Percina squamata | Olive Darter

The Olive Darter is dispersed among headwaters of the Tennessee River system from the Holston River system (Watauga River) downstream as far as the Hiwassee River system, including the Emory River, in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia; and the middle Cumberland River drainage below the falls, primarily in the Rockcastle River and Big South Fork, in Kentucky and Tennessee.


The Olive Darter is restricted to small to medium sized streams and rivers in the upper-most portions of the Tennessee River and Cumberland River systems in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia. In Georgia, Percina squamata is only known from the Toccoa and Little Tennessee River systems. Within the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems this species occurs in Big South Fork, Coopers Creek, Betty’s Creek Rockcastle River, Holston River (Watauga River), Nolichucky River, and Hiawassee River. Percina squamata relies on good water quality and fast-water habitats in order to survive. The largest tributaries of the Toccoa and Nottely rivers in Georgia are very similar, having clear, cold water and rocky substrates, ideal conditions for the olive darter.


Conservation Fisheries collected their Olive Darter stock from the Oconaluftee River, NC. The hopes are to propagate them for stocking in the Cheoah River, NC, a section of river that has been returned to base flows after spending years without water in it.