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After a minor delay due to my dog escaping and running a solo around the neighborhood, our destination would be Swine Creek, a tributary of the picturesque State Scenic Grand River, part of the Lake Erie drainage. Swine Creek is a biologically diverse oasis amidst the rapidly developing and populated region of northeast Ohio. Most of us piled into the back of my truck and off we went! After approximately a 20 mile trip to this first stop, to my surprise, I passed the usual spot of access to this stream. I was unable to recognize it due to a recent heavy logging operation in what used to be a heavily vegetated and healthy riparian zone. Fortunately, it appeared to be a select cut and was not encroaching up to the stream's edge.

As we found a suitable area for parking the vehicles, we piled out with our various gear and trekked down to the stream bed. The water was running clear and was rather warm. We sampled a few riffle areas and immediately retrieved breeding male and female rainbow darters! The colors on them were no less than brilliant and dazzling, certainly living up to their name! In the same riffles, we also encountered fantail darters and some pretty large Johnny darters. The breeding patterns on these fish looked as though someone had patiently performed pen and ink artwork along their bodies. For those that had never seen these fish before, it was very fascinating to find so much so fast! Small stonerollers and blacknose dace were abundant. A little farther downstream, a long deep pool yielded nets full of minnows and suckers including common shiners, northern hogsuckers, fathead minnows, white suckers and southern redbelly dace with fins painted lemon yellow.

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