Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wisconsin quillback, channel shiners, and Illinois micros

Yesterday I made a short trip up to the WI River, mostly to scout out new fishing spots. I found a couple tributaries and backwater spots that look promising when the snow melt is finished and the water clears up. One of the backwater sloughs was full of starhead topminnows! Always nice to find healthy populations of endangered species.

I fished a couple sandy flats in the Spring Green area in hopes of shovelnose sturgeon. Didn't get any bites on those lines, but found a school of shiners in the shallows that was a lot of fun with micro gear. I figured most of them were emerald shiners, but didn't give up after a few emeralds in hopes that other species were mixed in.

Emerald Shiner (Notropis atherinoides)

Pretty soon I began catching channel shiners (Notropis wickliffi) - new hook & line species #92.

I saw some slightly larger fish turning on their sides on the bottom. My first guess was golden shiners based on the size and shape, but the feeding behavior didn't fit. I put a bigger chunk of crawler on my Tanago hook to make it difficult for the shiners to hook themselves, and soon I caught the mystery fish. Juvenile quillback! (Carpiodes cyprinus) - new hook & line species #93.

Today I headed down to central IL to spend Easter weekend with my family. I stopped at a river in northern IL on my drive down where I had some luck last fall. A piece of crawler on a #10 circle hook yielded two species, a nice shortnose redhorse and a hornyhead chub.

Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum)

Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus)

The micro gear produced a few different species from yesterday, bluntnose minnows and sand shiners.

Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus)

Sand Shiner (Notropis stramineus)

This weekend I'll check out the creek by my parents' house. I'm hoping to find male orangethroat darters with spawning colors so I can replace my lifelist photo. An adult central stoneroller would also be nice.

While the rest of my family sat around digesting lunch, I snuck off to sample the creek. Micro fishing wasn't all that productive. The fish spooked easily, so I switched to a net after catching a few southern redbelly dace hook & line.

Southern Redbelly Dace (Chrosomus erythrogaster)

Blacknose Dace male (Rhinichthys atratulus)

Central Stoneroller female (Campostoma anomalum)

Orangethroat Darter male #1 (Etheostoma spectabile)

Orangethroat Darter male #2 (Etheostoma spectabile)

Orangethroat darter female (Etheostoma spectabile)

Striped Fantail Darter (Etheostoma flabellare lineolatum) - very excited to find these!

Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)

As I mentioned above, I was very excited to find the fantail darters! As far as I know, they are the only species in the creek I haven't caught hook & line. Next time I'll leave the net at home so I can focus on adding one to my lifelist.

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