River Scout, The Final Visit.

24 09 2013

 

It all comes down to this, the final visit.  Three months of trying to coordinate five people to meet and gather data along a 300 foot section of stream in southeast Michigan.  Seemed simple enough at first but it proved to be more problematic than I thought.  I figured the final visit would just be Erin and I again and I was right.  Only problem this time was faulty equipment.

On our final visit I arrived early so I could set some crayfish and minnow traps.  I had seen fish on earlier visits but could never get a good look at any of them.  The deepest part of the stream was where I placed the thermometer so I figured that would be a good site for a trap.  I also placed a crayfish trap further upstream in a rocky area hoping to catch some more crayfish and get a good positive ID.  Everything was set, now all I had to do was wait for Erin to show up.

AS I walked back to my Jeep Erin was heading down the trail.  After are Hello’s we headed back to the parking lot to get the rest of the gear.  We picked up the paperwork, meter, measuring stick and my camera and headed back to the stream.  Our starting point was where I placed my crayfish trap and we had 6 crayfish already in the trap.  As I started to pull them out for pictures I found out that 3 of them were the invasive Rusty.  The other 3 were northern crayfish.  They were a lot bigger than the Rusty’s so I’m hoping they are holding their own against them.  We took a few pictures and then started to take our initial readings.  This was when I found out the meter didn’t work.  I should have known better to check it when I picked it up but I didn’t.  Can’t take any readings without a meter so we started to pack everything up.  We took some pictures of some of the plants and that was when I found out the memory card on my camera was full.  This came as a bit of a surprise to me but then I remembered that I let my daughter borrow my camera for a day at the beach with friends.  She must have used up all my memory taking pictures.  Teenagers…….

Well so much for this day.  I pulled the traps and we packed everything up until later on when I can get a new meter and a blank memory card for the camera.  Oh well…..

Round 2   

Well after picking up a new meter, clearing some space on my camera disc and installing a fresh set of batteries we were ready to go again.  I didn’t bother with the traps this time, I caught what I wanted so there was no need.  This was going to be a quick gather some reading trip.  I started off taking the initial readings but when we reached the halfway point I handed the GPS and water conductivity meter over to Erin.  She wanted to see how the meter worked and I needed to get some pictures of her as well.  She took about 4 more readings and then next thing we knew we were at the end of our sample area.  All that was left now was for Erin to compile all the data and for me to turn it in with all the equipment.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

I have to say this was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  Walking up and down Wood Creek brought back a lot of fond memories of myself as a kid exploring all the creeks and streams of my youth.

Good Times.

DSCN0598 DSCN0596 DSCN0565 Last Wood Creek Visit (6')

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Weeds, Weeds and More Weeds.

19 09 2013

Weeds to the left of me,

Weeds to the right of me,

In to the floating mats, trolled my little boat.

It had been almost 2 months since the last time I went out fishing by myself.  Normally I do that once or twice a week but with so much going on I haven’t had the time or desire to go.  That and I have had a lot of requests from other people to go fishing so I’ve had a fair amount of company.  Not that I mind but sometimes I need those solo trips.  Unfortunately this one did not go like I had hoped.  Actually it did go as I thought it would.  Lots of floating weeds and few or as in this case no fish.

I was lines down by 7:00 pm and at 7:01 pm I was clearing weeds off my lines.  This was going to be a long night.  I started off on the east side of the river hoping the weeds wouldn’t be as bad.  The last few days have been E or SE winds so I figured the Grosse Isle side wouldn’t be as bad.  I was wrong, it was bad.  I found out later that I was also right.  The west side of the river by the Edison Plant was impossible.  I made one very short trip through that area and never returned.  I just stuck to the middle of the river and made the best of it.  I did catch a few small bass and I lost one on a Riley Special spoon on my kicker.  Now one may ask how do I know that a 2 second head shake was on my kicker, simple, it was the only lure down at the time.  My 2 number 9 Rapala’s were in my hand so I could clear the weeds. 

So that was my excitement for the night.  2 ½ hours of dodging weeds and the occasional pleasure boat making its last run for the year.  Nothing interesting except for a ring bill gull that had a green hot-n-tot stuck to its head.  I tried to net her but she could still fly so no luck. 

Full moon, clear sky, ridiculously clear water and a slight SE breeze.  No bugs, no fish but lots and lots and lots of floating weeds.  Come on West Winds!!

Oh yeah, surface temp was 65 degrees and still lots of shiners in the Elizabeth Park marina. 

At least I didn’t have to pay to launch. 

Next up….Salmon Time.





Opening Day Early Geese and Thank God for Kayaks.

2 09 2013

Normally when one thinks of goose hunting he or she envisions cold wintery weather and huge flights of migratory Canada Geese.  The thought of 85 sunny degrees and 100% humidity really doesn’t enter into the equation.  Unless of course it is the early goose season in Michigan.  For many years now this 2 week season has been in place to help reduce the resident population of Giant Canada Geese.  Some years the weather is cooperative and somewhat comfortable.  Most years it isn’t.  This was one of those years.

My friend Dan was able to get permission to hunt some private property around the south Branch of the Kalamazoo River in Hillsdale county.  All the crops were still standing so we would be hunting water today.  The original plan was to hunt a large pond but after some more scouting it was decided to hunt the river itself.  There were geese in the area and we were hoping that after the shooting started they would be looking for a safe place to rest.  Dan had no idea how deep the water was so he asked me to bring my kayak along to place the decoys in the river.  We arrived at our destination about an hour before shooting hours and we started to set up.  I dropped the kayak in the water, turned on my cap light and started placing decoys in the dark in a river I have never seen before.  Hope I get it right.  Meanwhile the rest of the crew was clearing the area for some filed decoys and preparing hiding places for us.  After I was done setting the floaters I paddled back to shore and then hid the kayak under some trees.  I then found myself a place to hide and waited for 6:34 am.

An hour later and no geese.  This was not looking good.  We had yet to even hear a goose honk.  No the first time I have had a hunt turn out this way but I was hoping to at least hear something.  Fortunately about 30 minutes later that changed.  WE some geese in the air and headed our way.  Paul started calling them our way and soon we had 3 Canada’s overhead.  They were in range and showing no sign of decoying so Paul yelled out “Take Em”,  A volley of shots later and we had 2 birds heading down.  Problem was they were falling downstream and not dead.  Paul’s dog Dozer had no chance of retrieving these (no Dog would) so he told me to get the kayak and go after them.  Eventually I caught up with both crippled birds several hundred yards down stream and after a few shots they were in the kayak and I was paddling back upstream.  That was a lot of work for 2 geese but I don’t like to let any crippled game animal get away.

We had another small group fly over but we passed on them.  They looked like they might decoy in but they changed their mind and flew south.  That was pretty much our excitement for the day so we headed in for a lunch of venison brats around 10:30 am and took a nap.  We headed back to our hunting area around 6 for the evening hunt.  The only geese we saw during legal shooting hours never even gave us a look as they flew by.  We did have a few more fly by about 30 minutes after shooting hours was over.  Not much we could do about those.  Nice to know there were more geese in the area than the 7 or so we saw in the morning.

It didn’t take long to pack everything and soon we were on the road and heading home.  One of the members in our group (Jim) had to be to work at midnight.  I was glad I was going to be able to sleep in tomorrow.  Just hope I could.

Thanks again Dan.  More proof that taking a person fishing once and awhile can pay off in other ways.

9-1-13 Geese Dozer