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NFC: This week's collecting

I thought I would share nother collecting account with you.  This time in
my home stomping grounds.

I was joined this past Thursday by Chris Davis of Colorado Springs for a
little "collecting Kansas style".  Chris is a NANFA member and long time
collector and fish enthusiast.  He was looking for the fabled Kansas
strain of Central Longear (Lepomis megalotis) the true 'gem' of the
species, as well as a few Orangethroat darters and whatever other goodies
came his way.

We met for our first expedition at Chris's hotel room and loaded our gear
into my van.  From there it was a short trip to Mission Creek in Wabaunse
county for a little dipnetting for darters and maybe a few Longears as

We got to the location and scoped it out.  Last time I had been here the
water had been the color of milk chocolate and just about as thick.  Now
it was running clean and several feet lower.  So, we tried a pass with the
seine first.  Unfortunately, the best part of this attempt was when the
brace on my left leg locked up and a took a spill into the water,
causing, for the second time in as many expeditions, and entertaining
"floor show".  I also managed to injure myself this time as well, putting
a very deep and nasty bruise on my right leg below the knee and slightly
spraining my right ankle.  (of course, this is my 'good' let too)  Well,
once recovered we hauled in the seine which contained 6 nice Red Shiners
(Cyprinella lutrnesis).

So much for seines...we got out the dipnets and went to it.  Sorry to say
that Chris had the gaul to outcollect me on my own stream!  :-)  He hauled
in four nice Logperch (Percina caprodes) to my one and many nice
Orangethroat darters.  I didn't come up totally empty finding some Green
sunfish, Red Shiners, and Orangthroat darters myself.  The Red Shiners
were in excellent breeding colors and we kept several of them.  Chris was
working away and showing me up left and right bringing in net haul after
net haul with either shiners, darters or something else in them.  He is a
collecting madman!  :-)

Well, after about 30 minutes we had all we had come for here so we got out
the fishing pole and tried for some Longears.  Chris had some No. 16 hooks
that we baited with bits of nightcrawler to catch the "little 'ens".
Unfortunately, the Red Shiners were spawning and had take over this
section of creek.  I caust severl of them and the one or two Longears we
did hook managed to throw the hook before landed.  Chris did catch one
nice young Longear though.

The day was getting late, so we decided to head out to the prime Longear
location, a small city reservoir and scope it out.  We arrived and
immediately were greeted by the site of dozen of 'craters' along the shore
line, each occupied by a male Longear in all their breeding splendor.  The
orange/red was like fire and the blues were irridescent!  What a sight.  I
hooked a couple of males in a short time and as it was getting late, we
decided to come back on the 'morrow and have another go at it.

Friday morning we finally got back to the lake about noon.  Unfortunately,
this lake requires an additional liscense to fish and Chris had to wait
until 1:00 o'clock before the city hall reoponed after lunch before he
could purchase one.  But once he was 'legal' he was at it with gusto.  Our
only problem was the females were not to be found.  The males were
preparing spawning sites and had not yet evidently spawned as we witnessed
several males "sweeping" out their nests with great tail thrusts kicking
up a cloud of mud in the process.  We agreed to only take a few males, due
to the spawn, and try to locate some females.  I hooked one fish that I
believe is an adult female and Chris was able to catch a jouvenile we also
believe to be a female.  Other than that, the females just weren't
cooperating.  But, it was enough for Chris, so we declared victory and
called it a day.  I have to say it was enjoyable for me just to sit and
watch the males behaviour.  I did this for over an hour, simply captivated
by the behavior.

In the end it was a successful two days.  Chris just telephoned before I
sat down to write this and let me know that, despite some serious weather
encounters on the way home, he and fishes all made it safely.  Hopefully,
we can collect again sometime.  Anyone else interested?

Luke McClurg