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Fish tales, camp fires and a speckled mousetrap | Notes from the North Woods

A proud, young angler displays his mouse eating brook trout.

A proud, young angler displays his mouse eating brook trout. Photo by Joe Hackett.

Over the course of the past week, I have stumbled across two unique new experiences that have threatened many of my long held wildwood beliefs.

The first occasion was an incident that occurred on a small, local river that still hosts a healthy population of wild, brook trout.

Over the years, I’ve paddled and fished these waters and taken a fair share of healthy brookies. Most of the fish are released, but on occasion, one or two manage to migrate onto a grate, suspended over the coals of a hardwood fire, where the meat bakes pink, and the tail curls carefully until done.

Such was the case on a recent fishing foray, when a young angler hooked into a handsome fourteen inch brookie which weighed about two pounds.

It was downright fat for a river fish, so we decided to keep it for the grill back at camp.

However, when we cleaned the fish, and inspected the contents of it’s stomach, we were both surpised to discover far more than the usual bugs, flies, beetles and minnows that can be expected.

There, right in the middle of it’s stomach, was a fully developed mouse, long tail, whiskers and all.

In all my years of angling in the Adirondacks, from lakes to ponds to streams and rivers, I’ve never come across such a sight.

Certainly, I’ve tossed rubber mice lures to a few largemouth bass, and I’ve even watched Northern pike take down a ducking or two. But I’ve never heard of brookies eating mice, although it is entirely feasible given the current over population of the long tailed rodents throughout the Adirondacks. In fact, I would propose the state consider stocking all of our waters with a lot more of those mouse-eating, brook trout, as I’m getting tired of setting traps every evening.

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