Fish and Other Aquatic Life
    Fish have been used for many years to indicate whether waters are clean or polluted, doing better or getting worse. Knowing just whether fish live in the waters is not enough - we need to know what kinds of fish are there, how many, and their health. Fish are excellent indicators of watershed health because they: live in the water all of their life, differ in their tolerance to amount and types of pollution, are easy to collect with the right equipment, live for several years and are easy to identify in the field.
    A variety of fish and other aquatic life make their home in the Upper Black Warrior watershed. We are  trying to learn more about the fish and other aquatic creatures which populate Hurricane Creek. Keep your eyes open for some of these creatures and help us learn more about them. 


Fishing at Hurricane Creek

    Knowing which endangered or threatened fish might exist in the creek allows fishermen to assist our conservation department by alerting them when a protected fish is found in a stream. If you find a protected fish, contact the local branch of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Since Hurricane Creek is currently listed as an impaired stream, its fish population is not very robust. 
    According to Outdoor Alabama, fish commonly fished from Hurricane Creek include spotted bass, longeared sunfish, white perch, blue catfish, and largemouth bass.
    
    Fisherfolk will find a variety of fish including white perch, blue catfish and largemouth bass here. Whether you’re baitcasting or fly fishing your chances of getting a bite here are good. So grab your favorite fly fishing rod and reel, and head out to Hurricane Creek. If all goes well, the white perch will be hooked by your shad, the largemouth will be biting your stink baits and the catfish will be grabbing your maggots. Alternate names for this stream include Hurricane River, Harricane Creek and Big Hurricain Creek. To find this fishing spot, enter 33.25234 latitude, and  -87.46084 longitude into your GPS device. (Source: Hook and Bullet)


Name That Fish!

See how many different types of fish and aquatic critters you can ID in this June 2012 video made by Creekkeeper John Wathen. Let's start a running list- email lifeathurricanecreek@gmail.com if you see a fish you recognize so we can add it to the list.


The Named Fish Running List

Freshwater drum (Stuart McGregor)
Aplodinotus grunniens (Stuart McGregor)
Largemouth and/or spotted bass (Stuart McGregor)
Micropterus salmoides/M. punctulatus (Stuart McGregor)
Blacktail redhorse (Stuart McGregor)
Moxostoma poecilurum (Stuart McGregor)


Local stream-watchers should keep their eyes open for any of the following endangered species. Currently, we are unsure as to whether they live in the Hurricane Creek Watershed (though the probability is very low). As a result, we encourage everyone to keep their eyes open for signs of the following fellows.

TUSKALOOSA DARTER 
Etheostoma douglasi

The Tuskaloosa darter is a freshwater perch, a colorful, benthic dwelling fish which inhabits streams of all sizes, in addition to lakes and wetlands. Some have argued that darter diversity reaches its peak in the riffles of moderately-sized streams. Many darter species are intolerant of pollution and habitat disturbance. These small fish are generally more vulnerable to stream degradation because they feed and reproduce in benthic habitats. Currently, the Tuskaloosa darter is endangered and believed to exist in only a few habitats in Alabama.  Learn more with this coloring page and description created by our friends at Outdoor Alabama. (Image credit: EPA)



LARGE SCALE STONEROLLER 
Campostoma oligolepis

The large scale stoneroller is a herbivorous minnow, feeding on algae that they scrape off rocks with a cartilaginous ridge on their lower jaws. The elongate intestines characteristic of Campostoma help them to digest this plant material. Stonerollers spawn from early March through April. Males excavate spawning pits in shallow water by moving stones with their mouths or pushing them with their heads. Learn more with this coloring page and description created by our friends at Outdoor Alabama. (Image credit: Outdoor Alabama)


ALABAMA DARTER 
Etheostoma ramseyi

The Alabama darter is only found within Alabama. It lives in rocky streams of the Alabama River and the Cahaba River. The Alabama darter is a fish that is one to two inches long, shorter than the length of your finger. The male is colorful during breeding season from late-March until the water temperature reaches 68F. Learn more from this coloring page and description created by our friends at Outdoor Alabama. (Image credit: Outdoor Alabama)