The 9th grade River Fellows went seine fishing in the South Chickamauga Creek. Seine fishing is a method of fishing using a net. The net is weighted at the bottom with lead weights and the top is buoyed by floats. Two people hold wooden poles on the sides of the net and use either the “haul” method or the “set and kick” method to capture fish. The “haul” method is when both people walk downstream at a fast pace, keeping the net behind them and the poles at a 45 degree angle. The “set and kick” method is when the people on either end of the net hold the poles at a 45 degree angle. Then, other people walk towards the net, kicking up rocks on the bottom to scare fish into the net. Before going to the creek where we would fish, we went to meet the scientists who would take us fishing at a warehouse that was being used to raise sturgeon and Appalachian brook trout. We were able to see fingerling sturgeon, which were about an inch and a half long, some brook trout, and the head of a seven and a half foot long arapaima that’s scull was being eaten by beetles so scientists could have its skeleton to study or display.
Scientists from the Tennessee Aquarium took us to the South Chickamauga Creek to fish. Upon arrival we met the landowner’s German Shepard, Bella, who waded in the creek near us as we fished. We began fishing in slower moving water and slowly moved downstream into faster
water. Mainly we caught smaller fish such as darters and minnows. The species of fish we caught were surprisingly bright and colorful such as redline darters, war paint shiners and banded darters, but also caught more camouflaged fish such as sculpins, log perch and the threatened snail darter which was the first species to take the Endangered Species Act to court. Other creatures were also caught in the nets: a dragonfly larva, a hellgrammite (Dobson fly larva), a musk turtle and many crawfish.
|hellgrammite (dobsonfly larvae)|
At the end of the day we were wet and our waders were full of water but we learned a lot about the creek and the many species of fish and other aquatic life in it!