to make it up the dam.  I had never
seen the
fish before:  many of them were pinkish colored similar to trout,
which I am
guessing is a temporary breeding color.  Checking "Peterson's Guide to
Freshwater Fish," it appears they were male Creek Chubs (Semotilus
atromaculatus).  All the ones I caught were about 8" long.  There were
literally hundreds of them all about the same size.  No females were

There were also schools of Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris) also
about 8"
long.  I caught almost 25 fish in about an hour, including a 12" bass
was extremely dark colored.  It was certainly a record for me.
was released as I didn't think I could get it home without killing
since I
was without my normal transporting equipment.  I hope to go back in a
days with nets and traps.

There were lots of  ~1"  minnows swimming in with the much larger fish
well as the large catfish that could have easily taken the Creek
Under what circumstance do prey and predator to swim this close
Could there have been an insect hatch of some sort that was washing
over the
dam that they were eating?  I know little of migrating behavior of
fish.  Is this typical for Creek Chubs and perhaps the other fish to
try and
get over the dam and migrate up stream?  Or is this generally true of
fish in the spring?

Chuck Church
Indianapolis, Indiana USA