Snorkeling in Citico Creek

Put on your snorkeling gear and come with me on an amazing adventure in Citico Creek.  Just slip beneath the surface of the water and immediately you are transported into an ethereal world of underwater magic.  Sounds are muffled so that immediately everything is eerily quiet.  Your weightless body slides through the water effortlessly -- a nice feeling I don’t experience much anymore.   It’s as if suddenly you’re in your own world, free to examine every nook and cranny of the creek.  The fish are even curious and come close – just close enough to get a good picture – if you’re lucky!  I’m sure I should remember this fact from grade school but everything is 25% larger and farther away than you think it is. 

Some of you, I’m sure, have snorkeled in the ocean, a river or creek and know what I’m talking about.  But me!  Since I’ve never been a really good swimmer and putting my head under water is just such an unnatural thing to do,    I was always afraid to try snorkeling.  This past week, however, everything fell in place for me to do this very unnatural thing!  Put together two grandchildren that are ‘water dogs’, a sister that was ready to try something new, and a former biologist with TVA and current aquatic naturalist contractor with the US Forest Service (Gary Williams) who was willing to share his knowledge -- I just had to try it.  

I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.  When the sun shines through the water it literally dances from the reflection of the sun’s rays.  And those colorful rocks that are so much a part of Citico Creek are even more beautiful.   My granddaughter says the rocks look like a fairy tale castle with cliffs and boulders.  Well, you get the idea. 

It was such an awesome experience! For the last 15 years, Gary Williams has been doing this very thing – snorkeling throughout the streams, rivers, and lakes of the Tennessee River system and most recently theConasauga River.  We learned that there are 65 different species of fish in Citico Creek alone!  One of the darters is found only in Citico Creek -- that's right, no where else in the world  – amazing, huh!  On this particular Saturday, we saw four different  darters and Gary found one of the ‘Citico Darters’ on Sunday.  We actually saw 20 different species of fish and darters.  

Fish observed this day:

  •  Blotched   Chub
  •  Central Stoneroller     
  • Logperch
  •  Dusky Salamander               
  • Rock Bass   
  • Tennessee Shiner 
  • Gilt Darter  
  •  Crayfish
  • Smallmouth Bass                 
  •  Whitetail Shiner   
  • Banded Sculpin  
  •  Northern Hogsucker       
  • Redbreast Sunfish 
  • Warpaint Shiner
  • Citico Darter   
  • Greenside Darter 
  •  River Chub
  • Tennessee Darter
  • Telescope   Shine      
  • Sriped Neck  Musk Turtle
  •  Spotted Bass 
  • Redline Darter
  • Black Redhorse   

We hope you get a chance to come snorkeling on Citico Creek and discover this treasure located right in our back door, as they say.  Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of that ‘Yellowfin Madtom” or a 'Citico Darter'.