NANFA-- Snorkeling last weekend

Mark Otnes (
Wed, 11 Jul 2001 20:29:24 -0500

I got out to do some snorkeling over the weekend and just got around to
sending out this summary.

The weather and water is finally warm up here, with temperatures getting
into the upper 80's. I went to Glendalough State Park again on Sunday and
snorkeled for a good three hours. One aquatic excursion consisted of
snorkeling between Molly Stark and Annie Battle lakes. They are connected
by a crystal clear stream that is 4 to 8 feet deep and is lined with sand.
Starting from Molly Stark the stream broke up into a labyrinth of small
channels through a bunch of cattails. There were tons of Bluegills and an
occasional Pumpkinseed sunfish and plenty of Largemouth Bass. The smaller
fish consisted of Johnny Darters, Logperch, Bluntnose Minnows, and Blackchin
Shiners. Following one streamlet I came into a large pond in the middle of
the cattails. There were some very large carp here that were apparently
curious as they kept circling around me as I swam through. I also came upon
a bowfin that was sitting in a depression in the weeds, and it allowed me to
swim right over it. I finally found and exit from the pond and the stream
reformed. From here it was easy floating to Annie Battle Lake.

At Annie Battle I decided to do some open lake snorkeling again and boy was
it fun. The visibility was at least 10 feet and there were fish everywhere.
Out in the open waters beyond the bulrushes there were large schools of what
I believe were Mimic Shiners (N. volocellus) along with very small Yellow
Perch. The schools reminded me of sardines in the open ocean as they
swirled and circled around above the deep open water. There were schools of
sunfish all over the place with the biggest fish patrolling the edges of the
rushes. Rock Bass and Largemouth Bass were also common. Bluntnose Minnows,
Blackchinned Shiners, Golden Shiners and Spottail Shiners were also common.

In the stream exiting Annie Battle there were some very large Common Shiners
still in breeding colors. I also saw a few Blackside Darters here. Earlier
in the spring there were a lot of Iowa Darters in the shallow weedy plains
in the lake but I didn't see any this time. The sunfish were also done with
there spawning. I only saw one Northern Pike in the bulrushes.

On Saturday I went to the Park Rapids area and checked out Big Sandy and
Mantrap Lakes. Big Sandy was very clear and somewhat cold. This is
"postcard" Minnesota county with lots of pine trees and deep clear lakes.
In Big Sandy there were a lot of Smallmouth Bass and the water was clear
enough that I saw a couple of walleyes in the deeper water. There were also
a lot of fisherman here with the motor boats so I didn't venture too far
into the lake. There was a stream exiting the lake that was full of all
kinds of small fish including Banded Topminnows, Mimic Shiners, Bluntnose
Minnows, Blackchinned Shiners, Common Shiners, Creek Chubs, and juvenile
perch, sunfish, and bass.

Finally I went to Mantrap Lake. This is one of the better Musky lakes in
the state and I hoped to come face to face with a huge fish. There was all
kinds of vegetation along and in the lake including lilly pads and
bulrushes. Fish were abundant but I didn't see anything of any size. I
guess the muskies must be the only big fish in the lake. Visibility was
only 6 to 7 feet so it was kind of spooky picking my way through the
lillypads and weeds hoping to find a three to four foot fish.

I guess that about it. I bought some flippers today so I can't wait to try
them out in the lakes,

Mark Otnes

Fargo ND

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