I haven't had much time for blogging lately. We still haven't picked up our home computer from the repair shop and I've been out of the office just about every day at work. We're electrofishing the Snake River, which means I've been standing on the bow of a boat equipped with a generator and electrodes, dipping up stunned fish while trying to avoid low hanging branches, logs, and rocks. I've seen some nice smallmouth bass, northerns, and walleyes, along with lots of redhorse and suckers, as well as enjoying the autumn river scenery, so it's pretty fun work.
Today we pulled the boat to a shady spot along the bank to measure and weigh the catch and take scale samples for aging. We only had one walleye in the entire run, about twelve inches in length. My coworker measured it quickly and took the scale sample, then tossed it in the river. But instead of one splash, we heard two. I looked over the side of the boat just in time to see a very large northern pike, perhaps ten pounds or more, swimming out from under the boat with the walleye crosswise in its mouth! All three of us were awestruck by the sight. We see our share of big fish in this line of work, but the drama of the moment, and the irony of the unlucky walleye, were amazing. The northern must have been alerted by the splashing of fish as we released them.
In other fish-related news, the kids and I have been watching something, perhaps brook trout, take grasshoppers in Sand Creek. Starflower and I were the first to witness this spectacle. I got home early Friday afternoon and she insisted on going for a walk to the creek with me. The Hermit and the boys were at Calvin's doctor appointment (turns out he has Lyme disease...but that's another post) and she and I hardly ever get any "girl time" together. So we walked, even though I was exhausted from the day's electrofishing, and sat on top of one of the two large concrete culverts that make up the road crossing. We saw a goshawk on the way out there. Starflower sang me a song she made up, her voice echoing in the culvert. We watched the water flow beneath us. We saw a grasshopper that had landed on the water's surface. Suddenly, there was a splash, and it wasn't there any more. A few minutes later, another grasshopper met the same fate. I could not tell what kind of fish it was, but apparently it had learned that grasshoppers make a good meal, and the culvert makes good cover. I may find the time to rig a small hook on my lightweight spinning rod, bait it with a grasshopper, and see what kind of fish it is.