While writing my book, For Love of Lakes, I realized I needed to go beneath the surface to get a more realistic sense of what a lake was like, to get a perspective not possible from a boat or dock.
To do so I gathered my flippers, mask and snorkel tube, and dove underwater in five different lakes.
What an incredible experience! My conception of a lake will never be the same.
First off, the fish were unafraid of me. One sunfish came right up to my face and we stared eyeball to eyeball, motionless. A sudden movement on my part and the fish disappeared instantly into beds of plants, reappearing a minute later as though curious about me. The importance of plants to these fishes was blindingly apparent. Looking through the green broken ceiling of lily leaves above made me feel I had entered into a rich gallery of shapes and colors.
I also came upon a variety of pond week known as “bass weed” and “muskie weed” because of their importance to fishermen.
Once I noticed a three pound bass was trailing below and behind me. He followed me as though I was prey. Fascinating.
There is so much more to a lake than meets the eye from a lake surface. You owe it to yourself, kids, or grandkids to get a snorkel outfit and discover what a lake is truly all about.
(Speaking of fish, check out my latest article on sunfish in the May-June, 2012, issue of the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer.)