Monday, August 31, 2009

Squirrel or Racoon?

I have been having a problem with my bird feeer station.  It is located on the tree next to the front window. I have a suet holder, one squirrel-proof bird seed feeder, a finch seed bag , and one hummingbird feeder.  I enjoy watching the feeder from my window as I work  play on the computer.  Twice in the last three days, I have found the hummingbird feeder on the ground empty with the litttle yellow plastic flowers out.  I suspect the squirrel over a racoon.

I know you are not suppose to use red hummingbird syrup but I made a mistake and bought one package.  It is almost gone. I saw two squirrels in recent days; one a grey squirrel and one a black squirrel./  I've warned these critters several times to stay away from my feeders.  They're just like kids.  They don't listen.  So.....I got out my pellet gun.  I tried scaring them after I warned them, but no they wouldn't listen.  I shot at the squirrel as he dangled upside down on the finchbag.  Only scared him off for a day. 
So another day goes by and bamb... the hummingbird feeder is down and drained and apart.    I do enjoy my feeders.  I have a cardinal, two finches, and a wood pecker feeding right now.  A humingbird just appeared as I write this. So it came down to this.....the squirrel vs landlord in an all out battle.
I better warn the squirrel that I have his cousin in my freezer.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday at the dam - Part II or Why do I fish?

People ask me how I can fish 160-180 days a year.  I am on 121 days so far.  Sometimes I don't get any fish for hours or days. I don't fish just to fish...I enjoy the outdoors and nature.   Being fishing means that I am outdoors and not thinking about the stock market or my bills.  I am just fishing and relaxing.  I love to wade in the river and feel the power of the current telling me that I better watch what I'm doing.  The repetitive casting is relaxing and my mind wanders...what little of it that is left..!

The picture is the view upstream of where I was fishing.  That dam is home to between 16,000 to 20,000 bats who hibernate inside the spillway of the dam. One brown bat can eat 3,000 mosquitoes in a single night.  I put up a bat house in my back yard just in case a few want to roost there.  I have a neat newspaper clipping on the bats at Manistee Dam that I'll show you when you visit.
I noticed a very good fisherman as I waded along.  I tried to get a picture of this intent fisherman. 
This is a Blue Heron.  Sorry, it was a close as I could get.
I was sorry that I forgot to bring a few Walmart bags to pick up trash.  I usually remember.  Salmon season is bad for the river.  I try to take out trash several times a week.  That is my river, I live here and fish here so I can take care of the beautiful river. I do not say anything to the fisherman, I just pick things up.  My random act of kindness.  My daughter taught me to do random acts of kindness every day....or at least when I think of it.  
I talked to 2 fishermen on the river before I left.  They wanted to get a little 'beta' on what was happening.  i gladly shared some of my observations from the last few days.  As I climbed Cardiac Hill, I paused to look back down at the river.  There were several more fishermen.
As I reached the parking lot, I noticed it was full of cars, at least 15.  The guy next to me had his teenage son and said he wanted him to get one on.  He asked what I was using and I gave him a bottle of fresh egg sacs that I tied up this morning.  Hopefully the boy will have a great day with his dad on the river, trying for a 'big one'.
As I pulled into my drive I noticed a squirrel on my bird feeder.  You know, that squirrel-proof feeder I bought.  Well, that is a story for another day.

Saturday at the Dam

The rain started to let up and I decided to drive to the north end of Tippy Dam Road. I parked at the lot across from Consumers Electric power plant. I got my wading gear on and walked over to Cardiac Hill. As I started down the 200 steps to Tippy Dam, I remembered the tough time I had in January and Febuary trying to get up and down when the steps were covered with ice and snow. It was sorta like ice climbing. Today it was nice going down. The weather was overcast and hopefully the place wouldn't be too crowded. There were 8 cars in the parking lot. Now how many fisherman is that; 8 or 12 or 16??

As I approached the end of the stairs and looked down at the Manistee River, I noticed that there weren't any fisherman on my side. Where were they? They were above the coffer Dam. Yeah, I get to pick my spot to fish.

Having the river to myself, I decided to start ar the stairs and work my way downstream.

I started fishing and moving slowly.  After a few drifts, I didn't have a hit.  Where were the fish?  I relaxed and kepted up the methodical casting and retrieving.  Time slipped away.  I noticed a boy fishing with his grandfather and dad.  They were fishing the north side of the river.  I remember getting Molly or Ryan to go fishing with me when they were younger.  Happy memories.

Finally a hit!  I felt a throbbing fish on the end of my line.  I know... a fisherman is a jerk waiting for a jerk on the end of his line. But this jerk was real.  I brought in a nice 12" brown trout.  It wasn't huge but now I wasn't skunked.

I worked my way down the river and waded out to the sandbar across from the boat launch.  Actually I almost waded across the river but decided to be 'very careful' and not wade too far.  Afterall, I was by myself. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting Started!

I am going to try to keep up a blog about my life 'Up North" and fishing. Today, I was going to launch my driftboat but decided against it at the river. Going to place I could wade fish sounder safer!

I decided to take the spinning rod and some fresh egg sacs and hiked into the area on the Manistee River across from the Handicap Pier. One fly fisherman was already there. I felt guilty for not bringing my fly rod, but decided to try my luck. In a few drifts I managed to catch several nice brown trout. Later I caught two rainbows that really put up a fight. The highlight of the day was hooking into a salmon for a few seconds. He took off and my 6 # leader snapped.

It was nice to be on the water and I decided that I have to just enjoy the experience and not worry about which fishing method I am using. I usually fish with my fly rod and flies. Today was a fun day catching and releasing 8-10 trout. A light rain started just as I ran out of egg sacs. As I was wading out a man in a wheelchair on the pier yelled at me about the fish I was catching. He wanted to know if I caught as many as I did yesterday. "Yes, I said! I released them and had one nice salmon on for a few seconds".