Thursday, October 24, 2013

VA / NC trip part 2 - Dan & Roanoke drainages

Day two put us in the Dan River and Roanoke River drainages. Our first stop was a small stream going through a public park. A footpath bridge made the perfect microfishing spot. It was a sunny day, and tons of minnows were hanging out in the pool beneath the bridge. When the reach of the 12 foot crappie pole isn't necessary, I switch to my 5 foot ultralight. Just like the day before, the new lifers came in one after another!

Mountain Redbelly Dace (Chrosomus oreas) - new hook & line species #122

Rosyside Dace (Clinostomus funduloides) - new hook & line species #123

Crescent Shiner (Luxilus cerasinus) - new hook & line species #124

We then headed to a dam on the Pigg River with a small stream flowing in downstream. Miciah headed to the stream, and I fished above and below the dam. Bryce, who had done most of the driving on the trip, took a nap in the car. I used a size #10 Octopus hook with my ultralight, and quickly caught the larger chub and shiner species hanging out below the dam.

Bluehead Chub (Nocomis leptocephalus) - new hook & line species #125

White Shiner (Luxilus albeolus) - new hook & line species #126

Crescent Shiner (Luxilus cerasinus) - adults at this spot, the previous ones were juveniles

I also tied on a small Mepps spinner and caught this nicely colored brown trout above the dam.

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)

After catching more of the same, I made my way down to the small creek to see how Miciah was doing. He said that he was catching mostly juvenile shiners and chubs, but had also caught a fantail darters. I knew that the fantails on the east coast have been in the process of being split into new species, so I was excited to catch one. After a while looking through the rocks in the creek, I found a few! They certainly look different than the striped fantail darters we have in Illinois.

Chesapeake Fantail Darter (Etheostoma humerale) - new hook & line species #127

Back at the dam, we continued fishing as the sun began to set. The fish we caught began to change, and we each caught a fish that we weren't expecting, cutlips minnow!

Cutlips Minnow (Exoglossum maxillingua) - new hook & line species #128

These guys had really interesting mouths.

As it got darker, we began catching nothing but rock bass. We photographed each one, hoping for Roanoke bass, but apparently we were in a part of the drainage where rock bass are more dominant.

Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris)


  1. What a great adventure!!!! I love reading about your trip, and seeing the pictures!!!!

  2. Thanks! The fish were pretty small on this trip, but there were a lot of them. My head is still spinning from it.

  3. OK that's pretty awesome! Congrats on all the new species, and that brown trout is the most strangely colored one I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of brown trout...), awesome fish all around!

  4. Thanks Bryan! The bright orange spots on that brown trout were really interesting. They matched the color on the Mepps spinner. In WI I've only seen dull red spots on brown trout.

  5. Nice fish and that brown is crazy. I'm 100% positive that fish is wild. The coloring almost looks like a tiger trout.

  6. Thanks Kevin! A friend asked if Lake Ohrid trout (a brown trout relative) had been stocked in that drainage. I can't find any info suggesting they have, but if so there could be some weird mixing of genes among the naturally recruiting trout.

  7. Fished that same dam and my buddy caught a similar looking brown trout.

  8. Nice! So that's where the jumprock was caught as well?

  9. yup, i even fished that tiny stream as well, there were roanoke hogsuckers in there!

  10. You know what... between the 3 of us we did not catch a single sucker on that trip. We saw some northern hogsuckers (we assumed due to their large size) and redhorse in the Roanoke but didn't bother targeting them. Roanoke hogsucker or any kind of jumprock would have been really cool.