Fly fishermen know aquatic life better than your average tax payer. There is a wealth of life in creeks that many fly fishermen recognize, and others, not so much. Regardless, stream macroinvertebrate and other smaller fish (not sought by anglers) reveal a great amount of information on the health of our streams. This past summer, West Virginia DNR biologists checked up on the big fish, little fish, and the little macs in Mountaineer State waters, according to West Virginia DNR fisheries biologist, Isaac Gibson.
Stream survey crews net creek life to capture it. Captives are sedated so that the stress of handling is minimized. Some were chosen to be weighed and identified. “Any of the game species that we get--like smallmouth bass and bluegills, are released here in the field,” according to Gibson.
"The more recognizable fish are fairly common, but some of the others--that don't even look like fish--also call these waterways home,” he says. “Lampreys were captured and sedated. They burrow with their tail backways down into the sandy, silty substrate and emerge to filter feed. Some of these snake-like fish--with their suction cup mouths--are parasitic.”