As of this writing, our bay is starting to clear up. The delightful chocolate milk color is steadily changing back to what is should be, a delightful not-chocolate milk color.
This means bay fishing and crabbing will continue to steadily improve. I was going to head out after work this week and fish off the jetty but the swells are not looking safe enough for me to venture out; I like to err on the side of caution and play it safe.
My philosophy is that the ocean wants to pull you in, grind you up and feed you to the fish and crab and I keep this in mind each and every time the waves are at my toes. With that being said I will wait until the conditions improve and the margin of safety increases.
We keep hoping for a break in the ocean conditions so we can take advantage of the last days of the deep-water lingcod season, which runs until the end of April, but in the meantime we are gearing up for the upcoming halibut season. The all-depth halibut season this year starts May 9-11 and runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday until quota is met.
Local lakes are warming up a little and reports of largemouth bass being caught are starting to come in. We’re not talking lots of bass or really big ones but it’s nice to hear that these harbingers of summer are starting to show.
Speaking of bass, there’s been a lot of talk about Loon Lake being closed this year due to winter storm damage but rest assured it’s only the BLM sites that are affected and the rest of the recreational sites will be good to go.
I have a ton of local critters and cool stuff to write about this week and I was having a difficult time deciding which one to choose until I was out splitting wood last night. I spotted a little critter hoping along and climbing the tall grass beside me. She was a beautiful jade green, had a black stripe and beady eyes and was smaller than a dime.
My new friend was a Pacific tree frog.
And while I have interacted with these little critters before I never realized how adept they are at jumping.
I bent over to gingerly pick up my little friend and as fast as you can say “fried frog legs” she was in the air and bounding away. She easily jumped eighteen inches and for reference a dime sized frog jumping eighteen inches is equal to a 6-foot tall person jumping 50 yards.
I finally caught this leaping amphibian and held her gingerly in my hands to show my little girls and they each took a turn lightly touching the top of her head before I released her back into the grass. As quickly as she was released she jumped up and clung onto a vertical wooden retaining wall akin to spiderman climbing a skyscraper. This super power is due to sticky little pads on the bottom of each toe… finger… whatever.
Pacific tree frogs range from Northern California to British Columbia, Canada and there’s even an area in Alaska where they live but in all fairness those ones were intentionally introduced to that region in the 1960s. My guess is that some hippies had a breeding pair living in someone’s beard and that’s how they traveled there. Purely speculation on my part, mind you.
These frogs can grow up to two inches in length and can have color variations ranging from brown to the beautiful green you see here on my friend.
Mating from early winter to early spring, the males will often sit in water with just their heads poking out and “croak/ribbit” in an attempt to attract a mate, which is far simpler than having to pay for a meal at a decent restaurant and engage in small talk all evening.
The croaking/ribbiting sound these little critters can make is astonishing at times. I have been in waist deep ponds with some of these fellas while they have been attempting to attract a female and I was amazed at how loud they are. I initially thought there was some big ole’ bullfrogs or something else making the loud, almost painful froggy croaking/ribbiting sounds but nope, it was these little fellas.
Just for clarity, I was not there as part of the frog dating scene and was simply looking for cool things to take pictures of.
The lady frogs will lay their eggs in clusters of ten to almost a hundred and will attach them under leaves, lilies or whatever else is available for cover. After a week or more, little tadpoles will hatch from the gelatinous eggs and slowly metamorphosize into full sized frogs, well, full sized for them anyway. Depending on things like temperature and elevation this process can take up to five months.
An interesting addition to this is that at the end of the metamorphic cycle the fledgling frogs will stop eating for a few days as their mouths widen, their digestive system changes and they change from herbivores to carnivores or as I like to put it, from vegans to “normal.”
Were you wondering why I was calling my little frog a “she” and how I knew she was female? I really didn’t know either way but I wanted to name her — are you ready for it — “Rosie the Ribbiter.”