Updates from Spring /Summer 1998 Report
All Species collected during June/July 1997 trips to Sycolin Run, with the
exception of a few losses due to exiting tanks (Blacknose Dace) and a reluctance to feed
(Larger Sculpin), are thriving and growing. At this point most experimentation has been
geared toward establishing smooth running communities as opposed to breeding.
Richmond Trip #1
3/1/98 - Collecting trip to Sallee Creek outside of Richmond, VA
This past weekend when I was in Richmond visiting a friend and collecting amigo, Paul Coppola, with no intention of collecting, we ended up surveying and collecting at both the Appomattox and James Rivers drainages in Powahatan County, Virginia.
During a Saturday lunch of at our favorite local Pho'( Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) restaurant the topic of collecting came up and in 30 minutes we were at a local fishing/hunting shop purchasing a 4x4' seine, a dipnet and other collecting paraphernalia which totaled about $50.00.
The first location we surveyed was a creek right outside Richmond, which name I do not recall (possibly unnamed), that yielded little more than a Leopard Frog, and a few insect larvae. Disappointment.
That evening, determined to collect successfully, we surfed the Internet thoroughly for local maps and information concerning collecting outside the Richmond area. Paul's roommate Doug, an experienced local fisherman, also provide some local info concerning a bait collecting Creek named Sallee. What we experienced is detailed below.
At Sallee Creek (James River)in Powahatan County, 46.3 miles west of Richmond, Paul Coppola and myself collected Fantail and Tessellated or Johnny Darters (hard to tell, we collected right on the extent of each species range), what eventually identified as Rosyside Dace and best of all numerous 1-2" Northern Hog Suckers and many Mountain Redbelly Dace. All the minnow species at this location were colorful and abundant. The Redbellies had a hard time acclimating to the return trip to Arlington, VA and the aquarium experiencing a little finrot but the addition of marine salt and small feedings of Spirulina flakes, frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms is slowly bringing them back to health. The Rosysides seem to be much more hardy. The Northern Hog Sucker I kept devours the algae growing throughout the tank and seems to be doing just fine.
At an unnamed Creek of the Appomattox River just six miles south of Sallee Creek
we collected Tessellated or Johnny Darters, Rosyside Dace and baby Bluegills over a
Sandy/Mud Bottom with a rocky shore.
We used the "Appomattox River Collecting" Articles on the NANFA web page to help us identify some of the species which were very similar to those of the Upper James River drainage even though the article concerns collecting further upstream in the mountains as opposed to the foothills where we collected.
I am looking forward to returning to the same location in the near future in
order to stock Mr. Coppola's tank.
4/3/98 - Fishing Trip to Lake Barcroft, Annandale, VA
What was initially intended to be a fishing trip to Lake Barcroft, turned into a minor collecting trip.
Upon arriving at Lake Barcroft to fish for Bass and Panfish, I dropped a baitless Killi trap along the bulkhead of Mr. Mark Cook's dock in distant hope of catching some baby bullheads. After about three hours of fishing unsuccessfully and noticing many signs of some sort fish kill we returned to the dock and retrieved the killi trap which was full of about 15 - 1" Bluegill. Five were returned and the rest split between myself and Mark.
Once we got the fish home and in aquaria Mark noticed small off-white spots on the juvenile Bluegill. It looked like some sort of ick-like or protazoan-like parasite which may have been responsible for the fishkill we noticed. Lake Barcroft spills down a Dam and eventually to the Potomac. I wonder what type of effect such infestations may have on the Potomac.
Quick Cure and a temperature of 82 degrees was successful in ridding the fish of their parasites.
4/25/98 - Collecting Trip to Sycolin Creek, Loudon County VA.
Fellow NANFA member Mark "Tank Doctor" Cook and myself made a quick trip to his favorite collecting spot on Sycolin Creek. We immediately noticed the water was higher and much cooler than typical due all rain we've had lately in the area. Luckily the weather was 80 degrees and sunny.
Once again Sycolin Creek was as fruitful as ever. Our collecting trip this time last year produced minimal compared to this beautiful Saturday. This is a very positive sign due to the amount of development which is currently taking place on and around the Dulles Greenway.
Almost immediately we caught a couple items I was looking for which were 2 small (1") crayfish to keep my community stream tanks clean. I find they work wonders on algae and uneaten food and don't bother the other inhabitants as long as they are well fed (algae) and small.
A little later, via kick seining, we came up with of the most colorful Greenside Darters I have ever seen. Decked out in full breeding regalia, it was quite amazing (all I could think was RAINBOW! when I saw them). Aquas, reds and greens were so intense they looked like jewels. Having already a tank full of Greensides, one of these went to Mark and the other was returned to the creek. The same haul contained a few fantails of which I kept a couple due to lack of the species in my tanks, and a 2" Mottled Sculpin which Mark decided to try his luck with once again on my advice that the young were easier to feed than the larger specimans.
Our seine also pulled up many Bluntnose Minnows (great for feeders),a couple Spottail shiners, Longnose dace and no Blacknose Dace which was quite unusual. Hellgrammites were very common. I've always wondered how these aquatic insects do in captivity?
I also aged about ten years in one second. During one seine haul a medium sized gray-colored snake entered the water in a rush right next to me. You can bet I had to change my waders after that one. What a scare.
5/2/98 - Collecting trip to Sallee Creek, Powahatan County, outside of Richmond, VA
At Sallee Creek (James River)in Powahatan County, 46.3 miles west of Richmond, Paul Coppola and myself collected Fantail and Tessellated or Johnny Darters (hard to tell, we collected right on the extent of each species range), a third unidentified species of darter (possibly Shield or Stripeback), Blacknose Dace, Rosyside Dace, Mountain Redbelly Dace, Northern Hog Suckers, Torrent Suckers, Pumpkinseed and a couple Pirate Perch, possibly from a pond further down stream. All the minnow species at this location were extremely colorful due to the breeding season, unfortunately the brilliant Mountain Redbellies were not near as numerous as the other minnow species like the Rosyside Dace.
The few Mt. Redbellies collected once again had a hard time acclimating during the return trip to Arlington, VA and the aquarium experiencing a little finrot and a couple losses but the addition of marine salt and small feedings of Spirulina flakes, frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms is slowly bringing them back to health. The other minnow species seem to be less sensitive than the Redbellies. The Lone Northern Hog Sucker I kept from the last trip to Sallee Creek expired, for what reason I'm not sure. I did not replace it. From what I understand they do better in groups.
The next trip will be to Southwest VA and the New River Drainage. This will have to be pushed into June due to my lack of time this spring. Here is where collections of the Kanawha Darter have been observed and recorded. I can't wait!
Please feel free to inquire and join us on any upcoming trips.
So long from VA.