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senoy

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Reply with quote  #1 

That is really all I had to say. I was out fishing last Saturday morning (despite the water looking like chocolate milk) down below the dam in Morgantown and I had an otter swim up to me not more than 15 feet away. He probably had better luck fishing than I did although I did manage to catch a few leaves and more than one rock. This is actually the second time I've seen them in Morgantown, there was a family group that I saw a year or so ago as well.

I'm only saying this because if you had told me 20 years ago that I'd be seeing bald eagles at least once a week and otter in basically downtown Morgantown, I would have told you you were off your rocker. So as annoying as it is to have two major fish predators that I have to share the water with, I have to give props to the DNR and EPA. It's a pretty amazing thing they've done really.

40 years ago, the most likely thing you'd catch out of the Mon would be a turd caked in Yellow boy and today we've got beaver, eagles and otter (and even a loon that I saw a couple falls ago) flitting around in it. So props to the people making that happen.


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cling

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Reply with quote  #2 
I think I saw a loon there once, but I've definitely seen different types of neat diving ducks on numerous occasions. I've seen eagles - but the otter sighting is something new and very cool!
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Bum

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Reply with quote  #3 
I used to see two eagles from time to time and a loon (verified by his wonderful calls) in the pool above the Hildebrand Lock last year and the year previous...
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senoy

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Reply with quote  #4 
I assume the loon was migrating and got blown off course. I know that they are listed as 'birds of West Virginia,' so I assume that that's an occurrence that happens from time to time. I saw him on a foggy morning between the marina and the old tie-off wall. I was in my canoe and I actually heard him before I saw him. It was the first time I had ever heard a loon and on a foggy morning it was chilling and cool at the same time. He wailed for a while, so I don't know if he was looking for his migration-mates or what. I kept following the wails and eventually saw him and stuck relatively near to him for a good ten minutes or so and he'd dive and come up and I'd follow him and he'd dive and come up. Eventually he gave that little laugh and flew off. Very cool sight. I've since seen them in Canada and they're just a cool bird to be around.

The eagles come in every winter. There were at least a pair of them this year. I see them so often because my office looks out over the Mon and I have my computer facing the window, so I'll see them hanging around. They'll be crazy active when the river freezes and below the dam is the only clear water. I don't know what they are after that's close enough to the surface to catch, but they'll spend the whole day soaring over top of the unfrozen pool. When it's not frozen, you'll just see them passing through a couple of times a week. I saw one on Monday, but haven't seen any since. Two weeks ago, one spent a good hour sitting in the big birch tree across from Flour and Feed. They'll start disappearing soon and then I rarely see them in the summer.

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Thou, Lord, dost rule the raging of the sea; When loud the storm, and furious is the gale, Strong is Thine arm; our little barks are frail; Send us Thy help; remember Galilee.

Our wives and children we commend to Thee; For them we plough the land and plough the deep; For them by day the golden corn we reap; By night the silver harvest of the sea.

--Manx Fisherman's Hymn
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LeeO

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Reply with quote  #5 
Otter = good

Otters a sign of improved water quality.  The otters disappeared from the Gallatin River around the same the grayling did.  Now the otters are back there too. No luck on the grayling yet.


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senoy

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeO
Otter = good

Otters a sign of improved water quality.  The otters disappeared from the Gallatin River around the same the grayling did.  Now the otters are back there too. No luck on the grayling yet.


You won't hear me arguing with that. They're probably my favorite animal. They're an animal that likes to fish, swim, hang out with family down by the river and have a fun time doing it, what's not to love? Pretty animals.

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Thou, Lord, dost rule the raging of the sea; When loud the storm, and furious is the gale, Strong is Thine arm; our little barks are frail; Send us Thy help; remember Galilee.

Our wives and children we commend to Thee; For them we plough the land and plough the deep; For them by day the golden corn we reap; By night the silver harvest of the sea.

--Manx Fisherman's Hymn
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cling

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Reply with quote  #7 
I saw a loon on Sleepy Creek Lake in Berkeley County once...well actually I couldn't see it because it was too foggy. But I definitely heard it.

According to Cornell Ornithology website, Great Lakes loons migrate to the Gulf of Mexico or Florida, and eastern Canadian Loons migrate to the Atlantic Coast. So I guess its most likely that loons in our neck of the woods are Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico migrants. We may be off the major migration route, but not so far as to think it crazy to see them with some regularity I guess.

As for the eagles, given their nature to scavenge and/or take what they can get, I would assume they hang around the locks waiting for fish to get stunned going thru the dam....or they are hunting ducks.

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Brookie

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Reply with quote  #8 
I still laugh at the name Elkfisher gave the otter a few years back on here, "Satan's Lapdog" [rofl]
I can't shake that thought when I hear Otter now!


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Canoetripper

Brookie
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Reply with quote  #9 
I'm not a biologist but do think that I am an amateur naturalist constantly observing everything that I see while enjoying the great outdoors. The first otter that I ever saw was along the Tobyhanna Creek in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains at a heavily stocked R&G club which would make sense given all of those easy meals.

I have also seen plenty of them on both the Mayo and Dan Rivers in northcentral North Carolina which is way downstream from where these two rivers transition from mountain trout streams into warm water rivers. My point is that otters don't dine exclusively on trout. In fact, the PA Game and Fish Commission has published articles that say the otters prefer "rough fish" or bottom feeders since they are easier for them to catch which would make sense in Morgantown. That said, I have never seen more otters than I have on my two vacation fishing trips to Alaska.

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saltysenior

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Reply with quote  #10 
fishing from the bank at a deep pool in a river in the Mnts. of N. Ga.  .... caught a few small trout and some chub........had a small trout on that went crazy towards the end....suddenly something grabbed it and dove to the deep water   I knew it was a monster brown and wondered for a while how I was going to land it....after about a minute my trout came to the surface cradled on the belly of an otter swimming on his back....he ended up with the fish and vanished....
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Bigdan

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Reply with quote  #11 
Back in 2008 the wife and I saw a pair of otters on cheat lake near mont chateau. It was the first time I had seen one in the wild and was really cool. They hung around the canoe for a good 10 minutes before they moved on. Since then it seems like every other time I go to the cranberry I see otters. Very cool creatures.

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elkfisher

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Reply with quote  #12 
Brookie , I have since bonded with the lovable little scamps [wink] ... elkfisher
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Bigmoon

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Reply with quote  #13 
Otter love stocked trout
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F_fly

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Sauger
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Reply with quote  #14 
Saw otter on middle island creek just outside of west union a few weeks ago.
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