I wish my blog was like facebook, where people could comment or put likes on photos they like so I could get inspired enough to post photos on here everyday. But this blog constantly gets russian spam robots trying to sign up to make comments and I get flooded with email alerts so I have to turn comments off. I do have a story almost daily on my photos as I have been watching eagle nests and other wildlife on the Rock and Mississippi rivers, and the scenic photos as well. You can check out my facebook page, it’s public for the time being, but I don’t post any fishing information and don’t post photos where I fish.
It’s been a strange year for fishing, I feel I am missing out on good bites, because the fish are missing from most places I like to hang around. The good thing is that means not many other fisherman are around. I notice one day the river is clear of grass floating down river, then one bass boat fishes a weed bed up river and grass is coming down river for days. The good thing about bass tournaments is when they have tournaments somewhere else, the river is actually normal without bass boats everywhere and you can actually catch a few fish.
The gnats are so bad this year with all the high water, I have to wear a net over my head. It makes it hard to see wildlife and the depth finder, but it does keep the gnats out of my eyes, up my nose and in my ears. Who ever says gnats don’t bite is wrong, they bite like crazy and I have to spray deep woods off.
There is 2 big walleye tournaments coming up. They try to time it just right for the best fishing on pools 13 and 14, but like last year, the water is coming up. You sure don’t want to fish your best spots when they are around, or they will move right in and call all their buddies and tell the world. If you want good fishing, go to pool 11 and 12, they don’t have tournaments on their own pools so there is less pressure when the good bite is on.
There is at least 3 Otters hanging around the Oppold Marina area, and the other day I close pretty close to one. This is about the 4th or 5th sighting, sometimes I only see them for a second. Three times have been longer. American River Otter:
Since the rivers have been high this year, I have been spending a lot of time just getting photos. I usually like to drift down river below Sterling on the Rock River, but with so much current it is difficult so I have been going to a backwater slough between Sterling and Dixon, and popular fishing area for catfish and panfish. I have been going in there for the past few years and catching a few bass and crappie.
It has been really good for photos. I have need seeing, or have seen, Otters, Deer, Coyote, lots of ducks, geese, swans, cranes, blue heron, green heron, night heron, egret and lots of song birds. Then one day I went out and everything was gone. I knew something happened but wasn’t sure what.
A week later things started to come back. All the ducks were gone, but other wildlife was showing up. Then I noticed a boat, a commercial fisherman. He laid out 5 long gill nets stretching from bank to bank. Then he spent 2 hours using a plunger, revving his motor up and throw water in the air while beating on his boat, to spook the fish so they would run through his nets and get stuck. I tried to cross to the other side and he quick ran over and stopped me, and said I had to go around his bet and he left a 10′ space by the far bank, which is shallow and full of under water trees and stumps.
Then I sat out in front of the eagle’s nest to make sure he didn’t spook the eagles and chicks. After awhile he pulled in one net and sarted to go past me so I stopped him. I told him he was disturbing the eagle’s and he said he was doing his driving right in front of them last week and it didn’t bother them, the adults stayed by the nest. I then knew what had happened to all the wildlife in there. I told him about how he scared all the wildlife away, but he said he was just trying to make a living. He said he goes in there every spring. I think someone else had the permit last year because I saw them out in the main river and it wasn’t him. He is from Savanna. He could care less about the wildlife, the bass or catfish. He admitted he was getting catfish in the net. I had been catching a few fish before he started coming there, but haven’t caught much since.
Non the less, after a couple days after his disturbing everything, I started getting photos again, but the otter never did come back in. I was getting a lot of decent photos of the eagles bringing fish back, of the heron etc. The eagles are used to people being a busy area for boaters and house out on the main river. They don’t mind me at all.
With all the rain and cloudy days, and going to the Mississippi River and other pool on the Rock, I missed seeing him. I did see he left one net left out all night, but it was out of the channel and he may have had more nets out in the shallow areas.
Then last week I idled in to quick get to the Eagles nest area since most of the wildlife was gone, I found myself going over a net that wasn’t marked well at all. I had to cut the net out of my prop. Then I continued on in and with the sun low straight ahead and new lilly pads popping up, and a chop on the water from the wind, I ran into another net that wasn’t marked will. Again I had to cut my prop free. I ran into 2 more nets and then saw the last one wasn’t marked at all, just a rope. Then 2 hours later I saw him pulling in nets. He was yelling and cussing. He was running his boat around in circles. Now this is a small area, and with nets every 100 yards, boats can’t even get in there, and he is running around on plane? I left and went home and didn’t get a single photo, but I did get photos of his nets. You really can’t see them, but that was why I was taking photos of them. He acted like he was chasing me down but turned around just before he got to where I was.
So I made a video. I plan to get more footage if he ever does that again. The Eagles were gone for 2 days, I didn’t see them bring back food as the usually do and all three chicks were looking out as if they were hungry.
In this photo what you are seeing is what is going on all over. Farmers bulldozing tree lines to get a few more rows of corn. This takes away habitat for wildlife, and therefore hurts hunting. They do this along rivers as well with the same results. They bulldoze the trees, or cut them down with chain saws, then bulldoze them in piles and burn them. This results in habitat loss for wildlife. There is no buffer for wind and shade. This causes severe erosion of the banks, resulting if shallow mud flats that are unfishable. It also causes erosion of the farm soil which is full of chemicals that hurt the fish. One is fertilizer, which causes green algae that you everywhere these days in the Summer and Fall. When it does in cold water, it starves the water of oxygen and the food chain starts to deplete.
There is few regulations for farmers, it’s like the wild west. They have so much power in Washington, that nothing can be done. they are leaving it up to farmers to fix the problem themselves, but they don’t care. The less wildlife the better, that is less corn eaten by deer or whatever.
Some of the chemicals affect the eggs of game birds and they get soft shells on there eggs and they don’t hatch.
Most farmers are getting huge government subsidies. They should be forced with regulations to have buffer zones along rivers and creeks. They should be forced to stop erosion by leaving rows of grass on areas where the soil washes into creeks.
Don’t listen to replublicans who claim we need less regulating, we need more regulating to protect wildlife and our waters, which affect fishing and hunting.