On January 21, Gordon Heingartner and Jeff Durbin invited me to join them on a ramble around Lake Wingra. They write a blog called Unseen Madison--apparently they felt the winter lake was sufficiently "unseen" to qualify. The plan was to walk the entire circumference on the ice, and see what we could see.
We met at the new dam where Lake Wingra flows into Murphy Creek. Just finished last fall, the dam has a pleasant design. Some had hoped it would be designed to keep carp from sending reinforcements up the creek to Lake Wingra, where the carp have been doing battle with the Green tribe. But carp control wan't included in the design. Perhaps it can be retrofitted.
Dam between Wingra Creek and Lake Wingra. Photo by J. Durbin
Winter is a good time for observing springs, because the water comes out at 55 degrees F. That warmth, plus water turbulence, keeps ice from forming--making the springs visible.
The largest spring in the Edgewood area is called Millennium Spring by Jim Lorman, because it was first noticed about the year 2000. No one knows why it began then, so we tossed around some ideas. A millennium software glitch? The best idea seemed to be that construction of a building nearby had caused a rearrangement in the groundwater flow.
Edgewood Big Hole Spring was recently rediscovered and cleaned out.It was formerly a trout pond for Governor Cadwallader Washburn.
Along the shore, we saw many large and magnificent willow trees. They have gnarly burls where many small branches sprout from the trunk.
Jeff investigates a stormwater outlet. Controlling pollution and sediment from these outlets is a priority for Madisonians.
West of Wingra Park, we noticed a fine stand of tamarack trees. In fall, they turn "smoky gold," Now, a multitude of seeds gave them a color of deep rust.
This trampled area in the marsh grass was most likely a place where a coyote spent the night.
- Bring a sandwich and some hot cocoa.
- In March, when the thaw begins, the first few feet along the shore melt first. So be careful near the shore (but it's very shallow there).
- It's best to wait several days after a heavy snowfall. That's because the snow weighs down the ice, causing water to well up over the ice, making slush. After several days, the slush freezes.
See Jeff Durbin's slide show here.
"I do have a serious recipe for carp. I can mine. I filet the carp, cut the filets into two inch chunks, bone and all ,and put into a pint canning jar with a tablespoon of cooking oil and a tablespoon of salt. Put the top on the jar and pressure cook for 90 minutes at 110 pounds. Take out and cool and let the jars seal. The bones will be soft just like in canned salmon. I make fish patties with the meat, chopped onion and bell pepper and crushed saltines. When pan fried they are almost as good as salmon croquettes. " Source.
Plenty more recipes here. Find out about bowhunting for carp here.