Monday, September 30, 2013

Sandy Creek, IL

With the warm weather ending soon, I spent one of my free days this weekend revisiting a few spots that have been on my mind lately. The first was Sandy Creek, which has an incredible number of fish species.  On this visit I caught 27 species and took the opportunity to photograph a few that I have not been able to catch hook & line for my lifelist.

I was especially happy to find and identify mud darters, which inhabited the transition from riffles to pools, usually in among leaf litter and submerged sticks.  It was also nice to find banded darters, which I had previously only found in Wisconsin and Ohio.  Darters become difficult to catch hook & line in the fall, so I'll wait until next spring to pursue them hook & line.  They should have better colors then as well, so that will be an added bonus.

Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) - caught hook & line

Suckermouth Minnow (Phenacobius mirabilis)

Mud Darter (Etheostoma asprigene) - male

Mud Darter (Etheostoma asprigene) - female

Banded Darter (Etheostoma zonale)

Logperch (Percina caprodes)

Northern Clearwater Crayfish (Orconectes propinquus)

Not bad for a creek in the middle of farm country!  Here's the full list of species caught and seen:
  1. Quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus)
  2. Highfin Carpsucker (Carpiodes cyprinus)
  3. Northern Hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans)
  4. Golden Redhorse (Moxostoma erythrurum)
  5. Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum)
  6. Central Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)
  7. Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis)
  8. Spotfin Shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera)
  9. Emerald Shiner (Notropis atherinoides)
  10. Sand Shiner (Notropis stramineus)
  11. Suckermouth Minnow (Phenacobius mirabilis)
  12. Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus)
  13. Creek Chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)
  14. Blackstripe Topminnow (Fundulus notatus)
  15. Western Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)
  16. Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
  17. Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
  18. Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
  19. Mud Darter (Etheostoma asprigene)
  20. Rainbow Darter (Etheostoma caeruleum)
  21. Fantail Darter (Etheostoma flabellare)
  22. Johnny Darter (Etheostoma nigrum)
  23. Orangethroat Darter (Etheostoma spectabile)
  24. Banded Darter (Etheostoma zonale)
  25. Logperch (Percina caprodes)
  26. Blackside Darter (Percina maculata)
  27. Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
On other occasions I've also seen largemouth bass, white bass, smallmouth buffalo, common carp, and grass carp.  They were probably still there, but the lack of rain has caused the water to get more murky in the deep pools.

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