Walking across the land in front of the swamp we came across a most unusual sight. Isolated depressions where the water had once pooled were the receptacle for thousands of dying fish. It seems that the water had just sunk into the ground and every species in the swamp were represented, trout, sunfish, bass, perch, catfish and many others that I was unable to recognize.
Each depression glittered with silver, as though a sack full of Spanish doubloons had been scattered across the ground. The fish flipped and flashed in dying waves, a commotion at one end of the bowl moving across the leaves as though the wind was disturbing them. The drying scales twinkled all sorts of wonderful irridescent greens and blues.
The tiny catfish looked like oversized pollywogs, a deep muddy brown and lighter underneath. “Careful you dont get stuck by the barbs” my friend warned as I picked one up and contemplated returning it to the water. Was there any logic in doing this I wondered? According to Mark the adults are called “channel cats”, they are a burnished chrome at maturity and they reach three feet in length.
Crawling through this unfortunate mass were crayfish of a size and quantity that I had not realized existed. No scrawny, half starved crustaceans here. “We’re gonna find a few three footers by the end of the season” my companion speculated. I seized one of the critters behind his pincers and he struggled unsuccessfully to grab me.
My captive snatched a nearby fish as I lifted him from the ground, possibly thinking that the meal was soon to end. As you can see by the photo he appears to be appealing demonstratively to the camera. A few seconds after he had been caught he lost interest in the struggle and reached over with his free claw to tear an eye from his hapless victim.