Edit: Ended up the Black Redhorse were not Black Redhorse after all. The experts on Roughfish.com said I counted the last couple of scales that I shouldn't. I should only count fully pored scale up to the hypural plate. So all the Black Redhorse in this report are just Golden Redhorse.
So the hunt continues...
Lifer = Lifelist species
I'm really, really tired...and I still have to finish a grant proposal tonight...so I'll keep this brief. I really want to tell you all the little stories of success...but I am short on time...
I went to London, Ontario to attend a symposium. Great meeting and I have lots of new ideas in my head.
Part of the perk was the location. The Thames River runs through London and it was conveniently within 2 min walk from our accommodations! The Thames River offers a rare species that I've been eying...the Black Redhorse. Only the Thames and the Grand Rivers hold a fishable population of them. The Upper Thames River and its tributaries also hold a population of Longear Sunfish...which is again an uncommon fish with limited distribution in Ontario. This was a big opportunity for me.
Thursday - On our way to London, I did a detour to try a spot suggested by Kazu (FishingWithPole) that holds Longear Sunfish. However, it must be either too early in the season, or the fish was no long found there. The water was really murky and after 30 minutes of exploring, there was no life in this little creek. Hm...
I was looking from the bridge on the way to our meeting hall and I saw a number of Silver Redhorse and some smaller redhorse...they could possibly be Golder Redhorse or Black Redhorse. I also saw a few Common Carp, Smallmouth Bass and surprisingly a couple of Quillback Carpsucker as well as a Longnose Gar!
Friday - I woke up at 5:45am to do a little fishing before the day started at 9am. I was fishing a poor spot and lost a lot of tackle...plus got skunked.
Saturday - I work up at 5:30am to try the other side of the river. It was deeper and there was a lot of activity on that side the afternoon before. It was here I saw 2 redhorse and 3 carp in the morning...and I landed this 10lb carp. I saw it tailing about 15 feet downstream from me and I basically sightfished it. Freaking rad!
Sunday - After a night of partying post-symposium, I woke up at 6:30am. I was to meet with Dennis (dokdok) and his twin brother Donny at 7am. On the way to the river, I forgot to return my room key so I had to walk back to the residence...and missed Dennis and Donny by probably 10 minutes. I started off fishing this deeper pool. It was raining so I had to duck under a tree. Not too long later, I caught this "carp". It looks like a hybrid of Goldfish and Common Carp.
Very small barbel.
At about 8am I think, I heard Dennis calling for me. I replied and we finally found each other. Dennis was fishing in another spot and decided to come back to try and find me.
My spot was pretty slow so I decided to join them. I was told there were a lot of redhorse and carp in the area and Dennis had already landed one in the moring.
When I arrived, we saw a couple of small redhorse in the shallows feeding. I lobbed by bottom bouncing rig with a piece of nightcrawler ahead of the fish and maneuvered it toward the feeding lane. About 30 seconds later, one of the fish found it and FISH ON! The fish jumped and gave a great fight. When I saw the lips...and did a lateral line scale count (44-47 scales)...it was a Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei)!!! Species #209!!!
Dennis took some pictures for me.
Donny admiring my redhorse.
Dennis landed a nice Yellow Perch.
And Donny approved.
A little later, I landed a Smallmouth Bass while looking for redhorse.
Donny then hooked up a BIG carp! It jumped and I had a good look at it. I was there ready to net...
...but unfortunately, the carp jumped again and the hook came out. It looked like the fish may have landed on the line and popped the hook.
Donny wasn't too happy...and he asked if the fish counted. Just one of those days for Donny. He had 3-4 fish got off the hook today
I sighted another small redhorse grubbing on bottom...
Another Black Redhorse!!!
Dennis taking photographic proof of how I rest the fish in the net in between snapping a pic...to all those haters out there...
It was time for Dennis and Donny to leave. It was great fishing with them and share some tips after having chat with time online for a while
I give my credit of the Black Redhorse catch to Dennis and Donny. Had they not invited me to their spot, I do not think my original location would have much hope in catching them. Thank you so very, very much!!!
I kept fishing for a bit. I was supposed to leave at 1pm...but I saw some Quillback Carpsucker and I really wanted to catch one.
But the rare Black Redhorse would not leave me alone.
To the doubtful minds...I save you the work and you can see the scale count...
And the Shortnose Redhorse would not let me catch a Quillback...
Neither would the Silver Redhorse...a 24" one at at that! It was a new personal best!
Camera time delay shots really, really suck...
As I was reeling in to cast at the next few Quillback, I felt a tug...and it was an Emerald Shiner (Notropis atherinoides)! I had caught them before...but never taken a picture...so I didn't count them. Well, now it is official! #210!
At about 3pm, after having numerous Quillback literally fed on top of my bait and not taking it, I finally quit. I could kept fishing and kept wishing...but I really want to explore some spots for Longear Sunfish.
So I began my journey home and stopped at 5-6 different tributaries of the Upper Thames. Most of them had a lot of minnow species, a few juvenile Smallmouth Bass and the odd Common Carp...but I didn't see any sunfish.
Finally, in my last possible stop, I saw one single sunfish in the river. I was looking from the bridge and my presence scared most of the fish, as well as the sunfish, under the bridge for protection.
I tried to fish around but finally found that the fish were really just congregated under the bridge. So I swung some casts under the bridge...and soon connected with 5-6 Rockbass and a juvenile Smallmouth Bass.
Then, I hooked a fish that looked different. It was a minnow species and one I had planned to target this summer. It was a Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus)!!! Note the red dot behind the eye...a dead giveaway. Yes! #211!!!
I hooked up with another 5 Rockbass after...and finally hooked a sunfish. It was a mix feeling when I reeled it up...from nervousness to anxiousness to excitement...I finally got a good look...and...
IT WAS A LONGEAR SUNFISH (Lepomis megalotis)!!! It was only a 3" juvenile so the ear flap is not very long yet...and the body colour is not as well developed...but it is a longear sunfish. Finally...after much disappointment, I got it!!! #212!!!
One ear flap was longer than the other...
After this, I tried to catch a bigger one...but the Rockbass was too relentless. Since it was already 6:30pm, I decided it was time to go...I still have a grant proposal to finish tonight...
This was a very successful trip. I added 4 new species...2 of them were target species...and two surprise. I'll take that any day!!!
Now I have to pull an all nighter to get this grant proposal done...I need coffee...