October Bug Hunt with the HRWC

20 10 2014

Ever wonder what it looks like when crayfish get freaky?

8623752404_0064c157c5_b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what I saw last Saturday while I was helping out the HRWC with their Fall River Round Up.  I was a collector that day on Letz creek in downtown Chelsea Michigan.  It was a rainy miserable day but I stuck it out and went about my duties.  The creek itself is pretty shallow and narrow.  I could pretty much see anything and everything that was going on.  While I was running my sampling net along the rocks and logs hoping to scoop up a few Aquatic Benthic Macroinvertebrates I stumbled across two crayfish getting busy much like the two in this picture.  At first I thought the bigger one had the smaller one pinned down and was eating eat.  I then realized what was going on so being the wonderful individual I am I scooped them up with the net and tossed them into the sampling tray so that the young pickers could marvel at them.  I’m sure the crayfish didn’t appreciate it but If I have to be out of my natural element for the greater good so should they.  Eventually they were released but I don’t know if they managed to hook up again.  Probably not.  I’m sure that was more than the female bargained for.

We did end up catching quite a few mayfly nymphs at our two sampling sites.  That tells me the river is rather clean but this feeder of Mill Creek is to shallow and warm to support any fish that I would want to catch.  At least it is producing the insects that the stocked brown trout and smallmouth like to eat not to far away.

This marked the last of my volunteer work with the Huron River Water Shed Council for this year.  I helped out at both the Spring and Fall River Round Up’s and assisted with water quality monitoring along Ecorse Creek.  Bug ID day is this coming weekend but I already have other plans.  All the results will be posted sometime next month and once I receive it I will pass it on.





AuSable Smallmouth 7/29/14

4 08 2014

The next morning I decided to take the kayak out and paddle down the AuSable.  This would be the first time this year that I have been out kayaking.  My Dad dropped me off at Foote Dam and he was going to pick me up at the Whirlpool ramp later, about a 3 hour trip.  I started off with a crankbait but after quickly losing it to a log jam I switched over to the old reliable tube bait.  That did the trick.  They weren’t huge like the ones I catch on the Detroit River but at least they were being caught on a fishing rod and not with wire.

One thing of interest was that a lot of the smallmouth I caught were spitting up crayfish as I was reeling them in.  Not surprising since I caught most of them near rocky edges.  I did manage to pull a few out of the many log jams but the majority were caught near the rocks. On area in particular was a rocky ledge that ran for about 100 yards downstream.  I managed to hook and lose 4 in that spot.  I really need to remember to set the hook a lot harder when I get a hit.

It was very peaceful on the river.  My only company was a couple of bald eagles and a family of river otters.  No other people the whole time on the water.  Pure serenity.

 

AuSable Downstream II Bald Eagle Smallie 1 Smallie 2





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')