Little Fishes

Carolyn and I recently returned from a week in Wisconsin. It was a low-key trip filled with a much needed visit with family and a breather from our swamped schedules back in Providence.

Amid our time wrangling my two WWE Superstar nephews (6 and 2) back in Wisconsin, Carolyn and I took a peek at our favorite fresh water dive spot, Devil’s Lake. The lake has a max depth of about 60 feet. We tend to stick to shallower water, usually around 10 – 15 feet. Visibility is good at that depth…and…we get to play with our fish friends! We remembered to bring our underwater camera with us to capture the charming game that we play. Devil’s Lake is flanked by breathtaking bluffs of quartzite that boulder all the way below the surface of the water. This creates excellent habitat opportunities for fish and sets up an opportunity for divers to interact with fish.

In the video that I’ve included, you’ll see how several small mouthed bass rush us as soon as we enter the water. The fish are excited to see divers because we have the ability to lift rocks for them, thus revealing tasty snacks like smaller fish and crayfish. Devil’s Lake is a dive spot, but it isn’t a huge diving destination. There used to be a dive shop across the street when I was growing up. That has since closed and was torn down at some point. The nearest place to fill tanks is Madison, which is at least a 45 minute drive.

Despite having divers in the water intermittently, the fish do not hesitate to come up to you and demand that you lift rocks for them as soon as you enter the water. They follow you along the shore as you swim like little puppies yapping for treats! The behavior of the fish in this lake has changed the way I think about the intelligence of fish. I always assumed that fish merely responded to basic stimuli. I figured these were “dumb” creatures. I’m not proposing small mouthed bass are using tools or building an underwater kingdom to someday surmount human civilization, but hey, watch the video, these guys know what they’re doing!

Devil’s Lake July 2020