Shorthead Redhorse Spawning in Living Color

Spring is the best season. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Anyone who claims fall is better is secretly paid to say it. Among the surest and most exciting signs of spring are the annual spawning runs of various fish in local waterways. The arrival of White Bass (Morone chrysops) in large numbers makes for exciting fishing. Though futile from a reproductive standpoint, the runs of Coho Salmon and Steelhead (Rainbow Trout) up Lake Michigan… Continue reading

Illinois Gar Summit I, Feb. 2014

Illinois Gar Summit I, 2014: Bill Meyer, Olaf Nelson. Solomon David and a cenury-old (plus) Alligator Gar in the deepest recesses of the Field Museum in Chicago.

After months of hopeful but vague discussion about getting together to talk gar (and other cool fish), three of the most gar obsessed citizens of Illinois finally managed to meet at the end of February. Solomon David, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Shedd Aquarium (and see primitivefishes.com), hosted Bill Meyer (founder of garfishing.com and the Gar Angler’s Sporting Society [GASS]) and me for a full day of fish nerding. We enjoyed a tour behind the… Continue reading

Moxillumination

Sunshine and a cooperative little shorthead. Is there a word or term for that zone of both rays and barely-formed scales, or for the stage of scale formation where they are more hints than scales? If not, there ought to be. Suggestions? This little channel catfish (8 or 9 inches at most) also had a healthy glow when x-rayed by the sun. Continue reading

Underwater/overwater shorthead

(Click on the photos to see them larger.) Since this shorthead redhorse decided to lay in the shallows getting its breath back after being caught and released, I knelt down to get some photos. I was still set up for macro (extension tube), so I couldn’t get the whole fish and it was just luck that any of the shots had areas that were in focus. Sand moving by in the current and landing on… Continue reading

Catching gator gar, making history

In 1966, at the very southern tip of Illinois, a 7 foot, 150 pound alligator gar was caught on hook and line. There are no records of any being caught (by any method) in the state after that. 1966. Three  years before I was born. No one had been to  the moon yet. Computers that couldn’t even send offers of cheap Canadian pharmaceuticals or display low-resolution pornography were the size of Econoline vans and required… Continue reading

Insects, ice, turtles, bones and other macro obsessions

Ant combat. 5/30/2013

It’s not close to overtaking fishing, but my obsession with photography is definitely in the race. Last winter I accidentally discovered a world of beautiful abstractions inside large blocks of ice that formed in the back yard, and when spring finally came and ice was no longer an option, I re-discovered a fascination with insects. Despite not yet having a true macro lens, and despite my dSLR being a few rungs below where I’d like… Continue reading

Goldfish under ice

Goldfish under ice.

This gallery contains 5 photos.

The winter tends to be a time of increased artistic output for me since I can’t fish or garden when water and/or soil and/or air are frozen. This year the area of creativity that’s getting the most sustained workout is photography. Though I am not particularly fond of ice fishing, I do like ice itself quite a bit. These fish (I’m calling them goldfish, though some may actually be koi (i.e., common carp) were active… Continue reading