Mike and did a little fishing at Cranberry Lake over in Somerset Co.
That's the place where I used to catch Banded Killies & Southern
Redbelly Dace in the 1980s. Both are no longer present and I think it's
because the PFBC used to stock the killies as forage fish and the Dace
came along as contaminants from the same hatchery - and for whatever
reason never established self sustaining populations. They died out when
the state stopped stocking them.
Never the less we collected a bunch of Golden Shiners from the
outflowing stream for feeders after angling for some big bluegills and
yellow perch. Funny, it seems the Bluegills here and in Donegal may be
hybridizing and swamping the pumpkinseed population out of existence as
many of the ones we caught have "pumpkinseed" traits - spotting etc. And
we are not catching any mature pumpkinseeds - however we did turn up
quite a few juvies in the tail water along with the shiners.
Was not planning to catch for the table - still had fish from Donegal
Lake in the fridge from last weekend! But a few yellow perch and Gills
could not be unhooked without incurring fatal injury so they ended up on
a stringer destined for the dinner table. Boy wouldn't the PETA people
love us -
In addition to sunfishes and perch, there are also some nice largemouth
bass and brown bullhead to be caught there and possibly crappie.
Cranberry Glade Lake is one of my favorite local attractions. It was
origionally what its namesake implies - a cranberry glade -
unfortuntately the unique flora of that place was flooded out when the
lake was built sometime in the mid Twentieth C. Yet remnants persist in
wet areas of sphagnum moss arround the lake - carnivorous sundews and
bog club moss - marsh St. John's wort, a variety of sedges and rushes.
In shaded areas along the shore there is skunk cabbage, thick clumps of
cinnamon fern and large drifts of New York fern and carpets of
pincushion moss that covers the banks above the wet sphagnum zone. If it
were not outside the range - spotted turtles would gladly make their
home here - today on the way back to the car we encountered a female
Midland Painted Turtle basking on the concrete edge of the sluice gate
on the dam. Sometimes snakes come to the lake lots of ring necks -also
I'm sure water and garter snakes hunt here for frogs and small fish - in
drier years Timber Rattlers are known to come down from the nearby
ridges seeking water and prey. There is an account of a guy who was
bitten by one while fishing not far from our spot.
This year such encounters may be less likely with the above normal
rainfall that would allow the snakes to get their sustenance without
having to congregate near permanant waters. As far as herping goes it
may be a very productive year or else a bust - either the increased
mositure will bring more stuff out into the open or on the other hand
discourage the critters to remain dispersed and harder to find. Of
course the season is still young. In 1998 just before the Chattanooga
convention Mike & I caught a Mountain Earth Snake in a location not far
from Cranberry- a very rarely seen species - and we attribute the period
of heavy rainfall then to bringing it up - the first either of us
Back to Cranberry Lake - there is quite a bit of aquatic vegetation in
the lake - beds of spatterdock & Vallisneria & whorled milfoil (the
native Myriophyllum verticillatum) which by the way make nice cover
plants for fish and good plants for the pond. Recently the exotic
Eurasian Milfoil - M. spicatum has shown up here- as well as at Donegal
probably it arrived via water fowl or boat propellers. Yet it does not
seem to be a problem - I'm guessin in part because the pH is low (which
might also explain why the killifishes and redbelly dace didn't
establish) and the valley is sparsly populated - so the lake does not
get too much effluent from septic systems and fertilizer runoff to fuel
rampant plant growth. I'm hoping when the state gets wind of the
Eurasian milfoil it dosen't go hog wild with herbicides and kill off the
native milfoil too- along with the other aquatic plant life. Cranberry
Lake is right now still a well balanced aquatic system and the plants
are just abundant enough to enhance the fish habitat without choking the
lake with rampant growth. I think many of the times that aquatic plants
have been fingered as nusince species (in some places the native
milfoils are considered as such and are targeted for eradication) the
real problem is excess nutrients.
Because of having to look out for my Grandmother and the high gas prices
I don't plan too many trips to far away places. This would have been the
weekend to go see the New Jersey Pine Barrens- but we ended up going to
Cranberry instead. Even without the fishing - it's a wonderful place to
go just for the rich earthy smell of the surrounding forest alone!
Meanwhile back home my ponds are at their peak with plants blooming and
fish spawning. Also I had some nestings of turtles as well.
The greenhouse I started again this spring is still going no place - too
much rain to work on it. If I could just get in there and get the footer
dug and poured the rest of
the project would fall into place. Hopefully it will get drier in July.
In all I'm having a nice vacation even though circumstances have forced
me to stay close to home.
Wonder how my brother is doing on his fishing trip to Canada.
PS It's raining again. Maybe a good night to do a little road hunting.
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ nanfa_at_aquaria.net. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ nanfa-request_at_aquaria.net. For a digest version, send the command to
/ nanfa-digest-request_at_aquaria.net instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page, http://www.nanfa.org