25 Jul Fish Diversity at Congaree National Park
Being born and raised in Arizona. Most of my outdoor experience has been exploring the wide-open hot desert environments surrounding my home in Phoenix, Arizona. There are very few trees, and small shrubs and cacti dominate the landscape. The area is also easy to navigate because you can see for miles in all directions as there are significantly few significant elevation changes. Of course, growing up in this environment also limited my fishing opportunities and experiences, as the most important fisheries are large reservoirs with very similar fish species. These lakes can often be hundreds of feet deep with clear water and no active current or moving water. This limited my ability to fish for various species and reduced the diversity of fish I could catch. Getting to explore and fish the small creeks surrounded by large lumbering trees deep in the wilderness is something I had never experienced until I came to Congaree last year. The uniqueness of the fishery is impressive but is not outdone by the amount of aquatic diversity I get to experience on a single field day. On any given day, I can catch up to 12 different species. I even caught seven different species on seven consecutive casts in the same pool. In total, I’ve caught 16 different fish species, 9 of which are species I had never caught before. Being back has reminded me of how unforgettable the fishing is within the park, whether it be the number of fish, the types of fish, or the environment itself. To get the opportunity to come back and enjoy these areas once again is something I’m incredibly grateful for, and these past two years at Congaree National Park have given me so many unforgettable moments and stories.