Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The triangular relationship between fish, fire, and flies

Report from Sweden:
Today LA and I spent the day with my Dad IS, out at a little lake called Trehörningen (=Three Corner Lake), south of my home town on of Eskilstuna in Sweden. Near the lake is a giant forest area that was burnt down accidentally last summer to the fishermen's despair. The fishing organization Å! Fiske had stocked the beautiful lake with catchable and edible rainbow and steelhead trout, but the forest fire released so much nutrients into the lake that it killed a lot of algae and all fish due to lack of oxygen. They had released 800 lbs of fish, and 600 lbs of it was pulled up as floating dead fishes. They left it on the shore for the white-tailed eagles, who had a party. This year it looks better, and the water has been restocked and the water chemistry seems to have stabilized. You can fish if you get a permit, and you get to keep your catch. The trouts are up to 7 lbs!

We spent the day there with my Dad the entomologist doing a scientific experiment. We lit a fire (in the grilling area near the lake), to see if any fire-specialized insects showed up. Many unusual and rare species have been seen in the forest fire area, insects that are specialized to live on burnt wood. The three-toed woodpeckers have had a blast eating insect larvae under the peeling barks from the dead and dying trees. We set up white sheets for the insects to land on (and for us to see them better on) around the fire. The more smoke the better, so we put on green pine needles and wet wood after the fire got going. There was lots of interesting species that are adapted to forest fires there (fire weed, different mushrooms, very rare fly species, etc), but the special flies with infrared sensors on their bellies didn't show up.

South of the lake is the original unburned forest full of lichens, blueberries and wet moss. The lake has gorgeous waterlilies, swimming water snakes, a million tiny frogs that just hatched, and sundews (catching the fire-adapted flies, maybe?). You can fish but it is also just a gorgeous place to have a picnic, regardless of if you are interested in 'attractant fires', charred forests or not. Here are some photos, and more is here.

bubbly lichens... [fönsterlav]
Swimming water snake [simmande snok]
Bear moss [björnmossa]
waterlilies in lake [vit näckros]
the lake [sjön]
Attractant fire and sheets for catching insects on.
Swedish blueberries [blåbär]
A kind of beetle that uses it jaws as defense (it is biting my Dad). [bitbock]
Waterlily [vit näckros]
Dinner! One of the fisherman gave me this fish and it tasted great! It is a steel head trout. [middag!]


PP said...

great pics and story, but where is the "after" pic of the trout??!! I wish I was there!

LS said...

No 'after pic' of the trout. It was gone in seconds so I didn't get out my camera. The fish was very red inside, and tasted fantastic. I haven't fileted a whole fish in years, but it worked well, and I put OK on the job to pull out every bone with pliers :)