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i've spent the past month in missouri, visiting some of my old haunts in the ozarks. on wednesday, i canoed the black river with my brother. it's an ironic name for a river, because you will not find a more crystal-clear stream than the black river. seriously, in the rare pools where the water was 15-20 feet deep (it's typically 2 to 5 feet), you could see every detail of every rock on the bottom. it's amazing. in this pic, you can see the silver fish reflecting the sun on the bottom of the river. that water is five feet deep, believe it or not.

Water Plant Natural landscape Underwater Road surface


anyway, the point of this post is just to illustrate how much that water clarity impacts the color of the fish. i mean, i already knew this and i know you all already know this, but i was still amazed with every smallie i pulled out on that six-mile float, so thought i'd share. you can't call these smallies bronzebacks or brownies. they're more of a light tan color. every single one of them.

Water Vertebrate Organism Fluid Reptile
Hand Fish Fisherman Finger Fawn


i caught the smallie in the first picture a few weeks ago in the big piney river, which is a nice stream but by ozarks standards, it's pretty cloudy water (as you can see in the pic). the smallie in the second pic is from the black river. it's quite the difference. of course, the clear water makes it harder to sneak up on the smallies, but there's a healthy population all over the ozarks, and we caught maybe 60 of 'em between the two of us (on a 95-degree day, between 11 am and 5 pm). nothing too big, but lotsa fun.
 

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Smallmouth seem to have a larger variation in coloring than largemouth. Not to say that largemouth can't be drastically different in color, but I don't see nearly as much variation fish to fish with largemouth as with smallmouth. Then again it may be that the coloration of the smallmouth makes the variations more noticeable.

BTW, beautiful stream.
 
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