July 31, 2019

Quebec Green Sunfish!

After returning early from our trip down to Connecticut, Alex and I found ourselves with a spare day in the Eastern Townships region of QC. I figured it might be worth going to check out a creek where I had heard rumours of a population of Green Sunfish. This species is not supposed to be present in QC, but apparently has spread in the area because of aquarium releases and milder winters. I already had the Sunfish on my lifelist, but Alex did not. Besides, it's always cool to catch something new and your home province. We arrived to the beautiful creek seen below:

I dropped down my tanago rig and it didn't take long before I had my first bite! Unfortunately, it was just one of the ever-present Creek Chub.

Creek Chub aren't usually a good sign when it comes to multi-species fishing. Fortunately, I noticed some smaller fish in the margins, while the Chubs seemed to hold more in the main current. The smaller fish kept dropping off my tanago rig, so I switched to regular gear with a size 16 hook. In short order, I lifted up a Green Sunfish! I was honestly pretty surprised that the rumour turned out o be true.

After catching the first one, it became apparent that the creek was absolutely infested with them. All juveniles, I think the water may have been too small for larger individuals to make their way up. I handed the rod over to Alex who quickly lifted one up as well :)

After Alex had her lifer, I proceeded to explore more of the creek simply because I was enjoying the spot and I have a thing for catching small fish :p This further exploration yielded a cool Green Sunfish x Pumpkinseed hybrid as well as some Pumpkinseed, Common Shiners, and Fallfish.

Green Sunfish x Pumpkinseed
Common Shiner

July 28, 2019

Connecticut Creeks and Surf

Alex and I decided to go for a quick 3 day trip down to Connecticut and eventually Cape Cod for a shot at a few new species and an excuse for a short summer road trip. We only had a few days, but also a relatively open itinerary with only one major target: a Redfin Pickerel! With that in mind, we devoted our entire first afternoon to searching for them. We actually met up with Rowan from Connecticut Fly Angler who was kind enough to guide us around his local stream.

Rowan doing battle with a big Snapping Turtle

He first brought us to a pool where Alex should have been able to catch her lifer Redbreast Sunfish. Unfortunately, none of those were around, but she did finally get her first Largemouth Bass (60 species later)!

We spent the next couple hours slowly working our way downstream, with me spooking and/or missing every Redfin in sight. They tended to be in surprisingly shallow water, sometimes only 2-3 inches, and spooked very readily. Rowan really knows his creek fishing well, and presented me with many opportunities to catch them, but I struggled to even get a reaction. One time, I was dangling my jig by some overhanging roots without paying attention, only to feel a bite and lift up a much-desired Pickerel that simply plopped off back into the water -_-.

Me spooking all the fish :p

In any case, we persevered, and in an open meadow portion of the stream, we started seeing more and more Redfins! I stayed low and made long casts downstream to avoid spooking the fish. After spending a good amount of time doing this, I finally saw a Redfin chase my lure back! It striked but missed! And continued to miss the lure over and over again four times in a row! On its fifth strike, the little jig disappeared and I quickly lifted out my prize! It landed on shore and unhooked itself, but luckily Rowan was there to catch it for me.

That was about as exciting as it was going to get for me, I had been wanting this species ever since I started seriously lifelisting two years ago! Therefore, I gave my rod to Alex so she could try for one. She was unsuccessful but still managed another lifer: the Redbreast she missed at the pool earlier :)

After completing our time at the creek with Rowan, we said our goodbyes and the continued on our way south to the CT coast. I was going to attempt sight fishing some Sea Robins but a huge storm rolled in and pushed me off the water. We ended the day then and headed to our campsite for the night. The next day was more productive and yielded three new saltwater lifers for me: Black Sea Bass, Northern Puffer, and Scup! All on squid and a high-low rig.

Black Sea Bass
Northern Puffer
Those lifers pretty well encompassed the rest of the fishing for the trip, nothing new showed up afterwards but I was more than satisfied, I would have been with the Redfin alone!