Every week a new flower appears on the river, sometimes every day! I just can't ignore their miraculous natural engineering. Their scent adds to their beauty, the miracle that is the flower. Maybe I'm sentimental, or maybe I share French Impressionist Claude Monet's floral appreciation. The Eutrochium is thus deserving.
Commonly called Joe Pye, it is the most prolific flower on the river. It reaches full bloom this time of the year. Growing in high and very large spreads, It gives off a fragrance of lilac and shares the same dusty rose color. While fishing, I can smell them around the bend. Joe Pye is very aromatic. Its scent is copied and mass produced as a synthetic fragrance. It is inexpensive when purchased at the local Pharmacy. My Grand Mother wore the same smelling perfume as it probably sold for about $1.99 a gallon and you didn't need much.
Joe Pye has many legends that are still argued to this day. The contention that it is named after a Native American Mohican from the Massachusetts area. He was a tribal Shaman who supposedly used it as a tea to heal fever. If it wasn't for the fact that this plant grows all over every river in very large stands, it would be cherished. However like the lilacs we take its fragrance and beauty for granted.
This time of the year with dead grass, ferns, and the leaves falling to earth that create a smell of decaying matter, nature has given us the
Joe Pye flower as a sweet smelling natural deodorizer. So while you fish enjoy it's fleeting, wonderful essence.
A 12 year old child running on a rural dirt road at 9:00 PM has all the makings of a easy meal for a nocturnal predator like the Black Bear. This attack has a happy ending (kind-of) in that the child wasn't killed but did sustain serious injury to a leg. Although the terror of this attack will linger for this young person.
What was the bear thinking is the question? We humans might think that a bear attacks because it's injured, is diseased, or is just crazy. The truth is the bear is just acting like a bear needing to find food.
Last year Reel Waters ran an Outdoor Lore blog on the Black Bear and what to do if (chances are very small this will happen) you come upon one in the woods. The blog about the Black Bear is still on the site. Here is some more insight to the bear's action.
Dusk is the beginning of a nocturnal predators search for food. An early evening kill for a bear is a ticket to an easy night in the woods. Hunters call dusk "zero hour", the time when many animals become active. Hunters also know, you can fool an animals ears and eyes, but you can't fool their nose. Adult humans smell and bears recognize that small mostly as danger. Children do not have that smell, before puberty, so the size and lack of smell doesn't set off the same warnings for a bear.
1. Animals hunting consider running an escape attempt. This triggers the chase.
2. A 12 year old weights about 80 pounds, very easy for a 300 pound bear to overpower.
3. Most of all pre-adult humans have very little smell. As a male adult of 6'2" and 205 lbs. I emit a smell of hormones and body odor that will put off an attack. Predators avoid full grown prey and hone in on the young. Especially when they are alone.
This latest attack had all the makings of an easy meal for the bear. To easy to pass up. The very capable MiDNR will search the bear out and examine the animal to see what might have caused the attack. I feel this might be a case of the wrong place at the right time. The bear / child meeting on a desolate country road was a natural reaction by the bear. The following is from our last blog on Black Bears and provides an approach on what to do if (not likely) you come across a Black Bear. Hopefully this scary event can be avoided. This action is for a Black Bear, other bears react differently so always ask for the right information based on where you are visiting. We only have Black Bears here in northern Michigan.
If you are confronted, face to face, with a bear that doesn't run...you have a problem. If it is a mother she will thrash and click her teeth that sounds like a person snapping their fingers. That is her warning to you. You should move away, increase the distance from her and the cubs. Do not, I repeat, do not take one step towards her. A mother bear can tell if you move one inch closer, which could trigger an attack. Backtrack slowly, keep your front side towards her if she is looking at you. When she retreats out of sight make noise so she knows where you are.
The old rogue Black Bear is the most dangerous. Unfortunately they are usually 4 to 5 hundred pounds. With old age they seem to lose their fear of man. If this bear sees you and wants to predate on you, he will size you up. If he makes any move towards you without some sort of warning, like the clicking of teeth or thrashing, he's coming. Get ready to fight. Wave your arm, scream, throw things at the bear, get as big as you can, make as much noise as you can. If he does give you a warning signal to defend his space, increase the distance between you and the bear, do not turn your back to the bear. Yell, bark like dog...make noise.
You can read the whole blog by paging down; be safe, be smart.
This time of the year with the Hexagenia Limbata mayfly hatch all but a distant memory, those dyed in the wool fly fishing anglers will use a technique called "Mousing".
