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More on that trip away

Friday I got the key from Erving state forest's ranger station, then after setting up my tent (so many mosquitoes!), did a bit of hiking at the federated women's state forest (out to The Summit of Soapstone Hill), and removed three unattached ticks from myself. Ah, ticks... None in evidence when I got home, so I appear to have gotten them all. Lovely views of the Quabbin, though:

[cut because photos]

I spent Saturday at Laurel Lake in Erving state forest. Morning I briefly snorkled until a lifeguard nearby got nervous because he couldn't tell if I was breathing through the snorkle or not (Could have sworn a ranger said I could snorkle, but I didn't go back up and find out precisely where). Saw a school of young yellow perch (Nearly touching front spined dorsal fin and behind it one without spines; probably 11 spines, if I recall correctly. Bands down the sides, orangish tinge to lower fins) who were all sorts of confused by me. Also saw a different school of single stripe small fish (ID unknown) also confused by me, and a couple of larger fish (2-3 feet long?) who were all 'what.. are you doing?' at me. No idea on ID for those, though. Also saw a million aquatic salamanders. Green with orange spots. Adorable, and not terribly afraid of people. :) (apparently they are eastern newts, looking very like the last photo on this page)

I then brought my inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 330 (best. investment. ever.) to the boat slip, inflated it with the car charger inflater, put my micro-fishing rod, containers, identification book, and water and a snack in it (as I later realized, minus... my line. And bait). Remembered sunblock for the tops of my legs, and had a baseball cap on. Went out, found out that a) there were even more salamanders, b) I had inflated the seat back too much and my life vest was trying to make me run away from the seat, and c) I had forgotten my lines and hadn't collected bait. Back to shore, gathered lines, snelled a few hooks using the lovely snelling tool from tenbum, attached a replacement tippet connector and weight to a line I had snapped the previous use (darned weeds), and collected some bait from the water near shore (a few dragonfly larvae, a couple damselfly larvae, and some sort of water bug that turned out to have a _nasty_ bite).

Caught one of the young yellow perch (after a few of them kept almost getting caught, but getting away) and saw a number of larger fish which thankfully distained my small bait and hook. Rode a few wakes from a motorboat pulling kids on inner tube rides. Tried to catch other yellow perch. Tried to get what looked like young sunfish and the same single stripe smaller fish I mentioned earlier to nibble, but by that point I was basically out of bait. And I tried to put the waterbug on, which finally got fed up with me and bit/stung me, causing me to throw it away from me hard, which also meant it got free into the water. :) Was unable to collect more bait while still _in_ the boat, and realized I was hungry. Got out, realized I'd not managed to put sunscreen on the back of my neck (ended up peeling...), and that I'd been out there for 4-5 hours. I then let my kayak dry while I had food and collected some bait to try some shore fishing. Also to let my damp clothing dry off (trying to collect bait from in the kayak resulted in a bit of water on me. ;).

Tried some shore fishing, and realized that a) there was nothing visible from the places I tried, b) I managed to snag and lose a hook on overhanging brush, and c) I was actually quite tired at that point! So, back to camp:

[another photo!]

Next morning, packed up, made an abortive attempt to fish at gate 2 of the quabbin (because I figured I should at least see it!) but had no cash to park. Got suggestions of where to go that did not require parking fees, failed _entirely_ to find any bait before I got there because I forgot and there are apparently no aquatic insects near shore where I looked. So instead I looked around, was confused by the quantity of white sand along the shores, saw what were almost definitely banded killifish, and decided that was enough. Pretty, but not being able to get into the water or use my kayak made it less fun!

Went back to Erving to return my key, then decided to try to find the Ware River in Barre. Failed to find the Ware (I got tired of driving south!), but found Prince River and what I now suspect were blacknose dace. Caught one with my mini Perfect Dipnet (I have _no_ idea how I managed that); small fish that liked being near the bottom, with a single stripe down the body. Saw one nibbling at rocks, and when I returned to let the one I had caught go, found that it had jumped out (I had set the container down in the stream to keep the water temperature constant, so it didn't jump to its death). The description of their behavior from Inland Fishes of Massachusetts "When disturbed, Blacknose Dace quickly disappear under rocks, boulders, or logs" is actually the behavior that made me realize they were there! I was crossing the stream and saw movement. :) Wandered toward them, and as I got closer they would rush out of hiding and swim elsewhere. Pretty fish!

So, fish photos are missing, but it was great fun. I like Erving's lake, but I'm glad I didn't camp there. Federated women's club state forest was quiet, and I doubt Erving would have been. Also, cheaper. ;)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 12th, 2014 01:17 am (UTC)
That sounds like an incredible time. Fabulous stuff.

Hoping to see you this weekend? IOU email...
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


pelted, Asanii, haikujaguar
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