Fishing People! Fishing Birds!

Hi again! Pardon the long break. Days have been flying by, with numerous varied activities taking place each week. Just recently, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area partnered with the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) and put on a “Learn to Fish Clinic”. We had over 100 participants, with people from different ages and backgrounds. The experience levels ranged from people who had never fished before to kids who knew how to tie a better knot than me! Overall, it was a blast and I have memories to remember and pictures to show for it. 

Personally, I am hoping to improve my fishing skills while I am here and hopefully even host a dinner using fish that I caught! Of course, I recognize their importance in water ecosystems and therefore don’t plan on fishing out the lake (assuming I would even be that skilled). As part of our internship training, we were given both a spin fishing and fly fishing rod. Although I haven’t mastered either, I am slowly learning that fishing is really more about the process, and not so much the final goal of catching a fish. So far, my experience has mostly been untangling fishing line and practicing my cast. -_-  Still, with the help of the park’s wildlife biologist, I managed to catch my first Black Crappie!

The look of success

Since then, I’ve been trying to channel my inner Osprey and become an expert angler. Of course, even an experienced angler would have a difficult time matching an Osprey’s average catch time of one fish every 12 minutes. I have seen the success rate of these birds up close here at Whiskeytown, and it’s quite impressive each time. Other birds skilled in fishing include the Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, and Bald Eagle. I have seen all but the latter successfully hunt and gulp down a slippery fish. Fun fact: I recently learned that Great Blue Herons have special feathers that hang from their necks that are more easily cleaned of fish slime and other oils. I guess that goes to show how much fish they eat. I have been enjoying being considered the “coinossieur” on these topics, but also continually learning more in the process of preparing for my programs.

Below are videos of a very active Great Blue Heron nest, with an adult feeding one of the soon-to-be fledgelings. You can see them all panting from the heat! And below that are two Bald Eagles, on the left is the parent and on the right is the child (juvenile) of said parent.

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