Looking to recycle your Christmas tree when the holidays are over? If you want to let the birds benefit from your tree for a bit – you might think about staking it in the ground and leaving it out in your backyard for a while – after you have replaced the ornaments with some yummy bird feeders of course (think pinecones covered in peanut butter and bird seed or suet cakes).
You can then set it aside once all the needles have dropped and it no longer provides good cover for the birds to chip and use as mulch in the spring. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the department has recently used rotononeto eradicate non-native fish from Lower Sargent Pond in the Sargent Ponds Wild Forest in Hamilton County. The pond is expected to be stocked with fish next year in an effort to reestablish native brook that had existed before its population was depleted due to the presence of the non-native fish.
The eradication of non-native fish, followed by restocking with native brook trout is a key component of DEC’s Brook Trout Restoration Program. DEC is a partner in the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (http://easternbrooktrout.org/), which is working to protect, restore and enhance brook trout populations and habitats across their native range. » Continue Reading.
As cold weather becomes more common and intense, the temperature of lakes, ponds and marshes drop significantly, with ice soon appearing over the surface of our smaller and more shallow waterways. As these aquatic settings continue to relinquish heat to the atmosphere, most of their resident, cold-blooded creatures are forced by the low temperatures to become extremely lethargic or lapse into a dormant state until spring.
There are, however, a few forms of life that remain active throughout the winter, as these entities are well adapted for an existence in frigid waters. Among the animals that thrive in northern lakes, even during winter, is the lake trout, a sizeable predator that resides only in our largest and deepest lakes; and it is during mid to late autumn when this prized game fish migrates to certain gravel bottom locations in order to spawn. » Continue Reading.
The prolonged period of hot and humid weather that the Adirondacks have recently experienced has warmed the waters in our many lakes and ponds to their highest temperatures of the season. This is a welcome occurrence to those that enjoy swimming and simply wading in our waterways, however it can create a challenge to those aquatic creatures that are better suited to the cool waters of our mountain wilderness.
Among the fish impacted by high water temperatures is a popular game species sought by anglers for its feisty temperament after being hooked and its mild and flavorful taste after being cooked- the smallmouth bass. » Continue Reading.
Proposed changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations were announced today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). According to a press release, “based on the status of existing fish populations and discussions with anglers, fisheries biologists, and fisheries managers over the past year, DEC had identified potential changes to fishing regulations and is seeking additional angler feedback.”
Some highlights for trout anglers include: increasing year-round trout fishing opportunities at specifically chosen streams, adjusting daily creel limits and minimum size limits, and establishing catch and release fishing at a few additional streams. » Continue Reading.
When I was ten, I carried a tin can of worms and a battered fishing rod to the wild shores of Brickyard Pond, in the woods behind our subdivision. We caught mostly scrappy sunfish and white perch, with the occasional bass thrown in. There were alewives in some of the brooks, too, and we caught them with nets. As for the pretty trout that came from the hatchery truck, I never caught one. The fish I caught were mostly round, dark green or gray, and mottled like the mud and sand bottom of the pond.
Then one day a friend’s older brother, a real fisherman with a green fishing vest, caught a large brown trout. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The fish, shaped like a torpedo, was a yellowish gold and it had big red spots on its sides. Years later, I caught my first brook trout on a fly rod at Shoal Pond in the White Mountains. Again, I was mesmerized by the intense colors: the yellow and red spots, some with bluish halos, the fins that were bright red with white and black trim.
It all begs the question: why the trout’s fancy colors when so many other fish are dishwater dull? » Continue Reading.
The fact that the opening day of trout season in New York coincides with April Fool’s Day does not seem to be a coincidence to many people in the Adirondacks. To any rational human, the thought of standing for hours along a partially frozen stream, fending off hypothermia and frostbite only to wait for the slightest tug on a monofilament line epitomizes foolishness. However, for many avid sportsmen, April 1st is just as sacred as the opening of big game season and regardless of how miserable the weather can be, there is a need to get out and “wet-a-line” in a favored fishing spot on this day.
The cold start to spring this year has kept ice along the shores of many streams and brooks, and in some slower moving waterways, there still exists a solid covering of ice for long stretches. Fishing for trout under these harsh conditions is an extreme challenge, yet experienced anglers are often able to snag enough brookies or browns to make a meal. » Continue Reading.
