Microfishing Lunch Break

So, yesterday I decided to check out some of the local creeks where I could get access for a few micros. I ended up picking up a few new species, as well as some I already have knocked out for the year.

I tried a spot south of Salem on Crooked creek. There were creek chubs and stonerollers, but I just wasn’t having good luck. The water was very muddy, and the bite was light. I didn’t want to waste time, so I headed over to Dums Creek. There I picked up my two new species for this trip: a Blackstripe Topminnow and a Bluntnose Minnow.

Topminnow_Blackstrip_2015_04_29
Blackstripe Topminnow – Fundulus notatus – Angling Species #26 / 2015 Species #22
Minnow_Bluntnose_Male_2015_04_29
Bluntnose Minnow (Male) – Pimephales notatus – Angling Species #27 / 2015 Species #23
Minnow_Bluntnose_Female_2015_04_29
Bluntnose Minnow (Female) – Pimephales notatus – Angling Species #27 / 2015 Species #23
Bluntnose Female Closeup
Bluntnose Female Closeup

The sunfish were absolutely swarming. Picked up these Bluegill / Green Sunfish. It was hard to fish for anything else, because they would swarm the bait.
Sunfish_CrookedCreek (2) Sunfish_CrookedCreek Sunfish_DumsCreek

Finally, I dipped in on the way to pick up my daughter to catch her one of these creek chubs I saw before in Iuka. They are in a piece of creek that is cut off on both ends for now, so I knew they would be there. I took this one for her to see up close. She was sad when the fish went back home to it’s creek :)

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Catching up On Species

A lot has happened since my first spotted bass! I’ve been to several spots and picked up ten new species! I figured I’d better get on top of updating, since we are leaving in just a few days for a week of hardcore fishing in Ohio. Walleye here I come!

Forbes Lake, IL – Boston Pond

I had a day of working at the studio, where Rachel was away at a wedding. I figured I had time for two quick trips, and they paid off pretty well with four new species for 2015.

Right off the bat, I dropped in a carolina rig for Rainbow Trout, #18 hook – rainbow power bait. Classic rig for stocked trout. I had really got to figure out something before I leave for Ohio – there are wild brookies and browns up at the trout camps. There are a huge number of species I am after up there, so I am trying to figure out the best way to optimize time.

While waiting on my trout, I picked up two sunfish species. My problem with reckoning what fish I have captured before, is that I have never documented any. So I can’t be sure if I have caught green sunfish, although I am pretty sure I had. Caught several regardless!

Green Sunfish – Lepomis cyanellus – Angling Species #19 / 2015 Species #12 Edit: The original picture was misidentified. Here is a real, but tiny, green sunfish I caught later.

 

Redear Sunfish - Lepomis microlophus - 2015 Species #13
Redear Sunfish – Lepomis microlophus – 2015 Species #13

Apparently, I had a very lazy trout on the line while I was reeling in sunfish. I watched it like a hawk, and never saw so much as a twitch. The trout you could see were super sluggish. Don’t know how long he was on, but it took the disgorger to unhook him :(

Rainbow Trout - Onchorhyncus mykiss - Angling Species #20 / 2015 Species #14
Rainbow Trout – Onchorhyncus mykiss – Angling Species #20 / 2015 Species #14

After I picked up these three (I spent more time driving to them than fishing for them). I headed back to work.

Kaskaskia River, Carlyle Dam

After my work was completed, I had a little time before sunset, so I headed out to Carlyle to try some bottom fishing. There’s no telling what you will pick up on a carolina rigged worm there. That night the answer was drum. Lots of drum.

Freshwater Drum - Aplodinotus grunniens - 2015 Species #15
Freshwater Drum – Aplodinotus grunniens – 2015 Species #15

They were all approximately this size. Every cast brought one in. I know when we get up to Port Clinton, we will catch much bigger drum, but these were fairly fun to catch a mess of.

Interlude

Shortly after, Rachel and I left for Georgia to attend a week long marriage retreat for couples who are small business partners (mostly photographers / creatives). I may have been a little sceptical at first, but I blame that on my proximity to the Coosa river, and a number of species that are found in that area and not back home (Coosa bass, Snail Bullhead, Greater and Brassy Jumprocks, etc.). We ended up having a blast, met many couples who share the same struggles, and got to hash through things that we never have the time to deal with. It was really nice meeting other couples, some that are objectively famous in the photography world, who seemed like clones of us. We all apparently drive each other nuts in similar ways. It was very Christianity-centric, so it was nice to have some focus on that too. Honestly, it felt the most like “Church” should feel like in my mind than I have felt in forever.

