Buffalo quandry

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niener32
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Buffalo quandry
<p>Being that there is an extensive buffalo discussion currently, I thought I would add another interesting buffalo story to the site! I am placing it here in the Off-topic forum as it is more a story, less of a discussion, but full of questions. But anyways, the story does involve a buffalo and quite a journey, I think, I hope!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So this story harkens back to some time ago, during the species contest put on by this very site. I was looking through all of the fish everyone was catching a stumbled across a fish proposed as a black buffalo from one perkinsdonald. As I looked over the fish I noticed something, something that not everyone would notice. There was a notch of tissue missing from the lower lobe of the caudal fin. &quot;Huh&quot; I said to myself. What are the odds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I promptly emailed Don and asked generally about the fish. Where he caught it, any other observations about the fish. The reason being that during my thesis study of buffalo population dynamics and hybridization I was taking tissue samples of my fish. From the lower caudal fin. I would just cut off an fair sized section, leaving an obvious mark, to elminated double counting fish. This got me thinking. What are the odds this actually was my fish? Crazy right? This could not happen, could it? I dug into my info and the photos of the fish I captured (well, the photos I had anyways) looking, hoping to find a similar fish. I thought I found it. But I resinded my thought after further investigation. Odd. So I sent out some emails to my professor at Saint Mary&#39;s wondering to him about the fish. I asked him if he knew of anyone else that was studying buffalo on the Mississippi River in the area. He did not know of any. I asked about how other agencies marked fish post capture for a study. He said not by removing chunks of caudal fin. Wow. Wow. Could this be? Did Don catch a fish from my study??</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What is most amazing about this story is where the fish was caught. I sampled my fish from the Mississippi River near Winona, MN on Polander Lake (above L and D 5A) and in Straight Slough (below L and D 5A). Most all of my black buffalo and hybrids, which this fish would be a candidate for, were caught below the lock and dam, on Straight Slough. This fish that Don caught was caught on the Wisconsin River, near Gotham, WI. What??? Could this be possible?? Could my fish have ended up that far out of state and downstream?? I certainly believe so. My professor studies paddlefish movement on the Mississippi, but also studied their movement in Missouri. He has certainly had paddlefish move around/through/over/under dams and locks while in Missouri and has had some Minnesota fish do the same. I think it is entirely possible the fish Don caught did the same. Now, if anyone out there knows of any studies in Wisconsin or Iowa that would have taken tissue samples from the lower caudal fin, please let me know! I have went back through my photos time and time again and did not take photos of all of my fish captured, which i should have. I noticed there is a gap in my photos of black buffalo. All the hybrid photos are accounted for, but IDs, as we have seen are shaky for smallmouth vs black vs hybrid buffalo.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The conclusion of this story is that I captured a fish in my study that showed up on this marvelous site in the hands of a worthy angler!! I know the id of the fish is still up in my mind, calling it a black based on &nbsp;my data, but changing my mind as the days go on. Regardless of the ID (for me and maybe not Don if it is indeed a black) the story is worth telling. If you want to see the fish you can follow perkinsdonald&#39;s contest results I believe or find it on his lifelist. Notice the notch out of the tail.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post!!!!</p>
perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
I'll have to post...
I'll have to post some of the pics of it.. it's a different fish on my life list... need to get the laptop...

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

andy
andy's picture
Pretty cool story!

Pretty cool story!

smurph
smurph's picture
haha funny

haha funny I have a story from the Wisconsin River as well.  I'll have to post it later.

Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
I wouldn't be surprised at al

I wouldn't be surprised at all.  There is clear evidence that animals of all kinds (cougars, wolves, housecats, birds, etc.) are willing and capable of traveling LONG distances.  Why should fish be any different?  Just look at eels.  They literally will crawl on land to get wherever it is they want to go.  Why do animals do this?  Who knows.  In the case of the eel, it might just be so they can tempt us midwestern anglers and laugh at our lack of understanding of their habits.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
pics

theres the notch out of the tail fin....

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Is that the same fish in both

Is that the same fish in both pics?  If so, that things a SM Buff for sure.   Wish I could catch one as tall as that first pic...

Jknuth
Jknuth's picture
I am going to throw my hat in

I am going to throw my hat into the Black buffalo for Dons fish, although I know its already been iD'd
but ill show why I think black. 

Using this info and other compiled id info


I keyed out his fishing using the ratios and measurments 



The body depth to body length from nose to notch is about 3 (the light white box is a ratio of 1 to 2.8) this puts it well into the black range and well out of the smallmouth. 
The eyes to head is at 6.75 (5.1-7 for black and less then 5.1 for smallmouth)
Legth of mouth to eye is about 1.5 given that this is a small fish it should be equal to on a smallmouth.
The gill to eye ratio also falls into the black catagory. 
Things we cant see are just how big the lips are, but thats not always true until the fish is a bit larger.  and the oferall angle of the mouth because the upper jaw is pulled down in that terror quiver that all suckers seem to do. 
It has the slow slope on the back as opposed to a larger steaper slope of a smallmouth.
We also cant see if there is a keel or not. 

