Fish Sampling in NC and Beyond

Although hook and line fishing is my passion, there is no denying it isn't the most efficient method of sampling.  This page is dedicated to sampling with dipnets, seine nets, electro-shocking, or any other non hook-and-line methods.

Banded Pygmy Sunfish

Banded Pygmy Sunfish Elassoma zonatum (35.01491, -79.48573) Dipnet. From a headwater stream impounded by a beaver dam. The most widespread Elassoma by far - but it remains the only specimen I've seen.

Lake Chubsucker

Lake Chubsucker Erimyzon sucetta (35.01491, -79.48573) Dipnet. From a headwater stream that had been impounded by a beaver dam. Nearly impossible to distinguish from E. oblongus at this age, but habitat is a decent indication.

Least Killifish

Least Killifish Heterandria formosa (34.20114, -77.93373) Dipnet. Caught plenty of these in thick weeds. One of the smallest fish and vertebrates in the world. Relatively uncommon in North Carolina.

Carolina Pygmy Sunfish

Carolina Pygmy Sunfish Elassoma boehlkei (34.12244, -78.39435) Dipnet. From a wide swamp in the upper Waccamaw drainage. Very common in thick weeds adjacent to shore. Vulnerable species, but relatively stable population despite very small range.

Pygmy Killifish

Pygmy Killifish Leptolucania ommata (30.24411, -82.53004) Dipnet. From a tiny ditch in the Osceola National Forest of Florida. A very unique species native only to Florida.

Carolina Darter

Carolina Darter Etheostoma collis (35.80325, -79.21117) Dipnet. One of the harder to find darters in central NC. In the Hololepis genus with the Sawcheek and Swamp Darter, but prefers rocky bottom streams as opposed to muddy, vegetated backwaters.

Redfin Pickerel

Redfin Pickerel Esox americanus (34.532467, -77.744740) Dipnet. Caught in a thick mat of weeds in a tannic canal in the Northeast Cape Fear River basin. Differentiated from the chain pickerel by size/shape of the snout, which is shorter and more "duck-like" in Redfin Pickerel. The smallest of the genus I've ever sampled.

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish Elassoma evergladei (34.532467, -77.744740) Dipnet. Caught in a canal in the Northeast Cape Fear River basin. This find represents a potentially unique population of E. evergladei that may be elevated as a species in coming years.

Blackbanded Sunfish

Blackbanded Sunfish Enneacanthus chaetodon (34.990610, -79.444500) Dipnet. Before this catch, I had only ever found them at one spot . A very hard fish to find, so finding a new, solid population of them in a small blackwater creek was quite rewarding.

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish

Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei) (34.990610, -79.444500) Dipnet. Caught in a very thickly vegetated, marshy area flooded by a blackwater creek. The most northern discovery of this species ever. The only discovery of this species found in the upper Lumber River sub-basin. Truly one of the coolest finds I have ever stumbled upon.

Sawcheek Darter

Sawcheek Darter Etheostoma serrifer (34.990610, -79.444500) Dipnet. Caught in a tannic flow off the upper Lumber River in some thick Vallisneria. Differentiated from Swamp Darter by the bifurcated dot on the caudal peduncle and the overall more distinct contrasting coloration.

Roanoke Bass

Roanoke Bass Ambloplites cavifrons (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. First Roanoke Bass in a dipnet. Smallest I've ever seen! The river was filled with adults, with the fry sticking to the shelter of the grasses in the margins.

Chain Pickerel

Chain Pickerel Esox niger (34.939062, -79.749600) Dipnet. Quick surface swipe near a patch of lily pads. Stalking the Gambusia fry nonetheless! Smallest Esox I've ever seen, first of the genus I have ever caught in the dipnet.


Warmouth Lepomis gulosus (34.939062, -79.749600) Dipnet. From a patch of lily pads next to a man-made dock. Such a pretty fish at this size, and really all sizes. My first Warmouth ever caught in a dipnet.

Fantail Darter

Fantail Darter Etheostoma flabellare (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. I have caught one of these on hook and line in the Roanoke basin. This was caught in a dipnet in the upper Neuse basin near the town of Bahama.

Speckled Killifish

Speckled Killifish Fundulus rathbuni (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. I have caught plenty of these on hook and line and dipnet around central NC. They love to hide around weeds in well-aerated streams.

Piedmont Darter

Piedmont Darter Percina crassa (35.634630, -79.212028) Dipnet. I was given permission to fish a beautiful stretch of creek on a tributary of the Deep River. Here is where I ran into my first Piedmont Darters, a species reminiscent of the Shield Darters (Percina peltata) I've seen from up north, as well as other species across the Atlantic slope.

Satinfin Shiner

Satinfin Shiner Cyprinella analostana (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. Rather drab shiner that is common throughout the Atlantic slope of NC. Caught in the upper Neuse basin.

Blackbanded Sunfish

Blackbanded Sunfish Enneacanthus chaetodon (34.939062, -79.749600) Dipnet. From a thick matted bunch of weeds right up on the shore of a central NC lake.

Snubnose Darter

Snubnose Darter Etheostoma simoretum (34.910745, -86.168040) Dipnet. From a very shallow riffle in a tributary of the Tennessee River in northern Alabama. Can be differentiated from E. duryi by the splotch of white on the caudal peduncle.

Redline Darter

Redline Darter Etheostoma rufilineatum (34.910745, -86.168040) Dipnet. From a high-gradient stream in far northern Alabama near the Tennessee border.


Swampfish Chologaster cornuta (34.969259, -77.048095) Dipnet. One of the few fish on here not actually sampled by myself. Caught in a dipnet out of a small tannic ditch by a biologist friend of mine who works for the DMF. One of the coolest fish I've seen in person.

Chainback Darter

Chainback Darter Percina nevisense (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. Caught a ton of small Chainback Darters in an upper tributary of the Neuse River. I have heard these can grow quite bigger but for some reason all I have netted have been small specimens.

Pirate Perch

Pirate Perch Aphredoderus sayanus (35.003132, -79.538121) Dipnet. From a thick bunch of weeds in a small tannic creek in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Only one of a couple Pirate Perch I have ever seen in person.

Margined Madtom

Margined Madtom Noturus insignis (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. From a deep run in a river in the upper Neuse basin of NC. Caught a ton of these after a late summer rain had made the river quite turbid.

Roanoke Darter

Roanoke Darter Percina roanoka (36.227060, -78.887864) Dipnet. From a small river in the upper Neuse basin of NC.

Swamp Darter

Swamp Darter Etheostoma fusiforme (34.937674, -79.749896) Dipnet. From the thick, weedy margins of a lake in the Pee Dee River basin of NC. The only Swamp Darter I have ever seen in person.