Silver Creek Checkup

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It has been several months since I made the effort to fish the neighborhood creek.  After rototilling the garden this afternoon, I went down to Silver Creek with my 6’6″ Soyokaze  20SR rigged with a 6 foot piece of 7X tippet, a quarter of a BB split shot and micro hook.  I cut a tip of a red wiggler, probably about the size of half a match head, and pierced it with the Tanago hook.  I’ve found that leaving the hook tip exposed greatly increases hook ups.  A piece of worm lasts a long time while microfishing, and if I start missing “hook sets”….to use big fish terminology!….I most often find that the bait has moved on  the hook, covering the hook point.  A quick adjustment of the bait has me back in effective business.

My goal this evening was to see how the local Weed Shiners (Notropis texanus) were doing.  They are the only microfish I’ve caught in this stretch of water and are usually present and cooperative.  This evening was no exception.  I also wanted to see how my new (Christmas) camera would handle the photo tank.  The new camera is a Nikon CoolPix, which is much smaller than my trusty Canon PowerShot Pro 1, but as of yet, unproven in its ability to clearly and accurately document my “on the water” adventures.

It seems that the Nikon needs a solid background upon which to focus, thus the white towel in the background.   I have less control over the pictures, but I think the CoolPix’s small size and convenience will win a spot in the travel bag.  The Canon takes pictures that are clearer and with more detail.  It will still be used in situations where small size and portability are not critical.

The above picture of the Weed Shiner shows its typical coloration from the dark local waters.  All the rays of the dorsal and caudal fin have pigmentation and the last 3 rays of the anal fin are usually prominently pigmented.  The dark lateral band extends around the face with pigmentation on both the upper and lower jaws.

I was quite surprised when this beautiful Bluegill sucked in the tiny bait.  The tussle with the light Soyokaze was delightful, with the fine line singing as it raced through the water.  The tiny Tanago hook, hooked in his upper lip held long enough for me to land him for a photo shoot.  Quite a handsome guy!

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Common Shiner – Luxilus cornutus

I found myself in Detroit, Michigan this week with a few hours of free time one evening. As I usually will pack my Soyokaze rods, (I recently received a 10 foot 31SR to join my 6 foot 6 inch 20 SR) I was prepared to pursue some Metropolitan micro fishing.  About a half mile from my hotel in Southfield meandered a small stream with the interesting name, River Rouge, so with a ittle effort I found access and was in business.  A nice river walk park is being developed which provided for a very pleasant evening.

River Rouge - Southfield, MI

This stretch of water was generally quite featureless with a slow flow.  It was here that I encountered a new life lister for me, the Common Shiner, Luxilus cornutus.  I also caught several Creek Chubs from the same water.

Common Shiner - Luxilus cornutus

My shiner catches varied in size from under 3 inches to 5 and a half inches long.  I used the Soyokaze 20SR as the water was small enough for me to reach the far side if needed, and I like its ultra sensitivity.  I probably caught a dozen in the two hours I fished.

Common Shiner - Luxilus Cornutus

Common Shiner - Luxilus cornutus

Common Shiner - Luxilus cornutusWhile photographing, if I kept the angle of sunlight just right, I could easily see the true colors under the scales.  Some had dark blotches on their sides.  The bright green was quite stunning!  In normal sunlight angles, they were a bright shiny silver.

Common Shiner - Luxilus cornutusCommon Shiner - Luxilus cornutusCommon Shiner - Luxilus cornutusCommon Shiner - Luxilus cornutus

Here is one of the Creek Chubs I caught that evening.

Creek Chub

Dusky Shiner – Notropis cummingsae

Dusky Shiner - Notropis cummingsae

This Dusky Shiner (Notropis cummingsae) was added to my lifelist during my recent trip into North Carolina.  One of the creeks I checked out was Rockfish Creek near Raeford, NC.  This creek is part of the Upper Cape Fear River Watershed (03030004).  The reach I visited was near a poultry processing plant and was very clear with a deep steady flow.  I spotted a school of these fish centering their activity near a tall grass lined edge.  I was able to make my presentation without them discovering me and they cooperated nicely!  The drift of the micro-baited Tanago hook was intercepted decisively nearly every time.  In an attempt to make sure no other species were present, I presented to a few individual fish away from the school, but they were all Dusky Shiners.  A handsome addition to the list.

Jacob Fork of the S. Fork Catawba River, NC

In my recent trip up to North Carolina I did manage to catch a few fish of interest to me. This trip I only took my micro gear, so that was my focus.  My first opportunity was along a picturesque stretch of Jacob Fork of the South Fork Catawba River in Catawba County, NC.  This water was crystal clear running over a bedrock/boulder substrate, something I don’t get to see in Lower Alabama.  It took me about an hour to figure out how to get an acceptable presentation to the visible fish.  I was fortunate and caught two new species for my lifelist, the Bluehead Chub ( Nocomis leptocephalus) and the Warpaint Shiner (Luxilus coccogenis).

Bluehead Chub - Nocomis leptocephalus

Bluehead Chub

Warpaint Shiner - Luxilus coccogenis

Blacktail Shiner

This past week I stopped and fished a few of the tributaries of the Escambia River just north of Pensacola FL.  I was driving Highway 29 on my way to Birmingham, AL and had plotted out a few creek crossings to check out.  My favorite was the crossing at Canoe Creek which had free flowing clear water over a light colored sandy bottom.  It had typical riffles and pools and provided multiple habitats for me to explore.  Unfortunately, I did not have much time so I stayed close to the overpass.  I will be back for a better look!

I caught the familiar Weed Shiner, but in a completely different habitat than I find these fish close to home.  Here I caught them in bright sunshine in a shallow riffle, using a presentation technique very similar to nymphing with a flyrod.  I was using my 6’6″ Soyokaze rod and about that much 7x tippet as line, terminated with a Tanago hook with a tiny piece of bait and a very small piece of lead about 1″ above the hook.  These Weed Shiners were very much lighter colored than my home water fish, but I’m convinced they are Weed Shiners as they have the typical pigmentation, although much lighter, on the last 3-4 rays of the anal fin.  They also show spots of pigment below the darker mid line.  I was hoping for a Coastal Shiner or Mimic Shiner, but it was not to be.

A new species to me was also found here, the Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta).  I found smaller ones in the shade of the overpass and caught a larger one in the deeper water of the pool in the shade of the bushes beyond the sand bar in the first photo.  These turn out to be quite common as I caught them in several places along the way to Birmingham.  These fish can get to a bit over 7 inches and put up a nice fight on the light Soyokaze.