Big trout, Brown Trout, will hold tight to deep parts of the river. They feed only at night and only on a large food source...to a trout. The challenge for the fly fishing angler is to recall a large hold near an open flat water area of the river that has a large trout. During the summer most of us have seen a large trout zip by us or feed to our surprise. It's size bulges the water marking him as huge. You know he is in a near by deep hole, but how can you lure him out? Enter the mouse fly.
Believe it or not, the pattern for the mouse exists. Made out of tightly trimmed fur it allows mousers (fly fishing anglers who engage in this tactic) to purchase one over the counter. Many of us do not have the stomach to secure an alive mouse from around the homestead.
The procedure is; head to the river at 1 am, sit by a large calm hole, cast you mouse to the far side of the pool, then scoot it across the water. Still with me here? You can jump it, twitch it, dance it, all in an effort to trick the trout to attack. Odds are against you, but success is a real adrenalin shot.
Not many of your family or friends are going to understand your dedication to this type of fishing. I tend to keep the mousing technique of fishing to myself. I don't want to trigger a family intervention. I don't bungee jump, or go over water falls in a kayak, mousing is about as eccentric as I care to get. OK fellow Mouse-keteers, let's review the procedure. Find a spot on the river, find a mouse (fly would be best), find the time, set your alarm clock, spend hours dancing the mouse fly over a suspected big trout hold, repeat. Self esteem, confidence and determination is needed to survive the family criticism!
The ingenious birch bark canoe was the means of all travel just a few centuries ago here in the Great Lakes State. Native Americans used it in many ways. The giant war canoe for raids and to move entire villages south for the winter, or the small canoe for access to remote back waters. The engineering of the Birch Bark Canoe was simple and entirely made of natural material found in the forest and was quickly adopted by European fur traders to navigate this Great Lakes region.
The Birch Bark canoe was easy to repair, light, and it's draft was only inches even with 2 tons of pelts on board. The French entrepreneur DeLaSalle was first to build a large sailing ship above Niagara Falls in 1679. Le Griffon, as it was called, sailed into the upper Great Lakes. It sunk in a northwest September storm never making a round trip. The Griffon lasted 2 short months. It was back to the canoe for another 100 years.
The small canoe, as short as 10 feet or less, allowed a single person to reach wild rice and trout as well as beaver or otter found in small streams and inland lakes here in the north. A brave could build one in a few days.
In the waning days of summer, when the beaver dams are complete, the resident beaver begins to build his winter lodge. This flooding by his dam will make many of my good fishing spots to deep to wade. The answer is still...the canoe. These back waters of the beaver can flood out acres and a half mile of river. A hidden canoe in the under brush is the ticket to fishing these deep waters. After Labor Day when the river traffic quiets down, I will leave a canoe at a working beaver dam. The canoe covered with ferns and catkins remains hidden until I return to the flooding on a nice warm afternoon for a leisurely day of fly fishing. With the flow of the stream non existent in the beaver pond, it is easy to sit quietly, watch and listen for the trout to feed. A canoe allows me to stay absolutely undetected as fish, fowl and fury creatures come and go. A beaver kill is gorgeous in the fall with the forest ablaze with yellow aspen and red maples. It is hard to believe with seven billion people on the planet that I can be alone with the trout...all day. No complaints here.
The Maple river has Rainbow, Brook, Brown and Tiger Trout....Tiger Trout ?
That's correct, Tiger trout. A very rare hybrid of a male Brook Trout breeding with a female Brown Trout. The Tiger Trout is sterile and can be caught on the Maple River. I have seen three, all of them about 9 inches long, in 50 years of fishing.
In Michigan there is not a planting program for the Tiger Trout and they are all natural occurrences. Their explosive take of the fly combined with an aggressive fight marks them. I was amazed as my fishing partner could tell the second one hit that the fish was different. He was a great Brown Trout fly fisherman who fished many afternoons with me for my favorite trout the Brook. So when the trout hit, his experience could tell it was a Tiger Trout. Amazing to watch him fight the fish and asking me to ready the camera for a photo. Sure enough a "Tiger"!
Not much information about the Tiger Trout is available at this latitude. It's longevity or numbers are unknown. Tiger Trout are raised in some states and are use to clear out some unwanted species of fish in trout waters. Due to their aggressiveness and inability to procreate the Tiger Trout is perfect for the task.
My experience is lacking on the trout, so is the MiDNR experience. I don't know what to tell you other than if you do land one the Tiger's pattern will surprise you. To me it looks more like a leopard than a tiger. Whatever, it is rare and if you catch one take a very good look and a photo, you may never catch one again.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings