Last weekend I attended my first NANFA (North American Native Fishes Association) convention in North Carolina, and what an adventure it was! I'm starting to get pretty comfortable with intense trips covering multiple states and multiple days, so I wasn't worried about whether or not this would be a productive trip. Another multi-species angler and fish enthusiast, Greenwood, joined me for the long car ride. As expected, we caught about half of our targets, missed about half of them, and picked up a good number of surprise lifers.
Thanks to Josh Blaylock and Brian Zimmerman for helping out with some spots in Kentucky for the drive down! We stopped at two locations on the Green River. At the first spot we saw massive spotted darters, greenside darters, banded darters, and possibly a few others, but the only fish we were able to catch were juvenile longear sunfish. Fortunately the second spot was more microfishing friendly.
Orangefin Darter (Etheostoma bellum) - new hook & line species #224
Orangefin Darter (Etheostoma bellum) - female
Rainbow Darter (Etheostoma caeruleum) - male
Fantail Darter (Etheostoma flabellare) - male
Scarlet Shiner (Lythrurus fasciolaris) - new hook & line species #225
Spotfin Shiner (Cyprinella spiloptera) - male
Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus)
Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)
Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
Next we stopped at Fishing Creek. Clearer water and a more quiet setting made the fishing much more enjoyable. We only saw a couple darters, but weren't able to catch them. There were also some redhorse (black perhaps?) in one of the pools.
Whitetail Shiner (Cyprinella nivea) - super male!
Whitetail Shiner (Cyprinella nivea) - female
Northern Studfish (Fundulus catenatus) - super male!
Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)
Tennessee Shiner (Notropis leuciodus)
I learned my lesson on past trips that $40 motels are always bad ideas. While in Kentucky we stayed at a Red Roof Inn the first night and a Super 8 the second night, both being around $65-$70. Definitely worth it - no mildew smells, clean (enough) rooms and bathrooms, and free WiFi. I made sure to shower extra well the first two nights because for the rest of the trip we were tent camping in North Carolina without access to showers.