NANFA-- Collecting in the Marsh today

R. W. Wolff (
Sat, 1 Mar 2003 18:52:30 -0600

After what seems like an enternity of being couped up in wood and brick
boxes, I finally got out to the marsh for a good while and did some
collecting, wildlife watching, and just checking out what was around.

I have a series of pictures I took of the trip, but I cannot get my website
to work, maybe sometime I can chronicle it with the pictures. I started out
by getting off the pavement as fast as possible by taking the gravel and
dirt roads into the marsh. There is little snow left anywhere, but on the
wide expanses of the marsh, many large ( well, three foot maybe) drifts
could be found, usually on east to west roads. This made travelling a bit
slow, but that was fine, I was out of the rat race.

Many spots looked inviting, but I passed them up just to keep looking and
shooting pictures. The first spot I stopped was Hogans Hole. Here in a few
swipes of the net I caught:
blacknose shiner
tadpole madtom
black bullhead
iowa darter
amphipods ( were breeding , tiny males tucked under the bigger females)
baby clams
a couple kinds of snails
and handfulls of back swimmers

Then I moved on, and with all the ice on so many places there was not much
to see for birds. I did see two kinds of hawks, one a red tail, the other I
am not sure what kind it was . No bald eagles today as I saw on a trip
through ,with no stopping : ( a few weeks back.

Next I tried a tiny stream that drains a swamp and flows into Cranberry
Creeks main channel. Here I caught:
Brook Stickleback
Central Mudminnow

That was pretty lame, but atleast I was not skunked. Next I headed west. I
was going to check the dace ditches near Sandhill. One after the other,
still locked in ice. This is amazing, since two winters ago I was catching
them out of open water when the temperature was 2 degrees! I kept going and
decided to try some larger water, and hope for something. The roads got
worse as the frost must be coming out of the ground. Luckily I have good
cleats on my tires.

Finally, a promising spot. Around a structure that looks like it served as
some sort of dam years ago, but what it did or does I have no Idea. Maybe
some kind of flood control, a joke though if that were true. It doesn't take
much water to make this area turn into a lake, little good these things
would do then. This spot is called Weisner Ditch. It is where some water
flows south to the Yellow River and some to the north eventually ending up
in the Black River. Quite strange how this happens in what looks like
perfectly flat land. At this site I caught:
northern redbelly dace
finescale dace
pearl dace
golden shiner
brassy minnow
central mudminnow
black crappie
yellow perch
This has been a rough winter on the fish, some of them had ulcers and other
common winter sicknesses. Too many people around here think its not been
winter since we have had so little snow, regardless since October it has
usually been 5 to 30 degrees below normal temps highs and lows. Today was
wonderful, in the low forties ( that is wonderful when it has been in the
teens and low twenties more often than not lately). This sadly comes to an
end again tomorrow with a cold front coming in. This has been even more of a
pain, everytime it just starts to warm up, another blast of frigid air.
Could be the ice age is coming?

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