My last adventure at Wawasee brought about a menagerie of animals. First came this guy…
PS and I had just got done floating and the turtle popped up to take a breath right by the jet ski rack. So I just reached in with my hand and snagged him! I was so excited! I didn’t care if I caught another turtle all weekend! I went inside to get dinner going, and 10 minutes later PS show up at the window with this guy!
She went back out to play in the water and her turtle popped up right by the paddleboat. I was shocked and so proud of her for picking up the “go for it” hand-turtle catching technique! We didn’t stop to get bait for CS to fish with, so we all improvised and spent the evening catching minnows and small perch. BS and PS caught about 20 different ones by the end of the night.
While net fishing, CS spies this guy floating on the surface. It really looked like a piece of grass until you got really close to it. We definitely wanted to see what this was, so snagged him in a net and got him his own place to stay since he was so small. This isn’t the best picture but he’s about 2 inches long and a toothpick-thick. We think he is a baby gar.
The animal parade continued on Saturday with the swan family!
These guys showed up Friday night too but only with 1 baby. Saturday, the 2nd baby was along with the family but it seems he has a mangled foot. The lil’ one seemed to be able to float and swim just fine, so hopefully he’ll have a long life. If you ever need to feed swans, they will eat any bread and Cheerios. Just proves, everyone loves Cheerios.
Most of us spent the day playing cornhole or floating. CS wanted to get some more fishing in. He had been catching some average sized fish but was still looking for the big one. My dad went over to check on him and comes back and makes a beeline to my Mom. Tells her he has something for her and to open her hand. Mom’s not stupid so she grabs his arm so he can’t fling anything on her. Turns out, he just caught this guy with his hand…
Dude’s not even the size of a quarter! He was just floating along the seawall probably just hatched a couple of hours earlier. But you can never have enough turtles so the Starr kids and I headed out to see what we could snag! I must say, they are much better turtle assistants than BruceBruce. The were quiet and listened for instructions on when to paddle. Here is our bounty…
Our channel neighbor caught a baby soft shell (leatherback to us lake folk), so our turtle count was up to 8. But we didn’t stop with the animals there. BS caught a crawdad.
Then since it was Father’s day, PS and I took CS to fish in the channels. He was sure this is where the big one was hiding from him. We did see a pretty big guy, about a foot or more long, hugging the shore line but he wasn’t interested in us. Still not sure what it was but I’m going with some kind of river-monster-esque beast. We headed off into another channel after dropping PS at the shore. Once CS caught a few to toss back in, we took one last pass for turtles. We were creeping over in the corner (behind me in the picture below) when I spotted a big ass gar sunning up near the shore line just below the water line. I whispered to CS to look. He whispered to me to move my net back a few inches. Right below me was another one. I quickly just scooped him up and got awarded the big fish prize for the weekend!
My mom and PS were on the shore, so I yelled to go get the camera. This needed to be documented. He was probably 2 foot long with razor sharp teeth. See for yourself.
Gar fish aren’t popular among the Wawasee residents. Not sure why. Mom didn’t want us to let him go, but she also wanted to show Dad, so she takes the net. I tell her I’ll meet her back around the bay to let him go. As she turns to listen, she “unknowingly” is knocking the fish upside the head with every trailer, flower pot, house siding, she could find. My mother. We met her back on the bay and they couldn’t figure out how to get the guy out of the net. After a few more blows at the seawall, the gar was released back to the wild to reek havoc in the deep waters. You just kind of have to forget these things are in the waters I float in. Or at least hope they don’t want to take a bite out of a human butt in an inner tube.