Fish Story

With this spring’s flooding, small ponds and sloughs abound in every low spot, connected to the Winooski River through previously unrecognized relict channels and natural swales.

On my return trip from Easter Island (a field so named for aerial appearance and distance) last week, I glanced over at one of our new watering holes, musing on the veracity of fish tales told by neighboring Pitchfork Farms’ Eric Seitz of large stranded fish in the 2006 spring floods.  Seconds later, surprise eclipsed my doubts as I noted ripples with a definite fishy look.

Hopping off the tractor, I raced to the edge of the slough, and saw three large fish swimming in my direction.  As they lazily approached in the shallow water, I was impressed by their length (20-24”) and girth.  Dark gray, with rounded scales, my initial salmonid ID was clearly amiss, and I guessed at their type:  carp.

Apparently carp head for shallow water in spring to spawn, and the back channels of the Intervale, with the tantalizing taste of produce in the water, must have seemed like a breeding paradise.  Given that a few of these larger sloughs rarely dry completely, could we be witnessing the beginning of our own Intervale fish farm?