Fortunately they suck in a good way. Gray Redhorse Suckers or Moxostoma congestum.
No, these are not a new discovery. These are the same fish, perhaps even the same exact fish, that I have complained and moaned about ever since first exploring this stretch of Walnut Creek 4 years ago.
My first glimpse of these natives and my foolish brain instantly read “carp”. Carp evolved into grass carp and common carp and invasive and bad, bad, bad. I was the one that sucked.
Late last year, I even went as far as to go all “Gladys Kravitz” by reporting my latest sighting to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAD) AND a biologist with the City of Austin. Luckily, Matthew Neilson and Todd Jackson set me straight and treated my naiveté with the respect that it certainly did not deserve.
I was prejudiced against a school of fish.
I have only ever apologized to a fish for being undersized and fatally swallowing a hook. I sincerely apologize to the entire Congestum species for my ignorance.
I am delighted that this is all behind me. They are actually quite lovely to watch and I would even consider trying to land one of the larger ones. I must hunt for a proper recipe first and quite possibly a certified scale. I sincerely doubt that there is a record for Walnut Creek and any one of these healthy inhabitants would be a fine candidate for the history books.
Perhaps, I will just let them do their yearly spawn in peace and wait for their friend Mr. Channel Cat to come back.