Tag Archives: going for a walk

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Fox River Scum

After a few weeks of going through a lack of interest in fishing the Fox River, I didn’t think I’d wind up spending three hours chasing down the source of Fox River scum.

I really did want to go fishing.

Thought I would go hit Saw Wee Kee. Crossing the river on the Orchard Road bridge, I sized up the river real quick and didn’t like what I saw.

Up close and personal it got even worse.

It looks like a giant plugged up swirling toilet bowl covered in floating shit.

The shore under the bridge:

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As I drove drove the road along the river, I stopped to talk to a couple that lives in one of the houses along this stretch. They said this had appeared a couple of days earlier. They also mentioned that it was here last year, but we all agreed this was considerably worse then last year. They live on one of the best spots for smallies, but the guy said he won’t throw a lure in that.

A few more shots of the stretch between Orchard Road and the Saw Wee Kee canoe launch. It’s about a mile:

Did I mention I just wanted to go fishing?

After seeing this, the old Boy Scout in me, the one I’ve been trying to kill off for years because he can’t just walk away from shit like this, decided to wander up stream to see if he could find the source of the problem.

I had no choice but to tag along.

These two shots were taken in Oswego:

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About another mile up stream in Oswego. I think it’s called Troy Park. I noticed far fewer shit balls here:

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A little further up stream at Violet Patch Park, took a quick shot of a couple of kayakers floating down the river. I felt sorry for them:

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Mainly because just to their right, all along the west shore, they had this to enjoy:

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Looking up stream form the same vantage point. Under the bridge where I’m standing are riffles. Things seem to get worse when the scum gets churned up in the riffles:

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The upstream side of the Fox Metro plant. After this, didn’t seem to matter to go check the outflow:

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The Route 30 bridge is the one I was curious about. Last year when I traced this problem back, I stopped here because it seemed to dissipate at this point. This shot is of the east channel. Doesn’t look that bad. I live nearby and the night before I was sitting on the east shore watching the sun set and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary:

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I wandered over to the west side and that’s where it got odd. Can’t tell if this is light reflecting off the scum, which covered the whole west channel for as far as you could see, or if it was some kind of film:

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The next couple of shots, you can see the scum that covered the whole west channel:

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Down the street from where I live in Montgomery, didn’t look too bad:

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North Avenue on the south edge of Aurora. Still there, but it wasn’t looking as bad:

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This next one caught me by surprise. Right at the North Aurora dam looking up stream along the west shore. Upstream is the Mooseheart shit plant with a small outflow. It’s at the mouth of Mill Creek. Would have added an hour to get there to look, it’s a hike in, and I was running out of time:

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Last two shots are from Batavia. You can see some scum, but nothing like further down stream. There is a certain amount of this I’m used to. It’s an urban river and I’ve seen it at all kinds of stages year round for 20 years. Still wouldn’t call this normal, but it’s closer:

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The next few shots is what I documented last year and never did anything with. I had already been standing in it while fishing and this shit was a bitch to get off my waders. While wandering around down around Millbrook, I came across a bunch of it and tracked it back to Route 30 when I gave up. It didn’t look too bad at that point. I thought this was bad last year. It pales in comparison to what is going on right now:

I have no clue if this has anything to do with the scum, but the last couple of years they rebuilt and expanded Route 30 on both sides of the river. For miles on the east side. I know they installed all new drainage/sewer pipes, I saw them lining the road last year. I wanted to blame last year’s event on that.

This year in Aurora on Route 31, they rebuilt 31 for a few blocks. I read they were replacing sewer lines to solve combined sewer issues.

Those both could be incidental to all of this. I’ll never know.

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A Subtle Sunset

Friday after work I was going to stop at a creek to do some fishing. Just like Thursday and Monday, at the last minute I changed my mind and didn’t bother going.

Not sure what that means and it has the wife thoroughly confused.

It was a perfect evening for creek fishing. Heat was just right, the right amount of massive cumulus clouds were drifting around and the water levels were perfect.

Instead I went home, had dinner.

I then decided that with all these clouds around the sky was setting up for stunning sunset.

As I drove west to a spot I like, all the cumulus clouds moved out and were replaced by a low gray mass of clouds that stretched for as far as you could see. I decided to wait them out. They moved in quickly, perhaps they’ll move out just as quickly and I could salvage the sunset.

That never happened, but off on the horizon was a thin opening that was making an effort to grow. If it opened up big enough and the sun went down at the right moment, it could light up the whole sky.

That never happened either and I wound up with a subtle sunset.

Regardless, I was alone, which was needed. The only sounds were those of the fields, woods and wind. Which was desperately needed.

I could live with a subtle sunset.

And that it was. The opening on the horizon kept trying to open up, the sun tried to light up the sky and for a brief moment it looked like it all might come together.

And just like that, in a brief moment, it was gone.

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A Couple of Creek Walks

Went on a couple of creek walks Friday and Saturday. Decided to finally hit the Fox River on Sunday.

I’ll take the creeks.

The fishing in the creeks has been less than spectacular this year, but doing okay is better than doing nothing at all. I still think it’s because we really haven’t had that much rain this spring. Enough to keep things growing, but we’ve had no major high water events on the Fox at all. I think the fish have had no real reason to head up the creeks for their annual spawning run. Why run up a creek if staying in the river is working out just fine.

But, what do I know. I’m no fisheries biologist. I just wander around and observe things, then my brain makes all the connections gathered over the years and draws a conclusion.

The creeks are stunningly beautiful right now. Bright greens of spring, dense under growth, all kinds of flowers and a wide variety of wildlife.

Fishing seems secondary, which it pretty much has become.

My one venture out into the Fox on Sunday resulted in catching one smallie and seeing a gar for the first time ever in this stretch of the river, but not once did I raise my camera to take a picture.

Too wide, too far away, not interesting.

I may have talked myself out of fishing the river much at all this year. The creeks have so much more to offer, at least in terms of sights and sounds.

And if the smallie fishing sucks, so be it. I’ll scale down and play with creek chubs.

The river simply doesn’t provide what I need. The quiet, the closeness, the solitude and the wildlife practically sitting on your shoulder and talking into your ear.

Yup, sounds like I’ve convinced myself.

From Friday’s creek walk:

From Saturday’s creek walk:

From Sunday’s river walk:

I got nuthin’.

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For the Love of Creeks

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

Was going to launch into what a beautiful day it turned out to be today.

Was going to talk about the beneficial health affects wandering creeks has on me.

Was going to go on about the 100’s of bullfrog tadpoles.

About the sights and sounds and smells, especially of the honeysuckle.

Was going to mention all of the birds seen, especially the hawks.

Was going to go on and on about how far up the creek the gar have gone this year and how the removal of the 175 year old, eight foot tall dam a couple of years ago has been a raging success.

But the hell with all that, here’s a bunch of pictures instead.

For the love of creeks and what they do for me.

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Flowering Trees

Last Saturday it had rained for the better part of the day, but near sunset the clouds started breaking up. I ran to a favorite spot to see if the sunset would turn into something interesting. By the time I got to the spot the clouds had come back. So I decided to play around with a handful of nearby flowering trees.

They were dripping wet and the light was fading. Would have been nice to see them lit up by the setting sun, but you take what you get.

As it got darker, I thought I’d play around with the built in flash on the camera, something I haven’t done much. I’m not all that happy with the end result of those, I have no clue how to control the flash or if it’s even possible, but it’s the first step up on the learning curve.

It’s a shame the flowering trees don’t stick around that long. A few days later the petals were already withering and falling off the trees. Would be a nice treat for the eyes to see this color all summer.