Longnose Gar in Montrose Harbor (click to see the larger version)
Continuing the fish theme this summer, I saw and photographed a Longnose Gar in Montrose Harbor on July 13. Gar are distinctive as a group but specific identification can be challenging (and I’m hardly a fish expert). My gar was about 2 feet long and had heavy, dark spotting on the body. It was swimming slowly and close to the surface, enabling me to get diagnostic photos. After some research, I narrowed down the options to Spotted and Longnose Gar, and after sharing the photos online several fish experts weighed in and confirmed it as a Longnose Gar. This is the first gar of any kind I’ve seen on Lake Michigan and the most unusual fish I’ve seen at Montrose. More photos are on my Facebook page, URL below. Also, see the Fish Archives on this blog for more fish stories from Montrose.
Montrose Harbor Longnose Gar Photos
What’s next on the fish menu at Montrose? Musky? Sturgeon?
Black Crappie in Montrose Harbor (click to see the larger version)
The fish in Montrose Harbor are taking advantage of the decrease in human activity and putting on a show. I’ve been checking the north side of the harbor on my morning walks and I’ve noticed an abundance and variety of fish I didn’t notice before Chicago closed the lakefront parks. Some of the different species include Black Crappie (a Montrose first for me), numbers of Smallmouth Bass and Freshwater Drum, and the ever-present Common Carp. Some of the carp are huge. I’ve also seen large schools of smaller fish, either Alewife or Smelt. It’s noteworthy that Montrose Harbor is far from being a pristine body of water. The many boats release gasoline into the water and there’s often garbage floating on the surface and debris in the water. Despite this, aquatic life is thriving. More fish photos from Montrose Harbor are on my Facebook page, URL below. Also, see the Fish Archives on this blog for more fish stories from Montrose.
Montrose Harbor Fish Photos
Who needs the aquarium?
Brown Trout (click to see the larger version)
The birding wasn’t very good this morning but the fishing sure was. A lucky fellow caught this beautiful Brown Trout from the end of the Fishhook Pier just before I got there. Actually, I didn’t know it was a Brown Trout at the time but I did some research and Brown Trout is the best match (it turns out that fish identification can be just as difficult and challenging as bird identification). Brown Trout are native to Europe and Asia but have been introduced to many places around the world, including the Great Lakes. This one was about 2 feet long and 10-12 pounds.
Oh yeah, I also had a first cycle Great Black-backed Gull, so the birding wasn’t a complete loss.
Burbot (click to see the larger version)
This morning I saw a strange fish at Montrose, a fish I’ve never seen before. I’m familiar with most of the local fish and I can at least place them into larger categories, e.g., salmon, bass, pike, gar, but this one looked nothing like any fish I’ve ever seen in the wild. It reminded me of a cod and I vaguely recalled that there is a freshwater cod-like fish found in the Great Lakes called a Burbot. When I got home I did some research and my mystery fish matches up very well with a Burbot (Lota lota). According to Wikipedia, Burbot are benthic in nature, which means they inhabit the lowest levels of a body of water, which might explain why I don’t see them.