Barkley Dam

Last Saturday (April 25th), Ben Cantrell and I headed down to Barkley Dam in Kentucky to, hopefully, pick up a new lifer each – skipjack herring. Ben is solely responsible for starting a new obsession with Microfishing – fishing for the tiniest fish, instead of hunting trophies. He documented this trip too, along with Sunday at Carlyle. I spent Sunday planting flowers with my daughter. :)

Barkley was pretty high, the accessible ramp was flooded up pretty high, so I started casting directly into the ramp! The ramp was full of white bass. Ben ended up catching the biggest white I’ve ever seen.

White Bass - Morone chrysops - 2015 Species #16
White Bass – Morone chrysops – 2015 Species #16

A family started running sabiki-style rigs, and I ended up tying 3 jigs (1-1/8th, 2-1/16th) with randomly colored jigs on them. Started catching fair amounts of skipjack. I had two on at once, but broke the line (don’t use 4# mono for multiple fish with a habit of jumping and thrashing). Still managed to get the top one in.

Skipjack Herring - Alosa chrysochloris - Angling Species #21 / 2015 Species #17
Skipjack Herring – Alosa chrysochloris – Angling Species #21 / 2015 Species #17

The one I broke off looked bigger, but that may just be the mind of a fisherman. Since I’ve started this goal of catching 50, I can’t focus too long on one species. So afterwards, I started trying to float waxworms for goldeye. Never got a hit. Eventually, we decided to start microfishing several creeks. Around sunset, we hit Barkley one last time, and Ben caught a massive Silver Carp.

Cumberland and Tennessee Feeder Creeks

So, the thing about microfishing is that it opens up bodies of water that you would never even notice. I found out several things about it.

  1. It’s really hard to bait a hook so small I can barely see it.
  2. It takes a lot of focus to pick your target and get it to bite.
  3. I don’t know what any of the fish are that aren’t huge. The Peterson Field Guide is a requirement.
  4. You quickly learn latin names, at least the genus.
  5. I love microfishing :)
Creek Chub - Semotilus atromaculatus - Angling Species #22 / 2015 Species #18 (First Micro Species)
Creek Chub – Semotilus atromaculatus – Angling Species #22 / 2015 Species #18 (First Micro Species)

The above Creek Chub was the first to pick up, and I learned you have to “pop” the fish out of the water instead of “lifting” them. It’s not as easy to set a hook on a fish measured in grams as you would think. The tiny green sunfish from above made an appearance next.

Next up, we had a blast catching Fringed Darters. There were slabrock darters in the stream too, but we didn’t catch any. They may have been the smaller ones we were seeing, but we were catching the massive two-inchers.

Fringed Darter - Etheostoma crossopterum - Angling Species #23 / 2015 Species #19
Fringed Darter – Etheostoma crossopterum – Angling Species #23 / 2015 Species #19

We moved spots after this to try for a neighboring darter species. I started at this creek by trying to catch stonerollers, but they were uninterested. A Blackspotted Topminnow was though!

Blackspotted Topminnow - Fundulus olivaceous - Angling Species #24 / 2015 Species #20
Blackspotted Topminnow – Fundulus olivaceous – Angling Species #24 / 2015 Species #20

Guardian darters are “egg-mimics,” the males have protrusions that look like eggs. Presumably, while they are under a rock, it appears that they already have a next, which appeals to the females.

Guardian Darter – Etheostoma oophylax – Angling Species #25 / 2015 Species #21

 

Afterword

Sunday Ben hit Carlyle and nailed several species I still need for this year, but I spent the day outside with my Daughter. We went to Bucheit’s and picked out flowers for her raised bed and pots. Planted them, along with some vegetables – Jalapeño peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Bush Beans. Already have Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Cauliflower in the ground. Just need to plant potatoes before my trip!

Foraging Slides Updated – With Links

Here you will find the updated slides for the “Modern Hunter-Gatherer.”

Dandelions

Rumex

Nettles

 Violets

Garlic Mustard

New Species – Spotted Bass

Went fishing at a secret spot farm pond with Jesse Brinkley. We caught a huge mess of 3lb. Largemouths (in all seriousness – in the 50-60 range), but also caught a random spotted bass – very unusual for a pond. It had the tongue patch, bridged dorsal fins, typical spot pattern, and the mouth didn’t extend back past the eye, so I’m fairly confident in it’s identification. Maybe recent flooding got it in there, or stocking?

Spotted Bass - Micropterus punctulatus - Angling Species #18 / 2015 Species #11
Spotted Bass – Micropterus punctulatus – Angling Species #18 / 2015 Species #11

On an unrelated note, plums are blooming out, and the rest of the prunus don’t look like they will be too far behind. As soon as it stops raining, I need to go double dig and get things planted!