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How Many Species This Year?

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, Idaho)

One of my friends at work is Travis. He loves catching different species. I challenged him to a contest last year on Thanksgiving weekend to a Species Challenge. If I won he would have to buy a Tenkara Rod. If he won, I would have to buy a new spinning outfit. He only spin fishes. We went out yesterday together. Wow did I get harassed when Travis came over and saw the Vega Spoon in the mouth of the 14 inch trout caught on the TenkaraBum 40!

I won the contest! He brought the Tenkara Rod he bought, a cheap Chinese rod with a nice paint job! I should have stipulated that he had to buy it from TenkaraBum. The only good thing I can say, is it cast better than my first rod. We spent 20 minutes doing a lesson. Then I watched him fish his rod for about 10 minutes. He did O.K. Putting a 4.5 level line on his rod really helped. I then handed him the TenkaraBum 40 with the Vega .4g spoon. He turned around with a surprised look on his face, and said "I can't believe how smooth this rod is!" On his second cast he was into a fish. When he handed it back to me, I said to him, "You usually get what you pay for." His spinning outfits are all high end. I gave him a TenkaraBum card, and also told him about


1. Bluegill
2. Pumpkinseed
3. Longear
4. Green
5. Rainbow
6. Redband Rainbow
7. Kamloops Rainbow
8. Brook
9. Yellowstone Cutthroat
10. Lahontan Cutthroat
11. Bonneville Cutthroat
12. Brown
13. Largemouth Bass
14. Smallmouth Bass
15. Black Crappie
16. Mountain Whitefish
17. Carp
18. Bullhead
19. Channel Catfish
20. Spotted Shiner
21. Northern Pike Minnow

I beat Travis by 11 fish. I fell short of some of my goals for this year. I really wanted to go after the Golden Trout and Grayling this year. I haven't caught a Bull trout this year either. I didn't land a steelhead even though I had 4 on. There are some interesting sculpin in Idaho that beg for some micro fishing action. One of my craziest goals for 2018 is to catch a Sturgeon with my Kyogi! I have some places narrowed down where I have a good change of at least hooking into one! Anyone else out there have a species goal?

Comments for How Many Species This Year?

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Nov 26, 2017
Impressive fish list
by: Kristine

Bonneville Cutts were on my wish list this year. Unfortunately our trip was cut short by a nasty weather change and a sick truck. Are you sure you didn't catch any Snake River Finespots or West Slope Cutts : )

Nov 26, 2017
Species are my goal
by: Alan Luecke

Trying to catch all the species in a given piece of water is the best way to really understand the place you are fishing. It also opens up whole knew levels of satisfaction. I went to a local lake hoping for crappie, which were not around, instead I spent an hour pursuing mosquito fish in the shoreline weeds. I want to catch all the fishes.

My two favorite new species last year where an Orange Spotted Sunfish and a Topeka Shiner from small clear prairie streams in the Flint Hills of Kansas. These have both been species goals for years. I've driven through the Flint Hills all my life, but only in the last year have I taken the time to find the fish.

Last year I caught 38 freshwater species and 15 saltwater.

Nov 26, 2017
Targeting Species
by: Les Albjerg

Kristine - There are very few Cutthroat Trout in my part of Idaho. I took 3 specific trips to Eastern and Southern Idaho to catch the 3 species of cutthroat this year. I have identified some streams that aren't too far away that have Snake River Finespots and West Slope Cutthroats. The native trout in my area is the Rainbow. I really enjoy chasing Redband Rainbows in the high desert just south of where I live. I want to do more of it next year.

Alan - Your adventures have been one of my inspirations to go after different species as well as enjoy all of the fish I catch. I grew up where Walleye was the king. Northern Pike were fun to catch, and Crappies and Sunfish were Ok. Everything else was trash fish! I got in trouble with my parents when I was a kid bring carp and bullheads home from the Little Crow River. I don't think we are as "species rich" here as you are in the Mid-West.

Nov 27, 2017
A Whole Lotta Fish!
by: Herb S.

Les, your comment that the Midwest might be more species-rich got me curious. The list of the species you caught is really impressive! How could we have more? So I googled Michigan Fish and came up with a MI DNR document that blew me away. To save space I didn't copy the entire document with the list of species but this is what I found.

Revised October, 2002
This list of names for the fishes of Michigan has been prepared by Dr. Reeve M.
Bailey, Curator Emeritus of Fishes, and Dr. Gerald R. Smith, Curator of Fishes,
University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. The list consists of 154 kinds of
fishes (153 species) that represent 28 families. Taxa established through direct
or indirect intervention of humans, families (4), or species (26), are denoted
by asterisks. The status of a species in Michigan (taken from Michigan’s 1999
Endangered and Threatened Species List) is denoted by a letter or letters: (T)–
Threatened, (En)– Endangered, (Ep)– Extirpated from Michigan waters, or (Ex)–
Extinct, after the common name.
Altogether Michigan has nearly four times as much water area as any
other of the 48 contiguous states. All of its more than 3,000 miles of Great
Lakes coast, 11,000 inland lakes, and 36,000 miles of rivers and streams
are freshwater and hospitable to fish from the tiny stream darters to the
large lake sturgeon.
Of the total numbers of fish, anglers concentrate their efforts on only 30
or so of those species. The others, however (except for a few introduced
species which cause problems), are important in that they are links in
the aquatic chain-of-life, even though they may have no direct sport or
commercial value.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a complete list of fishes
found in Michigan, along with scientific names and, as well, common
names that are recognized by the American Fisheries Society as formal,
anglicized appellations that may be used in lieu of the latinized scientific
names of the species.

Happy fishing,

Nov 27, 2017
Our contest was "Fixed Line Only" for me.
by: Les Albjerg

Herb - According to The American Fisheries Society, there are 39 native fishes in Idaho and 80 total. I did catch a few other species, but not on a fixed line rod. On our anniversary we went to the Thousand Springs area of the Snake River. I did fish for the Shoshone Sculpin, but I didn't catch one. We went to a restaurant in Hagerman that specializes in serving fish. They had fish from the University of Idaho’s aquaculture research center, (Burbot), also known as freshwater cod. It was inexpensive, and you had to fill out a survey. Oh was it good! I caught lots of them in Minnesota, and just tossed them back thinking they were trash fish.
We have Burbot in Idaho, but they are way up north.

Several times this year, I found myself trying to catch the smallest sunfish or bass at Red Top Pond. It made for a fun challenge! I have some Plexiglas and this winter am going to build a view tank to take pictures of the little guys or gals.

You all need to check out Alan's great discoveries under "Trip Reports" in the Micro section. Look at the beauties he caught in his article "Recent Micros." His saltwater adventures are really cool too!

Nov 27, 2017
targeting scecies
by: Mike W.

Wow sturgeon! White sturgeon I assume!? Sounds like fun to me! Might be possible in the Chehalis river here in Washington? I'm still looking to find a few Olympic Mudminnows locally, but have had absolutely no luck even finding any. Still not sure if they're even catchable? The Sasuke is getting cold! One species I would like to add to my list (fixed line) is kokanee. Don't hear much about kokes in the fixed line arena! maybe in 2018! Tight lines and no reels! Mike W.

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