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NFC: Dry spell ended

    Since I had a bit of a health problem several
months ago I haven't been collecting but today was so
nice and I had to go to town for some groceries . I
tossed a dip net and a minnow trap in back of the old
pu and made a stop at Sugar Loaf Creek . Water is
higher than it is in late spring and summer so the
creek is 3 or 4 times wider . Normally later in the
year the first thing you notice is schools of minnows
all over and darters hopping about . Not a sign of
movement now . the water is deeper and the current is
faster . My side of the creek always is the deepest
and the far side shallower . I wadded in with only
knee boots . I tried to pick my way across in the
shallowest spots but the water splashed over the tops
of the knee boots anyhow . Oh well I didn't need to be
careful any more . Wet is wet . When that winter creek
water gets next to your hide you come to full
alertness . I started working the kick net as I
crossed the creek t words shallow water . Nothin at
all turned up in the net . In the summer I would find
or see lots of young 1-2 inch banded sculpins on the
bottom . When I did get to the shallow water on the
other side I started looking for piles of larger rocks
where darters might be on the down side out of the
current . They were there and I netted seven rainbows
not fully colored up but nice . Then on the last try I
kicked over a pile of larger rocks , looked in the net
and thought I had a big bullfrog tadpole . Was about
to turn it out of the net when I noticed the black
bands and took a closer look . Obviously a mama
sculpin with a well rounded belly .This was far larger
than the young sculpins from this area in the summer.I
had seen lots of big sculpins downstream in deeper
water . They are upstream now spawning . I had spent
my alloted 15 minutes . Time to get the groceries .By
the way this sculpin had intensified coloring . This
is normal in the dark .For instance if you have a
sculpin in a cooler and open the top they will often
be green with very black bands but the green fades as
does the black in bright lite . I feel content having
been out collecting again after a log dry spell . Now
I can stand to read others collecting stories again .
Been home for half an hour . Have a nice day . I did .

Bill Hoppe
Yellville Arkansas

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