Fish of Thornwood

One question I’m often asked is, “Are we allowed to fish at Thornwood?”

The answer is, yes you can, as long as you have a fishing license. However, I would not count on having a dinner with anything you might catch.

In Indiana we have 204 species of fish in the waters. It’s no surprise that the Little Brandywine has fish, also. I was a bit surprised at the diversity that live there. Thanks again to the DNR, we now know we have at least 15 species swimming around in the Little Brandywine. While there is not enough space to talk about all of them, we will cover a few.

The species that we have in the Little Brandywine are: White Sucker, Central Stoneroller, Silverjaw Minnow, Bigeye Chub, Striped Shiner, Silver Shiner, Bluntnose Minnow, Creek Chub, Eastern Greenside Darter, Rainbow Darter, Johnny Darter, Northern Orangethroat Darter, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass and Green Sunfish.

Before you get all excited and grab your rod and reel, be advised. The Bluegill and Largemouth Bass seldom get large enough to eat. While normally the Bluegill will get up to almost 16 inches and the Largemouth Bass close to 28 inches, the creek, due to its habit of running very shallow at times, doesn’t allow them time to get that big. There are at least four deep pools that they might hang around long enough to get big, but between the snapping turtles and the Blue Heron, they may not survive long enough to get to a reasonable and edible size.

We’re not really sure how those two species got into the creek; the best guess is that during high water, one of their kind swam up stream and laid the eggs.

The other large fish that inhabit the waters are the White Sucker that can get up to 25 inches. Colored an olive-brown to a tan, the fins can be clear, yellowish or orange. This one is found statewide. The Creek Chub gets to about 12 inches long. The colors run from olive-brown on top with dark black stripes and green sides, it’s also found statewide. I don’t know how those are for eating.

Some of the prettiest fish are also the smallest, so you have to be quick. The Rainbow Darter is about two-and-a-half inches long and is colored red, blue and white. The top is brown, so it’s hard to spot. The Northern Orange-throat Darter is orange, white, blue, red and black and runs about three inches long. While we were kick netting, we also netted up about a gazillion crawdads. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration; it was probably closer to a couple hundred.