Species #77 — Blue Chub

The Blue Chub looks a lot like the more well-known Tui Chub to the untrained eye. Look for a blue-green tint, a mouth that is less rubbery and more like a trout’s, and smaller scales.

Species: Blue Chub (Gila coerulea)
Location: Lost River, Clear Lake, CA
Date: June 29, 2016

I drove almost 100 miles and spent hours in a car on a windy, gravel road. I fished in Clear Lake Reservoir that serves as the headwaters of Lost River, and I eventually got my quarry in the river below the dam.

This all sounds great but for the fact that the Blue Chub is actually super-common in Upper Klamath Lake. In fact, I’ve since paid attention and found it to be more common than Tui Chub.

How great is that?

***

The fish pictured above was actually caught at Topsy in the spring before I went to Northern California, but since I hadn’t yet learned to tell them apart from Tui Chub,  I hadn’t even counted it or given the Blue Chub its due.

The fish I captured in Lost River that day took a partial worm. I got no other hits, and it was an uneventful day in which my allergies almost killed me.

This Blue Chub came from the headwaters of the Lost River and looked more distinctive and aligned better with the textbook descriptions of this species than most of the fish I’ve caught locally since then.

It definitely wasn’t the first unnecessary drive for a species in my backyard, but now that I’ve caught every native in Klamath County save for the endangered Miller Lake Lamprey — at least, at time of writing July 1, 2018.

Still, it was a nice change of pace. I’d never fished Lost River above the Harpold Road dam before.

#SpeciesQuest #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #78 — Thicklip Gray Mullet.

Species #17 — Tui Chub

I remember catching chubs while fishing as a kid, but I didn’t keep records until 2004, and it was four years after that before I caught another of these underappreciated creatures.

Species: Tui Chub (Gila bicolor)
Location: Lost River
Date: April 13, 2008

Before I learned where to chase big trout in the spring, I used to drive out to Crystal Springs County Park during Spring Break or any time I had free from sports. Lonely Luke would fish for anything that would strike his lonely worm.

I’d camp on the bridge or off a point upstream of the bridge for a few hours and soak worms, rain or shine.

***

Dad had told me stories of how he used to fill his bike basket with plate-sized crappie there as a kid, and I went out with high hopes every trip. Sadly, they’d be crushed time after time.

My catch rate was miserable. I caught next-to-nothing, and I sure as Hell didn’t catch any crappie.

***

But one fine day, I caught a slimy, silver, trout-looking thing without teeth. It fought well, and it took me a moment to realize it was a chub.

I’d caught them before, but in the four years’ time since I’d decided to keep track of my fishing endeavors, and clearly it had been at least four years since I caught one.

While it technically wasn’t Species #17, for the sake of my list, it is.

And that, kids, is how to end a relatively uneventful story on a resounding low note.

#CaughtOvgard #SpeciesQuest

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #18 — Tui Chub.