Devoe Lake’s Summer Gift

Every summer for the last number of years in the company of friends I’ve made a fishing pilgrimage to the Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan. On this year’s trip, like most recently, many  fish were caught and released. Only six hours north of our home in central Ohio, it’s a special place where nesting Loons can be seen. While paddling it’s not uncommon to have one surface nearby or to see other wildlife not far away. The Loons are unique in their nesting requirements and are certainly there because no motors are allowed on any of the lakes in the park. If you want to fish, or just explore, it must be under your own power.

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Loons, Devoe Lake

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Areas of the country that are privileged to have four seasons, unfold like a flower in spring and summer only to experience a fiery death during the shorter, colder, red, and yellow days of fall. Devoe Lake is such a place, where the beauty of spring and summer is not ours for long, where for a brief time under blue skys and puffy white clouds one witnesses the sights and sounds of birds, insects, and wildflowers as life is celebrated. A place where a quiet observer may see a Loon attentively feeding her young as dragonflies, or even a Bald Eagle, fly overhead and where a Kingbird and Green Heron may be seen perched in a tree at waters edge while somewhere further down the lake the raucous call of a Kingfisher is heard.

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The strikingly beautiful flower of the Grass-of-Parnassus common along the shore of Devoe Lake

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Early morning, Devoe Lake.

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A typical catch on Devoe Lake. Many fish show evidence of having been previously caught.

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Prized for their good taste and seeming abundance a successful Devoe Lake fisherman shows of his catch of 35 Bluegill. In recent years with the rise in popularity of kayak fishing and more sophisticated boats, often equipped with fish finders and GPS, such catches are a lot easier and undoubtedly more common on Devoe. On a lake that’s less than a mile long and one half mile wide one can’t help wondering if such good times will last.

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A Red Spotted Purple visits our campsite, Devoe Lake rustic campground.

 

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Reflecting the rays of the low sun against a gray sky, a Kingbird waits for an insect to fly by, Devoe Lake.

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Just be taking a break? A juvenile Green Heron perches high in a tree at waters edge, Devoe Lake.

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Paddling under gray skies and clouds that threaten rain, Devoe Lake.

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Bald Eagles along the shoreline of Devoe Lake

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Return just a few months later and this unique beauty will be gone. No wildflowers will grace the shoreline of the lake. Rain, whether falling quietly or pounding to accompaniment of lightning and the sound of thunder, will have given way to the silence of the seasons first snow. At night the call of the Eastern Whip-poor-will will not be heard. The lake’s blue surface will not dance to the beat of an ever changing breeze and Painted Turtles will not cruise the clear depths below your canoe. It will be quiet except for the wind as it moves through now bare branches. The sky will more often be gray and the water now solid, unmoving, and partially covered in white, will reflect it’s color.

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Morning sun and mist, Devoe Lake.

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No matter the season Devoe Lake gives of it’s beauty sparingly and then takes it away leaving one to wait restlessly for another year.  The fleeting days of summer are no exception.

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Thanks for stopping by.

“Up North” in Michigan

Every year for the past ten or so we’ve travelled from central Ohio to the northeast part of Michigan’s lower peninsula for a few days of “catch and release” fishing.

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Devoe Lake, (Keith)

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Although certainly providing it’s own challenges and excitement, it not so much about the fishing as just being there. We’re “Up North” after all, a special place for many of us who grew up further south.

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Ready to launch, showing rod setup and remotely actuated “fish cam”, Devoe Lake

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Jimmy fishing, Devoe Lake

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Looks like a promising area, Devoe Lake, (Keith)

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Jeff with a nice LM Bass caught using a Wacky Rig, (Keith)

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AuSable River SM Bass using a gold Rapala, “fish cam”.

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“Up North” magic; perhaps it’s a quiet misty morning with a distant Loon’s call or the long trail of  splashes as it slowly accelerates running, flying, then finally, after what seems like way to long, breaking the water’s hold. At night it may be the call of a Barred Owl or the laugh of a coyote. Unlike past years, this year the Whippoorwills were quiet as the sky darkened just after sunset, replaced later by the silent flashes of light from the Perseid meteor shower.

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Various wildflowers grace the shore of Devoe Lake

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A Green Heron watches as a fisherman’s cast breaks the water’s surface.

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A Loon swims close to the canoe, Devoe Lake

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Then a pair follow suit, Devoe Lake.

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Deer watch curiously along the shore, Devoe Lake.

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A small island provide a welcome place for a break, Devoe Lake.

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As if from an upstream lake or adjacent woods, magic finds it’s way to the river, it’s clear water flowing silently over sand and smooth rocks, interrupted occasionally by green.

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Launching on the Rifle River

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Dead Ash trees along the river caused by the Emerald Ash Borer.

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Late afternoon on the Rifle River

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Jim and Keith on the Rifle River.

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Rifle River tunnel.

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Occasionally an insect or a flower becomes the magic, seemingly more vivid and clear than it would be nearer to home.

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Along the Rifle River, a female White-faced Meadowhawk perches, seemingly unperturbed, as we launch our canoes.

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A closer look.

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Hard to miss, a bright slime mold on forest leaf litter, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Lobelia kalmia, Brook lobelia, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Joe-Pye Weed, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Turtlehead, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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In the middle of the lake a Vesper Bluet damselfly finds the canoe.

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A closer look.

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Late in the day, the wind gone, the lake’s surface creates a canvas of light, shadow, and sky.

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Reflections, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Near sunset, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Rec Area, MI.

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Racing the storm, Devoe Lake, (Keith}

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Illusion, Devoe Lake

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Again we are left with memories that sustain imagination and dreams until next year’s trip north.

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Camp, Devoe Lake Rustic Campground

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Thanks for stopping by.

Photos by Donna

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