Trip Report – Rockingham, NC

On the 24th of September, we headed down to Rockingham, NC to a previously visited site, Hinson Lake. Hinson Lake is a well known spot for both the lined killifish, Fundulus lineolatus and the blackbanded sunfish, Enneacanthus chaetodon. Having not had any luck in previous attempts to collect F. lineolatus, I wasn’t holding my breath.


The lake itself is about an hour and a half south of Raleigh, and is situated just to the east of downtown Rockingham.

Hinson Lake
Hinson Lake, from the lodge looking east.

The weather was terrible, windy, rainy, and the first cool day of fall, yet after our first swipe of the net, we had two blackbanded sunfish, and one F. lineolatus.

Blackbanded Sunfish
Blackbanded Sunfish
Lined Topminnow
Lined Topminnow – Fundulus lineolatus

With every swipe of the net, we landed more and more blackbanded sunfish. This place is absolutely full of them. We were also netting some species of Lepomis, however, they were entirely too small to properly identify. If I had to guess, I would have said either redbreasted, or dollar sunfish. There were a number or bluespotted sunfish caught as well, being that this fish is ubiquitous in NC, we didn’t bother photographing them.

We had originally planned on spending a few hours collecting at the lake, however we caught all of our targeted species in a single net swipe! The waters around the boat ramp were a little too deep to seine, so I imagine there are a number of other fishes that we missed by just using dipnets. However due to the weather, we didn’t want to hike with all of our gear to find shallower water. Our total catch  from Hinson Lake:

Blackbanded Sunfish E. chaetodon 15
Lined Topminnow F. lineolatus 2
Bluespotted Sunfish E. gloriosus 3
Golden Shiner N. crysoleucas 5
Lepomis spp. 4
Swamp Darter E. fusiforme 1

Our next stop was a few miles down the road, at at Cartledge Creek, off of the Pee Dee River, and just below the damn at Blewett Falls Lake.

Cartledge Creek was at an extremely low water level. Although this concentrated a number of the fishes, it also created deep mud along the banks. Dipnets produced plenty of tessellated darters, and the seines produced tons and tons of spottail shiners, an eastern silvery minnow, a satinfin shiner, a few southern brook silversides, a sandbar shiner, and a few spotted suckers.

Cartledge Creek - Peedee River
Cartledge Creek – Peedee River

Our final stop was at the dam itself, however due to low water levels, photographs were the only thing we could capture.

Blewett Falls - Rockingham, NC
Blewett Falls – Rockingham, NC


Swamp Darter - Etheostoma fusiforme
Swamp Darter – Etheostoma fusiforme
Lined topminnow - Fundulus lineolatus
Lined topminnow – Fundulus lineolatus
Spottail shiner - Notropis hudsonius
Spottail shiner – Notropis hudsonius
Southern Brook Silverside - Labidesthes vanhyningi
Southern Brook Silverside – Labidesthes vanhyningi
Eastern Silvery Minnow - Hybognathus regius
Eastern Silvery Minnow – Hybognathus regius
Blackbanded Sunfish - Enneacanthus chaetodon
Blackbanded Sunfish – Enneacanthus chaetodon
Satinfin Shiner - Cyprinella analostana
Satinfin Shiner – Cyprinella analostana
Sandbar Shiner - Notropis scepticus
Sandbar Shiner – Notropis scepticus
Golden Shiner - Notemigonus crysoleucas
Golden Shiner – Notemigonus crysoleucas

Leave a Comment