Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Catching Small Fish

There are a few reasons I like specifically targeting fish that often don't grow particularly large. I thoroughly enjoy fishing for wild brook trout in streams so small and with such slow growth rates that they hold sexually mature brook trout that are only two and a half inches long. Here's a such a place, I fished it just a couple days ago.

It is amazing just to see where fish can live. Yesterday Noah and I were trying to catch spot tail shiners out of a drainage pipe discharge. The pipe and the area downstream from it was full of life. Hundreds of spot tails, some juvenile panfish, and a small bass. The bass was there to chase the shiners, and the rest were presumably there for the warm road runoff. None of these fish were large individually, but it was cool to see so much biomass in one place. Plus, they were beautiful little fish. As were the small fallfish that I found podded up in a pool further up the stream. 

When it comes down to it, one of the biggest reasons I am into fishing is observing biodiversity. And the largest fish make up the smallest portion of a water bodies' total biomass. There are only a handful of fish species (comparatively) in the North East that get larger than a foot on a regular basis, which means to really see the kinds of fish around here, you have to fish the small ones. Shiners, top minnows, mummichogs, brook trout, grass pickerel... all amazing, beautiful fish that live in amazing places that I would never have seen if I didn't spend time fishing for small species. 


  1. It's nice to see such beautiful creatures surviving in places that most people would not give a second look. Those of us that are drawn to water like a magnet give these critters a big YAHOOOO!!!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...

  2. You are driving me crazy--in a good way! Great points.
    Strangely, my local fishing haunts seem to be devoid of observable fish the past few weeks. Yet in the late summer and fall, I could see all of the fish you mention, and caught a few of them too. Not now. Conditions same as yours. I'm flummoxed. It is as if the shiners chubs dace falls etc wandered off to Florida for the winter. I have more fishing and reading to do before I find them with snow on the ground.

    1. If those places dump into ponds or big pools somewhere, the fish are all there, or hiding out in a handful of warm water refuges.