But more points here point to a black over a smallmouth.

Another thing is where it was caught. it was caught where there is the second highest concentration of Black buffalo in the state. I have see photos of several caught from this spot and know of at least one forum memeber who caught a black not more then 100 yds from here. 

 

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
WI River buffalo

yes all three pics are the same fish.... one more 

when I first joined this amazeing site one of my first uploads to my lifelist was this highfin carpsucker...

so im no biologist..... If one were to tell me the fish it the photos above thie one is a black...is that all that has been necessary in the past... 

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

niener32
niener32's picture
Highfin...

The second fish you posted is a smallmouth buffalo! Highfin carpsuckers are quite a lot smaller than your fish, even big ones. In general highfin carpsucker have the leading fin rays elongated substaintilly, equal to or similar in length to the dorsal fin; a small head with eyes placed far forward on the head; overall they would show a silvery coloration with smaller scales than the smallmouth buffalo you have pictured. (And now I realize you may have already changed that and my expalination may seem over reaching whoops) But, this is a very good look at a smallmouth buffalo, especially the mouth position and "hump" if you will. Clearly showing on this fish is a terminal mouth, obvious here even when retracted. Also, you can see that the fish is getting the classical pancake shape of smallmouth buffalo, compressed and tall. Nice little fish!!

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
Almost forgot...thanks!!!!!
Thanks for the work into this Buffalo! Very good information Niener n Jkunth!

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
ya lol
That was what I listed it as when I first joined rf... my point was simply I'm no biologist.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Crazy stuff dudes.  I would h

Crazy stuff dudes.  I would have never have thought Perkins fish was a Black.  Not a pure one anyways.  And who knows, the gene pool could be all mixed up pretty much everywhere these two species live together.  Which seems like a pretty likely thing.  Seems like when these fish get over 15 or 20 lbs they have a much more distinct look to them.  Really never any identity crisis with large Smallmouths or Blacks.  Thanks to all for taking the time to post all the useful info.  Even though I'm still totally confused looking at all these Buffs....lol

andy
andy's picture
Thanks Jknuth

This fish of Don's sure does look to be more "black-ish" than any of the others.  Thanks for diagramming it out!  I hate the identity problems with this fish

Jknuth
Jknuth's picture
There has to be a better way.

There has to be a better way. something we are missing. I have a few theories but I really need more images. 
There is something with the back and the slope to the head thats key. 
More on this later. Like I said I need more flat images.

Here is a proposal.
Start taking pictures of all the buffalo caught this upcoming year laying flat. Bring a mat or something if you are worried about the fish, but i think this is important. 
Perhaps we can crack this nut once and for all. 

andy
andy's picture
Agreed.

A shot of the fish lying flat, a lip closeup and a head-on view should be taken of any "mongrel" buffalo.

 

I don't take many flat shots of smallmouth buffalo, but here are a couple I found from the Cove...

 

 

 

THere are a few more examples of smallmouth buffs in various shapes from various rivers on my lifelist - 

http://www.roughfish.com/lifelists/overview/detail/fish/47529

Jknuth
Jknuth's picture
awesome andy. I would also li

awesome andy. I would also like to see any of non mongrels too. 
Thanks man

 

andy
andy's picture
Pure or close to pure

I consider the two I posted above and everything on my lifelist pure smallmouth buffalo or close to it.  I like the tall-bodied buffs so that is what I most often bother to take photos of.  

niener32
niener32's picture
Blacks

If you are also looking for some black buffalo photos. Here are some blacks I caught as part of my study. The last looked very smallmouthy but the angle of the mouth and the anatomy of the lips prove otherwise I think. I have included all the id type pictures I took of that fish. I can post some neat hybrids too if that would be helpful. I caught possibly 4 fish I classified as hybrids one being a bigmouthxblack hybrid, which is the last image in the set. I classified this fish as such because of the overall shape of the fish, which was very long and cylindrical, like either of the parent fish, and based on the mouth position, which was not quite terminal like a bigmouth, but not quite angled enough for a black or smallmouth for that matter. The fish was darker like most of the blacks I had caught and the head was not quite right for a black so I classified it is a bigmouth x black hybrid. Hope these help!

Questionable black photos below

Possible bigmouth x black hybrid

 

 

andy
andy's picture
wow, niener!

Those are some nice buffs.  Pure-looking blacks, some of them.  Thanks for sharing!

perkinsdonald
perkinsdonald's picture
manatee
The larger buffalo seem to have mouths that remind me of manatee for some reason.

 

 

The gods do not subtract the alotted span in men's lives the hours spent in fishing.

Gunnar
Gunnar's picture
Is it spring yet? This is mak

Is it spring yet? This is making me crazy. I don't know if I'm going to make it.

 

Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com


2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5