Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The fishing report from Sand Creek

I'm still fighting off this miserable cold. Last night after dinner (king salmon on the grill-yum!) I took Togo for a walk along the creek. Well, actually it was more like Togo took me for a walk, and would have taken me for a run if I hadn't felt so sluggish. He's very strong, and he likes to run. He would make a good sled dog.

I like walking along the north side of the creek. Our property extends a hundred feet or so beyond the creek, and it is part of a larger hay field that the neighbors mow. The creek is straight as an arrow there; it was ditched in 1918 and for some reason is still listed as a county ditch even though to my knowledge there is no agriculture except maybe pasture upstream. Even though it is a ditch, it is also a designated trout stream, and a pretty good one for this area. Pretty good meaning that it actually has a brook trout or two in it. Numerous springs keep the water temperatures cool enough, and the bottom is clean sand and gravel. I have seen redds there, the round nests in which brook trout spawn in the fall. I would like to eventually do some habitat work on the stream, restoring some of the natural meanders and thus providing more variety, more pools and riffles, more cover and feeding areas for trout.

For all of the eleven years we've been coming here, and the 2 1/2 years we've lived here, however, I have yet to go fishing on Sand Creek! Even though I work in fisheries management, I really don't know a lot about fishing, particularly trout fishing. But last night after I got back from my walk, Russ took the kids fishing for the first time. Unfortunately I was too exhausted to come along, but I was thrilled that they were actually going out. I just sat in the back yard and watched chickadees flit among the new birch leaves. I identified one new warbler for the year, a Nashville warbler. Twenty minutes later I heard them coming back. "Mom! We caught a FISH! Come and see!" Nina was running up the path with a coffee can sloshing water. Inside was a six inch creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus). The kids were so excited, you would have thought they had caught the new world record brook trout.

Ah, the simple pleasures.

1 comment:

Erich said...

It seems like I spend a lot of time trying to get back that feeling of childish exuberance. Thanks for the fishing report!

Oh, and glad you found a Nashville warbler in your yard. Even on gray days like today the birds still sing cheerily.