Beneath the ice that covers our many lakes during winter, there exists an arena in which fish prowl their surroundings for something to eat and attempt to avoid being eaten by a larger predator. One species, when fully grown, that never has to worry about being attacked and gulped down by another creature of the deep is the northern pike. This sizeable, torpedo-shaped beast reigns at the top of the food chain in most lakes and larger ponds scattered throughout the Park. » Continue Reading.
I can’t say for sure exactly how many of my childhood birthdays were celebrated on the ice of Lake Champlain, but a good number. That’s what happens when your father likes to ice fish, and your big day happens to fall on Dead President’s week, when every school in the state goes on vacation.
But I am reasonably certain it was on my twelfth birthday when I first met Lota lota, a fish my dad called a “ling” and others call “burbot,” “cusk” or “eelpout.” We were jigging for yellow perch on a shallow hump on the outskirts of St. Albans Bay when I pulled one through the ice. I remember thinking I’d caught a chunky American eel, but my dad quickly set the record straight by dislodging the 16-inch fish from my hook and quickly tossing it into the 5-gallon pail we were using to collect perch for a fish fry.
In the middle and lower depths of our lakes in winter, a region of 39 degree water prevails, providing a haven for those fishes that remain active throughout this season. (A noteworthy physical property of water is that it becomes most dense at 39 degrees and sinks to the bottom. As water cools further, it becomes less dense or lighter in weight and rises to the surface. As a given mass solidifies, its density decreases even further, which is why ice floats on the surface rather than sinks.) While 39 degree water causes rapid hypothermia in humans, it is within the lower range of thermal acceptability for various species of cold-blooded organisms, including a favorite of winter anglers– the yellow perch.
The yellow perch, known to most as simply a perch, is a thick-scaled fish with noticeable vertical streaks on its sides and two separate dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is supported by sharp-pointed spines that make the perch a challenge to handle without experiencing a painful poke to the hand. The perch also has a relatively small mouth. This limits its intake of food to aquatic invertebrates, the eggs from other fishes, and very small fish, like the fry of larger fish, dace, and smaller strains of minnows and shiners. » Continue Reading.
Animals display a dazzling variety of colors, particularly in the tropics. But even here in northern New England where wildlife diversity is comparatively limited, we enjoy a rich palette of colors and patterns. The majority of colors are produced by pigments–particles of color chemicals found within specialized cells. These include melanins, which are found in nearly all organisms and produce the earthy tones common to many animals (including humans), and carotenoids, which produce colors primarily in the red to yellow end of the spectrum (think northern cardinal and American goldfinch).
What’s surprising, however, is that pigments that produce blue coloration are all but unknown in the animal kingdom, even though we have plenty of blue-colored animals, particularly among birds, butterflies, and fish. So if it’s not pigments, what makes an animal blue? » Continue Reading.
This past weekend my son won a fishing derby and walked away with a new fishing pole from French Louie ADK Sports in Inlet. After catching and releasing 17 fish, the longest being an 8-inch pike, he walked away with the prize.
Putting a fishing rod in the hands of a child is one thing, stopping at every Adirondack pond and lake between Inlet and Saranac Lake is another. Since I am the only member of the family that doesn’t fish, my lack of fishing license means that it is illegal for me to untangle rods, bait hooks or take fish off of lines. Even though my children do not require a license, other fishing rules do apply to them. » Continue Reading.
As the temperatures in the many lakes and ponds that dot the Adirondacks begin to cool, the fish inhabitants of these waterways start to spend more of their time at greater depths. While this change in the routine of these gilled vertebrates impacts the way late season anglers pursue them, it also affects the life of our region’s most effective surface fish predator – the osprey.
With its 4 to 5 foot wing span and 2 foot long body, the osprey is a bird that is difficult to overlook as it soars over a picturesque mountain lake, or perches on the limb close to the shore of a pristine pond. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricides to kill lamprey in portions of five tributaries to Lake Champlain and two deltas during the months of September and October. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the Saranac River delta on September 10th, but weather conditions may affect planned treatment dates.
“While trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species also benefit from sea lamprey control,” according to a Cooperative statement to the press. “Sea lamprey control also generates economic activity by increasing angling opportunities and the time that boaters, anglers, and their families spend in the Lake Champlain area.” » Continue Reading.
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