Wildlife at Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin

August 12, 2023 • 1:50 pm

by Greg Mayer

I’m going to try to post some of my own wildlife photos while Jerry is not in a position to post readers’ wildlife photos. (We can look forward to Jerry’s posts of Galapagos wildlife photos, which we eagerly await!) To start, here are some pictures from a field trip¬† I took to Vilas County, Wisconsin, last summer with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum in Madison. These pictures are from our visit to Escanaba Lake, where the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a small field office that conducts careful surveys of the fish in the Lake.

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

We went out with DNR fisheries biologist Greg Sass, who showed us some of the research being carried out by the DNR. Greg got his PhD at Madison, where he is affiliated with the Center for Limnology.

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Part of the DNR’s research involves fyke net surveys:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Here are some of the fish found in the Lake. My ichthyological expertise is minimal, so the IDs will be to family only; feel free to volunteer species IDs in the comments. [Added: see species IDs by Mark R in comment #2.] Centrarchidae:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Ictaluridae:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Esocidae:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

A large Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) tadpole also turned up:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

But the highlight for me was that Northern Water Snakes (Nerodia sipedon) were very common at the boat launch. There were little ones:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

And big ones:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Measuring the big one– about 44 inches, total length:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

Sometimes, the big and little hung out together:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

The biggest ones were under and around an overturned boat:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

The snakes were so common, I told Greg it would be a great place for someone to do a thesis on their population biology and behavior. Some more water snake photos:

Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.
Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.
Escanaba Lake, Wisconsin, 23 July 2022.

This being Wisconsin and all, we had dinner the night before at a supper club, accompanied, for most of us, by brandy old fashioneds:

Brandy old fashioneds (mostly) at Marty’s Place North, now sadly closed.