As multi-species fisherman, we’re always looking for opportunities to add another species to the lifelist. Reading reports of awesome catches in what often seem like far away places gets us dreaming of new and exciting trips. If it’s not a Tangerine Darter from Tennessee, it may be a Warpaint Shiner from North Carolina. While pursuit of these may be worthwhile trips, we often overlook the opportunities within our own backyard. Sometimes it is not overlooking what’s there, we just don’t realize what’s there.
I recently decided to take a look at my backyard and measure the opportunities that live there. Paging through the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, looking at the distribution maps, soon became laborious (though I do enjoy browsing my reference books!) and I was forced to manually create a list. Now, I also own a couple other great reference books specific for parts of my backyard that help tremendously with distribution data and maps, but once again processing the information becomes a manual task and they left geographic holes.
It was only after discovering the websites described in a prior post, that I had the tools to accomplish what I had envisioned. What resulted was a chart of freshwater species that potentially lie within a 100 mile radius of my home and broken down by the watershed in which they occur. I’ve created a landing page describing the process and giving easy access to the data and sources. We all need to know what’s in our backyard! Take a look at mine and let me know what you think!