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NFC: first seining trip

Well I just got back a little while ago from seining with some
enthusiastic church youth group members in the Eno River in
Hillsborough, NC.  I'll just say up front, we had a blast, and plan on
all getting together again next week to do the Flat River (Tar River
drainage) further north.

It took a bit to get our strategy down.  The seine, a 4x15 net, didn't
have any rods on the ends like I've seen in photographs.  We improvised
with large sticks.

We seined in both deep and shallow water, and our catches varied with
the different parts of the river we were in.  I am no good at ID'ing
fish yet so please bear with my generic descriptions here.

In some of the heavier flowing water about knee depth we caught a few
more MRBD.  Not too many.  The water was very warm.  We also caught a
number of some type of large-scaled silvery shiner, which unfortunately
suffered heavy mortality.  In fact, this was the most abundant type of
fish we were seeing and not much better than half a dozen made it back
alive.  I don't think water temperature had much to do with it since the
fish bucket was being kept in the water.  I think the problem was

Our long term plan to combat this is to get a fish basket made out of
1/4" seine net and store the fish with "good ventilation" in creek water
until just before we are ready to leave, at which point we'll transfer
to an aerated bucket.  We won't have the basket in time for next week's

We found some nice bluehead chub around 4 inches long, several males
with prominent breeding tubercles and some nice fin coloration.  These
were all put back.

In the riffles we got a little darter action.  A few nice Percina crassa
made it back okay.  There were also some much smaller less ornate
darters (actually quite dull looking) of which only two or three made it
back alive.  Again, the oxygenation in the bucket was poor, and from
what it looked like something in the bucket was preying on the smaller

Several seinfulls of gambusia were found, some explicatives were choked
back, and I put them all back.

Two speckled killifish (Fundulus rathbuni) made it back alive.  They
were found in a shallow mudhole off to the side of the river.  It was a
little tough getting at them and I could swear I saw them bury into the
mud (is this a known defense mechanism in this species?) and when the
seine was lifted two killies were found amongst a mess of gambusia.  We
tried one more time and just got gambusia.  I'd bet if I had my dipnet
and hauled up some mud I would have found more killies.

At this point the water temperature felt a bit colder, and we could see
why;  a spring-fed stream was feeding the river at this point.  We tried
seining in this little creek as there were clouds of fish to be seen in
the cold water but it just wasn't gonna happen.  Too much cover, too
many rocks, too many submerged tree roots.  Again, another place for me
to try the dipnet.

I'll try to sort out what the surviving cyprinids are and get back to
the list.  I wanna get back there and find some more killies too.

Next weekend, as I mentioned, is the Flat River up near Roxboro, NC. 
Should be a blast.  And hopefully some more new species to collect.


"I would remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; and
I would remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no
virtue." - Barry Goldwater