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Thread: what kind of fish? is this???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    24

    Question what kind of fish? is this???

    Russel and I are on the LR this past weekend, trying out our new waders and we were at the one lane bridge near the Back Porch. I'm looking around in the water and about 4 feet from me is what I thought was a trout. I thought hear fishy,fishy,fishy. I started to cast when I saw it move real slow. I thought I was seeing things. IT ws Crawling. I leaned forward slightly and stared. Then I freaked out. It didn't look natural and I wanted out! It was a good 12" and had a [for a lack of a better description] a catfish type head sorta flat but curved in the front then pushed. It had legs one on each side and a tail similar to a gator [once again for lack of a better description]. It crawled one way and I beelined for the shore. Anyone have a clue what that was.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Default

    sounds like a hellbender. http://www.hellbenders.org
    Trevor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Townsend, Tennessee
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    Default

    Hey guys,

    That had to be a hellbender. I was helping the Park Service electroshock the East Prong and we caught one. It seems like it was about 18" long but that could be my imagination playing tricks on me. I took him to the holding station in a 5 gallon bucket hoping he would not wake up and get me.

    Byron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    24

    Default Get You?

    Thanks for the replies guys! A hellbender you say? And get you What would it have done? Can I get a little 411 on this guy in case I should spy one out again. Thanks, Lisa

  5. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    I've never seen one and I'm up there a lot. so you should feel lucky to have seen one. I think they're pretty harmless, but some get up to 29" and can bite if provoked!
    Trevor

  6. #6
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    Jan 2007
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    Default

    Thanks! I don't feel so bad for going the other way!

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Townsend, Tennessee
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    I may post some photographs of these common creatures with teeth visible, including the watershed maps on the "Tubing in the Smokies Forum".


    Byron

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    452

    Default

    They're pretty harmless and a great environmental indicator of water quality. Mostly eat crayfish and small fish. They usually live in the depressions under rocks in streams where they catch food that is drifting. It's rare to see them moving around in the daylight, unless they are disturbed. They are totally disgusting to pickup because they have a layer of mucus (snot) surrounding their bodies. As ttas stated, they will bite if bothered.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Townsend, Tennessee
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    Default

    I've heard them referred to as mud puppies. I have never seen one...nor do I wish to do so.

    Call me chicken...but, I never want to see a baby alligator sized **** bender lookin up at me, kthx.

    Paula

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    633

    Default Hellbenders and Mudpuppies

    Hey all,
    From what I know (which is usually suspect) a mudpuppy and a hellbender are different creatures. The visible difference is that the mudpuppy has gills on the outside where as the hellbender's are inside the head. Mudpuppies look more like the old Godzilla with the flared things on his neck! They don't get quite as large as hellbenders either. I have seen a few hellbenders, you can pick one up if you hold/grab (but don't crush) it so that the front legs are between your index finger and middle finger. I have seen them as long as two feet! Awesome creature, and their eggs are about 3/4" in diameter as I recall, clear with a dot in the middle and in clusters or a clutch of about (guessing) 50-100 eggs. Never seen a mudpuppy other than photos in books. The first time I saw a hellbender was a stream sampling in the park. Seems like they have found them several times on stream samplings. Worth the trip to see what is in the creeks. I have seen several hundred trout come from a stretch of creek maybe 200 yards long...... and been skunked on the same stretch since!
    Best,
    John

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