Another day at the creek

After only getting to spend an hour snorkeling in Mill Creek on Saturday, I headed to Rogers Creek on Sunday.  Rogers Creek is the next tributary of the Current River upstream from Mill Creek.  It’s somewhat smaller than  Mill Creek, doesn’t have nearly the volume of spring flow feeding it and has a tendency to go dry in the summer, usually right above it’s confluence with the river.

The water was again 62-63 degrees, but I knew what to expect this time.  I ended up spending about 4 hours in the water, covering the creek from where it joins the river (actually a side channel of the river mainstem) to about 1/2 mile upstream.  I was still looking for a Greenside Darter and normally, Rogers Creek is crawling with the buggers, but I was to be disappointed this day.

I did find more Rainbow Darters though.  Many of them and I couldn’t help but shoot some more photos.

These first two shots were of a male who was completely preoccupied with a female.  I watched him for 10 minutes and he barely left her side, never straying far.

A short distance upstream, I found this male in a shalllow pool at the side of the channel.  He was apparently a showoff since he seemed to like posing for me and even conveniently kept his dorsal fin raised.

The crayfish were abundant and very active.  Most were Orconects luteus, but there were a few O. punctimanus like this nice looking female.  She was about 2.5 inches, relatively large for the creek.

Unexpectedly, I found a beautiful female of a third species, Cambarus hubbsi.  I say unexpectedly because I’d never found one in the creek before.  In fact, this is the first I’ve found outside the main river channel. 


The first photo was taken right after I flipped the rock she was hiding under.  This is a typical hubbsi pose.  Unlike the various Orconectes species, they make no attempt to flee or defend themselves, you can simply reach down and pick them up, no fuss.  I took the second shot to provide a sense of size, then placed her back in the water and took a few more shots of her with her tail fanned out.  That last shot was the best of those photos.

As I mentioned earlier, Rogers Creek empties into a side channel off of the main river.  This channel was the primary one prior to 10 or 12 years ago when the river shifted it’s main channel to the east side of the valley.  It continues down the old path of the river where it picks up Mill Creek before rejoining the main river.  I did finally find one Greenside Darter here in this old channel, but he was there and gone in seconds and I only managed the following shot, which I’m not content with, so the search goes on.

There were also plenty of shiners in this part of the channel and I tried to photograph them, leading them with the camera like you would a duck with a shotgun.  My skills with the camera apparently aren’t much better than those with a shotgun because this is the best photo I managed.  The upper one is a Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus) and the other is a Bleeding Shiner (L. zonatus).  It looks like something has had hold of the Striped Shiner judging by the scuff marks behind his dorsal fin.


The last find of the day was a large (approximately 15”) Northern Hogsucker.  He (she?) was lying quietly on the bottom in a foot of water and unlike most hogsuckers, let me approach very closely.  The second photo is uncropped and shot without using the zoom on the camera, if that gives you an idea of how close I was allowed to approach.  After shooting all the photos I wanted I decided to see if I could catch him with my hand.  I actually touched him before he rocketed off. 

2 comments to Another day at the creek

  • Emily Imhoff

    Very nice photos! Especially the hubbsi and hogsucker! How exciting to get so close to a hogsucker. Have you heard that sometimes young bass or shiners will follow feeding hogsuckers to catch their leftovers? That would be fun to watch.

    Keep up the good work!

  • admin

    Thanks Emily! I was shocked that the hogsucker let me as close as he did and thought there might be something wrong with him. But he seemed healthy enough when he took off!

    I’ve seen smallmouth bass following hogsuckers many times and I think I remember seeing long-ear sunfish do it a time or two also. The hogsuckers seem to completely ignore the other fish following them.

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