Friday, September 5, 2014

Northern Wisconsin road trip day 2

On our second day we started off with a hike along a river with scenic waterfalls.  The rivers in this part of the state are tea stained a reddish brown color.  We assumed it was from the red soil, but perhaps the decaying pine needles or leaves play a role as well.

Our fishing destination was an old quarry pond adjacent to the river.  I was informed that this pond contains nothing but pearl dace, which was an exciting prospect because it would be a new lifer.

The fish we caught were not pearl dace though; they were finescale dace.  Finescale dace are similar to northern redbelly dace, but instead of a second stripe they have a darkly colored back.  They also lack the intense yellow found on breeding northern redbelly dace.

Finescale Dace (Chrosomus neogaeus) - new hook & line species #240

We caught a few dace without breeding colors that looked more like northern redbelly dace.  The two species hybridize, so there may be both in this pond (along with the elusive pearl dace).

Dace (Chrosomus sp.)

Ruoxi also caught this tiny brook stickleback.  She's becoming quite the microfisherwoman even though she insists that microfishing does not interest her.

Brook Stickleback (Culaea inconstans)

We continued north to Superior, WI, which is the sister city to Duluth, MN.  The St. Louis River separates the two cities and flows into the western end of Lake Superior.  I was hoping to pick up an invasive ruffe for my lifelist, but they were nowhere to be found.  Another invasive fish, the round goby, was the most common catch.

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)

I also picked up two redhorse, which were quite exiting catches on a #10 mosquito hook and 4lb line.  Ruoxi did an excellent job helping me land these fish.

Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum)

Silver Redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum)

There was a mayfly hatch going on, so I used a couple as bait.  They got hits faster than the pieces of nightcrawler.

Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens)

Giving up on the ruffe, we drove east along the shore of Lake Superior to check out a few tributary creek mouths.  We were pretty disappointed to find the water not flowing at the first creek.  It did not look pleasant.

With the murky stagnant water, I didn't feel like microfishing, so I got out the dip net instead.  The only fish was this tiny juvenile trout.

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) - juvenile

We stuck to our schedule and headed back south to meet up with Mike Channing, another lifelisting enthusiast.  His kids insisted that their cat Minnie make it into this blog post, so here she is.  :P

Mike took us down to his local fishing spot, and we were able to get baits in the water just before the sun went down.  Ruoxi caught the first fish and was pretty excited that it was her lifer shorthead redhorse.

Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum)

I caught the next couple fish, a freshwater drum (not shown), and two species that are always favorites: a baby lake sturgeon and a northern hogsucker.  The scutes on the sturgeon were sharp!  Mike's kids handled the important responsibility of releasing all of the fish.

Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

Northern Hogsucker (Hypentelium nigricans)

Thanks Mike Channing and Aaron Bye for the fishing spots!  It was a tough trip as far as catching new lifers, but the fishing was nothing short of specactular.  Ruoxi and I can't wait to repeat the trip again someday.

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