Largemouth bass in potamageton (cabbage weed) in an Iron County lake. (Ziegler photo)
By Bill Ziegler For the Iron County Reporter
IRON COUNTY—There are many lakes in Iron County that can be explored by snorkeling from either a boat or from shore.
We are fortunate to have numerous clear water lakes where visibility is either very good or adequate to observe fish and the other features underwater.
I have been a certified scuba diver since 1978, although I find snorkeling to be much more relaxing, and I see more fish. I was scuba-trained through my work as a fisheries biologist. I found that most of the other people trained with me rarely used this skill since they were reluctant to dive in either cold or poor visibility water which is the normal case in the Great Lakes or in inland lakes in Lower Michigan.
Iron County has clear waters that are warm enough to skin dive in that is very rare, other than in a warm ocean (Caribbean or Hawaii) setting. Snorkeling is a great way to cool off after a hot day and the basic equipment is not expensive. With snorkeling, I learn a considerable amount about fish behavior and their preferred choices in cover, thus, aiding my angling for them later.
Snorkeling was useful as a fisheries biologist for the DNR. Dan Milach, Jeff Griffith, both of Iron River, and I found several spear guns and a burlap bag full of speared walleyes at the bottom of Ottawa Lake back in the late 1980s.
Conservation Officer Frank Pairolero had observed several divers with spear guns throw all their gear and a bag off a pontoon boat as he approached. He mentally marked the spot as best as possible and then talked to me about the incident.
Finding the evidence solved a walleye poaching problem. For more... get the Reporter online or at your newstand.