Inside the glow

Inside the glow It’s a Tuesday evening about eight o’clock, the July 4 weekend just over, the visitors to Birch Lake gone home. I’m out in the boat watching a couple of slip bobbers as the sun slowly dips through the horizon’s haze toward the treetops. Mine is the only boat on the lake. There…

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It’s about more than fish

I didn’t catch any muskies on a recent guided trip on a lake I am not at liberty to name, but the outing was worthwhile for what I learned about fish behavior, and about my lake, even though that’s not the one we were on. Who knows more about lakes than fishing guides? Limnologists, I suppose,…

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“Protecting Our Waters: We’re All Connected!”

We tend to think of lake, streams, groundwater and wetlands as separate water resources. In reality, they are all one interconnected system – just as we are connected in treasuring, sustaining and improving them. “Protecting Our Waters: We’re All Connected!” is the theme of the annual Northwoods Six-County Lakes and Rivers Meeting set for Friday,…

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Turtle Rescue

I often wonder how turtles evolved the practice of laying eggs far inland from the lakes they inhabit, so that their newly hatched young have to struggle their way back to the water, most of them dying of the way from predators or desiccation. Last week I helped one baby snapper improve its survival odds,…

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The boys grow older

“One gray night it happened; Jackie Paper came no more…” The lesson of the Peter Paul and Mary song “Puff the Magic Dragon” is that little boys grow up, and in some ways it’s sad. I am watching it happen to grandsons Tucker and Perrin, and as I look forward to their visit early next…

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No loon music?

In one of his essays the naturalist Aldo Leopold wrote, “And when the dawn wind stirs through the ancient cottonwoods, and the gray light steals down from the hills over the old river sliding softly past its wide brown sand bars – what if there be no more goose music?” Given recent findings in the…

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The great re-freezing

The ice on Birch Lake went out on March 14. Eight days later we woke to a new skin of ice over nearly the entire surface. As I write on March 28, the ice remains and is covered with almost a foot of snow. This is the first year in which we will have to note…

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A gift from Grampa

Grandson Tucker wants a musky fishing rod, and what better opportunity than his 12th birthday, coming up in May? A couple of times Tucker has had muskies on the line on Birch Lake – they’ve taken walleyes in mid-retrieve. I didn’t try to net the fish and bring them on board because I wasn’t equipped…

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Celebrating Lake Superior

Celebrating Superior This lake country we live in includes two great lakes, each within a reasonable driving distance. I’m a Lake Michigan boy, but I find something even more captivating about Lake Superior. Seen from a place on their shorelines, Superior and Michigan look much the same: restful blue, impossible to see across, waves whitecapping their…

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The colors of bluegills

I’ve enjoyed good fishing for bluegills this winter, and as I’ve pulled them up through the Birch Lake ice I’ve been struck by their simple beauty. I’ve said before that tropical fish only  barely outshine some of our native species, notably crappies for their large and delicate-looking tail and fins, pumpkinseeds for their array of bright…

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