Sunday, May 5, 2013
Brook trout and brook stickleback, lifelist at 99 species
What a beautiful spring day! Other than my allergies flaring up, I couldn't have asked for a better trout fishing opening weekend. Back in March I did some scouting of a trout stream south of Madison. I'll leave the stream unnamed so that it doesn't get unnecessary fishing pressure. DNR surveys show equal numbers of brook trout (my target for the day) and brown trout. I headed for an upstream portion of the stream with plenty of shade. Downstream of my starting spot was a grassy wetland with little shade. I assumed the browns would be more common downstream where the water was warmer, and brooks would be more common upstream where the water was colder. Sure enough, the first deep pool had fish in it, and they were all brooks!
Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) - new hook & line species #98
I was hoping for a productive day, so I stopped after a couple fish and headed back to my car. I had parked near a drainage ditch with clear water, a lot of vegetation, and a mud bottom. I expected brook stickleback and central mudminnows. Sure enough, the sticklebacks were abundant and eagerly went after the bit of worm I had put on a Tanago hook.
Brook Stickleback female (Culaea inconstans) - new hook & line species #99
Brook Stickleback male (Culaea inconstans)
It was still early morning, and I was tantalizingly close to 100 hook & line species. After a dozen sticklebacks and no mudminnows, I hopped in the car and drove to the spot where I had netted mudminnows in March. After an hour or two at that spot I had only caught one stickleback. I knew the mudminnows were in there, but perhaps I was targetting them the wrong way, or they bite better at dusk, dawn, or on cloudy days (today was full sun).
After a quick lunch, my next stop was the Sugar River in Belleville. I was hoping for a banded darter or Johnny darter based on the netting I did there last weekend (see previous post). Unfortunately, my camera took its last picture as I was photographing a sand shiner for a micro fishing competition. I doubt it's worth repairing, so I'll have to start shopping for a new camera right away.
Sand Shiner (Notropis stramineus)
I couldn't find any darters due to the cloudy water, so I ended the day by using up my nightcrawlers at the dam. I caught 7 common carp and lost 3 others at shore. No other species hooked, which was quite interesting based on last weekend's results.