Can't Find Darters in Southern Indiana

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IsaacsFishingCorner
IsaacsFishingCorner's picture
Can't Find Darters in Southern Indiana

One of my goals for this year was to finally catch a Darter in Indiana, which theoretically should be a pretty simple thing to do. I've been searching my local creeks and doing a lot of microfishing to try to accomplish this. But the only species I've been find are those pictured below:

Bluegill

Green Sunfish

Creek Chub

And this fish, which I will admit I am having a difficult time identifiying (largly due to my poor photography skills)

.

What I have been doing is tipping a small size 22 hook with a small piece of nightcrawler and about a 6 inches above that attaching a small slipshot. I've been fishing the deeper pools and letting it sink to the bottom, I've tried fishing the bottom end of rapids, and right above those rapids. I've tried fishing in the faster water, but the creeks I have access two are only about 4 feet wide and by the time I get to these points the fish seem to be spoked off. 

Do you all have any tips about how I could manage my first Darter? Thanks in advance

-Isaac

Graceclaw
Graceclaw's picture
Less crawler

The microfishermen I have seen have used tiny, microscopic flecks of worm flesh. Maybe someone can describe to you how to do it; I certainly don't understand how. But the reason you're getting mostly standard-sized fish is that the bait is simply too big for true micros to actually grab it.

It could also be that the fish are in the slower parts of the water, but I'm certainly no expert on that. Hopefully one of our resident experts (read: 90% of the site) can chime in with something more useful!

2017 Goals:
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Muskellunge
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IvanTortuga
IvanTortuga's picture
Worm Fleck

Honestly as far as the worm flecks go you just have to get your finger nails up in there tear a tiny piece off and carefully hook it. As far as bait goes you could also try using redworms which are smaller and might allow for an equally long sized piece yet still be much smaller.

 

On a side note it might not be the amount of bait you're using as much as the hook you're using. Most darters have to be caught on actual microhooks. I'd invest in some of them if you're looking for the micro dream :)

philaroman
philaroman's picture
line/hook/bait -- TOO BIG

I'd recommend:

  • 7X or 8X tippet
  • #26 or smaller Japanese microbarb/barbless dry-fly hooks -- NO stinkin' ECs!!!
  • tiny pin-size worms or ant "eggs" that you FIND -- anything sold is too big
  • and better knots: the line should be perfectly straight -- not curled...  Becker (Orvis) Knot is best for XUL line

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Tenkarabum.com!!!!!!! Check

Tenkarabum.com!!!!!!! Check it out, Chris runs the site and he is a great guy, very fast shipping and good prices!

 

Crawler fleck - Moose taught me a great method for hooking the tinyest worm fleck. Rip up a worm and pinch off the tinest piece and then roll it around in between your fingers like your making a snake out of playdough. Once rolled out you will have a more condesed worm fleck that can be stuck onto a tango hook (tango hooks from tenkarabum) After you get the fleck hooked, pull on it a bit to "string it out" Sometimes i'll roll it again between my fingers once it's on the hook. The resulting peice will flutter in the water and really get those micro's attention. Another thing I like for slightly larger darters is to rip off the very snout of a crawler, easy to get on a hook and easy to see in the water.

 

For darters - get yourself a nice pokin' stick. Any smallish longish stick works. Stir up some rocks and gravel and lift up the larger rocks and keep your eyes peeled. The darters will "dart" out from under the rocks and usually they dont go to far. Look for faster riffles in shallow water they love that current. Try at night with your headspotlight too, this can be a good opportunity to see darters that come out after dark. A lot of times they think they are hidden on the bottom and you can get really close to them after dark. Keep your head lamp on a lower setting so they don't get spooked. Darters are fairly aggressive and if you can get that crawler fleck right on their nose they will usually take a swipe at it.

Hope this helps! feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any more questions and I attacthed some pictures of darters that were caught on the worm “string” and the worm snout for visual refference.

 

 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Also,

Forgot to mention 99.9% of all my darters were caught sight fishing. Blind fishing for them is almost impossible due to more aggresive larger species such as creek chubs and so forth and due to the fact that they almost exclusively use the bottom of the water collum for shelter and feeding. 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch

IsaacsFishingCorner
IsaacsFishingCorner's picture
Thanks You All!

Thank you all so much for all the helpful information, I'm still very new to this whole micro fishing thing. I just ordered the propper tippet and some proper micro hooks. Hopefully I will be able to start fishing for some actual micros soon:) 

I'm sure I'll have some more questions once all the gear comes in, but until then I'll keep looking at all the amazing micro fish you all have caught and add them to my list of fish I want to catch

philaroman
philaroman's picture
BTW

forgort to mention: when you tie on tiny hooks yourself, stick 'em into a good-sized hunk of cork -- does no damage to the point & makes them less of a pain to handle

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Outdoors4life
Outdoors4life's picture
Camera work

For the camera get to know the one you use. 

I use the Macro setting and that is actually where the term Micro Fishing came from because I had to use the Macro setting for my camera to get any of the damn pictures to turn out nice. 

Taking the correct photos will help you with ID later on. Buying a Peterson's guide will be another addition if you have not already. Part of the fun of micros is setting up the rig, finding the fish, ID on the fish. 

It is all perspective! Got Silver Chub?

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IsaacsFishingCorner
IsaacsFishingCorner's picture
I recently bought the Fishes

I recently bought the Fishes of Indiana book, but I will buy the Peterson's guide as well to be sure. As far as the camera, I'm shooting with an old Kodak Easyshare (I think it is supposed to be 16 mp?). I figure it'll be time to update that soon to be able to take some better pictures, any suggestions on a camera that will capture these micros well without breaking the bank too bad?

Outdoors4life
Outdoors4life's picture
Canon Fan

I am a Canon fan. 
 

THey have always done me well. 

Also after you take a photo zoom in on the creen and you can tell if they are in focus or not. Practice at home with bugs or a dime. The more you do the easier it becomes. There are times where a flash helps other times the flash is just too much.

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/powershot-elph-190-is-black

This is similar to the model I use. I bought 4 of the current ones I use. I also have them for work so I need backups.

It is all perspective! Got Silver Chub?

Acer Home Inspections